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This question is meant for Christians (though anyone is free to chime in), and not meant to be a debate.

There are similar threads on our INFP forum. I'm not looking for anything specific so take this broad question as you will and respond accordingly.
 

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When I was a child I tried Christianity a few times. I wasn't forced into it and my parents weren't Christian. I believed in God though and believed in Jesus but I pretty much just saw the bible as 'stories' based around some historical events but nonetheless mostly 'make-believe' and designed to show people how to be good like Jesus and go to heaven.

I didn't like it at all when Christians told me that this is what happened and this is what God had said and commanded and that this is what we have to believe and what we must obey. I didn't like that they couldn't answer my questions with a proper answer like why would God come down to Earth to die for humanity? why does God allow bad things to happen? how can Jesus be God and a man at the same time? Why do we worship/praise Jesus instead of just God? I was always extremely sceptical of what they told me and I didn't like the answers and explanations they gave me and felt like they did not like me asking all of these questions, so eventually I just got bored within a couple of weeks and stopped going.

The church I was actually going to was an 'evangelical' one they ran bible clubs and programs with my school but I wouldn't have known they were 'evangelical' or what that actually meant all Christians were the same to me at that time. They did really put me off ever going to church again though or becoming a Christian.

Although I do believe in God today but that is all. I just believe in God, that the universe was created by a God, nothing else and no religion involved in it.

There are certain things within Christianity I can't really understand though like:

Why would God need to come down to Earth to die for all our sins? Why couldn't he just forgive us?
If God revealed himself to us as Jesus in the past why not now?
How can Jesus be the 'son of God'?
Why is it even relevant whether Jesus is son of God or not? why not just praise or worship God alone?
Couldn't Jesus just be a prophet of God but his teachings got corrupted over time?
Even if Jesus came back from death why does that mean he is God/son of God lots of people came back from death in the bible.
 

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Fu Dominant
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Why would God need to come down to Earth to die for all our sins? Why couldn't he just forgive us?
From a biblical perspective:

It's a matter of free will. It's not that God couldn't forgive us without our own input on the matter, or that He hasn't. He's God, after all. He could literally do anything he wanted to. But He gave us free will upon our creation. And so, He gave us the opportunity to make that choice. In fact, all are forgiven who come to Him and ask for it. It's already there. It's up to us to accept it or not. To want it or not.

With love comes respect, and God is love, so He respects our choices. He won't force you into Heaven if you don't want to be there. So that's why.

As far as Jesus' existence goes, it's a matter of giving us someone we can relate to. God is practically unfathomable to us by comparison. But Jesus lived as we live, flesh and bone, temptation and trials. And at the time he lived on this Earth, the people needed someone to relate to. Just read about the Pharisees of the time, and how Jesus felt about them. They were the supposed middle-men between God and His people, and they misled everyone. They were concerned about human matters. Profit. Appearance. Self righteousness. Silly traditions. Not only could they not relate God to the people, they weren't even trying. They wanted to be the Gods themselves.
 

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It is interesting to be a believer in God but feel wholly divorced.

When I was a teen, I got "set on fire for Jesus" and was out of control. I tempered down, and began a lot of studies, and did various teaching etc. Ultimately, I realized I had the faith in theory, but it never impacted my life in practice. I believed things, I acted on that belief, and nothing tangible occurred. This disconnect between thought and reality has caused me to step back. I hate the idea of putting God on trial or setting an ultimatum, but it seems to me the rubber has to meet the road sometime. You can't make a bunch of promises and then not deliver. And the excuses and scapegoats, I got tired of those. They always felt flimsy even when I defended them.

I realized it wasnt Christ so much as Christians I had a problem with. I don't talk much about it though, I would hate to lead someone who was "weaker" from their faith.
 

