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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 2/27/2006 7:13:36 AM EDT
As many of you know, I'm not a Christian, but I do place a high value on the message Jesus is said to have taught in the Bible.

I take Jesus' basic messages to be "Judge not, love thy neighbor, avoid organized religion"

Obviously many will disagree with this, but that's not the thrust of this thread. I have a simple hypothetical question:

Suppose one day something happened (Say they found the body of Jesus hidden in a cave somewhere) to make you fully believe that Jesus was not a god incarnate, but just a man. How you come to believe this is irrelevant.

Would you still be a Christian? If so, why?

The reason I ask is because when you ask most Christians why they are a Christian, the answer generally involves the afterlife (getting into Heaven while avoiding Hell) or some form of gratitude for his dying for your sins.

These have always struck me as selfish reasons, and seem to go against what Jesus' message was in the first place.

So, without Salvation, without eternal life, would you still follow in Jesus' path and why?
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 7:30:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
As many of you know, I'm not a Christian, but I do place a high value on the message Jesus is said to have taught in the Bible.

I take Jesus' basic messages to be "Judge not, love thy neighbor, avoid organized religion"

Obviously many will disagree with this, but that's not the thrust of this thread. I have a simple hypothetical question:

Suppose one day something happened (Say they found the body of Jesus hidden in a cave somewhere) to make you fully believe that Jesus was not a god incarnate, but just a man. How you come to believe this is irrelevant.

Would you still be a Christian? If so, why?

The reason I ask is because when you ask most Christians why they are a Christian, the answer generally involves the afterlife (getting into Heaven while avoiding Hell) or some form of gratitude for his dying for your sins.

These have always struck me as selfish reasons, and seem to go against what Jesus' message was in the first place.

So, without Salvation, without eternal life, would you still follow in Jesus' path and why?




Your question contains so many assumptions and conditions that I don't even recognize what you mean when you say "Christian."

To me, being a Christian means to follow the teachings and example of Christ. Contrary to your summary of Jesus' message, I believe Jesus' came to provide the way to GOD (a separate and distinct entity). Jesus was the master teacher. He taught about man's relationship with God. The whole point is to get "right" with (be reconciled to) God.

Why am I a Christian? Because Jesus is our example of how to have a relationship with God. He showed us the way. He paved the path to God.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 8:02:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Why am I a Christian? Because Jesus is our example of how to have a relationship with God. He showed us the way. He paved the path to God.




This is the kind of answer I was looking for.

I'm also not trying to make this a discussion of who is or isn't a Christian, there's already a thread about that.

I guess what I'm wondering is how many people are Christian because they get something supernatural out of it, and how many are Christian because they truly follow the path of altruism and kindness that Jesus laid out.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, I just like to hear people talk about why they believe what they believe.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:01:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
I guess what I'm wondering is how many people are Christian because they get something supernatural out of it, and how many are Christian because they truly follow the path of altruism and kindness that Jesus laid out.




To me that seems like a distinction without a difference. The goal of having a relationship with God preceeds Jesus' time on Earth. Prior to Jesus the closest relationship to God available to man was under the Moses Law. The Law instructed man about how to have a relationship not only with God but with his fellow man. Man, after all, is created in the image of God. If you love your fellow man you also love God. Jesus brought the law to a spiritual level. It wasn't just how you treated your brother any more but it was also how you thought about him. It wasn't just don't kill your brother. It was don't hate your brother. It wasn't just don't sleep with your brother's wife. It was don't even think about sleeping with your brother's wife.

You can't separate a love of God and a love of your fellow man – at least not by very much. The product of a closer relationship with God is a better relationship with mankind (and vice versa). Remember what the scriptures say:

Mat 22: 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:04:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
I guess what I'm wondering is how many people are Christian because they get something supernatural out of it, and how many are Christian because they truly follow the path of altruism and kindness that Jesus laid out.




To me that seems like a distinction without a difference. The goal of having a relationship with God preceeds Jesus' time on Earth. Prior to Jesus the closest relationship to God available to man was under the Moses Law. The Law instructed man about how to have a relationship not only with God but with his fellow man. Man, after all, is created in the image of God. If you love your fellow man you also love God. Jesus brought the law to a spiritual level. It wasn't just how you treated your brother any more but it was also how you thought about him. It wasn't just don't kill your brother. It was don't hate your brother. It wasn't just don't sleep with your brother's wife. It was don't even think about sleeping with your brother's wife.

