Author Topic: Christian Salvation is unjust  (Read 10082 times)

Joseph Evensen

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #150 on: July 12, 2010, 04:56:03 PM »
bc307 wrote: Boring etymological progressions aside, I'm guessing you mean arbitrary in a negative sense, and possibly even as being synonymous with "random", judging by your illustration. I don't believe God's decisions are random. Within the context of my view on salvation, I don't believe salvation follows from our actions (as I think Paul goes to great lengths in Romans to refute that idea). He (Paul) says our faith in God provides our salvation, and goes even further in Ephesians 2:8 to call our faith a gift from God. So on my view, God drives salvation from start to finish. Now, a good question you can ask me is, "Well if it's all God's, and we can't even initiate saving faith without Him, then what could His decision be based on?" And I don't know the answer. I haven't come across a convincing scriptural explanation. And for many, this impasse means adopting a different theology at best or leaving Christianity at worst (your case possibly?) For me, this is simply a question I don't have an answer for yet (possibly never in this lifetime), but the preponderance of evidence, whether it be historical, teleological, or philosophical, combined with the way the Christian worldview seems to comport more closely to reality as we experience it than do other alternatives, makes such unknowns a little more tolerable. At least for me.

1.  I did mean arbitrary as in random, which is not inherantly negative, but would be negative in the context of our discussion.  Also, by using arbitrary, I wanted to emphasize that his decision completely disregards any decisions/properties we possess/etc... on our part, and so seems inherantly random.  Unless he is just maximizing the number of person's saved, but that seems quite calloused.
2.  I was not raised believing calvinism, so I did not come to the same exact impasse, but I think the essence of my impasse in this area is similar.  I think that whether you are calvinist, or armenian (did I spell that right?) or whatever, you eventually run into some kind of similar impasse.  I do appreciate your candor at this point.
3.  If I were Calvinist, I would wonder why God chose to leave this question unanswered.  Of course, if I were Calvinist, I wouldn't think that it matters if the question being asked really matters, as God will determine who recieves mercy, regardless of our actions.

It doesn't seem like we will get any farther in this regard, as I will be unwilling to accept the conclusion of the sylogism, pending a clarification of the criteria that God uses in deciding who get's the grace.

Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #151 on: July 12, 2010, 07:51:05 PM »
He (Paul) says our faith in God provides our salvation, and goes even further in Ephesians 2:8 to call our faith a gift from God. So on my view, God drives salvation from start to finish.


Sorry to butt in the conversation here but, here is a question for you:

I am an atheist, because I lack faith.  If faith is only provided by God, and God has not provided me with any, then he is responsible for me being an atheist, and me going to hell.

That does not seam like an omni-benevolent God.



Michael S

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #152 on: July 12, 2010, 08:29:42 PM »
jbiemans wrote:
Sorry to butt in the conversation here but, here is a question for you:

I am an atheist, because I lack faith.  If faith is only provided by God, and God has not provided me with any, then he is responsible for me being an atheist, and me going to hell.

That does not seam like an omni-benevolent God.


My understanding of this situation is that God freely offers faith and salvation to all. The difference being, that not everybody accepts this.

To those who accept salvation, they can recognise this and call it for what it is, a gift.

To those who reject salvation, are not atheists because God withholds from them, or because he will it. They are atheists because they rejected the offer of salvation.
There are many things in life worth taking seriously. You and I are not among them.
The Dalai Llama walks into a Pizza shop and says "Can you make me one with everything?"

bc307

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #153 on: July 13, 2010, 03:54:06 PM »
>>>"It doesn't seem like we will get any farther in this regard, as I will be unwilling to accept the conclusion of the sylogism, pending a clarification of the criteria that God uses in deciding who get's the grace."


I can't name the criteria, and I'm not really willing to speculate because I can't see that it would be helpful. Interesting discussion though.

