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I believe I'll immediately go to some version of Heaven (haven't decided what I believe it will be like), mostly because it's what I've always been taught but also because it gives me the most comfort.

The idea of absolutely nothing happening after death fills me with anxiety. Makes me feel like I need to cram in as much "life" as possible because when it's done, there's nothing else to look forward to or experience. I don't think I'd sleep a wink at nights.

The idea of reincarnation annoys me - that's just too much life. LOL! I don't want to be in this world over and over and over again. Plus, I had a teacher once tell me that eventually, many many years from now, the Earth will get too close to the sun and everything will burn up under the white-hot heat. That particular death is one I'd like to avoid.

The ideal thing for me would be if I could be a ghost or something that could shift between Earth and Heaven at will. I could drop in on my relatives and see what's going on with them and then I could go back to heavenly life.

What about the rest of you?
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You have two choices if you are a Christian. The first is "Wishful thinking" or go with the second which is "what the Bible says;"

Wishful thinking means you believe you go to some kind of heaven when you die. There is nothing like that in the Bible. Many Christians believe this but it is a lie.


The cold hard Biblical fact is your body rots and becomes part of the dust in the ground. In this condition the dead awaits Christ's return with God's mercy of the resurrection of the dead.
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:
You have two choices if you are a Christian. The first is "Wishful thinking" or go with the second which is "what the Bible says;"

Wishful thinking means you believe you go to some kind of heaven when you die. There is nothing like that in the Bible. Many Christians believe this but it is a lie.


The cold hard Biblical fact is your body rots and becomes part of the dust in the ground. In this condition the dead awaits Christ's return with God's mercy of the resurrection of the dead.

henry38,
This is one instance that I actually agree with you. The biblical notion is that of resurrection. The concept of immortality of the soul is from the Greeks and is foreign to the Jewish (Christian) understanding of the human being.
Eccl. 9: 5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun. 7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God hath already accepted thy works. 8 Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack oil. 9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of thy life of vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all thy days of vanity: for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labor wherein thou laborest under the sun. 10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.

Eccl. 3: 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.


In case you are still not satisfied there is more scripture which says no one has ever been to heaven, which means Moses, Abraham, the great prophets etc never went anywhere when they died. In death they simply returned to the Earth.

Also with regard to the Apostles of Christ who are the first fruits of mankind the Bible says they also remain dead awaiting Christ's return,

Frenchy let me know if you need the scriptures that support what I am saying
Henry & Kresge -- This is absolutely fascinating. I am not technically a "Christian," but I'm still quite blown away by this, because I've never heard this before.

But it really does make perfect sense, out of a doctrine of Christianity that used to seem a little unclear to me -- namely, what does "resurrection" mean to people who are already in heaven? There's an idea that Jesus, upon his return, would resurrect the dead, but if the dead are already mostly in heaven, exactly what favor is he doing them?

You have cleared that up completely; that aspect of Christianity is now doctrinally sound in my mind. Thanks.

And certainly, Henry, if you have the time, any other scripture u can put forth in support of this, would be appreciated.
Respectfully, this makes no sense to me. The whole point of Christianity, I thought, is that Jesus died for our sins and that if we accept Him that we will be rewarded with "eternal life"/the keys to the kingdom/life everlasting/Heaven, etc., etc., etc. Now you suggest that none of that exists? So essentially, you assert that the foundation of present Christianity, as preached by 99 44/100% of all Christian ministers, is a sham?

ek

Of what value was Jesus' death if we all rot anyway and there is no life everlasting? What's the point of accepting Jesus as our "Personal Lord and Savior" then? What is the point of the confession of sins? What is the point of Last Rites?

To be clear, I am not arguing what is or is not in the Bible. I am questioning your take on the popular interpretation of Christianity and Heaven.

I look forward to your thoughts.
I think after you die, your physical body will turn to dust and only your bones will remain. Your soul will travel on to the next world and will continue to exist in some form or fashion according to the laws of God (whatever those may be!) and nobody here on earth knows what or how that existence is ... so, just what, exactly is going to happen is and will forever be a mystery! Smile

I, personally, do not believe anyone actually "dies." Just moves on to the next experience. The body stops functioning, yes, but "life" goes on.
MBM you are missing the point made about the return of Christ also known as Judgement Day. It is after this point that there is a resurrection to everlasting life or everlasting destruction. None of this takes place before the return of Christ.

So in short you stay dead until the return of Christ. After which you get the resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. One group gets everlasting life and the other group is permanantly destroyed.

If you need the Biblical verses for this let me know
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Originally posted by EbonyRose:
I think after you die, your physical body will turn to dust and only your bones will remain. Your soul will travel on to the next world and will continue to exist in some form or fashion according to the laws of God (whatever those may be!) and nobody here on earth knows what or how that existence is ... so, just what, exactly is going to happen is and will forever be a mystery! Smile

I, personally, do not believe anyone actually "dies." Just moves on to the next experience. The body stops functioning, yes, but "life" goes on.


