Friday, February 01, 2008

This is the Truth!

Haven't seen this yet? Watch it before reading my commentary.



This video so speaks to me. I think it describes the two polar ways that God is presented in this world. I grew up, mostly, under the first view. God was angry and frustrated with us, and the Faith communities I traveled in were ready to wash their hands clean of this decaying, immoral world.

My Faith has been turning upside down over the years. Hope is growing in me more all the time and thia causes me to see people differently. There is no more us and them. There is just a big group of US.

13 comments:

JP said...

I smell universalism :-)

Noble and completely understandable.

The majority of the earths population in hell doesn't sound like the "Good News" too me.

If I am off-track with my assesment, let me know.

I used to tell myself:

"If Jesus died on the cross yet nobody believed, then his sacrifice did nothing and we are all doomed to the pits of hell. Doesn't make much sense. I must believe his atonement was effectual and in that ultimate display of Love, this sacrifice nailed the sins of all to that cross even the sin of unbelief and we are now all, in communion with the Father.

Andrew said...

Heh... you caught me red handed JP. I vacillate between being a universalist and merely a universalist sympathizer. Your comment reminded me of a quote by another friend blogger who said:

"If the Good News is that you and a few others who make the cut will be saved from screaming in hell-fire for billions of years with the rest of us, when were you gonna drop the Bad News on us?"

Theologically, philosophically, and morally, any justification of Hell makes less and less sense to me all the time. It is interesting to me that, now that I have embraced the possibility of Universalism, I see scripture all over that justifies it.

In addition, being a Father just pushes me in that direction more. Any Father goes to any length. If 1 Cor 13 is a description of true Love/God, then Hell would completely make it a lie. If Hell theology is true, then God is requiring of us (love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, etc...) something he never intends to do himself.

I believe Hell to be tied to a low view of God.

I believe God is always redeeming and always restoring. As a Father, I understand the need to discipline my children. The book of Hebrews says that "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness" There is a point to the discipline here. IF there is any discipline it is for our restoration. Hell has no point (and I do not buy the "Justice" argument for Hell).

Sorry for the sermonette. I just feel that Universalism gets a bad rap in the Christian community (though I feel that is changing).

"this sacrifice nailed the sins of all to that cross even the sin of unbelief and we are now all, in communion with the Father."

I agree, and so does scripture. Romans 5 says "for if when we were God's enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life."

I think it is clear that we ARE reconciled. I think being saved through his life is just learning to experience life to the full.

I think every time we as Fathers choose to love our wife and children more, and to give grace to those around us (even the annoying ones) we are learning to experience life to the full.

Just my humble opinion as a budding Christian Universalist. :)

Kay @ Aletheia said...

That is sooooo cool. It gave me goosebumps. Gotta post that over on my blog if you don' mind. :)

Kay, the unapologetic universalist.

Andrew said...

Post away! :) It gave me chills the first time I saw it too. I was getting completely depressed during the first half, and almost turned it off (Yet I know many Christians who talk like the first half). The shift at the end was like dawn coming up. (This was how I felt when I first started shifting towards Universalism). Whoever designed this video is amazing.

yaelbatsarah said...

But, isn't this just a nicer way of saying Christianity is right while Judaism and every other religion are wrong? Isn't the assumption still being made that Jesus is for everyone, even when there is no Jesus, or need for Jesus, in the lives of everyone except for Christians?

Andrew said...

Yael - It is a question of how do we maintain different beliefs and yet still be in relationship with those who hold to traditions that are different from our own. In the same vein, if Judaism is correct, than Christianity is wrong. Does this create too large a divide? I hope not. Then our alternatives are either we all blend into a flavorless goo religiously speaking, or we are unable to deal reasonably with anyone outside our tradition.

I live in the center of Mormondom. I am on the serious minority end (that has been a great education for me). One of my best friends is devoutly Mormon. He and I find lots of common ground to talk about the things of God. At the end of the day, he believes Joseph Smith ushered in a new dispensation and I do not. He would love for me to become Mormon, he believes that is my natural next step spiritually.

For many Christians, it is SO irritating that a Mormon thinks that way that it makes it completely impossible for them to be in relationship with a Mormon beyond mere cordialness. I think that is a shame, because my friend and I have a great relationship even though we disagree on a few planks of theology. We learn from each other, even though we have different faith structures.

I think it is a similar relationship between Jews and Christians. I accept Jesus as the Messiah, you do not. In many cases, that becomes an insurmountable obstacle; or it doesn't. The choice, I believe, is up to both parties. I can't deny that I see life from a Christian point of view, I do not expect my friend to quit seeing life from a Mormon point of view, nor do I expect you to stop seeing life from a Jewish point of view. I have learned things from both you in your different ways of seeing God, and I am grateful for that.

yaelbatsarah said...

