Question for Y2J, Factfinder, or other born again christian... : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

I have just returned from a memorial service for my wife's first cousin. We were all very close to him-he was a wonderful man, full of love for everyone, especially family, and he exemplified what I would aspire to be as a man of God. He is a born again christian who belonged to a babtist church. Of course, the memorial service focused on that particular faith.

The question is at the end of this narrative:

Toward the end of the ceremony, his pastor started to address the brother of the deceased-he was talking about how the deceased had "asked"(now mind you the deceased could not speak as he was paralyzed from a rare auto immune disorder) him to pray for his brother's salvation. So at the end of this lovely ceremony, the pastor comes out in front of all the mourners and tells the brother what the deceased had said.

Do you think this was necessary? Do you not think that he should have told him in private? I think this is an outrage, that he would do this in front of everybody, especially in the presence of the grieving brother.

I know we cannot categorize people as "all of them do this or that", but do you find this normal in your congregation? To me it shows the worst side of some of the born-again christians I have known. I am happy for anyone who has found God, who is trying to lead a godly life...but I will be honest with you all, this kind of emotional blackmail is unacceptable-if the intent was to save my soul or the soul of anyone else not deemed "saved", this was no way to do it.

I like to have an open mind-and as I have said, power to those who have found a path they can follow-I have invoked your name only because I thought you might have something to share on this. Thanks.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 02, 2000

Answers could have been handled better. It just proves he is 1) human 2) makes mistakes like the rest of us 3) because of these things needs Jesus like we all do but don't all know it :-).

Be blessed...

-- I believe in Him (Jesus is King@Kingdom.come), October 02, 2000.

The born-again Baptists (fundamentalist) are, IMHO, the WORST of all faiths when it comes to their levels of smug self-righteousness. There will be many, many Baptists at hell's door come the judgement, all wondering "what happened".

-- no one here (-@-.-), October 02, 2000.

I agree FS, it should have been said in private. Perhaps you can tell the pastor how you feel, and possibly spare the next family some of the same awkwardness.

Wish I could do this in person...{{{{{{{{{FutureShock}}}}}}}}}}}}

-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 02, 2000.


May I ask you a question regarding this matter? How did the brother appear after having been asked?

Please dont be offended by my question, I am just wondering. Perhaps maybe the preacher 'saw' something in the brother? I dont know, I just was wondering.

-- consumer (, October 02, 2000.


I am a neo-Christian but not a born-again or a fundie. I agree that the episode, as you relate it, is inappropriate. Stupidly inappropriate since it is likely to be counterproductive, witness your reaction. I agree that the Pastor should have said this in private to the brother.

I am trying to think of why the Pastor would do it this way. Did you ask him? Did you tell him that you found it offensive?

Maybe the deceased did in fact communicate this wish to the Pastor before his death and the Pastor was merely honoring a dying man's request. Your cousin-in-law couldn't talk, but maybe he could write or communicate in some other way. Maybe he communicated this wish years ago whan he could still talk. Or maybe the Pastor was just an evangelical buffoon.

I wish "bygrace" was still around. I'd like to hear his/her thoughts.

-- Lars (, October 02, 2000.

But "no one here", what if we're all wrong (Christians of all denominations) and there is no Hell? If there's no Hell, then there might not be any Heaven either?

I like to believe that wether I'm right or wrong on my choice of religion, and forgive the self-righteous people as well as those who have done me wrong (but not forget), then I'm safe and whichever religion turns out right, this God will pardon my human ignorance because I tried. And if the atheists are right and there is no God, then I'll not have wasted my life with too much negative emotions which would erode my mind and body.

Self-righteous of this pastor, FS. Hopefully the deceased's brother can forgive him too and move on to grieve his brother in peace. It is sad that a pastor should be the conduit to perpetuate disagreements between two siblings and prevent the one left behind to grieve peacefully and eventually heal.

-- (, October 02, 2000.

Thanks for the responses so far. I did not start this thread to denigrate anyone's belief system, so I ask that to be respected.

I was not able to see the brother's reaction. I am not able to speak to the pastor, but maybe I will write him an anonymous letter-the church is in NY.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 02, 2000.

FS: Sounds good, the letter, but think about the anon part. Why should you remain anon? You have written many posts, and you are a great writer and good at expressing yourself.

