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Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith
The Barna Group ^ | January 12, 2009

Posted on 01/12/2009 5:52:48 AM PST by Sopater


Image courtesy of istockphoto. click for info



Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith

January 12, 2009

(Ventura, California) - For much of America’s history, the assumption was that if you were born in America, you would affiliate with the Christian faith. A new nationwide survey by The Barna Group, however, indicates that people’s views have changed. The study discovered that half of all adults now contend that Christianity is just one of many options that Americans choose from and that a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs. Still, most people say their faith is becoming increasingly important as a source of personal moral guidance.

Choosing a Faith

The survey shows half of Americans believe the Christian faith no longer has a lock on people’s hearts. Overall, 50% of the adults interviewed agreed that Christianity is no longer the faith that Americans automatically accept as their personal faith, while just 44% disagreed and 6% were not sure.

Two-thirds of evangelical Christians (64%) and three out of every five Hispanics (60%) embraced that position, making them the groups most convinced of the shift in America’s default faith. The study also showed that residents of the Northeast and West were much more likely than those from the South and Midwest to assert that Christianity has lost its place as the first faith option people consider. People who said they are politically conservative, however, saw things differently than did the rest of the country: a slight majority of conservatives claimed that Christianity remains the natural choice of most Americans.

Faith and Moral Guidance

By an overwhelming margin - 74% to 23% - adults agreed that their religious faith was becoming even more important to them than it used to be as a source of objective and reliable moral guidance.

This perspective was championed by born again Christians: 91% concurred with the survey statement. In contrast, just two-thirds of the people who consider themselves to be Christian but are not born again (67%) embraced this view, and only four out of every ten Americans (39%) who do not affiliate with Christianity also said their faith has increasing influence on their moral judgments.

A sizeable majority of almost every subgroup of the population accepted this perspective as an accurate representation of their personal experience. African Americans were the ethnic group most supportive of the notion (84%). Conservatives (84%) were far more likely than either political moderates (70%) or liberals (65%) to agree - although comfortable majorities of those segments adopted the same view as conservatives.

Choosing Specific Beliefs

The United States has well over 200 different Christian denominations, a testimony to the historic importance people have attached to doctrinal accuracy. But things have changed dramatically in recent decades. The Barna survey underscored the fact that people no longer look to denominations or churches to offer a slate of theological views that the individual adopts in its entirety.

By a three to one margin (71% to 26%) adults noted that they are personally more likely to develop their own set of religious beliefs than to accept a comprehensive set of beliefs taught by a particular church. Although born again Christians were among the segments least likely to adopt the a la carte approach to beliefs, a considerable majority even of born again adults (61%) has taken that route. Leading the charge in the move to customize one’s package of beliefs are people under the age of 25, among whom more than four out of five (82%) said they develop their own combination of beliefs rather than adopt a set proposed by a church.

Evidence of people’s willingness to part with church teaching was shown in other data from the survey regarding what people believe. Among individuals who describe themselves as Christian, for instance, close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on earth, two-fifths say they do not have a responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, and one-quarter dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.

Implications of the Research

Asked to describe what the research means for American society today, researcher George Barna offered several insights.

  1. The Christian faith is less of a life perspective that challenges the supremacy of individualism as it is a faith being defined through individualism. Americans are increasingly comfortable picking and choosing what they deem to be helpful and accurate theological views and have become comfortable discarding the rest of the teachings in the Bible.

  2. Growing numbers of people now serve as their own theologian-in-residence. One consequence is that Americans are embracing an unpredictable and contradictory body of beliefs. Barna pointed out, as examples, that millions of people who consider themselves to be Christian now believe that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the lessons it teaches at the same time that they believe Jesus Christ sinned. Millions also contend that they will experience eternal salvation because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior, but also believe that a person can do enough good works to earn eternal salvation.

  3. In the past, when most people determined their theological and moral points of view, the alternatives from which they chose were exclusively of Christian options - e.g., the Methodist point of view, the Baptist perspective, Catholic teaching, and so forth. Today, Americans are more likely to pit a variety of non-Christian options against various Christian-based views. This has resulted in an abundance of unique worldviews based on personal combinations of theology drawn from a smattering of world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam as well as secularism.

