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Biggest stumbling blocks with Christianity?

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    (Original post by mattatca)
    I guess you mean not enough evidence surely? Because I'd say that Jesus is the evidence you are seeking that the God of the bible exists and that he was present in our world. I presume you are not convinced then by this argument? On what grounds?
    Matt
    How is evidence that a man called Jesus existed evidence of the God presented by the Bible?

    The only way for it to be 'evidence' is to make the leap from knowing that a man called Jesus existed at that time to saying that this Jesus was everything the Bible described him as, and thus everything he ever said must also be true.
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    (Original post by Hravan)
    Animals don't have souls so therefore there's no chance of seeing my dogs again in heaven.

    (Got to understand, I was about 6 when I started to really question Christianity... Although back then I didn't understand the concept of my dogs not having souls so I thought they were going to hell. :sad: )


    Other issues are how women are viewed in Christianity, the views on homosexuality and the fact I really don't see how their god can be viewed as an merciful, loving god.
    Thanks for this, I'd really want to encourage you to try and find the answers to those questions and I'd love to chat more.

    What about God don't you see as being loving and merciful, I know that it does seem like that in some ways and yet he always gives people loads of chances to do the right thing and not face the judgement of hell (which is horrific).

    I've never really thought about animals and pets in heaven, it does very much say that there will be animals in heaven, but you are right I'm not sure it is exactly the same ones we know now... although I can't say it certainly is not... I'll go have a think about that!

    Matt
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    (Original post by silent ninja)
    That Jesus didn't write the Bible...

    ...and it's the most revised, editted and re-written book probably in history. How can you rely on it's authenticity when different and contradictory versions of the same book exist?
    Great questions!

    Although I think we can argue strongly that Jesus did not write the bible you are correct... but that the authors writing over so many years all telling one single unique story is really amazing.

    I'd love to know what you think are the contradictory versions, it is very easy to say but I'd claim it was really hard to prove. Also there is no evidence of serious change at all, this kind of claim just doesn't stand up historically I'm afraid!

    Matt
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    (Original post by mattatca)
    I think it is very sensible... there are many good counter arguments for why we might believe such things.
    OK, Matt, answer this. My friend Michael died in a horrific car accident back in 2002, getting decapitated by a truck after losing consciousness at the wheel. He was 20 years old. He was also an atheist when he died.

    According to your beliefs, does he now face an eternity of torment in Hell, essentially for the thought crime of disbelieving in God?

    And if so, given that this state of affairs is overseen by a perfect God, do you believe that is right?


    And please don't be evasive or try to skirt the question, if this is an important part of your worldview. You won't make your belief system look good or "sell God" by lying, being evasive or trying to dodge the question.
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    Satan:rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Mequa)
    According to your beliefs, does he now face an eternity of torment in Hell, essentially for the thought crime of disbelieving in God?

    And if so, given that this state of affairs is overseen by a perfect God, do you believe that is right?
    From what i've heard you can still get into heaven... he'd just need to ask for forgiveness or something. Like if he rejects god completely the he'll go to hell.

    I don't really like the idea of an afterlife in general. It makes some people not appreciate the only life they are certain of.
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    (Original post by NJA)
    You cannot make one hair on their body, God gave them to you.

    The kingdom of heaven will include the Earth for 1000 years, and will include animals without disease & violence.

    Isa_11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

    Only your rejection of the gospel will give you no chance of seeing what it will be like.

    Or what you think is Christianity.


    or what you think is Christianity.


    What are you? - that is your religion! What dictates you
    "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:5)
    - Questions, mis-conceptions.

    What religion is God?
    "I AM that I AM"

    What "religion" am I:
    a new creation, a son of God, with an increasing revelation of what that mweans.


    God views it as the same as anyone else not appreciating his way, how do you view it?


    exactly, you do not really see.

    Until you accept that you have failed and are failing to fulfil your potential, through following your own self-will in pride and desire above all to see the love of God by receiving the infilling of his Spirit instead you are as I was, stumbling along, an accident waiting to happen, and not much to talk about in the meantime.

    Yeah..... That post makes no sense.

