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Author Topic: How do you get to heaven split from EP129  (Read 43934 times)
Windup
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« on: January 07, 2008, 08:46:37 PM »

Quote
The belief that we have a very short time to secure our eternity has always seemed funny to me. That in less than 100 years we have to do/say all the right things in order to secure the next 100,000,000,000,000,000... I know first impressions are important, but WOW.
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

I currently find CS Lewis' explanation from Mere Christianity the most compelling: We are immortal, regardless of whether we like it or not. The only question is what sort of immortals we choose to be.  Flaws in our character that would be relatively minor if we only had threescore and ten to work with will make us monsters (or demons) if let run over the course of many millenia.  And possibly, eternity is not infinite stretches of time, but the complete absence of time: a never-ending and never-beginning Now in which all things have always come to their fruition, and all things begin, at precisely the same moment.

'Course, Lewis hasn't got much in the way of scriptural support for this viewpoint, so as another poster said, "Just good advice..."  Or perhaps an explanation that works in this age, for something we aren't even reasonably close to getting our collective heads around. 


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eytanz
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008, 04:47:14 AM »

Quote
The belief that we have a very short time to secure our eternity has always seemed funny to me. That in less than 100 years we have to do/say all the right things in order to secure the next 100,000,000,000,000,000... I know first impressions are important, but WOW.
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

I currently find CS Lewis' explanation from Mere Christianity the most compelling: We are immortal, regardless of whether we like it or not. The only question is what sort of immortals we choose to be.  Flaws in our character that would be relatively minor if we only had threescore and ten to work with will make us monsters (or demons) if let run over the course of many millenia.  And possibly, eternity is not infinite stretches of time, but the complete absence of time: a never-ending and never-beginning Now in which all things have always come to their fruition, and all things begin, at precisely the same moment.

'Course, Lewis hasn't got much in the way of scriptural support for this viewpoint, so as another poster said, "Just good advice..."  Or perhaps an explanation that works in this age, for something we aren't even reasonably close to getting our collective heads around. 

Um, I can't see how that's an explanation of anything - it's a restatement of the Christian position in relatively simple, accessible terms, but it's still just a restatement.
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Windup
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008, 10:04:05 AM »

Quote
The belief that we have a very short time to secure our eternity has always seemed funny to me. That in less than 100 years we have to do/say all the right things in order to secure the next 100,000,000,000,000,000... I know first impressions are important, but WOW.
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

I currently find CS Lewis' explanation from Mere Christianity the most compelling: We are immortal, regardless of whether we like it or not. The only question is what sort of immortals we choose to be.  Flaws in our character that would be relatively minor if we only had threescore and ten to work with will make us monsters (or demons) if let run over the course of many millenia.  And possibly, eternity is not infinite stretches of time, but the complete absence of time: a never-ending and never-beginning Now in which all things have always come to their fruition, and all things begin, at precisely the same moment.

'Course, Lewis hasn't got much in the way of scriptural support for this viewpoint, so as another poster said, "Just good advice..."  Or perhaps an explanation that works in this age, for something we aren't even reasonably close to getting our collective heads around. 

Um, I can't see how that's an explanation of anything - it's a restatement of the Christian position in relatively simple, accessible terms, but it's still just a restatement.

I understood the original questions to be, "Why do we have such a short number of years to determine our status for a long number of years?" and "Why does change stop with death?"  And the "answer" is along the lines of, "Wrong question; what we are is immortals with the temporary gift of time.  During our sojourn in sequential time, we can decide what to do when we enter a state in which we 'become what we are' without the benefit of time. Without time, the concept of 'change' is meaningless."   

Or do you see the question as more along the lines of, "Why did God set it up this way in the first place?"  In which case, you're right, all I've got to say is, "I don't know." 
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Czhorat
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 05:21:32 PM »

I understood the original questions to be, "Why do we have such a short number of years to determine our status for a long number of years?" and "Why does change stop with death?"  And the "answer" is along the lines of, "Wrong question; what we are is immortals with the temporary gift of time.  During our sojourn in sequential time, we can decide what to do when we enter a state in which we 'become what we are' without the benefit of time. Without time, the concept of 'change' is meaningless."  

