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      12-30-2014, 02:32 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
128, don't go away. I enjoy reading this, even if I have a differing opinion/interpretation (aka free will)

My recollections, from a Roman Catholic background:
Jesus was the sacrificial lamb that was sacrificed to open the door to heaven. Before him no one who died ever made it. They weren't cast into hell, but still without the sacrifice of obedience to the death on the cross, that door was closed. Hence why it was via Jesus that all were saved. But equally, the path the heaven leads directly thru Jesus, and acknowledging him as the Son. Without that, no ticket. So the path is AVAILABLE to all (Jews and Gentiles) but you must use your free will and choose to accept Jesus as your savior to make that journey.
It's one view. Another is as detailed two posts up, that salvation is universal and unconditional. It would be fun to know the innermost view of the present Pope, yes? Or get his answer to my two questions above. He's a Jesuit who's shocked many Catholics, in many ways, already.

I'm not going away, just not going to debate the meaning of the Bible. I merely say that the idea of universal salvation by a loving God is more than a weird fringe belief. It is held and has been held by some very serious religious authorities.

I believe in not questioning the personal religious views of anyone. It gets tricky when they're adamant that they're right and those of other views are wrong. Particularly when they say that those of other religious views are damned to eternal torment, no matter how they've led their life. I'm pretty firm on the concept that actions are more important than thoughts. Certainly in this life <grin>.

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      12-30-2014, 07:05 PM   #68
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A priest impressed me about 18 months ago as I sat in church with my son getting ready for him to start Confirmation classes. It's not St. Peter that will judge me when I get to the gates of God's house. God will ask his son Jesus if I'm his friend or not. J-dude says yes, I'm in.

It's an updated version of the parables of the past

I would truly enjoy sitting down and breaking some bread and sipping some wine with the Pope. I remember the local bishop telling the mother of a child I baptized that I was a model Catholic and she made a great choice. A few years pass, my 1st wife leaves and breaks her vows, and suddenly I no longer am anywhere near that category.

Can't no human, and I doubt Jesus himself, tell me that what emerged after that is anything less than an act of love as I live with my current wife.
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      12-31-2014, 02:29 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Since you insist, here's a small sample. As I said, this debate is not "little", there are a great many Christian authoriies who support universalism.

"Contrary to what many would suppose, universalism, understood as above, receives strong scriptural support in the New Testament. Indeed, I judge the support strong enough that if I had to choose between universalism and anti-universalism as the "position of Scripture," I'd pick universalism as the fairly clear winner. But more on that later. For now, here's three passages which support universalism.

I Corinthians 15:22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Note the "all."

Colossians 1:20. 19 For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Note again the "all." Show me someone burning in hell, and I'll show you someone who's not yet been reconciled to God. So, show me someone who's under divine punishment forever, or who is simply annihilated, and I'll show you someone who's never reconciled to God through Christ, and thus someone who gives the lie to this passage.

Romans 5:18 : 18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.

For whom will Christ's act of righteousness lead to acquittal and life? Answer: " all men." Show me someone who never enjoys acquittal and life, and I'll show someone for whom Christ's act of righteousness didn't lead to acquittal and life, and thus someone who gives the lie to this verse."

More here.

http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/un...-derose.html#2.

Some more.

"Love Worketh no ill". Rom. 13:10 This is a very forcible argument. God's nature is the very essence of benevolence, and benevolence cannot be the origin of endless evil. If love worketh no ill, God can work no ill, and, therefore, God cannot be the author of endless evil. [this is the basic argument of Rob Bell, a very influential Christian minister]

"Thou hast given him power over all flesh, THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM." John 17:2 This plainly evinces, that it was God's design, in giving Christ dominion over all flesh, that they should all enjoy eternal life.

1 Tim. 2:6 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN." Heb. 2:9 "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD." 1 John 2:2 Here are three expressions: 1st, "ALL"; 2nd, "EVERY MAN"; 3rd, "THE WHOLE WORLD". It seems as though the sacred writers took the utmost care to guard against being misunderstood in this important particular.