You can't separate a love of God and a love of your fellow man – at least not by very much. The product of a closer relationship with God is a better relationship with mankind (and vice versa). Remember what the scriptures say:

Mat 22: 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.



Then perhaps I am tilting at windmills here. You are the kind of Christian I like to see, one who is well researched and firm in his belief. Perhaps it's only been my exposure to Christians in my day to day life that has led me to believe that most of them are only in it for the free candy so to speak.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:29:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 9:30:48 AM EDT by Bladeswitcher]

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
Then perhaps I am tilting at windmills here. You are the kind of Christian I like to see, one who is well researched and firm in his belief. Perhaps it's only been my exposure to Christians in my day to day life that has led me to believe that most of them are only in it for the free candy so to speak.



When you say free candy, I assume you mean "heaven," as opposed to "hell." I believe hell is not a place you go to when you die but rather a condition of the mind while you're physically alive. Others have a Dante's Inferno type of view. Either way, following Christ's teachings will keep you out of hell. Doing things righteously and exercising holy spirit goes a LONG way to heading off torment. I also believe that "heaven" is FIRST a place we go to in our own mind while we're alive. So, in that sense, I fit your mold. I follow Jesus because doing so builds a "heaven" condition in my mind. Maybe that is "candy" (but it's not free).

Ultimately, that's what it's all about. In Christ is the promise that we can be lifted out of "hell" and get to "heaven." Whether you understand that's something that happens in this life or whether you only see it in the by and by, the goal is the same:


Eph 2:1 ¶ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:44:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
Then perhaps I am tilting at windmills here. You are the kind of Christian I like to see, one who is well researched and firm in his belief. Perhaps it's only been my exposure to Christians in my day to day life that has led me to believe that most of them are only in it for the free candy so to speak.



When you say free candy, I assume you mean "heaven," as opposed to "hell." I believe hell is not a place you go to when you die but rather a condition of the mind while you're physically alive. Others have a Dante's Inferno type of view. Either way, following Christ's teachings will keep you out of hell. Doing things righteously and exercising holy spirit goes a LONG way to heading off torment. I also believe that "heaven" is FIRST a place we go to in our own mind while we're alive. So, in that sense, I fit your mold. I follow Jesus because doing so builds a "heaven" condition in my mind. Maybe that is "candy" (but it's not free).

Ultimately, that's what it's all about. In Christ is the promise that we can be lifted out of "hell" and get to "heaven." Whether you understand that's something that happens in this life or whether you only see it in the by and by, the goal is the same:


Eph 2:1 ¶ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:



You've just restored my faith not in the reality of Christianity, but in that some of its adherents really believe in the religion and not just what they're told. This is exactly what I was hoping for with my question. I was ready to write off the religion as a whole, and you've showed me that some Christians really do know what it is to be one.

Good on you, sir.

Link Posted: 2/27/2006 9:52:57 AM EDT
We were told about Jesus Christ in the OT many, many, many years before his birth. Besides the ultimate; Christ being a sacraficial lamb for our sins, it is also the direction that The Bible takes. As a Christian, I would say that if they found his body and it was all a false hood, I guess (to me) the Jews would be right and the Messiah has yet to return.

If that is the case, I wouldn't stop believing in God. I would just have to fall back to the old covenant way of going about life.

But, you can not refute the eye witness accounts for his return to heaven. I aint worried about that
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 10:16:10 AM EDT
Ziti makes a good point about the prophecy of Jesus Christ's birth and sacrifice.

Christianity is not really a religion, but it is more of simply choosing to believe Jesus.

Sure, there are hundreds of denominations and all kinds of different people who claim to be Christians, but the core belief in Jesus, and who he said he was, is the same for most of us.

I am a Christian because I believe Jesus Christ.
I am a Christian because I want to know the truth.
I am a Christian because I want to experience God's love and spend eternity with Him.

Anyone can examine the human race an see how sinful and unworthy we are of God's holiness. Despite our rebellion against Him, He loves us and has since sent his only begotten Son to be sacrificed on our behalf. He loves us and all we have to do is accept His GRACE!