    I'd rather just stick with my gods, thanks.
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    They say God is all powerful, yet he "rested" on the 7th day of creation. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL POWERFUL?
    Oh and I don't think pie is 3.
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    (Original post by chickenonsteroids)
    From what i've heard you can still get into heaven... he'd just need to ask for forgiveness or something. Like if he rejects god completely the he'll go to hell.
    Hmm, so as an atheist in life (and death), he'll be presented with god at the pearly gates and offered the opportunity to say sorry for his sins, or be thrown into an eternal barbecue? Kind of a no-brainer, really.
    (I believe Richard Dawkins said something like if he found himself in that predicament, he'd say something like: "Okay, so I was wrong. But I was wrong for the right reasons.")


    However that's not the theology I've seen with many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians. The repentance and belief has to take place before you die, or you're screwed for eternity.
    Just screwed, period (and yes, one actually used that word when preaching at the CU).
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    (Original post by Study)
    Oh and I don't think pie is 3.
    Pi is 3 to 1 s.f. (I assume you're referring to 1 Kings 7:23, 26)
    Only that isn't terribly accurate.
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    (Original post by Mequa)
    Pi is 3 to 1 s.f. (I assume you're referring to 1 Kings 7:23, 26)
    Only that isn't terribly accurate.
    And the bible says "to 1 s.f." aswell?
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    (Original post by Mequa)
    Hmm, so as an atheist in life (and death), he'll be presented with god at the pearly gates and offered the opportunity to say sorry for his sins, or be thrown into an eternal barbecue? Kind of a no-brainer, really.
    (I believe Richard Dawkins said something like if he found himself in that predicament, he'd say something like: "Okay, so I was wrong. But I was wrong for the right reasons.")


    However that's not the theology I've seen with many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians. The repentance and belief has to take place before you die, or you're screwed for eternity.
    Just screwed, period (and yes, one actually used that word when preaching at the CU).
    Again, from the (new) stuff i've heard, hell isn't a 'place' that you're sent to. It's a mental state in which you're void of God's existence. But yes, essentially I think that's true.

    Fundamentalist Christians are usually stupid and just angry. They're so contained in their beliefs they wouldn't change if truth slapped them in the face and kicked them in the balls.

    If you want to know more about what hell is to different Christians talk to some Christians
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    (Original post by mattatca)
    What is the biggest objection you have towards Christianity?

    Probably there are loads of different reasons why people don't believe the claims of Jesus but if you could just pick one what would it be and why?

    Matt
    1. That many stories from the Old Testament are utterly ludicrous
    2. We know how the Bible was formed thanks to the methodical documentation of the Romans/Byzantine Empire, thus we how corrupt it was, and how much was made up eg. the Holy Trinity.
    3. The Bible is highly contradictory.
    4. We know that the vast majority of Biblical stories are mere amalgamations of pagan religions and myths.
    5. Being Christian means you believe in sacrificial killing.

    6. Slightly different point: How the hell do stories of what mud dwellers did 2000 years ago help anyone today? How is a story of some surf sleeping with their boss to gain favour help in the office........oh wait :awesome: But most of the Bible is irrelevant today.
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    (Original post by NJA)
    Do you know what sin is?
    Do you know what is right / good by God?

    Who told you God wants clergy in dresses?
    Why did you believe them?

    If you don't know the answers to those basic questions, can you really "trust" your own judgement?
    Huh. Irony really never did penetrate the church.


    (Original post by mattatca)
    Fair enough, but do you see if that is the main reason for lack of trust that you are looking at one specific and one external... neither of which are 100% central to the claims of Christianity.

    Matt
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    (Original post by mattatca)
    there are many good counter arguments for why we might believe such things.
    No, there aren't. Sure, there are "counter arguments" as in the salesman-like rhetoric of apologists, but actual good arguments?

    Usually when push comes to shove, it comes down to "Well I believe it because I believe it."

    There is no good reason for believing that one religion is the only right way and everyone else is damned to hell.
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    (Original post by zjs)
    How is evidence that a man called Jesus existed evidence of the God presented by the Bible?

    The only way for it to be 'evidence' is to make the leap from knowing that a man called Jesus existed at that time to saying that this Jesus was everything the Bible described him as, and thus everything he ever said must also be true.
    Good question! I think we have to approach it as we would anything historical from that point of time. We use three main techniques. Evidence inside the source (in this case the bible... does it hold together well, do the sources back each other up, does it all seem to tell one story or is it really disjointed). We also use evidence outside of the bible, like the issue of why the Roman's did not produce the body as well as the growth of Christianity and the writings of historians about Jesus. Finally we test it in terms of manuscripts, has the source document been changed etc.

