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Old 12-29-2011, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Here's a question for all you adherents in attendance.

It's my general understanding that generally, most religions (and I'm thinking mainly Abrahamic ones here, as these the ones I know the most about) make pretty clear and authoritative claims as to the validity and finality of the religion itself and the holy books associated with them. I have often heard from, say, Christians that the Bible is meant to act as a "final word" from God, and have heard from Muslims and Mormons that their respective texts act as "final words" themselves, correcting mistakes or errors that previous religions got wrong.

If this is the case, and your religion is a true and accurate representation of God and what he thinks about the way things should be, how do you then reconcile the fact that every religion has had schisms and off-shoots?

To put it another way: I hear from Christians from time to time - knock and you shall receive. If your God is the true God, and adherents have been searching for God and have found the holy spirit (or alternative equivalent), then why have there been so many schisms?

I guess I've just heard anecdotes about people reading (holy book) and then describing a feeling of understanding that they attribute to God. If there was a one true religion, wouldn't this feeling of understanding be consistent? Wouldn't those seeking answers to questions receive the same answers?

I guess I'm mainly asking two questions here:

1) How firm is your religion in stating that it is the one true way, and the associated holy book is all you would need to live life?

and

2) If that's the case, why has there been so much discord over the years? So many disagreements? Why has the One True Book not been "good enough" to avoid all the interpretations?

I guess I'm just wondering how you deal with that. If I were a believer I know it would bug me, but I'm curious about your thoughts. Maybe it's just not seen as an issue at all.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:12 PM
 
949 posts, read 932,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillmont View Post
Here's a question for all you adherents in attendance.

It's my general understanding that generally, most religions (and I'm thinking mainly Abrahamic ones here, as these the ones I know the most about) make pretty clear and authoritative claims as to the validity and finality of the religion itself and the holy books associated with them. I have often heard from, say, Christians that the Bible is meant to act as a "final word" from God, and have heard from Muslims and Mormons that their respective texts act as "final words" themselves, correcting mistakes or errors that previous religions got wrong.

If this is the case, and your religion is a true and accurate representation of God and what he thinks about the way things should be, how do you then reconcile the fact that every religion has had schisms and off-shoots?

To put it another way: I hear from Christians from time to time - knock and you shall receive. If your God is the true God, and adherents have been searching for God and have found the holy spirit (or alternative equivalent), then why have there been so many schisms?

I guess I've just heard anecdotes about people reading (holy book) and then describing a feeling of understanding that they attribute to God. If there was a one true religion, wouldn't this feeling of understanding be consistent? Wouldn't those seeking answers to questions receive the same answers?

I guess I'm mainly asking two questions here:

1) How firm is your religion in stating that it is the one true way, and the associated holy book is all you would need to live life?

and

2) If that's the case, why has there been so much discord over the years? So many disagreements? Why has the One True Book not been "good enough" to avoid all the interpretations?

I guess I'm just wondering how you deal with that. If I were a believer I know it would bug me, but I'm curious about your thoughts. Maybe it's just not seen as an issue at all.
1. There are essentials that must be agreed upon to be a Christian. Those include things like the nature of Christ and salvation. (Christology and Soteriology). They've been established for 2000 years. If you disagree with the established doctrine you are simply not a Christian. That's it.

2. There are non-essentials that we are free to disagree on. The Bible isn't clear on these. It's not reasonable to expect that the Bible would address every single issue that may come up. It is clear on the ones that matter.
It shouldn't surprise anyone with the diverse world that we live in that some people come to different conclusions than us on things like style of worship, church polity, spiritual gifts, and others. I have no problem with the idea that someone in another church disagrees with me on these issues.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoGeek View Post
1. There are essentials that must be agreed upon to be a Christian. Those include things like the nature of Christ and salvation. (Christology and Soteriology). They've been established for 2000 years. If you disagree with the established doctrine you are simply not a Christian. That's it.