Is wanting to spend eternity with my creator selfish? No, but GOD IS VERY VERY SELFISH!!! HE WANTS US ONLY TO WORSHIP HIM AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIS SON'S SACRIFICE!!!
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 11:20:31 AM EDT
If they found the body of Jesus (and could prove it is His), I would not be a Christian. I believe the resurrection is central for establishing Jesus' identity. I believe Jesus' identity is central to the majority of his teaching. As for his ethical teachings (as I've stated elsewhere) most of it is found in other religions as well. In fact, Marcus Aurelius reads like Paul without the doctrine of Grace.

I would probably be a Stoic in the tradition of Marcus Aurelius or Epictitus.

If you are interested in this kind of hypothetical situation. A Skeleton in God's Closet is a novel where they discover the body of Jesus and what happens in the world as a result. It's a great read. I think the author is Paul Meier.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 4:01:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
You've just restored my faith not in the reality of Christianity, but in that some of its adherents really believe in the religion and not just what they're told. This is exactly what I was hoping for with my question. I was ready to write off the religion as a whole, and you've showed me that some Christians really do know what it is to be one.

Good on you, sir.




Well that sure was easy. You sure you weren't just looking for an excuse to think this Christianity stuff is OK, after all? Really, it is. Most Christiians are pretty decent folk once you get to know them.
Link Posted: 2/27/2006 6:58:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/27/2006 7:04:21 PM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By verticalgain:
As many of you know, I'm not a Christian, but I do place a high value on the message Jesus is said to have taught in the Bible.

I take Jesus' basic messages to be "Judge not, love thy neighbor, avoid organized religion"

Obviously many will disagree with this, but that's not the thrust of this thread. I have a simple hypothetical question:

Suppose one day something happened (Say they found the body of Jesus hidden in a cave somewhere) to make you fully believe that Jesus was not a god incarnate, but just a man. How you come to believe this is irrelevant.

Would you still be a Christian? If so, why? No. If He has not risen then my faith is in vain.

The reason I ask is because when you ask most Christians why they are a Christian, the answer generally involves the afterlife (getting into Heaven while avoiding Hell) or some form of gratitude for his dying for your sins. I am a Christian because that is the term for what God was formed me into. I had nothing to do with it. I didnt even want it

These have always struck me as selfish reasons, and seem to go against what Jesus' message was in the first place. Just to get away with evil behavior or simply to escape HEll? Yeah, they are against His teachings. He said He came to save us FROM sin, not IN sin.

So, without Salvation, without eternal life, would you still follow in Jesus' path and why? All the basics Jesus taught about being a good person are not unique. Would I need His teachings alone for that? Maybe not. Simply being a good person is not what Christianity is about. There are many many good people who exhibit what He taught and are as Godless as can be. If He did not exists I would still strive to be a good person because thats what all decent intelligent eings should strive for. I dont do it becuase it may earn me a place in Heaven. I do not beleive any person can earn that. I dont do it because I think I will be better off eternally. I do it because. He asked me to and like a son who loves his Father, I seek to please Him. BUT if ther were no salvation, no eternal life, no nothing but being turned into worm poop? I would remain the same..

Link Posted: 3/1/2006 11:48:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:


Suppose one day something happened (Say they found the body of Jesus hidden in a cave somewhere) to make you fully believe that Jesus was not a god incarnate, but just a man. How you come to believe this is irrelevant.

Would you still be a Christian? If so, why?



Assuming your premise,that Christ was irrefutably not raised:
I Corinthians 15:12-19 (Paul's letter to the Corinthian church) taken from the New American Standard Version of the New Testament.
1Cr 15:12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Cr 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1Cr 15:14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
1Cr 15:15 Moreover we are even found {to be} false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
1Cr 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
1Cr 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1Cr 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
1Cr 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.


Anyway, that's what I've seen in what Paul said. If we eliminate what Paul said, there goes most of the New Testament,as well as most of the foundational interpretation of Christianity.
It might be selfish,but that's my reason. Pascal's Wager, I suppose.
If I weren't a Christian, I would see no reason to have any set of fixed ethics or other faith at all. I would simply work for my own gain in everything I did,and would, I suppose, be some sort of non-theist.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:26:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wdsman:
If they found the body of Jesus (and could prove it is His), I would not be a Christian. I believe the resurrection is central for establishing Jesus' identity. I believe Jesus' identity is central to the majority of his teaching. As for his ethical teachings (as I've stated elsewhere) most of it is found in other religions as well. In fact, Marcus Aurelius reads like Paul without the doctrine of Grace.