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If God revealed himself to us as Jesus in the past why not now?
Well, I think I can answer this question. I talked about it some time ago with a nun who helped me understand some aspects of christianity better. You see, God sent us his Son. It was a final and ultimate display of his love for people. It's like, he said everything that he wanted to say. He doesn't have to reveal himself any more. Let's face it : there's no better way for God to reaveal himself. People got visible and tangible proof of his existence (and love). Some of people believed in Jesus and some didn't. Those who didn't, perhaps they wouldn't believe in God even If he spoke to them from heaven. Sending Jesus to earth was the greatest gift he could ever give us. Besides, he can't just reveal himself now, because those who want to watch him will have this chance after death. That's the meaning of life, by the way. When it comes to your last question - Jesus raised himself from the dead, other people were raised from the dead by Jesus (and his intercession), that's a huge difference. I don't know how to explain it in English, in Polish we have two different words for that. Anyway, the truth is Jesus overcame death. One last thing : Jesus=Father=Holy Spirit=God. We do worship God alone. Just in three divine persons. It's probably one of the most difficult things in christianity to explain, especially when english is not your native language ;)

Back to the topic : christianity is an extremely important part of my life, I'm a churchgoer etc, like many (actually, most of) people in my country. It's just so natural and obvious that I don't even think about it. I'm not a bigot of any sort, I can't even call myself a zealous Catholic, but in comparison to many people who lost their faith, I'm very religious. I guess that in Central Europe we just experience religion quite differently. I'm not like "omg I love Jesusssss so much 1!!11oneone". Instead of talking about it and showing it, I try to be a good person. That's all. (I don't want to offend anyone btw).
 

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I tried it, tasted too bitter. I simply follow my own path now.

Peace will come when humanity realizes good comes from within from our "heart" not from outside of us, we are good. If you want good things to happen don't pray or wish for good. Instead cultivate the good inside of you and let it grow into others.

Peace will come when humanity realizes that truth comes from outside of us, not simply what we wish to be. If you want people to understand,let it be known that only true understanding comes from that which we can all agree on, facts.

All that is good comes from within and all that is true comes from the universe we all share.

The only thing keeping us from peace is the apathetic and the ignorant.

- I used to be christian, for the first half of my life.-
 

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I don't feel Christianity or religion in general should be merely an emotional experience. While emotion is important too, I don't feel spiritually satisfied, unless I'm taught something that is logical and that has practical application, rather than just the big experience then back to the daily grind, forgetting whatever you were supposedly taught. I think it has to make sense, and help me to make sense of humanity. I feel that spirituality, turns us into better, more tolerant people, not self-righteous Bible pushers who believe that everyone who thinks differently is a "heathen" that's going to burn. That's how I try to experience Christianity: as both an emotional and intellectual experience. I try to keep my critical thinking on, because if it's the truth, it will stand up to criticism to the point that even if someone can't agree with any particular ideology, they can't argue with the results it inspires.
 

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From a biblical perspective:

It's a matter of free will. It's not that God couldn't forgive us without our own input on the matter, or that He hasn't. He's God, after all. He could literally do anything he wanted to. But He gave us free will upon our creation. And so, He gave us the opportunity to make that choice. In fact, all are forgiven who come to Him and ask for it. It's already there. It's up to us to accept it or not. To want it or not.
That view differs from Christian philosophy on: free will, sin, creation and the reincarnation that I was taught.

I had thought that we were not created with free will that Adam and Eve were created innocent and did not have free will until they had ate of the fruit from the tree that gave knowledge of good and evil thus resulting in man's fallen nature and 'original sin'.

The punishment for this 'original sin' being death.

And so God came down onto the Earth in 'God incarnate' form and took on this original sin so that it would die with him on the cross and that humans could now be forgiven so long as they believed in Jesus and the reincarnation.

Another view on what I said above is that God came down to Earth and died on the cross simply to reveal himself to us, and to show us that death can be overcome, but if God revealed himself to us then why doesn't he do it all the time? Why doesn't he do it now?

If god ever did reveal himself to man as Jesus for example doesn't that take away our free will anyway because then we MUST believe in him because we have seen him for ourself.

