U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-15-2011, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,992 posts, read 6,583,124 times
Reputation: 2918
Default Unforgivable sins in Christianity (long post warning)

I've been a Christian for more than five years, and during that time I feel like I have seen God's hand on my life. However, I've always struggled with doubt over the Christian concept of sin. I know the current mainstream Christian view is that no sin -- apart from blasphemy of the Holy Spirit -- cannot be forgiven by God. Additionally, most Christians also believe that "all sins are the same, and that no one sin is worse than the other in God's eyes." Most evangelical churches teach this.


In theory, that sounds nice, but in reality I find it utterly absurd (and most other Christians do too, if they really bother to think about it, which few do). As believers, we like to think that our sins – lying, stealing, lusting, gluttony, envy, and gossip, to name a few, will be forgiven by the blood of Christ. We quote passages like 1 John 1:9, which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” All Christians accept this – it's one of the fundamental tenets of the faith. No one has a problem with this. But, where do you draw the line? Think about what that verse really says . . . “purify us from ALL unrighteousness.” If you take this verse (and the dozens of others like it) at face value, it would mean that a brutal murderer, a serial pedophile, a bloodthirsty terrorist, a ruthless despot, a human trafficker, and a chronic spousal abuser could all find complete forgiveness for their heinous crimes simply by trusting in Christ, just the same as any "normal" person. This seems woefully unjust to me, even though it's clearly laid out in Scripture.


Besides, no one actually believes in this kind of blanket forgiveness – it is just an empty, meaningless platitude. If most other Christians were honest with themselves, they'd admit they also find the concept unjust and absurd. For example, American Christians were literally dancing and cheering in the street upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden – they weren't grieving him dying without Christ and going to hell* (I'll get to that topic later in this post) or saying that they hoped he knew Christ – they were happy about him dying a violent death, and, if you assume the evangelical view of the afterlife, burning for all eternity. Christians have the same reaction upon hearing of the deaths of other heinous criminals. This celebratory reaction is unbiblical, of course. Just look at Matthew 5:43-45, where Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” and Proverbs 24:17, which states “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice . . .” The celebrations also went against what most Christians claim to believe – blanket forgiveness and the equality of all sin – after all, under the mainstream Christian view, YOU are just as guilty as Bin Laden! However, no one really believes that, because it is ridiculous. Although the celebratory actions make no sense from a mainstream Christian viewpoint, they do seem perfectly normal and acceptable when viewed from outside the Christian framework. It's a normal human reaction to rejoice at justice being done. It's human instinct.


So, do we really believe that "all sins are the same?" Do we really believe that Bin Laden's actions were the moral equivalent of those of, for example, “Joe Smith the friendly neighborhood agnostic” – a guy who didn't believe Jesus is God but was a good husband and father, excelled at his job, gave to the poor and orphans and loved his neighbor as himself? The answer is obvious to me, and I think it is to you, too. Why do we celebrate Osama's death, but mourn "Joe Smith's?" According to the Bible, both were “lost” . . . but why are our reactions different? I would say it is because Bin Laden was truly an evil individual, and Joe Smith was not evil. Not all sins are equal, some are worse than others. Some can be readily forgiven, some can be forgiven at great cost, others can never be forgiven. Of course, this contradicts mainstream Christian doctrine, if not Scripture itself.


For those who believe all sins lead to punishment in an eternal hell, this raises even more problems. I believe God is a just God. Any normal, sane system of justice would have perpetrators answering for their actions, and receiving an equitable punishment. You know, "the punishment should fit the crime." For example, assume all sin is worthy of punishment after death by God. Because all people have sinned, all people must pay for their own actions. That sounds just, right? A "good" (in human terms) atheist and a child rapist must both suffer the penalty of their sins. A just system would have the "good" atheist suffer a much lesser and shorter punishment than the child rapist, but both would eventually see their sentence of punishment end. However, a mainstream Christian reading of Scripture assumes that BOTH the "good" atheist and the child rapist will suffer unimaginable torment for all eternity. Not only are they being punished infinitely for their finite actions, but such a hell assumes no difference in the punishment for non-belief and child rape. In other words, it says that the non-belief of an atheist is the moral equivalent of raping a child. I cannot accept that a just God would use such a system.


Unfortunately, just being honest, this is where Christianity falls apart for me. I want to keep trusting in God . . . I really want to believe. However, I'm struggling with the idea of forcing myself to accept something that is so deeply conflicted, so deeply contradictory.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-15-2011, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Florida
5,878 posts, read 2,595,320 times
Reputation: 1498
A short answer. I do believe that the worst sinners you can think of will find forgiveness in Christ, but not without the same process as everyone goes through - the cross - owning the true wretchedness of one's own sin and his/her helplessness in getting free of it. That's the reason I say many ETers are into easy believe-ism - they've never truly been to the valley of the skull - the place where one despises oneself and falls as though dead because of their wretchedness. Most of the ETers I've known are always looking for who seems "worse" than they are and think to themselves that because they have mentally assented to the existence that a man named Jesus was physically nailed to a piece of wood, that by mentally assenting to that their sins are forgiven. They never have had that life-changing experience of knowing how gracious God is in spite of how pathetic they truly are.

