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That's a good question and a difficult one to answer. I know that there is an accountability factor and that children are not held accountable, in Christian terms, until a certain age or maturity level. Does this apply to adults as well? I'd say so. There are people who haven't been told the gospel, and others, who by mental incapacity or illness, cannot grasp the concept of a religious-based morality.

This would be a good question to ask a pastor, minister, or priest.
 

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<bink> Someone say "crusades"? :lol

I am a christian and don't really believe all the hell stuff. Course, I don't believe all that heaven stuff either. I'll call you on my cell phone from "The GATES" if I can get a signal.

I can hear me now "Thank god, a good signal".
 

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I found a pretty good article that addresses this question....

here's the link http://www.heaven.net.nz/answers/answer24.htm

Are people condemned if they have never heard the Gospel ?
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Some people believe this because of the following scripture.
Romans 10:13-17
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

It doesn't say anywhere in scripture that those who have never heard the gospel are condemned. It does say however that Gospel can save all and that it should be preached to all.

Lets have a look at Abraham, he was before the Law and before the gospel message, yet he had faith, in fact he is our Father in the faith. The Roman Centurion had more faith than the whole of Israel who had the law. What about Enoch?

My point is this, you can still know God even if you have never heard the gospel. You could be born in the jungles of South America and know God through conscience alone. Conscience is made up to 2 Latin words, con & science. 'Con' means with and 'science' means knowledge. We all have a conscience and no-one can escape Gods judgment because of that. I believe that some serve God more through mere conscience than some who know and live the gospel.

The Jews thought that they were the only ones who were saved. But Elijah wasn't a Jew was he. Now the Christians think that they are the only ones who are saved. Rather if we hear the gospel and respond to it with God's will, then we are guaranteed of our salvation, if we hold on to it. We can know that our names are written in the Book of Life. But to those who have not heard, they will be judged not because they didn't hear the gospel, but on their heart, conscience and works. God is merciful and he can save by his grace anyone he chooses. We cannot dictate to God who will be saved. We have to read all his scriptures and find the balance.

Consider Matthew 25 31-46 for example, these are the words of Jesus.
It clearly shows that Jesus will divide people from the nations based on their treatment of his brothers. Who are his brothers? Even though this scripture may seem to indicate that people are saved by works, ultimately their works are filthy rags, but God saves them through grace, and he divinely chooses not to save the selfish by his grace. This scripture is pointed to the nations not the Church. Please read....

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, `Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44 "They also will answer, `Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45 "He will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Also have a look at Jesus words in Luke 16:19-25

The only true division is righteous and wicked, not Christian and non-Christian or Jew and Gentile. The gospel is the greatest message because it is the power to save unto salvation to all who believe. It has the power to save the worst sinner and it also has the power to condemn those who think they are righteous. It draws a definite line and it gives us the understanding and confidence to where we stand before God. Our conscience on the other hand is very weak and can condemn us, however God is more powerful than our conscience. Our conscience is God's law written in our heart. Those under the law can be saved because the law points us to Christ. It all depends on your heart motives toward Gods law, not you failings. Of course Christ is the fulfillment of the law, but not everyone is privileged to hear the message of fulfillment (the gospel), but the lack of that message doesn't mean that you are necessarily condemned.
 

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I suppose one of the problems I have with Christianity is the widely divergent methods of biblical scholarship. Depending on how you read the bible, you can come to all sorts of interpretations, and I have always been skeptical of biblical quotation as evidence of any viewpoint. Just my opinion.
 

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[/quote]
Well, perhaps it's a question of choosing one particular concept you feel
is true & sticking with it? Yeah, you can analyse anything & find hypocrisy.
Maybe, as the word `faith` implies, it's more about your own personal
feelings toward something, (what feels right & what you trust?). :stu[/quote]

:agree
 

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Recently I read some writings by a Saint Julian from Norwich (circa 1300's) Evidently she had some visions where Jesus revealed to her some interesting stuff including that God has a plan up his sleeve that won't be revealed until the end of the world...but the meaning of the "Plan" is that All will be Well...my guess is that it means He has a type of salvation plan that will supercede everything else. After all,He can do whatever He wants...and it does say in the Bible "Is His arm too short to save?"
 