As far as Jesus' existence goes, it's a matter of giving us someone we can relate to. God is practically unfathomable to us by comparison. But Jesus lived as we live, flesh and bone, temptation and trials. And at the time he lived on this Earth, the people needed someone to relate to. Just read about the Pharisees of the time, and how Jesus felt about them. They were the supposed middle-men between God and His people, and they misled everyone. They were concerned about human matters. Profit. Appearance. Self righteousness. Silly traditions. Not only could they not relate God to the people, they weren't even trying. They wanted to be the Gods themselves.
The concept of Jesus is quite hard to believe in because he was supposed to be fully a man but at the same time fully God.

Although God being God maybe it is possible for him to exist in multiple forms holy trinity for example.

That's quite similar to a henotheistic view within Hinduism, that there is one God but being God he can express himself in multiple different forms or deity's.
 

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I'm not a fan of organized religion personally. I'm in no way, shape or form trying to insult someone for their views or beliefs with this post!

My parents are Russian Orthodox and I suppose the rest of my immediate family is. The church they belong to just never made me feel like it was organic. Whenever I had an idea or belief of my own, they were quick to quash it. It was never "Believe because you want to" but "Believe because God tells you to". I think despite a common factor to the Christian faith, everyone who calls themselves a Christian houses different beliefs. Some believe the work is 4.5 billion years old, some think 3 million and others 20,000 and they're all Christian. Some believe in intelligent design, some creationism and some evolution.

Aside from that, there's the atrocities committed in the name of "Faith" over the years. I'll keep this one simple. I think anyone willing to kill for their faith misunderstands the point of it. This also isn't just Christianity.

Once I figure out my own beliefs, I'll keep them personal. I don't think I'll ever call myself "Christian" but I don't shun the ideas behind it either.

And once again, if this offends anyone, that wasn't my intention and I apologize if I did.
 
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Christianity is the innate wisdom and conscience of my soul. To be honest, the essence of the religion is something I failed to comprehend for a long time (even after I became a Christian at around 18 years old), but my soul has always known. I think a lot of Christians ignore their conscience and accept dogmas which, upon further research, are really just politically motivated distortions of the authentic message. These 'modern' ideas gave me a lot of cognitive dissonance at the start. Eventually I came to the conclusion that if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

As cliche as it sounds, it's all about the personal relationship for me. I actually believe there's an invisible dad in the sky who cares for me. My prayers started getting heard, sometimes in an absurdly accurate manner. When I just became a christian, I liked certain aspects of the religion... but in my heart, I did not truly believe. In that state, it's hard to grasp the meaning of it all. Truly believing makes all the difference.

I guess in general I go by feeling when it comes to this... Organized Christianity feels very wrong to me (and not because I'm against getting together and experiencing the religion together), which is why I avoid churches. Generally I find congregations so pretentious, so falsely pious, so... completely oblivious to what truly matters. It feels like my soul is getting tortured when I'm amongst them. Only in some churches in The Philippines I felt like these people were truly in touch with both God and their own conscience. In The Netherlands I haven't experienced that yet, unfortunately.
 

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Free will

From a biblical perspective:

It's a matter of free will. It's not that God couldn't forgive us without our own input on the matter, or that He hasn't. He's God, after all. He could literally do anything he wanted to. But He gave us free will upon our creation. And so, He gave us the opportunity to make that choice. In fact, all are forgiven who come to Him and ask for it. It's already there. It's up to us to accept it or not. To want it or not.

With love comes respect, and God is love, so He respects our choices. He won't force you into Heaven if you don't want to be there. So that's why.

As far as Jesus' existence goes, it's a matter of giving us someone we can relate to. God is practically unfathomable to us by comparison. But Jesus lived as we live, flesh and bone, temptation and trials. And at the time he lived on this Earth, the people needed someone to relate to. Just read about the Pharisees of the time, and how Jesus felt about them. They were the supposed middle-men between God and His people, and they misled everyone. They were concerned about human matters. Profit. Appearance. Self righteousness. Silly traditions. Not only could they not relate God to the people, they weren't even trying. They wanted to be the Gods themselves.
The problem of an omnipotent God and free will has been discussed for centuries, since St Agustine at least and not being resolved. How can a "loving" omnipotent God allow evil in the world and how can you have free will if God is omniscent and by definition knows what is going to happen? (Basis of some calvinist traditions)
I am sorry but I was expecting a bit more from the INFJ crew...
:tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Another view on what I said above is that God came down to Earth and died on the cross simply to reveal himself to us, and to show us that death can be overcome, but if God revealed himself to us then why doesn't he do it all the time? Why doesn't he do it now?
If you're asking as a non-rhetorical question, I don't believe Jesus being present in this day and age would be believed anyway. How many 'magicians' and 'divine healers' do we find in the media outlets and write them off as tricksters? Anyway in the Bible, many who witnessed Jesus first-hand didn't even believe him.