This, to me is quite fundamental.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked". (Ezek. 33:11) Death, and sin, and pain, may exist for a time, but if God has no pleasure in them of themselves, they are not the end at which he aims, but the means by which he accomplishes that end. The end in which God rests as his PLEASURE, DESIGN, or purpose, must be essentially benevolent, because he is essentially a benevolent God. Neither death, nor sin, no pain, can be his ULTIMATE plan or pleasure. They are the means by which his holy and righteous designs are carried into effect.

I'll not play this game, of debating whose views on religion are Biblically correct, farther. The Bible can be interpreted to support many views. You may think our personal views on whether the Bible supports universal salvation or eternal hell for all who simply don't believe the correct dogma, are more convincing than the views of wise men who have been studying this for years, I don't.

Universal salvation is hardly a fringe viewpoint, it is a principle held by many Christians, past and present. Who quote the Bible to support it, just as you quote the Bible to support your view.

I too am not trying to promote my position, merely stating historical fact. Since I'm completely uncertain as to whether or not a higher power exists, I can hardly be certain that universal salvation exists. I merely think that, if an awesome higher power that created the universe exists, I would think that universal salvation would be more his style, rather than eternal damnation for people who simply don't believe the "right" things. Such pettiness would be far below them.

Let me ask you two questions. If a non-Christian leads an unquestionably moral life, bestowing many kindnesses on other people and doing major good works, do you think that, if they do not accept Christ as their divine Savior, but simply as a good man, and the Bible as simply a good book (lower case), rather than the inerrant word of God, they are subject to eternal torment? Is the Dalai Lama damned to Hell?
If salvation is universal, and available/guaranteed for everyone without making a conscious choice (e.g. acknowledging and accepting the sacrifice of Christ), then what is everyone being saved from? If there is no hell, then what is everyone being saved from?

Fortunately it's none of our decision whether the Dalai Lama is damned to Hell or not (or anyone else - good or evil). But if you believe what the Bible states, no one comes to the Father (salvation from hell) except through the Son (Jesus) (John 14:6).

In my interpretation, you have taken the verses you cite above out of context:

-1 Corinthians 15:22 - all are indeed made alive in Christ, but it doesn't say all are granted salvation. You could also interpret that all are made alive after death to face judgement - which is supported in many other places in the bible.

-Colossians 1:20 - clearly states that God is reconciled to mankind because of Christ's sacrifice. Read the preceding 19 verses to keep the verse in context - it's clearly referring to people who accept Christ as the sacrifice; not everyone.

-Romans 5:18 - again, read the preceding verses to get the context. Same with the Timothy passage.

An analogy: If I hand out coupons for a free dinner to everyone I see (Christ's sacrifice), and everyone shows up for the free dinner (dies and stands at Judgement Day), but I only feed the ones who brought the coupon (those who acknowledge and accept Christ) - read the verses you quote with that in mind: God/Christ made the sacrifice which is offered to all, but not all will accept, and then face judgement. It's our free will to use the coupon, or ignore it - and either will have consequences.

Regarding Universalism - it apparently sprang from various Christian sects over the past several hundred years, but in the 1940's it was merged with non-Christian faiths, and today is not an exclusively Christian religion. When speaking of past Universalist positions, doctrines, etc., it is important to keep in mind whether you are referring to the Christian Universalist position, or the "all-in" Universalist.
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      12-31-2014, 10:57 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
If salvation is universal, and available/guaranteed for everyone without making a conscious choice (e.g. acknowledging and accepting the sacrifice of Christ), then what is everyone being saved from? If there is no hell, then what is everyone being saved from?
Universalists don't believe everyone is being saved from hell. Everyone (no exceptions) is being saved to heaven. It's a positive message.

universalism as a concept within religion is far older than Universalism as an organized religion.

My question to Dalko43 was not "should" the Dalai Lama be sent to eternal torment? It was does he personally believe the Dalai Lama will be? He asked me if Universalists believe Hitler will be saved (they do, I've asked a Universalist minister that obvious question). This is the flip side of that.

Christians may think it's important to distinguish Christian Universalists from non-Christian Universalists. Universalists don't. In their religion everyone is saved, Christian or not.

