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I'd like to start out by saying that I am an agnostic and do not believe in, or accept any deities. I am also young, so I have much to learn, and cannot be expected to know everything. However, I'd like to educate myself better on the mythology and religions we still see today. I am open open to correction, criticism, and the like. I'm looking for a conversation, not a fight. I am only questioning to learn.

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A lot of Christians say that I should accept Jesus Christ because he died on the cross for me so I could be free of original sin. My first question regarding this is: If Jesus died for my sins, then why are there still sins? Especially related to the subject of homosexuality considering many people say that Leviticus no longer needs to be followed, yet homosexuality, unlike eating shellfish or cutting hair, is still condemned and is considered "wrong".

Another thing that I've heard is that everything in the bible is meant as a metaphor. But again, that person was against homosexuality. (sorry to make this sound like a homosexuality defense post)

I also can't quite grasp the reason that Jesus had to be crucified in the first place. If God is an all powerful being, then why did he have to have a human sacrifice just to say "Hm, sure, I suppose I'll give people more chances to get out of forever burning in hell."?

If God really wanted to, he could have very easily "forgive" us all for our sin without making an innocent man die. Which also doesn't seem very special since Jesus was essentially created to die. If he, like some people say, was a personified version of God, then why did God need to kill himself so that he could forgive everyone for doing something that he created on his own?

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Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.

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Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?

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Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?

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Please, if you're going to respond, don't pick and choose which questions to answer. Thank you for your time.

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MollyMyth
A lot of Christians say that I should accept Jesus Christ because he died on the cross for me so I could be free of original sin. My first question regarding this is: If Jesus died for my sins, then why are there still sins?


Could isn't would; Jesus redeems only those who accept His sacrifice.

MollyMyth
Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.


No; marriage is an archaic, oppressive institution whereby state-defined legal dogma replaces consensual relationship and fosters dependence and conformity.

MollyMyth
Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?


I do find that senseless, aggravating, and not worth my time.

MollyMyth
Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?


Not according to the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
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MollyMyth

I also can't quite grasp the reason that Jesus had to be crucified in the first place. If God is an all powerful being, then why did he have to have a human sacrifice just to say "Hm, sure, I suppose I'll give people more chances to get out of forever burning in hell."?
Most Christians miss the point of this. Jesus resurrected. Where as in the other religions that existed at the time, animals were offered alive and returned dead. In Christianity a man was offered dead but brought back alive. The symbolism basically that if one is true to one's self and let's their image "die", they will "resurrect" into an honest life.

Quote:
If God really wanted to, he could have very easily "forgive" us all for our sin without making an innocent man die. Which also doesn't seem very special since Jesus was essentially created to die. If he, like some people say, was a personified version of God, then why did God need to kill himself so that he could forgive everyone for doing something that he created on his own?
It's mythos. It's a story to explain the process of dying to one's false image and persona and that you won't "die" because you are being honest with yourself. If you can't be honest with yourself, then you're pretty much are already "dead".

Quote:
Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.
No. Good thing, the Bible is collection of spiritual literature and mythos and not some sort of legal code.
Edit: Also Christians are under a New Covenant. If they are following the Old Laws then they are pissing on their God. Why would a New Covenant be made, if there weren't problems with the Old Law?

Quote:
Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?
People normally don't reason, they rationalize. We are crude reasoning machines, but we are very good at rationalizing. If one is emotionally invested into information, they treat it as being emotional invested in a person. It's like the mother who refuses to believe her son is a murder despite all evidence saying that he is. Anyway, the most common answer I hear is personal experience which of course isn't any hard evidence to convince others but it's enough for the individual in question to believe.

Quote:
Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?
Depends on the sect of Christianity in question. While one could argue this case one could also use the same text to argue that it's not the case. Again such a stance misses the point, like with the mythos of the resurrection. The point is about willing to change one's ways. The Christian God like it when people realize they've been crappy people and change their ways (I am in no way saying that atheists are crappy people, if anything, God probably likes atheists more then many self professed Christians.
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I will be brief with my answers and request that if you have a further question, you send an inbox message. I can't claim to know everything from all the right angles, but from a Christian perspective, these are the answers I can give. (I hit on your major questions/points, mostly. If I missed one, I apologize.)

1.Why are there still sins?

