Is Christianity too fixated with Salavation?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by foundationist, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. foundationist

    foundationist Well-Known Member

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    This topic indirectly arose in another thread - so it would be interesting to see the responses from current and future members.

    Is Christianity really too fixated Salvation? If so, why? Is it down to denominationalism, Church power and control, or simply a personal need on an individual level to feel vindicated in their beliefs and actions?
     
  2. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web Well-Known Member

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    It most certainly is terribly fixated with Salavation. I am quite sure that Jesus could only be horrified at how he fought against the Pharisees, only see a following around him become entirely the same! The whole issue of Salavation is one of fear and threats. How many feel that without Salavation they should not be graceful before the sight of God? Quite astonishing.
     
  3. exastra

    exastra Established Member

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    yes. the issue of salvation is the defining element of Christianity... is its foundation, deriving power from peoples' insecurity. it reduces people to dependent children calling out to mommy, all alone in the night. we are urged/ manipulated into seeking forgiveness and self worth through blind faith at the expense of morality.
     
  4. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web Well-Known Member

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    Salavation is about making people feel worthless, so they will feel a need to accept 'Salavation' in the first place. Cults use it as a recruiting method. It is one of the areas of Christianity that feels so far from the light.
     
  5. mac1

    mac1 Well-Known Member

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    The thing that bugs me about salvation, is not the concept of being devoid of sin, but those who claim to have achieved it - most notably priests. Don't get me wrong, this isn't an attack on priests, just the ones who wrongly think they have some sort of divine superiority over the rest of us. I have met far too many priests who claim be completely devoid of the temptations of sin, and speak in an arrogant manner belittleing all those below them. Surely true salvation is an almost unreachable goal, being ordained should not give someone the right to preach to the masses in an arrogant and pretentiousness manner. Preaching is perfectly reasonable (and often required by many religions on the whole), but delusions of perfection, and infallibilty really agrovate me. It is a much avoided subject, but most people are aware of pedophiliac subcultures recently revealed to exist in the catholic church, predominantly in Ireland. Had these priests (and those who commited such hanus sins of ommision by deliberately ignoring it) achieved "salvation"? [I won't insult your intelligence by answering that!] Salvation, or living a life devoid of sin is a goal shared by almost all cultures and religions to some degree, but it should remain that unreachable goal. Like a wise man who calls himself a wise man, someone who claims to have achieved salvation, is generally not going to be a saint, but a deluded biggot. Attempts to reach salvation, are still however the way to live an honest life, just don't be too quick to believe that you are "enlightened" or "devoid of the sins of the world" - chances are your not. The only person you are lying to is yourself!
     
  6. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    Absolutely - good post. :)
     
  7. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web Well-Known Member

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    How does someone promise what someone acnnot be sure of? If the nature of Salavation is to be accepted then only God truly knows who is saved and who is not saved. I do not think God subscribes to lists men write for themselves.
     
  8. Hugh de Payen

    Hugh de Payen New Member

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    Interesting post.

    I think Christianity is quite pre-occupied with salvation, but it always seems to have it the wrong way round to me.

    A Christian believes we're born in Sin and then have to spend a lifetime being saved from it. I tend to believe that we're born without any Sin whatsoever and spend a lifetime acquiring them.
     
  9. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web Well-Known Member

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    That is a most interesting point. Alas that it is also quite true.

    :(
     
  10. WHKeith

    WHKeith Well-Known Member

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    exastra said salvation is THE defining point of Christianity. That may be more or less true, depending on the emphasis of your particular doctrine, but a purist might point out that it is the resurrection that is central. Without that, everything else is meaningless. (1 Corinthians 15:12 - 19.)

    Certainly a wealth of Bible passages of the "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" variety (John 3:3) emphasize the necessity of a personal epiphany. A problem for modern Christianity is the fact that different denominations take the same words and understand them in different ways. I've known Baptists who insisted that salvation is effected ONLY by saying certain words in a certain way--being led through a confession, repentance, and a prayer for salvation. I've known Pentecostals who insisted you weren't saved unless you gave the evidence of a Baptism in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by speaking in tongues. And I've known Episcopalians who felt it didn't much matter what you did, so long as you knew which one was the salad fork. [Sorry, Siege and Polycarp. Couldn't resist!]

    There are plenty of mainline denominational churches--and I'd include the 'Pisckies in this one--that place more emphasis on God's saving grace, a kind of on-going salvation possible through an on-going relationship with the savior. Of course, most Baptists would scream bloody murder at that!

    A final thought: the more fundamentalist view emphasizes essentially that the world is broke, that WE'RE broke, and only salvation can reunite us with God. I dislike that emphasis. Many Christians see instead the beauty and wonder of God's creation, and ourselves as marvelous miracles, each of us, in our own right. For them, the emphasis on Christianity is not on salvation, but on God's deep and abiding love.