And, full circle, universalism is one answer of many to the title of this thread. "Many paths up one mountain". If you believe in the mountain, that is.

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      01-02-2015, 02:28 AM   #71
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The question I have for any universalist is if everyone gets in, why then did Jesus die on the cross? If everyone gets in, then God the Son left the glories of heaven, entered our world of suffering and died a torturous death all for nothing!!!

For me it has to come down to the exclusivity of truth and what that means. Truth by definition is exclusive...in fact every religion teaches exclusivity whether you like it or not. Even something like bahaism which lumps everything together says ultimately "were right and everyone else is wrong". So is there a belief system that actually is true? If there is a God, has He let us in on who He is, or is He happy to be this vague entity that is impersonal and can't be known?

My God tells me He loves me and would trade the whole universe just for me, even when I feel at my most unlovable. To be forgiven is to be set free, but to be forgiven only comes when we acknowledge the forgiver and the price that was paid for that forgiveness!!

The problem I think a lot of people have is we try to put this infinite God into the confines of our finite minds, and it doesn't work. We like to pretend that we are the moral centre of the universe and say things like " my God wouldn't do thus and so..." Dangerous ground when we start determining where right and wrong are based on our feelings. Some people just couldn't possibly allow God to be on centre stage, because they feel their intellect is so amazing, and sufficient thank you very much, they don't need some restrictive God telling them what and what not to do.

Just like a parent knows their child needs solid boundaries, God our Heavenly Father knows us humans need them too!
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      01-02-2015, 12:49 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Since you insist, here's a small sample. As I said, this debate is not "little", there are a great many Christian authoriies who support universalism.

"Contrary to what many would suppose, universalism, understood as above, receives strong scriptural support in the New Testament. Indeed, I judge the support strong enough that if I had to choose between universalism and anti-universalism as the "position of Scripture," I'd pick universalism as the fairly clear winner. But more on that later. For now, here's three passages which support universalism.

I Corinthians 15:22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Note the "all."

Colossians 1:20. 19 For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Note again the "all." Show me someone burning in hell, and I'll show you someone who's not yet been reconciled to God. So, show me someone who's under divine punishment forever, or who is simply annihilated, and I'll show you someone who's never reconciled to God through Christ, and thus someone who gives the lie to this passage.

Romans 5:18 : 18 Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.

For whom will Christ's act of righteousness lead to acquittal and life? Answer: " all men." Show me someone who never enjoys acquittal and life, and I'll show someone for whom Christ's act of righteousness didn't lead to acquittal and life, and thus someone who gives the lie to this verse."

More here.

http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/un...-derose.html#2.

Some more.

"Love Worketh no ill". Rom. 13:10 This is a very forcible argument. God's nature is the very essence of benevolence, and benevolence cannot be the origin of endless evil. If love worketh no ill, God can work no ill, and, therefore, God cannot be the author of endless evil. [this is the basic argument of Rob Bell, a very influential Christian minister]

"Thou hast given him power over all flesh, THAT HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM." John 17:2 This plainly evinces, that it was God's design, in giving Christ dominion over all flesh, that they should all enjoy eternal life.

1 Tim. 2:6 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN." Heb. 2:9 "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD." 1 John 2:2 Here are three expressions: 1st, "ALL"; 2nd, "EVERY MAN"; 3rd, "THE WHOLE WORLD". It seems as though the sacred writers took the utmost care to guard against being misunderstood in this important particular.

This, to me is quite fundamental.

"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked". (Ezek. 33:11) Death, and sin, and pain, may exist for a time, but if God has no pleasure in them of themselves, they are not the end at which he aims, but the means by which he accomplishes that end. The end in which God rests as his PLEASURE, DESIGN, or purpose, must be essentially benevolent, because he is essentially a benevolent God. Neither death, nor sin, no pain, can be his ULTIMATE plan or pleasure. They are the means by which his holy and righteous designs are carried into effect.
Absolutely none of the Biblical references that you posted at all contradict the ones that I posted regarding heaven, hell and punishment.

