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Author Topic: Americans united in faith, doubtful of dogma  (Read 9575 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 23, 2008, 11:33:10 PM »

Americans: My faith isn't the only way
Survey shows growing religious tolerance when it comes to different faiths

The Associated Press
June 23, 2008



Quote
America remains a nation of believers, but a new survey finds most Americans don't feel their religion is the only way to eternal life — even if their faith tradition teaches otherwise.

The findings, released Monday in a survey of 35,000 adults, can either be taken as a positive sign of growing religious tolerance, or disturbing evidence that Americans dismiss or don't know fundamental teachings of their own faiths...
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 11:54:07 PM »

Good article, Sol. I've never been sure why anyone should believe that their faith is the only way to gaining eternal life, for it's God who decides that issue not us. And if, as I understand the teaching of Orthodoxy to be, others from other faiths can be saved (we just don't know), it suggests that His Judgement of who has loved Him and their neighbour enough to be judged as righteous, is based on a little more than doctrinal correctness. (Matthew 25 is relevant, I believe.) How wonderful if this article is true and that there is indication of growing religious tolerance. Intolerance is the biggest turnoff to converting anyone to anything.

Thanks for posting it, Sol.
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 12:03:12 AM »

Thanks for posting it, Sol.
Actually, it was _Seraphim_.
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2008, 12:09:22 AM »

Actually, it was _Seraphim_.

What is the plural of Faux Pas? LOL kidding Riddikulus.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2008, 12:15:26 AM »

What is the plural of Faux Pas? LOL kidding Riddikulus.

Same spelling, 'faux pas', but the final 'soft z' sound is pronounced. Wink
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2008, 12:19:37 AM »

Actually, it was _Seraphim_.

Lord have mercy on me! I'm losing my mind!
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2008, 12:20:27 AM »

What is the plural of Faux Pas? LOL kidding Riddikulus.

Look, I'm a crazy old Yia Yia!! Leave me alone!!!  laugh
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 12:20:51 AM »

Lord have mercy on me! I'm losing my mind!

Being sane in a sea of insanity can make it seem that way at times. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 12:21:52 AM »

Being sane in a sea of insanity can make it seem that way at times. Wink

 laugh
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2008, 12:39:54 AM »

Good article, Sol....

Thanks for posting it, Sol.

Someone else posted the same article (without citing it) in a different thread and all I did was provide the source for that thread only.

There's been a lot of mistaken identities in this forum.  I hope all of us aren't starting to post alike, hehe.   Wink
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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2008, 01:04:41 AM »

There's been a lot of mistaken identities in this forum.  I hope all of us aren't starting to post alike, hehe.   Wink

 laugh If that happened, we wouldn't have anyone to argue with!
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2008, 10:33:22 AM »

Good article, Sol. I've never been sure why anyone should believe that their faith is the only way to gaining eternal life, for it's God who decides that issue not us.

For some it could be a feeling of being in what Lewis called the "inner ring" the special group that makes an "Us" with others being "Them", with feelings of superiority over those who aren't part of "Us". It is in "The Screwtape Letters" and an essay among other places. Also there's a book, "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer that considers some of the 'fanatic' mindset. 

For others it could be that to acknowledge or consider that other people who are 'different' may be acceptable is a threat.  I wonder if it could be that a faith can be fragile or threatened  by others. 

Then there's just an "I'm Right and anyone who disagrees on any point is therefore Wrong" kind of thinking.

Just some thoughts

Ebor

 
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 09:03:09 PM »

For some it could be a feeling of being in what Lewis called the "inner ring" the special group that makes an "Us" with others being "Them", with feelings of superiority over those who aren't part of "Us". It is in "The Screwtape Letters" and an essay among other places. Also there's a book, "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer that considers some of the 'fanatic' mindset. 

Yes, Ebor, I remember "The Screwtape Letters". A great little book, one to be taken internally and very seriously.

Quote
For others it could be that to acknowledge or consider that other people who are 'different' may be acceptable is a threat.  I wonder if it could be that a faith can be fragile or threatened by others. 

Well, it would appear that it is to some. Of course, opposition to "them" comes as a way of "concern for their eternal condition", or that the "them" threatens the order of things in insulting God with their heresy, or they could influence some of the "us" to follow them through the gates of hell.

Quote
Then there's just an "I'm Right and anyone who disagrees on any point is therefore Wrong" kind of thinking.

Of course, this is the root of all the evil done in the name of religion.

