Matters of Faith

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Matters of Faith

Postby rita » Wed May 10, 2006 2:06 pm

This topic may crossover with the debate on God, yet I thought I might ask how much your Faith has helped sustain you when you felt particularly despondant about dyspraxia related issues or any other difficulties you my have in your life.

Did your belief in God ever waver becuse you felt in some way forsaken(learning difference) or did you ever feel more fortunate that these difficulties help make you a stronger person?

thanks,


Rita ( wishing I had more faith these days)

P.S: Hope Miranda's okay.
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Postby Radioactive_hairgel » Wed May 10, 2006 6:15 pm

I did believe in god.
Untill my best friend died. I never got to say goodbye and then after that my other friend tried to do somthing stupid to themselves,so life pretty much fell apart for a while...
So i sort of turned away from religion and god.
I was a strict athiest, but now agnostic to the fact that perhaps somthing bigger could be out there,as i think my anger has healed a bit.
But overall i don't think, i can trust in religion again, and i am not from a religious family and in a strange way would feel embaressed to go to chuch again (the last time i went was soon after my friends death and i just couldn't do it) and dyspraxia dosen't help, but it was death that turned me away more so than anything...
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. --Will Rogers

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Postby parnassus » Wed May 10, 2006 9:04 pm

In the words of CS Lewis, "I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

If your belief in God is incumbent on nice things happening to you all the time, then it is not real. Your taste for happiness is the only real thing. True belief is not a consequence of circumstance or a response to the good things that happen in your life. To me, it is a transformative way of looking at the situation - any situation. My faith is not dependent on my circumstance; my circumstance is dependent on my faith.

There is a hymn that begins, "Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart..." This is one of the first things I say when I wake up. As a believer, I see hope flowering wherever I look - even if I'm looking at a place or a person where other people see only horror. Through prayer, the Holy One comes to live in our eyes and transforms the way we look at the world.

For an example of what I mean, look at the Gospels' description of how Jesus walked to his death with the cross. He had been whipped with iron-tipped scourges. His flesh was broken and bleeding. He had been forced to wear a crown of thorns. He must have been in agony. And as he staggered towards the place where he was to die, clutching the cross, a woman named Veronica stepped out of the crowd with a cloth. She wiped the sweat and blood from his face.

This is all we know about Veronica. That one simple gesture. I once tried to explain the significance this action has for my life to an atheist friend. She responded with, "Yeah, well, does it even matter? Jesus still died!"

Yes, he did still die...but it mattered. That one tiny action was enough to counterbalance all the hate and horror that unfolded in Jerusalem on that day. Think about it. When something very bad happens to you and you feel all alone, the smallest act of kindness is enough to remove a tremendous load from you. I want to be like Veronica. Rather than standing back and saying, "It's hopeless - we're all going to die anyway!" I want to be the one stepping forward with the cloth - ready, as Mother Teresa once said, 'to do small things with great love'.

Did your belief in God ever waver becuse you felt in some way forsaken(learning difference) or did you ever feel more fortunate that these difficulties help make you a stronger person?


My belief certainly never wavered because of my learning difference. I have always accepted that God created me this way for a reason and that it is my duty to make the best of what I have. I try to meet everything that happens to me with the same attitude. God is not like a cosmic Santa Claus, handing out presents to believers. Our lives are still difficult. But the difference is that the believer knows that the difficulty has a purpose behind it. No matter what happens, we don't go under. We live in hope.

Besides, I believe that a man named Jesus of Nazareth has already suffered every agony it is possible for me to suffer. So when I am feeling extremely upset, I sit with him in the garden of Gethsemane and keep him company. There is a species of joy even in the greatest pain.

And nothing I feel - no anger, no pain, no misery - can change the truth.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby parnassus » Wed May 10, 2006 9:06 pm

but it was death that turned me away more so than anything...


That sounds a little strange to me. You mention church, so I presume your religion is Christianity. Christians have always been pretty clear on the idea that death is not the end. :)
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby Radioactive_hairgel » Thu May 11, 2006 3:57 pm

I know, but my friend was not religious (as i was at the time), so that worried me.
And if death isn't the end- then i hope that he's happy,
but it was the sudden loss and hurt i guesse that meant the most...
sorry i should have phrased that slightly better!
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. --Will Rogers

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Postby parnassus » Thu May 11, 2006 5:50 pm

I know, but my friend was not religious (as i was at the time), so that worried me.


Do you mean that you thought he might end up in Hell?

I don't know what kind of church you attended before you ceased to go, but it may surprise you to know that the majority of Christians are not exclusivist in their theology. This means that they don't believe Heaven is for Christians alone. In my church (the Roman Catholic Church) we don't claim to know who goes where in the next life. That's God's decision. But in the words of my parish priest, "We must all prepare to get a few surprises when we see who is standing in Heaven." For many Christians, what you do in your life is far more important than what you call yourself.