Ebony can you back up what you are saying from the Bible? If not then it is wishful thinking. The Bible says the soul dies. It is only the spirit(also known as the breath of life) that returns to God.
Some scriptures about the resurrection;

Acts 24: 15 having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust.

John 5: 26 For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: 27 and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, 29 and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:
In case you are still not satisfied there is more scripture which says no one has ever been to heaven, which means Moses, Abraham, the great prophets etc never went anywhere when they died. In death they simply returned to the Earth.

henry38,
Aren't there some people who went to heaven? What of Enoch and Elijah? What about Paul's reference in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 - albeit it is not about death but rather visitation?
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:
Ebony can you back up what you are saying from the Bible? If not then it is wishful thinking. The Bible says the soul dies. It is only the spirit(also known as the breath of life) that returns to God.


Henry, I do not gain nor gleen any of my knowledge from the Bible, and, in fact, have no idea what it says. I am not disputing your beliefs ... however, that would have to be what they are, beliefs.

Anything anyone has said or may say regarding this subject cannot possibly be factual knowledge ... as there is not a living soul who has been there and back to be able to tell the story. Nor is there any human individual who has had a one-on-one with God, personally, in order to be able to relay His knowledge and experience in this matter. In fact, the Bible itself is generally hearsay ... and you can either believe what is said about it (and/or in it), nor not! Whatever floats your boat.

But, unless/until God specifically tells me or you or anybody exactly what happens to the soul after the body stops functioning, even what your Bible says is "wishful thinking"!!

There is no factual basis to backup anything that might be said here. Smile
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:

Frenchy let me know if you need the scriptures that support what I am saying


Thanks, but after I read your commentary I went and did my own research. I have to say I haven't been able to come across a single verse that talks about immediately going to Heaven. I couldn't believe it. All this time, pastors have been telling people this and we've been receiving comfort from the idea that our dead relatives are in a better place. Certainly took away some of the security I felt about dying. I was just curious whether this is your personal belief of what will happen to you or you were just responding to what I said I think will happen to me.

Edited to Add: Now I am confused about the folks who have near-death experiences and "see the white light" and talk to dead relatives and blahblahblah. There seems to be quite a bit of information that supports that these people did have experiences after death (they have the same visions as other people, or they can speak about things that went on after they were declared dead, etc). What about ghosts and spirits roaming the Earth? Who in the hell are they?? This has blown my whole mind wide open, henry38 and kresge.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
henry38,
Aren't there some people who went to heaven? What of Enoch and Elijah? What about Paul's reference in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 - albeit it is not about death but rather visitation?

From reading this verses one would assume that Elijah went to heaven

2 Ki 2: 9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof! And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.


And then this happens


2 Chron. 21: 12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,



What this verse shows is Elijah did not go to heaven at all but was transported somewhere else because he wrote to the incumbent king of Israel many years later. I guess it is no different from someone in our present age doing a time travel and taking someone from those Biblical times into an airplane and flying off. Onlookers would assume the person has been taken to heaven.

With regard to Enoch the Bible does not say he went to heaven. It simply says God took him. This is no different from what happened to Moses. After Moses went back to the mountain the Israelites never saw him again.


Jesus Christ clears up any confusion on the matter with his statements in the following verses.

John 3: 12 If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven.

Luke 7: 28 I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there is none greater than John: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of God is greater than he.


Finally with regard to 2 Cor. 12: 2-4, if you look at the context the verses are talking about a vision a man had.
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Folks - there is no point to Christianity if there is no heaven. What's the point of doing good deeds and accepting Christ if there is no "prize" at the end? Just because it is not in the Bible doesn't mean that it doesn't exist - obviously (Christianity isn't even in the Bible!).

BTW - Bush's Faith Based Initiaives aren't in the Bible (last time I looked) but plenty of fundamentalist Christians are all over that! bsm
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Originally posted by Frenchy:
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Folks - there is no point to Christianity if there is no heaven.


Confused There IS a Heaven. You just don't go to it immediately after you die. You are dormant until the second coming of Christ when everyone living and dead will be judged and sent into Heaven or not.


SO . . . what is the point of waiting until Jesus returns? What is going to happen between the time of death and whenever that hallowed day arrives? This sounds like some semblence of Catholic dogma to me - i.e. purgatory. BTW - even the Catholics believe that purgatory can be averted if you give enough money to the church! nono Where do the rich Catholics go then? Into First Class purgatory? sck

Beyond that, if you believe this, why do you also believe that clergy all over the world purposely mislead Christians into thinking that St. Peter will greet them at the pearly gates of heaven - at the time of death?

