Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ultimate Reconcilliation Or Eternal Torture?

One of the main things I began to analyze when all the "dark" questions started parading in my mind some months ago...was about "Salvation" (going to heaven to be with God, as opposed to not) and how it works in relation to different people in different times/circumstances. Ill apologize right here if this blog seems to be all over the place, I have a lot to say about it...and it may even be a two or three part thing depending on how much I write. This is a lot to chew even for me:

The first big question mark came when I began to think about those in the Old Testament, who had loved and followed God but wasn't (at least not in the sense we do today) operating on the hope the Jesus died for their sins. Yet to say that all those people(and I have yet to hear anyone say this) went to Hell for all eternity merely because they couldn't "say a prayer of salvation to Jesus" persay, seems a little harsh and probably untrue.

Amoung the theories Ive heard in response, are "They were rescued from Hell and taken to Heaven when Jesus was in hell", "No one is in Heaven yet, but they knew the spirit of Jesus without actually knowing it", and the more common "They were saved by believing in the promise of a coming messiah". The later being what I had pretty much believed for many years. And I certainly see the possibility of any of those ideas. Yet at the same time, see little support of scripture for any of those assumptions.

The big problem being...that none of those really seem to cut it for me...I couldn't help but think "There's more to it than just that...its not that simple". Because if it is that simple...than those of the Jewish faith shoudlnt be turned away on Judgement day...because they too trusted in that coming of a messiah...they were just blinded from it being Jesus. If it is that simple, than all the new testament jazz about inviting the Holy spirit into your heart obviously isn't required for salvation, as much as it is "trying to follow God" which sounds a lot more like a religion of works, and not grace.

Then I began to think to something a little more relevant to our time...
Do people really go to Hell for all eternity that never knew about not only Jesus and his sacrifice, but not even God as hes portrayed in the Bible? In response to this, I often hear things like "Well in Romans 1:20 it says they have 'no excuse', God revealed Himself to them in nature so He is not responsible" . Wait a minute..."have no excuse"? What excuse does a tribe secluded from society in the middle of South America NOT have? What excuse does someone who's been raised in another religion their whole life, NEVER hearing about Jesus not have? And why does the said "excuse" have to be in regards to their salvation? What if it just meant evil in general?

And I began to ask the bigger question "Can people really be punished FOREVER for something that was never made clear to them?" and "is God so cruel that he would create the majority of humanity KNOWING they would 'choose' to be away from Him FOREVER"? Forever is an awfully long time...

Most Christians would say "Well God has to be just", but here are the problems with that:
A.God is not an earthly judge...he is perfect, he is "Love"...thus He knows the circumstances and confusions that bind us.
B.We are not born with an instruction manual straight from the hands of God...we have an "inspired" book, a book which not everyone ends up reading.
C. With that said, there are many other books that claim to contain "truth", and other than the feeling in your heart/observable evidence...its all a judgment call.
D. Choosing between absolute "truth" and absolute "lies" is not as simple as choosing between and apple or an orange...God didn't give us that ability, so obviously he left it up to interpretation...up to a subtle learning process called "life".

I think those of us that are Christians feel like we have been thrust upon a spotless pedestal of reason by which we can see the world and God clearer than anyone else. But I don't believe this is the case at all. Regardless of whether we have, by the grace of God, "grasped truth" to the fullest of human understanding in this life...not everyone has. And more often than not its not because they just "are evil sinful people who don't want to obey God". Its because they are blinded from God and the truth...it is because all these things in this life can easily distract us from God and his true purpose for us, without us really ever knowing that purpose to begin with.

Everyone is trying to seek truth and "completeness" just as equally. I truly believe that. Not everyone is out running the streets "sinning away their life" because they hate God. Its because they are in a state that they don't feel they understand what God is, or are deluded into thinking its something else than it actually is. Were designed to be filled emotionally and physically...and yet many people don't figure out why that they still come up dry after obtaining all this life has to offer, even religiously. Even those presented with Christ...even those who have BEEN true Christians sometimes come up at the end of their rope feeling lost, confused and unfulfilled. Sometimes even those that are closet to God, are torn away by Satan and his lies.

But does any of that ETERNALLY void a person to be with their creator, their completeness...simply because they weren't able to fully grasp what God created them for in this life? I would say no....and as the days go by, that "no" gets a little bit stronger.

And verse wise, I feel like this is what God has shown me in support of this...

"Isaiah 45:23-25-

23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.

24 They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength.' "
ALL who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame.

25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
will be found righteous and will exult."

Now the typical Christian would say "oh this just means everyone will give God glory in the end but it'll be too late if they didn't accept Jesus before... they're gone forever because its too late". And maybe they're right. Or maybe that's just looking at it through the typical lens they got from church...maybe that's not the way God wants us to view it. Which brings me to the next verse

"Romans 10:9

9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

these people are admitting(in the prophecy in isaiah 45) to God and are bowing their knees(obviously in worship, and reverence)...even if Hell or punishment awaits (or has already happened) does that mean they are forever cast away? These people that have "raged against him" are turning to him in that final time...and therefore I believed that even they who did not accept him now...in this life...will come to him then and ultimately be reconciled to His love, even if temporary time in Hell is a prequel or sequel as a punishment.

