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  1. #1
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Default Inclusive Christianity?

    The other day I was talking to a man who declares himself to be a devoted Christian and he said something which shocked me. It was something to the effect that it doesn't matter what religion one professes "because it's all the same God anyway."

    I remember when political correctness began to take hold in popular culture and at that time I was still a practicing Christian. Tangled in the mess of p.c. I made an attempt to convince myself that this was a truism.

    The reason his statement shocked me was because I just realized for the first time that a Bible-believing Christian cannot make that statement without violating a tenet of their faith.

    I do understand the concept of an Ultimate Spirit which drives the universe but, unless one picks and chooses what to subscribe to and what to reinterpret in the Bible, according to scripture that would have to be the Triune God and none other.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    I appreciate respectful discussion of all views.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

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    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Inclusive as in Christianity being intrusive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves), invasive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves) and corrosive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves), to society and mankind, yes.
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  3. #3
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    The other day I was talking to a man who declares himself to be a devoted Christian and he said something which shocked me. It was something to the effect that it doesn't matter what religion one professes "because it's all the same God anyway."

    I remember when political correctness began to take hold in popular culture and at that time I was still a practicing Christian. Tangled in the mess of p.c. I made an attempt to convince myself that this was a truism.

    The reason his statement shocked me was because I just realized for the first time that a Bible-believing Christian cannot make that statement without violating a tenet of their faith.

    I do understand the concept of an Ultimate Spirit which drives the universe but, unless one picks and chooses what to subscribe to and what to reinterpret in the Bible, according to scripture that would have to be the Triune God and nonother.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    I appreciate respectful discussion of all views.
    I sincerely hope this is the last time I quote a bible verse on this forum but since you specified "bible-believing," I think 1 John pretty much cuts to the chase on this matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 John 4, 7-12:
    7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[b] into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for[c] our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
    I don't think your friend is saying that there are other gods besides the Triune God of the bible. In his opinion, no other gods exist, and so it's impossible to worship another god. As a result, other religions can't help but worship the Triune God of the bible. He probably thinks they get the number/name/particulars wrong, but it doesn't matter much as long as they have love.
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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Ach. I hadn't meant to entice evangelizers here at all, Ivy. I can understand your reluctance to quote the Bible on such a diverse forum where perhaps people may take my OP as an opportunity to convert others or to register complaints about Christianity.

    Not intended. I was thinking in terms of the kinds of mental gymnastics one must perform in order to make this leap considering that there is a verse that states that none come to Him but through Jesus. Can't quote it offhand.

    I'm glad that you understood what I was asking. Your reasoning makes sense to me.

    Others here who practice the art of p.c. who have confronted this dillemma?
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Ach. I hadn't meant to entice evangelizers here at all, Ivy. I can understand your reluctance to quote the Bible on such a diverse forum where perhaps people may take my OP as an opportunity to convert others or to register complaints about Christianity.

    Not intended. I was thinking in terms of the kinds of mental gymnastics one must perform in order to make this leap considering that there is a verse that states that none come to Him but through Jesus. Can't quote it offhand.
    I am the way, and so on? I think that verse viewed in light of 1 John could mean that none come to God except through Jesus, but that anyone who has love is going through Jesus whether they realize it or not.

    I personally approach the bible mostly as literature (albeit literature with a special meaning to me), so justifying everything with a bible verse doesn't really concern me, but this is how I've heard it explained.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChick View Post
    Inclusive as in Christianity being intrusive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves), invasive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves) and corrosive, (you're a sinner/Jesus saves), to society and mankind, yes.
    It's okay, CC, Jesus still wants to save you.
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    ~ John Rogers

  7. #7

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    I feel much the same way as your friend. When I (infrequently) attend church, I go to a Catholic church because that's how I was raised and I'm comfortable in it. But I don't necessarily think that the Catholic church is the "best" or "most accurate" church. It's just what I'm used to, so why not?

    I think the key part of your post is the "Bible-believing" part. I think the slavish devotion to the Bible might be the worst thing that ever happened to Christianity.
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    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    The reason his statement shocked me was because I just realized for the first time that a Bible-believing Christian cannot make that statement without violating a tenet of their faith.
    I'm a Bible-believing Christian, and while I don't think every other religion is true, I don't necessarily think every other religion is false either. Although my version of Bible-believing doesn't involve looking at one passage and then putting all of my faith into it. I try to look for recurring themes instead, and I try to put all of the statements into context as much as I am able.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    I say and think the same thing as your man there all the time.

