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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2007 - 9:39PM #51
Jenandew7
Posts: 12,301
I'm not going to get into heavy theology since it has all been done already.

I think that the purpose of faith is for the here and now.  Martha's letter touches on the "Born Again" theology--it makes my skin crawl because they leave off "of water and the Spirit".  The point is to grow more spiritual and more aware of God in this life.  We have confirmation which in the old Catholic tradition was a mark along the path to faith that followed baptism, but acknowledged the birth and growth of the spiritual being.  Most Episcopalians seem to think it confirms our baptism or something.  It doesn't because in actual fact, the baptism and the confirmation could be performed on the same day.  The Orthodox recognize this . . .  At any rate, I am getting carried away.  We can have life now and have it abundantly as Christ promised. 

And I do believe in universalism.  Being playful about it, I hope that heaven is a very happy place filled with all the souls of everyone I have ever known.   

A.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2007 - 10:30PM #52
dangia2005
Posts: 9
[QUOTE=ChrisSuperstar;32080]I

  Do you find that the Episcopal Church now emphasizes an infinitely loving and forgiving God, or does the old "do this or else!" thinking still predominate in some areas?[/QUOTE]

I can only speak for myself and for my particular conversation I had with my Vicar but yes, at our church and in my personal life, we emphasize an infinitely loving and forgiving God who loves ALL PEOPLE regardless of gender, FAITH, sexuality, or race.  We believe that everyone of us is a child of God.

When speaking privately with my Vicar, (I was considering joining the Episcopal church and had a private meeting with her for about 2 hours where I brought up all my views and concerns with following a "Christian" religion) she assured me that she felt 100% confident that people of other faiths were going to heaven as were homosexuals.  She believes (and I agree) that ALL religions are a path to God.  There are different paths because people have different upbringings and circumstances and may need something different to bring them close to God.  God reaches out to them in a way they will understand. 

I certainly don't believe that only Christians are going to heaven.  My boss, who is very Christian and conservative, told me he was questioning hell as well.  He said, "Did you know that Jeffrey Dahmer "found God" when he was in prison and when he was killed, he was a Christian?  He asked for forgiveness and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior."  I told him I was not aware of that. Then he said, "What if you died and were at the pearly gates and with you were Jeffrey Dahmer and Ghandi.  God asks you to decide which of the two will be allowed into heaven and which one will be sent to hell for eternity?  According to Christian beliefs, you would have to let Jeffrey Dahmer in and send Ghandi, a man of total peace and love, to hell."

Makes no sense.  I can not believe a loving and just God would allow that.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 4:29AM #53
DietoWorms
Posts: 351
[QUOTE=dangia2005;55606]
I certainly don't believe that only Christians are going to heaven.  My boss, who is very Christian and conservative, told me he was questioning hell as well.  He said, "Did you know that Jeffrey Dahmer "found God" when he was in prison and when he was killed, he was a Christian?  He asked for forgiveness and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior."  I told him I was not aware of that. Then he said, "What if you died and were at the pearly gates and with you were Jeffrey Dahmer and Ghandi.  God asks you to decide which of the two will be allowed into heaven and which one will be sent to hell for eternity?  According to Christian beliefs, you would have to let Jeffrey Dahmer in and send Ghandi, a man of total peace and love, to hell."

Makes no sense.  I can not believe a loving and just God would allow that.[/QUOTE]

Hi dangia,

I mean no offense, but it seems to me you are applying a very human and temporal sense of justice to a being that is infinitely just and infinitely holy.

You may not believe that some well bet sent to hell for eternity, but it certainly appeared that Jesus Christ thought so.

Take this verse for example: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se … ersion=47;

or this verse: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se … ersion=47;

or this one: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se … ersion=47;

All those verses are from the Gospels and contain quotes from Jesus telling us about an eternal punishment and separation from God.  When I read those, I may not like them, but I would never toss them away.

And in the universalist theology, it really doesn't matter if Jefferey Dahmer repents of the unspeakable crimes he committed or not.  It all ends up the same: whether he asks God for forgiveness in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, or if he proclaims loudly that he is proud of what he did.  It makes no difference, he goes to heaven all the same with all the martyrs and saints.

Also read this verse from Acts:

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

And of course this from the Gospel of John:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

All these verses proclaim the uniqueness of Christ, and the salvation that is only found in Him (and apparantly, the belief in Him).

I would highly recommend the book "Knowing God" by the great Anglican Scholar J.I. Packer.

