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New here.

Postby Kestrel » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:33 am

Hello.
My core beliefs are in a sovereign God and a risen Jesus Christ.
I do not consider myself a christian and hold to no denomination.
I believe that the only free will that men exercise is within the motivation of their individual decisions among two choices. Love and fear.
I reference only the scripture of the Old and New Testament, as well as my own experience when tested against what I glean from that source in regard to my spiritual instruction.
I reject fear based doctrines such as hell, trinities etc. as man made constructions that lessen the idea of a sovereign God and do nothing but confuse, spiritually enslave and manipulate.
I accept readily, the fact that my faith is bestowed by God, yet the responsibility of learning the truth of that faith is mine alone.
My acceptance that faith is bestowed to an individual and not willed by them, compels me to hold no charge of any kind against those who do not believe. Furthermore, my belief and understanding prohibit me in any way from imposing my beliefs upon others of no faith or differing faiths in any fashion.
It is my belief of an afterlife for all and that all people are created by God to become gods.
I believe that the created cannot become greater than the creator.
I believe that my declaring that I know that God exists, is a purposeful and informed decision that I make within myself based upon my faith and as such it holds for me alone.
"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted...but to weigh and consider." - Francis Bacon
"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time." - James Taylor
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Re: New here.

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:46 am

Kestrel wrote:Hello.
My core beliefs are in a sovereign God and a risen Jesus Christ.
I do not consider myself a christian and hold to no denomination.

Greetings and welcome. I am a Trinitarian Christian but I was not raised in any religion and so this is only where I have arrived after a "long journey" that began with science, then existentialism and then pragmatism. Thus if by "core beliefs" you mean the deeper foundational beliefs from which later conclusions were derived then digging beneath Trinitarian Christianity you will find pragmatism, then pluralism, then existentialism, and then science. I was in fact a scientist (physics) before I was ever a Christian. Somewhere in there is secularism (government restricted to what can be objectively established), which is harder to pin down because it is both that in which I was raised and conclusions which I embraced later on as well. Since science, existentialism and pragmatism are the philosophical underpinings of my thinking then you can also say that they are the lens through which I have understood and found value in Christianity. So for example, no version of Christianity that is at odds with the discoveries of modern science were ever an option for me.

Kestrel wrote:I believe that the only free will that men exercise is within the motivation of their individual decisions among two choices. Love and fear.

It is my belief that free will is quantitative and variable depending on many things such as awareness (you cannot have the free will to make choices of which you are not aware). Free will is surrendered and diminished by bad habits (sin) and the expansion/increase of free will is a general objective of God and the promise of Jesus, for life and free will are commensurate quantities.

Kestrel wrote:I reference only the scripture of the Old and New Testament, as well as my own experience when tested against what I glean from that source in regard to my spiritual instruction.

I have come to the conclusion that the Bible is the word of God, which does not mean any a-priori demand that one believe what it says but only that I think it says what God intends, though I do not attempt to dictate what God's reasons are for any particular part, but I think it is made clear that His intention is not always for what is said there to always be believed by everyone.

Kestrel wrote:I reject fear based doctrines such as hell, trinities etc. as man made constructions that lessen the idea of a sovereign God and do nothing but confuse, spiritually enslave and manipulate.

I reject the intellectual blackmail of saying that people who do not believe the correct things are damned, but I most certainly do believe in hell because I see it in the world, but not as something God has created to torture those who refuse to believe as they are told, but something human beings create for themselves. I utterly reject the despicable idea that God is saving us from Himself like some kind of mafia boss, but assert instead that God is saving us from ourselves. Thus I often say that hell is the place where we find our heart's desire and heaven is the place where we find God's desire for us. So no, I am certainly not a universalist. I think the talk of "the power of love" is a contradiction in terms, because when love becomes a means to power then it ceases to be love. Thus the fact is that love has to be accepted and it is quite often rejected.

Kestrel wrote:I accept readily, the fact that my faith is bestowed by God, yet the responsibility of learning the truth of that faith is mine alone.

I certainly believe that salvation is a work of God alone, but a work of God in us - i.e. a transformation of our heart mind and spirit. But ultimately God requres us to make a choice about whether we want Him involved in our existence or not. God may have to liberate our free will from sin so that we can make such a choice, but the choices is ours. Thus the idea that faith is bestowed by God is not one that I favor. To me that sounds like God giving us a magical power with which to save oursleves and that I do not believe.

