Yes, it is good to mature from the mistakes we make (although it sadly seems like some don't and keep repeating them over and over)...Ivellious wrote:Well, I seriously hope that we aren't all judged against Mother Teresa...then there would be lots of open space in heaven I daresay. The point about our mistakes being a permanent part of history is kind of what I meant above. You have to learn to accept your mistakes and move on, and use those experiences to help you do better in the future. As much as I wish I could use my present knowledge and go back in time and redo a few things, I can't. But that just means I need to try extra hard to be a good person in the future and try my hardest not to make those mistakes again.K wrote: I am also very complacent in that I could do a hellova lot more to help others, especially if I'm stacked up against someone like Mother Teresa. I've done bad, various wrongs I really wish I could take back, but no matter how much I wish they remain a permanent in my life history.
It is quite loaded I guess, though unintentionally. Just wanted to get a lot on the table about your beliefs I guess. There are many non-Christians who would deny that "wrong" exists, believing that "sin" is just a Christian construct. Yet, "bad" or "sin" seems to be a concept all religions have in common and seem to deal with in their own way. So it seems you are being quite honest in your responses, rather than trying to "win an argument" so-to-speak, which I think you are to be applauded for.Ivellious wrote:I think that's a bit of a loaded question...I don't think that the human concept of your good outweighing your bad, or having less than a certain amount of bad, is really adequate to describe it. First of all, I have no clue what the exact parameters would be, nor do I ever expect to know. Personally, I don't believe in the idea of eternal punishment in Hell, either (but that's a separate topic altogether). I guess the way I see it would be that it's not so much a matter of having a certain number of "points" when you die, or having a certain belief system either.Just wondering, what about the "God" you conceive of accepting anyone into heaven. How much "bad" in someone should God accept?
Again, I don't think that any kind of all-loving God could honestly say that a Buddhist monk who devotes his life to charity and purity and pacifism should not be allowed in heaven just because he didn't accept Jesus as his savior. Likewise, my friend knew a rather outspoken atheist (not in the "I hate all you Christians" way but simply in the "I don't care what people think about me" way). She was probably the most active young person I've seen in terms of charity, volunteerism, activism, and so on. She had great grades and treated everyone fairly and kindly. She died in a car crash. I may not have known her personally, but I'll be damned if she wasn't as good of a person as 99% of Christians out there, and I would be offended if someone told me she was burning in Hell right now because she didn't go to church every sunday and praise Jesus during all of her activities. I know not everyone would say she is going to Hell, but some sects of Christianity do, and I think that such a stance is wrong. In short, I think the whole of who you are and what you have done in your life is far more important than your religious beliefs.
Mother Teresa for all her good also sinned, but said: "If we admit that we are sinners and we need forgiveness, then it will be very easy for us to forgive others. But if we don't admit this, it will be very hard for us to say, "I forgive you " no matter who comes to us." I tend to agree, and find that those who tend to avoid owning up to or taking responsibility for their bad, also seem to be the most critical and resentful of others.
Moving on though, and past the concept of Hell (another topic), although I'm not so much interested in the goodness of a Buddhist monk... it seems to me even they like Teresa realise their own faults which they are always trying to better via their own philosophy.
The question for those who believe in God, then becomes, well how much "bad" should God accept. Paul writes in the first three chapters of Romans, that we all deserve death. If we break one law, or sin once, then we have broken all. There is a zero tolerance if you will, when it comes to a God who while loving, is also entirely righteous and good. Because for God to accept even one wrong, would be to destroy His righteousness.
So from a Christian perspective we are all damned. This is why I said you might be suprised to find many Christians agreeing with your statement: "Personally, I think God would accept anyone into heaven so long as they lived a good life, but I understand that my perspective isn't really accepted here haha..." God would accept anyone into heaven so long as they lived a good life. The thing is, they must be entirely good. Yet, as Paul writes, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
If correct, then this leaves you and I and everyone in a sticky predicament. There is nothing we ourselves can do to remove that tainted record from our past. We might mature, might learn from our mistakes, and become a better person -- yet our mistakes still remain a stain against us. And if God is fully righteous, then while God might also be very loving, unless He denies His righteousness then we can only be damned into isolation from God. For God to be any other way, would be for God to accept evil, and I don't know about you but for me God accepting any evil is also a scarey thought.
Yet, for us it does not end there. For Christ said He was the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) Christ is the antidote to our sin. As Christians, it is believed that God came down to us in human form, to do what we as humans did not and could not. Live an entirely sinless life. Through Christ's association with us as human beings, and through God's punishment of sin in Christ through His "sin offering" sacrifice, and through God's acceptance of Christ's "sin offering" through Christ's resurrection, there is now a way we can be saved from God's damning wrath. Christ allows us to become draped in white robes, which means God can now accept us when He sees us draped with Christ.
To put it another way, Christ is the cure to our predicament with an all-righteous God. Christ is also the cure which allows God in His love for us, to win out over His righteousness. You can reject that cure, and stand on your own merit (as we all can). But, you like me have already admitted to guilt... Or you can, as I have done, hope in the forgiveness that God offers through Christ and swallow the antidote.
Being Christian is not so much about being higher than thou, as you yourself have witnessed many Christians (who knows from where they have come) are often morally worse than non-Christians. Yet, these morally worse Christians have often swallowed the antidote that is Christ and desire to change themselves through turning away from their old life and following after Christ. They are able to mature and learn from life's lessons, while also hoping in Christ that they will be protected from God's all-righteous judgement in the end.
Whereas other religions are always trying to better themselves, get rid of their sin or what-have-you, Christianity seems to be the only religion which provides an ultimate solution. Christ allows God to accept us as we are, and then for us to be shaped and transformed from the inside-out. All other religions, it is vice-versa. They try to perfect themselves to get to the cure -- whereas as is often the case with medicines one must first swallow the cure and only then can they get better.