Or do you see the question as more along the lines of, "Why did God set it up this way in the first place?"  In which case, you're right, all I've got to say is, "I don't know." 

It's a whole system that fails at even casual obervation. What about infants who die very young of genetic diseases, for example? Do they not get souls, or are they supposed to have perfected them before they learn how to even roll over onto their backs? I find it very hard to imagine any way in which the idea of an immortal life based on your performance in this life.
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Windup
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 08:32:40 PM »

I understood the original questions to be, "Why do we have such a short number of years to determine our status for a long number of years?" and "Why does change stop with death?"  And the "answer" is along the lines of, "Wrong question; what we are is immortals with the temporary gift of time.  During our sojourn in sequential time, we can decide what to do when we enter a state in which we 'become what we are' without the benefit of time. Without time, the concept of 'change' is meaningless."  

Or do you see the question as more along the lines of, "Why did God set it up this way in the first place?"  In which case, you're right, all I've got to say is, "I don't know." 

It's a whole system that fails at even casual obervation. What about infants who die very young of genetic diseases, for example? Do they not get souls, or are they supposed to have perfected them before they learn how to even roll over onto their backs? I find it very hard to imagine any way in which the idea of an immortal life based on your performance in this life.

I'm unclear -- is it that you reject the notion of any sort of survival of the personality after death, or that you don't believe that there is any possible relationship between the physical life and whatever comes next?
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 06:32:32 AM »

I understood the original questions to be, "Why do we have such a short number of years to determine our status for a long number of years?" and "Why does change stop with death?"  And the "answer" is along the lines of, "Wrong question; what we are is immortals with the temporary gift of time.  During our sojourn in sequential time, we can decide what to do when we enter a state in which we 'become what we are' without the benefit of time. Without time, the concept of 'change' is meaningless."   

Or do you see the question as more along the lines of, "Why did God set it up this way in the first place?"  In which case, you're right, all I've got to say is, "I don't know." 

It's a whole system that fails at even casual obervation. What about infants who die very young of genetic diseases, for example? Do they not get souls, or are they supposed to have perfected them before they learn how to even roll over onto their backs? I find it very hard to imagine any way in which the idea of an immortal life based on your performance in this life.

I'm unclear -- is it that you reject the notion of any sort of survival of the personality after death, or that you don't believe that there is any possible relationship between the physical life and whatever comes next?

I reject the notion of an "eternal reward" for what we consider to be good behavior here in this world. It strikes me as purely fanciful wish fulfillment. So far as the survival of the personality after death, it's a nice idea but there is no reason to believe in it other than that we would like to.
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Windup
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 04:22:51 PM »

I understood the original questions to be, "Why do we have such a short number of years to determine our status for a long number of years?" and "Why does change stop with death?"  And the "answer" is along the lines of, "Wrong question; what we are is immortals with the temporary gift of time.  During our sojourn in sequential time, we can decide what to do when we enter a state in which we 'become what we are' without the benefit of time. Without time, the concept of 'change' is meaningless."   

Or do you see the question as more along the lines of, "Why did God set it up this way in the first place?"  In which case, you're right, all I've got to say is, "I don't know." 

It's a whole system that fails at even casual obervation. What about infants who die very young of genetic diseases, for example? Do they not get souls, or are they supposed to have perfected them before they learn how to even roll over onto their backs? I find it very hard to imagine any way in which the idea of an immortal life based on your performance in this life.

I'm unclear -- is it that you reject the notion of any sort of survival of the personality after death, or that you don't believe that there is any possible relationship between the physical life and whatever comes next?

I reject the notion of an "eternal reward" for what we consider to be good behavior here in this world. It strikes me as purely fanciful wish fulfillment. So far as the survival of the personality after death, it's a nice idea but there is no reason to believe in it other than that we would like to.