You certainly have the ability to interpret some of those passages in a slightly different manner from the way someone else might read those, but I don't see anything which clearly states that a human being is exempted from Hell after an unrepentant life of sin. All of the references to salvation are applicable to all men, and women, as you point out, but the Bible is very clear that the man, or woman, must live a moral life or acknowledge his/her sins in order to receive that salvation.... God's mercy and salvation is in fact available to all men and women on earth, however they don't receive it unless they seek a moral life. Ergo, there are possibly some individuals who don't get "saved" because they may not have accepted God. Your "everyone gets saved regardless" argument is not supported by these references.

At least you actually used your own Biblical references instead of relying on other peoples' opinions, so we have made some progress in that regard....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
If a non-Christian leads an unquestionably moral life, bestowing many kindnesses on other people and doing major good works, do you think that, if they do not accept Christ as their divine Savior, but simply as a good man, and the Bible as simply a good book (lower case), rather than the inerrant word of God, they are subject to eternal torment? Is the Dalai Lama damned to Hell?
Like I said earlier, this conversation, at least on my end, has nothing to do with who is morally superior to who. I could care less what someone's religious beliefs are, so long as they don't impose on other people. I was arguing that your claim of early Christianity being a universalist religion had no historical backing....and I've yet to see you prove me wrong on that subject.

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      01-02-2015, 01:11 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Universalists don't believe everyone is being saved from hell. Everyone (no exceptions) is being saved to heaven. It's a positive message.
Everyone being saved from Hell and everyone being sent to heaven is the same thing, just reworded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
My question to Dalko43 was not "should" the Dalai Lama be sent to eternal torment? It was does he personally believe the Dalai Lama will be? He asked me if Universalists believe Hitler will be saved (they do, I've asked a Universalist minister that obvious question). This is the flip side of that.
I have no idea if the Dalai Lama will be sent to heaven or hell nor am I willing to bring the conversation to that level. As I said earlier, this was not about my personal beliefs, but rather your inability to properly recount history.

A sound Christian would tell you that only God decides if a person can go to heaven or hell, but that it is highly probable, if someone lives a good life, regardless of whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, ect. they will probably go to heaven.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Christians may think it's important to distinguish Christian Universalists from non-Christian Universalists. Universalists don't. In their religion everyone is saved, Christian or not.
I really don't think that most Christians care about distinguishing themselves from Universalists anymore than a Lutheran cares about distinguishing himself from a Catholic. Yes there are acknowledged differences between all sects of Christianity, but I really don't see much antagonism between any of them, at least not nowadays.

The reason I emphasize who was universalist and who wasn't in the early Christian church is simply because you are trying to narrowly interpret a few vague Bible references and dissenting views by some early Christian scholars, who were in the minority, to show that all of early Christianity was universalist. And that somehow this universalist religion suddenly transformed into a heaven and hell religion after one religious council was convened. There simply is no historical backing for that.
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      01-02-2015, 01:25 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
If salvation is universal, and available/guaranteed for everyone without making a conscious choice (e.g. acknowledging and accepting the sacrifice of Christ), then what is everyone being saved from? If there is no hell, then what is everyone being saved from?
^ Agreed! Wholeheartedly! Christ's sacrifice on the cross for humanity was for a reason. If there was no repercussion for our sins or wrongs (ie Hell) then why would God have allowed Christ to die?

Also, 128Convertibleguy , you are missing the bigger point of choice and freewill as it is explained in the Bible. One of the major recurring themes throughout the whole Bible, New Testament and Old, is that we as human beings always have a choice in how we live our lives and what we do. The story of Adam and Eve represents this idea, and there are many other stories that discuss it.

To suggest that all people will go to heaven, regardless of what decisions they make in their life, would indicate that there really is no freewill inherent to humanity. According to this universalist idea, all human beings would go to heaven, regardless of their actions; our fates have already been decided for us.

