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Author Topic: Help me help my friend!  (Read 1443 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: December 17, 2008, 09:02:04 PM »

I have a friend at work who's really very nice and smart.  As I've gotten to know him, I invited him to come to church with me sometime.  Rather than agreeing to or politely declining, he sort of launched into a semi-tirade about why he doesn't believe.  Although I sensed he was upset about something, he remained polite but very firm about what he thought of Christianity.  I would like to address his concerns next week, but I'd like to enlist the help of my friends and brothers and sisters before I do.  Here are a few of his concerns; some I can address, others are not quite as easy.  If you have the time, please help me with each point.

1.  The Christian God is greedy.  He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.

2.  Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend?  We love each other and will be married next year. 

3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?

5.  I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God.  Sounds pretty co-dependent to me. 

6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.

He's got a few other points as well, but I wanted to address them in increments.  Thanks in advance!

 In Christ,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 10:09:34 PM »

I'll do the best I can.   Wink

I have a friend at work who's really very nice and smart.  As I've gotten to know him, I invited him to come to church with me sometime.  Rather than agreeing to or politely declining, he sort of launched into a semi-tirade about why he doesn't believe.  Although I sensed he was upset about something, he remained polite but very firm about what he thought of Christianity.  I would like to address his concerns next week, but I'd like to enlist the help of my friends and brothers and sisters before I do.  Here are a few of his concerns; some I can address, others are not quite as easy.  If you have the time, please help me with each point.

1.  The Christian God is greedy.  He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.

Your friend doesn't like paying tithes to the Churches he grew up with.  Your friend equates the paying of tithes with corruption.  The first one will be the hardest one to break of the ones you listed.

2.  Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend?  We love each other and will be married next year.

He's free to make love to his girlfriend ... except that there are consequences when adultery is committed (e.g. David and Bathsheba's first child) and tremendous benefits when marriage occurs (e.g. King Solomon).  Confession for both husband and wife before the wedding day helps give both of them a "new start" so to speak.

3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

The Resurrection of Christ gave man access to the Tree of Life denied to Adam and Eve in Paradise.  Jesus told the penitent thief that he would be in Paradise with Christ.  All men have access to Paradise although such access isn't automatic.

4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?

The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man would help your friend understand that Hell is an eternal place of torment and there is a chasm separating the righteous from the unrighteous.  Another reason for confessing one's sins - maybe the story of St. Moses the Egyptian would help here.

5.  I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God.  Sounds pretty co-dependent to me.

Jealous God relative to the Gods created by men in the Old Testament, like the golden calves, the Phillistines and even the 12 Greek Gods of Mt. Olympus.  Even the "Gods" created by men today like materialism, individualism, etc. pale in comparison to the Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.

Suffering is the price paid for discipleship.

He's got a few other points as well, but I wanted to address them in increments.  Thanks in advance!

I hope I helped.  Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 11:31:10 PM »

I have a friend at work who's really very nice and smart.  As I've gotten to know him, I invited him to come to church with me sometime.  Rather than agreeing to or politely declining, he sort of launched into a semi-tirade about why he doesn't believe.  Although I sensed he was upset about something, he remained polite but very firm about what he thought of Christianity.  I would like to address his concerns next week, but I'd like to enlist the help of my friends and brothers and sisters before I do.  Here are a few of his concerns; some I can address, others are not quite as easy.  If you have the time, please help me with each point.

1.  The Christian God is greedy.  He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.

Who's he been giving his money to?  Some one who decided to appoint himself a preacher on the TV, or someone who can trace his appointment from the Apostles?

Even the Vatican is the biggest charitable organization in the world.  Is that the mismanagement he is speaking of?

Quote
2.  Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend?  We love each other and will be married next year. 


By so doing he significantly increases the odds his "eventual" marriage never takes place, or fails.  How many people "love each other" and the marriage never materializes?  Why does marriage matter at all?

Don't feel guilty.  But dont' whine over the consequences.

Quote
3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

Unless he is claiming that he has never sinned himself, it's a dumb argument.  And I'm being charitable even calling it an "argument."

Quote
4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?

And if you hated your mother, wouldn't it be punishment to visit her.
The gates of hell are locked from the inside.

Quote
5.  I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God.  Sounds pretty co-dependent to me.
 

Give the devil his due. Shouldn't the Lord get His due?

His "jealousy" is for OUR good: stops us from running after false gods who cannot save and lead nowhere good.

Quote
6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.


