What is Salvation?

Discussion in 'Theology' started by lunamoth, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    In the spirit of discussion and polite debate, :)

    "Saved from what?" must be one of the most common questions Christians get from others.

    How do you answer this question?

    What does it mean to be saved?

    Our Bible sutdy group started Romans Chapt 10 this morning. We got all of 4 lines into it. :D The most interesting part of our discussion was about what salvation means, and the idea I liked best is that it means a return to wholeness. We are only complete when we turn to God.

    This fits in well with the Fall, I think. We were made good, and complete, but the completion included free will, a very volatile ingredient without which we would not be human, but with which we could destroy oursleves.

    The eating of the apple was the willful ejection of God from the center of our being by the exercise of free will. So, we fell from a state of wholeness to one in which we are incomplete. I very much believe in the God-centered hole concept!

    So, salvation is constantly making the choice to turn to God and let Him complete us. His offer to fill us is constantly extended, like bread and water to a hunger person. Our part it to accept his offer.

    2c, luna
     
  2. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Luna,

    For me, it means to be saved from the pain of any more reincarnations. But in my belief system, I save myself, through my own effort. No one does it for me.
     
  3. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Hi Luna. Isn't it that it gives one's life purpose? Living in or for Christ transcends the impotence of one's paltry existence, making one a stakeholder in something cosmically significant which then becomes the ground and meaning for existence? Isn't that how it works? Saved from insignificance? But there's another aspect it seems. Saved from the "world." The sicko world of greedy mark missers.

    Just thinking out loud.

    Chris
     
  4. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Chris. Hope you are well. :)

    From my perspective your answer puts the cart before the horse. Our lives have meaning, and religions (not just those that talk about salvation) are ways to connect with that meaning.

    I agree with your second sentence.

    Saved from insignificance? I guess that is how it would seem if there were no God. But, to me saved from incompleteness fits better with my experience. I absolutely felt that there was Something More, and that I was meant to be more than I was. I did not set out seeking significance or God in response to this feeling, and did not expect to find God at the end of my search.

    I disagree with the last part. That does not connect for me at all. After the Transfiguration, Jesus went back down the mountain. We also are in the world, which yes is full of sinners, but we are not saved from sinners.

    Sin is that incompletion, or brokenness. So yes, we are saved from sin, from that brokenness, yet we still sin (even as we strive not to, so we may have good relationships with each other). The salvation with respect to sin is from the consequences of sin as they relate to our relationship with God.

    I think of salvation as a bridge, and sin a bottomless gulf between me and God. We can't get across the gulf by ourselves, we need a bridge. Jesus is that bridge, our salvation. Yet, the bridge can be there and we can ignore it, or we can ignore God, or we can ignore sin (all of it).

    Other religions? Substitute Love for Jesus.
     
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Lunamoth —

    Discord? Separation?

    It means the realisation that to shape oneself according to the Cosmos is an infinitely richer and more rewarding experience than the tendency to try and shape the Cosmos according to oneself (or to fit the ocean into a hole in the sand, as the old story has it).

    It is this latter philosophy that currently dominates thinking in the West. It's the one lesson that 'progress' should have taught us, and it's the one we steadfastly refuse to acknowledge — a man can have all the superficial goods in the world: power, knowledge, reputation, wealth ... and still be unhappy and unfulfilled.

    We are presented with the idea that we are at war, or at least at odds, with God (in theology). In fact we are at war, or at least at odds, with ourselves, and that cuts us off from God.

    Our 'completion' is not in the things of this world, that's for sure ...

    I would say in a-theist systems, salvation is in being at peace with one's own being; in theist systems, salvation is in being at peace not only with the self, but with the source of being which underpins our own self-being.

    Pax et bonum —

    Thomas
     
  6. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    The term "salvation" is very Biblical for me because of my upbringing. It has all the usual associations of accepting Christ as Savior and obtaining forgiveness of sins by accepting Grace. My personal thinking on it is compatible with that: to be "saved" is to be sufficiently free from compulsive narcissism and an overall self-centered way of being to where one can accept responsibility for cultivating genuine love and interest in others.