Kestrel wrote:My acceptance that faith is bestowed to an individual and not willed by them, compels me to hold no charge of any kind against those who do not believe. Furthermore, my belief and understanding prohibit me in any way from imposing my beliefs upon others of no faith or differing faiths in any fashion.

I do not believe that we are saved by our beliefs whether they are correct or incorrect. The imposition of beliefs (regarding objectively undecidable issues such as the existence of God) upon others, I name intolerance, and it is the choice and desire of people to live in a free society that prohibits this.

Kestrel wrote:It is my belief of an afterlife for all and that all people are created by God to become gods.

I believe that we are eternal spiritual beings - our spirit being a creation of our own choices, and by those choices the nature of our eternal existence is determined. Our greatest hope is a living relationship with the creator who alone can provide what will make an eternal existence worthwhile. But Jesus made it clear that he who is greatest is not a lord over others but a servant of others. Thus I frankly think that the choice is between being a god in hell (where our desire rules) and being a servant in heaven (where God's desire rules).
Last edited by mitchellmckain on Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New here.

Postby Rian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:43 am

Welcome, Kestral! I hope you like it here - there are many intelligent, thoughtful people here with all kinds of different viewpoints. Then there are the others ;) but hey, that's life! :D Anyway, I've learned a great deal from my time here - it's great to toss things around with great people that hold different viewpoints, and if you come here with an open mind and a willingness to learn, you can learn a lot.

Anyway, just interested - why do you not consider yourself a Christian? Also, are you a musician (from your avvy) and is it saying "natural at rest"? What does it mean?
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: New here.

Postby Keep The Reason » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:30 am

Welcome.
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Re: New here.

Postby Kestrel » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:17 am

Rian wrote:...Anyway, just interested - why do you not consider yourself a Christian?

I feel it is a term that has, while not for the group entire, become synonymous with fear based decision making. Besides, I am not under any compulsion or recommendation to label myself anything. Including, believer.
Rian wrote:Also, are you a musician (from your avvy) and is it saying "natural at rest"? What does it mean?

Yes I am and yes it is.
That I believe my best state is when I am "calm".
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Re: New here.

Postby Kiwi » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:42 am

The musician thing makes sense. You write like a jazz player.
Welcome to the forum.
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Re: New here.

Postby Kestrel » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:14 am

Kiwi wrote:The musician thing makes sense. You write like a jazz player.
Welcome to the forum.

Thank you.

Many have even said that I reach beyond improvisation towards a particular area of jazz. :-)
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Re: New here.

Postby Rian » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:30 pm

There are several musicians here, and some are professional, IIRC. Do you play any instruments? (the link leads me to believe that you're a singer - but the link didn't work for me) I'm not one of those natural musicians, but I love playing my Celtic harp.

I agree that the term "Christian" can have a lot of negative connotations, but we can also work to make that better. And I don't think one needs to feel compelled to use a label; they can just feel it's right. Anyway, I can understand what you're saying, although I choose to call myself a Christian.
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion

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Re: New here.

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:27 pm

Labels are far from accurate but they are useful for the quick communication of approximate information.
my blog: http://astahost.blogspot.com/ I DEMAND the right to use the same words that someone else uses without ANY implication that this means anything but what that person himself meant when he used those words.
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Re: New here.

Postby Kestrel » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:07 pm

Rian wrote: Do you play any instruments? (the link leads me to believe that you're a singer - but the link didn't work for me)

Guitar, keyboards.
The link was only a humorous analogy on how some folks assess my posts.
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Re: New here.

Postby SocialSam » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:19 pm

Hi Kestrel! I'm also new here and greedily diving into the conversations. Your brand of faith is a new one to me, I love learning about other world views. Way back in high school, at the peak of my Pentecostal faith I loved exploring denominational differences. Now I like to explore whole spiritual differences. How did you come to this particular brand of faith? Is it something you practice alone or with a community of like-minded people?

mitchellmckain said
I reject the intellectual blackmail of saying that people who do not believe the correct things are damned, but I most certainly do believe in hell because I see it in the world, but not as something God has created to torture those who refuse to believe as they are told, but something human beings create for themselves. I utterly reject the despicable idea that God is saving us from Himself like some kind of mafia boss, but assert instead that God is saving us from ourselves.


