10 Spiritual Questions and Their Answers

Written by Rick Warren

10 Spiritual Questions_290x220Question 1: Why is there evil in the world?

If God exists, why is there evil in the world? You know, this is a difficult stumbling block and question for many people. The simplest way to look at this question is to examine God’s nature and his desire for mankind. Look at the logic. God loves us and wants us to love him back. And how could we love him back unless we have the freedom to not love?

God could have made us like robots who do nothing more than say, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” But we’d be forced to do that and that wouldn’t be real love. Love is a choice. And if you have a choice you have to be able to choose not to love and that in itself is the nature of evil. Evil is choosing not to love. So when God gave us the freedom to choose, he gave us not only our greatest blessing, but he also gave us our greatest curse because we can choose to do right or choose to do wrong.

The reason there’s evil in the world is not because of God, but because God gave us the freedom to choose. Now the potential for love outweighs the existence of evil, because you see, evil is only going to exist for a short time, but love is going to go on forever. And all of the suffering and all of the death that we see in the world today are the result because man has chosen to make wrong choices.

God could have taken our freedom, but He didn’t. I hope you’ll use your freedom to choose God.

Question 2: Is Jesus really God?

Well when you think about it you only have three options as to who Jesus Christ was. You see, Jesus claimed to be God. He said things like, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” He claimed to be God many, many times. Now, that means either:

  1. He is who he says He was
  2. He was the biggest liar in history or
  3. He was crazy, He was a lunatic on the order of the man who calls himself a fried egg.

You see, you can’t just say Jesus was a good man. I’ve had many friends who said, “Oh, I believe Jesus was a good man.” Well He couldn’t have been a good man and said those things He said. For instance, if I said to you, “I’m Rick Warren and I’m a good teacher and a good husband.” You might say, “Okay, I buy that.” But if I said to you, “I’m Rick Warren and I’m God and I’m the only way to heaven.” Well, you would have to make a decision. You couldn’t say I was a good person because a good person wouldn’t say that. You’d either say, “He is who he says he was, or he’s a liar or he’s crazy.”

Now Jesus didn’t just expect us to believe Him and take Him at His word. He said, “I’m going to prove the claim that I am God.” He said, “I’m going to let people kill me on a cross, then let them bury me. I’ll be dead for three days and then I’ll come back to life.” And, of course, that was the event that changed history. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every person since then refers to Jesus Christ, whether they believe in Him or not, every time you right a date, A.D. or B.C., what’s the reference point? Jesus Christ. Because it was the event that split history when Jesus proved that He was who He said He was, He is God.

Question 3: Do all religions lead to God?

Well now think about the logic of this. Can I go into a phone booth and dial any phone number and get home? No, there’s only one number that’ll get me home. I could be sincere, but I could be sincerely wrong. The truth is, all roads don’t lead to Rome and all roads and all religions don’t lead to God.

You see, it all depends on which direction you take. Jesus said this, “I am the way and the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I’m betting my life on the fact that He was right because I figured Jesus knows more about it than I did.

The Bible tells us that on the road to heaven, there are only two directions, toward Christ or away from Him. You can accept it or you can reject it, that’s your choice. You can make Jesus the Lord of your life, that means the manager, the ceo, the person in charge of your life, or you can call Him a liar, but that’s what the Bible declares.

You know a lot of people sincerely believe that even though they’ve broken God’s rules that they can earn God’s forgiveness by doing good works, by observing the Five Pillars of Islam or the Buddhist Eightfold Path or the Hindu Doctrine of Karma, for example. But I don’t get it. How will doing some good works that we should have done all our lives, make up for all the countless times we failed? You see, heaven is a perfect place and that means only perfect people get to go there. If not-perfect people were allowed in, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore. Well I don’t know about you, but I stopped being perfect a long time ago. So God came up with plan b. He came to earth in human form, Jesus Christ, and He lived a perfect life and now He offers to let us go to heaven on His ticket. And I pray that you will trust Jesus Christ and stop trying to bat a thousand because you ended up not doing that a long time ago and accept God’s free ticket through Jesus Christ.

Question 4: What’s going to happen to those people in the world who’ve never heard about Jesus Christ?

You may have heard this question put this way: “What about the person living in the jungle somewhere who’s never heard the good news about Jesus Christ? Are you christians saying that a person won’t go to heaven based solely on where he lives?” No, we’re not saying that. The Bible tells us that God doesn’t work that way. We understand that God is perfect in His love and perfect in His holiness and He’s perfectly just and fair. Therefore, it’s against God’s nature to be unfair. It’s against God’s nature to hide the ball on salvation or to condemn somebody who’s ignorant of his truth. In fact the scripture, the bible declares that God is loving and patient and not willing that anybody should perish. But He wants everybody to come to repentance, to come to know Him.

So if God is a perfectly loving and righteous God, then He will figure out ways to help people understand Him. He somehow reveals the simple truth of the gospel to people throughout the world. You know, I’ve talked to people who were missionaries in Africa who’ve told me that Jesus has revealed Himself through nature. When you look at nature you learn that God is organized, that God is creative, that God likes variety. But it’s when we look at Jesus Christ we realize that God is loving.