Quote


Just some thoughts

And some good ones, too.  Grin

 
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 09:17:30 PM »

How wonderful if this article is true and that there is indication of growing religious tolerance. Intolerance is the biggest turnoff to converting anyone to anything.
Quite true, to say the least.  We agnostics usually get the lion's share as we're targeted by virtually everyone.  But I must say that I'm truly inspired by your empathy, madam.  I've been clubbed by the "I am the way...no man gets to the father except through me" quote many times.
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2008, 09:27:03 PM »

Quite true, to say the least.  We agnostics usually get the lion's share as we're targeted by virtually everyone.  But I must say that I'm truly inspired by your empathy, madam.  I've been clubbed by the "I am the way...no man gets to the father except through me" quote many times.

LOL - I can believe it! I'm sure people have had the best intentions as they brought that bible crashing down on your head, but scripture does gets to be so old, so quickly when used in such a way.
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2008, 11:41:58 PM »

While I agree, God can have mercy on whom He wishes (and thus we can never condemn anyone to hell), we can only say that salvation comes through Orthodoxy.  It would be pointless for Christ to have died and established the one, true Church if people could just be saved in some other church anyways.  I believe religious tolerance has led to less conversions overall, as all tolerance has done is to say, "you can obtain salvation in your church too", eliminating the need for people to search out for the Truth and convert to Orthodoxy.  It isn't an issue of pride by saying Orthodoxy is the only path to salvation, but rather acknowledging that Orthodoxy is the only Church that provides all the tools and methods necessary for salvation, as it is the Church established by Christ.

Again, this is not to say that all those who weren't Orthodox before they died are in hell, God has infinite mercy and may do as He wishes.  We simply can't guarantee someone who has lived outside the Church has obtained salvation (i.e., why we don't ever rule that a person in another church is a saint).  Of course, just being Orthodox is no guarantee of salvation either.  One must use the "tools" provided by Orthodoxy in order to save one's soul. 
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2008, 11:53:22 PM »

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It would be pointless for Christ to have died and established the one, true Church if people could just be saved in some other church anyways.

I agree. However, there are pieces of God and Christ in almost all religions. I think we should have respect for peoples' religious experiences and that they are just as worthy of the same Godly goodness as Christians are. I think that Orthodoxy is the best way to understand God, and I think Christianity cannot turn its back on other religions just because they're other religions. As a spiritual person, I cannot believe that a non-Christian like Gandhi is not in Heaven, close to Jesus Himself, just because he wasn't Christian. If Jesus was man enough and God enough to die a horrible death on a wooden cross for ungrateful and selfish human beings who didn't believe he was the Son of God, I'm more sure than not that Jesus would embrace someone who lived the ethics He spoke of in the Bible, even if they weren't Christian. Perhaps by living those ethics, you become the little child that Jesus spoke of. In the end, God will straighten things out. That's what "Judgement" means---it is a weighing of all things. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2008, 12:20:10 AM »

It would be pointless for Christ to have died and established the one, true Church if people could just be saved in some other church anyways. 

I don't mean to be offensive, but isn't this awfully close to presuming to speak the mind of God and express His will? The Church is where people who know and accept that way are saved; but to suggest that salvation is only found within Her walls makes mockery of Christ's own words in Matthew 25.

Quote
I believe religious tolerance has led to less conversions overall, as all tolerance has done is to say, "you can obtain salvation in your church too", eliminating the need for people to search out for the Truth and convert to Orthodoxy.  It isn't an issue of pride by saying Orthodoxy is the only path to salvation, but rather acknowledging that Orthodoxy is the only Church that provides all the tools and methods necessary for salvation, as it is the Church established by Christ.

I disagree. Religious tolerance has led to genuine conversion - maybe less in number, but conversions (or even people remaining in the Church) not out of fear, but out of awe and love. We help those we can, and leave the rest to God's mercy, never assuming that they are lost to him, for they are his creatures, too. He loves them, no less than he loves us.

Quote
Again, this is not to say that all those who weren't Orthodox before they died are in hell, God has infinite mercy and may do as He wishes.  We simply can't guarantee someone who has lived outside the Church has obtained salvation (i.e., why we don't ever rule that a person in another church is a saint).  Of course, just being Orthodox is no guarantee of salvation either.  One must use the "tools" provided by Orthodoxy in order to save one's soul. 

