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My thoughts on Religion

Well, I know this will be a controversial topic. But after the Supreme Court yesterday, apparently, smoking all kinds of crack. I thought I'd put my 2 cents out there.

1. I am not very religious
2. I do not believe in a "religion" (ex. Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu)
3. I do not believe God wanted us to have them.
4. God never said he was a "Christian"
5. God didn't say he was anything.
6. God said "I am God."
7. The Ten Commandments are law. There should be more.
8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.
9. The Bible is the Bible. It's black and white. It's not open for interpretation, it's law, follow it. Although I am sure all of us would love to sit down and talk to God and ask him what he meant by certain things.
10. God didn't write the Bible. Men did. God inspired it.
----------------------
Things I am confused about

1. If Jesus is God's son, how are Jesus, God, and they Holy Spirit, one person? Isn't that physically impossible? And when Jesus died, he said "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit". So Jesus Died. Gave his spirit to God, who again, is a different person. But I thought they were one?
2. Who is the Pope?
3. Who is right?
4. Should we stop interpreting the Bible and start following it?
5. How does the Bible fit into modern society? For example, Abortion.. Bible says it's wrong... Okay... Well Someone rapes your 11 year old daughter, and she becomes pregnant.. is it wrong then? If you say, "Well the Rape should have never taken place in the first place" Good point. I agree.. But it happened... what now?

Comments

Joel Esler said…
Steve,

Thank you for your comments, and in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.

Just wanted to make that clear..

My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?
Joel Esler said…
Steve,Thank you for your comments, and in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.Just wanted to make that clear..My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?
Joel Esler said…
Steve,Thank you for your comments, and in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.Just wanted to make that clear..My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?
Pilgrim said…
Alright Joel...this is coming at you as a Christian, free from any and all other labels. I've attended Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Weslyan, Pentacostal, and Primitive Baptist "churches" and found them all fulfilling because they all "preached" the same thing. That Jesus is God's Son. That God sent Jesus to Earth as a sacrifice for all my sins. That believing in the previous sentence and accepting the gift that God gave me(Jesus' sacrifice which is often stated as accepting Jesus as my Savior) then I can spend Eternity with God when I die.

After all the discussion on the questions you have, it boils down to that.

I will take a stab at your last comment. Who are you to believe what another person says? How about this. If I told you that IE is an excellent browser you would laugh me off of the web. Why? Because you *KNOW* it's a damnable lie through your experience. You can show me a gazillion ActiveX exploits, W3c and ADA Standards being violated and/or ignored, as well as the fact that it's tied so tightly to the OS that ANY security issue suddenly becomes a r00t'n waiting to happen.

Now, if I tell you that the ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus why should you believe me? Well, honestly, you shouldn't. What you *SHOULD* do however is take a look around you and read the Bible. Maybe check out a couple churches in your area, talk with Pastors, and EXPERIENCE the Faith lived out in the lives of other Christians. Here's the tough part(at least it was for me), set your pride aside. Open up your mind and heart. The questions you have may well be answered in the words you read and hear or by other words/thoughts that enter your mind. As I'm sure you've already found, God doesn't speak in cloud shattering screams. He has a still, quiet voice that can be overwhelmed by pride just as your reasoned voice won't sway those who have drank from the M$ punchbowl.

I'm more than willing to take stabs at your other questions and I may well do that on my blog. To get an idea where I am on Christian Faith check this out. It's from an earlier incarnation of Confessions that I brought along to the new version.

Lastly, I want to say something about definitions. I don't see Christianity as a "religion" so much but more as a "faith". "Religion" is Man's search for God. "Faith" is what you have when you have already FOUND God. When a Christian claims they are "religious" I get that itch in my throat that, if left unsquelched, results in a rant that reveals I am far more "religious" than "faithful" at the moment. ;)
Pilgrim said…
Steve g. -

Alright...I can't help myself...Thought I could avoid it but it's just eating at me so here it comes. ;)

Steve said:

8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over all
Governments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.

He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.