So, are you really saying that you think some sinners are too wicked for God to have mercy on? Why would you believe that? Isn't that limiting God's goodness and grace? And don't you get beyond anger to sadness when you see someone bound by their sin nature, unable to get free?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
6,805 posts, read 4,392,677 times
Reputation: 495
Default Finding out the bible truly is ancient.

You are not alone. The thought process you are going through shows the spirit of love growing within you. Keep digging within and trust in the god you know.. within....

The bible is adequate for instruction but mixed in are 1st century concepts of the world. A world that still believed sacrificing their best crop to a wrathful god would bring rain or an end to famine...

If god is love, as the bible claims, and his mercy endures forever, and hell is just cruel, then what do you believe? The mercy god or the hell god?

The hell god cant be trusted because the atheist and rapist are both tortured so who knows where you stand, and the mercy god treats both atheist and rapist with love... Which is unjust?

Good post! Worth pondering.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 07:19 AM
 
5,925 posts, read 3,162,618 times
Reputation: 628
Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
Unfortunately, just being honest, this is where Christianity falls apart for me. I want to keep trusting in God . . . I really want to believe. However, I'm struggling with the idea of forcing myself to accept something that is so deeply conflicted, so deeply contradictory.

Appreciate your honesty and you make a lot of good points. I myself understand that I could be one that Jesus tells to depart as I may try to list all the things I did in his name.

I have a question and it is one of those things that I asked myself as I went through my walk in organized religion.

Why do you need to accept "Christianity" to trust God?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 08:28 AM
 
347 posts, read 135,408 times
Reputation: 116
Hi northstar 22 I understand your quandary. Went though a similar experience myself. As you study more and God opens your eyes you will start to understand. All sin must be repented and a change of our hearts must occur. Yes some people commit heinous crimes and to us it does not seem fair that they too can be forgiven. But God is not a man. He wants all men to repent and come to a knowledge of righteousness. Everyone will be judged. Contrary to what many will tell you this is not a, you go to heaven ,you go to hell judgement. God's judgements are when you will confront all you have done and said and felt and for many there will be a wailing and gnashing of teeth. They will repent and it will not be pretty or easy for them, they will reap what they have sown and it will be painful. Some will suffer many stripes some will suffer few stripes. So the question comes down to do you want revenge for heinous crimes or do you want the person to repent and change. If a person truly repents and has suffered the agony of confronting his own failures and answering for what he did and said and even thought is that enough or not. He is now a new being and is not the same one who did the heinous deeds. And you can be sure it is not a front because you can not fool God, he will know if the repentance and change of heart is real or not and he will make it come about because he knows exactly how to do it.

So what is justice? Getting even for past indiscretions or changing the heart of a sinner into an image of God?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:24 AM
 
9,087 posts, read 4,455,202 times
Reputation: 988
First... we rejoice in the fact that you have come to confess Jesus as Lord.


God views sin differently the humans do.
God's opinion is that break one you're guilty of breaking all. James 2:10

Therefore what Jesusdid on the cross reverses sins condemnation.
  • In God's view all sins have been paid for.
So yes... it is unfair that God does indeed wipe the slate clear of every vile sin from you and me.

But God does say that there are going to be those unbelievers who will suffer more for their unbelief. The punishment will be greater (like damnation by itself isn't... [ how we are not told exactly] )

The person who causes small children to sin (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2)
People who had the opportunity to believe but rejected vs those who never had the opportunity 2 Peter 2:20-22,
Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:23, Luke 10:12

The person who betrayed him
Matthew 26:24
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Miami, FL
33,364 posts, read 10,855,077 times
Reputation: 4172
It can be summarized here:

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

So, sinners are judged according to what they have done, and unbelief alone deserves the punishement of lake of fire. So, unbelief alone is punished by eternal separation from God, and while there, you are punished according to what you have done.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Canada
3,550 posts, read 1,347,405 times
Reputation: 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
I've been a Christian for more than five years, and during that time I feel like I have seen God's hand on my life. However, I've always struggled with doubt over the Christian concept of sin. I know the current mainstream Christian view is that no sin -- apart from blasphemy of the Holy Spirit -- cannot be forgiven by God. Additionally, most Christians also believe that "all sins are the same, and that no one sin is worse than the other in God's eyes." Most evangelical churches teach this.