Wow and wow. I wish mainstream Christianity could accept that theology and be more like you, mitchellmckain. The idea that God created us only to send most of us to suffer in eternal torment has always been untenable to me. Of course it scared the bejesus out of me and I spent a good portion of my younger years evangelizing to unbelievers, building my mansion I heaven.

I personally admire the teachings of Rob Bell and wish his views weren't so hated by prominent evangelicals. Perhaps there is already a threat on this topic, if so just direct me over there, but why is he so despised among the Christian community? If, like Pastor Scott says, Christians are obsessed with the salvation transaction, why is his message so dangerous? His welcoming, inclusive message is far more likely to accelerate that salvation transaction, and isn't that the goal?
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Re: New here.

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:20 pm

SocialSam wrote:I personally admire the teachings of Rob Bell and wish his views weren't so hated by prominent evangelicals.

Yes I like Rob Bell a lot and He is a good example of that part of the evangelical church that I like very much. He believes very strongly in the transforming power of the gospel and has devoted himself to showing that the gospel remains powerful in the context of the modern age where the whole landscape of human thought has unavoidably changed because of scientific discovery and the frankly higher moral standards with regards to things like racism, sexism and children.

SocialSam wrote: Perhaps there is already a threat on this topic, if so just direct me over there, but why is he so despised among the Christian community? If, like Pastor Scott says, Christians are obsessed with the salvation transaction, why is his message so dangerous? His welcoming, inclusive message is far more likely to accelerate that salvation transaction, and isn't that the goal?

He has been discussed occasionally but not hotly. There was some concern over his last book, and before reading it, I wondered if He hadn't wandered over into universalism (he certainly entertained the idea) and thus out of the evangelical spectrum altogether. But when I read the book, I came to the conclusion that he was no more universalist than I am, though I did have a disagreement with him at a few points of the book and that is in fact where one part of my post above in this thread came from:

" I think the talk of 'the power of love' is a contradiction in terms, because when love becomes a means to power then it ceases to be love. Thus the fact is that love has to be accepted and it is quite often rejected." I came up with that specifically in response to reading Rob Bell's book. In one chapter, Rob Bell asks, "does God get what God wants?" And I think the answer is a humongus NO! He does NOT! Does God want every child to be cherished and loved by those into whose care they have been given? YES! Does God get what God wants in this case? NO!

The evangelical spectrum is a wide one and the fundamentalist part of that spectrum that does not like Rob Bell or any deviation from their gnostic legalism, is represented on this forum by mikejsr and TonyEnglish (who has been in a number of podcasts). Naturally they don't much care for me either.
my blog: http://astahost.blogspot.com/ I DEMAND the right to use the same words that someone else uses without ANY implication that this means anything but what that person himself meant when he used those words.
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Re: New here.

Postby StillSearching » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:01 am

Welcome Kestrel!

Kestrel wrote:My core beliefs are in a sovereign God and a risen Jesus Christ.
I do not consider myself a christian and hold to no denomination.


So you're my polar opposite? (I'm not wholly convinced of God's sovereignty, nor of the nature and/or importance of the resurrection, but I call myself a Christian and belong to an Episcopal church)

Might lead to some interesting exchanges. At any rate, glad to have you here and look forward to your contributions.
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Re: New here.

Postby Kestrel » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:46 pm

SocialSam wrote:... Your brand of faith is a new one to me,... How did you come to this particular brand of faith? Is it something you practice alone or with a community of like-minded people?

Hi SocialSam.
To me there are 2 types of faith, the faith that is the realization of things expected, the evidence of things not seen. And the faith that is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I am of the former. The latter being based in fear and therefore flawed.

I came to this understanding by consciously making the effort to stop finding reasons for why I felt I was right about the faith I feel and started earnestly searching out where I was wrong. The difference between the two being love and fear.
I have not come across a peer, in quite awhile. Neither on the internet or in my day to day life. Yet, I do not search them out.
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Re: New here.

Postby Kestrel » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:54 pm

StillSearching wrote:So you're my polar opposite? (I'm not wholly convinced of God's sovereignty, nor of the nature and/or importance of the resurrection, but I call myself a Christian and belong to an Episcopal church)

Hi StillSearching.
For me, a god who is not entirely in control and fully responsible for what it created within an environment that cannot prove that the god exists, is less, intolerably weak and not deserving of the name.
So in that we are "opposite".

StillSearching wrote:Might lead to some interesting exchanges. At any rate, glad to have you here and look forward to your contributions.

Thank you. As do I.
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