In the end, this conversation is somewhat meaningless though, as predicated upon an eternal timeframe, even if Jesus doesn't return for another 1 million years, those who go to heaven will do so in a relative "blink of an eye".

BTW - relying on the literal words of the Bible can only get one into deep theological trouble. Since we do so many things that are either prohibited in the Bible (like interacting with menstruating women) or not included in the Bible (like Christianity itself) - it seems odd that it is being looked to as the singular source of current religous inspiration now.
If Henry/Kresge's info is correct, then I wonder if the belief contemplates a dead person's soul's sense of time differently from the living. In other words, does the soul go through years/millennia of knowing that it's stuck in a rotting body, or does it have no awareness that it's "dead" -- in other words will it "feel," upon armageddon, like we went straight to heaven (or wherever), even if Jesus doesn't return to deliver us there for 10,000 years?

MBM, my personal interest in this thread is that it completely resolves one of the major illogical points about Christianity that has prevented me from embracing it. Namely, according to conventional belief, you die, and then you go to heaven if you lived a good life. Then, when Jesus returns, he resurrects the good, so they have eternal life.

But if I'm in heaven already, then who exactly is he resurrecting? Me? But I'm already eternally alive. What favor is Jesus doing for me at that point? Is he going to return me to earth? But heaven's supposed to be better.

But if this new info is the correct belief about Christianity, then this illogic is resolved. You die, and you stay dead until Jesus returns and resurrects you. I have to read more, but this is more satisfying to me because it helps a key tenet of Christianity make sense, where before it clearly didn't.

The only real problem with this that I have is that it means that a Christian's deceased loved ones are not there looking down upon us, watching over us. There's a great deal of comfort in that idea, and if it's not true, it's quite sad. But if it makes more logical sense that that's the teaching, then there we are.

Big question; If you don't go to heaven right away upon death, then where did the idea come from? How did it get wrapped up in church teaching?
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Originally posted by Vox:

MBM, my personal interest in this thread is that it completely resolves one of the major illogical points about Christianity that has prevented me from embracing it.


Vox - logic has nothing to do with religion, particularly Christianity. Remember - faith is belief in those things unproven (and often illogical). The greater bit of "illogic", IMO, is that Jesus would even approve of Christianity. He was a rabbi committed to reforming the temple. Never did He suggest rejecting Judaism and creating a new religion in His name.

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Namely, according to conventional belief, you die, and then you go to heaven if you lived a good life. Then, when Jesus returns, he resurrects the good, so they have eternal life.

But if I'm in heaven already, then who exactly is he resurrecting? Me? But I'm already eternally alive. What favor is Jesus doing for me at that point? Is he going to return me to earth? But heaven's supposed to be better.


I always thought the point was that His return was for the living - that we better get our stuff together because when He returns we will be evaluated. Everyone always talks that His return is imminenet, thereby creating pressure for us to repent and reform. Once you're dead, though, you are judged based upon your life's deeds and whether you accepted Jesus or not. If you die before His return you are judged and go to Heaven or Hell based upon your deeds and faith.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Big question; If you don't go to heaven right away upon death, then where did the idea come from? How did it get wrapped up in church teaching?
The corrupted churches made it up. You might be interested to know an overwhelming majority of doctrine so called Christians believe is not from the Bible. Because people call themselves Christian does not necessarily mean God accepts these one as followers of Christ

The way Christianity was corrupted happened like this. Christians were a group of people in the Middle East that were also known as the disciples of Christ. No one else but only these ones followed in the teaching of Christ. Meanwhile the Roman Empire which was a pagan Empire ruled the whole place. When Emperor Constantine decided to change his empire to Christianity he so without a single person reading or knowing anything from the Bible. It was simply a change of title. That is the title of the Roman Empire changed from Pagan to Christian. The citizens of the Empire kept their pagan beliefs and some were adopted and made part of the new church. This was the birth of apostasy in the Christian faith.

You might be interested to know that despite this change in direction by the Empire true christians who kept to the teachings of the Bible were persecuted and killed. The Catholic church used to burn to death anyone who dared to read the Bible and killed them with the Bible tied around their neck. The Catholic went to a great extent to stop anyone ever knowing what was in the Bible.

So the simple answer to your question is, Europeans hijacked the Christian faith and made up a lot of what people believe today. However there are millions of true and dedicated Christians around today who avoid the contamination of the Christian Church and live according to what the Bible teaches. There is the difference.