Changing gears to a more personal question, have you rejected Christianity in favor of what you consider a more plausible view? Or are you just sort of in limbo for now?

bc307

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #154 on: July 13, 2010, 04:04:55 PM »
>>>"I am an atheist, because I lack faith.  If faith is only provided by God, and God has not provided me with any, then he is responsible for me being an atheist, and me going to hell."


I addressed this in post #79 of this thread.

Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #155 on: July 13, 2010, 07:21:07 PM »
Thanks for the refrence, I suspect you mean this:


Strictly speaking, people won't be sent to Hell for not having faith in Christ. People will be sent to Hell for their own sin. It may be a nuanced distinction, but it's very important, particularly because the objection you cite is a common one. To try my hand at another parallel, suppose you have a newly convicted felon who is about to incarcerated, but blames the judge for his sentence, because after all, the judge could have granted him a pardon. Now, could he have avoided prison if the judge had pardoned him? Sure. But he's not going in because the judge wouldn't pardon him. He's going to prison because he broke the law, so he is culpable.


But that does not follow from:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)



And the other many points on this page:
http://www.bible-knowledge.com/what-is-salvation/

They all say that Jesus is the way to heaven, and give no talk about sin.

But lets follow what you said here.  First we have to understand, what is sin ?  From my understanding, sin means, falling short of.  Or in this context, not living up to the standards of God.  As this is impossible for a "mere human" we are all, automatically sinners.  This would mean that everyone deserves to go to hell and be tortured for eternity, simply for having the misfortune of being born a human.  Does that sound like justice to you ?  But wait, there is more,  lets say that we apply this idea to your analogy.

Lets say that you picked up a newborn baby, and sentenced them to life in prision for simply being born, is that justice ?  That is what the docterine of sin requires.  


Joseph Evensen

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #156 on: July 14, 2010, 08:46:53 AM »
bc307 wrote: Changing gears to a more personal question, have you rejected Christianity in favor of what you consider a more plausible view? Or are you just sort of in limbo for now?

I am currently agnostic, although I would much rather be a theist, or a deist.  

bc307

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #157 on: July 14, 2010, 04:22:10 PM »
>>>"I am currently agnostic, although I would much rather be a theist, or a deist."


I applaud you for searching for truth rather than adopting a view simply because you like it.

I would advise you though to look before you leap. I haven't known any worldview or belief system to be free of unanswered questions or seeming inconsistencies, so unless you plan on believing nothing except nothing is believable (which is self-defeating of course), the ultimate question to apply to whatever you settle on will be, "what makes its problems less problematic than the others?"


jbiemans, I see your question but I have to run. Will try to answer tomorrow.

Joseph Evensen

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #158 on: July 14, 2010, 04:29:47 PM »
bc307 wrote: >>>"I am currently agnostic, although I would much rather be a theist, or a deist."


I applaud you for searching for truth rather than adopting a view simply because you like it.

I would advise you though to look before you leap. I haven't known any worldview or belief system to be free of unanswered questions or seeming inconsistencies, so unless you plan on believing nothing except nothing is believable (which is self-defeating of course), the ultimate question to apply to whatever you settle on will be, "what makes its problems less problematic than the others?"

*Bows*

Yeah.  This is why I really feel the need to get studied up on Epistemolgy.

Plus, I don't necessarily need every question to be answered.  It just needs to make sense in the context of what I know, and find to be rational and believable.



Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #159 on: July 15, 2010, 06:05:27 AM »
Thanks, it is no rush.

I guess I am similar to tigerslip.  A few years I considered myself an agnostic, but I got too far away from the ideas, not once I got out, and looked back, the ideas I used to think I knew look less likely then they used to.

The turning points for me, was when I was trying to understand heaven and hell.

It was actually this booklet that put me over the top:
It is a Christian publication, but it made me realize that part of what I thought that I believed wasn't actually biblical.  So I started to examine more and realized that a lot of what I thought I believed was not in the Bible, but then in reading the bible, there was a lot in there that I did not agree with.

Now I would actually call myself an atheist, but not the kind that actually makes the claim, God does not exist, but the kind that says, I have not been convinced by those who claim God exists.

