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Author Topic:   Why must we believe *before* we die?
Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 869 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 1 of 302 (244105)
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


Here's a question (for "Faith and Belief") that has been bothering me for some time:

Why does God want us to reach belief in him in the very short period of our existence when it is hardest for us to do so? I mean, our life on earth is infinitely short compared to the eternal afterlife. Why can't God accept people who only come to believe after they have died and then see that everything they've been told in church is true after all?

One would imagine that belief would be instantaneous once people actually find themselves in front of the gates of heaven (or of hell, as the case may be), so the delay should not be too annoying for a god who had already whiled away an eternity before creating us. And if, when staring Peter in the face, you would still not believe in God and heaven, then God would really have a reason to send you straight to hell. (In which case you'd perhaps do well to pretend not to believe in Satan either, since I'm told hell is a rather nasty joint. Who knows, you might even get sent back to earth.)

So why does God insist on people becoming believers during their lifetime? Does God prefer people who will believe things in spite of a total lack of evidence? (I'm beginning to suspect a hidden agenda here. Only the gullible are admitted to heaven, so there must be some catch to it. "Verily, I say unto you, don't go there!")

Or is the afterlife a myth after all, and is infecting people's minds, while they are still operative, the only way for religious memes to survive and thrive? That would be my answer of choice, but I'd like to see some religious opinions.

I may have sounded facetious in the description of my question, but it is meant as a serious question nonetheless. If religious people can't take a bit of humour, they need not bother to answer, I wouldn't want to be in the same heaven with them anyway.

This message has been edited by Parasomnium, 16-Sep-2005 02:55 PM


We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Replies to this message:
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AdminBen
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 302 (244112)
09-16-2005 10:06 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
jar
Member
Posts: 30997
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 3 of 302 (244119)
09-16-2005 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parasomnium
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


So why does God insist on people becoming believers during their lifetime?
She doesn't. It couldn't care less about whether or not you believe.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Parasomnium, posted 09-16-2005 9:40 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded

cavediver
Member (Idle past 1816 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 4 of 302 (244120)
09-16-2005 10:32 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parasomnium
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


I may have sounded facetious in the description of my question, but it is meant as a serious question nonetheless

Sounds like an excellent question to me. As a Christian, I am eager to see the replies... I'm caught up in too many threads to play just at the moment.

I'm beginning to suspect a hidden agenda here. Only the gullible are admitted to heaven, so there must be some catch to it. "Verily, I say unto you, don't go there!"

Hmmm, sounds like the Golgafrinchams... don't you think ;)


This message is a reply to:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 5 of 302 (244126)
09-16-2005 11:04 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parasomnium
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


I would imagine there is no point in making people believers before they die if you were a god who will get your attention in the end any way, but if you were a priest greedy for converts to fill his coffers or provide man power, then it make perfect sense.

that sounds like a good message to put out if you are such a priest (or any other preacher type etc)


This message is a reply to:
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Chiroptera
Member
Posts: 6649
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 6 of 302 (244128)
09-16-2005 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parasomnium
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


Hey! High stakes testing! We're down with that here in the U.S.
This message is a reply to:
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Thugpreacha
Member
Posts: 12445
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 7 of 302 (244167)
09-16-2005 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parasomnium
09-16-2005 9:40 AM


I have personally believed that many people do, in fact, become believers once the choice is clear to them...which for some, happens after the physical death. God is not so mean as to limit the exclusivity of Heaven...He wills that whosoever can come in.

Communion is a mystery and a beautiful love relationship.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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gene90
Member (Idle past 1996 days)
Posts: 1610
Joined: 12-25-2000


Message 8 of 302 (244169)
09-16-2005 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Thugpreacha
09-16-2005 1:48 PM


The problem of eschatological verification seems no greater than simply asking why God doesn't prove his existance here. And besides, you're assuming you get to gates of Heaven and instantly recognize what's happening. In reality, an afterlife prior to judgement would only show that belief systems involving an afterlife are correct, and there are still thousands of those to choose from. And any number that could be modified or started in the afterlife.

If everybody came up after their graves at the end of the world, there is no logical reason why nonbelievers would not still be nonbelievers. They would say, "well that was a surprise, but where is this Jesus you were talking about?" And eventually some kind of speculation about accidental time travel would could about that, while unusual, would seem more probable than the entire virgin birth/died for your sins thing.

My prediction, anyway.


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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 302 (244170)
09-16-2005 1:58 PM


Faith
Why does God want us to reach belief in him in the very short period of our existence when it is hardest for us to do so? I mean, our life on earth is infinitely short compared to the eternal afterlife. Why can't God accept people who only come to believe after they have died and then see that everything they've been told in church is true after all?

I am going to try to answer this question seriously from the standpoint of a believer (even though I'm not one).

Let's examine this passage from Matthew, chapter 16:

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"

14 And they said, "Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15 He saith unto them, "But whom say ye that I am?"

