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Message:
Our philosophies are not that much different...just a different perception. Love is a very misunderstood word, as true spiritual love does not exist since we are living in Apocalyptic times. I agree, in general, that the human view of sexuality is not far off from an animal. Then again, God intended sex to be a "shared" and selfless experience, but it's man that corrupted this act. Not God. Celibacy was necessary for certain prophets such as Paul to accomplish his mission. Any disturbance from the world would interfere with his work. This does not apply to the body of Christ as a whole. That's why we have the institution of marriage.

Evolution was always a hot topic between religion and science. I agree again that evolution is as real as God himself! 2 Peter 3:8 "A day is like a thousand in years to God". If you go all the way back to Genesis, chapter 1, each day of creation could have been a thousand or maybe even billions of years, as there is no time in spirit.

My Response:
We do have a very different perception of sexuality. I don't believe that sexual desire can ever be a truly selfless experience, or that it was such at one time but has been corrupted by man. If you believe in evolution, then you should appreciate the true origin and nature of this behavior. As for the argument that celibacy was something which was necessary only for certain prophets such as Paul who had a special mission to accomplish, I must say that I've heard that before and I consider it to be specious. Christ spoke of those who "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19:12), but I think that you would have to agree that there is nothing either in the remark itself or the context in which it was made that clearly indicates to an objective reader that he was referring to something pertaining only to disciples who are called to a special prophetic mission. And when Paul said that he wished that all men (that is, believers) were as he himself was (1Cor 7:7), he obviously did not see celibacy as something which should be limited to apostles such as himself, but as the most desirable condition for all Christians. Also, when he said that married women care about the things of the world while unmarried women care about the things of the Lord, that they may be holy both in body and in spirit (1Cor 7:34), it is extremely unlikely that he expected such women to embark on the sort of mission that he was engaged in.

I basically agree that God probably does not experience or is not subject to time as we are, and also that the days mentioned in Genesis 1 should not be taken as literal 24 hour days. In fact, I don't even concern myself with trying to reconcile historical or scientific evidence with the creation account because I know that there is internal evidence to suggest that the story is not factually accurate. I look upon it as a theological statement and value it for the spiritual truths it may convey. I find it significant, for example, that in the story of Adam and Eve it is indicated that the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil brought with it an awareness of their sexuality, and that their reaction seems to have been one of shame.


Message:
God said,"be fruitful and multiply". Can't do that without sex.

My Response:
The commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" is in the Old Testament, and, for me, the New Testament always takes precedence.

Response To Me:
I disagree that the New Testament always takes precedence. The Old Testament is just as important. The New compliments the Old. Christ himself used the Old Testament during his sermons in the temple. He came to fulfill it, not do away with it.

My Response:
Please understand that I do consider the Old Testament to be of importance, and I recognize that Judaism is a necessary precursor to Christianity. However, from a Christian standpoint, the Old Testament is not equivalent to the New (i.e. of equal value as a doctrinal source). Christ alluded to his doctrine as "new" (Lk 5:36-39), and also said that "the law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist], but since then the kingdom of God is preached and every man presses into it" (Lk 16:16). This indicates a difference. Surely you must recognize that Christians should give priority to the New Testament, unless you consider circumcision, observance of dietary taboos, etc. (all clearly commanded in the Old Testament) as being necessary for salvation.


Message:
Your pages were interesting, but I detect some worrying faults. While God is central to your world-view, you don't explain exactly what you mean by God, which is a major omission. In this important respect you are identical to ordinary Christians. You say at the beginning,"To me, God is everything", but you do not expand on it, so your statement is of dubious meaning. You could be saying that "God is the name I give to designate everything, the All, the Totality of all things" or you could be saying "God is the most important thing in my life". The former possibility requires further explanation.

In one of your essays you write:"What about those souls who lived and died without ever having so much as heard of Christ?". Well, if God is everything (and hence everywhere) then it doesn't matter if a person has never heard of Christ, for they can commune directly with God (or whatever name you want to use), if God should call them.

My Response:
I didn't bother to explain exactly what I meant by 'God' because 1) I mentioned that the God that I believe in is the Father of Christ, and this conveys a great deal of information about my conception of God- especially to those who have read the New Testament (which I recommend doing if you haven't). 2) I felt that the content of my pages, taken as a whole, would convey to the reader an understanding of my conception of God, even though I might not have delineated it directly. My feedback pages now also provide further clarification.