 Huh We can't say that all who weren't Orthodox before they died are in hell, but we can't say that all those who were Orthodox before they died aren't, either? Are you then so sure that one must use the tools provided by Orthodox in order to save one's soul?
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« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2008, 12:50:46 AM »

From the story...

Quote
Another finding almost defies explanation: 21 percent of self-identified atheists said they believe in God or a universal spirit, with 8 percent "absolutely certain" of it.

In other words, this story is completely useless, either because they screwed up the questions, or because people are just plain confused/confusing with their answers.
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2008, 01:18:26 AM »

I don't mean to be offensive, but isn't this awfully close to presuming to speak the mind of God and express His will? The Church is where people who know and accept that way are saved; but to suggest that salvation is only found within Her walls makes mockery of Christ's own words in Matthew 25.

I disagree. Religious tolerance has led to genuine conversion - maybe less in number, but conversions (or even people remaining in the Church) not out of fear, but out of awe and love. We help those we can, and leave the rest to God's mercy, never assuming that they are lost to him, for they are his creatures, too. He loves them, no less than he loves us.

 Huh We can't say that all who weren't Orthodox before they died are in hell, but we can't say that all those who were Orthodox before they died aren't, either? Are you then so sure that one must use the tools provided by Orthodox in order to save one's soul?

No, it isn't presumptious at all.  Christ established the one, true way to salvation, the Church.  That is not to say that Christ won't save someone for helping the poor, the needy, the sick, those in jail, etc, i.e., for trying to be Christ-like.  Christ can have mercy on whomever He wishes.  But we can only say for sure that salvation comes through Orthodoxy; St. Cyprian mentions that "outside of the Church, there is no salvation".  Anyone who is saved outside of Orthodoxy is saved because of God's infinite mercy.  You may want to read this: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx by the reposed +Metropolitan Philaret of ROCOR, who goes into more detail about the question.  

I'm not so sure before religious tolerance existed that people converted only out of fear.  I am a Greek Old-Calendarist under Metropolitan Pavlos.  The Old Calendarists are often called intolerant because we do not participate in inter-religious dialogue (and are therefore seen by some as intolerant of other religions), but when I converted from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy, I never once felt that I converted out of fear or some type of external pressure, but only because of my love for Orthodoxy.    

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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2008, 01:34:12 AM »

Quote
Another finding almost defies explanation: 21 percent of self-identified atheists said they believe in God or a universal spirit, with 8 percent "absolutely certain" of it.

LOL Cheesy
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« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2008, 01:41:02 AM »

Anyone who is saved outside of Orthodoxy is saved because of God's infinite mercy.
So it is not impossible to be saved outside of the Church. Let's leave the rest of the question (who is saved, how "probable" is it etc.) up to God. I challenge even GiC to come up with a mathematical formula to express the "probability" of salvation outside of the Church!
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« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2008, 01:49:05 AM »

No, it isn't presumptious at all.  Christ established the one, true way to salvation, the Church.  That is not to say that Christ won't save someone for helping the poor, the needy, the sick, those in jail, etc, i.e., for trying to be Christ-like.  Christ can have mercy on whomever He wishes.  But we can only say for sure that salvation comes through Orthodoxy; St. Cyprian mentions that "outside of the Church, there is no salvation".  

Yes, both you and I have come to believe that the Church that Christ established is the Orthodox Church, but Catholics use St Cyprian's quote no less than we.  Wink We are all fallible humans and could be right or wrong in what we believe; more likely we are partly right/partly wrong. We take sides in Christian history, not fully conversant with all the arguments that are necessary to make an infallible decision, even if such were possible. All of us experience truth gradually; and each of us should be careful not to claim some kind of divine intention upon decisions that are entirely our own. Religious tolerance, IMO, means that we can say that we believe what we believe to be true, but leave room for error in all walks of Christian life, even our own (and even in religions beyond Christianity).   


Quote
Anyone who is saved outside of Orthodoxy is saved because of God's infinite mercy.

Anyone who is saved inside Orthodoxy is saved because of God's infinite mercy. Smiley

Quote
I'm not so sure before religious tolerance existed that people converted only out of fear. I am a Greek Old-Calendarist under Metropolitan Pavlos.  The Old Calendarists are often called intolerant, but when I converted from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy, I never once felt that I converted out of fear or some type of external pressure, but only because of my love for Orthodoxy.