I have a slight nit to pick here. There's a HUGE difference between Peter, chosen by Christ his ownself, and the very next leader of the Catholic branch of Christian Faith. Now, I'm not prepared to go down through all of Luther's thesis' and there's no point to refighting the Reformation all over again. For me, as a Protestant, the position of Pope is really no better than my local Pastor. There have been many GREAT Popes, JPII among the greatest in my opinion, but the claim that the Pope is infallable I can't quite grasp. Peter, while being crucified upside down, was no different than the Peter who heard the cock crow that third time, or the Peter who was at Pentacost. Surely, he was Blessed by Christ, but to claim he was SINLESS(infallable) is...well...the difference between my Protestant Faith and your Catholic Faith. ;)

Again, the bottom line is that we both agree that Christ's Sacrifice, and our acceptance of that Gift, is what's important.
Pilgrim said…
Steve g. - Alright...I can't help myself...Thought I could avoid it but it's just eating at me so here it comes. ;)Steve said:8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over allGovernments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.I have a slight nit to pick here. There's a HUGE difference between Peter, chosen by Christ his ownself, and the very next leader of the Catholic branch of Christian Faith. Now, I'm not prepared to go down through all of Luther's thesis' and there's no point to refighting the Reformation all over again. For me, as a Protestant, the position of Pope is really no better than my local Pastor. There have been many GREAT Popes, JPII among the greatest in my opinion, but the claim that the Pope is infallable I can't quite grasp. Peter, while being crucified upside down, was no different than the Peter who heard the cock crow that third time, or the Peter who was at Pentacost. Surely, he was Blessed by Christ, but to claim he was SINLESS(infallable) is...well...the difference between my Protestant Faith and your Catholic Faith. ;) Again, the bottom line is that we both agree that Christ's Sacrifice, and our acceptance of that Gift, is what's important.
Pilgrim said…
Steve g. - Alright...I can't help myself...Thought I could avoid it but it's just eating at me so here it comes. ;)Steve said:8. God should appoint some dude on Earth as his representative, that dude should be over allGovernments and Courts, and when a decision gets that high, that dude should turn around and ask God, hey God, whatcha think... and then therefore.. it is.He did. He is called the Pope. He is the 265th successor to Peter, the chief apostle of Jesus.I have a slight nit to pick here. There's a HUGE difference between Peter, chosen by Christ his ownself, and the very next leader of the Catholic branch of Christian Faith. Now, I'm not prepared to go down through all of Luther's thesis' and there's no point to refighting the Reformation all over again. For me, as a Protestant, the position of Pope is really no better than my local Pastor. There have been many GREAT Popes, JPII among the greatest in my opinion, but the claim that the Pope is infallable I can't quite grasp. Peter, while being crucified upside down, was no different than the Peter who heard the cock crow that third time, or the Peter who was at Pentacost. Surely, he was Blessed by Christ, but to claim he was SINLESS(infallable) is...well...the difference between my Protestant Faith and your Catholic Faith. ;) Again, the bottom line is that we both agree that Christ's Sacrifice, and our acceptance of that Gift, is what's important.
Joel Esler said…
wayne, i don't mind if you post my name, just make sure people know it's a friendly discussion, and I am just overwhelmingly confused and would like people's viewpoints.
Pilgrim said…
I'll make the point clear. ;) I'm gonna try and write something up over lunch today...failing that it will be this evening.
steve g. said…
>>>>in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.

I appreciate that. Thanks for clarifying.

>>>My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?