    From there you start to get an idea of how trustworthy or not a text is... at that point you have to decide where you draw the lines internally again within the text, do you think Jesus is mad, bad or God?

    That is for you to decide of course...
    Matt
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    (Original post by Mequa)
    OK, Matt, answer this. My friend Michael died in a horrific car accident back in 2002, getting decapitated by a truck after losing consciousness at the wheel. He was 20 years old. He was also an atheist when he died.

    According to your beliefs, does he now face an eternity of torment in Hell, essentially for the thought crime of disbelieving in God?

    And if so, given that this state of affairs is overseen by a perfect God, do you believe that is right?
    (Original post by chickenonsteroids)
    From what i've heard you can still get into heaven... he'd just need to ask for forgiveness or something. Like if he rejects god completely the he'll go to hell.
    Although I regret having to share a private message publicly, I feel in the best interests of openness and according to my conscience, this has to be done.

    I know the notion that someone dying an atheist age 20 subsequently spending eternity in Hell (with no chance of ever getting out) is so unfathomable that one wonders whether people really do take such a stance in this day and age. I've had many people refuse to believe that any Christians actually take such a stance.

    But here it is, the answer from mattatca:

    (Original post by mattatca)
    Hi Mequa,
    I'm sorry to hear about your friend Michael, it sounds like a horrific thing to have happened and obviously this is a huge issue for anyone who has lost someone who wasn't a believer.

    The bible is very clear and so let me try and be equally so. We have all sinned against God (Romans 5) but not just by thinking he does not exist, most of the way we live our lives is as a result of wanting to 'be' God and not recognise that God is rightfully in charge. This is called a biblical worldview and so as a Christian I sign up to those ideas fully.

    If we are all sinful, and that sin is to reject God, how can we expect to be in heaven WITH God. The bible also makes it clear that we are made in God's image (Genesis 2,3) and therefore we will have life after this one, we were built with eternity in mind.

    There is therefore no way we can get rid of the 'bad' within us, our very being exists and rejects God almost simultaneously, we really are bad people. If the problem is within us the solution cannot be internal but must be external and therefore it is the amazing claim of the bible that God loves people so much that he is willing to do something about their rejection of Him. The solution for Christians is found in Jesus and trusting in what he has done.

    Now for anyone not trusting in Jesus and not wanting to relate to God here and now, why would that decision be changed into the next life, God allows us the choice to decide to follow Him or not... and he respects that choice.. even if it is not the best thing for us.

    So I'm afraid to say that anyone not trusting in Jesus to deal with the problem of sin does then face eternity away from God and away from all the good things that God provides... which means eternity in what you rightly term hell.

    This is really awful because the bible is clear that the whole universe, all of creation screams at us that there is a creator God and the revelation of Jesus should be enough for people to recognise how amazing God is... but sadly not everyone does. If your friend Michael, or you, or I are not trusting in God's rescue plan when Jesus returns or when we die then we will sadly face eternity away from God.

    I'm sorry that this terrible thing happened to you, I tried to tell the biblical truth but I don't deny that it is raw and hard for me to write knowing what you said about your friend.

    My final point would be that if God in the bible exists then we have to take his character at face value. He both loves us (giving us amazing chance after chance to come back to Him, even the worst of human beings can know Him) but is also just, so he will rightly take action for the crimes committed against him and against his creation... if we cannot ever get back into God's good books by being good then we simply cannot ever 'pay' God back and that is why hell is eternal.

    Some really hard things... I'm very sorry about your friend and that I can't offer more comfort.
    Matt
    Biblically, then, the only real advice is "screw him" and focus on my own salvation, because he is, after all, "screwed". Presumably if I do accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour and get into Heaven, then, God will help me to forget him and develop an attitude of "screw him" so I can enjoy eternal bliss.

    All I can say to anyone subscribing to the above worldview, is "I hope it happens to you". I expect any such believer is thanking God that it hasn't happened to them so that they can maintain such "faith". It is my view that only direct personal experience in this regard can bring such a believer to experience sufficient empathy, so that they can genuinely put their hand on their heart and decide whether they truly believe such a state of affairs is just and right.