The Bible makes the point that believing in Jesus has nothing to do with our senses. That's why the word 'faith' is such a big theme--it's all about faith, it always has been. Someone once described to me a beautiful island in the French Polynesia called Bora Bora. It sounds like a paradise, but I can come to no factual conclusion that it exists because I've never seen it or experienced it. I only have faith.
 

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The problem of an omnipotent God and free will has been discussed for centuries, since St Agustine at least and not being resolved. How can a "loving" omnipotent God allow evil in the world and how can you have free will if God is omniscent and by definition knows what is going to happen? (Basis of some calvinist traditions)
I am sorry but I was expecting a bit more from the INFJ crew...
:tongue:
So the issues you have with my opinion has not been resolved, and yet you dismiss my opinion anyway as if it has been? I'm not here to defend my statement nor argue anyone else's. This is why I so rarely state anything remotely close to my beliefs online, because I can't simply state them and leave it at that. It's as though my faith is an affront to another somehow.

But for what it matters, I don't ascribe to the calvanist idea that some people are essentially incapable of sin (because they're auto-forgiven for it) while others are incapable of being saved from it, no matter what. Nor do I ascribe to the view that we are all mindless automatons, bereft of free will and choice, simply outputting pre-programmed run files for our brief, meaningless existence. That voids Jesus' sacrifice (as much as the calvanist claims do). If God truly wanted us without free will, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

And God being able to know the outcome of our lives does not void the choices we have in it. We do not know what that outcome is for ourselves. This is exactly why Jesus came to Earth. We cannot fathom God's true and ultimate perspective the way in which you and so many others seem to think you can or should.
 

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Being a Christian is really about having a relationship with God. It isn't about the rules or restrictions that some people say it is. And yet, you see Christians that keep a high moral standard or whatever, because of their relationship with God. It says in the Bible that if you love God, you will keep his commandments. In having a relationship, you love God enough to obey him. Sadly, many people, including some Christians, mistake following God's commandments and doing good acts as what Christianity is all about. They think that is the fulfillment of God's plan. The difference is that one person does it because it's an extension of the relationship he has with God, and another person does it because he thinks that that's what following God means. It may look the same on the outside, but the inside is different. I hope you see my point xD
Christianity is about growing in your relationship with God. It's not religion, it's relationship. That's what it is for me. I don't care to debate the issue, but it's just my opinion.
 

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The Bible makes the point that believing in Jesus has nothing to do with our senses. That's why the word 'faith' is such a big theme--it's all about faith, it always has been. Someone once described to me a beautiful island in the French Polynesia called Bora Bora. It sounds like a paradise, but I can come to no factual conclusion that it exists because I've never seen it or experienced it. I only have faith.
With much respect i think this is a really poor analogy. I've just looked up Bora Bora off-line in a dictionary and an atlas and on-line at wikipedia and google maps. You could do some/all these. So, believing in the existence of Bora Bora isn't a matter of faith - theer's some very strong (in fact , overwhelming) evidence that Bora Bora exists. No faith required.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
With much respect i think this is a really poor analogy. I've just looked up Bora Bora off-line in a dictionary and an atlas and on-line at wikipedia and google maps. You could do some/all these. So, believing in the existence of Bora Bora isn't a matter of faith - theer's some very strong (in fact , overwhelming) evidence that Bora Bora exists. No faith required.
I agree it's not a perfect analogy, because I have easier access to find out the truth about Bora Bora.
But from what you explained--Christians have argued that there's just as much evidence for God, and just as overwhelmingly. They might say the Bible is evidence, or a tree, or a bird, or a sunset, or seasons, or miracles, or just looking at ourselves as creations--well then, those who believe all is from God might also argue that a dictionary, an atlas, wikipedia, and google maps are also an indirect product from God's creation. Yes, it may all just be evidence, but is it not still just faith until experienced?
 