The problem with this is that it entirely contradicts the concept of freewill as it is explained in the Bible. Again, I will stop short of saying whether or not Universalism is a right or wrong as a religion, because I don't care what other people believe. But this does show that the Bible, and early Christianity, is very much supportive of the idea of punishment for "the wicked."
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      01-02-2015, 06:42 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
To suggest that all people will go to heaven, regardless of what decisions they make in their life, would indicate that there really is no freewill inherent to humanity. According to this universalist idea, all human beings would go to heaven, regardless of their actions; our fates have already been decided for us.
That's not a universalist position. They do accept the notion of free will and evil decisions. They simply say that punishment for evil in this life is reserved for this life, and that a loving and benevolent God gives all his creations a fresh start in the next. A great many of them sincerely believe that's what the Bible says, just as you believe the Bible supports your position. Intellectually, I think both sides can make a case, that's the nature of the Bible, a long book with much that is open to differing beliefs.

Some Protestant religions, such as Calvanism and Lutheran, believe in some form of predestination, where people truly do not exercise free will over many of their choices. Universalists do not.

I do appreciate that you believe that living a good life is more important than exactly which religion one practices. A point of agreement.

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      01-02-2015, 07:17 PM   #76
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If we get to heaven and everyone's there, praise God!! The reality of the bible says otherwise. Jesus spent more time warning of the reality of a place void of God, than He did heaven, ie. Lazarus and the rich man, wide is the road that leads to Hell, narrow is the road to heaven.

Thank God it's not down to my "good works", but by Gods grace that makes me deemed worthy. The great thing about God guys is that it doesn't matter where you're at, you could be the best moral person in the world, or the worst child molesterer, God's ocean of grace far out weights your sin. He wants you to know Him and His love and forgiveness for you. All you have to do is admit to Him that you do fall short, and acknowledge Jesus is Lord, and His death paid the price for your sin. Ask for His forgiveness friend and invite Him in, you'll never regret it. It doesn't mean you have to go to church (although you will want to after experiencing his love), nor do you have to behave like a monk. You will continue to stuff up, treat people poorly etc, buts the Holy Spirit living in you will slowly but surely become your new master. What you thought was ok once upon a time, becomes increasingly troubling to you.

That's why they call it the Good news of the Gospel gents

Bloody awesome stuff I reckon!!!
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      01-03-2015, 02:06 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
I do appreciate that you believe that living a good life is more important than exactly which religion one practices. A point of agreement.
Who gets to decide what constitutes a "good life?" How good is good enough? What should one use for a rulebook? Whose moral compass should be used?
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      01-03-2015, 06:32 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by bbbbmw View Post
Who gets to decide what constitutes a "good life?" How good is good enough? What should one use for a rulebook? Whose moral compass should be used?
Presisely!
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      01-04-2015, 07:42 AM   #79
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I mean precisely!!
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      01-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
That's not a universalist position. They do accept the notion of free will and evil decisions. They simply say that punishment for evil in this life is reserved for this life, and that a loving and benevolent God gives all his creations a fresh start in the next.
If universalists accept the idea of free will then why do they refuse to accept the concept of salvation for the "good" and punishment for the "wicked?"

If a bad person goes through life treating others horribly and causing havoc and destruction without seeking forgiveness, but still goes to heaven afterwards....what free will has he/she truly demonstrated? This religious model essentially implies that people can do whatever the hell they like without any worry of consequences in the afterlife because "everyone gets saved."

Again, because you keep trying to make this into a conversation about my personal beliefs, I'm not here to discuss whether or not such universalist notions are right or wrong.

I'm simply saying that the Bible and early Christian doctrine (subscribed to by the majority) clearly states that there is a heaven and hell; those that are good go to heaven and those that are bad go to hell.

Free will exists not only because we have the ability to make our own decisions, but also because we encounter different consequences based on those decisions. Adam and Eve were not allowed to stay in the garden after eating the apple; they made a choice and paid the consequence for it. This theme reverberates throughout the rest of the Bible, Old Testament and New. Sodom and Gomorrah, Judas betraying Jesus, Cain and Abel.

Will you at least admit that you were wrong in claiming early Christianity was universalist?

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      01-06-2015, 07:09 PM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
If universalists accept the idea of free will then why do they refuse to accept the concept of salvation for the "good" and punishment for the "wicked?"

If a bad person goes through life treating others horribly and causing havoc and destruction without seeking forgiveness, but still goes to heaven afterwards....what free will has he/she truly demonstrated? This religious model essentially implies that people can do whatever the hell they like without any worry of consequences in the afterlife because "everyone gets saved."