When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn't to hit a "delete button" on sin but rather a "loophole" of sorts, a way out. Also, humans are not born as sinners, but as humans with the desire to sin. Once you commit something that you are aware is a sin, you are held responsible for it, and held accountable for your own sins. Jesus' purpose was to create a way for us to be saved. Not by getting rid of what endangers us, he couldn't, but by "opening a door" for us. We gotta choose to open that door by ourselves, though.
(Edit: I should also add that sin wasn't something God created either - it happened at the fall of Adam and Eve. But it's not quite on topic.)

2. Homosexuality?

It is true that the laws of moses are no longer in effect, and that all things were made clean under the New Covenant/Jesus' sacrifice. One no longer needed to upkeep certain rules for purity/cleanliness because all things were made clean/whole. However, under the New Covenant (In the New Testament), homosexuality is listed under the catagory of sexual immorality (among other things like adultry, fornication, beastiality, incest, etc.) and sexual immorality as sin. Not because God just decided it would be that way, but because the devil and wicked men took something that God created - sex/marriage and perverted it to something it wasn't supposed to be, thus seperating it from God.
As for metaphor vs. Literal, it generally depends on the context. There's a mix of both, but you have to read in to each specific instance.

3. What was the point of Jesus' Sacrifice?

Firstly, one basic rule in almost any situation is that if you want something, you have to ask for it. It won't just be given to you. If you don't ask for forgiveness, it won't be given.
Second, Jesus didn't just come here to die. Within his lifetime and ministry, he healed people and performed many great miracles, and told of God's plan of Salvation. And he didn't just "die." When he died, not only did he pay the price for sin by being a completely innocent sacrifice, but he conquored the devil and set people free. Also, he came back to life and ascended into the clouds.


4. Marrying a rapist?

This bit is severely missinterpreted and rape was not of the same context.


5. "The bible Says so."?

There isn't supposed to be any proof. That's the point of Faith. Believing in something you cannot see. Besides, for those who stay strong in their faith, things are usually proven to them individually by God.


6. Why can't everybody go to heaven?

Getting to heaven isn't based on being good or bad. It's based on truly knowing the Father and accepting the Son. (Or being too young to be held accountable in the case of a child, but that bit is debatable.) If a stranger randomly came up to your house and said "I think I'm going to live with you now. I think I'm a good person, and so should you." Would you trust them? I hope not, you barely know them! In the same way, unless we seek to know God, we can't really be let in. Criminals are still humans, and by making the choice to put God first, God sees them and welcomes them because their past gets wiped out/their sins wiped away. On the flipside, there is nothing God can do for those who choose not to follow him other than watch. The choice to follow Him is entirely up to us, and by His own rules, He must respect that/cannot interfere.
MollyMyth

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I'd like to start out by saying that I am an agnostic and do not believe in, or accept any deities. I am also young, so I have much to learn, and cannot be expected to know everything. However, I'd like to educate myself better on the mythology and religions we still see today. I am open open to correction, criticism, and the like. I'm looking for a conversation, not a fight. I am only questioning to learn.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A lot of Christians say that I should accept Jesus Christ because he died on the cross for me so I could be free of original sin. My first question regarding this is: If Jesus died for my sins, then why are there still sins? Especially related to the subject of homosexuality considering many people say that Leviticus no longer needs to be followed, yet homosexuality, unlike eating shellfish or cutting hair, is still condemned and is considered "wrong".

Another thing that I've heard is that everything in the bible is meant as a metaphor. But again, that person was against homosexuality. (sorry to make this sound like a homosexuality defense post)

I also can't quite grasp the reason that Jesus had to be crucified in the first place. If God is an all powerful being, then why did he have to have a human sacrifice just to say "Hm, sure, I suppose I'll give people more chances to get out of forever burning in hell."?

If God really wanted to, he could have very easily "forgive" us all for our sin without making an innocent man die. Which also doesn't seem very special since Jesus was essentially created to die. If he, like some people say, was a personified version of God, then why did God need to kill himself so that he could forgive everyone for doing something that he created on his own?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Well, to me, Jesus died on the cross so those sins that were once sins are now forgivable. Except for the unforgivable sin. That if you aren't deeply an evil person, and you believe in God and truly want forgiveness for the times you have made a mistake, you can be forgiven. Jesus was subject to ridicule, torture, and death, but he asked God to forgive the sinners. Jesus is one with the father, but Jesus is the divine son on earth. And on earth he didn't have the divine perception of God. In theory he could have been pushed too far and decided that we were not worthy of forgiveness; but no matter what happened to him, he believed we deserve to be forgiven.