But, there is a difference, Andrew. Judaism has no concept of us being right and everyone else wrong. We teach that the righteous of all the nations have a place in the world to come and that there is no need for anyone to accept Jewish teachings or become Jewish. Each person walks in the way of their own deity. Our message is one of justice, repair of the world, a message that can be applied in ways that are meaningful to people regardless of religion or non-religion. Our message is not about a messiah; our message is about us getting to work.

If someone comes up to me and says, "According to the teachings of my religion you are headed to hell, but I can't accept we hold all claim to God, so I'm going to let you and God figure out your own relationship and not worry about it." This person and I can interact. There view is respectful and allows their beliefs to be their beliefs without any attempt to change Judaism in the least.

I'd rather be considered destined for hell than to have someone insist that Jesus IS a part of my religion whether I want him to be or not. I don't believe in hell anyway, so what do I care if someone claims I'm going there?

You are saying is just that there is no consequence to my action of rejecting Jesus. That isn't being respectful, that is treating me like a child, or a mentally challenged person, who isn't accountable for her own actions. No thanks. Give me hell any day. I'd rather be treated like an adult where if I'm wrong I burn than patted on the head with, "That's OK. You didn't know any better. Come on in anyway."

You may be grateful for what you learn from many people, but you're still seeing yourself in a position of superiority. We're not equals, following equally valid religions. I'm sorry, Andrew, but that doesn't fly with me. I guess I misunderstood the score.

Andrew said...

"We teach that the righteous of all the nations have a place in the world to come and that there is no need for anyone to accept Jewish teachings or become Jewish."

That may be true in your circles, but there are Jewish circles that are not so inclusive. When I was in Israel, I met plenty of Jews for whom if you weren't Jewish, you weren't shit. If not always at that extreme, there was definitely an attitude of superiority. You are "God's Chosen people" after all. There are plenty of times people's were wiped out on the mere fact that they weren't Jewish. Your attempt to put Judaism "above" all the petty ways of everyone else is just an example of the very thing you are supposedly arguing against. I think you see the faults of other religions in HD clarity, but give yours a pass when it suits your argument. Your position is still that everyone has to see everything in your way, on your terms, right now... or you're going to take your marbles and go home. I see no benefit to your approach.

"You are saying is just that there is no consequence to my action of rejecting Jesus. That isn't being respectful, that is treating me like a child, or a mentally challenged person, who isn't accountable for her own actions."

No, I am saying I am an agnostic on the topic of people rejecting Jesus. I am confident though that God is a Father, and as such does not reject his children but is always working toward restoration. How that pans out I leave to him. My approach is through Christianity, you seem to want every Christian to reject or apologize for that. I do not see how this is at all respectful.

yaelbatsarah said...

Wow! Those true colors sure came shining through on your post, Andrew. Funny how those anti-Jewish sentiments are so close beneath the surface of so many people....There were plenty of times when people were wiped out because they weren't Jewish? Oh yeah? When? During the crusades? pogroms? the shoah? Please, tell me all about it.

Judaism is what's best for me. I've never said it's best for anyone else. I blog about my life as a Jew. If that bothers you so much I don't know why you ever bothered coming around.

I don't blog about religions. I blog about Judaism. Unfortunately that means I'm also stuck commenting about Christianity because I have to live in a world that is overwhelmingly Christian. If I could escape, trust me I would! In spite of the fact, as I already pointed out to you, the percentage of posts I write about Christianity is less than 10%. But, even that seems to irk you to no end. Whatever. It just proves MY point. The whole world has to be Christians or else you guys ain't happy.

I don't hold to Orthodox Judaism any more than I hold to fundamentalist Christianity so don't put that one on me. They don't consider me Jewish either! They also make up 10% of the Jewish population worldwide and a whole whopping 2% where I live. Who cares what they think? They do not represent Jews as a whole.

No, I don't want every Christian to apologize that they are Christian, but it would be nice if you guys would allow other people to have their paths to God instead of thinking you own the whole road. What's wrong with Christianity is the best way for you to live your life but not for everyone else? Is that so hard to allow?

And yes, I am taking my marbles and going home. You've told me exactly what you think of me, no point hanging around. Please return the favor and stay out of my world as well. Foolish me, I was actually hurt to realize you thought I still needed Jesus. Now I know the extent of your dislike. I guess I REALLY misunderstood.

Andrew said...

Yael- You play the victim card fast. The minute someone puts forth that maybe the same issues you have with others, they may have with you, you scream foul. The minute someone questions your argument they are an anti-semite?? How cheap! But what a safe place to argue from. It requires nothing and makes sure that you have the upperhand (at least from your perspective) in every argument.

"When? During the crusades? pogroms? the shoah? Please, tell me all about it."