Anyway, you probably don't care about that, so I will wait to hear your answer to the other question.

JB.

Joel

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #160 on: July 15, 2010, 07:52:56 AM »
jbiemans wrote:

There will come a day in the future where I will go, in  disguise to the town square, then I will give the citizens there a code word.  I will tell them to spread the code word to everyone else.  


Then after some random amount of time passes, I will call forth all the citizens to my castle.  I will then ask them if they have heard the code word.  If they answer yes, and then give me the correct code word, I will give them everything they desire, if, however they answer wrong, I will torture them forever in my dungeon.  


However there is another caveat to this law.  If, in the unfortunate case, a citizen has not been able code word yet, they will be told the code word on the way into the castle.  If they are able to recite it when they get to me, then they will be granted the same reward as those who remembered it.


Now would this law be just, by your standards ?  Given this scenario wouldn't it be better to not try to tell people the code word, in case you accidentally tell them wrong.


Getting back to the Christian salvation model, as was already brought up, is it fair, that a good and moral person who lives a prefect Christian lifestyle, but does not believe in God due to the lack of evidence, goes to hell, but a serial killer who finds religion in Jail and converts, goes to heaven.  


How is that a just system.





It seems to me that every example presented in this thread on the "God is unjust" side paint humanity as a good, well-intentioned, harmless, totally oblivious cadre of people going about their daily lives when a capricious and meddling God fellow swoops in and blindsides them with heinous punishment.

This is an important point.  If we truly are good, well-intentioned, harmless, oblivious creatures then you would be correct in asserting that our punishment is unjust.  But this is where a Christianity diverges from the "I'm ok, you're ok" philosophies of the day.  None of us is "ok."  Christians see the world in a state of rebellion against its creator.  All live for their own pleasure, their own desires, and all have usurped the rightful King of our lives and placed ourselves on the throne.  When Christians make the arrogant sounding claim that people who do not believe are those who do not want to believe it is centered around this idea - that people think they have a right to live their own lives and to live them as they see fit.  Most misunderstanding between the two sides can be traced to there.  The only people who will be allowed, and really will have any interest, in living eternally with the rightful King will be the ones who acknowledge His the rightful rule and step down from the throne.  People seeking to remain king of their lives AND seek eternal happiness do not know what they ask.  There is none to be found there.

So I can't really take seriously any analogy where the populous is painted as a group of innocent bystanders when the Christian world view is that we are a pack of rebels who must lay down our arms before we are to be shown mercy.

Joseph Evensen

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #161 on: July 15, 2010, 08:06:27 AM »
joel wrote:
It seems to me that every example presented in this thread on the "God is unjust" side paint humanity as a good, well-intentioned, harmless, totally oblivious cadre of people going about their daily lives when a capricious and meddling God fellow swoops in and blindsides them with heinous punishment.

This is an important point.  If we truly are good, well-intentioned, harmless, oblivious creatures then you would be correct in asserting that our punishment is unjust.  But this is where a Christianity diverges from the "I'm ok, you're ok" philosophies of the day.  None of us is "ok."  Christians see the world in a state of rebellion against its creator.  All live for their own pleasure, their own desires, and all have usurped the rightful King of our lives and placed ourselves on the throne.  When Christians make the arrogant sounding claim that people who do not believe are those who do not want to believe it is centered around this idea - that people think they have a right to live their own lives and to live them as they see fit.  Most misunderstanding between the two sides can be traced to there.  The only people who will be allowed, and really will have any interest, in living eternally with the rightful King will be the ones who acknowledge His the rightful rule and step down from the throne.  People seeking to remain king of their lives AND seek eternal happiness do not know what they ask.  There is none to be found there.

So I can't really take seriously any analogy where the populous is painted as a group of innocent bystanders when the Christian world view is that we are a pack of rebels who must lay down our arms before we are to be shown mercy.

I don't think anyone seriously believes humanity is innocent.  However, humanity is not all bad either.  This is where Christian's disconnect with my view.  I see alot of good in humanity.