And as Christians we are called to tell the good news to other people. It’s God’s decision to decide what happens to people who haven’t heard about Him. But it is our decision to take that news to as many people as possible. And the bible says we will be held more responsible because we have heard and we have known that God is love, that God wants a relationship to us and that God will forgive us if we give our lives to Jesus Christ.

So, what do we do about those who haven’t heard? We tell them. First we accept God’s good news and then we tell them and we leave the result in the hands of a fair, loving and just God.

Question 5: What about all the wars that are caused in the name of Christianity?

Well first, let me say that a lot of things have been done in the name of Christianity that Jesus Christ would totally disavow. And just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn’t necessarily make him a follower of Christ, nor does it make him a representative of Jesus. It’s very, very important to distinguish between the bible kind of Christianity and the actions that have been taken throughout history by people who claim to be Christians but really didn’t know.

You see there’s a difference between religion and a relationship with God. Jesus is not interested in the religion of Christianity. He’s interested in you having a relationship to Him. Jesus never said, “I’ve come that you might have religion.” He said, “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Now a lot of people have claimed to be followers of Christ but they’ve lived their lives contrary to His teaching. And we shouldn’t label that group Christian. But let me say this, have you ever seen a counterfeit dollar? Well, maybe you haven’t, but maybe you’ve heard of them. Why are there counterfeit dollars in the world? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because there are real dollars in the world. If there were no real dollars, there would be no counterfeits. And if you find counterfeit Christianity in the world, it must mean that somewhere there must be the real thing. The point is we don’t identify Jesus by claiming that all the things that were done in His name were done by Him. In fact, Jesus proffended His own disciples from defending themselves against the enemies when He said on a personal basis, He said, “I want you to turn the other cheek.”

So a lot of wars have been done in the name of Christianity that Jesus probably would have disavowed. The real issue is do you know Jesus Christ? You see, it doesn’t matter so much what has been done by hypocrites or phonies or false followers of Christ. What matters is do you know the real, true, genuine item? Have you ever turned your life over to Jesus Christ? If you haven’t, I would encourage you to investigate Him today.

Question 6: Is there any real right or wrong?

You know, you might have heard somebody say, “I don’t believe there’s such a thing as right or wrong.” Or maybe you’ve heard a professor say, “There are no absolutes.” Whenever I hear that I want to say, “Are you absolutely sure?” You have to ask yourself, “Is this statement even logical? Is there any right or wrong?” Because when people say, “There is no right or wrong, or it’s wrong for you to impose your morals on me,” think about it, by them telling you that, they are imposing their morals on you.

The fact is we all inheritantly know right from wrong and we just have this weird tendency to disregard it. To disregard morality when it conflicts with our desires for pleasure or personal gain. Now, sure, you might justify having an affair, but certainly you wouldn’t condone your spouse having one. Or you might justify taking something without permission, but if you were the one being robbed you wouldn’t think it was okay. You see the fact is, there isn’t a person alive today who’d come home from work and discover that their entire house had been robbed and say, “Oh, how wonderful that this burglar is able to enjoy all my things without my permission. And who am I to impose my view of right or wrong on this poor burglar?” You see how ridiculous that is? Of course.

Even those who claim there is no right or wrong have their own moral conscious, they’ve just set their own standards. Here’s a good way to determine right from wrong. Turn the situation around on yourself. Jesus said it best. He said, “Treat people the same way you want people to treat you.” You see we all know that murder and rape and lying and stealing and torture and injustice are absolutely wrong. Why? Because we wouldn’t want any of these things to happen to us. The person who would say, “there is no right or wrong,” would not agree that it was okay for them to be raped. No, when you turn it on yourself, you realize that even inside ourselves God has placed a moral conscious and that conscious tells us when we do right and when we do wrong. And when we violate our conscious, we need forgiveness. That’s why the bible said, “God sent Jesus to earth so that we might be forgiven of all of our wrong.”

Question 7: Why do I exist?

That’s the most fundamental question of life. What on earth am I here for?

Well, you need to understand God to answer that question. You see, the bible says, “God is love.” It doesn’t say He has love, it says He is love. It’s part of His nature, His character, it is the essence of His being. God is love. Now, love isn’t very valuable unless you bestow it on something and the bible says, “God made you to love you.” You were created as an object of God’s love. If you want to know why you’re taking breath right now, why your heart is beating, it’s because God made you to love you. It’s the sole reason. You were made to be loved by God and to bring Him pleasure.

Now God wants you to learn to love Him back and that’s the first purpose of your life, to get to know and love Him back. One day Jesus was walking down the street and a man came up and said, “What’s the most important command in the bible?” And Jesus said, “I’m going to summarize the entire bible in one sentence. Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.” That’s called the great commandment. And God wants you to get to know and love Him back. So that means when you get up in the morning, you should sit on the side of your bed and say, “God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know you a little bit better and I want to love you a little bit more.” Because if at the end of the day you know God more and you love Him more, you have just fulfilled one of the purposes of your life.

If, on the other hand, you’ve accomplished all kinds of things and achieved many, many successes in life, but at the end of the day you don’t know God better or love Him more, you have missed the primary purpose of your life. Because God didn’t put you on this earth just to mark things off your to-do list. He put you here to know Him and love Him. That’s why you exist.

Question 8: What is my purpose in life?

Well the truth is, God created you for five purposes. You see, you were made by God and you were made for God. And until you understand that, life isn’t going to make sense. When you come to this question, what is my purpose, you only have three alternatives.