But Jesus did not die to eliminate sin. Jesus died so that we get more than one strike.

Quote:


Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Well, it's a bit more than that. If a woman who was married or betrothed was raped, the rapist was stoned to death. If a virgin who was not betrothed was raped, the rapist had to pay the father for the girl and marry her, but the idea was that the girl was now unsuitable for marriage by their traditions, and without a husband or father she would be subjected to poverty, and basically be a social outcast. So they law was that the rapist was now responsible for that woman and was to provide for her and their children. However, if the father of the girl determines she can be cared for in a more suitable manner...let the stoning commenceth!

Quote:


Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Because that defeats the purpose of faith. Suppose there is a heaven and hell, and people are being divided by faithful and faithless, virtuous and sinful; in that world God cannot reveal himself or else everyone will do what is right and believe not because they are good people, but because they know they have to. God reveals himself after life, after we have used our free will to either be good or bad. And since we can't really come back from heaven and be like "I was right!" it is up to, not necessarily atheism, but people who can doubt God to find proof against Him.
In life religious faith is a matter of remaining true to something you cannot prove in life. However, while God is improbable, there are a select few ways in which God is possible, and because of that small possibility, people have faith. So it is up to people who have the ability to find the truth in life that disproves the faith

Quote:

Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Lord. If we deny God and Jesus on earth, they will deny us when we seek entrance to heaven.
However I was raised to believe (even though I'm not Christian now, I remember my grandparents religion) that you must also trust in the Lord and follow his command to be as virtuous as possible. And a person who commits sinful acts willingly and knowingly thinking God will overlook it will still end up in hell. If a person repents for their sins, it is not just saying you are sorry, it's deep down in your heart being genuinely regretful for your actions. Jesus died so we could be forgiven for being imperfect and making mistakes, we are not forgiven for intentionally committing evil acts.
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However, under the New Covenant (In the New Testament), homosexuality is listed under the catagory of sexual immorality (among other things like adultry, fornication, beastiality, incest, etc.) and sexual immorality as sin.

Where?
I always hear the old testament cited.
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xXZirkannia
I will be brief with my answers and request that if you have a further question, you send an inbox message. I can't claim to know everything from all the right angles, but from a Christian perspective, these are the answers I can give. (I hit on your major questions/points, mostly. If I missed one, I apologize.)

1.Why are there still sins?

When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn't to hit a "delete button" on sin but rather a "loophole" of sorts, a way out. Also, humans are not born as sinners, but as humans with the desire to sin. Once you commit something that you are aware is a sin, you are held responsible for it, and held accountable for your own sins. Jesus' purpose was to create a way for us to be saved. Not by getting rid of what endangers us, he couldn't, but by "opening a door" for us. We gotta choose to open that door by ourselves, though.
(Edit: I should also add that sin wasn't something God created either - it happened at the fall of Adam and Eve. But it's not quite on topic.)

2. Homosexuality?

It is true that the laws of moses are no longer in effect, and that all things were made clean under the New Covenant/Jesus' sacrifice. One no longer needed to upkeep certain rules for purity/cleanliness because all things were made clean/whole. However, under the New Covenant (In the New Testament), homosexuality is listed under the catagory of sexual immorality (among other things like adultry, fornication, beastiality, incest, etc.) and sexual immorality as sin. Not because God just decided it would be that way, but because the devil and wicked men took something that God created - sex/marriage and perverted it to something it wasn't supposed to be, thus seperating it from God.
As for metaphor vs. Literal, it generally depends on the context. There's a mix of both, but you have to read in to each specific instance.

3. What was the point of Jesus' Sacrifice?

Firstly, one basic rule in almost any situation is that if you want something, you have to ask for it. It won't just be given to you. If you don't ask for forgiveness, it won't be given.
Second, Jesus didn't just come here to die. Within his lifetime and ministry, he healed people and performed many great miracles, and told of God's plan of Salvation. And he didn't just "die." When he died, not only did he pay the price for sin by being a completely innocent sacrifice, but he conquored the devil and set people free. Also, he came back to life and ascended into the clouds.


4. Marrying a rapist?

This bit is severely missinterpreted and rape was not of the same context.


5. "The bible Says so."?

There isn't supposed to be any proof. That's the point of Faith. Believing in something you cannot see. Besides, for those who stay strong in their faith, things are usually proven to them individually by God.