"1 John 2:2
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
If Jesus really died for us all...do you really think he'd just settle for a handful of people out of the billions that the Father created? Or is God really like the father in the story of the prodigal son...and even when his son strayed from him...rejoiced and forgave him when he finally came back to his father? I believe He is. I believe that tapestry that God is making can look like a mangled mess on the one side, the side we see in this life sometimes...but on the other side its becoming a beautiful, complete picture of His love and willingness to thread us all unto himself through the blood of Christ...no matter how long that takes to finish.

In the next part I'm going to go through some of the verses that seem to (or may actually) contradict this view and also some more thoughts in depth, in the meantime...feel free to comment with your thoughts. Id love to hear from you even if you don't agree at all =)

Monday, February 9, 2009

How do you KNOW?

This is something I posted on myspace/facebook not that long ago, but I thought it a good lil read to kick start this blog and the things I wanna write about. So feel free to comment and Ill be writing more:

Ok so in my months of "trial, tribulations and questioning of faith" one thing ive really kindof realized how arrogant so many christians are(and non-christians too really). Whether you fall on the ET(eternal torture) side of the "fence" or the UR(ultimate reconcilliation) side, each side still likes to act like they have the FULL support of scripture and most of all they act as if they KNOW that they are right. As if its a matter of just being "enlightened" enough by God...and to believe otherwise...well golly you might not have been saved to begin with, partner!(sarcasimm, I greatly hate when people say that to me). One thing ive realized about Christianity in general, or life in general...is that I DONT know if Im right. I dont know if Im right to lean towards universalsim, heck I dont even know if im right to believe in Chrisitanity somedays!

Now dont tune me out here...I believe in what the spirit of what I called on...Christ...Jesus...yesh
a...God who supposebly became flesh......I believe in what he did in my life when i gave my full heart to Him. I believe in Christianity...I also believe that I could very well be wrong about all my assumptions, and maybe half or all the time I thought I heard God it was somthing else entirely. . Maybe some other religion is entirley right and Im just entirely wrong? Maybe the absolute truth isnt even knowable to begin with? And I guess I get really disturbed and irked when most christians(ive been in the boat too) walk around in the clouds as if doubts, and the possiblity of them being wrong is just...OF THE DEVIL AHHHH GET AWAY SIN!!! I was actually talking to a christian the other day, trying to get her to see why I lean towards the idea of UR and so Im just asking her honest questions about the bible and our interpretations shes like "Its just best not to think".....what? really? is that what american christianty has been brainwashed to think? that truley examining our belifs and our ability to know "truth" is just a bad idea all together? How are we to grow?

And really, I think thats why salvation is more than likely universal in the end of ends or whatever of eternity...while I still believe in Christ and him being of God to pay for us.....because humans are stupid! I heard a quote somewhere and it was absolutley true "everybody thinks that they are right" ...and yet no one ever sees that. Very few people ever challenge why they believe what they do, and then when they do dont challenge their ability to be right about their new conclusions either.

lemme state that its not just a problem exclusive to Chrisitanity, its an agnostic problem, its a muslim problem, its budhist problem, its a hindu problem, its an agnostic problem, its even an athiest problem.

Where am i going with all this? i have no clue. I guess the million dollar question is "How do we really know ANYTHING?" be it be about universal reconcilliantion, christs divinitiy, the bibles validity, Gods exsistence...whether our new assumptions about anything in life are right, religious or non.....whether the color green is in fact...green....whatever youy wanna insert here.

I know that it all comes down to God granted faith in the end (or be it belif in yourself in the athiest case) but...idk. somedays I really feel like im just forcing myself to believe what Ive been taught to believe rather than what I really feel, and its hard to discern which of that is God and which is that is satan and which of that is just me. I feel the most free and oddly, the most close to God and love when I just let myself think freely and ask the hard questions and examine my own assumptions even when I totally dont get it.

one things for sure, whatever you are...completly shutting off the brain to other ways of looking at things, be it what you thought before or never heard, is never a good idea. I think thats safe to say.

The fact is...no one can prove anything in either event.

But thats pretty much the case with anything spiritual...religious...or abstract. Why state the obvious?

Just because something cannot be proved, at least not at said given point...doesnt mean no efforts to attain it or identify somthing or BELIEVE something should not be made. I cant, nor can anyone, gurantee that I will have a good paying job or a job at all after I graduate this spring. Yet that doesnt stop me from hoping, or believing that furthering my education is a good thing.

The same applies with concepts of the spiritual realm and God. I cant prove really anything...but that doesnt mean I should just shrug my shoulders in apathy at the evidence Ive been given. I can be realistic and say I cant prove exactly what the evidence means, but I can at least piece it together to the best of my God-given ability while trying to commune with that which has come into my life.

And that fact and what I feel Jesus has done in my heart and changed me and others is about the only things that keep me from being a total agnostic