Also would give him a chance to respond to you. Open mind...Right?

Hope this helps. If you do write, let us know of the response. Ok?

-- consumer (, October 02, 2000.


In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again". John 3:3 NIV

Obviously your wife's deceased cousin believed this to be true, as do I. Evidently, your wife's deceased cousin believed that his brother had yet to embrace this truth (nor have you, and possibly others there). If it was the wish of the deceased that the pastor was to speak out at the service to the brother, and the deceased (even if unable to do so vocally) made this wish known to the pastor, then why are you outraged? Should a memorial service not be conducted as the deceased had wished?

It is often at the time of death of a loved one that we think of things eternal. From what you have said, your wife's cousin is in heaven. One of his last wishes in this world seems to have been that his memorial service be used as a tool to try and save the soul of his brother. By doing so publicly, maybe other friends and family may have been impacted as well, and maybe this was also his plan.

You said you like to have an open mind, so do this: Clear all of your perceptions of God, Jesus, heaven, hell, etc. Now look at life through the eyes of your wife's deceased cousin. Believe what you know that he believed to be true. If you were him, would you not use your own death as your last chance to save your brother from hell? Would doing anything less show your full love for your brother?

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), October 02, 2000.

If you were him, would you not use your own death as your last chance to save your brother from hell? Would doing anything less show your full love for your brother?

WOW J! I was going to say something derogatory about the situation :-) I've seen these "opportunities" in fundie churches before, and it's pretty much the norm. But, your response was so eloquent -- it really shows how hard it is to judge the pastors motivations. It should have been said in private, but what we view as brazen, is standard SOP to fundies, and they have no qualms about that manner of "delivery".

Who knows -- he could have been led by the "spirit". Kinda hard to judge that. I'm not gonna try!

-- (, October 02, 2000.

Yeah, it does seem rude if nothing else on the face of it. BUT, people jump up and down about not putting our value system on say the practices of cannibals as it isn't appropriate from a cross-cultural perspective. Therefore, I'd think that the most important thing would be what someone within their culture would feel about the pastor's actions, and not our opinion of his actions. Who knows, maybe everyone left the service saying "wow, what a great job that pastor did to help save the departed's brother's soul".


-- Someone (, October 02, 2000.

Very interesting what J, doomerstomper, and Frank have pointed out. Everyone makes a good point.

So then, perhaps if I find myself in the same situation, I should deal with it as when I'm in a Jewish funeral say, and accept their rituals and beliefs on their own turf and not feel offended.

-- (, October 02, 2000.

In my experience the actions of the pastor are typical of born again Christian churches. They love to put you on the spot. They seem to get great joy from watching people squirm at being put on the spot. The pastor most likely did it that way so the the brother would not have an easy out, he was trapped in front of the mourners, if he had been informed in private there would have been no social pressure to conform. These guys know all too well how to use social pressure to get new recruits, they have had two thousand years of practice converting people. Afterall, they KNOW what is best for you, they are SMARTER than you are, and if making you uncomfortable leads you to do what they see as best for you that is a good thing in their eyes. And if you are embarrassed by being put on the spot tough shitski, you must be saved!

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 02, 2000.

True Unk, but if you enter the lion's den, you should be prepared to deal with it ;) I'll know better what to expect from Born-Again funerals, if I should have the opportunity and choose to attend one.

-- (, October 02, 2000.

Again, interesting responses.


The deceased did not know he was dying, necessarily, so he could not have given explicit instructions regarding the confrontation. I believe there may have been a general "If anything happens pray for my brother" type of deal. There were many other parts of the memorial where we were prosyletized-there was a little speech about muslims, and buddhists, etc. and how they did not have the "truth"...I found it distastefuk-I was looking around trying to figure out which of dem "preachers" was fucking around on his wife.

Perhaps the best advise here was that about seeing them as a different culture-so be it-but in the deceased's life he never grandstanded, never made public displays, never ingratiated himself with his relatives-...

I do not see how you win converts with a "hammer"-not everyone responds to a hammer-that is what many christians have not learned.


One more thing. I asked your opinion because I respect your opinion, though we have been adversaries many times. I asked that others not denigrate your religion. I ask that you also refrain, if possible, from trying to ridicule my position or my feelings-you do not know if I converted last night-or even earlier today-so please refrain from your judgement of me of "not finding the lord"-or whatever it was you said. My dear adversary, you know not my heart-you judge me based on my positions on other issues-but you know not my heart-I am a man of GOd as surely as you are.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 02, 2000.