In theory, that sounds nice, but in reality I find it utterly absurd (and most other Christians do too, if they really bother to think about it, which few do). As believers, we like to think that our sins – lying, stealing, lusting, gluttony, envy, and gossip, to name a few, will be forgiven by the blood of Christ. We quote passages like 1 John 1:9, which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” All Christians accept this – it's one of the fundamental tenets of the faith. No one has a problem with this. But, where do you draw the line? Think about what that verse really says . . . “purify us from ALL unrighteousness.” If you take this verse (and the dozens of others like it) at face value, it would mean that a brutal murderer, a serial pedophile, a bloodthirsty terrorist, a ruthless despot, a human trafficker, and a chronic spousal abuser could all find complete forgiveness for their heinous crimes simply by trusting in Christ, just the same as any "normal" person. This seems woefully unjust to me, even though it's clearly laid out in Scripture.


Besides, no one actually believes in this kind of blanket forgiveness – it is just an empty, meaningless platitude. If most other Christians were honest with themselves, they'd admit they also find the concept unjust and absurd. For example, American Christians were literally dancing and cheering in the street upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden – they weren't grieving him dying without Christ and going to hell* (I'll get to that topic later in this post) or saying that they hoped he knew Christ – they were happy about him dying a violent death, and, if you assume the evangelical view of the afterlife, burning for all eternity. Christians have the same reaction upon hearing of the deaths of other heinous criminals. This celebratory reaction is unbiblical, of course. Just look at Matthew 5:43-45, where Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” and Proverbs 24:17, which states “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice . . .” The celebrations also went against what most Christians claim to believe – blanket forgiveness and the equality of all sin – after all, under the mainstream Christian view, YOU are just as guilty as Bin Laden! However, no one really believes that, because it is ridiculous. Although the celebratory actions make no sense from a mainstream Christian viewpoint, they do seem perfectly normal and acceptable when viewed from outside the Christian framework. It's a normal human reaction to rejoice at justice being done. It's human instinct.


So, do we really believe that "all sins are the same?" Do we really believe that Bin Laden's actions were the moral equivalent of those of, for example, “Joe Smith the friendly neighborhood agnostic” – a guy who didn't believe Jesus is God but was a good husband and father, excelled at his job, gave to the poor and orphans and loved his neighbor as himself? The answer is obvious to me, and I think it is to you, too. Why do we celebrate Osama's death, but mourn "Joe Smith's?" According to the Bible, both were “lost” . . . but why are our reactions different? I would say it is because Bin Laden was truly an evil individual, and Joe Smith was not evil. Not all sins are equal, some are worse than others. Some can be readily forgiven, some can be forgiven at great cost, others can never be forgiven. Of course, this contradicts mainstream Christian doctrine, if not Scripture itself.


For those who believe all sins lead to punishment in an eternal hell, this raises even more problems. I believe God is a just God. Any normal, sane system of justice would have perpetrators answering for their actions, and receiving an equitable punishment. You know, "the punishment should fit the crime." For example, assume all sin is worthy of punishment after death by God. Because all people have sinned, all people must pay for their own actions. That sounds just, right? A "good" (in human terms) atheist and a child rapist must both suffer the penalty of their sins. A just system would have the "good" atheist suffer a much lesser and shorter punishment than the child rapist, but both would eventually see their sentence of punishment end. However, a mainstream Christian reading of Scripture assumes that BOTH the "good" atheist and the child rapist will suffer unimaginable torment for all eternity. Not only are they being punished infinitely for their finite actions, but such a hell assumes no difference in the punishment for non-belief and child rape. In other words, it says that the non-belief of an atheist is the moral equivalent of raping a child. I cannot accept that a just God would use such a system.


Unfortunately, just being honest, this is where Christianity falls apart for me. I want to keep trusting in God . . . I really want to believe. However, I'm struggling with the idea of forcing myself to accept something that is so deeply conflicted, so deeply contradictory.
Hi NS22, good post, this may be of some help to you in your search.



There are two types of sin.

There is a sin unto death and there is a sin NOT unto death.

1Jn.5:16-17
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:08 PM
 
1,262 posts, read 448,629 times
Reputation: 166
Either saved or unsaved, we are all still sinners on this earth - some sin with little offenses and unfortunately some big offenses (in our eyes/judgment). We are not perfect, but God is. It might help you if you try to look at sin (the petty to the worst kind) through God's eyes instead of your own. Ask Him to show you how He can forgive us for EVERY sin we commit (and repent of). He WILL show you. The only, and He does say only, sin he will not forgive is blaspheming (rejecting) the Holy Spirit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2011, 01:33 PM
 
1,897 posts, read 945,845 times
Reputation: 242
Northstar 22, I totally understand you asking these questions. I think you should set aside extra prayer time and ask God these questions and listen for the Holy Spirit to impress the answers upon your heart. I had similar questions and was shown the truth of God's unconditional love for all He created. Although everyone will reap what they sow, love never fails! Jesus won't fail in His mission to be the Savior of the whole world.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Christianity
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top