God did not say "if you eat of the fruit I will kill you."  He said "if you eat of the fruit you will die."

Go ahead.  Stick you hand in the boiling water.  You might scald it, but at least you're not "co-dependent."  Just psychotic. Tongue

Quote
He's got a few other points as well,

how a propos for a pin head.


Fixed quote tags  -PtA
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 11:56:35 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 12:20:06 AM »

I can't add to what the other two replies said, because I couldn't have said better myself. Speaking from experience, these feelings he has are from anger at parents, his upbringing etc. He's not going to get over it over night. Just show him that you're not like that. Hopefully he'll wise up, but some never do.
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 01:16:01 AM »

Quote
1.  The Christian God is greedy.  He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.

2.  Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend?  We love each other and will be married next year.  

3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?

5.  I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God.  Sounds pretty co-dependent to me.  

6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.

1. It is not the Christian God who is greedy; it is some of the little trolls here on Earth who claim to have a "special" relationship with him and can speak to him for you and get a miracle for you in exchange for [insert flabbergasting dollar amount]. The Bible speaks of these kinds of people, on TV or in the Churches, as "wolves in sheep's clothing" and as "false prophets and teachers". They are the equivalent of medical quacks, only with a cross around their necks (paid for by your generous donations, of course! )
If I were your friend, I would examine what a particular church does for the rest of society before I ever give them money, such as services for the poor, youths, education, counseling, etc. A true church of God is suppose to be the salt of the earth, and part of that relationship with God is to reach out to the people of God, "to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, etc". It is good to give money to such churches, wherever you find them, just as it is good to give to your local animal shelter or school or little league.

2. Does your friend feel guilty for making love to his girlfriend? Ask him what that could mean, outside of any religion, any church. Although plenty of people make no big deal about breaking their marriage vows, tell him that, traditionally, in a marriage, a person seals the bond of supporting and loving the other person through the Sacrament of Marriage. This conscious bonding encourages us to try for the other person, to endure, to sacrifice, to love even through the storm. In a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, we may love the other person, but what is there that spiritually binds us to the other person? Like it or not, we are spiritual beings, no matter what anyone says. A bf/gf type of relationship is a period of testing the waters, but no vows have been made and there is nothing there that requires us anything of us, that gives a real responsibility, to stay by the other person's side. Yes, there are people who go into marriage and treat it as nothing more than a bf/gf relationship. Staying sexually pure until marriage tells the other person that the gift of Love through sex belongs to them. It really is not a matter of ownership, but loyalty and respect. Without the dedication that marriage is, a person's sexuality becomes a commodity rather than a gift, like Armani sunglasses or those hideous alligator shoes. Ask him how he would feel about giving away such a precious gift if his girl broke up with him and gave herself to someone else? It's like that weird Christmas song: "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special." When you have sex with someone, you invariably give them a piece of yourself. We should not treat our bodies and our sexuality like...I dunno..re-packaged gifts. Tongue

3. God is not responsible for the way the world is right now. He did not tell Hitler and the Nazis to murder Jews, Poles and homosexuals. He did not persuade the old woman down the street to open up her own puppy mill, complete with filthy conditions and animal abuse. I have wondered why He doesn't stop the pedophiles from messing with the neighborhood children. The way I have learned to look at it is this: we are not infants in diapers. He has given us laws in order to keep wrongdoing in check. These sinful people are a reminder that not only should we be vigilant for wrongdoing among us, but we should be vigilant in wrongdoing inside ourselves, because "the wages of sin is death", which means the death of happiness, security, and peace. God gave us free will. It is up to us not only to use it correctly, but to influence others to act in a godly way as well. Tragedies unfortunately have a way of bringing us together to learn to cooperate, to care, to feel compassion. We must use the compassion we learn from our pain and hurts to bring ourselves and others closer to God, who gave us everything we needed in the Beginning.

Not eating from the Fruit of the Tree was not a silly rule. It is thought that antifreeze tastes sweet to dogs and cats. Just because it tastes sweet does not mean it is a good thing for them to drink, as it was not a good thing for Adam and Eve to eat the Fruit because of what is was: it was a doorway of knowledge. Ever hear the expression "That's something I really didn't need to know" or "TOO MUCH INFORMATION!"? When people think of knowledge, they think of books and libraries. Knowledge is also how to make an atom bomb...how to kill your brother and get away with it...how to come up with hurtful cuss words to make another person feel like dung. Ask any parent here on OC.net about the sweetness and innocence of their little children, and they will probably tell you that they dread when their children grow up, because oftentimes, their children lose that happy and carefree innocence and experience the harshness of the world. People here on the OC with grown children will probably tell you, "Oh, those were the days...", referring to the innocence of their children long ago. Show your friend the immediate reaction of our First Parents upon eating the fruit: Shame and Dread. God's "silly rule" was trying to protect us. Tell your friend that, in Orthodoxy, there is no shared guilt. There is only the guilt of our own wrongdoing, which is a consequence of Adam and Eve opening that doorway by eating the fruit. It's sorta like evolution (but sorta not): the condition of sin was passed to us, not the guilt.

