Can a true Christian lose faith?

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Can a true Christian lose faith?

Poll ended at Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:54 pm

Yes
8
67%
No
4
33%
Maybe (explain)
0
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Total votes : 12

Postby spongebob » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:27 am

koin4life wrote:If a runner is winning a race halfway through, does that mean they win completely at the end?

The same goes with Christianity, you may be a Christian part of your life, but if you choose to go another direction and you die. Then you die as having not been a Christian. The difficult part is we do not know when we are going to die, therefore it is important to believe in Christianity the whole time, instead of waiting until you are 80 and on your deathbed.


Koin, I think a better analogy would be party affiliation. If I were a Republican for 50 years of my life and worked hard to forward the party platform, then switched to the Democratic party, would you say that I was never a real Republican? How could that be? If I believed in the Republican party and did all the things a Republican is supposed to do, then doesn't that define me as a Republican? This has happened, btw. It's uncommon for politicians to change their party affiliation, but it does happen.

And to delve deeper into this...just how hard must one believe to say they really believe? I guess what you are saying is that once you truly believe and internalize god's message, then there is no way you're going to reject that message. Is that right?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby mikedsjr » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:17 am

spongebob wrote:mike, koin, you guys are very hard taskmasters. I'm going to have to say that this is a very large part of why Christians get a bad rap. [/color]


Why is answering a question equal to being a taskmaster? Now I don't mind answering question with a little more fluffy warm inside feeling type answers if I'm not going to be racked over the coals for my replies less-than-accurate replies. But if the replies to my answers are going to pick me apart, then I am going to give the "taskmaster" answer because it is more straight up and no sugar coating.
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Postby koin4life » Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:34 am

I agree with mike. I am not one who likes to sugar coat things. Normally, if I feel something is in the Bible that is being misinterpreted, and I have knowledge in that area to back it up, I will make my point. If I don't have knowledge, normally I will not reply. Imagine how many posts I haven't replied to. :shock:

Anyway, I get aggitated when people sugar coat their answers so to appease the other side. If I have an answer (which you can and probably will disagree with me on) I won't try and be PC about it, because that doesn't offer anything to the discussion.

I've always thought I would make a good politician because I was straight forward and honest. Now, keep in mind, I didn't say a popular politician, I know most people probably wouldn't like me and my answers would be spun into something else, which is often the case today. I would run on the platform that I won't waste government money, I won't cater to outside influences, and I won't be secret about things that don't need to be secret. (National security may be an issue that should be kept secret in certain areas).
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Postby spongebob » Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:33 am

mikedsjr wrote:
spongebob wrote:mike, koin, you guys are very hard taskmasters. I'm going to have to say that this is a very large part of why Christians get a bad rap. [/color]


Why is answering a question equal to being a taskmaster? Now I don't mind answering question with a little more fluffy warm inside feeling type answers if I'm not going to be racked over the coals for my less-than-accurate replies. But if the replies to my answers are going to pick me apart, then I am going to give the "taskmaster" answer because it is more straight up and no sugar coating.


Ok, I retract the word "taskmaster". It wasn't meant as a slight, just to point out the rigidity of your response (which I didn't expect), though I do appreciate your honesty. I suppose at some point Fundamental Christians must believe this idea because their entire faith could be shaken if they don't.

In fact, you can just ignore the first paragraph entirely since it was nothing but an observatin on my part. You still didn't address the rest of the post, which states that you may claim that I never really believed in Christianity or that I never really got it, so to speak. But that's merely biased opinion. I've had this conversation before and so far I've not heard a definitive, objective conclusion either way. I can tell you all day long that I'm saved, I'm saved, I'm saved, but I can't really prove it. And, btw, neither can you prove it of yourself.

If you had some verifiable element that could be evaluated or measured then it would be no problem determining if a person really believed. Consider the Star Wars movies in which a device is used to measure the level of midi-clorians to test the existence of the force in an individual. Basically, this is what Christians are talking about, the existence of the holy spirit in a person. Unfortunately, there is no device to measure this and unlike the force, there is no valid test to determine the existence of this spirit. So we are left with one group who says that they were Christians and believed whole-heartedly until they stopped one day. The other group says this transition is not psychologically possible. :smt021 Brick wall...
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby narsil » Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:47 am

Brick wall...


pretty much
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Postby Iain » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:07 pm

I said No because if you are a true Christian you will have taken the step where you say you have faith in God and the bible so no matter what you will believe in God and the Bible no matter how ridiculous it is. The process of non thinking has taken hold and you are locked in a loop. This circumvents the process of thinking or analysing anything properly. However I believe there are many sincere Christians who can still reason and may eventually see through it but it is very difficult for many sincere Christians to get out of it.
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Postby narsil » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:27 pm

However I believe there are many sincere Christians who can still reason
:smt023 thank goodness there's hope
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Postby Iain » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:08 pm

narsil wrote:
However I believe there are many sincere Christians who can still reason
:smt023 thank goodness there's hope


Sorry not for you :banana: :wink:
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Postby narsil » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:22 pm

:shock: I was asking for at wasn't I?
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Postby stickmangrit » Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:43 pm

but koin, you've maintained that the only requirement to join the massive Super-Religion Christianity is belief in Sweet Baby Jeebus, so how can you claim that those who believe are false? wouldn't that make that fabloed one-third of the world claim bogus, as most aren't True Chrisitians(tm)?
I see as much misery outta them movin' to justify theirselves as them that set out to do harm.
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Postby mikedsjr » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:40 am

stickmangrit wrote:but koin, you've maintained that the only requirement to join the massive Super-Religion Christianity is belief in Sweet Baby Jeebus, so how can you claim that those who believe are false? wouldn't that make that fabloed one-third of the world claim bogus, as most aren't True Chrisitians(tm)?