Again, because you keep trying to make this into a conversation about my personal beliefs, I'm not here to discuss whether or not such universalist notions are right or wrong.

I'm simply saying that the Bible and early Christian doctrine (subscribed to by the majority) clearly states that there is a heaven and hell; those that are good go to heaven and those that are bad go to hell.

Free will exists not only because we have the ability to make our own decisions, but also because we encounter different consequences based on those decisions. Adam and Eve were not allowed to stay in the garden after eating the apple; they made a choice and paid the consequence for it. This theme reverberates throughout the rest of the Bible, Old Testament and New. Sodom and Gomorrah, Judas betraying Jesus, Cain and Abel.

Will you at least admit that you were wrong in claiming early Christianity was universalist?
What you're describing is similar to the split between faith plus works vs faith alone. I agree with you that faith plus works was the earlier Christian doctrine.

Free will however has nothing to do with this. Whether we have Free Will or not is a huge topic and really a can not worth opening to prove this point. But I will say that whether you have free will or not, is separate issue from if it's faith alone or faith plus works that gets you into heaven.

What choices Adam and Eve made or the decisions you are faced with, say nothing of free will. They speak to the illusion of free will. Let's assume you have no free will and all of your choices were predetermined. Whether the criteria was your predetermined faith alone or your predetermined choices to engage is good works, we arrive at the same argument (faith vs faith plus works). Free will is irrelevant here.


If your faith alone gets you into heaven and your choices to do good do not matter, that doesn't mean you do not have free will. It simply means your will has little effect on whether or not you get into heaven.

Same goes for if everyone gets into heaven. It says nothing regarding whether or not they have free will. Simply that their will doesn't effect the outcome of an afterlife.
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      01-07-2015, 10:04 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
What you're describing is similar to the split between faith plus works vs faith alone. I agree with you that faith plus works was the earlier Christian doctrine.

Free will however has nothing to do with this. Whether we have Free Will or not is a huge topic and really a can not worth opening to prove this point. But I will say that whether you have free will or not, is separate issue from if it's faith alone or faith plus works that gets you into heaven.

What choices Adam and Eve made or the decisions you are faced with, say nothing of free will. They speak to the illusion of free will. Let's assume you have no free will and all of your choices were predetermined. Whether the criteria was your predetermined faith alone or your predetermined choices to engage is good works, we arrive at the same argument (faith vs faith plus works). Free will is irrelevant here.


If your faith alone gets you into heaven and your choices to do good do not matter, that doesn't mean you do not have free will. It simply means your will has little effect on whether or not you get into heaven.

Same goes for if everyone gets into heaven. It says nothing regarding whether or not they have free will. Simply that their will doesn't effect the outcome of an afterlife.
Dude, I don't know where you are coming from on this subject, but you are way off the mark. I wasn't saying that the Bible preaches that faith alone gets you into heaven, nor was that the early Christian doctrine. I don't know how free will is irrelevant to this conversation, because the Bible discusses the topic quite frequently.

I'm saying that the Bible teaches that you do have free will and that your decisions play a heavy role in determining your fate in the afterlife.

Everything else you were saying about the "illusion of free will" and "predetermined fate" makes little sense to me and frankly I'm not interested in hearing about it if it pertains to your personal beliefs.

Again, because people keep bringing this up, I don't care what your personal beliefs are, nor am I trying to preach about my own. I'm simply discussing the religious teachings of the Bible and early Christian doctrine.

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      01-07-2015, 02:55 PM   #83
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Dude, I don't know where you are coming from on this subject, but you are way off the mark. I wasn't saying that the Bible preaches that faith alone gets you into heaven, nor was that the early Christian doctrine.
Neither was I. If you go back and read what I said, I was saying the exact opposite and agreeing with you.

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Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
Everything else you were saying about the "illusion of free will" and "predetermined fate" makes little sense to me and frankly I'm not interested in hearing about it if it pertains to your personal beliefs.
It has nothing to do with my personal beliefs and my beliefs weren't stated anywhere in that reply.