  4. Faith, of whatever variety, is increasingly viral rather than pedagogical. With people spending less time reading the Bible, and becoming less engaged in activities that deepen their biblical literacy, faith views are more often adopted on the basis of dialogue, self-reflection, and observation than teaching. Feelings and emotions now play a significant role in the development of people’s faith views - in many cases, much more significant than information-based exercises such as listening to preaching and participating in Bible study.

Related Resources

Tyndale House Publishers has just released a new book by George Barna and Bill Dallas, entitled Lessons from San Quentin . This book describes the journey taken by Dallas, a young, aggressive entrepreneur who quickly built a highly successful career - and just as quickly wound up in prison because of his illegal financial dealings. As his self-indulgent, no-holds-barred lifestyle came to a crashing end, so did his self-reliance and moral certainty. Lessons from San Quentin describes not only Dallas’s rise from rags to riches and then his crash and burn phases, but also his restoration through his exploration of Christianity and the tutelage of a group of men sentenced to life imprisonment in San Quentin. During those years, Dallas discovered, experimented with and ultimately embraced a body of biblical principles that have served him well ever since, particularly in his current role as founder and president of Church Communication Network (CCN), the largest satellite-based church training network in North America.

About the Research

This report is based upon telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group with a random sample of 1,004 adults selected from across the continental United States, age 18 and older, in August 2008. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the aggregate sample to known population percentages in relation to several key demographic variables.

“Born again Christians"{ were defined as people who said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that was still important in their life today and who also indicated they believed that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "born again."

“Evangelicals" meet the born again criteria (described above) plus seven other conditions. Those include saying their faith is very important in their life today; believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; believing that Satan exists; believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent upon church attendance or the denominational affiliation of the church attended. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as "evangelical."

The Barna Group, Ltd. (which includes its research division, The Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization that conducts primary research, produces resources pertaining to cultural change and spiritual development, and facilitates the healthy spiritual growth of leaders, children, families and Christian ministries. Located in Ventura, California, Barna has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each new, bi-monthly update on the latest research findings from The Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website www.barna.org. Additional research-based resources, both free and at discounted prices, are also available through that website.

© The Barna Group, Ltd, 2009.

Copyright Disclaimer: All the information contained on the barna.org website is copyrighted by The Barna Group, Ltd., 1957 Eastman Ave. Ste B, Ventura, California 93003. No portion of this website (articles, graphs, charts, reviews, pictures, video clips, quotes, statistics, etc.) may be reproduced, retransmitted, disseminated, sold, distributed, published, edited, altered, changed, broadcast, circulated, or commercially exploited without the prior written permission from The Barna Group, Ltd.





TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: 2008polls; barna; christendom; christianity; faith; moralrelativism
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Psalms 33:12 -
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.


Wherever that nation may now be...
1 posted on 01/12/2009 5:52:50 AM PST by Sopater
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To: Sopater

Europe has long since lost its faith. The USA is close behind and will suffer the consequences. No faith, no morals, no law.


2 posted on 01/12/2009 5:55:48 AM PST by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: Sopater

The world won’t be right again until a Great Awakening sweeps away the darkness. Personally, I think Christ will return before we get that chance.


3 posted on 01/12/2009 5:59:50 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: Sopater

Thanks for your post. I’m always interested in Barna’s reseach and analysis.

The following quote is unfortunately something that is very true:

“With people spending less time reading the Bible, and becoming less engaged in activities that deepen their biblical literacy, faith views are more often adopted on the basis of dialogue, self-reflection, and observation than teaching. Feelings and emotions now play a significant role in the development of people’s faith views - in many cases, much more significant than information-based exercises such as listening to preaching and participating in Bible study”


4 posted on 01/12/2009 6:03:09 AM PST by leftyontheright
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To: Sopater

How do we know this isn’t just the way it’s supposed to be, and that this is the way God wants it?


5 posted on 01/12/2009 6:05:58 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: Sopater

bookmark


6 posted on 01/12/2009 6:14:48 AM PST by DocRock (All they that TAKE the sword shall perish with the sword. Matthew 26:52 Gun grabbers beware.)
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To: Sopater

If Christianity was someone’s ‘default faith’, then they weren’t really Christian to begin with. They just played one ‘on TV’.


7 posted on 01/12/2009 6:15:52 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: leftyontheright
That is a perilous quote from the article.

Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.
8 posted on 01/12/2009 6:19:13 AM PST by AD from SpringBay (We deserve the government we allow.)
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To: Sopater

It’s been creeping up on us since the 1950’s but few have noticed it.

I once saw a New Testament curriculum for Texas public schools in the 1940’s. Students had to pass a New Testament class in order to graduate high school! It didn’t matter what religious faith you came from. Political correctness ruined that. Then they took prayer out of the public schools in the early 1960’s and that was it. The stage was set for total apostacy.


9 posted on 01/12/2009 6:19:30 AM PST by deannadurbin
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To: Sopater

The problem is that, over the past half-century, many protestant churches worked hard to become irrelevant to the people they were designed to serve.


10 posted on 01/12/2009 6:20:24 AM PST by Rudder (The Main Stream Media is Our Enemy---get used to it.)
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To: Rudder

I wouldn’t limit it to just protestant churches. :)


11 posted on 01/12/2009 6:23:10 AM PST by deannadurbin
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To: Sopater
Probably true

C.S. Lewis once estimated that only
10% of England was practicing Christian
(in the 1950’s).

This would probably be a good
ballpark estimate for the USA also.

12 posted on 01/12/2009 6:42:22 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: Sopater

In my grandmother’s day there was a saying about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I’ve not heard it in use for several years now, but it really fits the situation outlined in this article.

Those very religious beliefs and practices helped to make America the greatest nation in history. They are discarded at our peril.


13 posted on 01/12/2009 6:47:17 AM PST by jwparkerjr (God Bless America!)
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To: Sopater
The default faith (at least for 53% of the electorate) is now SOCIALISM.
14 posted on 01/12/2009 6:48:20 AM PST by bassmaner (Hey commies: I am a white male, and I am guilty of NOTHING! Sell your 'white guilt' elsewhere.)
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To: stuartcr
How do we know this isn’t just the way it’s supposed to be, and that this is the way God wants it?

Of course, we all have the God given ability to believe as we choose. I choose to believe the bible, and according to the scriptures, this is not what God wants.

15 posted on 01/12/2009 6:50:52 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: stuartcr
How do we know this isn’t just the way it’s supposed to be, and that this is the way God wants it?

Although it's all going exactly the way that God said that it would, it doesn't mean that that's necessarily the way that He wants it.

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
16 posted on 01/12/2009 7:00:48 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Don Corleone

The vast majority of the world’s great powers fell only after the people had become immoral and wicked.


17 posted on 01/12/2009 7:02:27 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Obama is living proof that stupid people should not be allowed to vote.)
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To: leftyontheright
"Feelings and emotions now play a significant role in the development of people’s faith views..."

What we are now witnessing is the loss of faith in God which is being replaced by the self-centered faith served up by the Democrat Party. "Feelings and emotions" along with "what's in it for me" is the essemce of the Democrat's winning message.

18 posted on 01/12/2009 7:02:34 AM PST by Obadiah
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To: MEGoody

I really don’t like the term “default faith” either. Many religions believe that children born to their members are also members of that faith. Not so with Christianity. However, there was a time that it was assumed that if you grew up in America, that you would adhere to the Christian faith. As this article points out, that is no longer the case.


19 posted on 01/12/2009 7:04:25 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Don Corleone

Christianity is slowly being replaced by the Church of Global Warming and hedonism.


20 posted on 01/12/2009 7:18:25 AM PST by LottieDah (If only those who speak so eloquently on the rights of animals would do so on behalf of the unborn.)
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To: Sopater

America is not longer a Christian nation, though there is a remnant, we MUCH reach out to neighbors, friends, family. I hope God sends a revival to this land becuase right now the majority of Americans (picking my own plank here, but I humbly contend) most Americans are going to hell, and need to repent, hear with their ears, confess with their mouth, and turn to Christ!..


21 posted on 01/12/2009 8:10:22 AM PST by JSDude1
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To: MEGoody

I find it hard, if not impossible, to equate belief with knowledge.


22 posted on 01/12/2009 8:19:54 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: Sopater

Please see my #22.


23 posted on 01/12/2009 8:24:11 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
I find it hard, if not impossible, to equate belief with knowledge.

Not equal, but knowledge is a factor in what I believe.
24 posted on 01/12/2009 8:38:24 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Sopater

How do you show others the part of what you believe, is factual?