FS, I don't frequent this board very often these days, but just happened to drop by and saw this thread right before bedtime. This hits home to me, for I remember attending an uncomfortable funeral for my uncle, who like your wife's first cousin, was a kind and loving man to all. Please allow me time to provide a proper reply, but for now I wan't to say that my heart goes out to you, what a tragic incident for all involved.

Kind wishes, David ("FF")

-- David (, October 02, 2000.


I wasn't trying to ridicule your position or your feelings. I am sorry if it came across that way.

You have stated before what I have taken as non-belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. It had never occurred to me that you may have changed your position, especially considering the tone of the original post of this thread. For instance, if you had converted to Christianity, I wouldn't expect you to be "outraged" at the pastor's behavior. Anyhow, I wasn't trying to judge your position, I was only trying to restate it to point out to you that this public display may have been orchestrated by the deceased so as to possibly impact more relatives/friends than just the brother.

I am not trying to judge your heart. I am not trying to judge you at all. I was just trying to size up the situation from a different perspective, and give my input. Truly, I meant no offense. For any offense that I have caused, I am sorry.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), October 02, 2000.

***There were many other parts of the memorial where we were prosyletized-there was a little speech about muslims, and buddhists, etc. and how they did not have the "truth"...***

I haven't been to many funerals, in fact none, but this seems odd subject matter for a funeral. It does seem inappropriate.

-- cin (cin@=0.)), October 03, 2000.


We often misunderstand one another-but we always talk, and always work it out. I do respect you and know that you respect me. I may not have said this before, but in 1992 I was baptized in the holy spirit by a christian-so technically I did accept jesus christ as my lord and savior.

I am a proponent of the spiritual wisdom in the new testament, but I am also a proponent of the following: God in her infinite wisdom knew the fickle nature of humans, knew the questioning nature of her co- creation, and allowed for the developement of a multitude of paths to come back home-everyone IS going back home, the outcome is NOT IN DOUBT. Love is the answer to all of our issues-unconditional love. My departed cousin was a towering example of this. Because one does not hold to the "party" line of doctrine, does not mean they are not "of the body"-we are all "of the body"-I found over the years much to detest in the many born again christians I have encountered. I do not associate with folks who behave in a manner contradictory to love.

I do not associate with hypocrites, Sure, it may be unfortunate that in my encounters I have met mostly "bad" christians, but from the experience I have had, I will not partake of "religion" and I will not partake of "ritualistic" behavior and I will not take part in a life view which has fixed answers to the complexity of life.

If one were to attempt to follow the teaching attributed to Jesus, if they were to truly walk that walk, there would be no condemnation, no pre-judgement, no self-righteousness, and one would truly know that the kingdom of GOd is right here, right now. What my cousin had was compassion, and this is what all spiritual people have-it is the central tenet in the way the Dalai Lama lives.

I am all for trying to honor the dying wishes of a man; however, I do not think LeGrande would have tried to convert his brother in public. I do not think he would want his friends and relatives to feel uncomfortable at his memorial. HE WAS NOT THAT SELFISH.

And that is what this boils down to-a religious fervor that borders on a group narcissism. In Alcoholics anonymous we have our own fundamentalists-they try to convert every newcomer to "THE WAY"-they are detestable creatures, but I have to love them anyway-they use the hammer in every case, when the feather might be necessary.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 03, 2000.

Is this the same pastor who drove his car into an abortion clinic and started swinging an axe? Maybe he was drunk on red wine.

-- (religion@is.nuts), October 03, 2000.

FS, my Jewish aunt, who died last month, was very upset with my father for leaving the faith to become a born again Christian a decade earlier. They began to avoid visits with him and his wife because it would inevitably end with my father begging them to "see the light". She and her family were faithful Jews, keeping the religion in all facets of their daily lives. The day after she died, my father called me, and was proud to announce that he had talked her into saying the Sinners Prayer and accept Christ on her death bed. He didn't want anyone in her family to know, he said, because it would upset them. I am a Christian, not of any organized religion, however, it saddened me to hear this. I can't explain why, other than to say it sounded to me like she attempted to take insurance at the last second...just in case. Her entire life of faith became secondary in that one split second? I don't understand it. Still having a problem with it. I'm just hoping he didn't put her under duress in her final moments. I can't deal with the whole my religion vs your religion thing. It's such a turn off for those who see that we all just want to love the Lord.

