'Your reaction would be fitting if it were true that you didn't need salvation.'
I guess this all boils down to relativism. I'm not ready to accept that tenet as true. I don't know if I think the your truth vs. my truth idea is too lenient or not.
'Someone telling you that you need salvation should only be offensive if you are sure the proposition isn't true. If it is true, gratitude would be more fitting. The assertion that a person needs salvation and has a problem with sin was never meant to flatter.'
No, I'm not sure that the proposition isn't true, but I'm going on gut instincts when I say it feels wrong. I guess I just think people are fundmentally good rather than bad, and hearing someone say that hey, people actually are bad and here's the only way out of that, is kind of a smack in the face of my observations throughout my life.
'Of course there was a time in my life as well when I denied that I was lost without God. I denied that my life was "that bad". It took the conviction of the Holy Spirit speaking to me to convince me of the truth of my condition.'
Do you think the Holy Spirit speaks to everyone, Stephan? I'm just curious, because I am honestly not driven toward God, or rather, do not feel so. I am trying to take the time to educte myself on different religions, chiefly Christianity because it's hte predominant one here, but what am I to do if no religion calls to me? Or, to take it a step further, if Christ never calls to me? Is it a fault that when I read the bible, I'm not moved? Is it something I should be able to help? I think it's kind of interesting, but I don't really see it as a guidebook to my life. Yeah, there are ideals I can definitely relate to in it- and similarly, in other religions. But agreeing with certain codes and believing in the god(s) of any particular faith are two different things... can I be held accountable for simply not feeling something?
'Here is something for you to consider. Is there a possibility of denial? Is there the possibility that you could be in a desperate spiritual state and be ignorant of it?'
That's a harder question. Yes, it's possible, but I think the same can be said for anyone. Couldn't you be ignorant, Stephan, that another faith is the one 'true' religion? Everyone can't claim exclusivity to God. Either there's inherent value in all spiritual conditions and convictions, or there is one way to salvation.
In any case, I don't think anybody can say with certainty, no matter how certain they believe they are, what happens after death. So, in that aspect, we're all ignorant to some degree.
You speak of pride that acted as a barrier between you and truth, and at this time, yeah, maybe that is my problem. I guess I have enough pride to question a philosophy that strips me of it, and yeah, I guess that could be a mote in my eye. But I just don't see how somebody can tell me something, and it's supposed to make sense to me even though it flies in the face of things that I have seen during my own life. I know a lot of people who either aren't Christians, or by religious standards, are very lackadasical Christians, who are very good people. I really don't see the logic in original sin, because I haven't accepted my deliverance from it, but I still extend efforts to do good things, to help others, and to live a truthful life. I don't necessarily see religion as necessary to facilitate those things, and even if religion acts as a helping hand, I don't see the merit in claiming that only one religion can fully do so.
I'm not mad... I'm simply saying that I don't accept a certain assertion, at least not at this point in time. I don't see it as necessary to improve my own life, and for that matter, in Stephan's scenario, I'm not asking anybody for advice either. It's one thing if I say to Stephan "hey, I feel kind of empty, what do you think I should do?" and then call his advice stupid. But in this case, somebody's coming up to me and asking me a question, with a very strong assumption that I feel as though I need to be saved. I mean, that's kind of like if I had my kid, walking down the street, and somebody walked up to me and said "you want to know how to be a better mother?" How do they know that I'm not a good mother to begin with?
Besides, I don't think that something not making sense to me and getting "mad" are the same thing at all. It's like when you're a kid and you see a bully picking on a smaller kid. It just doesn't sit well, and that's exactly how I felt as a child- as if God, personified in this priest who was telling us how worthless we are without God, was a bully picking on humanity. I can't shake that feeling.
Even if it is true that we wouldn't be here without God, I think it's kind of a high-handed request of him that we accept our own worthlessness in light of his superiority- him having created us and all. I can't remember the last time my parents told me I'd be nothing without them- however true that is. Loving parents generally don't seek to make their children feel worthless and eternally dependent on them- why would a loving God do so?
I'll say now that this is all based on experience, and I don't know whether or not all of this is Biblically supported, or how other churches approach the subject. I don't claim to be an authority, or to know whether Christianity is or isn't a spiritual reality, or, if it isn't, what is- but it's human nature to learn by experience, and the things I've learned in my religious experiences aren't things that get me chomping at the bit to go join a church. I really don't mean to be disrespectful, or to sound angry, but there is a certain feeling of defiance against ideas I feel are unfair. Maybe that's because I'm still young, or too proud, or whatever, but I can't just contradict what I feel, and accepting that Christianity, as with all faiths, has many virtues, doesn't negate the things that I don't agree with.
[This message has been edited by hush (11-29-2002 11:54 AM).]