I don't know how old you are, but from my younger days I remember Christenings/infant baptisms that were undertaken out of nothing more than fear; fear that God would send an innocent baby to hell should it die unbaptised. There was no real committment to faith, just a step that was taken out of fear and ignorance. And by people who were very intolerant of faiths other than the one that was theirs by claims of heritage. 
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« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2008, 01:51:35 AM »

LOL Cheesy
America, the land where anything is possible!

And I know several people who identify themselves as 'spiritual but not religious' who don't actually believe in any sort of spirit or deity but think there's some chance something like karma exists, though probably not.

The problem is that 'Atheist', 'Christian' 'Jewish', 'Catholic', etc. arn't actually religious terms anymore in the minds of most people...rather they are cultural terms. A friend of mine doesn't believe in god and finds the whole concept of religion and dogma absurd and laughable, he's as much of an atheist as anyone can be, but he insists he's Catholic because, well, he's Italian and Italians are Catholic...nothing you can say will convince him otherwise.

The reason we see these strange results is that the polls fail to take into account the cultural understanding of terms in the minds of the people they're polling, instead they assume everyone agrees with the literal definition. If these polls tell us anything it should be that a sizable minority, or perhaps even the majority, have a different interpretation of the aforementioned terms than the polling organizations.
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« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2008, 02:05:10 AM »

The reason we see these strange results is that the polls fail to take into account the cultural understanding of terms in the minds of the people they're polling, instead they assume everyone agrees with the literal definition. If these polls tell us anything it should be that a sizable minority, or perhaps even the majority, have a different interpretation of the aforementioned terms than the polling organizations.


Are you an Atheist? YES
Do you believe there is a God? YES

It still doesn't compute!
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« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2008, 09:41:01 AM »

Indeed.  To quote Mr. Spock  "Highly illogical."

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« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2008, 09:43:29 AM »

From the story...

In other words, this story is completely useless, either because they screwed up the questions, or because people are just plain confused/confusing with their answers.

I'd like to read the questions asked in this "survey" and in the order that they were asked.  And it's another chance to remember to re-read How to Lie with Statistics by Huff.

Ebor
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« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2008, 09:48:40 AM »

Christ established the one, true way to salvation, the Church.

St. Cyprian mentions that "outside of the Church, there is no salvation".

As was noted, others cite the saying of St. Cyprian with perhaps a different definition of "Church".


Ebor
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« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2008, 09:51:11 AM »

Well, GIC has stated before that he believes in God, just not the foreboding, Zeus-like God that makes you think of the Night on Bald Mountain classical music piece... Wink

Quote
I challenge even GiC to come up with a mathematical formula to express the "probability" of salvation outside of the Church!

(Hides behind the Forum couch with a helmet and shield) Grin

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« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2008, 10:38:53 AM »



Are you an Atheist? YES
Do you believe there is a God? YES

It still doesn't compute!

That's because you still think Atheism is a religion. In the modern western understanding Atheism is not a religion, Judaism is not a religion, Christianity is not a religion...they are all cultures and have little if anything to do with gods and metaphysics, they have much more to do with what holidays you celebrate and your family customs. I may find the concept of a deity laughable, but I don't consider myself an atheist because I don't identify with atheism culturally.
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« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2008, 01:50:20 PM »

^ The a-cultural atheist?
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« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2008, 03:26:03 PM »

That's because you still think Atheism is a religion. In the modern western understanding Atheism is not a religion, Judaism is not a religion, Christianity is not a religion...they are all cultures and have little if anything to do with gods and metaphysics, they have much more to do with what holidays you celebrate and your family customs. I may find the concept of a deity laughable, but I don't consider myself an atheist because I don't identify with atheism culturally.

How about Agnosticism?  How would that culture differ from Atheism?
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« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2008, 03:33:03 PM »

How about Agnosticism?  How would that culture differ from Atheism?
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« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2008, 03:36:50 PM »

When the I know, becomes the I don't know. laugh

Yeah, sounds pretty simple except there's more to that than meets the eye.   laugh
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« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2008, 04:23:33 PM »

Yes, both you and I have come to believe that the Church that Christ established is the Orthodox Church, but Catholics use St Cyprian's quote no less than we.  Wink We are all fallible humans and could be right or wrong in what we believe; more likely we are partly right/partly wrong. We take sides in Christian history, not fully conversant with all the arguments that are necessary to make an infallible decision, even if such were possible. All of us experience truth gradually; and each of us should be careful not to claim some kind of divine intention upon decisions that are entirely our own. Religious tolerance, IMO, means that we can say that we believe what we believe to be true, but leave room for error in all walks of Christian life, even our own (and even in religions beyond Christianity).   