I think the word belief in koins terms relates to a belief that is acted upon. The Bible tells us that the devil believes in Jesus. So what type of belief are we talking about? Is Koin talking of a head belief or a heart belief? Those who don't act upon their belief are considered those who have the head belief. And those who act upon them are considered those who have heart belief. This is just my wording of it.

So what else, if this explains a part, that I am not answering? Hopefully I am explaining koins intent well.
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Postby koin4life » Fri Mar 24, 2006 7:56 am

Thanks mike. I would say the true nature of a Christian is evident through his actions. Now, don't get me wrong, I also believe actions are not required like some Christians do. However, I believe that if you truly belief in something and have faith in it, then your actions will correspond to that.

So, the KKK may "believe" in Jesus, yet their actions are completely against that, which makes me feel they aren't true Christians.
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Postby Emery » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:05 am

Short answer? Yes, it happened to me. Could I have been deceiving myself? Of course. But so could anyone, and in that case, no one, including mike or koin or Paul or Peter can be certain that they're true Christians.

Here's an article written by a buddy of mine about this, called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy (the original article is here)

When confronted with examples of Christian behavior that are found lacking in moral value, such as the Spanish Inquisition, many Christians will attempt to distance themselves from any association with such behavior by claiming that the Christians who did or do "bad" things aren't "true" Christians.
Also, when a Christian runs across other Christian sects that don't agree with his/her personal theological doctrine, he/she can simply claim that the other groups aren't "true" Christians.
And since Christians don't display the complete unity that Jesus prayed his believers would exhibit(John 17:20-23), a way around this problem of a failed prayer has to be devised by Christians.

This rationalization comes in very handy to tidy up history and absolve Christianity of having any responsibility for unsavory or distasteful actions by people who proclaim that they are Christians.
For example, the Spanish Inquisition was performed in the name of Jesus by devout, God-fearing, self proclaimed Christians who were doing God's will.
But, according to Christians who find the activities of the Inquisition distasteful, those Christian Inquisitors weren't really "true" Christians.
This ploy is sometimes known as the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

An example follows:
Christian rationalization:
"The people who did those bad things weren't really true Christians and many people call themselves Christians who have no idea what it means. "

The defect with the rationalization in a statement like this can be understood in the following way, and as mentioned earlier, is often called the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

This is an argument that takes the following form:

Claim:
"No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge".

This is countered with:
"My friend Angus is a Scotsman and likes sugar with his porridge".

The following rejoinder to this exception is:
"Ah yes, but no TRUE Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge".

Applying this to a standard Christian claim:

Claim:
"No Christian ever stops being a Christian".

Which is countered with:
"Elmer was a Christian for 20 years, but discovered that it didn't hold up to scrutiny, so he stopped."

The following rejoinder to this exception is:
"Ah yes, but no TRUE Christian ever stops being a Christian."

Yet another application of this would be:
Claim:
"No Christian would torture others into believing what they say is true".

Exception to this being:
"The Spanish Inquisition, which tortured people, was conducted by Christians in the name of Jesus".

The rejoinder is:
"Ah, but no TRUE Christian would do such a thing."

Since this rationalization is completely subjective, it renders the definition of a "true" Christian virtually meaningless.
A "true" Christian is based on personal preference and nothing more.
This isn't surprising since the Bible itself means whatever Christians want it to mean.
They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea. - Sir Francis Bacon
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Postby narsil » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:18 am

doesn't that arguement kinda hindge on how good the inital claim is? the initial claim there isn't a valid claim, so obviously poking holes in it is easy. that's just a straw man. The claim that the Spanish Inquisition isn't a logical working out of Biblical Theology isn't a subjective claim. I think Christians want to distantance themselves from people that twist theology to support their own conquest for power. Power indeed is a source for much evil in this world, and it will twist any belief structure towards illogical ends, not just Christianity.
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Postby Emery » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:08 am

You're right, Narsil, there are straw men in this argument. Problem is, how do you determine which are the straw men? Who's the final authority on that? The Church? Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox?

Problem is, the Bible is complex and ambiguous enough that you can make it say almost anything. A brief glance at all the different Christian sects confirms this. In podcast #14, Norton said he knew some of the people in the Jesus Seminar who are Christians. Yet the Jesus Seminar only found 30% of the Gospels historically reliable. This from Christian scholars who's job it is to study the Bible, whom Conservative Christian scholars (who's job it also is to study the Bible) vehemently disagree with.

So the problem with answering the OP's question is, who's answer do you go with? Hence the subjectivity objection, which is the crux of the "No True Scotsman" article.

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They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea. - Sir Francis Bacon
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