  1. First is what I call the mystical approach, and that is look within. You find this in a lot of talk shows, a lot of new age books a lot of seminars. They say, “look within to discover your purpose.” The only problem is that doesn’t work. We’ve all looked within and I didn’t like what I saw. It’s quite confusing. In fact, if you could know the purpose of your life by looking within, we’d all know it by now. It doesn’t work.
  2. The second way you can try to discover your purpose is called the intellectual or philosophical approach. And that’s where you go to a seminary class or university class and you sit there with a pipe and your latte and your coffee and you ask questions like, “Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?” I once read a book by professor John Morehead, the Head of the Department of Philosophy at Northeastern University in Illinois. And he wrote to 250 well-known intellectuals and asked them, “What is the meaning and purpose of life?” These were novelists, scientists, well-known intellectuals, and I read the book, it’s now out of print, it was quite depressing because most of the people said, “I have no idea what the purpose of life is.” Some of them admitted they just made up a purpose. And some of the admitted they guessed. And some of them said, “If you know the purpose, please tell me.”
  3. You see, there’s a better answer to speculation and that’s revelation. If I were to hold up an invention that you have never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose. The only way you’d know its purpose was either talk to the inventor, the creator who made it or read the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual of life is the bible and your Creator is God. And it is only as you get to know God you will discover his five purposes for your life. I hope you’ll begin that journey today.

Question 9: Does my life really matter?

Well, it’s a good question. You know, today we teach our kids that we’re all just one big cosmic accident. We came from the goo through the zoo to you over billions of years. Well, if that is true, in a nutshell it teaches that your life really doesn’t matter, you’re just the freak accident of random chance, you’re complex slime and you were an accident. And if you get accidentally killed, well, of course, that doesn’t matter. And that creates a lot of our sociological problems and a lot of our self-esteem issues.

But the truth is you are not an accident. You were created by a loving God who loves you and designed you with intricate detail in your life and when you understand that God made you to love you and that God made you to be a part of His family and that God made you to last forever, then you’re never going to have a problem with low self-esteem again.

It was Bertram Russell the atheist who once said, “Unless you assume the existence of God, then the purpose and meaning of life is irrelevant.” The truth is, if there is no God your life doesn’t matter. But because there is a God, God had a specific purpose in mind when He created you and you do matter. You matter because God created you. You matter because he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross. If you want to know how much you matter, think of Jesus Christ with his arms outstretched saying, “I love you this much.”

Now, if you had to chose between a loved one and a material thing, even if that thing was priceless, you’d chose your loved one in a heartbeat. And when you’re on your deathbed, you’re not going to surround yourself with material possessions, you’re not going to say, “Bring me my trophies. Bring me my credentials. Bring me my certificates so I can look one more time at my grade point average.” No, you’re going to surround yourself with loved ones and everybody’s going to be crying because they’re going to miss you. You see, that’s how much you matter.

Personal relationships to God and to other people are the most important thing in life. And God wants you to know Him and He wants you to have a relationship with Him because you’re worth so much in God’s eyes that he sent His Son to die for you. I hope you’ll get to know Him very soon.

Question 10: Is there a real hell and why would a loving God send anyone there?

Well, first I believe in hell because Jesus talked about it. In fact, Jesus talked more about hell then He did heaven. He said it is a real place and it is a place of eternal torment. And I believe Jesus knows more about it than either you or I.

But second, I believe in hell because logic and fairness demand it. Think of all the atrocities and evil that have been done throughout history by evildoers in this world. For God to allow those crimes to go unpunished would mean that God is not worthy of our worship and love.

Now why would a loving God send anyone to hell? Well in a nutshell, God doesn’t. God doesn’t send anybody to hell. We choose to go there when we reject the love of God. If I were to say to my right is a door heading to heaven, and to my left is a door heading to hell, if you walk out the door heading to hell, you don’t have anybody to blame but yourself.

In fact, the bible tells us that God does almost everything – well everything possible to keep us out of hell. He cared so much to keep us out of hell that he sent Jesus Christ to come to earth, to die on the cross, to pay for our sins so that we don’t have to pay for them. He wants to set us free. He wants to give us forgiveness. God made us in his image and He gave us the ultimate power to say yes or no.

Now if we chose to reject God here on earth, then we, at the same time, are choosing to spend eternity separated from Him. You see, there are only two people in the world – two kinds of people. Those who say, “Thy will be done here to God on earth” and those to whom God says, “Your will be done,” when we say, “I want to do it my way.” And if we say, “God I don’t want you in my life while I’m here on earth,” then God says, “I don’t want you in my heaven for eternity.”

You don’t have to go to hell. In fact, Jesus Christ has made it possible for you to go to heaven. Open your heart to Him and say, “Jesus Christ, I need you, I want you, I trust you and I ask you to forgive me.” And He’ll come in and save you.

You can begin your journey today! Learn more about how you can discover purpose in your life.

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377 Responses to “10 Spiritual Questions and Their Answers”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks Dustin. Well said!

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Joe, I truly appreciate the manner in which you recently posted for several reasons, chiefly that you seem to have stopped denigrating God and opened up what appears to be the real issues.