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You know that Christian scriptures dictate those who haven't been saved will end up in hell.
That may be the popular christian belief but in the Bible the truth is that's far from clear. In the original Hebrew and Greek, four words are translated hell in the Bible.

sheol, hades, tartaroo, gehenna

Both sheol and hades refer to the grave. A comparison of Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27 shows this. In Acts 2:27 the word hades is substituted for the Hebrew sheol. The Hebrew sheol is used in the Old Testament 65 times. In the King James Version it is translated "grave" 31 times, "hell" 31 times and "pit" three times. The Greek hades is used 11 times in the New Testament. Every instance except one it is translated as "hell" in the King James translation. The exception is 1 corinthians 15:55, where it is translated "grave."

Gehenna refers to a valley just outside Jerusalem. In the time of Jesus this valley was a city dump. Garbage,trash and refuse were thrown and consumed in the fires that constantly burned there. The carcasses of dead animals and the bodies of despised criminals were also cast into Gehenna to be burned. Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [gehenna]"
Tartaroo is used only once in the Bible (2Peter 2:4), where it refers to the place where fallen angels,or demons, are restrained awaiting their judgment.

My belief based on scripture is that the unsaved haven't been judged yet they are "asleep" in death awaiting their time of judgment. Note that judgment is not the same as sentencing, some things are judged while they are taking place like sporting events. see:Revelation 20
12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
See that the book of life is opened so there is still hope though it is much better to be saved now. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6)
 

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:agree wow,your belief is like mine...
 

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pea said:
All those people seemingly ignorant who worshipped stone gods & stars going downtown?
Is it more a question of being morally aware, a sense of right and wrong? Is this a standard they could have been judged by before Christianity existed?
I think you're on the right track in thinking about this issue. The way I've heard it explained is that all people who are saved, are saved through Jesus, whether they explicitly know it or not.
The idea is that the God of Christianity is merciful & does not hold one accountable for information they cannot or do not know.
To end up in hell is to 'turn one's back on God'. As some put it, God doesn't put anyone in hell, people decide to put themselves there.
God judges the heart, & if one's life would have made them a christian if they had heard of christianity, that is the heart God wants & that will end up in heaven.

Hope that helps.
 

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I belong to the Church of the Brethen. We are a conservative bunch , about 1 step removed from the Mennonites. We tend to focus more on the teachings of Christ. He very seldom mentioned Salvation or Eternal Life. His words speak more on how we should treat each other in this life.

After his death and resurrection the focus of the message seems to have changed. The Apostles brought forth the message of Salvation using Christ as the focal point. It is also pretty clear that they expected Salvation within their lifetimes. Looking at Paul's letters to the various churches, it seems that he was trying desperately to hold together an organization that was trying it's best to fragment into individual pieces.

We have to remember, as well, that the Bible was assembled by the Holy Roman Church. Many writings were omitted because they caused controversy or did not fit in with the current politics of the Church. Among these would be the gospels of Thomas and of Mary Magdeline. The book of Revelations does not seem to fit at all but could have been included to frighten the uneducated peoples of the time and give the Church better control of the populace.

At the time of Christ there were also many prophets and messiahs running around. What is it about Christ that makes Him stand out above all the rest? According to the Hebrews, he was just another prophet, one whose ideas did not fit in with the politics of the time. To the Muslims he was just a teacher.

My suggestion is to learn as much about Christianity as you can. Reading the Bible is a good place to start, but it does not end there. Talk to people of varying faiths, get their opinions. You will find that as you listen to more people and study the various writings, you will form your own opinions and beliefs. We each develope our own view of God, the type of individual He is and the type of person He wants us to be.
 

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:agree

It also strikes me as interesting that while he was being crucified and was in great pain, he called out to "Abba" which I have been told means "Daddy", not Father.
 

