THE RESPONDEES TO THE FIRST 3 INTERNET QUESTIONS COME FROM 3 CHRISTIAN WEBSITES. 1st Internet Question: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PURPOSE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS? THE RESPONDEES ARE REALLY DIVIDED OVER WHETHER THE PURPOSE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IS TO BE A GUIDE ON HOW WE SHOULD LIVE SO THAT WE WILL HAVE SOME LAW AND ORDER WITHIN OUR SOCIETY, OR THAT IT POINTS TO THE FACT THAT WE CAN'T OBEY THIS PERFECT LAW SO THAT WE WOULD NEED SOME OUTSIDE HELP AND FOR CHRISTIANS THIS OUTSIDE HELP COMES IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST. WHAT DO YOU THINK? 1) Corbin adds: Duet 11-14 might tend to contradict the latter answer when it states that the law is easy to follow, but I feel one has to realize that our understanding of God's morality has increased over time, and the understanding that the Israelis had of the commandments during the time of Duet. differs from our understanding today. Duet at the time looked at the outward meaning of the commandments, whereas today our understanding is much more internal. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN To answer the question, one has to begin with what one can actually see, and that is man himself. Now, within man (in the generic sense which includes women) one can see a selfish core that seems to be inherited. Christians call this original sin (Gen. 3, Rom.5:12, Rom 6:23, IJohn I:8, Rom 3:23, and IJohn 5:17). And man has to be cognizant of this fact and the fact that he needs help in following God's perfect law - The Ten Commandments - (IJohn I:9-10, Ex. 20:I-17, and Duet. 5:6-21). A more spiritual way in looking at this is that assuming God to be perfect (Math 5:48 and Psalm I8:30), "How can a perfect being ever mix with an imperfect being to help the latter become obedient to the Perfect being's law?". The only way that this relationship could be brought back together again, that is where perfection could be united with imperfection, is that the better state has to take the lead, since it is the stronger suit that is needed in initiating such a unification (ICor. 13:10, and John 4:19) Christians believe that God did this in the person of Jesus Christ (John 3:16). They believe that Jesus came down to earth, mingled with humanity for awhile, sacrificed Himself for it on the cross, and returned to His original state (Perfection as part of the Trinity or God in relationship) through the resurrection (Romans 5:15) In other words, Jesus Christ, who is also God (John I:1-2, I4 and I7 and John 12:44-45) divested Himself of everything on the cross, which included all His power, all His possessions including all His clothes, and His life because of our separation from God or Perfection, and then was raised up (Math 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20&21, ICor. 15). To put it another way, He became pure imperfection for us on the cross before becoming Perfection once again (Romans 4:25). Another way in looking at this is that those who are dependent upon and confess or admit this separation with this outside source, and believe in these activities of Jesus Christ (Christians) are
now wrapped up in a state of Perfection, just like a Christmas package, to seal in our own imperfection (Romans 10:9 and 5:9-10). Not that we become perfect, but when God looks at His believers, all that He can see is the impenetrable outside wrapping, Jesus Christ, which in effect, is really like God looking into a mirror at Himself. And we, as believers, though remaining imperfect ourselves, but perfect inside Christ, grow, love more, and respond in more beneficent ways as our whole being is more and more immersed by this wrapping expanding and seeping into our hearts. In other words, our actions are determined by how much of His presence we have of Him within ourselves, and from this, love expands and there is a greater presence of the Kingdom of God here on earth. And the best way of bringing this presence of Him about here on earth is by praising Him individually, or better yet, in a group which is called the Church. 2nd Internet Question: WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN? AND THE RESPONSES TO CORBIN'S DEFINITION OF A CHRISTIAN WRITTEN ABOVE. 1) Hugh says: I think a Christian is more like a tootsie roll pop. The red coating completely covers the gooey black stuff. 2) Jim says: A Christian is someone who puts their own wishes aside and follows Christ despite the world view. He who picks up the cross and walks alongside Jesus gains much more than world knowledge. 3) Robert says: A Christian is someone who imitates Christ. And a Perfect Being really has no choice but to accept an imperfect being. 4) Noel says: Love and forgiveness must be unconditional whether you're perfect or imperfect. Personally, I believe a perfect Being can accept an imperfect being and much more. Would not a perfect Being be able to love perfectly and unconditionally? After all, that's what love is all about, accepting imperfections. 3rd Internet Question: ARE THERE UNCONSCIOUS CHRISTIANS? 1) Thomas says: In my opinion, no. A person may be as close to a saint as you can be on earth, but if they don't believe in Jesus as a savior, then I don't think they can be considered a Christian. There are many religions in the world that have moral standards of right and wrong, and helping others in need, just as Christianity does, but this doesn't make them Christian. 2) John says: Some non-Christians act more Christ-like than many Christians. 3) Michael says: Within Christianity there is an inclusive tradition which has been clearly expressed by the Jesuit Karl Rahner who used the phrase "anonymous Christians". Without compromising what we believe to be true or being apologetic about our faith, it is an act of humility, a recognition of our own limitations and God's greatness, to look beyond the confines of our own family. Although we believe in the unique self-revelation of God in Christ, our