I understand your predicament and have traveled a very similar path. I was raised nominally Catholic, then was evangelical, agnostic, studied (from a distance) hinduism, Islam, etc., etc. There are so many voices. For my part, and for what it's worth, the one voice I consistently couldn't shake was that of Christ. The claims and the teachings really were much more than any others claimed and were of a different nature. They weren't based in the revelations of a particular person (Mohammed, John Smith, Buddha, etc.). Rather they were the historical claims of those who followed Jesus. These were facts that were either true or not and did not rely on trusting the revelation of a single person. They rather relied on the witness of these events as attested by many people (that he was risen). I find it amazing that the claims were made, but I find the alternative explanations of the facts weak and unconvincing. Once I accepted the historicity of Jesus, I then started studying the writings of the men whom lived and learned from the apostles and I was stunned to find that the claims of the Catholic church as to structure (bishops, priests, etc.) are already taken for granted that early in Church history. I came to Catholicism begrudgingly, but did so because I was convinced that both the NT and history attested that like it or not, this was what Christ had set up and intended.

It's hard to condense all the study and prayer that was involved in a comment box without writing a book. I'll again refer you to some resources if you are interested in the claims being made. First, for anyone I'd again highly recommend C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. This slim book has been instrumental in answering the question you raise (excellent ones by the way) for a multitude of people over the last 50 years or so. Please, please, please check it out. For my own part, it was the first rational and intelligent defense of Christian orthodox teaching I had encountered.
steve g. said…
Pilgram,
First, while I put a good bit more stock in 'Church' than you do, I want to commend you for your excellent comments and advice to Joel. At heart you are correct that it's about Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.

As for the pope, It's just very difficult (and I have to leave for Jury duty in about 2 minutes!) to address in comments box discussion. Maybe when I get back from jury duty, we can find a way to further discuss it. For now, suffice it to say that I used to think exactly as you did, but it was based largely on a misunderstanding of what infallibility is and what is being claimed for the papacy. Please check out the links at Catholic answers on the topic to discover how Catholics view these issues and maybe that can be a spring board for further discussion as well.

http://www.catholic.com/ (in the library section on the left hit the link for Church and Papacy).

Like I said, I have jury duty, so I may be off line for anywhere from a couple days to a week. Rest assurred, I'll check up when I can as I am enjoying the discussion.

Joel, again Mere Christianity. Read it, please!
Joel Esler said…
wayne, i don't mind if you post my name, just make sure people know it's a friendly discussion, and I am just overwhelmingly confused and would like people's viewpoints.
Joel Esler said…
wayne, i don't mind if you post my name, just make sure people know it's a friendly discussion, and I am just overwhelmingly confused and would like people's viewpoints.
Pilgrim said…
I'll make the point clear. ;) I'm gonna try and write something up over lunch today...failing that it will be this evening.
Pilgrim said…
I'll make the point clear. ;) I'm gonna try and write something up over lunch today...failing that it will be this evening.
steve g. said…
>>>>in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.I appreciate that. Thanks for clarifying.>>>My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?I understand your predicament and have traveled a very similar path. I was raised nominally Catholic, then was evangelical, agnostic, studied (from a distance) hinduism, Islam, etc., etc. There are so many voices. For my part, and for what it's worth, the one voice I consistently couldn't shake was that of Christ. The claims and the teachings really were much more than any others claimed and were of a different nature. They weren't based in the revelations of a particular person (Mohammed, John Smith, Buddha, etc.). Rather they were the historical claims of those who followed Jesus. These were facts that were either true or not and did not rely on trusting the revelation of a single person. They rather relied on the witness of these events as attested by many people (that he was risen). I find it amazing that the claims were made, but I find the alternative explanations of the facts weak and unconvincing. Once I accepted the historicity of Jesus, I then started studying the writings of the men whom lived and learned from the apostles and I was stunned to find that the claims of the Catholic church as to structure (bishops, priests, etc.) are already taken for granted that early in Church history. I came to Catholicism begrudgingly, but did so because I was convinced that both the NT and history attested that like it or not, this was what Christ had set up and intended. It's hard to condense all the study and prayer that was involved in a comment box without writing a book. I'll again refer you to some resources if you are interested in the claims being made. First, for anyone I'd again highly recommend C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. This slim book has been instrumental in answering the question you raise (excellent ones by the way) for a multitude of people over the last 50 years or so. Please, please, please check it out. For my own part, it was the first rational and intelligent defense of Christian orthodox teaching I had encountered.
steve g. said…
>>>>in no way shape or form was I at any point, attempting to insult you, ever.I appreciate that. Thanks for clarifying.>>>My problem is that I have heard so many different views, from so many different Angles, from the Atheists, from a Southern Baptist upbringing, to Methodist, to Catholic, to Shaman teachings, I have no idea what to believe anymore, I have no one to explain it to me, and what faith am I to have to believe what that person says?I understand your predicament and have traveled a very similar path. I was raised nominally Catholic, then was evangelical, agnostic, studied (from a distance) hinduism, Islam, etc., etc. There are so many voices. For my part, and for what it's worth, the one voice I consistently couldn't shake was that of Christ. The claims and the teachings really were much more than any others claimed and were of a different nature. They weren't based in the revelations of a particular person (Mohammed, John Smith, Buddha, etc.). Rather they were the historical claims of those who followed Jesus. These were facts that were either true or not and did not rely on trusting the revelation of a single person. They rather relied on the witness of these events as attested by many people (that he was risen). I find it amazing that the claims were made, but I find the alternative explanations of the facts weak and unconvincing. Once I accepted the historicity of Jesus, I then started studying the writings of the men whom lived and learned from the apostles and I was stunned to find that the claims of the Catholic church as to structure (bishops, priests, etc.) are already taken for granted that early in Church history. I came to Catholicism begrudgingly, but did so because I was convinced that both the NT and history attested that like it or not, this was what Christ had set up and intended. It's hard to condense all the study and prayer that was involved in a comment box without writing a book. I'll again refer you to some resources if you are interested in the claims being made. First, for anyone I'd again highly recommend C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. This slim book has been instrumental in answering the question you raise (excellent ones by the way) for a multitude of people over the last 50 years or so. Please, please, please check it out. For my own part, it was the first rational and intelligent defense of Christian orthodox teaching I had encountered.
Pilgrim said…
You can't go wrong with CS Lewis. Mere Christianity is a great book. Another one that had me laughing my abundant butt off was The Screwtape Letters by the same author. A more modern version of Screwtape is Lord Foulgrin's Letter by Randy Alcorn. Same "world" if you will just updated.