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qbert said:
pea said:
All those people seemingly ignorant who worshipped stone gods & stars going downtown?
Is it more a question of being morally aware, a sense of right and wrong? Is this a standard they could have been judged by before Christianity existed?
I think you're on the right track in thinking about this issue. The way I've heard it explained is that all people who are saved, are saved through Jesus, whether they explicitly know it or not.
The idea is that the God of Christianity is merciful & does not hold one accountable for information they cannot or do not know.
To end up in hell is to 'turn one's back on God'. As some put it, God doesn't put anyone in hell, people decide to put themselves there.
God judges the heart, & if one's life would have made them a christian if they had heard of christianity, that is the heart God wants & that will end up in heaven.

Hope that helps.
In order to turn your back on something you have to believe in it. If you disbelieve in God you are 'turning your back on him' ? That's quite a stretch. Secondly, many indigenous peoples from all over the world rejected the missionar/crusadors teachings. Are they all in hell since they technically heard the word of God? It's easy to convert people when you tell them they'll burn in hell for eternity if they deny your conception of God. What a sad teaching hell is. One of many reasons why I cannot respect the Christian and Muslim teachings. Even Buddhism/Hinduism are guilty of punitive punishments for the transgression of rules but at least their conceptions of hell isn't eternal, rather it is more based on reformation and growth. But nevertheless I deny all ascetic (anti-nature) dogma. Denying life is affirming life, according to Nietzsche. the biggest paradox of human thinking.

I still feel like I have a religious instinct though. Perhaps it's an inclination to a 'higher force or power' that isn't necessarilly personal and humanly judgmental.
 

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Interesting thoughts Dionysus. Before this thread gets out of hand, let's all keep in mind that all beliefs and opinions will be respected here and the Spirituality section is not for debate...Thanks!

Continue posting :)
 

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Plummet said:
What's harsh though is that you have this mainstream Christian folk who think that anyone who deviates from the mainstream aren't true Christians. I beg to differ, as you may also.
I'd be curious to know what you believe constitutes a "true Christian"? (I mean no offense in asking this)

Plummet said:
The Trinity has also been something really hard for me to believe in, as Jesus himself never mentions it in the gospels. Jesus always refers to God (the father) in a 3rd person perspective, and prays to him as a separate entitity......which kind of contradicts the trinity.
I think it can be hard to understand for anyone, even believers of the Trinity. Jesus prays to the Father, and if you simply take those verses by themselves, with nothing else, it could seem like it's a contradiction. But Jesus also says that whoever has seen Him has seen the Father. Jesus is described as the "image of the invisible God." And the third member of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit, which is described as coming from the Father.

One of the illustrations I've heard that helps me understand is this: In the Bible it is said that God is love. To have love, there must be a lover (Father), a loved one (Son), and a spirit of love (Holy Spirit). God is three persons, but one in nature. All three persons bring glory to one another. The Father glorifies Jesus by seating Him at the right hand of the Father after resurrecting Him. Jesus glorifies the Father by laying down His life and living in obedience to the Father. The Holy Spirit glorifies both the Father and Jesus by transforming the lives of those who become children of God. All three persons demonstrate a unified nature, all point to the same God. I don't know if that helps any.
 

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Amocholes said:
It also strikes me as interesting that while he was being crucified and was in great pain, he called out to "Abba" which I have been told means "Daddy", not Father.
Huh? What's the difference? I had the understanding that "Abba" was Aramaic for Father.
 

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TruSeeker777 said:
Interesting thoughts Dionysus. Before this thread gets out of hand, let's all keep in mind that all beliefs and opinions will be respected here and the Spirituality section is not for debate...Thanks!

Continue posting :)
I apologize. I just hoped in here from a post from a certain user.
I respect certain beliefs. Not all Christians believe in the doctrine I have a problem with.
 

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Pillar said:
Amocholes said:
It also strikes me as interesting that while he was being crucified and was in great pain, he called out to "Abba" which I have been told means "Daddy", not Father.
Huh? What's the difference? I had the understanding that "Abba" was Aramaic for Father.
Daddy is much more personal than Father.
 
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