Peace,

DoW
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 7:14AM #54
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
DietoWorms: It is a total turn-off for me to constantly here about an angry God of justice and retribution. We see the results of such thinking in the down side of Christianity and Islam. I am a universalist because I believe in justice. I respect your opinion, but I find "hell" to be more about hate of those who don't think like us than anything else. Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 10:10AM #55
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057
When Jesus spoke of hell, He spoke of Ge-Hinnon i.e. Hinnom Valley.
This was a low lying trench outside Jerusalem wherein people threw their garbage.  It was continually smouldering and flies laid  eggs  in the unburnt garbage, so it was also characterized by its plentiful maggot population.   Hence the scriptural reference to the fire which never ceases the the worm which never dies.   Ge-Hinnom was used metaphorically by the Pharaseeic Rabbis to represent destruction.  There was w/i Pharaseeic 2nd. Temple Judaism variations on this theme; the Rabbis had lively debates on this subject viz.: Sheol; Ge-Hinnom; Teckhiat 'ha Metim (resurrection of the dead).   As a Maggid-Rabbi, Jesus was very much partook in  the debate.

It is shakey exegesis to literalize the metaphorical.   For greater insight into the Jewish concept of afterlife and possible post-mortem cleansing fire, pls. check out the Jewish Encyclopedia.   Neither Judaism (including its 2nd. Temple form) nor the Zoroastrian Religion (likely source of the Jewish belief on this subject) conceived of souls burning eternally in a post-mortem furnice.  This is largely the development of the medieval Roman Catholic Church;  threats and intimidations predicated on the aforementioned  are excellent instruments of domination and control.

Let's not make the mistake of plucking Jesus out of His time, place, culture and theological matrix.  For further reading on understanding Judaic Hermaneutics, pls. reference Maimonides classic compendium on this subject.

Check this out pls.:  flickr.com/photos/lucychrista/506024561/
The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 10:26AM #56
rbchaddy2000
Posts: 1,277
Dutch: Thanks for the information. Richard
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 10:57AM #57
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057
[QUOTE=rbchaddy2000;56336]Dutch: Thanks for the information. Richard[/QUOTE]

Richard:
'Tis ever a pleasure.

Etymologically, "hell" is related to the English word "hole", a reference in extension, to the paleo-Hebraic concept of "Sheol".   When spuds were first introduced into the UK in the early 17th. century, they were initially stored in holes dug into the ground.  This was called helling the potatoes.

The medieval RCC found hell most useful in keeping both crown and peasantry under the ecclesial thumb.  Dante's Inferno did much to spread the concept amongst the literati.   In the 19th. centure the artist Gustave Dore' added his excellent woodcuts to this hellish concept.   flickr.com/photos/italiangerry/379231929/.  Pls. check out Dore's woodcuts; they're viewable on-line.
The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 11:37AM #58
DietoWorms
Posts: 351
Dutch, yes, perhaps he was using the symbolism people could relate to - the hole.

But why would he talk about being there eternally because of one's wickedness?
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 11:43AM #59
DietoWorms
Posts: 351
[QUOTE=rbchaddy2000;56013]DietoWorms: It is a total turn-off for me to constantly here about an angry God of justice and retribution. We see the results of such thinking in the down side of Christianity and Islam. I am a universalist because I believe in justice. I respect your opinion, but I find "hell" to be more about hate of those who don't think like us than anything else. Richard[/QUOTE]

Richard....first of all, with due respect, your "feelings" on the subject are moot, as are my feelings.

Secondly, where is anyone "constantly" talking about a God of justice and retribution?  I would say mainstream Christianity, including large parts of the Evangelical world hardly talk about it at all.  I only mention it because the majority on this board reject the concept of there being a possiblity of any place called hell, despite obvious references to it in the Bible and in the writings of Christianity's thinkers throughout the centuries.

I think too often we discard parts of the Bible that "turn us off", rather than pray and deal wrestle them.

Peace,

DoW
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 11:57AM #60
Dutch777
Posts: 9,057
[QUOTE=DietoWorms;56519]Dutch, yes, perhaps he was using the symbolism people could relate to - the hole.

But why would he talk about being there eternally because of one's wickedness?[/QUOTE]

Hebrew grammarians advise me that the "eternal" reference relates to the continuous burning of the garbage, which was piled on daily,  so the flames appeared "eternal"; and to the seeming "eternal" generation of the worms / maggots (remembering, of course, that maggots were understood to be spontaneously generated within filth).   The key point in determining the trajectory of exegesis is that eternal, unending damnation is unknown to Judaism, including 2nd. Temple Judaism.   Judaism has historically exhibited a fine degree of compassion and justice and just-plain-good-sense that Christianity could well learn from.  (Mazel Tov to my Jewish ancestors :)).

As an aside, the reason Ge-Hinnom was used as the burning garbage dump is that it is outside the sacred precencts of Jerusalem, whose soil is sacred and may not be contaminated by any impurity.   For this same reason, gardens were outside the metes and bounds of Jerusalem since gardens require animal manure as fertilizer, and this too would contaminate sacred soil.
The Path to Moon Lake
doesn't go there.
So walk your own Dharma*Path;
be mindful.

Dutch
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