The Bible makes it clear you are wasting your time calling yourself a Christian if you do not know what the Bible teaches and live by it. To give an example Churches would tell you that you would be saved if you live a good life. That is a joke, according to the Bible no one is good as we are all sinners doomed to destruction. A person is ONLY saved by accepting Christ as their personal saviour and demonstrating their new found faith by works. This means you can be good as much as you want but as far as God is concerned the Serial Murderer that has repented, accepted Christ and turned a new leaf and you haven't would be saved and you wouldn't.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
If Henry/Kresge's info is correct, then I wonder if the belief contemplates a dead person's soul's sense of time differently from the living. In other words, does the soul go through years/millennia of knowing that it's stuck in a rotting body, or does it have no awareness that it's "dead" -- in other words will it "feel," upon armageddon, like we went straight to heaven (or wherever), even if Jesus doesn't return to deliver us there for 10,000 years?

Big question; If you don't go to heaven right away upon death, then where did the idea come from? How did it get wrapped up in church teaching?


As you suggest, I would assert that with death, one has no sense of the passage of time. The next instant of conciousness for the decessed would be at the resurrection. I do not subscribe to the doctrine of purgatory. As MBM notes, it is predicated on some notion of meritocracy and indulgencies which I do not believe to be consistent with my understanding of grace. IMHO, one is saved by grace through faith.

I believe that there are many influences on Christian understandings of heaven. Most of the West's notion of heaven and hell has more to do with Dante's The Divine Comedy (Inferno, Paradiso, and Purgatorio) than with the Bible. Also, as I suggested above, there were early Greek philosophical influences on Christianity reflected in its early literature. It is here where the notion of the immortality of the soul is introduced. These influences were the subject of much contention in some of the early Christian "heresies" - Gnosticism, Manicheism, etc. There was also an expanding amount of literature on heaven in Jewish and Christian apocryphal and psuedepigraphical literature (noncanonical) between 200 BCE and 200 CE.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:


Vox - logic has nothing to do with religion, particularly Christianity. Remember - faith is belief in those things unproven (and often illogical). The greater bit of "illogic", IMO, is that Jesus would even approve of Christianity. He was a rabbi committed to reforming the temple. Never did He suggest rejecting Judaism and creating a new religion in His name.


MBM, I can't agree with you on the logic issue. Faith surely is the belief in things unproven. But by the very definition of "belief," faith has to be the belief in the truth of a thing unproven. Faith, by definition, requires me to believe something unproven is nevertheless true. But if I see all kinds of contradictions and flaws in an already unprovable notion, then I don't feel comfortable having faith in its truth. Otherwise, anybody charismatic enough could convince me of any lie. I do not unquestioningly believe anything. I can't do it, and I thank God that I can't. But if I question, the answer has to hold up to the scrutiny of my question.


quote:

I always thought the point was that His return was for the living - that we better get our stuff together because when He returns we will be evaluated.


If that's true, then what's the point of him returning to judge us? If the dead get judged anyway, before Jesus returns, then what difference does it make whether he returns or not? I get judged when he returns; my grandfather got judged when he died. At the very least, the "Henry Doctrine" provides an explanation as to what difference Jesus' return makes. In fact, as I stated earlier, it helps explain many central, key tenets of Christianity that really require an explanation.

What's more, what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 backs up Henry completely. He expressly says that when Jesus returns, he will resurrect the already dead, giving them eternal spiritual life. These people clearly must not already have it, if Jesus is to give it to them. It's absolutely unambiguous. What does this passage mean if Henry is wrong?

If I don't personally embrace it completely right this minute, it's because it completely flies in the face of everything I've always understood Christianity to teach. I still have to digest it. But yet, not only does Paul clearly state this ("clearly" depending on how "clear" the language of the version of the Bible you read), but also, it helps bring clarity and sense to many other central tenets about Jesus. It may now be possible for me to believe these other aspects of what Jesus is supposed to mean to the faithful... even as I likely continue to reject the "Christian" churches that expressly propagate what must be untruths about same...

Maybe that last part, MBM, is where we intersect. European Christian churches were not what Jesus intended, and sure enough, they advance major, central teachings that may contradict what he taught.

At a time when I've been moving toward firmly delineating Jesus' role in my religious beliefs, this gives me something extremely powerful to reflect on.
My only point Vox is that logic is not what sustains religion. One must not necessarily see logic in religous dogma to believe it. Where is the logic in the concept of original sin, for example, or in the Catholic church's opposition to masturbation and contraception? How is that logical?

While you personally may need logic (as you define it) to provide the intellectual backbone for what you believe, the next person may believe in something equally logical or illogical based upon criteria that may be unpersuasive to you. Logic does not make something religous so. What makes it so is that someone says it is religous and therefore somehow "holy". It's like what the Republicans do. They give something a romantic name and then try to sell it as somethng it is not: the Patriot Act? Leave No Child Behind? Etc.