    Your post was full of wonderfully positive descriptions of your life but there are two areas that are worrisome; quoting . . . (1) that we have to follow the word better than anybody or we go to hell; and (2) when I’m not putting all my energy into trying to please the Lord.

    In the message Paul wrote to the Galatians, the problem of legalism (which plagues many a modern believer) goes back to the first century. The Jewish religion was based on rules and effort, whereas Christ came and overturned this towards a faith-based, personal relationship with Himself, from a life based on merit to a life lived by grace. And importantly, from a life based on exercising human power in its flesh to a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    I cautioned against a religion based on “works” earlier but briefly again, some religions say that if you want to find God, YOU have to DO something like keep the rules, be better, make yourself right, summon all your strength and live in a certain way. That’s what (1) and (2) above seem like.

    Christianity says no, the transcendent, immortal God came to earth Himself as Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us because we cannot atone for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. My response to this radical forgiveness and love is simply to trust Christ as my Savior. In Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, there is enough evidence to trust Him And then I live my life as He provided in the power of the Holy Spirit (not living in my own power trying to follow rules spelled out in Scripture so as to please God).

    I do this by thanking Christ for loving me enough to take the hit for my sins, confessing sins as soon as I am aware of them and trusting the Holy Spirit to empower me to live as I should. Then “the good life” comes naturally from the Spirit within and God is glorified, not me.

    Let me ask you again to read the book of John with an open mind, imagining that you are one of the disciples, hearing Christ’s teachings, seeing His miracles, experiencing His compassion and love, witnessing His death, burial and resurrection, being empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost . . . and then you deliver Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, spread the Gospel and are so committed to Christ that you are martyred rather than denying your faith.

    Joe, ask God to help you live in His power, not your own, and let Him change you from the inside out as He desires. Millions have done this before . . . just do it . . . please.

  • Dustin says:

    Maybe I shouldn’t get so angry about false Chritians and Joe honestly it isn’t my place to judge you. I don’t know your heart God does. I just get so angry that I love and forgive all the time and the few times I don’t people judge me in ways I never judge them. I give them chance after chance to be good to me or other people and they rarely are. God loves me and joe I think maybe you got a point with what you said. I let my own rage take control and im sorry. I just wish I didn’t see so much evil In men’s hearts and I don’t know how to fight the pain some days. There is no way for other people to know what I know. It would take you at least a decade of suffering endlessly, studying, turning the other cheek, feeling alone, knowing people talk behind your back but you pretend you don’t know, being humble and constantly being spiritually oppressed.The demons I have faced would have killed 99% of people. At judgement day people will see how hard it’s been. Hold on joe it’s gonna be ok. Love is all you need.

  • Joe says:

    For the free will thing, the reason I’m reading this website is because somebody else made this webpage, someone made the internet, someone made me, someone made you, you are in the position to reach this webpage and so am I, you’re a christian, I was raised christian and am questioning things, we are alive in north america, none of this is up to us.

  • Joe says:

    Hey Elkay, thanks for writing back to me again.
    That’s awesome that you don’t have cancer anymore!

    Free will is a tricky thing to talk about, we didn’t choose to be people, I’m on this website because I was born in Canada and I am interested in such topics, I was born into a christian family, I have an internet connection, etc, it’s not all because of me, it has many other factors, while I do have a choice between what I do in a way, I’m also me and I don’t have a choice to not be me with my past and present. But I do have a choice to talk here.

    But that’s not really what I want to talk about, unless you want to talk with me about it of course, I’m mostly interested in talking about the Bible. Like, I think that it points to alot of truth in it, but I think that we have that truth inside of all of us without the Bible, I think that the stories in the Bible are stories, I think if we take all of it literally it can do more harm than good.

    I say this because I’ve taken the Bible word for word literally before, and it led me to thinking everyone I talked to was actually the devil, I thought that everyone even the people in my church and my pastor were demons and I couldn’t function in my life, everyone who cared about me was scared about me, my mom who’s a christian would say “You can’t be so extreme about it Joe, God is love” but I would read about the parts that say that Jesus was here to put us against our families, that we have to follow the word better than anybody or we go to hell, I was in one of the worst places in my life I’d say. I couldn’t talk to anybody about it because I thought no matter what everyone was the devil lying to me, trying to get me to go to hell. I wasn’t able to love people and do good because I was too paranoid about every word in the Bible. I’d spend all day and night reading the Bible, taking notes about everything. I thought any second I spent not reading the Bible or praying that I was becoming the Devil.

    I forgive people because I know everyone makes mistakes, I do good because it makes everyone and myself feel good, I treat those who do wrong to me good because it’s just the right thing to do, I get these deeper understandings when I’m not putting all my energy into trying to please the Lord. I don’t do these things because I think I’ll go to hell if I don’t, I do them because I want to, I don’t think that hell is where people go when they die, I think it’s a place on earth that you go when you lie and hurt other people and only think about yourself. I think that in the prodigal son, when you go back to the father you are really going back to love that’s within you and it is always there inside of you and forgives you and when you choose to come back it’s there. I don’t think that because the Bible says that Jesus said this, it means he really said it. The New Testament was written quite a long time after Jesus died, and it was translated many times before it got to the version we read in church. I don’t think that I should take the Bible stories literally, because it leads me to bad places.