    As for myself, I would never worship a god who oversees a process whereby a person's eternal fate is decided by belief in a proposition, particularly condemning a young person to eternal damnation while letting others off the hook for holding the "correct" beliefs. Such a god is more of a devil than a benevolent being, an evil genie playing with his personal ant farm. I truly fail to see how worshipping such a being, fictional or not, can be the morally right position. If this is what the Bible really teaches, then this provides an excellent ground for criticism of its inerrancy and supposed morally perfect standing.

    Tolerance is a two-way street in my view. As I see it, a worldview needs to demonstrate a certain level of tolerance towards non-adherents to warrant tolerance back, not just demand it as a right. Condemning all non-believers to eternal punishment for a thought crime is not sufficiently tolerant to enter into such a reciprocal relationship, in my book. Even if it preaches everyone deserves eternal punishment, to have some let off the hook by belief is still sanctioning the worst form of judgment by thought crime for those who deviate from such beliefs. I thus recommend that anyone who preaches tolerance towards such intolerant dogma throw off their PC mantle and instead give tolerance where it is due, not where it is clearly unwarranted.


    P.S. For those who aren't yet convinced of the validity of these objections, and excusing the re-post, I re-post Fish Head Salad's video, which provides some excellent heartfelt food for thought about the moral rightness of belief in eternal damnation for all who don't follow a particular belief. Something seriously worth pondering for anyone who would embrace such a doctrine:


    http://youtu.be/pDFAmc3xHoE


    Mequa
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    (Original post by Mequa)
    Although I regret having to share a private message publicly, I feel in the best interests of openness and according to my conscience, this has to be done.

    Mequa
    I'm saddened in some ways that you thought it was right to post what was a heartfelt personal message but equally if I'm pushed to say whether I think non-christians will spend eternity away from God in hell then I have to say the answer is yes.

    The issue is that people read that and think i'm merely being stupid or judgement and that I've not thought through how hard that is. I think as well there are millions of Christians that would hold this view, hundreds in my church alone who are forced to admit that the bible's teaching is clear on this point.

    The bible says 'everyone is destined to die once and after that face judgement'.. for all the people who lived eighty years and died not knowing Jesus the idea that there decision cannot be changed 'hence your comment screw him' is just the same. So it is not the shortness of his life which affected the overall outcome, if that makes sense.

    I have to say that if we are getting truths from the bible then you are almost totally wrong in the idea that it won't matter or that we'll just forget those people and not care. The best picture of this is that in heaven Jesus will still have the marks of crucifixion on his hands and feet... the amazing contrasting truth is that our love for God will be so complete and our understanding of who he is so real that God himself will wipe every tear and we'll see the justice of the outcome as we don't see clearly at the moment.

    Of course if you stop and think about it, it would be ridiculous to think this way if all we had to go off to trust God was the teaching in this one area... however if you look at the wider biblical case, alongside things like history and science etc... then you become to see that God is more trustworthy than this first examination might show.

    We have a bad concept of God for example. If he really did create us then he has EVER RIGHT to do whatever he would want with us... but instead of punishing us to find a way to bring those who choose to accept it, a way back into eternal relationship with Him, shows much about his character that this current debate would seek to exclude. Instead of it becoming an arrogant claim it becomes an amazing and remarkably generous one... that no matter how bad you are you can know God and be loved by him!

    One day I'm trusting (from the bible which I find trustworthy) that everyone will see God and know He is the right ruler of the universe. On that day it will be too late to change our minds and sadly for many therefore it is too late... but that of course does put the emphasis on us now. You see a horrid God where I see a loving one... one of us must be right and the other wrong... or both wrong of course... the key thing is to work out who that is.

    Matt
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    I'd forgotten.

    (Original post by mattatca)
    Instead of it becoming an arrogant claim it becomes an amazing and remarkably generous one... that no matter how bad you are you can know God and be loved by him!
    That is probably my biggest issue with Christianity.
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    (Original post by Hravan)
    I'd forgotten.



    That is probably my biggest issue with Christianity.
    Can you explain what you mean sorry?
    Matt

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