Steve - Please come visit Confessions of a Pilgrim. I'm always up for discussions on Faith. Drives my wife nuts because I'll invite the Jehovah's Witness folks inside for a nice chat...kids and all. ;) My site is listed in Joel's links as "Wayne's IA site".
Pilgrim said…
You can't go wrong with CS Lewis. Mere Christianity is a great book. Another one that had me laughing my abundant butt off was The Screwtape Letters by the same author. A more modern version of Screwtape is Lord Foulgrin's Letter by Randy Alcorn. Same "world" if you will just updated.Steve - Please come visit Confessions of a Pilgrim. I'm always up for discussions on Faith. Drives my wife nuts because I'll invite the Jehovah's Witness folks inside for a nice chat...kids and all. ;) My site is listed in Joel's links as "Wayne's IA site".
Pilgrim said…
You can't go wrong with CS Lewis. Mere Christianity is a great book. Another one that had me laughing my abundant butt off was The Screwtape Letters by the same author. A more modern version of Screwtape is Lord Foulgrin's Letter by Randy Alcorn. Same "world" if you will just updated.Steve - Please come visit Confessions of a Pilgrim. I'm always up for discussions on Faith. Drives my wife nuts because I'll invite the Jehovah's Witness folks inside for a nice chat...kids and all. ;) My site is listed in Joel's links as "Wayne's IA site".
steve g. said…
Joel, if you are interested in following this particular discussion further, I've commented on Confessions of a Pilgram blog as well and may comment further here at a later time.
steve g. said…
Joel, if you are interested in following this particular discussion further, I've commented on Confessions of a Pilgram blog as well and may comment further here at a later time.
steve g. said…
Joel, if you are interested in following this particular discussion further, I've commented on Confessions of a Pilgram blog as well and may comment further here at a later time.
Joel Esler said…
Read my follow up article here for more info.

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