    But then, I know Baptists who would disagree with THAT! To get there, you have to downplay a lot of Scripture that seems to say otherwise.
     
  11. Polycarp

    Polycarp Established Member

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    On target, Bill. Though I'd say that I can put my trust in God and His promises, and that I have a job to do, right here and now, and I'm not too worried about what He'll do with me later on. He is, after all, a loving Father -- or else everybody's got it wrong as far as Christianity's concerned, because that's what Jesus thought He is.

    The imago Dei theology of the Eastern Fathers and of Duns Scotus plays an interesting counterpoint to the Augustinian view of Bill's last paragraph, too.
     
  12. Polycarp

    Polycarp Established Member

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    ... uh, I meant "next-to-last paragraph"
     
  13. Siege

    Siege Established Member

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    One thing I've come away with in my discussions with Fundamentalist Christians is this. I've encountered several such people who need to have a line drawn between Saved and Unsaved so they can be sure they are right. Basically, it seems to come down to "Well, if everyone can get in, what's the point of getting in?"

    Having grown up a perennial outsider, I come in from the opposite approach: "If not everyone gets in, how can I be sure I won't be left out?" On a different message board, Polycarp and I have been involved in some rather lively discussions about who exactly Christ's death and resurrection, complete with dueling Bible verses referring those which imply only those who specifically accept Christ as their Saviour, and those which refer to all mankind.

    I know WHKeith to be a decent, honorable, moral person. I therefore refuse to believe he will be "kept out of heaven", whatever that means, because he is no longer a Christian. It offends my sense of logic and justice. On the other hand, I can see how someone who doesn't know him could say, "Well, if he gets to go off and do whatever he wants and still gets into heaven, what's the point of being a Christian?"

    CJ
     
  14. Polycarp

    Polycarp Established Member

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    [quote author=Seige link=board=7;threadid=105;start=msg924#msg924 date=1056158144]
    One thing I've come away with in my discussions with Fundamentalist Christians is this. I've encountered several such people who need to have a line drawn between Saved and Unsaved so they can be sure they are right. Basically, it seems to come down to "Well, if everyone can get in, what's the point of getting in?"

    Having grown up a perennial outsider, I come in from the opposite approach: "If not everyone gets in, how can I be sure I won't be left out?" On a different message board, Polycarp and I have been involved in some rather lively discussions about who exactly Christ's death and resurrection, complete with dueling Bible verses referring those which imply only those who specifically accept Christ as their Saviour, and those which refer to all mankind.

    I know WHKeith to be a decent, honorable, moral person. I therefore refuse to believe he will be "kept out of heaven", whatever that means, because he is no longer a Christian. It offends my sense of logic and justice. On the other hand, I can see how someone who doesn't know him could say, "Well, if he gets to go off and do whatever he wants and still gets into heaven, what's the point of being a Christian?"

    CJ
    [/quote]


    Can I get away with a "Me Too" post here? Because IMHO Siege said it all right there.
     
  15. Iacchus

    Iacchus God of the Mask

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    Does anyone believe in the afterlife? If it exists, then I suppose it should be addressed. Afterall, isn't this really what religion is supposed to prepare us for?

    And yet I believe it's entirely possible, much as you say, to get the wrong idea and make a "big fixation" out of it. Which is probably why many religions don't address it outright.
     
  16. Alan_G

    Alan_G New Member

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    Paul says on several occasions "you have been saved" but then he also says "even as I work towards my salvation" (paraphrasing). So it seems to me that salvation is something that sometimes happens in people who find themselves believing in the gospel for the first time, but it's also a process from then on in these people. <br><br>

    I wonder if some of you recoil at the word "salvation" for the reasons I think I do: people oversimplify salvation these days, or, even worse, appear to take some sort of credit for it once they've come into a Christian church. For example you'll see churches where a "new Christian" is congratulated by the church for "accepting Christ". I guess that's not a bad thing per se, but so often so much emphasis is put on what the person "did" to "accept Christ", when in fact in the New Testament everything is cast in terms of the "<B>gift</B> of salvation", and the believers chided to remember that they can't really take any credit for the fact that they had "the ears to hear and the eyes to see" who Jesus was.

    This might be too crass for some, but to me salvation is wholeness and living life to its fullest. And what Jesus, Paul, etc. did for many people who considered themselves "unreligious" was make the case that if they wanted to live life to the fullest and suck all of the meaning and joy out of life that they could, then they did well to make a study of Christianity a part of their life. Jesus described salvation when he said "I have come so that you may have abundant life."
     
  17. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web Well-Known Member

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    That is a very good description of salvation! Certainly a good way to say how I see it myself.
     