Anyway - with regard to your Bible reference, the Bible is like a Rorschach test. You can see in it whatever you like. Just because you can read a verse and substantiate a view doesn't mean that that is somehow the word of God or that that particular view is somehow more Christian than others.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
My only point Vox is that logic is not what sustains religion. One must not necessarily see logic in religous dogma to believe it. Where is the logic in the concept of original sin, for example, or in the Catholic church's opposition to masturbation and contraception? How is that logical?



Well, you and I may DISAGREE with the Catholic Church's opposition to these things, but there is a "logic" to it, in the sense that there's no logical disconnect between A & B. If the Catholic church says that every form of sex is sinful except for sex between a husband and his wife, then it absolutely follows that masturbation must be considered sinful. What argument do you have that there's no logical follow-through there?

I mean, we both understand that there are very good reasons why their views are flat-out WRONG; but you don't see the same inherent logical contradiction there that plainly exists in the idea of "resurrection of the living." Resurrecting the living makes no sense, the way it would make no sense to murder the already dead. It's kind of a tautology, really. There's no tautology in considering masturbation a sin.

There's a certain illogic to the church's opposition to contraception, especially when that opposition applies against its use among unmarried people. Plus, if the church's opposition is based on some kind of claim of life's sacredness, then why should someone who's HIV positive be prohibited from using contraception? You're right, that's pretty damned illogical to me.

But anyway, more directly to your point, logic may not sustain "religion," but isn't that part of the problem with religion? If we really want to get closer to God, shouldn't the goal be to cast aside religion's nonsense? The fact that you're likening religion to Republican fascism tells me that you understand. The moral authority we give to religious leaders gives them license to exert power over us with false doctrine. Just like your boys in the White House, right?


quote:

Anyway - with regard to your Bible reference, the Bible is like a Rorschach test. You can see in it whatever you like. Just because you can read a verse and substantiate a view doesn't mean that that is somehow the word of God or that that particular view is somehow more Christian than others.


True. But that doesn't mean that there are no absolute truths in there. I do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God. But I do believe that some statements in the Bible are absolutely true.
Hey, here's a thought.

What if the whole Jesus story has actually been blown out of proportion and things that have been attributed to him are not so? Confused

Let's say he was a man, perhaps "blessed" by God in ways that may have made him an exceptional being. Let's say, in fact, that he was able to heal some people and do some extraordinary things, even ... but that he really didn't do those things in the manner in which it is said he did them. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a story was grossly exaggerated. (Sort of like the "Christopher Columbus discovered America" story. If you think about it, that is a story/lie that is still heavily perpetuated even to this day! Eek) However, it is a story that has been/can be proven false. Which is why it is so totally amazing to me that it still perseveres. If every different sect of Christianity can say, as Henry38 says, that "No, they aren't doing it right. They're not real Christians. Real Christians believe this and that and do things this way. Those other people got it all wrong!" and others say the same thing ... if that story can get all broken up and restated, then why couldn't the story of Jesus -- and especially the Bible -- be just as distorted?

It is also amazing to me how mankind can be so arrogant sometimes, as to believe that they can actually know what GOD is doing/has done/is going to do or what He has planned for us. It just may be possible that we aren't the smartest creatures ever created! Eek Perhaps there are worlds and existances going on in the whole scheme of things in God's world and plan that we can't even conceive.

It is by belief and faith that we seek to know the truth. And whenever and wherever we find it we use it to sustain us throughout our lifetime. Some seem to cling to it harder than others. But with all organized religions, it mostly just boils down to acceptance. Accepting what someone has told you is the truth. Because in most organized religions, there is more than one taught and believed.

And the bottom line is that there is always the possibility that one just doesn't know. Can't know. Won't find out until it happens. And won't be able to tell anyone else what the real truth is.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:

SO . . . what is the point of waiting until Jesus returns?


I've only just started exploring this topic, but it seems to me that it makes the most sense to have one Day of Judgement rather than a mini Judgement Day every time someone dies and then do it all over again for everyone. The Day of Judgement is referred to as a Final Judgement, not as a judgement for the folks who didn't get it before. It's the end of the world as we know it music [/REM joke]. The last time Jesus will be back, to judge the living and the dead.

quote:
What is going to happen between the time of death and whenever that hallowed day arrives?


When you find someone to give you the definite answer to that, let me know! Big Grin The text seems to say that absolutely nothing happens to you, except for rotting away. You are "asleep in the Lord" as someone else put it.

quote:
This sounds like some semblence of Catholic dogma to me - i.e. purgatory.


Don't Roman Catholics believe that prayer for the Dead can shorten their time in Purgatory? If that is the case, then it would seem that their thinking is completely different on this subject. How can you shorten the time for a specific person between now and the Final Judgement Day? This is a different belief: When your life is over, it's done and you will be judged based on what happened during your life, irrespective of anyone's prayers, alms, etc.

quote:
Beyond that, if you believe this, why do you also believe that clergy all over the world purposely mislead Christians into thinking that St. Peter will greet them at the pearly gates of heaven - at the time of death?