4. God is a God of Love; Love does not indulge in the torture that Hell is. Hell is torture because it is a separation from our Home, from our Creator. Sin separates us from God, because God cannot stand wrongdoing. I'm not sure if Hell is eternal or not, but some people go to Hell because they'd rather indulge their own lifestyles rather than seek company with God by obeying Him, so what is God to do? people choose to go to Hell and experience the agony of separation when they choose to turn away from God by their wrongdoing. It shows they don't care. God cares, but He wouldn't allow a person to stay in their home if they kept breaking things. He'd send them to Boarding School. Perhaps Hell is like that: Boarding School until you clean up your act and you learn to love back. Perhaps the Levels of Hell are akin to different levels of persuasion to come back Home.

5. Wouldn't your friend be a bit jealous if his girlfriend strayed? God has a bond with us, and we see many times in the Bible that God suffered when Israel strayed after those that really do not love them: other gods. Did not the father suffer when his prodigal son strayed from Home? God does not have the type of jealousy that covets and possesses, like Smeagol with his ring. We're His Family and He wants us together.

6. God does love us. What He doesn't love is our sins. Would your friend love the act of stealing? Would he keep a thief in His home? Why can't WE get over our desires and love God through being obedient? God understand that some people might not love Him, and in their lack of love for Him, they have decided for themselves that Heaven is not for them, since Heaven is the place to love God. The only other place is Hell, which is the separation from God, the wall that covers the window to the experience of Paradise. People suffer in Hell because they feel this separation. And maybe they hate God for still loving them, kinda like some people will put the lyrics "I hated you for loving me" in their songs (see the song Metro by Berlin Wink)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 01:46:32 AM by Myrrh23 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 01:19:40 PM »

I should also add that we don't know if Hell is full of the type of fire from your cooking stove. The Emotions, such as Passion and Anguish and Lust and Loneliness, can be like a fire, a torment. This is probably why Danielle Steel has been so successful.  laugh
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 03:01:11 PM »

Sorry if this is a repetition (or a poorer version) of what has already been said; I just want to make my own try.

1.  The Christian God is greedy.  He never seems to have enough of our money and He's a horrible manager of it- almost as bad as our Gov't.

No. God does not actually "want" money or anything else for that matter. Everything already belongs to Him, He is the master, the sovereign of all creation. Teaching us to give freely, He simply makes us into better people.

2.  Why should be made to feel guilty because I make love to my girlfriend?  We love each other and will be married next year. 

Because according to God's commandments, there is simply no such thing as "sex" (and "making love" is just euphemism for "having sex"). There is: (a) celibacy; (b) marriage (with everything that comes with it), and (c) lust, or sexual immorality ("pornia"). We can choose either (a), or (b), or (c). Choice "c" is by definition wrong, because it isn't natural. Choice "b" is natural, and choice "a" is either natural (for some people), or "supernatural" (for many monks who deliberately give up the choice "b" that is natural for them). 

3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

Because after each sin the life-giving Grace or Energies of God become less and less available to us. Imagine a man who came to the beach with the desire to obtain a whole body suntan, be he came dressed, wearing shirt and pants. The Sun tells him, "strip, and have your suntan," but he, instead of stripping, puts on a jacket. He still wants to get tan - who does not, but as he stays on the beach (loudly complaining that he is not getting any tanner - because of that selfish Sun!), he keeps putting on yet another piece of clothing, and yet another piece of clothing. In fact, is the Sun responsible for the man's suntan? Yes, ultimately it is the Sun's job to emit its rays and to trigger the production of melanin in the man's skin. But as long as the man puts on his clothes, shielding himself from the Sun, the Sun, with all its might and power, is UNABLE to do its job. Same thing us sinning.

4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?