The root of all sin is selfishness, no?  People convert to Christianity, to be saved.  Who are they saving?  Themselves.  So Christians are just as self serving as any other human.  The goal is survival.

Unfortunately, due to bad theology, most Christian's are forced to believe that human's who reject the Christian worldview are just willfully ignorant.  If reasonable, good people are rejecting it for rational reasons, then the case for Christianity must not be that convincing... and Christian's cannot accept this.  So instead, they must paint the unbelievers as willfully ignorant sinners.

This, of course, makes it very difficult to find common ground for discussion.

Joel

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #162 on: July 15, 2010, 08:54:06 AM »
tigerslip wrote: The root of all sin is selfishness, no?  People convert to Christianity, to be saved.  Who are they saving?  Themselves.  So Christians are just as self serving as any other human.  The goal is survival.


This might be a discussion for a new thread, but I'll give a brief rebuttal here.  I think this criticism really hits wide of the mark.  People are clever enough that we can portray any action as selfish.  A person could say Mother Theresa only helped poor people to assuage her guilt and curry favor in heaven, yet I think we both know that rings a little hollow.  Basically, when the central command of Christianity is "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all  your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." it strikes me as rather absurd to claim that can be done for selfish reasons.  Trying to use God as a means to an end (heaven) is impossible if that command is to be obeyed.  Thus, attaining heaven is impossible if you only want it out of self-preservation.  Loving another with all that is in you, but to do so selfishly, seems incoherent to me.

Now, certainly, there are people who attend church and do so primarily to avoid hell and, in a sense, look out for themselves. But that does not mean what they are attempting is sensible, possible, or in line with what Christianity teaches.

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his  life will keep it."  Luke 17:33

A cultural Christian seeking to preserve their eternal lives is confused as to what heaven really is.  As are people who are not Christians but think they want to go there.

Joseph Evensen

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #163 on: July 15, 2010, 09:08:33 AM »
joel wrote: This might be a discussion for a new thread, but I'll give a brief rebuttal here.  I think this criticism really hits wide of the mark.  People are clever enough that we can portray any action as selfish.  A person could say Mother Theresa only helped poor people to assuage her guilt and curry favor in heaven, yet I think we both know that rings a little hollow.  Basically, when the central command of Christianity is "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." it strikes me as rather absurd to claim that can be done for selfish reasons.  Trying to use God as a means to an end (heaven) is impossible if that command is to be obeyed.  Thus, attaining heaven is impossible if you only want it out of self-preservation.  Loving another with all that is in you, but to do so selfishly, seems incoherent to me.

Now, certainly, there are people who attend church and do so primarily to avoid hell and, in a sense, look out for themselves. But that does not mean what they are attempting is sensible, possible, or in line with what Christianity teaches.

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it."  Luke 17:33

A cultural Christian seeking to preserve their eternal lives is confused as to what heaven really is.  As are people who are not Christians but think they want to go there.

It probably depends on the theology the Christian prescribes to.  If they are more focused on serving God out of fear, with lots of hell fire and brimstone theology in place, they will probably have a more selfish view.  If the theological emphasis is more on love, then they will probably be more altruistic.

In my experience, most Christians convert young, and many do it for fear of eternal damnation.  This fear may later evolve into a more mature form of Christianity, which is focused more on loving God and serving humanity.  Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

Seriously though.  If you want to have any common ground with unbelievers, you have to stop assuming that they willingly deny the truth because they are focused on serving themselves.  Respect others, and they will respect you.

Joel

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Christian Salvation is unjust
« Reply #164 on: July 15, 2010, 09:24:00 AM »
tigerslip wrote: Seriously though.  If you want to have any common ground with unbelievers, you have to stop assuming that they willingly deny the truth because they are focused on serving themselves.  Respect others, and they will respect you.


Well, I don't think I've ever been disrespectful of unbelievers in that way.  I don't doubt your intentions or your intelligence.

 

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