2. There are non-essentials that we are free to disagree on. The Bible isn't clear on these. It's not reasonable to expect that the Bible would address every single issue that may come up. It is clear on the ones that matter.
It shouldn't surprise anyone with the diverse world that we live in that some people come to different conclusions than us on things like style of worship, church polity, spiritual gifts, and others. I have no problem with the idea that someone in another church disagrees with me on these issues.
Makes sense. A follow up question: Where would the argument over UR and ET that goes on in the Christian Forum fall? It seems to me that the state of the afterlife is a pretty big aspect of salvation, and 2000 years later Christianity still can't seem to agree.

I guess you could argue that salvation and the possible punishment for not being saved are two separate topics, but even then, it would seem to be a particularly big elephant in the room of Christendom.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:48 PM
 
949 posts, read 932,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillmont View Post
Makes sense. A follow up question: Where would the argument over UR and ET that goes on in the Christian Forum fall? It seems to me that the state of the afterlife is a pretty big aspect of salvation, and 2000 years later Christianity still can't seem to agree.

I guess you could argue that salvation and the possible punishment for not being saved are two separate topics, but even then, it would seem to be a particularly big elephant in the room of Christendom.
Christianity has traditionally taught that we are saved by Grace alone through Christ alone. If you are a universalist that believes all will be saved regardless...why would you care about this core doctrine? Why bother sharing the Gospel if all are saved anyway? I think UR is a dangerous idea because it eliminates the need for a savior and salvation.

Alistair Begg, a Christian theologian said that without a real Hell, and a real wrath of God, heaven is robbed of its meaning.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoGeek View Post
Christianity has traditionally taught that we are saved by Grace alone through Christ alone. If you are a universalist that believes all will be saved regardless...why would you care about this core doctrine? Why bother sharing the Gospel if all are saved anyway? I think UR is a dangerous idea because it eliminates the need for a savior and salvation.

Alistair Begg, a Christian theologian said that without a real Hell, and a real wrath of God, heaven is robbed of its meaning.
I'm not really interested in the arguments for why one interpretation is more correct than another, but rather how adherents deal with the differing interpretations.

I take it you find universalists to be wrong in their beliefs - do you consider them to just be misguided Christians? Why have their attempts to understand Christianity differed so wildly? Presumably they are using the same tools (Bible and introspection), so have they just gotten it wrong?
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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And I see that Hueff has started a thread in the Christianity Forum asking pretty much the same question, but worded better.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:17 PM
 
949 posts, read 932,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillmont View Post
I'm not really interested in the arguments for why one interpretation is more correct than another, but rather how adherents deal with the differing interpretations.

I take it you find universalists to be wrong in their beliefs - do you consider them to just be misguided Christians? Why have their attempts to understand Christianity differed so wildly? Presumably they are using the same tools (Bible and introspection), so have they just gotten it wrong?
Generally speaking, I view universalists as not really wanting to read the whole of scripture. Sometimes we tend to look past the hard teachings and paint a picture of a god that is easier to handle. Are they Christians? Some may be...but as a whole I would seriously question the salvation of someone that blatantly ignores what I consider to be the plain teaching of scripture.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
1,807 posts, read 2,283,924 times
Reputation: 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheoGeek View Post
Generally speaking, I view universalists as not really wanting to read the whole of scripture. Sometimes we tend to look past the hard teachings and paint a picture of a god that is easier to handle. Are they Christians? Some may be...but as a whole I would seriously question the salvation of someone that blatantly ignores what I consider to be the plain teaching of scripture.
Thanks for the insight.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
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In Islam it is not highly visible as to who is and who is not a Muslim. We do not know who will die as a Muslim. We have 5 pillars of faith that all Muslims must Follow. Failure to not follow any one of them is reason to suspect a person is not Muslim.

As to interpretations of the Qur'an only the Arabic Qur'an is considered to be the Qur'an. there are sometimes disagreements over specific meanings of things. But, any disagreement is not cause to say they are not following the Qur'an. If we feel someone is not following it it is our obligation to state and show why our posistion is the correct one. This can use the views of the Ahadith, the Fiqh-ul-Sunnah and the Teachings of the Madhabs. There may still be disagreements, but it is each persons responsibility to verify all things and that they have valid reasons to believe as they do. the fact they disagree is not grounds to say they are not Muslim.

