Nick_A wrote:Hi Lilly
Please remember that this is an interview rather then a debate. When I ask these questions, don't take them as a challenge but rather as an invitation for clarification. My purpose is neither to agree or disagree but to understand your beliefs.
The Internet is good for stereotyping and fundamentalism on many sites has an unfavorable connotation for many. You are showing that a Fundamentalist can be a nice thoughtful person with good intentions.
Thank you. I think we are all fundamentalists, it just depends on what fundamentals you believe in. I believe in the fundamental teachings of Jesus as presented in the Bible. I would have to leave the teachings of Christ to kill, condemn, hate or oppress others. I realize many have done just that in the name of God and of Christ, but in my view they left his teachings to do so.
Here Jesus is praying for his disciples. He is moving to the next stage where his disciples will be left in a sinful world without him and prays for the Father to protect them from the sinfulness of man. Jesus' disciples have been given the gospel message to take to the world and to call out men from all nations to follow God's Anointed.
Do you take this to mean just reciting scripture as sufficient or also having acquired a certain inner growth that allows scripture to live?
I don't see anything about reciting scripture, nor do I see anything about inner growth. Jesus is simply asking the Father to watch over his disciples as they accomplish the task they have been given. It is God's will that they do this. It is Jesus who has gathered them and given them a task. It is they who will accomplish the task and God's will shall be done on earth.
I've always liked this passage by Meister Eckhart
People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.
I don't know the context of these remarks or the author, but the remarks themselves that I read here fall short for me. He is right that if you are righteous in heart, then your deeds will be righteous. What we do is a reflection of who we are. However, in my view no man is righteous. All have sinned and therefore all need a Savior. John writes, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Since we all sin, and our deeds are a reflection of who we are, then by conclusion we are sinners. Therefore, you need more than to merely work on being righteous. You need to be made righteous, and this is the work God sent his Son to do in us. In my view, we trust God to make us righteous. We cannot do it ourselves. That is our faith.
From this perspective it seems that an emphasis must be placed on what we ARE which gives the Christian value to what we do.
This is why Jesus came. He came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness and make us righteous. Once made righteous, our works will be good. This is God's salvation for mankind.
You misunderstood the question. I didn't mean to imply that you would side with terrorists. I was only questioning the value of faith. It seems that as it is normally understood, it can be double edged.
It would depend on what your faith was in. My faith is in Jesus and his teachings as presented in the Bible. If my faith were in the Catholic Church and the authority of the Popes, then I might be able to justify the Spanish Inquisition. However, as I compare the teachings of Christ to the actions taken during the Spanish Inquisition, I see no basis for such a thing coming from Jesus. To do what they did, they had to leave the teachings of Jesus.
But you must admit that Jesus said we have little faith if any at all. The apostles who believed asked to have their faith increased. Jesus said the Centurion had great faith. It seems as though that there is something underneath this concept of faith that may be underestimated. I'm only asking now if as a fundamentalist, do you believe you have acquired either the faith of the centurion or what the apostles asked for more of?
The faith of the Roman Centurion who commanded a hundred Roman soldiers was to believe that Jesus, a Jew, was the Christ of God who had the power and authority to heal the sick. Jesus' own Jewish apostles, on the other hand, believed Jesus was the Christ but then often doubted that Jesus had the power and authority to do what was required. They doubted. I have faith that Jesus is the Christ, and I'm learning to trust God in his leading of my life.
The natural question now is how Fundamentalism has benefited and affected your life and your relations with others?
I live by the morals laid out by Christ and he empowers me to be able to do it.
But isn't this why the Christian seeks the direct experience of gnosis?
I'm not a gnostic or a mystic. I don't believe I'm a soul trapped in a material world. I don't believe I can do certain things in order to have a direct experience with God. In my mind that's like saying I can control God if I pray harder, or deny myself, or meditate. My goal is to seek God's will for me and obey him. I want to do his will. If he chooses to reveal himself to me I would love that. But it's his choice, not mine. I will trust and believe in him whether I have a direct experience or not.
Would you accept the possibility that Simone had a genuine Christian experience?
That certainly isn't up to me to judge. I'll leave that to God.
I am only speaking theoretically here and not referring to you. But is Christianity primarily beliefs or an experience? If it is an experience can it be shared without first experiencing and retaining it? Would you admit the possibility that there is great danger for those that diminish a person new to Christianity by stressing beliefs?
We become Christians through faith in Jesus as the Christ. Faith = belief = trust. Jesus said, "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." Fundamentally Christianity is about faith, or belief, in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the empowerment of our spirits so that we can do the will of God from the heart--so that we ARE righteous. Romans 4 teaches us why faith is necessary.
Jesus isn't referring to a child in the normal usage but rather as one who is new to what Jesus brought. They are vulnerable to those with beliefs but lacking the substance of understanding. I've often wondered if some people doing exactly this have the slightest awareness of it.
Do you and fundamentalism in general have a similar concern for the damage that can be done to a new one through beliefs?
It depends on the beliefs. Let's be honest. Those who believe they can experience God through meditation and prayer, or whatever, have a belief. They just think it's the right belief. I have a belief. I believe that Jesus died for our sins so we can be reconciled to God and live righteously. I think those who believe and teach others that the right way is to seek to experience God may do harm to the vulnerable among us. That is not the right way in my view. Someone else may thing the right way is to seek an experience and my way of faith may harm the weak. We both have a belief. Who's right?