10/21/99

Hi and good morning,

You think you're unclear? I didn't even know we were having a debate!

I thought we were exchanging concepts and ideas and experiences. I think debates are a poor way of doing that. I note that exceedingly few (none) of my math and science classes used debate as a way of learning.

Many times I try to answer your questions, not directly, but by trying to get at the more foundational issues that separate us. It's like building a house, for example. If the foundation is wrong there will forever be puzzlements and disconnects at all the upper floors. Once you see that the foundation is wrong, there is no point in dealing with the upper story problems, you have to tear it all down and correct the foundation.

You seem to have the foundational idea that, in Christianity, God requires us to please Him or that he demands that we follow rules. That is not Christianity as I understand it.

The Christian concept is that everything that God has done has been for our benefit, not His. An image might be one of us floating down the river heading for the falls; our destruction will be an automatic and we know it and still choose it. God offers eternal life through a union with His Son. But God does not force us to accept that union, in fact, to do so would be like a "shotgun marriage".

The fundamental sin is equal to rejection of His offer to save us.

If you understand the above foundational concept (even if you don't agree), then you will be able to see, for example, that the Ten Commandments were not things to do to please or appease God. They are like the owners manual for your car, e.g. don't open the radiation cap while the engine is hot. Honda didn't write this to please or appease Honda.

I don't have time right now to elaborate on this. I'd like to keep my emails short anyway.

Cheers,
Lynn

10/21/99

Hello,

The very definition of debating is exchanging different concepts, ideas, and experiences. You may not be accustomed to this format, but this is a debate. It's hard to get away from.

But like you believe that I have the foundational idea that Christians follow rules, your foundational idea is that there is only one god. Of course, that's nothing unusual, but that's what you're basing the answers to my questions on. You're talking to someone who knows that man has made up hundreds of gods and goddesses, all of them immortal, and you choose one specific god (conveniently named "God"). All I ask is, why?

I don't agree with you that Christianity has nothing to do with rules. That is, in fact, a foundational idea for many religions. Maybe "rules" isn't the best word for it; perhaps "guidelines" is better. Yes, the Ten Commandments are guidelines for life. No god has to tell you not to kill someone else. But if that god commands you not to have any other gods before him, you better obey him or else. Or else what? Or else he'll send you to hell or generally make your life miserable. If you believe that the commandments are the word of god, then believing that that god has also given you free will would be a contradiction.

Why would hell even be a concept? Why did missionaries set out to convert natives? Don't you suppose they told them, "You'd better worship this way or you're going to hell."? Why do people tell homosexuals that god doesn't like them and they're going to hell? I know you don't believe that these people are really Christians, but they are, they just worship in a different way. The fact that you're all Christians believing different things presents a completely different problem but...my point is that I doubt the Christian concept is as simple as you present it to be. In my experience, I think your views are quite in the minority. How do you arrive at them?

Meretricula

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