If you want the theological and philosophical arguments that support this viewpoint, I would be happy to provide them.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby happy_go_lucky » Thu May 11, 2006 8:38 pm

im an atheist never really being affected by the idea of ominiepotent beings and cope with my dyspraxia on a day to day basis
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Postby Goldenhamster » Fri May 12, 2006 6:20 pm

I felt happiness and peace when it first struck me that God created me dyspraxic. Before that I had thought that I was dyspraxic by some horrible mistake, that it was all my own fault and weakness and that I would never be acceptable to anyone as a result. When I realised not only that I had been created dyspraxic, but that God had created me with a plan for my life and knew exactly how my mind works I felt security. God made me this way so that I could live the life He wanted me too. He made me talented in other respects and gave me an insight into how to use them. I cannot ask for more than that, and although dyspraxia still frustrates me, I know that it is a blessing to have been created the way I have been.

I did give up my faith once, for a couple of months. But then I made the first real friend for years, who was a Christian. Her enormous kindness to me came from God. He was using her to throw me a safety line.

You never know when trials might become blessings. Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were Dutch women sent to a concentration camp for protecting Jewish people from the Nazis. Their elderly father had already died as a result of neglect in prison from the Nazis. They were sent to Ravensbruck, where they were forced to do hard manual labour and had to stand at roll call between the hours of 3.00am and 5.00am. The guards beat them with crops. Their dormitory, build for 50 women housed nearly 300. Betsie decided to thank God for everything at Ravensbruck. Including the fleas in their dormitory. Corrie was skeptical, but agreed. But then they discovered that there was an added blessing to the fleas...the guards did not come inside their quarters and so they could smuggle medical supplies and bibles in.

Rita - Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains! So don't worry. Trust God to keep you and protect you, because He is strong enough to do so. :)
You don't have to be dyspraxic to be exeptional

But it helps!
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Wed May 24, 2006 3:08 am

parnassus wrote:
I know, but my friend was not religious (as i was at the time), so that worried me.


Do you mean that you thought he might end up in Hell?

I don't know what kind of church you attended before you ceased to go, but it may surprise you to know that the majority of Christians are not exclusivist in their theology. This means that they don't believe Heaven is for Christians alone. In my church (the Roman Catholic Church) we don't claim to know who goes where in the next life. That's God's decision. But in the words of my parish priest, "We must all prepare to get a few surprises when we see who is standing in Heaven." For many Christians, what you do in your life is far more important than what you call yourself.

If you want the theological and philosophical arguments that support this viewpoint, I would be happy to provide them.


I completely agree with you, Vicky. I know many who are non-Christians who have done much more good than many Christians I know. And there are many people in the world (ie Lance Armstrong) that stopped believing in God, but still do great things for people and act in a good way towards others. I find it hard to believe that people who don't specifically believe in Jesus or people who don't say they believe in God will not go to Heaven.

I personally am a protestant Christian of the Presbyterian faith (although I was baptized Catholic). My church is pretty liberal for Presbyterian and we agree with many of the things that your church agrees with, Vicky.

I really hope that my roommate can go to heaven too because she is right now not believing in God, but she is a wonderful person who cares a lot for others.

I have a lot of questions for God. For instance, why'd He give me a learning disability? Why does my grandma have bipolar disorder? Why did my uncle get schizophrenia? Why do certian people die at certain times and others live longer? and this may seem silly to all of you but, Why haven't The Cubs won the World Series yet? I hope they do before I get to heaven. Preferably in my dad's lifetime as well. 8) Why cancer, God? Why war, God? Why is life seemingly so easy on paper, yet so hard in reality? Why are there so many bad people in this world (ie Hitler, Saddam, Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro)? Why do babies die? Why did that little boy from my mom's class have to die from bacterial meningitis a few years ago?
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Postby Page » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:45 am

parnassus wrote:
I don't know what kind of church you attended before you ceased to go, but it may surprise you to know that the majority of Christians are not exclusivist in their theology. This means that they don't believe Heaven is for Christians alone.


Most protestants (myself included-- I happen to be a Baptist) are very exclusiveist in theology. Scripture overrules any other authority.

What I know for certain is that the Bible is very clear on the subject: John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""
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Postby Page » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:59 am

Hermionefan5 wrote:
I have a lot of questions for God. For instance, why'd He give me a learning disability? Why does my grandma have bipolar disorder? Why did my uncle get schizophrenia? Why do certian people die at certain times and others live longer? and this may seem silly to all of you but, Why haven't The Cubs won the World Series yet? I hope they do before I get to heaven. Preferably in my dad's lifetime as well. 8) Why cancer, God? Why war, God? Why is life seemingly so easy on paper, yet so hard in reality? Why are there so many bad people in this world (ie Hitler, Saddam, Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro)? Why do babies die? Why did that little boy from my mom's class have to die from bacterial meningitis a few years ago?


God has reasons for letting things happen. One thing that I know for sure is that my problems exist as a way for God to be glorified in my life, and that is enough for me. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and have to deal with it's effects-- sickness, war, etc. The whole world and everthing in it is tainted to some extent.

This affects us because, as Christians, our souls have been regenerated and are right before God, but our flesh has not been regenerated and is still subject to sin. This is why we strive to do the right thing and to please God in our hearts, but at the same time we still struggle with the desires of our flesh.
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Postby parnassus » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:52 pm

Most protestants (myself included-- I happen to be a Baptist) are very exclusiveist in theology. Scripture overrules any other authority.