When Israel left Egypt, they destroyed group after group who's only crime was being there. I often read of Joshua's attack on Jericho and thought "What is the purpose of the attack, what was their crime?". Jewish history has problems just like everyone else, but again, you overlook that while beating up on everyone else, while you boast of how accepting you are. The truth is Yael, you are a bigot. You have a chip on your shoulder a mile high about Christianity. Your talk of acceptance is completely hollow, because it is all on your terms and in your way.

"I don't blog about religions. I blog about Judaism."

No, but you go on Christian blogs and bellyache that they have the audacity to discuss Christianity. Does this not strike as being just a "little" self focused? You state that everyone else can live their own religions, but if they bring up their religions at their own blogs this is bothersome to you.

"No, I don't want every Christian to apologize that they are Christian, but it would be nice if you guys would allow other people to have their paths to God instead of thinking you own the whole road. What's wrong with Christianity is the best way for you to live your life but not for everyone else? Is that so hard to allow?"

Again, you reject all Jews being lumped together, but for everyone else "lumping" is fine. Your arguments are so one sided and you are completely blind to your prejudices.

I realize you may not read this anymore, so walk away with this fact. You are in desperate need to shine your quickly used spotlight of judgementalism on yourself. No one with so much anger and hate can in any way claim "Our message is one of justice, repair of the world, a message that can be applied in ways that are meaningful to people regardless of religion or non-religion."

societyvs said...

Andrew, I think your convo with Yael is a little on the 'harsh'side - my opinion. Too bad it had to go that way for both of you.

Your point on Mormonism I get quite well - faith systems will inevidibitly have core disagreements - this much we know - I appreciated that point - since I think we all have friends of various faiths.

However, I think you did paint with a somewhat broad brush concerning Yael commenting on Christian blogs...something I personally respect. I think she has valid opinions and the right to state them - and lots of Christians do not like how 'vocal' she is at times - but I am not one of them in that camp. Just thought I'd point that out.

As for Universalism - isn't that the belief all will be saved due to the sacrifice of Jesus in Golgotha (atonement)? Then why should it bother you if someone rejects any of our notions about Jesus? Aren't they all going to the same place?

Unfortunately, like you - I flirt with Universalism - but I have not truly accepted it (as of yet). I am getting closer to the idea but I have a few reservations.

To me, the Christian faith reads exactly like the Judaic faith - with the inclusion of Jesus (as Messiah - whatever that means in entirety?). I think the idea is about people following the teachings of God - which in our case were revealed through Jesus - and Jesus also points back to the prophets and Law.

However, the idea that links the two together is the basic idea of following God via the teachings. I respect Jesus personally - higher than any teacher I know - but the Jewish faith does not - that's not a problem for me...my teachings are actually based on their faith - including the messiah idea and everything else we read.

I personally see faith as something we develop into our lives and live out - and this is the essence of believing in Jesus. Oddly enough, and Yael might not like me for this, she is closer to that type of thinking than most Christians I know. Faith needs to be sensible - and I think our sensibilities need to be more in tune with Jewish thought - even moreso than our own faith's history (My opinion).

Maybe this is the same thing with the Mormons we have in common?

Andrew said...

Society - I will confess to being harsh. Perhaps too harsh. Too harsh, I was pissed.

I feel though that I gave her a good faith answer to her initial question and I got nothing back but attitude and sarcasm. When I stood my ground and suggested that perhaps her complaints could be likewise said of her and her religion, it was inferred that I am an anti-semite. At that point I recognized her words for what they were ... abusive. It is not cute, it is not spicy, it is not just being argumentative... it is abusive. I am sorry that she has had bad experiences with Christians. But truth be told, EVERY subculture and religion has people that could tell of their painful stories within that subset. However, the suggestion that it also could be true of her subset was not only anathema, it was completely inflammatory. I honestly wish her peace, but I am not bound to continue in conversations with people who are verbally abusive.

I have no problem with her commenting on Christian blogs, though I always thought she could make her points without being so caustic. However, I was not referring to critical comments but rather instances of general annoyance at anything Christian having to be discussed.

"Then why should it bother you if someone rejects any of our notions about Jesus?"

I feel like I can't totally respond to that cause I'm not sure what I said that made you think that. However, let me state that it doesn't bother me. I don't proselytize my Mormon friends and I am pretty sure, prior to this post, I had never been anything but supportive to Yael in her Judaism.

I completely agree with you that our thoughts, as Christians, need to be more inline with and incorporate more Judaism. That is what drew me to Yael's stuff in the first place. However, I think I can find sources that have less vitriol.

Thanks, as always for your comments, and for your polite challenges to me. :)

JP said...

Yael,

I have seen you on other boards. Why do you come to christian related blogs and get "pissed" when they believe Jesus is the Way?
Andrew, sorry, I think you handled yourself fine, Yael is obviously testy and defensive over the christian religion. Andrew never once said you had to convert to christianity but you get mad when the implication is there that Jesus died for ALL.

I am not there spiritually, but can easily read between the lines in this discussion. You are simply off-base and rude.

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