I would probably be a Stoic in the tradition of Marcus Aurelius or Epictitus.

If you are interested in this kind of hypothetical situation. A Skeleton in God's Closet is a novel where they discover the body of Jesus and what happens in the world as a result. It's a great read. I think the author is Paul Meier.



There are theories that Jesus was a stoic :)

Thanks for the book recommendation, I will definitely pick that one up.

Link Posted: 3/1/2006 2:38:44 PM EDT
1. Love Jesus for what He did for me. Ain't got many (any) other friends that have been nailed to a
cross and died for me.

2. Respect God and His teachings.

3. Enjoy being around other Christian folks.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 8:21:12 PM EDT
I was born into it. Didn't have much choice.
Link Posted: 3/8/2006 3:27:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

I have a simple hypothetical question:

Suppose one day something happened (Say they found the body of Jesus hidden in a cave somewhere) to make you fully believe that Jesus was not a god incarnate, but just a man. How you come to believe this is irrelevant.

Would you still be a Christian? If so, why?




As others said, being a Christian is based on believing that Jesus came down here, died for our sins, and was resurrected. Without that, there are no Christians.

As to living a certain way just to receive the reward, that has no bearing on it for me. I actually find the whole resurrected/afterlife troubling, because I want to know exactly what we'll be doing for eternity. Most people tell me we'll have lots of work to do, but I can't picture eternal work with no chance of retirement as being something to strive for. I just take it on that faith that it''ll be far than we can imagine, as the Bible says.
I can't articulate why I'm striving to do right, other than something inside me has pushed me that way since I was little. (I'm not implying that I've always followed that though. I've done things that I'm truly sorry for. )
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 11:41:26 PM EDT
I just want to know how many of you are good faithful Christians because you meet some hot young lady at some point in your life that was a good christian girl?
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 1:59:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ljtag:
I just want to know how many of you are good faithful Christians because you meet some hot young lady at some point in your life that was a good christian girl?



Or, a sweet old lady that sat down with you and talked about Jesus, or your dying sister. mother brother, etc., on their death bed ,more concerned about your salvation instead of the kids they were leaving behind?
Like that?
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 8:22:56 AM EDT
Why am I a Christian?

1. I was taught correct Christian principles and ordinances by my parents.
--Faith in Jesus Christ
--Repentence
--Baptism
--Receiving Gift of the Holy Ghost
--Continue on the path
2. I applied those principles in my own life (put them to the test).
3. I found the Gospel of Christ to be true, and have received personal witness of their truth from the Holy Ghost.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:23:57 PM EDT
I have a different take on it all. And I'm not good at living what I think about. As you know.

I try to be a Christian because I believe in the message and because, for completely unrelated reasons, I believe in God. I want to live by the teachings of Christ because I believe in them. Because they are contrary to every instinct I and many other people have.

Jesus was man. Finding his body would have little impact except to clarify some points of theology that I'm not sure of. Jesus was also God. He can be both. Understanding Christianity, Christ, and God is supposed to be a little confusing. I mean, come on, he's God. I can guarantee you that we as humans don't have the whole story. It's been dumbed down, so to speak, for our understanding. The small snippets I have seen of the story are likely consistent within a larger framework.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:44:23 PM EDT
We as Christians believe in the resurection of Christ Jesus because the Holy Spirit has entered into our hearts & is in our everyday lives, providing proof that cannot be denied by the one whom He inhabits. It is a life that cannot be described, only experienced. When you truely accept Jesus as your Lord & Savior, Jesus comes in the person of the Holy Spirit & lives (spiritually) in your heart. And you experience the living Christ in such a way that you couldn't deny it, even if you wanted to. Because now you know the truth. And the truth is, GOD does love YOU. You were created to be with Him. Not only in the afterlife, but now, in this life. And no matter what you've done, he will forgive you. It isn't just about doctrine or theology. When all is said & done; this world, religion, doctrine & theology will be gone, all that will be left is GOD. It is about a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is GOD.Through knowing Him, you are transformed into the likeness of Jesus and empowered to live even as He lived. Read Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto ME both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." We receive power to become the sons of GOD because we believe, that Jesus is the son of GOD.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 11:53:44 PM EDT
I believe I attempt to be for 1 big reason, hope. I need something to hope in, something that makes me reason suffering or death, or the emptiness of the world after loved ones have passed on.
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