I would love to know that! My guess is that it's simply something that has been passed down without widespread questioning and it "sells" well. It sounds much more appealing than what we are discussing here. Then you also have the influence of literature. A lot of Christians' understanding of creation comes from Milton's Paradise Lost, not the text of the Bible. Someone wrote in to Billy Graham asking this very question and, though I respect him immensely, the "hard sell" aspect is evident:
quote:
Q: Do you think we go to heaven the instant we die, or do we sleep (or something like that) until Christ comes again and we are awakened? We had a discussion about this in our Bible study, and I was surprised to find out how many different opinions there were. "” G.A.


A: Dear G.A.,
Yes, Christians can sometimes sincerely disagree on minor matters"”although you should never forget that all Christians agree on those things that are really important, such as the divinity of Christ, His death on the cross for our salvation, His resurrection from the dead, and our hope of heaven.

From my own study of the Bible, I'm convinced that when we die, we immediately enter the presence of the Lord. At some future time, we will be given new bodies, similar to the body Jesus had after His resurrection. But in the meantime, our souls are with the Lord, and we are fully conscious of being in His presence.

This certainly seemed to be the Apostle Paul's hope. He faced many dangers, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end. But he faced death with hope: "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). Elsewhere he declared, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23).

Never forget that we have hope of life after death for one reason: Jesus Christ removed the barrier between us and God"”the barrier caused by sin. Is your hope in Him? If not, put your trust in Christ without delay.


The Church has a way of glossing and gliding over things in an effort to convert as many souls as possible.

quote:
BTW - relying on the literal words of the Bible can only get one into deep theological trouble. Since we do so many things that are either prohibited in the Bible (like interacting with menstruating women) or not included in the Bible (like Christianity itself) - it seems odd that it is being looked to as the singular source of current religous inspiration now.


IMO, the Bible "speaks" to people in different ways. That is how I've previously been able to rectify in my mind how I can be a Christian and be at odds with what other Christians say. We are all interpreters of the text if we choose to read it. We tend to rely on religious figures to clarify for us what the text says, but that does not prevent us from disagreeing with their interpretation (unless you're Catholic and you disagree with the Pope).

This thread is probably the most time I've spent looking at and contemplating what the Bible says and what I believe about Heaven. It's been awesome! tfro
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

Well, you and I may DISAGREE with the Catholic Church's opposition to these things, but there is a "logic" to it, in the sense that there's no logical disconnect between A & B. If the Catholic church says that every form of sex is sinful except for sex between a husband and his wife, then it absolutely follows that masturbation must be considered sinful. What argument do you have that there's no logical follow-through there?


I believe that the real logic in this is that human beings are sexual creatures and must have appropriate avenues to express that sexuality. That is a FAR stronger form of logic than any attemtping to impute unholy characterizations to sexual activity - particularly of the auto variety. In fact, saying that people should only have sex to procreate (which I believe is where Catholics still fall) is one of the most illogical things that I've ever heard. Beyond that, in a world filled with AIDS, poverty, and disease - to suggest that an adult should not use condoms - as policy - is beyond illogical to being absolutely stupid; probably the most absird thing I have ever heard in my entire life. IMO there is an extraordinary disconnect - as you say - between A & B.

quote:
It's kind of a tautology, really. There's no tautology in considering masturbation a sin.


A tautology, I think, is when something is true on its face or becuase merely you say it is so. In that context, then I couldn't agree with you more about masturbation.

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I do not believe that the Bible is the Word of God. But I do believe that some statements in the Bible are absolutely true.


Like what?
I Thessalonians 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethern, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others were have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus Christ will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

_____________

This is the concept of "The Rapture" that I was taught as a very yong child. We are spiritual beings wrapped in fleshly bodies that will return to the earth. However, in a twinkling of an eye He will return to gather His own.

John 1:29 - Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.

John 10:16 And other sheep that I have, which are ot of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

IMHO, as religion is a man made tool and spirituality is a gift from God, it is much better to focus on the developing the spirit that lies within me and not beat myself because I am human with human desires, needs, pains, and trials. He could have chosen to create me perfect - rather He chose to create me Sandye.

There is is a lot of truth in the Bible. Allow it to be spiritually discerned not picked apart like chicken wings after a barbeque. When my son announced that he was going to become a Muslim (he was a very young child at the time), this "Baptist born, Baptist bred, when I die I'll be Baptist dead" mother had a tough time with it. Rather than fight, I prayed and picked up his Koran and began to study other writings, it became obvious that there is truth in spiritual writings other than the Bible, and truth stands by itself.