OK, I understand where you are coming from, now.  I agree that there's no ironclad proof that would pass muster as a controlled experiment.  I think C.S. Lewis makes the case as well as it can be made for most modern, Western people in Mere Christianity.  But, when he's all done, it comes down to circumstantial evidence.  Albiet circumstantial evidence, combined with personal experiences, that Lewis, I and many others have found persuasive over the years. 

However, since our respective systems rest on conflicting and "unprovable" premises, there isn't much of anyplace for this discussion to go. 
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Mr. Tweedy
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2008, 03:06:50 PM »

I reject the notion of an "eternal reward" for what we consider to be good behavior here in this world. It strikes me as purely fanciful wish fulfillment. So far as the survival of the personality after death, it's a nice idea but there is no reason to believe in it other than that we would like to.

If Heaven and Hell were merely reward and punishment for good and bad behavior, then I would have to agree.  But I have never understood either in that light.  Heaven is where God is king.  Those who want God for a king get their wish.  Those who don't want God for a king are not forced to be His subjects.  It's all about free will, really.

That is a simplified explanation.  Yes, Heaven is a reward and Hell is a punishment in the sense that they are places that are pleasant and unpleasant for human habitation, and there are some scriptures which allude to different degrees of reward and punishment based on behavior (although the Biblical understanding is that behavior expresses the heart), but as for the big question of "who gets in," good and bad behavior are not particularly relevant, and there is certainly no Biblical idea of a balance or quota of good or evil deeds to go to either place.  Take the thief on the cross for an example.  He presumably lived a life full of evil deeds and had no chance to do any penance, yet Jesus promises him that he would be in Heaven when he died.  Contrast this with the Pharisees, who Jesus called "sons of hell" despite their pedantically religious lifestyles.  Going to Heaven or Hell is a matter of whether or not one loves God and wants to be with Him, not of how many points one has accumulated over their lives.

I'm pretty sure Muslims believe in a kind of points system, but it isn't a Christian idea (that is, not based on the Bible or the teachings of Christ therein).

What about babies?  I don't know, and it bugs me sometimes.  My little Clara does not have the mental capacity to choose or want anything.  My understanding is that one must sin in order to turn away from God, and I'm pretty sure my Clara hasn't sinned, but she hasn't chosen to love God either.  So I'm kind of hazy about it.  I'm not worried, though: God is good and I trust that He's got a good way of dealing with such situations, even thought I'm not real clear on what that way is.
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Czhorat
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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2008, 03:27:58 PM »

I reject the notion of an "eternal reward" for what we consider to be good behavior here in this world. It strikes me as purely fanciful wish fulfillment. So far as the survival of the personality after death, it's a nice idea but there is no reason to believe in it other than that we would like to.

If Heaven and Hell were merely reward and punishment for good and bad behavior, then I would have to agree.  But I have never understood either in that light.  Heaven is where God is king.  Those who want God for a king get their wish.  Those who don't want God for a king are not forced to be His subjects.  It's all about free will, really.

I think you're splitting hairs here, especially as you later admit that heaven is consistently described as a pleasant place to be and hell is consistently described as eternal torture.

Quote
That is a simplified explanation.  Yes, Heaven is a reward and Hell is a punishment in the sense that they are places that are pleasant and unpleasant for human habitation, and there are some scriptures which allude to different degrees of reward and punishment based on behavior (although the Biblical understanding is that behavior expresses the heart), but as for the big question of "who gets in," good and bad behavior are not particularly relevant, and there is certainly no Biblical idea of a balance or quota of good or evil deeds to go to either place.  Take the thief on the cross for an example.  He presumably lived a life full of evil deeds and had no chance to do any penance, yet Jesus promises him that he would be in Heaven when he died.  Contrast this with the Pharisees, who Jesus called "sons of hell" despite their pedantically religious lifestyles.  Going to Heaven or Hell is a matter of whether or not one loves God and wants to be with Him, not of how many points one has accumulated over their lives.