6. Why can't everybody go to heaven?

Getting to heaven isn't based on being good or bad. It's based on truly knowing the Father and accepting the Son. (Or being too young to be held accountable in the case of a child, but that bit is debatable.) If a stranger randomly came up to your house and said "I think I'm going to live with you now. I think I'm a good person, and so should you." Would you trust them? I hope not, you barely know them! In the same way, unless we seek to know God, we can't really be let in. Criminals are still humans, and by making the choice to put God first, God sees them and welcomes them because their past gets wiped out/their sins wiped away. On the flipside, there is nothing God can do for those who choose not to follow him other than watch. The choice to follow Him is entirely up to us, and by His own rules, He must respect that/cannot interfere.

Thank you very much for your explanation.

However, I see one flaw. In the last paragraph, you stated that God letting you into heaven without you "knowing" him is like letting a stranger into your home without knowing them. God is said to be all knowing, therefor he'd already know everything there is to know about you. He'd know you better than you knew yourself. So if he could honestly say himself that you were a good person your whole life, then what reason would he have to not let you into heaven other than you not accepting him as your savior?
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MollyMyth

I also can't quite grasp the reason that Jesus had to be crucified in the first place. If God is an all powerful being, then why did he have to have a human sacrifice just to say "Hm, sure, I suppose I'll give people more chances to get out of forever burning in hell."?
Most Christians miss the point of this. Jesus resurrected. Where as in the other religions that existed at the time, animals were offered alive and returned dead. In Christianity a man was offered dead but brought back alive. The symbolism basically that if one is true to one's self and let's their image "die", they will "resurrect" into an honest life.

Quote:
If God really wanted to, he could have very easily "forgive" us all for our sin without making an innocent man die. Which also doesn't seem very special since Jesus was essentially created to die. If he, like some people say, was a personified version of God, then why did God need to kill himself so that he could forgive everyone for doing something that he created on his own?
It's mythos. It's a story to explain the process of dying to one's false image and persona and that you won't "die" because you are being honest with yourself. If you can't be honest with yourself, then you're pretty much are already "dead".

Quote:
Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.
No. Good thing, the Bible is collection of spiritual literature and mythos and not some sort of legal code.
Edit: Also Christians are under a New Covenant. If they are following the Old Laws then they are pissing on their God. Why would a New Covenant be made, if there weren't problems with the Old Law?

Quote:
Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?
People normally don't reason, they rationalize. We are crude reasoning machines, but we are very good at rationalizing. If one is emotionally invested into information, they treat it as being emotional invested in a person. It's like the mother who refuses to believe her son is a murder despite all evidence saying that he is. Anyway, the most common answer I hear is personal experience which of course isn't any hard evidence to convince others but it's enough for the individual in question to believe.

Quote:
Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?
Depends on the sect of Christianity in question. While one could argue this case one could also use the same text to argue that it's not the case. Again such a stance misses the point, like with the mythos of the resurrection. The point is about willing to change one's ways. The Christian God like it when people realize they've been crappy people and change their ways (I am in no way saying that atheists are crappy people, if anything, God probably likes atheists more then many self professed Christians.

I really enjoyed your explanation. Thank you for your time.
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MollyMyth
I'd like to start out by saying that I am an agnostic and do not believe in, or accept any deities. I am also young, so I have much to learn, and cannot be expected to know everything. However, I'd like to educate myself better on the mythology and religions we still see today. I am open open to correction, criticism, and the like. I'm looking for a conversation, not a fight. I am only questioning to learn.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.gaiaonline.com/forum/extended-discussion/mythology-also-belief-shapes-society/t.83491027/?_gaia_t_=3934

I feel you might like this thread, even if it has flaws. Its about how mythology or belief and how it shapes societies, it is a thread of mine, I enjoyed researching that stuff and went in without trying to confirm a previous notion I may have had, I was just suddenly curious about the differences of cultures and mythologies and religions and such.