-- kirsten (, October 03, 2000.


Your last line says it all. Plugging into that force in the universe that is pure love is all we need to live life to the fullest.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 03, 2000.

Wow, great topic, but sad circumstances, and alot of comments as well.


Doomstomper, I agree bout the spirit part, I guess that is what I was trying to say in a 'roundbout' way. You put it direct to the point.


-- consumer (, October 03, 2000.

Kirsten, sad story. My intention is not to belittle your father with my opinion, but since you presented your confusion and dilemma concerning this, I'll say what I think about this; I would think that your father either made that up (to save face or attempt to convince you that he is right and even your Jewish aunt could see that), or that your aunt did not "convert" at the last minute, but made him think she did just to keep the peace and make him happy on her death bed. If she led a happy and secure life in her Jewish faith, she had no reason whatsoever to "convert just in case" on her death bed.

-- (, October 03, 2000.


That is awesome.

I should first apologize, for over the months on this forum as we have debated and bantered, I have concluded (incorrectly) that you were not a Christian. I ask your forgiveness for this.

I, too, have a problem with religion getting in the way of Christ's love. Theological debates of the Bible such as, "Does one need to be baptised by water to be saved?", only serve to divide the body, not to unite it in purpose.

However, just as the world has slowly drifted to a moral position of "anything goes" under the principle of "tolerance", there are churches who, under the principle of "Christ's love", have stopped preaching the truth of the Gospel. This is wrong.

A man does not show his love for his children by hiding the truth from them so that they go into the world unequipped to get along in life. So it is with a pastor and his church. So it is with a man and his brother.

In Christ's love, I must disagree with your position that God the Father (not Mother), allowed for the development of many paths to get to heaven, for it is written that,

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".
John 14:6 NIV

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), October 03, 2000.

"All just bricks in the Wall..."

-- Bingo1 (, October 03, 2000.

To expound further...

Another Brick in the Wall, part 2
We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.
We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

from Pink Floyd's The Wall

-- Bingo1 (, October 03, 2000.

FS, I haven't read through all the responses here but a couple. I noticed at one point you intended to write a letter to the pastor. My option would, instead, be to write a letter to the brother or talk to him in person. The pastor will not change based on your letter. His action is a result of what he believes needs to be done and no amount of your valid agrument will persuade him to change. However, showing the brother your side may give him some comfort and that, I think, should be your goal.

-- Maria (, October 03, 2000.




-- Someone (, October 03, 2000.

I have seen one denomition after another, put the Billy Graham thing on their Marquiee. I put in the search words of "Billy Graham", and got invited into the money changers of his net. I sought his belief and testimony. Instead, I was met with few selections on the web page. None had his testimony, mostly it was a money maker. Buy his book, yada, yada. Where does this man stand? He seems to stand as a money-maker. Your Call.

-- Question (to@Billy Graham, October 03, 2000.

Why do religions preach love and practice hate?

-- (somethin.fishy@goin.on), October 03, 2000.

FS - such good topics of discussion - thanks

As a Christian, the born again type, and also a pastor of a church for many years, I find the behavior of the pastor in question to be quite inappropriate and unprofessional. A private discussion is mandated to avoid the kind of peer pressure this action would evoke. Coming to a realization the Jesus Christ is the door to eternal life is a very personal matter and should never be the result of public pressure. While perhaps his intentions were good (not my place to judge), this was an over stepping of boundaries. I was a seminary professor for a number of years and have trained men to perform funerals. This, as you sensed was over the top. This is of course just my humble opinion as someone in that business.

-- Al R (, October 03, 2000.

Billy Graham Expose

I have never looked at any webites related to Mr. Graham so I can't comment on them. I do have some indirect contact though. My father-in- law is a minister and worked for his organization for several years. He has had many personal converstions with Mr. Graham. He has the utmost respect for his personal integrity and I doubt seriously that he is money motivated. He could be a zillionaire if he were. He mandates that his salary be capped at an appropriate level (don't know how much, but it is low) even though his org. takes in multi millions every year.