understanding of place and time cannot circumscribe God's universal salvation. For this reason, non-Christian religious traditions must be valid, capable of mediating the saving grace of God, people of faith are within the embrace of God's grace. and receiving this grace, which we know in Christ, they become "anonymous Christians". 4) Alice says. One cannot be an unconscious Christian seeing as how a person either believes or doesn't. But if you mean can a person be Christ-like without being a Christian, then the answer is yes, of course. We are born with a consciousness of right and wrong which may be our soul or a bit of God in us. So, regardless of the religious belief or lack thereof, a person may still be good, loving, and giving. That in essence is Christian though the belief in Jesus as Savior may not be present. 5) Sarah says: Christianity isn't the only Path to require decent, moral, loving behavior from its followers. 6) Jim says: Let me say first that I think that the the world religions share the same eternal truths. Each of the Founders of the world religions were channels for the same light...same light, different lamps. When we recognize the God-like qualities in a person, we see that light reflected in his spirit which is manifested and released throuhout his or her life. 7) Sam says: There is a book called "One River, Many Wells" written by Mathew Fox. In brief it states that there is god and many wells (belief systems, religions, etc.) that all go to the same source. There is one underground river, but there are many wells connected to that river: e.i. a Jewish well, a Hindu well, an Islem well, a Buddhist well, etc. In other words, there are many wells but one river. To go down a well is to practice tradition, but we would make a grave mistake if we confused the well itself with the flowing waters of the underground river. If you look at your hands, your thumbs, and fingers, they are all individual and independent, but when you look at the whole hand they all come from the same source. Fox quotes from a lot of sources, but the basis of most religions is the same, love, acceptance, finding meaning, and the joy of creation. What I am trying to say is that when maybe people act in a Christ-like way, they are in contact with God, doing the actions according to the universal understanding of what is right and just. 4th Internet Question: WHAT IS THE JEWISH BELIEF AS COMPARED WITH THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF? From a Jewish website I've determined that the Jewish belief is as follows: A Messiah will come at the end of time and will never die, this will be when all the Jews will receive redemption and be united, everybody will recognize this person as the true Messiah, all the dead will be raised up, the 3rd Temple will be built, sacrifices will return, all will be saved, no more sickness and death, and we will all live on this earth in peace forever. Jesus was just an ordinary Jew and not the Messiah becaus he died and his followers killed Jews. Being imperfect had nothing to do with Salvation. God could accept us as we are as long as we ask Him for His forgiveness for our transgressions, and to do this, we don't need an intercessor. 5th Internet Question: WHAT IS THE MUSLIM BELIEF AS COMPARED WITH THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF? From a Muslim website I've determined that the Muslim belief is as follows: The Black Muslims are
not true Muslims because according to the Muslims, Mohammad is supposed to be the last and greatest prophet that ever lived, but in the Black Muslim religion they recognize a later prophet. The Muslims believe that Jesus was only one of the many prophets that existed before Mohammad. Muslim's emphasize the oneness of God as the foundation of their religion, and surround this with a number of regulations, such as worshipping Him at appointed times (5 times) a day, giving generously to charity once a year, fasting for 30 days during the month appointed by Him and sometimes many rigid restrictions for women. Muslims also believe that a person's sin is only between God and that person and that person has to confess that sin before God and ask for forgiveness and promise not to do it again. Muslims do not believe in inherited sin. They only believe in individual sins. There is no Intercessor here. Muslims believe all Muslims will be saved, but some would have to be purified more thouroughly in a purgatory after they die, especially the suicide bombers. Suicide is against the Muslim religion, but if the suicide is for the purpose of defending one's homeland, this would be different. All non-Muslims would never be saved, if they heard the Muslim message and rejected it. This is especially true for the Christians,since the Muslims believe Christians worship more than one God. 6th Internet Question: WHAT IS THE HINDU BELIEF AS COMPARED WITH THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF? From a Hindu website I've determined that the Hindu belief is as follows: A Hindu believes that we all have an immortal soul, and that originally we were all perfect, just as God is, and that in some way we lost our purity and became, in effect sinners. Now we should all strive to get this back through meditation and yoga, but this is going to take a long time. In fact, most likely, it will take many lifetimes. This is where reincarnation comes in. We have to improve ourselves a little each lifetime. In other words, when we die our immortal soul enters another body to improve a little bit more, until we reach a point where we can become like God again. Of course, we can always backslide, but eventually we all will find salvation in our own perfection. Now this belief would hold true for Hindus and non-Hindus alike because this belief does not depend on what another person believes. 