I basically end up finding through my research one evening, that myths differ vastly for groups that were settled or nomadic. The settled groups tended to have more ideas for gods and heroes, while nomadic groups would have more natural myths like a giant beaver sucking up a lakes water and a wolf fighting it and their fight made the mississipi river.
And how settled societies had sacrifice usually in their history, I found an example of the celtics who loved war, and how the aztecs also had human sacrifice, I may have found a third example but I may not have. So i theorized settled socities liked organized war, rather than self-defense or territorial disputes like native americans may have, and that its because of the ideas of heroes that people liked war (as was the case with celtics).
What i did not provide a source for was what I recall reading once, about first occult practices. It occured in small settled societies, they would have two or three types of magic, I forget the terms, one was basically spread from contact, and the other was mimicry of what they wanted to attract (like how people might try to attract a cat by purring or meowing lol) And I think they had perhaps developed rituals to explain the uncertainty of the rain they worried about for their crops, so also whent he rituals didnt work they would try to understand it by comparing it to themselves, as if the sky is withholding them rain intentionally, and that idea developed into gods who were moody or needed apeasing. But in reality it was the farmers anxieties that needed apeasing knowing if their crops would grow or not with enough rain and such.
I hope this brings up a few ideas for individual-research at least.
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MollyMyth
also note, its an old thread so please dont respond to it it might be considered necroing.
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xXZirkannia
However, under the New Covenant (In the New Testament), homosexuality is listed under the catagory of sexual immorality (among other things like adultry, fornication, beastiality, incest, etc.) and sexual immorality as sin.

Where?
I always hear the old testament cited.


Although I don't normally like throwing a bunch of scriptures out there without much of a background or examination of the early texts, I found a link that contains many scriptures relating to the topic of sexual immorality. It does include scriptures from the Old Testament as well and some of the scriptures listed aren't put in full context, but it relates.




MollyMyth
Thank you very much for your explanation.

However, I see one flaw. In the last paragraph, you stated that God letting you into heaven without you "knowing" him is like letting a stranger into your home without knowing them. God is said to be all knowing, therefor he'd already know everything there is to know about you. He'd know you better than you knew yourself. So if he could honestly say himself that you were a good person your whole life, then what reason would he have to not let you into heaven other than you not accepting him as your savior?


Yes, he knows everybody,but again. You have to make the effort to know Him. He isn't just a judge, He's a Father. Also, due to the heavy influence the devil has on today's society, living a completely perfect life is near impossible. confused You would have to never once lie, cheat, steal, blaspheme, lust after, hurt another, etc. Once you do even one of those things, boom. Not perfect. Not worthy of Heaven. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made though, we don't have to try and be perfect. All we have to do is ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us, and accept what Jesus did. Then woosh, clean and heaven-bound. Not because we're good enough, (no one is or ever will be.) After that, getting to know God is a personal journey of reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping, etc. I mean, Jesus saved us. Least we could do is find out what his teachings were about, right?
(I should also note that the stranger in the house quote was inspired by Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell. He answers a lot of the same questions you had, if you wanted to look it up.)
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xXZirkannia
Yes, he knows everybody,but again. You have to make the effort to know Him. He isn't just a judge, He's a Father. Also, due to the heavy influence the devil has on today's society, living a completely perfect life is near impossible. confused You would have to never once lie, cheat, steal, blaspheme, lust after, hurt another, etc. Once you do even one of those things, boom. Not perfect. Not worthy of Heaven. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made though, we don't have to try and be perfect. All we have to do is ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us, and accept what Jesus did. Then woosh, clean and heaven-bound. Not because we're good enough, (no one is or ever will be.) After that, getting to know God is a personal journey of reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping, etc. I mean, Jesus saved us. Least we could do is find out what his teachings were about, right?
(I should also note that the stranger in the house quote was inspired by Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell. He answers a lot of the same questions you had, if you wanted to look it up.)


My problem has always been, OK, so YHWH doesn't let us all into heaven. That's fine, that's fair enough. Why is the alternative eternal hellfire? Like, why isn't there a fairly-nice-but-not-quite-as-good option? (I appreciate that some people's definition of "hell" is just "without god" which is a perfectly good explanation as far as I'm concerned. This question is more aimed at those people who believe in a place-of-punishment version of hell.)
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Sanguina Cruenta
xXZirkannia
Yes, he knows everybody,but again. You have to make the effort to know Him. He isn't just a judge, He's a Father. Also, due to the heavy influence the devil has on today's society, living a completely perfect life is near impossible. confused You would have to never once lie, cheat, steal, blaspheme, lust after, hurt another, etc. Once you do even one of those things, boom. Not perfect. Not worthy of Heaven. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made though, we don't have to try and be perfect. All we have to do is ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us, and accept what Jesus did. Then woosh, clean and heaven-bound. Not because we're good enough, (no one is or ever will be.) After that, getting to know God is a personal journey of reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping, etc. I mean, Jesus saved us. Least we could do is find out what his teachings were about, right?
(I should also note that the stranger in the house quote was inspired by Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell. He answers a lot of the same questions you had, if you wanted to look it up.)