Also, interestingly enough, I received the following in an e-mail today about GW Bush and his relationship with BG.

From George W. Bush when asked about his religious faith: "Actually, the seeds of my decision had been planted the year before, by the Reverend Billy Graham. He visited my family for a summer weekend in Maine. I saw him preach at the small summer church, St. Ann's by the Sea. We all had lunch on the patio overlooking the ocean. One evening my dad asked Billy to answer questions from a big group of family gathered forthe weekend. He sat by the fire and talked. And what he said sparked a change in my heart. I don't remember the exact words. It was more the power of his example. The Lord was so clearly reflected in his gentle and loving demeanor. The next day we walked and talked at Walker's Point, and I knew I was in the presence of a great man. He was like a magnet; I felt drawn to seek something different. He didn't lecture or admonish; he shared warmth and concern. Billy Graham didn't make you feel guilty; he made you feel loved.

Hope this helps


-- Al R (, October 03, 2000.

I think GW is using a load of BS to get a BC (big chunk) of votes from the fans of BG.

-- (GW@BS.politics), October 04, 2000.

I know I am ONLY an anon.

How could you let other people walk on you? Define your perceptions?

Challenge Them.


-- 456 (, October 04, 2000.


Thanks for your perspective as a man who holds a similar position as the gentleman in question.


Thanks for your thoughts. They are appreciated.


I wanted you to know my interpretation of the quote from John that you gave. It is a sentence debated often in theology, and I have a particular take on it.

Yes, I was baptized in the holy spirit in 1992, but that did not take away my freedon of thought-in fact, it was the beginning of a relationship with God that has been at times wonderful and painful, but always enlightening. I immediately rejected "party" line responses to social issues-I will never lead my life from a script- hence I support choice, as I do not believe this statement-"If you are a born again christian you must be pro-life". I say this not to open that debate again, but to elucidate my position-I do not believe there is a litmus test for born again christians regarding social issues.

The phrase from John has been used as a dagger to assassinate many a person, verbally-it has been used to strike at the entire Catholic Church, as well as many other christian denominations. Here is what I believe:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". John 14:6 NIV

I see christ as "the christ", much like the christian mystics of the early 20th century-Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes, Joel Goldsmith, etc. I see at as the sum total of the spiritual teachings attributed to a figure called christ. The new testament is a spiritual goldmine, and growth in the spirit gives greater spiritual discernment. The "father" is where we are all returning, regardless of the path-When we get there is the question.

To go "through" Jesus to get to the "father" is to understand the spiritual truths no matter the language or system surrounding the language-the "christ" can be found in all spiritual/theological texts to a greater or less degree. Compassion as a central tenet in living a life of the spirit is as prevalent in the works of the Dalai Lama as in the new testament. The true path is wordless-the experience of it is the same no matter what ritual, what system of words you use to describe it. One cannot expect to return to God through some kind of short cut-one MUST go through particular trials, utilize spiritual disciplines such as prayer and meditation, in order to get there.

Hence-"Except through me" is not inconsistent with other theologies- because "me"-the sum total of the teachings of christ-can be found in any truly god-centered theology-and one can have heaven right here, right now. This is not just some words in a dusty old book. Every soul makes a decision about who they are and who they wish to be in this incarnation-I have chosen to embrace the truths of christ, but not to the effect of closing off any other belief system.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 04, 2000.


Reading your post made me think of someone trying (in a literal sense) to choose which road to take to their destination. Jump on the freeway (boring, with rules of conduct that MUST be obeyed or face the penalty) or walk through the woods enjoying the scenery, resting where you will, and still eventually getting to the same place in the end.

What I see as the problem with the "self-directed" method is that 1. some people lose their way in the forest, and 2. (probably more important to the ardent *searcher*) some people get enthralled with the *process* of self improvement and spiritual awareness, and lose sight of their original goal, which was to actually *reach* a destination.

Of course the problem with the freeway is that the rules are applied indescriminately, without regard to personal situations, but that, in theory, is for the greater good.


-- Someone (, October 04, 2000.

It's soothing to me to hear Al R's take. He reminds me of Pastor Chris. Loving and non-judgemental, living his faith and teaching by example. I could join church with such a pastor/priest/rabbi, but still I'd be afraid to let my guards down and be too suggestible.

I like SF's way to "get there" a lot better. It takes a lot of thinking to get there, as opposed to mindless following.