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If you're asking as a non-rhetorical question, I don't believe Jesus being present in this day and age would be believed anyway. How many 'magicians' and 'divine healers' do we find in the media outlets and write them off as tricksters? Anyway in the Bible, many who witnessed Jesus first-hand didn't even believe him.

The Bible makes the point that believing in Jesus has nothing to do with our senses. That's why the word 'faith' is such a big theme--it's all about faith, it always has been. Someone once described to me a beautiful island in the French Polynesia called Bora Bora. It sounds like a paradise, but I can come to no factual conclusion that it exists because I've never seen it or experienced it. I only have faith.
I don't really understand your intention are you trying to defend Christianity or are you not?

My point I was trying to make is that Jesus and the resurrection was supposed to be a revelation of God, and a pretty significant revelation. He came down to Earth in human form so we could relate to him, then died for us and then rose again to show that death can't conquer him. It's pretty much akin to God coming down and shouting 'look Guys I am over here! I exist!!!''

So if God was prepared to reveal himself that much in the past why not now or better why didn't he just continue to reveal himself to us especially when millions don't believe in him now? That doesn't really make sense to me.

For the record though, I don't believe God ever does reveal himself to man in this kind of way nor do I actually believe God divinely interferes in human affairs.

I agree it's not a perfect analogy, because I have easier access to find out the truth about Bora Bora.
But from what you explained--Christians have argued that there's just as much evidence for God, and just as overwhelmingly. They might say the Bible is evidence, or a tree, or a bird, or a sunset, or seasons, or miracles, or just looking at ourselves as creations--well then, those who believe all is from God might also argue that a dictionary, an atlas, wikipedia, and google maps are also an indirect product from God's creation. Yes, it may all just be evidence, but is it not still just faith until experienced?
This part in bold, I would say it's not just faith until experienced. Science excludes faith in anything and looks at everything sceptically, then formulates theories and hypothesises then goes out to test them, prove them either right or wrong, collects the results then probably sends them off to another scientist to look at the results sceptically again and conduct a different experiment to see if they get same or differing results.

Its not really faith until experienced, but Sceptical until irrefutably proven although even then probably not, If God did decide to pop down for a visit I am sure you would still get hardcore atheists like Dawkins saying 'Wait a minute!! I don't believe you are God, what if your an imposter? prove it to me!!'
 

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The Bible makes the point that believing in Jesus has nothing to do with our senses. That's why the word 'faith' is such a big theme--it's all about faith, it always has been. Someone once described to me a beautiful island in the French Polynesia called Bora Bora. It sounds like a paradise, but I can come to no factual conclusion that it exists because I've never seen it or experienced it. I only have faith.
With much respect i think this is a really poor analogy. I've just looked up Bora Bora off-line in a dictionary and an atlas and on-line at wikipedia and google maps. You could do some/all these. So, believing in the existence of Bora Bora isn't a matter of faith - theer's some very strong (in fact , overwhelming) evidence that Bora Bora exists. No faith required.
I agree it's not a perfect analogy, because I have easier access to find out the truth about Bora Bora.
But from what you explained--Christians have argued that there's just as much evidence for God, and just as overwhelmingly. They might say the Bible is evidence, or a tree, or a bird, or a sunset, or seasons, or miracles, or just looking at ourselves as creations--well then, those who believe all is from God might also argue that a dictionary, an atlas, wikipedia, and google maps are also an indirect product from God's creation. Yes, it may all just be evidence, but is it not still just faith until experienced?
Thanks for your reply but i don't really follow what you're saying now. This isn't meant as a debating thread (see #1) (and I say that as much to myself as to you) and we can maybe pick up this discussion elsewhere in the future.

PS Sorry, only just noticed it was you who created the thread!!! But yep, hopefully we can pick up again somewhere else at some point. Cheers, Z
 
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