    Jesus is widely quoted as saying "The Kingdom is within you," as though to suggest that the kingdom is defined by certain subjective quality of experience. But that same statement is also translated as "the Kingdom is AMONG you," which points to something about relationships.

    It's not enough to respect others and show them politeness. It may also not be enough to be empathic or compassionate toward them. It is essential to love them. (See Luke 10:25-28) This may mean giving up the desire to be loved, just as loving G-d may mean giving up the desire to be saved.

    That's just me free associating. Since the OP appears in the "comparative Studies" area, I suppose we need to make comparisons between different religions. I'll have to think about that.....
     
  7. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    If someone could describe the human experience of being saved in psychological terms that would be great.

    Chris
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Can we not read both simultaneously? Can the 'within' point to the vertical axis, and the ontology of being, whereas the 'among' signifies the horizontal and relational aspect?

    One aspect of being that is largely absent from pre-modern philosophy is the idea of the person as an individual, primarily because the pre-moderns did not see the person in quite the same way ... but an emerging strand is that which defines one of the qualities of being as such as self-communicative.

    In meontology, the apophatic metaphysics of being (as opposed to ontology which is cataphatic) you arrive at the position that if you strip away all the categories from a being, its colour, size, shape, humour, etc., you're left with ... nothing ... not that there is nothing there, but there is nothing, other than contingent generalities, that you can 'get a handle on' to understand who or what that being is ...

    Being in the world also means communicating one's being to others ... I think, as you point out, that love is an absolute in that sense, its the total communication of self — the gift of self — to another — hadn't seen it quite like that before ...

    As you say, politeness, empathy or even compassion, as commonly understood, falls short of that mark.

    I wonder then, is the opposite of such absolute love is not hate, but power, the desire to possess the other absolutely, without giving anything of oneself?

    Salvation then is the total and absolute gift of self to the Other? I think every mystic poet of every tradition would nod at that, and probably what the Moslem understands by the term Islam, whereas we read it rather superficially as 'Submission' ... it's not what you do, it's why you do it ... ?

    Thomas
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Does that not require that psychology in question should encompass the idea of being saved, before one can arrive at a psychologically satisfactory explanation?

    If the system itself is inadequate, beyond its immediate need, then one cannot arrive at a satisfactory answer.

    On the other hand, traditional philosophical or spiritual systems have an adequate and viable psychological component ... if psychology was absent from Buddhism, for example, then meditation would be a very dangerous game indeed — at least in Russian roulette you understand what a gun does ...

    On the TV series 'The Monastery', the psychological dimension was in plain sight, and stunningly powerful in some aspects.

    The Greek epic 'The Odyssey' is a complete and sophisticated psychological allegory ... but then so are all the Greek myths.

    So I think I'm saying contemporary psychology is profoundly blinkered if it doesn't accept the possibility that there might be something in religion — after all it seems there's as much if not more evidence to support religion as there is to support psychology.

    I tend to regard it as going through an adolescent phase, believing itself to be too young, new and dynamic, to need to listen to the advice of its elders...

    (What's the current scandal in the US about all the members of one of the upper-echelon governing boards of psychology, which publishes a guideline on the identification and treatment of disorders? That every member of the board is in receipt of not insubstantial fees from the pharmaceutical industry — if not one company in the industry — and ... whaddaya know ... every treatment involves a drug regime?)

    And then there's the 'get rich quick' modern approach: Someone was lamenting on the news recently that the 'answers' to the classic koans had been posted on the internet, as if simply knowing the right answer is all a koan is about ... whereas others would say the koan is a profound and powerful psychological device ... I know someone who flirted with suicide as a result of a koan (picked up from a book), but then he was a Virgo, and they can be a royal pain, as far as this Pisces is concerned!

    Thomas
     
  10. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Couldn't we substitute terms like neurosis, transference, repression and so forth for terms like sin, salvation, grace etc? Not necessarily a one for one swap, but couldn't we use the language of psychology when constructing definitions, or must the language also remain arcane?

    Chris
     
  11. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I think that would fall short. Psychology is wrapped up in everything humans do, and I belive that religions often are a 'management process' for psychological needs. I think that is a good thing. It is a terrible thing to live with existential angst.

    But, it is not logically necessary to conclude that because religions and faith serve to stablize us psychologically that that is the only thing they are about.