In today's world there are 3 major divisions of Islam. Sunni, Shi'a and Sufi. But we all believe we belong to just one ummah and accept each other as being Muslims. although we may believe the other 2 have deviated away from Islam and have brought in innovations.

Islam places more emphasis on the personal responsibility of each individual than on any type of dogma. It is between the person and Allaah(swt) as to if the person is truly following Islam not the title of any adjective before the name Muslim. all Muslims are Muslims we see no disclaimer that means a person is not Muslim because of any label. We may feel some one is not following Islam as they should and try to correct what we see as error, but that does not mean we do not see each other as being Muslim.

Islam is not the name of a religion it is a verb meaning to submit to Allaah(swt) all who do their best to submit to Allaah(swt) are performing Islam. The name Muslim is a noun that means a person who does Islam.

We see being Muslim as being a state of always trying to improve how we submit to Allaah(swt) each person can be at different levels, none of us will ever reach perfection. but perfection is not required, just the sincerity to do the best we can and to always seek to learn more.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
1,807 posts, read 2,283,924 times
Reputation: 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
In Islam it is not highly visible as to who is and who is not a Muslim. We do not know who will die as a Muslim. We have 5 pillars of faith that all Muslims must Follow. Failure to not follow any one of them is reason to suspect a person is not Muslim.

As to interpretations of the Qur'an only the Arabic Qur'an is considered to be the Qur'an. there are sometimes disagreements over specific meanings of things. But, any disagreement is not cause to say they are not following the Qur'an. If we feel someone is not following it it is our obligation to state and show why our posistion is the correct one. This can use the views of the Ahadith, the Fiqh-ul-Sunnah and the Teachings of the Madhabs. There may still be disagreements, but it is each persons responsibility to verify all things and that they have valid reasons to believe as they do. the fact they disagree is not grounds to say they are not Muslim.

In today's world there are 3 major divisions of Islam. Sunni, Shi'a and Sufi. But we all believe we belong to just one ummah and accept each other as being Muslims. although we may believe the other 2 have deviated away from Islam and have brought in innovations.

Islam places more emphasis on the personal responsibility of each individual than on any type of dogma. It is between the person and Allaah(swt) as to if the person is truly following Islam not the title of any adjective before the name Muslim. all Muslims are Muslims we see no disclaimer that means a person is not Muslim because of any label. We may feel some one is not following Islam as they should and try to correct what we see as error, but that does not mean we do not see each other as being Muslim.

Islam is not the name of a religion it is a verb meaning to submit to Allaah(swt) all who do their best to submit to Allaah(swt) are performing Islam. The name Muslim is a noun that means a person who does Islam.

We see being Muslim as being a state of always trying to improve how we submit to Allaah(swt) each person can be at different levels, none of us will ever reach perfection. but perfection is not required, just the sincerity to do the best we can and to always seek to learn more.
Thanks for the detailed response!

At this point I will have to confess I was mainly coming at the question from the Christian perspective with the Holy Spirit. Does Islam (I will continue to call what Muslims practice Islam for the sake of clarity and ease of use) have something roughly equivalent to this? Does the Qur'an make any claims that through prayer and introspection?

What you describe is much like what TheoGeek has described for Christianity - a set of necessary tenets that must be followed, and further tenets that are open to interpretation. The Five Pillars on one end and Ahadith, the Fiqh-ul-Sunnah and the Teachings of the Madhabs on the other. Islam, Judaism and Mormonism all seem to have a set of "additional texts" that serve to clarify and illuminate aspects of what the holy books state, while not being necessarily divinely inspired themselves. Christianity, unless I'm mistaken, doesn't have this tradition.

I suppose a follow up for both you and TheoGeek would be to ask why God would allow for his holy book to be so open to interpretation, beyond the initial core beliefs that everyone can agree upon. To allow for changing mores throughout time and generations?
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