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Joe, at this very moment you are reading these words because you choose to of your own free will. You may protest and say, “No! I didn’t choose to read them. I was compelled by God to read them.” Maybe there are other things you would rather be doing, but you have made a choice to read instead of not reading. That’s free will and that’s one of the primary reasons we are human beings. I know in advance that my son will choose apple pie and not pumpkin but he makes that free will choice. Without free will, we become mindless robots and are no longer partaking in life.

    The moral law of the Old Testament, repeated with greater depth by Jesus, is not a way to earn our way back into life with God and avoid hell. Rather it is an explanation of how the world is designed by God to best work. So if honesty, integrity, sacrifice, generosity, humility, etc. are simply how life works in God’s Kingdom/at God’s Party, then in order for anyone to flourish in life, one needs to allow God’s grace to effect change in him.

    The son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son either learns to get on the good side of how things work or he doesn’t. We either go with the grain or get splinters. If I choose to not arrange my life around how God made life to work, I will find that one of two things is true. Home with God will be for me, not heaven, but hell, or I will decide to opt out of life with God and return to my world of rebellion. That’s free will . . . . God does not “send” me to hell for not believing a book . . . I choose hell because I reject God and He simply lets me have my way.

    I’m sorry about your aunt as ALS is so hard to deal with. One of my body organs was 50% covered in a pre-cancerous condition. Christian friends prayed for my healing and once in prayer, I “heard” (a forceful inner “sound”) Jesus say, “I have healed you.” Past tense. A follow-up biopsy showed all cancerous conditions vanished. In contrast, my younger brother and my previous wife both died from cancer.

    I conclude that when we’re sick, we should ask God for healing. The apostle Paul did so when afflicted by a thorn in his flesh and Jesus sought to avoid the Cross but neither happened. Whether we’re healed physically or not, the Lord wants us to trust Him for our daily strength. In His grace, God sometimes grants rapid or immediate physical healing. In His love, God always desires our best and asks us to trust Him.

    Years after my brother died, in prayer about “Why? He was studying to be a minister.”, God again “said” to me, “You do not know what his life would have been like had he lived.” Ever since then, I have not presumed to know better than God.

  • Dustin says:

    [editor's note: Dustin your comments have been removed because they do not comply with our terms of service. This is a safe place for discussion and conversation and accusations and cursing has no place here. Please refrain from those types of messages in the future.]

  • Joe says:

    God says you must place your faith in a book that was written a long time ago or you go to hell. It’s not that we aren’t accepting his grace, if I want to accept God’s grace then I’d just say “God I accept your grace” and that’s that, nobody has a problem with doing that, it’s that then you tell me I have to believe in this ancient book and if I don’t then I burn in hell forever. The main reason why anyone believes in this book is because they’re afraid that hell is real and they might go there, so they just believe in whatever it says because they don’t want to go to hell. There’s no other reason that anyone would believe in this book, if you say that that’s not the reason, then you aren’t being honest with yourself. I don’t know why christians insist that this book is real, then go on to say that God loves us, you know he doesn’t love us because he’s sending most of us to hell forever, so if you think that he loves everyone then you’re delusional, you’re doing some crazy mental acrobats to justify why God does that. There’s really no justification- burning someone forever is evil, end of story, and if you don’t think that’s evil, then I don’t know where you get your morality from, to me my morality says putting other people in pain is evil, and putting other people in pain without end because they don’t think that a book humans wrote a long time ago is true, is super evil.

    Elkay, in that story Jesus healed a man, so obviously the man who is healed is going to believe what he’s saying. Jesus is right in front of him saying it. Is Jesus healing you? My aunt had ALS, she died from it and she was christian, but Jesus never healed her. Have you ever seen any christians heal anybody in your life? I could quote a part of the Bible where Jesus says that those who have faith can heal people and do anything in the world. Did you ever think that maybe Jesus could have been talking about something else? When he says ye have little faith, do you think that could mean something else then having faith in the Bible? It could be a metaphorical finger pointing at the moon, it could mean have faith in life, don’t fear anything, don’t be afraid. The Bible could have a way different message than you think. In the prodigal son story, do you ever think that coming back to the father is a metaphor for something else than coming back to believing that God is sending everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus to hell? It could be a metaphor for pure Love, maybe Love is what the Father is in that story, and when we come back to Love we are instantly in the kingdom of heaven that resides in all of us, that’s something else that Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is inside of you.” Maybe heaven and hell are places on earth, maybe God is Love like the Bible says, maybe certain things were added to the real message of the Bible, there are so many contradictions in that book and if you don’t think there are I’ll present a list to you.

  • halbcust says:

    On the second point. God made people to behave a certain way. I think this is questioning if we have a free will or not. Does this imply that because God made me and that He knows the way I will choose my future that I really don’t have a free will on if I will have toast or cereal this morning? I would strongly disagree, just because God knows how I will choose does not restrict me from making that choice.

    If I was driving down a road and saw that a bridge had been washed out and there was no signs to warn people I would then drive my car across the road with warning lights flashing and I would stand there waving people down to tell them not to drive down the road any further or else they would fall into the ravine and be killed.

    Now if my own son came down that road and I told him not to drive that road or he would be killed and if he ignored my warnings or refused to believe that the bridge was actually out and if he continued and drove off the end and was killed, would his death be my fault? If people had witnessed my telling my son not to drive where he did and saw and heard him ignore the warnings would a court today find me liable of his death?