-- (, October 04, 2000.

"Question", You don't know Billy Graham. Billy Graham is well respected by those who observe religion and Christianity fairly. I receive his organizations magazines free, have received a few of his books, free. I sometimes choose to donate to his organization, and to Franklin Grahams ministry, Samaritans Purse, which gives aid to those in need all over the world. Billy Graham preaches a simple but honest message: http://www.b

The "preachers" to worry about are the televangelists who promise Riches from God - in return for sending your money now. Thats not Graham, who worked to establish accountability for evangelists- his finances are an open book.

-- FactFinder (, October 04, 2000.


The statement of John 14:6 having been published and the words being attributed to the Christ, it is incumbent upon all to examine so bold a statement:

 I  am ( BTW that is the same phrase given to Moses) the way; the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.

Your interpretation is sensible and appeals to many. It requires a great deal of study and reflection to come to that perspective. I salute you for having gained it.

BUT what if the statement was meant to mean what it says. That Jesus is the one and only way to come to the Father. That apart from Him, even the most benevolent are lost and excluded. What if..

If your view is correct, then it will not matter. We will all eventually find our way to the Father through many cycles of reincarnation. This hope comforts many.

On the other hand, if the classic Christian view is correct that Jesus is the one and only begotten and one and only way, then the many who have rejected this view will have occasion for much regret.

Is it not more sensible in light of this statement (and many others) to honestly investigate the possibility that it means what it says? Is it not sensible to cover that base and disprove it without a doubt and then pursue the freedom of finding your own way?

Again, if you are right, it wont matter; if you are not it will matter a lot!!!



-- Al R (, October 04, 2000.

Ah yes, that Great Big If again.

But what IF the catholic Popes are correct, and "Outside of the church of Rome there is no salvation"? After all, the Popes are divinely chosen, they know what they're talking about. Then you'll be in trouble too, Al R.

But IF John 14:6 is to be interpretted just as you say, then I wonder if he'd regret his words today. How was he to know that there'd be 6 billion lost souls in the world; millions of muslim children brainwashed by their parents and clergy, unreachable by christians and the bible; a billion chineese caught in the same way. Is it all their own fault? Am I to believe that only the few Born Again souls will live happily in the hereafter, while the rest will burn in Hell?

If so, Jesus was mean.

-- (, October 05, 2000.

Al R:

So it is Pascal's wager again. All I can say to that is, the mystery of God is just that, a mystery. An all loving, benevolent God would not play games with his procreation-This is not a quiz show. We are not sent home with some "lovely parting gifts" if we do not come to a certain understanding of a particular scripture.

Fear based spirituality is a false spirituality. The "if you don't you're gonna..." philosophy is diametrically opposed to an unconditionally loving GOd. Pascal's Wager is a fear based theology- and I do not buy it. God is a mystery-those who have totally been immersed in God have not been able to put the experience in words. It is amusing that so many try, when in the end, words can never lift the "veil" between us and GOd.

People can hardly understand one another on the street and in the home. Misunderstandings abound over disagreements over words-what you thought I meant-what i thought you meant-and many a war has been started over the disagreement over definaitions of words-

How can we expect, given the nature of humans and the difficulty of agreement over the meanings of words, to agree on a definition of god? of salvation?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 05, 2000.

Can it, bottle it, let it flow freely in the streets and from every water and beer tap - FS, you nailed it, IMO.

-- Bingo1 (, October 05, 2000.


I do understand your point and as I have said at another place, I once held a very similar view as the one you so eloquently espouse. Also as you have said, there is no benefit in debating issues of religion and faith. Yet I feel it may benefit some to follow the discussion a little farther.

For those unfamiliar with Blaise Pascal, he was a very influential mathematician who lived from 1629-1668. He is credited with the invention of the calculator and was key in the development of probability theory. His work influenced such great men as Sir Isaac Newton in the field of mathematics.

The discussion of Pascals wager is summarized as follows: (a quote from the following article)

Pascal's most famous work in philosophy is Pensies, a collection of personal thoughts on human suffering and faith in God, which he began in late 1656 and continued to work on during 1657 and 1658. This work contains 'Pascal's wager' which claims to prove that belief in God is rational with the following argument:

"If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in him, while if he does exist, one will lose everything by not believing".