God actually doesn't "punish" anyone. Our human expressions like "God's wrath," "the punishment from God," etc., cannot relect the reality because God is not passionate (while wrath is a passion), and God is not bound by any external "code" of "justice." He does what He pleases, and what He does is good by definition; he cannot not do good, because He and goodness are synonyms. The condition in which we will spend eternity depends not on God, but entirely on us. We will be existing in a very different world, where everything is light and where nothing can be hidden. So, if we haven't repented of sin during our lifetime on this earth, and there still is dirt, evil, sin in our souls when we die, these ugly things will be fully exposed and will torment us. And since repentance is something that is limited only to THIS life - in the afterlife, it's too late, - nothing in our condition will change and we thus will remain in this "steady-state" endless, unchangeable torment. But if we have repented, we will "shine like the sun."

5.  I read the Ten Commandments once and remember reading how your God says He's a jealous God.  Sounds pretty co-dependent to me.

I guess a professional linguist-Hebraist should help here. I simply do not know Hebrew and cannot thus say, just what connotations does this word, "jealous," bring in the original text.  

6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.

Actually, what He tells us to do is only natural for us. We are designed to do God's will, to be God's "sinergi," "co-workers." We are supposed to be the pinnacle, the star, the crown of all creation, of all things visible and invisible. There are untold and unconceived by the human thought blessings and rewards for returning to the really normal, really healthy state of being when we can do God's will and enjoy doing it.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 03:03:19 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 05:46:59 PM »

I don't feel I need to address his specific points, as everyone else has done an excellent job with that. However, it sounds as if he feels that as Christians we either live a sinless life (and force others to do the same) or burn in eternal agony. IMO, people need to stop being so concerned with not sinning and realize that we will all do it countless times every day, and having premarital sex is simply one of many (including sitting here typing away when I could be out helping the homeless). We are to get up every morning and view it as a new day, and ask ourselves how we can better the world and ourselves while showing, not preaching, the example of Christ's love; it is through those actions that we truly glorify God.

After all, God's kingdom is not in the future - it is now and on this Earth, and we are the stewards that it has been entrusted to.
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 07:10:36 PM »

Well said, Simayan. Smiley
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 07:10:52 PM by Myrrh23 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 07:17:40 PM »

I don't feel I need to address his specific points, as everyone else has done an excellent job with that. However, it sounds as if he feels that as Christians we either live a sinless life (and force others to do the same) or burn in eternal agony. IMO, people need to stop being so concerned with not sinning and realize that we will all do it countless times every day, and having premarital sex is simply one of many (including sitting here typing away when I could be out helping the homeless). We are to get up every morning and view it as a new day, and ask ourselves how we can better the world and ourselves while showing, not preaching, the example of Christ's love; it is through those actions that we truly glorify God.

After all, God's kingdom is not in the future - it is now and on this Earth, and we are the stewards that it has been entrusted to.

Agreed, except that it is BOTH here and now AND in the future. God's Kingdom is where God reigns. Right now, it is inside us - in our hearts, as much as we allow Him to reign there. In the future, it will be everywhere.
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 07:49:22 PM »

3.  Why should I have to pray and plead with God to save me when He's the one Who's responsible for this world to begin with?  So some people thousands of years ago broke one of His weird rules about not eating a fruit and now I have to say 'I'm sorry'?  Why?

4.  What's the deal with an eternal place of torment?  You say that God is Love and He loves us more than our own parents.  OK, then why is our punishment eternal?  My mom got over me busting her antique vase years ago.  Can you imagine how idiotic it would be if she yelled and spanked me every time I visited her?


Quote from: Bishop Hilarion link=http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=interview&div=62
The Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the European International Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, on Interfax-Religion’s request, commented on the recent suggestion of Danish Lutheran theologians to consider the hell and the devil a metaphor and to accept only existence of the paradise.


- This theology should be considered in general context of liberalized Christian dogmatic and moral teaching developed in depth of many Protestant communities in several recent decades. Everything that makes Christianity is “inconvenient”, “uncomfortable” is being omitted, “the dark Middle Ages” heritage is cleared up. Christianity in light version is under construction and the hell and devil don’t match it.

A tragedy of Protestantism has originally been the following. Seeking to get rid of medieval stratification of Catholicism, Protestants didn’t properly study the heritage of the Eastern fathers. And today when arguing with the Middle Age hell and devil, liberal Protestants don’t trouble themselves with reviewing the Holy Fathers and their conception of afterlife retaliation.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Christian tradition has never considered the hell as created by God to punish sinners. God didn’t create the hell, free will of people has created it. It exists not because God wants it, but because people keep it existing. They first create the hell on Earth and then carry it on to the afterworld.