We will all make a transition from life to life everlasting because spirits are eternal, and we will have to account for any maliciousness and other sins of the spirit, but I can't wrap my head around the concept that a kind, loving, God who caused me to enter the world the way He did - knowing the hatred and difficult times that I would encounter here is wearing a Klan outfit and waiting for my death so that I can burn in hell for all eternity. After I did, my fleshly body will deteriorate and my spirit will await the awakening that will occur when my Father comes to get me.

There is but one God - the creator of all. We are all accountable for our actions, but I really think that God has something better to do than to worry about whether or not His people are masterbating - an instinct He gave us that is just as natural as breating.

As the version of the Bible quoted above was the verion King James ordered to be interpreted, I am not certain that every word in that book came directly from the Spirit of God, but if a person diligently studies, the spirit that lies within you will bear spirit with the Spirit of God and people will stop being religious, but begin to reach their spiritual destiny - breaking down the walls of man-made religion which were never designed for spiritual unity.

Okay, let me get off my soap box - sorry it was so long and please excuse any typos. I am going to be late for work. Love you all, my brothers and sisters, and I trust we will all walk as one in spiritual things and put not stock in temperal ones.
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
Big question; If you don't go to heaven right away upon death, then where did the idea come from? How did it get wrapped up in church teaching?
The corrupted churches made it up. You might be interested to know an overwhelming majority of doctrine so called Christians believe is not from the Bible. Because people call themselves Christian does not necessarily mean God accepts these one as followers of Christ

The way Christianity was corrupted happened like this. Christians were a group of people in the Middle East that were also known as the disciples of Christ. No one else but only these ones followed in the teaching of Christ. Meanwhile the Roman Empire which was a pagan Empire ruled the whole place. When Emperor Constantine decided to change his empire to Christianity he so without a single person reading or knowing anything from the Bible. It was simply a change of title. That is the title of the Roman Empire changed from Pagan to Christian. The citizens of the Empire kept their pagan beliefs and some were adopted and made part of the new church. This was the birth of apostasy in the Christian faith.

You might be interested to know that despite this change in direction by the Empire true christians who kept to the teachings of the Bible were persecuted and killed. The Catholic church used to burn to death anyone who dared to read the Bible and killed them with the Bible tied around their neck. The Catholic went to a great extent to stop anyone ever knowing what was in the Bible.

So the simple answer to your question is, Europeans hijacked the Christian faith and made up a lot of what people believe today. However there are millions of true and dedicated Christians around today who avoid the contamination of the Christian Church and live according to what the Bible teaches. There is the difference.


I actually agree with most of what you said. But if the contaminated Roman as the Rastas say...'Babylon' Church had their grubby pagan hands on the Bible for so long before us 'lay people' had access to it, how do you know what you are reading hasn't been corrupted? And considering the many conferences/councils they admittedly had that edited and approved the books they found fit to be included in the Bible, wouldn't it be safe to asume that it has been tampered with?

ER,

I like your posts.

Kresge,

Enoch always sounded like he took a trip in a space ship to me.

Frenchy,

quote:
Edited to Add: Now I am confused about the folks who have near-death experiences and "see the white light" and talk to dead relatives and blahblahblah. There seems to be quite a bit of information that supports that these people did have experiences after death (they have the same visions as other people, or they can speak about things that went on after they were declared dead, etc).


Sounds like other religions support these occurrances, just not X-tianity.

I personally don't claim to know what happenes after death. What I hope happens is that whatever someone believes before they die materializes like a self-fulfilling proffecy(sp). So if you follow X-tianity, you wait until Jesus comes back...while I'm chilling with the ancestors in the Sirius star system, atheists experience nothing, and male Muslim marters are kickin' it with a wehole bunch of Virgins in Heaven. I think that would be cool...and fair.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:


I personally don't claim to know what happenes after death. What I hope happens is that whatever someone believes before they die materializes like a self-fulfilling proffecy(sp). So if you follow X-tianity, you wait until Jesus comes back...while I'm chilling with the ancestors in the Sirius star system, atheists experience nothing, and male Muslim marters are kickin' it with a wehole bunch of Virgins in Heaven. I think that would be cool...and fair.


That's probably the wisest, most evolved thing about religion that I have read in a LONG time!! tfro
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
I actually agree with most of what you said. But if the contaminated Roman as the Rastas say...'Babylon' Church had their grubby pagan hands on the Bible for so long before us 'lay people' had access to it, how do you know what you are reading hasn't been corrupted? And considering the many conferences/councils they admittedly had that edited and approved the books they found fit to be included in the Bible, wouldn't it be safe to asume that it has been tampered with?