My point was simply that "allowing anyone into heaven" does not speak to free will. Free Will is whether we have control of our actions or if they are all scripted and we are not really making the choices we think we are.

You are talking about whether our choices (predetermined or made with free will) have an impact on if you get into heaven. My point is that whatever standards anyone believes that allow you into heaven (faith alone, faith+works, etc), don't have an impact on free will. They change the standards by which you are allowed into heaven and NOT IF YOU HAVE FREE WILL TO MAKE CHOICES THAT ALLOW YOU INTO HEAVEN.

I think you're confusing "your choices not having a lot of impact" vs "not having Free Will". Those aren't the same thing.
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      01-08-2015, 11:08 AM   #84
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Neither was I. If you go back and read what I said, I was saying the exact opposite and agreeing with you.
I didn't know what you meant by "faith plus" gets you into heaven. But fine, I see what you were trying to say.

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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
My point was simply that "allowing anyone into heaven" does not speak to free will. Free Will is whether we have control of our actions or if they are all scripted and we are not really making the choices we think we are.
Yes, it does. To have free will, as you stated, means that we have control of our actions. But by extension of that logic, it also means that we have some element of control over our fate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
You are talking about whether our choices (predetermined or made with free will) have an impact on if you get into heaven. My point is that whatever standards anyone believes that allow you into heaven (faith alone, faith+works, etc), don't have an impact on free will. They change the standards by which you are allowed into heaven and NOT IF YOU HAVE FREE WILL TO MAKE CHOICES THAT ALLOW YOU INTO HEAVEN.

I think you're confusing "your choices not having a lot of impact" vs "not having Free Will". Those aren't the same thing.
I'm not confusing anything. The biblical parables emphasize over and over again that we as human beings have free will to do good or bad things. These parables also emphasize that these decisions determine whether or not humans will be allowed into heaven.

If a person lives a life of evil and sin without seeking forgiveness and is still let into heaven, what free will has he/she truly demonstrated? His/her decision to do "bad things" had absolutely no effect on his/her fate. His/her experiences in life may have been different from what he/she would have experienced living a good life, but the overall outcome was the same.

Using a non-biblical example, a person goes deep sea diving with all the required SCUBA gear and gets through the experience in good health because he/she had everything required to breathe. If in another instance, that same person goes deep sea diving with absolutely no SCUBA gear (maybe he was suicidal or simply negligent) and yet still gets through the experience just fine, despite having no ability to breathe oxygen, what free will has he/she truly demonstrated? The person encountered the same fate irregardless of his/her actions.

I'm not saying that our decisions must always lead to our desired, or even a logical, outcome in order for us to have free will, because obviously that doesn't always happen. I'm saying that free will isn't simply having the ability to make decisions; rather it is the ability to make decisions that have consequences.

I perform action A and it leads to consequence #2 in one instance.

I perform action B and it leads to consequence #1 in another instance.

I perform action C and it leads to consequence #15 in yet another instance.

However, if I always experience consequence #1, regardless of whether I perform action A, B ,or C, I would be hard pressed to claim that I had free will or any influence over my own fate (whether it be big or small).

Edit: The issue here isn't whether or not our actions have a big or small impact on our fates. It's whether or not our actions have any impact at all on our fates.

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      01-08-2015, 12:40 PM   #85
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Saint Grammar intervention:
If you choose freely to continue to use "irregardless" you will be barred from entering the gates of Heaven

j/k, bringing a little humor into the discussion.

OK, it really does bother me when people use double-negatives that don't mean what they seem to think.
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      01-08-2015, 02:08 PM   #86
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The biblical parables emphasize over and over again that we as human beings have free will to do good or bad things. These parables also emphasize that these decisions determine whether or not humans will be allowed into heaven.
And those are two separate things. First is that we have free will. Second is that our actions determine if we get into heaven. Those are two separate ideas and you're combining the two.

If God chooses who goes to heaven (everyone) as opposed to setting the criteria and then it's your choice to meet those criteria - what you've lost is your free will to NOT go to heaven. That doesn't mean you have no free will at all.