Exclusivist Protestants are in the minority. The largest Christian church is the Roman Catholic Church. (We're inclusivist.) Couple us with the Orthodox, the Quakers, a bevy of Anglicans/Episcopalians, and a goodly number of Methodists, and you will see that inclusivist theology is clearly the predominant viewpoint.

Secondly, the church and its traditions were born before the Bible as we Christians know it was compiled. This means that we cannot logically approach Scripture without recourse to ancient church tradition. That would be like reading the Holy Book in a vacuum.

What I know for certain is that the Bible is very clear on the subject: John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.""


That is dependent on the way you interpret that verse. You could read it to mean that no one can go to Heaven unless he acknowledges the physical incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Or you could read it in the light of several other intriguing passages:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
John 4: 16-19


God is not just about love. God IS love. And so it follows that people of other religious traditions who are genuinely seeking God and doing their level best to love and be loved by Him cannot live outside Him. All love belongs to God. C.S. Lewis sums it up nicely:

The world does not consist of 100 per cent Christians and 100 per cent non-Christians. There are people who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name...There are other people who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by him that they are his in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. There are people in other religions who are being led by God's secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it.


It is important to remember the parable of the Good Samaritan. One victim. One priest. One Levite. One pagan. Of the three passers-by, the pagan Samaritan - enemy to Israel - was the only one who stopped to do the right thing. These men were fictional characters. Jesus could just have easily have invented the priest, the Levite, and Mr Average Jew to illustrate his point of view. But he didn't. He made the hero of his story a pagan. That has to count for something. People who believe the right thing do not necessarily live up to the right thing.

Jesus also said, "I have other sheep not of this fold."[/quote]
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Postby Page » Fri Jun 23, 2006 1:32 am

parnassus wrote:
Secondly, the church and its traditions were born before the Bible as we Christians know it was compiled. This means that we cannot logically approach Scripture without recourse to ancient church tradition. That would be like reading the Holy Book in a vacuum.

[


Human tradition should not be regarded as equal to scriputure because it is so easy to be led astray by false teachers. Without good doctrine, a church is nothing. Because of that, Scripture should always be the anchor-point that we come back to to make sure that we are on the right track.

The Early Church did not have a complete Bible, true, but the books were written as stand-alones to some degree. For example, Ephesians 3-14 contain a very concise summary of the basics of Christianity.

I'll reply to your other points when I have more time.
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Postby parnassus » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:12 pm

Human tradition should not be regarded as equal to scriputure because it is so easy to be led astray by false teachers.


Tradition is not equal to Scripture. They are fundamentally different. But we do need to look back to the traditions of the Early Church if we are to interpret Scripture successfully. If I pick up my Bible and try to read it without my glasses, I won't be able to see much. That doesn't change the fact that it is the Divine Word. But what use is the Divine Word if I can't read it? Tradition is very useful when it comes to clarifying what we read.

This reminds me of an MSN conversation I had with a friend (she's an evangelical Protestant) a few weeks ago. It is copied and pasted below:

Vicky says: How are things for you at Fulwood?

I love Sesame Street! says: I've stopped going there. I had a problem with the teaching. Or more like the lack of it.

Vicky says: Ah. Did they never give any sermons, or did you disagree with the theology?

I love Sesame Street! says: Well, I don't really have a theology. The Bible is enough by itself. God's word doesn't need adding to.

Vicky says: It doesn't need adding to, but it does need interpreting.

I love Sesame Street! says: Yes, well it can be interpreted using itself. Cross-referencing etc.

[I disagreed with this profoundly, but not wanting to cause an argument I changed the subject.]

Vicky says: So what's your new church like?

I love Sesame Street! says: Very lively, good mix of ages, great services, plenty of midweek activities.

Vicky says: How did you find it?

I love Sesame Street! says: It's great.

Vicky says: I gathered that. I meant how did you find it geographically. (See what I mean about interpreting things ;)?)

When you are dealing with an ancient document that was written in a number of different languages - some of which are now rarely spoken or dead, such as Amharic - you need to think hard about the way you are going to approach and interpret it. It makes sense to look at what the earliest Christians thought about Scripture, as they were closer in time to the apostles themselves. The Tradition that the Early Church has bequeathed us is protected by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised.
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Postby Page » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:22 pm

Well, to interpret the scriptures using tradition you would have to automatically assume that the tradition is correct in its teaching, which may not always be the case. The problem with traditions is that they are human-made and thus subject to error, whereas scripture is divinely inspired and is thus immune from error. (well, except for the apocrapha, which protestants generally ignore anyway)


Cross-referencing is a good way to understand scripture, as it helps to determine the context in which a verse is to be interpreted (globally, or to a specific situation). What do oyu have against cross-referencing? Also, the Holy Spirit provides great insight into understanding scripture, which is why non-christians have a hard time understanding it.

Also, many of the different versions that we have of the Bible have been painstakingly translated from the original Hebrew and Greek, with special emphasis being placed on accuracy. Since this helps to ensure that the doctrinal integrity of scripture is intact, you don't have to fall back on human tradition to understand it.
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