My problem has always been, OK, so YHWH doesn't let us all into heaven. That's fine, that's fair enough. Why is the alternative eternal hellfire? Like, why isn't there a fairly-nice-but-not-quite-as-good option? (I appreciate that some people's definition of "hell" is just "without god" which is a perfectly good explanation as far as I'm concerned. This question is more aimed at those people who believe in a place-of-punishment version of hell.)


Originally it was only meant as a holding place/place of torture for the devil and his angels, man was never supposed to end up there. But after the devil gained authority of Adam when he and Eve disobeyed God, mankind became subject to the same fate. To fix that, God sent Jesus and created a way to get us free from that authority. But since then man made it seem like salvation is only for the extremely good or the Elite. Not so at all! God wants all of His children free. But because we have free will, he cannot interfere or make us choose, only send others to influence.
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MollyMyth
I am open open to correction, criticism, and the like. I'm looking for a conversation, not a fight. I am only questioning to learn.

funny that you have to state this... funny or tragic, I suppose.

I am EXTREMELY versed in the christian belief system yet am coming to this topic in a post-christian life. So, my points are all going to be educated but definitely tinted by my own experiences, so bear with me.

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A lot of Christians say that I should accept Jesus Christ because he died on the cross for me so I could be free of original sin. My first question regarding this is: If Jesus died for my sins, then why are there still sins? Especially related to the subject of homosexuality considering many people say that Leviticus no longer needs to be followed, yet homosexuality, unlike eating shellfish or cutting hair, is still condemned and is considered "wrong".


You are conflicting issues here. Homosexuality, sin, and personal salvation, so I'll go into depth on each one. Depending on which sect of christianity you're talking about, the old testament was abolished once the new testament came to be. Very specifically Acts 10:9-15 describes a dream that Peter had. (the same peter that denied Jesus 3 times, was considered to be the first bishop of Rome and also crucified by Nero [who himself I find to be the more interesting historical figure{rumored to have watch Rome burn while playing his Lute; rumored to have started the great Roman fire to build his new, golden palace; and the best darned Artist Emperor Rome ever saw}]) In this dream, he was tempted with various "unclean" foods by god. He refused to eat them because they were "unclean", quite the correctly-Jewish answer back in the early days of christianity. But, god ended his dream by saying "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy".

Now, what does that mean? Well, if you believe that Jesus was actually the son of god, on the same footing, of the same substance of god, then what he says goes. Now, what was it that Jesus said was a sin? What was it that he said was a sin? He didn't. He gave the two highest commandments man should ever live by, but that's it. In Mark 12: 30-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”


Now, he basically said that these two rules override every rule that has existed before and will exist after. Unless he (god) says something different, this is THE highest commandment. So, christians kind of feel free to disregard most of the old testament thusly. I mean, Paul and other foundational christian minds do say that Jesus is the only way to salvation, but what they say CAN'T override what god says. After all, what god has cleansed , no longer consider unholy. God cleansed anything that falls into the categories of "loving your god" and "loving your neighbor". I'm a huge proponent of not considering anything that falls within these two parameters "unholy".

So, homosexuality. Paul does state in Romans 1:27 it says:
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.


Post-old testament, that is the only thing ever said about homosexuality. Even in the old testament, there is compelling evidence to support the fact that those homosexual acts were condemned moreso because of prostitution and uncleanliness rather than morality. Even in this new testament verse, the question becomes: does this override what Jesus said? Does this override what Paul dreamed? There aren't conclusive answers here. This verse and subsequent verses don't even say that homosexuality IS a sin, it doesn't say a punishment except that "god gave them over to the depravity of their minds". And- in fact- in Roman culture(the people to whom these letters were written, BTW), male homosexuality was not considered indecent or unnatural and more of part of a learning phase in male development. It never specifies a specific action. It never specifies a specific behavior. It's EXTREMELY unclear.

So, let's go back to what is clear: loving the lord your god with all your strength and loving your neighbor as yourself. Those- to me- seem crystal clear.