    Eating is pleasurable and is central to much of our social interaction. But that is not all that eating is about.
     
  12. Janz

    Janz What's Amatta U

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    Excellent topic. I would like to ask the question: What is love? What does love look like? Does love have any actions connected with it..meaning is it possible to "love" a person but never want to be with that person? What is tough love? unconditional love? Is it possible to love people but dislike the human condition? Is it even possible to love one another? Out of love, Jesus sacrificed himself so that humanity could be restored to wholeness with God and with each other. I have always believed that salvation is both vertical and horizontal and yet, I don't have the energy to be a member of a church body. I find people to be tiresome and draining on an individual level but yet I weep when I hear about their suffering (mainly on the news) or when I read about their story, it moves me. I love humanity in the abstract but dealing with human beings on the day to day level is annoying. Maybe it is because I am an introvert and even the Spirit of God cannot transform our temperament since that is how we were created.
     
  13. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    I think GC Jung may have done that.


    Well, not quite. The problem that requires salvation is the ego-centric way of being. I think a truly integral and centered way of being would mean taking a genuine interest in oneself and developing a capacity to love oneself AND others. A genuine love for others can be an emanation of healthy self-love.

    I was reading on how infants' autonomy may be impaired by the mother feeding the child on HER schedule rather than the child's. This can cause a lot of confusion for th child and a sense of being not respected as a person because one's preferences were always getting ignored. This sense of not being respected as a person in turn can cause more confusion.

    I would include healthy autonomy and overcoming the tendency to compulsively react against perceived external impositions as an aspect of salvation.
     
  14. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Janz,

    I hope you are feeling better today.

    That God is Love is the center of my faith, but I still realize that love has an element of perspective to it. However, I would still say that there is such a thing as true Love (not just subjective love) and we may do things that hurt each other and call it 'love,' but it is not.

    Love is a choice.

    Love is an action.

    Love is wanting the best for others, not just what we might think is best.

    St. Paul said it best.

    Dealing with humans on a day to day level is annoying! It is not easy to love the unlovely, the difficult, the crabby the cranky and the selfish! That is why I think it falls short to say that we must feel love for it to be real. It's great when we have warm feelings of love, but we can still choose to love people when they bug us! And, in the case of abuse and violence, love them from a distance, or love them behind bars.

    The love of God can cross any distance, and if being a member of a church is not for you that is not going to stop God from loving you, or from you loving God (I know this is obvious to you...just trying to address your questions). Whenever you love you love with God's love, because God is the source of all love.

    As for transformation, I think it is possible for all the ways that are important. You don't need to transform into an extrovert. But, we can hope for real change in our lives as we try to align our will with God's love.
     
  15. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Salvation (to me) is realising.... You -DON'T- need to be saved. When you realise you ARE free. You owe nothing to no one or no -thing-.

    Salvation is NOT (to me) A slow tortuous waiting game of false hope and promise... It's not a thing you MUST earn. It's not a thing you must be SELECTED for. There is no membership.... No list.... No record... No log... :/ To me that is lol.

    If you insist on waiting for a mythical being to descend from the void above.... That is your call... But, you really want a prejudice, petty and grudgeful "saviour" Hmmm takes all kinds I guess.

    Save yourself... Get off your fat asses and quit waiting for someone else to clean this **** up.... Cause buddy.... lol He ain't freaking coming lol.
     
  16. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    i think that there is a lot of confusion about this, I know that I am confused, so lets say salvation is being saved from your false self and realizing your true self which is divine.
     
  17. Mesenja

    Mesenja New Member

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    "Salvation cannot come without revelation. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell,and have never seen either;and I will say that no man knows these things without this." Joseph Smith,Jr.

    “Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world,and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come,then we are saved.” Joseph Smith,Jr.
     
  18. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    Who is Joseph Smith Jr ?
     
  19. Mesenja

    Mesenja New Member

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    The Mormon Prophet

    Joseph Smith,Jr. (December 23,1805–June 27,1844) was the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement,also known as Mormonism
     
  20. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    Re: The Mormon Prophet

    thanks never realised he was Jr, something interesting stuff he had to say about salvation.
     

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