I still have trouble with the morality of this belief system. The majority of people follow the religion taught to them by their parents and those in their community. If one grows up in India, for example, and is raised to believe in dharma and karma and that your reward for doing well in this life is to be reincarnated to a better position next time until your soul is somehow complete then you're unlikely to love the Christian God. If you believe the Christian religion to be literally true then the deck is heavily stacked in favor of those born into Christian cultures and families and against those not. Can you give a moral justification for this? In our earlier discussion of good and evil you stopped well short of saying that people who do not follow your faith are evil, but made later comments that seemed to me to contradict that idea. Now you seem to be saying that anyone who doesn't believe as you do is due for some kind of eternal punishment, or at the very least long-term suffering. Am I reading you correctly, or did I miss something?
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2008, 04:26:50 PM »

I think you're splitting hairs here, especially as you later admit that heaven is consistently described as a pleasant place to be and hell is consistently described as eternal torture.

Hmm...

Well, first, what's your idea of torture?  If I posit that God is the source of all good things, then separation from God would mean separation from all that makes life enjoyable.  Understand that the image of sinners impaled on stakes with demons poking them is not found in the Bible.  Hell isn't really given much description at all, save metaphorically, and even those are pretty rare.  As I understand it (others may dispute) the reason Hell is unpleasant is primarily because God isn't there.

For there to be no Hell, you'd have to have a situation where God could somehow provide a pleasant environment while at the same time being wholly absent and having no influence.  I don't think even God can pull of a paradox like that.

Under such circumstances, does God absenting Himself make God a torturer?

I still have trouble with the morality of this belief system. The majority of people follow the religion taught to them by their parents and those in their community. If one grows up in India, for example, and is raised to believe in dharma and karma and that your reward for doing well in this life is to be reincarnated to a better position next time until your soul is somehow complete then you're unlikely to love the Christian God. If you believe the Christian religion to be literally true then the deck is heavily stacked in favor of those born into Christian cultures and families and against those not. Can you give a moral justification for this? In our earlier discussion of good and evil you stopped well short of saying that people who do not follow your faith are evil, but made later comments that seemed to me to contradict that idea.

Well, I'd have to wonder where your getting an idea of morality with which to judge my belief system.  If there isn't any black and white good and evil, then what do you use as a point of reference from which to judge my God?  Are you saying you don't personally care for my beliefs or that they don't measure up to some standard?  I would have to understand that to understand and answer your question about "moral justification."

If you are simply concerned with the issue of fairness, well no, it isn't fair.  Nothing is fair, ever.  No one ever gets an perfectly equal shot at anything.  Why is that?  Because the world is fucked up by sin and everything sucks to some degree.  I don't like it, but I can't point a finger of blame at God: He isn't the one teaching kids bogus ideas.

But it isn't as unfair as you might think.  For one thing, no one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  Church pews are filled with Bible-toting, cross-wearing people who will someday be shocked and stunned to discover that they are going to Hell.  That isn't my opinion: Jesus said so explicitly; see Matthew 25.  God does not judge people by categories: He judges individuals.

The salient question is not "What category does this person place their-self in?"  It is "Does this person love God?"  Is it possible to know all about God and hate Him?  Certainly.  Is it possible to love God without knowing His proper name?  I think so, although I don't suppose it is common.

Now you seem to be saying that anyone who doesn't believe as you do is due for some kind of eternal punishment, or at the very least long-term suffering. Am I reading you correctly, or did I miss something?

Depends on what you mean by "believe as you do."  I do not suffer under the delusion that my religion is perfect or that I understand everything.  But I do love God and seek to live as a citizen of His Kingdom.  As long as another person also does those things, then I can call him/her brother/sister, even if the specifics of our beliefs diverge in some ways.
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2008, 09:09:02 PM »

But it isn't as unfair as you might think.  For one thing, no one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  Church pews are filled with Bible-toting, cross-wearing people who will someday be shocked and stunned to discover that they are going to Hell.  That isn't my opinion: Jesus said so explicitly; see Matthew 25.  God does not judge people by categories: He judges individuals.
My understanding of Christianity, as everybody I've ever met who professes to be a Christian tells me, is that only belief in Jesus as the Son of God and acceptance of him as the Savior will get one into Heaven -- as it says in John 14:6 ...
Quote
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So it seems to me that one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  The most moral and "good" person is still damned to hell if he believes Jesus was just a man, or entirely mythical, or anything at all other than the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.  Am I wrong?
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2008, 09:22:05 PM »

Heaven, Hell... meh.   I think the recurring concept of reward/punishment is the key to understanding what this is really about. 