So by this logic, we can't ever find the one, actual true Church, since for all we know we could be wrong about what we believe (we could also be right, but we could never know for sure), no matter what church we convert to.  If this were true, then there would be no point in attempting to search out the Truth if we could never find it for sure anyways.  Converting to Orthodoxy from another religion would be pointless.   
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« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2008, 04:26:15 PM »


<I've never been sure why anyone should believe that their faith is the only way to gaining eternal life, for it's God who decides that issue not us.>

Of course salvation is God's affair, but Christ said I am the Way...

<While I agree, God can have mercy on whom He wishes (and thus we can never condemn anyone to hell), we can only say that salvation comes through Orthodoxy.

This is traditional teaching.

The first quote feels like ecumenical humanism - one of the chapters of St Justin Popovich's book -"Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ".

I know this forum is a blend of modern and trad - I think this issue highlights the different ways of thinking.

Put me down on the trad side!

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« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2008, 04:30:27 PM »

I apologize for the afterthought:   The Church is not an institution, although it would seem to be to many on the outside.  It is Christ. It is His Mystical Body.  The dialogue of love has to be the dialogue of truth too for Christ is the Truth, God is love.  Our dogma is not man-made but divinely inspired, it being the Holy Spirit at work in the world.
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« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2008, 04:42:17 PM »

It isn't an issue of pride by saying Orthodoxy is the only path to salvation, but rather acknowledging that Orthodoxy is the only Church that provides all the tools and methods necessary for salvation, as it is the Church established by Christ.

Well said!
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2008, 04:46:27 PM »

The first quote feels like ecumenical humanism - one of the chapters of St Justin Popovich's book -"Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ".

I know this forum is a blend of modern and trad - I think this issue highlights the different ways of thinking.

Put me down on the trad side!

Just show me where to sign!  Wink
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2008, 08:34:38 PM »

So by this logic, we can't ever find the one, actual true Church, since for all we know we could be wrong about what we believe (we could also be right, but we could never know for sure), no matter what church we convert to.

By virture of our human reasoning, considering the information we have available to us and how we intrepret it, we certainly are not at fault in believing that we have found the one, actual true Church; because what we believe about Christian history leads us to accept that; even though others with read the same or similar literature and come to a different conclusion. And no, I don't believe we can know for sure, no matter what Church we convert to. But that's faith, isn't it? It's not about "knowing", but coming to a place where we rely on something that is far beyond the workings of our intellect. Once we have accepted our own decisions as reasonable and honest, the Orthodox Church (or whatever church we convert to) is the means we have at our disposal to have a relationship with God. But to "know" is for God, we flaw beings simply do the best we can with the information we have. 

Quote
If this were true, then there would be no point in attempting to search out the Truth if we could never find it for sure anyways.  Converting to Orthodoxy from another religion would be pointless. 

Well, that might be your decision, it certainly wouldn't be mine. I would not stop searching for the Truth, simply because I thought I might never find it. And I had many reasons to convert from my previous religion position. My quest led me to the point where I had to make a choice between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Others, I know, chose Catholicism and their reasons weren't any less intelligent (or spiritual) than my own for choosing Orthodoxy. I certainly don't think "the devil made them do it". Grin

But I'm happy to accept that what I believe is part of my quest for the Truth; if it's not the total Truth, it certainly will suffice for this life. But what I believe about Truth is irrelevant in regard to my tolerance of others who are just as convinced as I am that they have found Truth, too.

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« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2008, 11:18:01 PM »

^ Post of the Month Nominee for your excellent statement of what TRUE Christian tolerance should be! Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2008, 12:32:07 AM »

I've been clubbed by the "I am the way...no man gets to the father except through me" quote many times.

That's still true BTW, it's just in my very limited experience Orthodox tend to put a tremendous amount of stock in the mercy of God which "endureth forever." I for one refuse to put a time frame or any restrictions on where and when God can grant us mercy.


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« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2008, 12:38:40 AM »

Well, GIC has stated before that he believes in God, just not the foreboding, Zeus-like God that makes you think of the Night on Bald Mountain classical music piece... Wink
Great now that's going to be stuck in my head the rest of the night......thanks.  Tongue


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« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2008, 01:29:02 AM »



Sleep well, Paisius, sleep well.......Bwahahahahahahahaha!!! Tongue Cheesy
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« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2008, 03:03:49 AM »

^^LOL
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