  18. Arch

    Arch Active Member

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    That's really going to annoy the extremists!
    :D
     
  19. wkrossa

    wkrossa New Member

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    reply to is Christianity to fixated with salvation?

    The entire salvation issue responds to a profound error in early shaman's minds. The earliest mythology had viewed the forces of nature as expressions of the gods. As these forces were often destructive, it was believed that the gods were angry. Some innovative mind along the way suggested that the angry gods could be appeased with blood sacrifice. And so we have the beginning of the history of propitiation, appeasement and all the other strains of salvation mythology. Add in here the idea of taboo breakers offending the gods which would develop into the religious idea of sin and you have the basis for salvation ideology which has been a huge money making venture for religions- see Jacquetta Hawkes, "The First Great Civilizations" for some interesting comment on how religion was the driving force behind early state formation and was also the economic engine of those early Mesapotamian(sp?) states.
    Pfeiffer (I mentioned him in another post) and Campbell have suggested several fruitful lines of research to properly understand this entire salvation thing. One is that early mythmakers (shaman) underwent schizophrenic-like experiences of separation, descent into irrationality, and eventual return and healing. These men apparently projected the themes of their own experience outward into early mythology.
    Now somewhere back in the dark mists of prehistory several notable mythical themes emerged. One was the idea of anger in the gods. Another was that of the separation of humanity from the gods (a Fall or people offending the gods by breaking taboos). Further strains of thought along this line included the removal of the gods up into the heavens to live at a distance and control people from their. All of this fed into later ideas of needing to placate the angry gods with sacrifice and restore ruptured relationships- salvation. More recently in history this has led to the Christian obsession with getting saved. Establishing a relationship with God.
    But let me suggest that all this concern with salvation responds to the wrong question. It responds to a horrific error in early shamanistic minds. If ideas of separation from God arose out of those early schizophrenic experiences then the entire history of religious salvation is based on a misperception by men undergoing episodes of insanity. That error was passed along into zoroastrian theology which formed the foundational template for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Christianity ina more intense manner than the other two Western religion developed and refined its ideology of salvation, based on ideas of sin, separation and the need to restore a broken relationship.
    Most basic to this issue of salvation is the idea of a Fall or separation. The core fall myth in many cultures posits a separation of divinity as the result of early people breaking some taboo. In the Christian version of this common myth, death entered as a result of the taboo breaking. Consequently, God in a snit abandoned the curious people.
    Now, Michael Morwood (author of Tommorrow's Catholic), among others, has noted that the sedimentary record clearly shows that death occured long before some innocents in an early Eden 'sinned'. This is evidence that there never was a time when death did not exist. Now think of the implications of this. There never was a separation of humanity from God, except in the insanity of early mythmakers. Hence, there is no need to appease God or restore some severed relationship. There is no need to invite God or Jesus into any life or heart. God never left. And he has never been angry with the human struggle to overcome its animal origins in order to live more humanely. In fact, this struggle of emerging humanity to progress toward a more humane future is the core manifestation of transcendence/God in the universe.
    The true story of the universe is not about anger, separation, regression from early paradise, coming apocalyptic and restoration through destruction (nihilism in its truest sense). The universe story is about generally slow advance and progress, but is ever rising toward a better future. However people choose to express divinity in all this, it is necessary to recognize the error of early shamanistic thinking and take into account the true story of life which such disciplines as paleontology and evolutionary biology have given us the outlines of.
    And if Campbell and Pfeiffer are right about early shaman then we need to re-evaluate all the history of Christian theologizing (note Paul's letters most prominently here) as a misquided detour that has devoted its energy and time to building a system based on an error that arose out of the nuttiness of early mythmakers. Let me be frank. It has all been a huge mistake. There never was a Fall. There is no need for salvation. This is the true good news that the tortured consciousness of humanity needs to hear.
     
  20. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi wkrossa - and welcome to comparative-religion.com!

    Glad to see you putting some of your ideas out - it certainly does make for some interesting reading.

    If I may add something, though - on the issue of separation I don't disagree with what you are saying, but I do believe that a more fundamental separation was made apparent, which helped drive the entire sense of separation - and that's the difference between humanity and the other animals of nature.


    Whatever the arguments as to what may or may not have consciousness and self-awareness, the simple fact remains that humanity can "create" - ie, shape the world in a pre-determined way that no other creature can. Hence we lay somewhere between the Natural and the Divine.

    I see that issue - of the rational gifts of our humanity - that were the really engine for the belief in our separation from the Divine,

    This is almost stated explicitly in the Book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve only realise their difference and sense of sense through eating fo the Tree of Knowledge - it is precisely because of knowledge that they are separated.

    Possibly, anyway. :)

     

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