    God’s word tells us that there is a bridge out and He does not want anyone to go there. Hell was made for the devil and his followers. Christ’s cross stands in the middle of the road warning everyone not to go there. We have a free will to choose even if God knows our decision it’s still our choice.

    2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Recently we have blogged the idea that God’s grace is all that is necessary for us to be “saved” from our sins, to be accepted by God “just as I am” with no “to do’s” added.
    But we have seen suggestions that we have to “do something” in order to obtain this. Two illustrations from Scripture may be helpful.

    First, after Jesus healed the man born blind, they had a conversation that went like this:

    Jesus said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.

    That’s all . . . no more . . . the man only said “Lord, I believe” and could worship Jesus. Did he “do something”? Yes, he believed BUT he did not “do something” in the sense of “doing a righteous work in order to be saved.

    You may want call “believing” a “to do”, but I don’t think that’s accurate. It was Jesus’ invitation that opened the door and it was Jesus’ revelation that generated belief. His believing Jesus is Jesus’ act of Grace.

    Next, a father of a rebellious teen loves his son immensely. His son becomes an ungrateful, hateful rebel and leaves home with a blank check that his father wrote for him. One day however the son returns and the father invites him in, throws him a party and tells him that the father’s home is his home, without the son doing anything to earn his way back in. (Luke 15).

    The father does not prevent the son from coming home nor does he evict him. If the son leaves, the father accepts the painful loss of his son but lose him he will, absorbing his son’s rejection with the words, “son, thy will be done”.

    In summary, “But something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. He brought us out of our old ways of living to a new beginning through the washing of regeneration; and He made us completely new through the Holy Spirit, who was poured out in abundance through Jesus the Anointed, our Savior. (Titus 3:4-6, VOICE).

  • halbcust says:

    After reading the posts here for some time I would like to address a couple of the things brought up here. I will make them two separate posts. The first one is the the work of believing. Firstly the verse that says that our salvation is not based on works says allot more than that so you have to take not only that but the entire verse and the verses around them in order to understand the context.

    The verses in question I believe are Ephesians 2:8 and 9 which say “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

    These verses tell us that our salvation is a gift and that a gift can’t be worked for. If we could work for it it would be a wage not a gift. This was done so that those that do decide to take the gift could not brag about it. That they could take credit.

    So now to argue that believing or taking this gift is in fact a work, to me this is like saying that I am going to buy you a brand new car and I am going to give it to you as a gift and I am going to tell you that you have to do no work for it, I am going to give it to you. And you then say that you do have to do something, you have to lift your arm to take the keys from me. To me that argument is illogical. Does you lifting your arm to take the keys make the gift any less a gift?

  • Joe says:

    Okay Kennedy, thank you.

  • Joe says:

    God’s “grace” is him not burning you for eternity if you promise to believe that Jesus is God and died and came back to life over 2000 years ago. Anyone who doesn’t choose to do the act of believing what you believe burns forever in hell, thus you earn your “grace” through your own work of believing.

    If you were in a relationship with somebody who threatened to harm you if you left them, do they love you? Are they showing you grace because you’re staying with them?

    One more thing to add again, God created everything about everyone, he created why they believe what they believe, why they act the way they do, every aspect of the way they are and why, and he knew that he was creating a person to behave a certain way and believe the things that they do, before they were ever born. He knew they would burn forever before they were ever born, and he had the power to not create them, but he chose to make that person burn forever when he could have just not created them.

  • Kennedy Kennedy says:

    I followed the religion of my parents. I have been around this world enough to believe that people often follow the religion of their parents or culture, whether Muslim, Buddhist, Christian. Or sometimes we make a pact with ourselves to NOT follow the road of our parents. It is a cultural part of our humanity. A belief in almighty God does not ask me to put down my culture, the culture of my parents. When we stand before God on Judgment Day, each person will give account for himself or herself—whether he or she believed in God’s truth. But among so many religions, what is the truth? “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” The Quran does not say the Bible has been changed. The Quran honors the Torah and the Bible. It mentions the Torah, and the “Zabur” (the Old Testament and Psalms) and the “Injil” (the New Testament) many times. When Islam began in the 6th century, 600 years after Jesus Christ, the Bible was accepted as true. It is true today. This issue is the most important question of the life of a human. We owe it to ourself to learn whether or not God is real. It simply means we have questions. We are not alone. Actually, shouldn’t we question the aspects of life which are most meaningful and important?

    I gently and kindly request you look honestly at Jesus. Please put away any prejudice and cultural influences you have for a moment and take a look at the person of Jesus. If God does not exist, you will have wasted a minute or so reading this. If God is real and if He has communicated with human beings through Jesus Christ, this is the most urgent item in the world and in comparison nothing else really matters.

    Please consider praying this prayer. You can find this in many forms. The following is found in John Stott’s Basic Christianity, a book which I highly recommend to those who have questions about the person of Jesus.

    “God, if you exist (and I don’t know you do) and you can hear this prayer (and I don’t know if you can), I want to tell you I am an honest seeker after the truth. Show me if Jesus is your Son and the Savior of the world. And if you bring conviction to my mind I will trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as my Lord.”