MY belief (and mine only... thus no sources) is that we're organisms with a relatively unique trait: intelligence. 

The best simple, working definition of "intelligence" for MY belief system (and mine only... under a Creative Commons religious license) Is:

Quote from: TAD
Self-awareness combined with a varied toolbox of reasoning, logic, and instinct or intuition.

We were clever social animals who figured out ways to acquire and pass along knowledge as a cooperative group.  The old survival instinct of "cooperate with your neighbor" competes with the other old survival instinct of "fear the Other" constantly, and technology is our answer for everything (just not always the best answer). 

The best way to overcome the fear of your neighbor long enough to cooperate with him is to make sure it's in his self-interest to look out for you.  We've come up with countless ways to do that... family groups, clans, tribes, kingdoms, empires, nations... chat rooms, newsgroups, forums...

Ahem.

But, by far, the most successful technique for intimidating others (or convincing those who are on your side to drive them out) has been to convince someone that their "immortal soul" is in peril if they cross you... er, I mean God.  Don't cross God.

Me, I have my moral code just where I want it.  I don't need a threat of eternal damnation to behave myself; I will take care of my kids, drive safely, perform hygiene for the sake of public safety... without worrying about having my ghoulies roasted over a sulphur pit for the next gajillion years.  If you need to convince yourself that God is pleased in order to accomplish those things, I certainly don't want to take that away from you, but...

But so much of this argument sounds like someone in the fuedal system trying to explain why it's so much better to have a King.  As long as the king doesn't tell you to mess with me, you're more than welcome to be his subject.  But I'VE got a blog to write.  Smiley
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eytanz
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2008, 09:25:47 PM »

But it isn't as unfair as you might think.  For one thing, no one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  Church pews are filled with Bible-toting, cross-wearing people who will someday be shocked and stunned to discover that they are going to Hell.  That isn't my opinion: Jesus said so explicitly; see Matthew 25.  God does not judge people by categories: He judges individuals.
My understanding of Christianity, as everybody I've ever met who professes to be a Christian tells me, is that only belief in Jesus as the Son of God and acceptance of him as the Savior will get one into Heaven -- as it says in John 14:6 ...
Quote
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So it seems to me that one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  The most moral and "good" person is still damned to hell if he believes Jesus was just a man, or entirely mythical, or anything at all other than the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.  Am I wrong?

While what you describe is certainly a very common view shared by many branches of Christianity, it's not the only possible Christian view. There are plenty openings for different interpretations.

One is that there may be more than one way to accept Jesus into your life. One view is that it is possible to accept Jesus without realizing it. The view then is that if someone acts in a moral way, it is *because* he has accepted Jesus in the relevant sense. It is impossible, under this view, to be moral without being a Christian; but it's possible to be a moral, yet deluded Christian who thinks they belong to another religion.

Another view - held by several Chritstians I know who belong to Catholic churches - is that you need to accept Jesus not in life, but at the moment of judging. Whether or not you will be given the opportunity to do so depends on how you lived your life, allowing for leeway - a good person who did not actively believe in Jesus in life may be given an opportunity to reconsider at the moment of his death.

It is also possible to interpret this verse in a totally different manner - it may simply mean that Jesus is the arbitrator of who goes to heaven, and that it is his judgement that counts.