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Another thing that I've heard is that everything in the bible is meant as a metaphor. But again, that person was against homosexuality. (sorry to make this sound like a homosexuality defense post)


DO NOT let a christian hear you say that. That will- depending on what type of christian you're talking to- sound every mental alarm, bell, or whistle they have. Seriously, this is a hot topic. It is not one that EVERY christian agrees on.
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I also can't quite grasp the reason that Jesus had to be crucified in the first place. If God is an all powerful being, then why did he have to have a human sacrifice just to say "Hm, sure, I suppose I'll give people more chances to get out of forever burning in hell."?


Depending how in depth you want to go, this sacrifice was a HUGE gesture. Originally, the Jewish religion was founded by sacrifice.(Genesis 22, I believe) Basically, YAHWEH decided that he wanted to form a pact with someone- Abraham to be precise- the pact was that his descendants would be great and prosperous(although YAHWEH's part of the bargain wasn't defined till post-sacrifice), if only he sacrificed his son Isaac. He did in complete faith that his sacrifice would be rewarded.(or at least he was going to till god provided a literal scape goat, like a goat that could take abraham's son's place) He put his trust in this god that he believed in more than he did his own son. Population wasn't as abundant at the time, people were still relatively nomadic, so this was a HUGE deal. But Abraham trusted and god rewarded. From his descendants, the twelve tribes of israel were born/formed. This lead directly to the Jewish culture we know today (amazing how the stereotype is extremely rich and well-off, eh?).

The sacrifice that YAHWEH made was extremely symbolic. He basically allowed his only begotten son to be tortured and crucified when he had done NO wrong. He allowed this 'perfect' being to experience in full the depravity of human hatred and violence. Why? You could read this two ways. 1.It was god's sacrifices to prove his newly-developed, benevolent nature to everyone that believed in this new, improved, and less judgmental god. or 2.It was Jesus' sacrifice. That he, a perfect being, would stand through all these horrors without hatred or pain for the whole of the human race. He made the pact with god, he became sin for us and allowed himself to be the proverbial(literal perhaps) scapegoat. If you believe the former, I don't expect an omnibenevolent god would send people to hell arbitrarily. If you believe the second, where in the pact did Jesus say, "wait, hold on, let's add a clause that says people have to accept me as their lord and savior before this sacrifice means anything".

However, Jesus did say as his dying words, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Which I find poetic, tragic, and also in a strange way, it fills me with peace. (it could also be that he was quoting psalms, which I find quite beautiful)


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Do you find it right that the Bible states that a victim should be forced to marry her rapist and never be allowed to divorced? Explain.


Yes, women are property, why not? Just kidding... how pre-post-modern of me. Seriously, though, the Bible was definitely written pre-women's rights... if you expect any of that from the bible, don't.

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Why is it up to atheists to prove that God does not exist, yet Christians can use a petty reason like "The Bible says so."? The burden of proof lies with the believers. It's like someone coming up to you, saying that they can shape shift, asking them to prove it, and them telling you that you have to prove that they can't. Wouldn't you find that senseless? Aggravating? Not worth your time?


That is actually the idea of the "burden of proof". Basically, in debates, anyone who states a new idea has to prove that their idea is true. Because we live in a relatively puritanical/christian culture, the burden of proof (depending on who you're speaking to) does fall on the atheist. Does that make it right? No. I feel both sides have a burden of proof that neither of them can offer in definite terms.

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Why is it impossible for an atheist with amazing morals who's never killed anyone, never intentionally hurt anyone, donates to charity, gives blood, and is over all a good person, to go to heaven, yet a murderer, rapist, child molester, thief, and any other type of criminal can go to heaven as long as they repent? Is all that God cares about is that people worship him? Is he so shallow as to not care in the least if someone is a good person, but only as to weather or not they treat him the way he wants?


You're projecting on god now. I'm sorry to say. This question is actually not a question, but is loaded with your personal feelings/issues towards god. Many of these questions don't have a solid or biblical answer to them. And even if they do, the answer is bound to change based on who you're talking to. What sect of christianity they're from, etc.

Overall, I feel christianity is a great philosophical/religious framework. But it allows people so much room for interpretation. Because of this, angry and hurt people project anger and hatred into it. The reason Christianity has so many problems, has so many issues is the fact that some bad people became influential people through christianity. If you feel that the core beliefs of christianity and its texts align with you, study it. Just make sure you're not being negatively persuaded by all the negativity current western christianity has to offer.

Hope this helps,
Haruki

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