With 'Pascal's wager' he uses probabilistic and mathematical arguments but his main conclusion is that

...we are compelled to gamble...

My view is different than Pascals. He would have us gamble in favor of Gods existence and pledge faith in a religious organization. I do not believe God requires any of us to submit to a religious organization to come to Him. He transcends any organization that man can assemble.

What I do believe is that He requires we honestly seek Him (He is not far away). First, believe He exists and then humbly seek a relationship with Him.

My point is and has been this: those who seek Him laying aside their prejudices and previous orientations will discover that He can only be approached through His Son Jesus Christ. His 1 requirement for acceptance is simply to believe (as many find it hard to do) that Jesus made atonement for their shortcomings with His death and defeated death for all with His resurrection.

Again, let me emphasize the absence of religion, other people, organizations, etc. Just 1 person seeking God.

Finally, for those who hold to the proposition that God is only benevolent and exacts no permanent justice, then Jesus will certainly offend them. Of all those in the bible who speak of Hell, He does so the most. 34X He refers to hell in the New Testament. He uses the word hades 4X, gehenna 11X (where trash was burned) and fire 20X. He uses phrases such as cast into the fire; everlasting fire; unquenchable fire and hell fire. He makes it clear that Gods eternal benevolence is also balanced by His eternal justice and wrath. Just some biblical facts as food for objective thought.

And by the way,I would have written it differently.

-- Al R (, October 05, 2000.


Thank you for your words. I will probably read pascal's book. I do not wish to open a can of worms and this thread in another direction that has been covered before on this board-I do not believe that Jesus said those words-the new testament was not a contemporary writing-the gospels themselves contradict one another-if one wants to argue they are divine revelation, then there are many other books claimed, by the authors, to have been divine revelation-including mary baker eddy-the writers of the gospels did not qoute jesus-they put to words an oral tradition-

The idea of the trinity, the idea of the son coming to save the world from its sin, is a rehash of earlier mythologies-the resurrection, shall i say-was "old hat".

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 06, 2000.


I've honestly tried to find Him for much of the past ten years. So far I've not come up with much -- at least from a Christian perspective, anyway. But since I've honestly tried (and am still trying) I assume that that's the best He can expect, that He'll understand this, and if there is a next life, I'd be ok.

In Pascal's Wager, what's overlooked is that you just may have EVERYTHING to lose in THIS life: Living a life based on unearned guilt, fear, and with low self-esteem isn't really much of a life at all -- it's really more like a living death. You're really sacrificing happiness in this life for what you hope is eternal happiness.

-- eve (, October 06, 2000.


Respectfully, I'd say you were not seeing the forest for the trees if you think the *purpose* of religion is to have one suffer in this life. Everyone suffers to some extent, religion in theory should let one be at peace in spite of their human condition.

On the other hand one can strive for "happiness" in human terms like Peter McWilliams did....


-- Someone (, October 06, 2000.

Eve, part two,

you also said, But since I've honestly tried (and am still trying) I assume that that's the best He can expect, that He'll understand this, and if there is a next life, I'd be ok.

I couldn't agree more.


-- Someone (, October 06, 2000.

On the other hand one can strive for "happiness" in human terms like Peter McWilliams did....

There goes another one of those caring Christian comments.

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 06, 2000.


"Those who do not learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them".


-- Someone (, October 06, 2000.


I could not let you have the last word on one of my threads. LOL

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), October 10, 2000.


Fair enough, I'll quit posting here ;-)


-- Someone (, October 10, 2000.


As someone who has spent much of 48 y of free time studying this I have questions. Finally, for those who hold to the proposition that God is only benevolent and exacts no permanent justice, then Jesus will certainly offend them. Of all those in the bible who speak of Hell, He does so the most. 34X He refers to hell in the New Testament. He uses the word hades 4X, gehenna 11X (where trash was burned) and fire 20X. He uses phrases such as cast into the fire; everlasting fire; unquenchable fire and hell fire. He makes it clear that Gods eternal benevolence is also balanced by His eternal justice and wrath. Just some biblical facts as food for objective thought.

This was all written from oral tradition. None of the writers were there as jounalists to record the words. We know the political situation of the early church. It is dishonest to use words that can't be verified to support faith and then to use faith to verify the words. Just my opinion after years of reading in this area.

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, October 10, 2000.

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