-What do you mean by the hell on Earth?

- When a man using his power over others makes Earth the hell for them. Didn’t Hitler turn Earth to hell for millions of people tried and tortured in concentration camps, perished in gas cameras and battlefields? Didn’t Lenin and Stalin make hell for thousands and millions of people who died in camps or were shot on false denunciations or sentenced by Stalin’s “troika”? Don’t today’s terrorists, who kill peaceful citizens, take them hostage and cut off their heads, turn Earth to the hell?

And is it believable that malefactors and monsters, who kill other people and revolt against God and all-hallows will share the paradise with righteous and saints? Is it believable that the paradise will welcome both John the Baptist and Herod, St. Veniamin of Petrograd and Lenin, thousands of the murdered new Russia’s martyrs and confessors and their torturers? It removes division between the good and the evil. Then there’s no difference if you are a saint or a villain, if you do the good or the evil, if you save people from death or kill them.

-So sins will be inevitably recompensed?

-Any person bears moral responsibility for his actions. And he will answer for the sins of his earthly life in the eternity. St. Isaac the Syrian writes that sinners in the hell are not deprived of God’s love. On the contrary, love is given equally to everyone: to the righteous in the Heavenly Kingdom and to the sinners in Gehenna. But for the righteous it becomes the source of joy and bliss while for sinners it is the source of torture.

Thus, God didn’t create the hell for sinners, they did it themselves. God doesn’t send sinners to the hell, but people who oppose God’s will and revolt against God choose the hell themselves. And this choice is made in their earthly life rather than in some distant eschatological prospect. It is right here on Earth that infernal tortures and “the Kingdom of God come with power” begin.

- However, even the Orthodox divine service says that the hell is “abolished” by Christ after His Resurrection from the dead?

- The reality of the hell, its existence for sinners and even the possibility of its eternal existence don’t contradict the news of its abolition by Christ resurrected. The hell is really “abolished” in the resurrection of Christ, as it is not inevitable for people anymore and doesn’t have power over them. But those, who consciously oppose God’s will and commit crime and sin, restore destroyed and abolished hell as they don’t want to reconcile with God’s love.

I’d like to stress it again: God didn’t create the hell, people created it for themselves, God destroyed and abolished the hell, but people restore it again and again. The hell is re-created every time when the sin is consciously committed and isn’t repented.

Vladyka Lazar (Puhalo) also has great videos discussing sin. In a nutshell:

 - God loves us and forgives us no matter what
 - God is Love, and to be with God is Life
 - Sin is a free will choice made by man which separates him from God, giving him a death sentence
 - Sin is an act of metaphysical suicide (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

It is not God Who has a problem with us, it is us who have the problem! IF we love God and obey Him we are with Him in Love and have eternal life...if not well...
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2008, 07:50:36 PM »

6. In fact, the whole thing sounds pretty co-dependent.  We'll either do what He tells us to do or He'll fry us to a crisp?  Why?  How weird is that?  Just accept that some people might not like you and get over it.  If you really love us, why can't YOU be the bigger person and love us anyhow; after all YOU'RE God.

I'll sumarize what Fr. Andrew has been teaching us in Wednesday night Bible study and Catechumen class. Please forgive me if I lack his eloquence.

When God created us, he created us to be beings that had bodies that were ruled by our spirit. When we ate of the fruit we gained awareness of good and evil. As such, we became beings that allow our bodies (through our urges and needs and wants) to rule our spirit. Our spirits have become used to this way of living, and  we hide our spirits in our bodies and are well insulated in that way.

When we repose our spirit leaves our bodies and is essentially naked and lost. According to Fr. Andrew it is very uncomfortable for us to be so completely exposed. Our sins are there to be seen by all, and everything we wish to keep hidden is as well.

Fr. Andrew reminds us of the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is in agony. . . he feels as though he is burning up. He begs that Lazarus ease his suffering by giving him some water. Fr. Andrew explains that if we spend our live trying to live as God asks us, a life of repentance and love of others, that we are preparing ourselves to experience the presence of God as something good, as something comfortable. This is like the radiance of the sun. . . if you are prepared with sunscreen you don't get burned by a day on a sunny beach. However, if we live our lives unprepared, indulging all our wants and urges, and care nothing for anyone except ourselves then we will experience that same radiance as pain inducing. This would be like getting a blistering sunburn in my analogy.