    God’s Word says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Joe, I am afraid I am forced to respectfully disagree. Consider Buddhism: Salvation is achieved by reaching a state of nirvana by successfully following the Eight-fold Path. The Eight-fold path involves embracing Buddha’s teachings, developing right intentions, speaking the truth, abstaining from doing wrong, plus more . . . like meditating. If you “get it just right”, you reach nirvana, the end of suffering; if you “don’t quite make it”, you are reborn to suffer through the process again until you do get it right.

    “Islam teaches that you save or damn yourself every day through your belief, or lack of it, your actions, good or bad, and your overall record” (Yahiya Emerick, Islamic Foundation of N. A.). By actions, he means practicing the “Five Pillars of Islam” which are faith in the Shahadah, prayers 5X daily, giving alms to the needy, fasting and making a trip to Mecca at least once. Your overall record is like weighing your good and bad deeds and seeing which is heavier.

    Judaism requires keeping God’s laws to the best of one’s ability and salvation is viewed more in a national sense rather than a personal one.

    In none of these do you “assume God’s grace immediately and then give teachings you can do if you choose.” Each of these involves “Do this, Do that, Do another” and if you “Do Good Enough”, then good will come to you.

    Christianity says “Trust God” and He will even give you the faith to do that out of His grace. The VOICE translation nails it at Eph 2:8-9: “For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.” In His own words, God says that “Christianity is NOT the religion based on your works.”

    Joe, you don’t have to believe in Christianity, but you can’t say ” Christianity is the religion based on your works” because Christianity at it core says it is based on grace.

    Belief in Scripture comes from trusting God and trusting God comes freely from His grace. The verse quoted above is God speaking to us and He is saying “My grace has saved you; its my gift to you . . . you did not do anything to earn it.”

    And why would He do that? Because God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to take the hit for our sins. That’s the fundamental reason Christianity is not like other religions.

  • Joe says:

    Joe, you have said you agree with much of what the Bible teaches (caring for weak, living for love and service instead of power and success, loving your enemies sacrificially) . . . but realize that these are radical concepts that Christ Himself taught and lived as an example! He cared for and healed the outcasts; He came not to be served but to serve; He came to love His enemies, to save us through His sacrificial life.

    Okay, that part I agree with.

    All other religions say that if you want to find God, improve yourself, have higher consciousness, connect with the divine and the like, YOU have to DO something. Something like gather your strength, keep the rules, free your mind and then fill it, be better. To make YOURSELF right, YOU have to summon all your reason and strength and then live in a certain way.

    I’ve already said that you are the one whos faith says we should keep the rules or we get punished.

    Christianity says no, the transcendent, immortal God came to earth Himself as Jesus Christ and became weak, vulnerable to suffering and death. Only God could take onto Himself all of the sins of all of mankind. Our sins are a big deal and have to be made right.

    He did all this for us because we cannot do it for ourselves- to atone for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. His is the most astonishing and radical act of self-giving and loving sacrifice that can be imagined. From that sprung the concepts that you agree with . . .

    This is why Christianity is for everyone, especially for people who know that, where it really counts (the sins of life), they are weak . . . but have the strength to admit that their flaws are not just superficial, that their inner heart is inwardly fallen and that they have no way of rectifying themselves. It is for those who can see that they need Great Help, a Savior, that they need Jesus Christ dying on the Cross to put them right with a perfectly and totally just, righteous, forgiving and loving God.

    I agree that humans probably need help in order to become more compassionate and to love one another. But the only way we are going to end our sins is if we end them, if we look and understand what we’re doing (“forgive them Fathere for they know not what they do”) and choose to make the opposite choice, the one in love. I don’t think that the Bible is saying that we should continue to sin because since we believe in Jesus, we’re fine, but that’s how the standard christian doctrine kind of unfolds. Without our deliberate change in our actions we cannot change our sinning. You can call it God, but if we do choose to act in love we continue sinning. If this religion directly leads you to be empathetic towards people, to love people more, to not judge your brothers and sisters, and to see us as brothers and sisters who deserve each others loves no matter how broken we are, then I support it. I think that the truth is not that there is an eternal hell though, I think that the truth is Love. I think Jesus came on earth and was full of Love, and refused to stop Loving those who harmed him, and that’s the magic of the message, that we can all learn from, but if we look at the letters of Paul and follow those, we aren’t following Jesus, we’re following Paul so I could call those people Paulians or King Jamesians. I would love to look at every word that is written that Jesus in the Bible says, and if anyone would like to do that with me, I’d love to, but if not it’s all good. I think that we both would more clearly see what we believe in, and we could all benefit from it, I don’t want to argue anymore. I realized I’m arguing a lot and being defensive and I’m forgetting that I really do want to dedicate my life to love.

  • Joe says:

    The Bible is so powerful because it scares people into thinking God is throwing everyone into an eternal fire. God can do everything, he knows everything, and he created everything, therefore he knows people are going to hell before he creates that person (we are all creations of God right? even the ones who burn forever, everything about them, the way they think, and the way they behave is 100% God’s creation), since God can do anything he can choose not to have that person be born and spare someones eternal agony, but instead he creates billions of people to burn in eternity in a lake of fire he created. If it makes God happy to watch all those people scream in pain day and night never ending, then he’s a sadistic torturer, but he has all the power so what are we gonna do about it right? The only thing I can do is not worship him because I love people too much, oh and I forgive God, I feel bad for him, if he likes to see people be in pain then that’s his own sickness. But in reality I don’t actually think the creator of everything is a sadistic torturer. You do.