I think that the context in which I made my 'everything' statement leaves little room for confusion. The next sentence clarifies my meaning- namely, that God is the most important thing in my life.

I believe that souls can commune with God (not "the All") only through Christ (see Jn 14:16), and I believe that this must involve more than just a subjective experience uncoupled with an awareness of his life and doctrine. Christ said that the reason that he was born and came into the world was to "bear witness to the truth" (Jn 18:37), and he also said that the gospel would be "preached in all the world as a witness to all nations" (Mt 24:14). This implies that such an awareness is a necessary condition for true spiritual enlightenment and ultimate salvation. If anyone should know what it takes to have full communion with the Christian God, it would be Christ.

Response To Me:
I have a vastly different interpretation of the New Testament to yourself. I consider that everyone is the Son of God, but that only a handful of people ever realize it - "The gate is narrow", etc. I don't believe that Jesus was the only person to realize who he really was. Jesus did not commune with God through Christ, but did so directly. That's how we should do it. There's no other way we can follow in his footsteps than to do exactly what he did.

My Response:
I agree that you have a vastly different interpretation of the New Testament than I do. Read what Christ said in John 15:1-6 :

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You [the apostles] are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
Response To Me:
Assuming that Jesus spoke those words (which I think is doubtful), allow me to give you my interpretation of the passage you suggested: When Jesus says "I am the true vine" he is speaking of himself as a truly realized person who has established a direct relationship to God. In contrast to the Pharisees, who have no true knowledge and connection to God, Jesus is properly qualified to lead people towards God. The second sentence echoes the first. Through a direct relationship to God, Jesus has been able to purify himself, which he would not otherwise have been able to do. In the fourth sentence Jesus is basically saying the same as all the Indian gurus- that you cannot become enlightened without going through an enlightened master. This is an idea I strongly disagree with, because I myself have established a relationship with God without having gone through any intermediary. I was originally a vine, and God was the vinedresser. The fifth sentence is exactly what all the Indian gurus say. It's basically just a way of getting followers attached to you and stopping people from thinking for themselves. If, on the other hand, Jesus is speaking from the perspective of God, which, if he is wise, he is well able to do, then what he says makes sense. For God is the vine, without which one can do nothing.

My Response:
I don't buy it. Although you are seemingly able to interpret the first two sentences in accordance with your views, and therefore agree that Jesus may have had a true knowledge of and connection to God, when it comes to the remainder you simply dismiss him as being the same as all the Indian gurus (i.e. a charlatan). I think that it is clear, not only from John 15:1-6 but other New Testament passages as well, that Christ saw himself as being more than just an enlightened spiritual teacher. He asserted that he was the spiritual intermediary between God and men. You also seem to recognize that he did. What it basically comes down to is that you reject the Christ of the New Testament, which you are free to do. I don't. I have no problem with being a branch.


Message:
Very impressed with your views. You are a free thinker, rare in these days we live in. I would like to offer you some advice. On your own, learn more about Buddhism. Buddhism does not say anything about GOD or anything religious. It only offers a view of the universe while we are here. Your views are very similar to this. I don't suggest you conform to Buddhist rhetoric, because real Buddhists don't have any. I only suggest that you look at what they have to say (i.e. about isolation, doing good, the meaning of life, etc.).

My Response:
I have read some Buddhist philosophy. At first, I too thought that it was similar to Christ's doctrine, but, as I got deeper into it and thought more about it, I realized that there were important differences between them- some subtle and some not so subtle (such as the fact that Buddhism is essentially atheistic). The Buddhist concept of 'nirvana' definitely seems to me to be quite different from what Christ and his apostles meant by eternal life, and it doesn't appeal to me. Actually, some of the elements of Buddhism strike me as being rather similar to the pagan concept of living according to the 'golden mean'.

One positive thing that I can say about Gautama Buddha is that he seems to have been a person who was really driven to try to find and understand the truth, and was not content with his life in the world or the usual answers offered by human religions. I consider that to be good. Leo Tolstoy is another person who, in my opinion, had that same inner hunger for truth. However, I believe that he, like Gautama Buddha, was mistaken in the conclusions he came to.


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