Anyway, these are just a few examples. Note that I'm not a Christian, but I have discussed this matter extensively with Christians back in the day, and all three views above are my paraphrases of actual positions that Christians took. Again, I think the view you are taking is a very common one, but I don't think Christians are limited to it.
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2008, 10:59:47 PM »

But it isn't as unfair as you might think.  For one thing, no one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  Church pews are filled with Bible-toting, cross-wearing people who will someday be shocked and stunned to discover that they are going to Hell.  That isn't my opinion: Jesus said so explicitly; see Matthew 25.  God does not judge people by categories: He judges individuals.
My understanding of Christianity, as everybody I've ever met who professes to be a Christian tells me, is that only belief in Jesus as the Son of God and acceptance of him as the Savior will get one into Heaven -- as it says in John 14:6 ...
Quote
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So it seems to me that one is saved or damned based on what religion they practice.  The most moral and "good" person is still damned to hell if he believes Jesus was just a man, or entirely mythical, or anything at all other than the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.  Am I wrong?

No, you're not wrong, and that precisely illustrates my point about loving God.  The most moral person in the world can go to Hell, because going to Heaven or Hell is not a matter of how moral one is (which addresses what TAD was saying).  Anyone can follow rules: God isn't please by simply following a set of rules, as illustrated by the numerous times in the prophets (ex: Isaiah 1) when God declares that the Jews' observance of the religious ceremonies and festivals–which God ordained–are disgusting to Him unless they are motivated by love for God and accompanied by love for neighbors.

As for needing to know the name "Jesus" to be saved, I can see that angle, and I can't confidently declare that it is wrong.  But what about Rahab in Joshua?  Ruth in Ruth?  What about Cornelius in Acts?  There are examples of people in the Bible who were called righteous or God-fearing before they became Jews or Christians (although they always converted immediately when they encountered the Gospel).

I'm pretty sure that particular question is outside of our scope here, since most here are not Christians and dissecting it would probably just be me talking to myself.  Save to say I, in my admittedly imperfect understanding, do not think it is strictly necessary to know the name "Jesus."  Jesus is the only way, but I think you can walk down a road without knowing it's name.
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2008, 11:56:18 PM »

When I attended Catholic school <shudders> I was informed that if you died without confessing a mortal sin you had an automatic ticket to hell.   If I remember correctly, mortal sins were basically sins which went against the ten commandments.  Included under the 6th commandment (adultery) was fornication, masturbation, pornography, rape, incest, homosexuality, etc.  So anyone committing this mortal sins was off to hell, unless you cleared it up with a Catholic priest first.     
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2008, 12:18:11 AM »

Okay, I'm really curious: Did the person who told you that give you any rationale or basis for believing it?  They obviously weren't citing the Bible, since there is a complete dearth of Catholic Priests therein.  Where does that stuff come from?
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2008, 12:27:38 AM »

Included under the 6th commandment (adultery) was fornication, masturbation, pornography, rape, incest, homosexuality, etc. 
I know there are verses of the Bible that make its anti-homosexuality stance quite clear, but I don't think masturbation is mentioned even once.

And eytanz, it is not me taking that view; it is simply the view that I've heard expressed by everybody I've ever known who professed to be a Christian (as I said before).  I do not profess to be a Christian (nor do I play one on TV  Grin) so in their view, I am most assuredly damned to hell.
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2008, 01:03:50 AM »

Okay, I'm really curious: Did the person who told you that give you any rationale or basis for believing it?  They obviously weren't citing the Bible, since there is a complete dearth of Catholic Priests therein.  Where does that stuff come from?

I don't recall having getting much rationale for these things......just that we "better not do this".   I'm sure it was their (nuns holding rulers) interpretation of the commandment(s).   
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2008, 02:10:30 AM »

Okay, I'm really curious: Did the person who told you that give you any rationale or basis for believing it?  They obviously weren't citing the Bible, since there is a complete dearth of Catholic Priests therein.  Where does that stuff come from?
I don't know the exact ratio, but a lot of Catholic rationale comes from Catholic tradition and not necessarily from the Bible at all.
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2008, 06:00:38 AM »

Included under the 6th commandment (adultery) was fornication, masturbation, pornography, rape, incest, homosexuality, etc. 
I know there are verses of the Bible that make its anti-homosexuality stance quite clear, but I don't think masturbation is mentioned even once.

While not explicitly about masturbation the story of Onan has been interpreted by christian scholars to mean that masturbation is bad, because of the "useless" spilling of his seed.
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