    The key thing is that you said "no Bible believing Christian". That's a heavily loaded phrase. Not every Christian gives the same value to the Bible as you do or interprets it the same way. For instance, consider the following quote:

    "Nobody comes to the father, except through me" (John 18:12)

    You're probably used to that being interpreted as "only Christians go to heaven and all other religions are wrong" or something along that line. But you might not have heard an alternative interpretation: "whichever route you take to God, you will come across Jesus in some guise or another along the way".

    Your dude is probably a liberal. And no, that doesn't mean a person enslaved to PC nonsense that stands there wringing his hands and not really believing anything. Far from it. FAR from it. Christian Liberalism FAR predates what we know in the present day as "political correctness". The latter is a corruption of the former, not the other way round.

    I'm for a purer meaning of the word "Christian", personally: follower of Christ's teachings. That is, CHRIST'S teachings. Not Paul's teachings about Christ's teachings, but from the horse's mouth, in as far as we're able to know them. I might not agree with Paul on everything or many of the other Biblical authors. But that's because I don't feel the need to; I don't believe that the sole author of the Bible is God.

    I've talked at length to many Hindus and Muslims and seen in them (the more dedicated ones at least) a person making an enormous effort to live their life according to principles taught in their religion which are exactly the same as those taught by Christ. I personally believe that their teachings come from the same divine inspiration as those of Christianity and also just like Christianity, they've been corrupted and abused over the centuries. But careful thought, prayer, reflection and study can pretty quickly reward the seeker of truth because after all, the Truth wants to be known. It hasn't hidden itself, we've hidden it. Uncover the layers of shit that humankind has covered it with and there it is, shiny and new as always.

    In the sense that my Hindu friend follows the teachings of Christ, believing him to have been an avatar (flesh incarnation) of the One God (Brahman to him, Yahweh to you), he is as much a Christian as I am...

    All of which argument comes to nothing if you still insist on not seeing me as a Christian because I'm not "Bible-believing" in the sense you mean it.
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  10. #10
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    The other day I was talking to a man who declares himself to be a devoted Christian and he said something which shocked me. It was something to the effect that it doesn't matter what religion one professes "because it's all the same God anyway."

    ...

    The reason his statement shocked me was because I just realized for the first time that a Bible-believing Christian cannot make that statement without violating a tenet of their faith.

    I do understand the concept of an Ultimate Spirit which drives the universe but, unless one picks and chooses what to subscribe to and what to reinterpret in the Bible, according to scripture that would have to be the Triune God and none other.
    The Bible does promote a particular view of God. Whether or not someone accepts it as a consistent view or sees it as a cobbled-together view over centuries (starting with the Israelite's monotheistic version and then moving into a more Trinitarian view later along with a dualistic developing Satan figure) is up to independent interpretation. Also, how "specific and exclusive" those details are considered can vary from person to person.

    So if you just approach things in terms of Te-style thought, a personal God cannot be an impersonal god. If people are human beings, then they are not God, and vice versa. And so on. So you can't say "all religions are the same," technically. Because sometimes they do have competing views on purity and sin, truth and lies, light and dark, personal and impersonal, etc.

    My personal view is very much summed up by what Ivy said, even after I grew up in the more conservative church. John has always resonated with me. Especially when Ivy says, "... none come to God except through Jesus, but that anyone who has love is going through Jesus whether they realize it or not," well, that is my intuition as well; and a similar idea was espoused by CS Lewis in Narnia's "The Last Battle" and probably by other Christian-style thinkers as well.

    Even if one debates the details of Jesus, we know a tree by its fruit. I've seen good fruit on people from various proclaimed religious faiths. They have the same things in common (humility, acceptance of their humanity, lack of pretense, passion, sacrifice, love, kindness, gentleness, hope). I've also seen lots of religious people who produce god-awful fruit, regardless of the faith they proclaim so loudly. I've seen lives destroyed and spirits crushed in the name of "god" and I denounce that as darkness, not light.

    At this point in my life, I do have to call a spade a spade... and a rose a rose (although by any name the rose still smells as sweet).
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