7th Internet Question: WHAT IS THE BUDDHIST BELIEF AS COMPARED TO THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF? From a Buddhist website I've determined that the Buddhist belief is as follows: The Buddhists feel that their belief is not a religion, but a philosophy, or a way of life. Buddhists believe that God is really an unknowable so why concern yourself about Him. A Buddhist believes that the only time that is important is the present, the here and now, and the future is something that one shouldn't worry about. Just concern yourself with the present and try to improve yourself at that point of time through meditation and yoga. Take one step at a time and death is only one of those steps. So only concentrate on the step you're taking at the time. The goal of all this is to eventually reach perfection all on your own. It's really a focus on your way of life in the present with no concern for your life in the future. 8th Internet Question: WHY DO SOME PEOPLE REJECT A BELIEF IN GOD OR CHRISTIANITY ACCORDING TO SOME RESPONSES FROM SEVERAL CHRISTIAN WEBSITES? From Sarah 1) What is the use of a God who never appears, or does anything supernatural where people can
all see and benefit. 2) What use is a God who watches the sparrows fall and never catches them. 3) Why believe in a supernatural being when sooner or later science will explain everything. 4) How can there be a God when people are suffering, and dying, and evil people are able to do horrible things - shouldn't a God do something to stop it. 5) People can live good, decent, honest lives without being attached to a religion. 6) You meet an awful lot of so-called "Christians" who are cruel, intolerant, and fear-ridden. Who would want to join them? 7) The three in one idea makes no sense. 8) Wine into blood and bread into flesh sounds like cannibalism. 9) There are so many religions in the world - how can you be sure Christianity is the one. 10) There are so many versions of Christianity - surely if it was real they'd all agree. From others 1) "Believe in what I believe or you're going to hell" theory. 2) Blind faith is a turnoff. 3) I have never seen any of the extraordinary events that occurred in the Bible. 4) Biblical contradictions. (seemingly) 5) They never met a Christian or they have met one. 9th Internet Question: WHAT ABOUT DEVELOPING A WORLD RELIGION? SOME RESPONSES FROM 2 CHRISTIAN WEBSITES 1) Albert says: My personal view is that it would cause even more problems. Can you imagine the difficulties of trying to persuade the different faiths that a World Faith would be an advantage to all concerned. Can't see it happening myself. 2) Corbin says: This would be very difficult to do, especially when two of the religions (Christianity snd Islam) preach exclusivity. But the Bahai Religion is trying to do just that. 3) John Says: Yes, when all mankind has knowledge of who Jesus is, and the followers of Jesus live up to the calling of Jesus, there will be a one World Religion. 10th Internet Question: HOW WOULD LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS AFFECT YOUR FAITH? In summation, from 2 Christian websites, it seems that all feel it wouldn't affect one's faith if it tended to be liberal, whereas if it tended to be more conservative it could. For example, if life were discovered on other planets, would this mean 1) that we should send spaceships on interplanetary missions to convert the aliens, 2) even if we did this, would they have souls, or even be aware of a Supernatural Being, 3) if they would be, would they be fallen creatures like us, or might they have been able to pass their own version of the Adam and Eve test and remained perfect, 4) if not, how would God deal with their Salvation, 5) would they have their own "Jesus/Savior" in the form of their own species, 6) or maybe Jesus covers them too in that maybe an earth-based spirituality would cover them as well and 7) is their spiritual mentality higher or lower than ours, and how would this affect on how we or God would deal with them.
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I was born in New York City in 1931, grew up on Long Island, graduated from Roanoke College in Virginia with a BA in Political Science, and from New York Theological Seminary with a Masters Degree in Religious Education. I became a committed Christian in 1958, and after a number of years became a committed Ecumenical Christian. I worked as an accountant in various companies for about 25 years in New York City, then moved down to Argentina and worked for about 21 years as a Business English Conversationalist Teacher with some of the top managers. My greatest life-changing experience occurred in the early 70's when I became very active for about 3 years in a social nudist (both sexes) camp. I also became a Stephen Minister (trained counselor) while down here in Argentina. I have been married twice (the last to an Argentine), widowed once, have no children, but one cat. If you want to contact me, you can do so via (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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