  • Joe says:

    You’re telling me that God’s grace is only present in the religion where he sends people to hell if they don’t believe in him, which is the exact opposite of the term grace, grace is forgiving and loving somebody no matter what they do. God only forgives the people who believe in the Bible so he bases his love to you off of your works.

  • Joe says:

    Elkay, it’s really the other way around. Christianity is the only one that says, “you must believe this or you get punished” while the other ones assume God’s grace immediately, then give teachings that you can do if you choose to. Chritianity is the religion based on your works, because if you don’t decide to believe in the Bible, then you get punished forever, so God is relying on your works to give his grace to you, while in other religions you already recieve God’s grace no matter what you do.

  • Dustin says:

    Hi, I said about 2 or 3 months ago that I would not post again. SO I have been watching almost every post from afar waiting for a proper explanation of what I believe Christianity should entail and how far its understanding should reach. Elkay you nailed it right on the head! Jesus and the holy spirit are obviously a great and enlightening influence in your life. Listen to Elkay, I believe she knows EXACTLY what she is talking about. Blessings to all of you and maybe you will see me back here again. Gods will leaves few things to chance. Elkay your Father in heaven is smiling at you right now:) Great Job!

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Joe, you have said you agree with much of what the Bible teaches (caring for weak, living for love and service instead of power and success, loving your enemies sacrificially) . . . but realize that these are radical concepts that Christ Himself taught and lived as an example! He cared for and healed the outcasts; He came not to be served but to serve; He came to love His enemies, to save us through His sacrificial life.

    All other religions say that if you want to find God, improve yourself, have higher consciousness, connect with the divine and the like, YOU have to DO something. Something like gather your strength, keep the rules, free your mind and then fill it, be better. To make YOURSELF right, YOU have to summon all your reason and strength and then live in a certain way.

    Christianity says no, the transcendent, immortal God came to earth Himself as Jesus Christ and became weak, vulnerable to suffering and death. Only God could take onto Himself all of the sins of all of mankind. Our sins are a big deal and have to be made right.

    He did all this for us because we cannot do it for ourselves- to atone for our sins, to take the punishment we deserved. His is the most astonishing and radical act of self-giving and loving sacrifice that can be imagined. From that sprung the concepts that you agree with . . .

    This is why Christianity is for everyone, especially for people who know that, where it really counts (the sins of life), they are weak . . . but have the strength to admit that their flaws are not just superficial, that their inner heart is inwardly fallen and that they have no way of rectifying themselves. It is for those who can see that they need Great Help, a Savior, that they need Jesus Christ dying on the Cross to put them right with a perfectly and totally just, righteous, forgiving and loving God.

  • Joe says:

    I have read the Bible, all of the new testament and I’ve read some of the old testament. I’d actually love to do a Bible study, but not a one sided one where everything I say gets ignored, or vise versa I’d listen to the other person’s perspective. I feel like the new testament is like “You are to love your enemies, don’t judge people, don’t fight back but love those who hurt you, don’t worry about anything” and I’m like that’s beautiful I want to do that, and then right after “Those who don’t do as I say will be sent to the fire that doesn’t go out where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth and God will ignore your screams.” and i’m like, okay.

  • Joe says:

    I was raised christian so I’ve always known about these topics. I love a lot of christian teachings. I want to love everybody, forgive everybody, turn the other cheek and stuff like that, but God doesn’t do that. I just wanted to post my point of view and see what people had to say, I’m open to learning new things and admitting I’m wrong. I don’t see how God (in the Bible, in certain parts) loves us and I’ve posted tons of reasons why in other posts. I would hope that the real God loves everyone, and if that’s not the case then oh well what am I going to do about it? I don’t have to go on his side though, I want to love the people of earth. If he hates us so much that he’s going to burn us forever just because we don’t believe in a book, then so be it. I don’t know what else to say.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    That’s good to hear Joe.

    So what has got you thinking about all this? Were you reading the Bible and discovered these parts that are offensive to you? Was someone talking to you about God’s judgement?

  • Joe says:

    Hey Jamie thank you. I’m not going to end my life, I’m sorry for saying that.

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    Joe, maybe this will help ease your mind a little about the reliability of Scripture and the truth of Christianity.

    Liberty University is having a Biblical Studies Symposium on Monday Sept 22 that is described as “All too often Christians don’t know how to deal with challenges to their faith. ‘Truth in a Culture of Doubt’ (a book) helps Christians respond to arguments raised against the reliability of Scripture and the truth of Christianity.”

    Darrell Bock (Director of Cultural Engagement) from Dallas Theological Seminary and Gary Habermas (Professor of Apologetics) from Liberty are featured speakers.

    You can watch this for free on http://www.Liberty.edu/BSS . . . .

    I just thought you might be interested in knowing about this as it might answer a lot of your questions. It starts at 7 PM EST but in case you can’t watch it live, I think they post it as a video afterwards.

    May God bless you today with exactly what you need for today, Elkay

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am sorry Joe, I didn’t realize that you are going through such a tough time in life right now. What is pushing you towards wanting to end your life? I know that sometimes a person needs to really be consciously fighting that battle of just staying alive. That is a terrible place to be.

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