You have heard of the dead sea scrolls haven't you? Modern Bibles are translated directly from them. Oh and for your information they were discovered between 1947 and 1956, that is two thousand years after the Romans usurped Christianity. The Bible is very spot on and accurate.
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:

You have heard of the dead sea scrolls haven't you? Modern Bibles are translated directly from them. Oh and for your information they were discovered between 1947 and 1956, that is two thousand years after the Romans usurped Christianity.


ek

So . . . King James was what? A leader of a rap group? sck
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
ER,

I like your posts.


You are in the minority, my sister! Smile

quote:
Kresge,

Enoch always sounded like he took a trip in a space ship to me.


lol Now, THAT was really funny! Smile

Actually, there are those who suggest such in a very serious manner. The biblical passage regarding Enoch has him basically just disappearing. With respect to Elijah, he is taken up by a fiery chariot. Finally, Ezekiel's "wheel in the middle of the wheel, way up in the middle of the air" suggests to some a flying saucer.
quote:
Originally posted by henry38:
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
So . . . King James was what? A leader of a rap group? sck

What is your point? In cased you missed it again, the dead sea srolls help to check any Biblical translation for accuracy and since it is now widely available most translations are taken from it

Unfortunately, it is not so clear cut. As to the text themselves from places such as Qumran, Nag Hammâdi, or Oxyrhynchus do have variation as to their content. These are texts of comparable and "authenticity". For example, there are scrolls of Jeremiah that differ in content (length) by 10%. They appear to be of comparable age.

As to OA's point, there is also the very large challenge of canonization. The Gospel of Thomas, for example, was most likely left out because it was not in the form of a narrative, but rather a collection of sayings. However, there were other epistles and gospels that did not make the cut for a whole host of reasons. Again, from Oxyrhynchus and Nag Hammadi, it is clear that the Christian community there had a different sense of canonicity, using multiple versions of ostensibly the same text, as they saw fit. They also used texts such as the Acts of Peter, the Gospel of the Egyptians, the Apocalypses of Paul, the Sophia of Jesus Christ, etc.

Most people even today, do not know that the various Christian churches have different canons. So there is not just one Bible.
Henry,

Please recheck your history. When the Council of Niceaea met there were over three hundred bishops meeting there to discuss the doctrine of Presbyter Arius. Constantine did not do anything by fiat at that meeting, nor did he legalize Christianity "without a single person reading or knowing anything about the Bibile." The Bible had been quoted for over two hundred years by that time, as even a cursory reading of the Didache shows:

"And the teaching of these maxims is this: bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast on behalf of those who persecute you; for what thanks is there, if you love them that love you? Do not even Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you will not have an enemy."

This comes straight from Matthew 5, Luke 6, and Romans 12.

And while the Roman church did indeed many centuries later persecute people for advocating doctrines contrary to the official Church teaching, they were only secondarily charged and executed for reading the Bible. There were many places in Europe that had the Bible in their own vernacular by the time of William Tyndale, for example, and yet they were not subject to persecution because of it.

So be a bit more careful with your history. It isn't all quite as convenient to your statements and apparent beliefs as you seem to think.

The present-day Bible can be compared to many many manuscripts of great antiquity, and it is found to be quite consistent and clear of corruptions. The longer ending of Mark comes from somewhere interesting if we could just figure out what that might be, but it isn't important because the other Gospels pick up where Mark leaves off.

In fact, that it exists at all without modification is testament (sic) to the care with which people transmitted the text of the Bible. So it can be trusted.

This of course means that the Bibile is not as untrustworthy as some of us appear to like to think.

On the original topic, sometimes surprisingly to me I realize from time to time that it doesn't matter what happens to me when I die. That's not why I am a Christian anyway. I am a Christian because it is true as well as good. After my death, well, God will take care of that. I really have no interest in what happens. I have enough to think about and enjoy here, and God has been so surprising so far that I am quite convinced that whatever happens afterward will not be as I imagine it will be or as I interpret it will be from the Bible's words.

I'm content to wait and see.

Meanwhile, how about them feathered disosaur fossils in China?
kresge,

"Most people do not know..." is very likely right, but is that surprising? Even though the Catholic Bile is quite a bit longer than the Protestant one by reason of the Apocrypha, this being a very clear and easily accessible example of your thesis?

But does that make these Bible significantly different? The doctrines that one gets from these differences are to my understanding trivial, more a case of degree than of kind. Catholics and Prots (in school several of us put on a musical parody, "Blessed Side Story," in which the rival gangs were the "Spikes" and the "Prots:" "When you're a Spike you're a Spike all the way,/ From your First Communion to your dying day...") are both recognizably Christian. One has an attachment to Mary and the Saints that the other refuses, but that's not so important as to imperil one's salvation.

The fact of the differences is interesting, but not convincing of much, I guess, because of the kind of differences. Not enough to really call them "different" Bibles, I would conclude.

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