The rich man had spent a life of indulgence and self-love and was unprepared for the experience of God's radiance. We all hope that through repentance and love of others that we will experience God's radiance as gentle, warming sunlight.

Now Fr. Andrew says that according to the Church Fathers it is possible to ease the suffering of a person who is experiencing agony. This is done through prayer on that person's behalf (and is why we pray for those who ahve gone before us). We pray for God's mercy so that come judgement day that person will be counted with the sheep.

Because God loves us he wants us to be prepared for the day when we repose and come into his radiance. He doesn't want us to suffer, but to enjoy his presence. Since he loves us, he tells us how we need to prepare ourselves for the coming day.

Hope this is some help, Gabriel. Smiley
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órë: noun \"heart"\ (inner mind),   laurëa: adjective \"golden, like gold"\ http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/quenya.htm
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 08:25:54 PM »

Thank you all for the great help!  I'm compiling this and other information in order to slowly provide answers to these questions and some others I'm anticipating.  Here's a little background on my friend M.  His parents raised him in a their church (Protestant denom.)  He said he never fully understood what they were trying to teach him but, when he was 12, his brother shot himself.  His parents were devastated and after years of trying to cope and understand, they gave up on God and now are atheists.  M says that he still believes in God (despite the fact that his then pastor said that his brother was in hell for the sin of suicide), but organized religion seems to be compelling mainly for weirdos, sickos, the weak-minded and more especially- hippocrites.  He says he's met many kind and caring Christians but he just doesn't see the need for it. One argument he uses to explain the 'weirdo' factor is that his best friends dad was a pastor who gave long sermons in church about loving one's neighbor and following God's commandments, but at home he was strict, demanding and he masturbated to gay pornography behind his friend's moms' back.

Despite all this, M is very charitable.  He and his wife give to a local food pantry for the poor, he also regularly helps out his wife's best friend who is a recovering drug addict.  He does all this without complaining or boasting.  All-in-all, he's really down-to-earth, very caring man.
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 09:28:29 PM »

Thank you all for the great help!  I'm compiling this and other information in order to slowly provide answers to these questions and some others I'm anticipating.  Here's a little background on my friend M.  His parents raised him in a their church (Protestant denom.)  He said he never fully understood what they were trying to teach him but, when he was 12, his brother shot himself.  His parents were devastated and after years of trying to cope and understand, they gave up on God and now are atheists.  M says that he still believes in God (despite the fact that his then pastor said that his brother was in hell for the sin of suicide), but organized religion seems to be compelling mainly for weirdos, sickos, the weak-minded and more especially- hippocrites.  He says he's met many kind and caring Christians but he just doesn't see the need for it. One argument he uses to explain the 'weirdo' factor is that his best friends dad was a pastor who gave long sermons in church about loving one's neighbor and following God's commandments, but at home he was strict, demanding and he masturbated to gay pornography behind his friend's moms' back.

Despite all this, M is very charitable.  He and his wife give to a local food pantry for the poor, he also regularly helps out his wife's best friend who is a recovering drug addict.  He does all this without complaining or boasting.  All-in-all, he's really down-to-earth, very caring man.
I thought M had a girlfriend.  That's another problem.
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2008, 10:02:57 PM »


I thought M had a girlfriend.  That's another problem.
I think in that particular case (girlfriend/wife issue) he was speaking retrospectively; but that would've been a problem. Shocked  Cheesy
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« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2008, 03:22:43 PM »

Thank you all for the great help!  I'm compiling this and other information in order to slowly provide answers to these questions and some others I'm anticipating.  Here's a little background on my friend M.  His parents raised him in a their church (Protestant denom.)  He said he never fully understood what they were trying to teach him but, when he was 12, his brother shot himself.  His parents were devastated and after years of trying to cope and understand, they gave up on God and now are atheists.  M says that he still believes in God (despite the fact that his then pastor said that his brother was in hell for the sin of suicide), but organized religion seems to be compelling mainly for weirdos, sickos, the weak-minded and more especially- hippocrites.  He says he's met many kind and caring Christians but he just doesn't see the need for it. One argument he uses to explain the 'weirdo' factor is that his best friends dad was a pastor who gave long sermons in church about loving one's neighbor and following God's commandments, but at home he was strict, demanding and he masturbated to gay pornography behind his friend's moms' back.

We're all sinners, but I can see why he has a skewed view of Christians. . .  Shocked
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órë: noun \"heart"\ (inner mind),   laurëa: adjective \"golden, like gold"\ http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/quenya.htm
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