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Originally Posted by Dalko43 View Post
I'm not saying that our decisions must always lead to our desired, or even a logical, outcome in order for us to have free will, because obviously that doesn't always happen. I'm saying that free will isn't simply having the ability to make decisions; rather it is the ability to make decisions that have consequences.
I think this is where the problem lies. Your definition of "Free Will" is loaded with some extra qualifiers that aren't inherent to the definition. Here's some quick definitions of Free Will from around the web:
  • the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion.
  • synonyms: self-determination, freedom of choice, autonomy, liberty, independence
  • Free will is the ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by certain prevailing factors
  • the ability to choose how to act
  • the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God
That last definition especially is what I believe what you're talking about but you're interpreting that to mean "the ability to make all or specific important choices that are not controlled by fate or God.


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Edit: The issue here isn't whether or not our actions have a big or small impact on our fates. It's whether or not our actions have any impact at all on our fates.
Let's say we lived in a communist country. Your profession was determined by the government and everyone's salary was the same. You no longer have free will to do the job you want. You are not making that choice.

Now let's say the same government makes a change and starts allowing people to pick their profession BUT everyone is still paid the same salary. People now have free will to choose their profession but the outcome of their salary is the same.

Having control over your actions vs how much impact they have are related but are two separate ideas. If our actions don't affect the reward/punishment aspect of Christianity then maybe it says something about morality but I don't see it having an affect on Free Will, except to the extent I stated before, that you've lost your free will to NOT go to Heaven. You can no longer choose not to go if God mandates that everyone must go.
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      01-08-2015, 05:14 PM   #87
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I'm not going to respond to everything in your last post, because I've already addressed everything you've brought up and frankly I'm tired of beating a dead horse.


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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
If God chooses who goes to heaven (everyone) as opposed to setting the criteria and then it's your choice to meet those criteria - what you've lost is your free will to NOT go to heaven.
Essentially what you said, in bold, was that: If a person deliberately lives an evil life in order to go to hell instead of heaven, but is still sent to heaven regardless of this, he/she still has free will.

How is that free will? He/She chose a life of sin, he/she chose to go to hell, but instead God predetermined that he/she would go to heaven. That person's choices had no bearing whatsoever on his/her fate.

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That doesn't mean you have no free will at all.
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS!!!!

Just because that person made many decisions along the way to that fate, doesn't mean he/she had free will...it was simply an illusion of free will.

No free will to determine your own fate (in the Biblical sense)= NO FREE WILL. If a Satanist (not picking on different religions here, just an example) deliberately kills a whole bunch of innocent people so that he might be judged and damned to Hell by God, but is instead sent to heaven in the afterlife, where was the free will? That person made the choice to go to Hell, but ultimately wasn't allowed to.

Also, I really don't understand how you can rationalize that a person can have free will in some cases but not have free will in other cases?!?! You either have it or you don't.

It makes no sense, but I really don't feel like wasting any more time discussing it, because you obviously can't be convinced otherwise on this issue.

Edit: And please don't say something like 'a person can lack free will while in enslavement but can have free will after being freed.' Even in chains, a person still has the ability to make decisions...those decisions may have very little impact on his/her fate, but decisions were still made, and consequences (however minimal) followed.
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      01-08-2015, 05:46 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Devious21 View Post
Let's say we lived in a communist country. Your profession was determined by the government and everyone's salary was the same. You no longer have free will to do the job you want. You are not making that choice.

Now let's say the same government makes a change and starts allowing people to pick their profession BUT everyone is still paid the same salary. People now have free will to choose their profession but the outcome of their salary is the same.
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. This example doesn't hold up at all.

1) You still have free will in that situation. You can decide to: commit suicide, leave the country, start a rebellion, ect.

2) Simply not being able to get what you want is not an absence of free will. If I want to pick a winning lottery ticket, but instead pick a loser, that doesn't mean that I lack free will.

3) I never implied or explicitly stated that free will translates into your actions always leading to a desired outcome. I said that your choices do have an impact, however big or small. If you believe in the Biblical teachings of heaven and hell, you know that there are two possible outcomes for the way you live your life on earth. However if all people, including those who sin and remain unrepentant, get sent to heaven, then their choices had no impact at all on their fates...they had no free will.
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