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

What does this tell us about the concept of faith? How did Peter know that Jesus was the son of God and no mere prophet? God the Father revealed it to him. So faith can be defined as God revealing himself to one. The Father "told" Peter subliminally, as it were,
that Jesus was His Son.

Faith, then, is not exactly the action of deciding to believe a doctrine; it is the outcome of God's revelation to a person.

God reveals himself to good people only.

Good people are not people who have faith: faith is given to those who are good.

ed: typos

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 09-16-2005 01:00 PM

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 09-16-2005 01:03 PM

This message has been edited by robinrohan, 09-16-2005 01:06 PM


Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Faith, posted 09-16-2005 9:58 PM robinrohan has responded
 Message 42 by macaroniandcheese, posted 09-29-2005 2:29 PM robinrohan has responded

Faith
Member
Posts: 31821
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 10 of 302 (244263)
09-16-2005 9:58 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by robinrohan
09-16-2005 1:58 PM


Re: Faith
You did a good job with this from a believer's point of view.

Faith, then, is not exactly the action of deciding to believe a doctrine; it is the outcome of God's revelation to a person.

Yes, true.

God reveals himself to good people only.

But this isn't true at all according to Reformation Protestantism. God has mercy upon "whomever He will have mercy" and reveals Himself to whomever He will. There are some great sinners among God's chosen. Consider King David. Not sure how you get this out of that passage.

Good people are not people who have faith: faith is given to those who are good.

Please tell me where you get this idea. Scripture says "no one is good, no not one." Faith isn't given to us because we are good at all. Far from it. It's given to people who know they are transgressors of God's law, some very serious transgressors. Nor are people who have faith good in themselves --according to Protestantism anyway. They are only good through Jesus' goodness, not their own.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by robinrohan, posted 09-16-2005 1:58 PM robinrohan has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by robinrohan, posted 09-16-2005 11:40 PM Faith has responded
 Message 14 by purpledawn, posted 09-17-2005 8:39 AM Faith has responded

  
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 302 (244281)
09-16-2005 11:40 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Faith
09-16-2005 9:58 PM


Re: Faith
But this isn't true at all according to Reformation Protestantism. God has mercy upon "whomever He will have mercy" and reveals Himself to whomever He will. There are some great sinners among God's chosen

Faith, I was assuming that the reason Peter received the revelation was because he was better, not in the sense of not having sinned, but because he was pure at heart.

Please tell me where you get this idea

I deduced it from the passage. God revealed the truth to Peter. Peter as a result believed in Jesus as the son of God. Peter did not just start to believe on other grounds (miracles, for example). He believed because The Father revealed to him the truth. Why him and not others? His purity of heart. I can't think of any other reason.

And by the way, Faith. There is more to Christianity than the Protestant Reformation. Let's not forget the Catholics.


This message is a reply to:
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Faith
Member
Posts: 31821
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 12 of 302 (244289)
09-17-2005 1:06 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by robinrohan
09-16-2005 11:40 PM


Re: Faith
And by the way, Faith. There is more to Christianity than the Protestant Reformation. Let's not forget the Catholics.

Yes, when I asked I thought maybe that was a Catholic viewpoint.

Yes, about Peter's pure heart, David the sinner also had a pure heart, honest before God, and that is to his credit. Protestant theology -- actually, also Catholic theology as I recall from some of the mystics -- ascribes ALL goodness, even of this sort, to God's own gift, and not to the person. But that may be a fine point.


This message is a reply to:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 302 (244293)
09-17-2005 1:37 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Faith
09-17-2005 1:06 AM


Re: Faith
Yes, when I asked I thought maybe that was a Catholic viewpoint.

I think my interpretation is Catholic, though not intentionally by me.

Let us never underestimate, Faith, the power of the Catholics.


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1630 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 14 of 302 (244317)
09-17-2005 8:39 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Faith
09-16-2005 9:58 PM


Scripture Says
quote:
Scripture says "no one is good, no not one."
Not quite what scripture says.

Ps 14:1
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

Ps 14:3
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

Ps 53:1
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God," They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; There is no one who does good.

Ps 53:3
Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

This song of David seems to refer to fools or adversaries of the Jews, not necessarily everyone and says no one DOES good, not that no one IS good.

Now Paul states that no one is righteous, which deals with following divine laws.

Romans
3:10
as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;
3:11
There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God;
3:12
All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one."

It is also written:

Pr 12:2
A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

ABE: Romans

This message has been edited by purpledawn, 09-17-2005 09:53 AM


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Faith
Member
Posts: 31821
From: Nevada, USA
Joined: 10-06-2001
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 15 of 302 (244336)
09-17-2005 9:40 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by purpledawn
09-17-2005 8:39 AM


Re: Scripture Says
Yes, you are being more precise, but I'm not sure the distinction is crucial, as Jesus speaks of people (not) BEING good as opposed to DOING good in a way that makes the two almost synonymous:

Matthew 19:17 And he said to him, Why do you call me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments.

This message has been edited by Faith, 09-17-2005 09:46 AM


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