25 posted on 01/12/2009 8:55:49 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
I find it hard, if not impossible, to equate belief with knowledge.

I understand. But the world often operates on belief, even in the realm of science. (Example: evolution is a belief that certain interpretations of evidence are correct.)

26 posted on 01/12/2009 9:04:06 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: stuartcr
How do you show others the part of what you believe, is factual?

I'm not sure I know what you mean.
27 posted on 01/12/2009 9:07:48 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Sopater

How do you show others that your belief is factual? As an example, what facts do you use to show that this is not necessarily the way God wants things to happen? If using the bible as a reference, how do you show people that the bible is correct in this?


28 posted on 01/12/2009 9:24:18 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: MEGoody

So, while many have and operate under differing beliefs, there really is no way of knowing if anyone is actually correct?


29 posted on 01/12/2009 9:50:21 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
How do you show others that your belief is factual?

If by "belief" you mean my "faith", I can't prove that what I believe is factual, but the facts support my belief.

As an example, what facts do you use to show that this is not necessarily the way God wants things to happen? If using the bible as a reference, how do you show people that the bible is correct in this?

God gives us commands because He wants us to follow them. He wants us to fellowship with Him and see Him for Who He is.
James 4:5-8
5 - Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "[1]He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"?
6 - But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
7 - Submit therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The bible talks about how God is angry when we reject His ways. I can't see how this could be what He wants.
Zephaniah 3:8
"Therefore wait for Me," declares the LORD,
"For the day when I rise up as a witness
Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,
To assemble kingdoms,
To pour out on them My indignation,
All My burning anger;
For all the earth will be devoured
By the fire of My zeal.

30 posted on 01/12/2009 11:58:11 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Sopater

How do you show or prove to others, that what you believe to be God’s commands, really are God’s commands?


31 posted on 01/12/2009 12:00:58 PM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
So, while many have and operate under differing beliefs, there really is no way of knowing if anyone is actually correct?

We will find out. ;)

32 posted on 01/12/2009 12:23:51 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Sopater

If you look at the numbers it is all “holier than thou” opinions of Americans about the faith of other Americans, not surprisingly the “holier than thou” contingent found the faith of other Americans ‘not sufficiently Christian’.

When asked about their own particular faith, the majority of Americans say they are Christian.

Apparently, when asked about the faith of their neighbors, the majority of Americans don’t think their neighbors are Christian enough.


33 posted on 01/12/2009 12:30:39 PM PST by allmendream (Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?)
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To: stuartcr
How do you show or prove to others, that what you believe to be God’s commands, really are God’s commands?

I believe that God spoke to mankind through the Bible. His commands are recorded there.
34 posted on 01/12/2009 12:41:35 PM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: MEGoody

Maybe, thanks.


35 posted on 01/12/2009 1:33:06 PM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: Sopater

I understand that is what you believe, but how would you convey that to others, as actual knowledge and not just a belief?


36 posted on 01/12/2009 1:37:42 PM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
There is a great deal of historical and archaeological evidence that supports the veracity of the Bible, however the best way that I can convey to others that it is truly the word of the one true God is by the evidence of my personal life and the changes that He has made in it.

Also, the fact that the apostles, the men who knew Jesus firsthand, were willing to die for what they believed. What they believed is documented in the New Testament of the bible. The fulfilled prophecy of the Old Testament is evidence for it's authenticity.

37 posted on 01/12/2009 1:46:24 PM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Sopater

Many have died for their beliefs, even non-Christians, but I suppose if someone knew you personally, then that may convey something of a message. Thanks


38 posted on 01/12/2009 5:39:22 PM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

You said — “Personally, I think Christ will return before we get that chance.”

Yes, indeed..., I think Christ is on the way for the Rapture, then comes the 7-year Tribulation (known as Jacob’s Trouble, too) and then Christ returns back to earth, on solid ground and wipes out Islam and all the Muslims in a bloody war that kills millions upon millions of them, before He returns to Jerusalem, ruling over Israel on the Throne of David, and to set up His world-wide government ruling over all the nations (the ones that still remain, who haven’t been wiped out, as the Muslim nations have been, at His hand...).


39 posted on 01/12/2009 7:23:53 PM PST by Star Traveler
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To: Star Traveler

Seems that since God knows whats going to happen, He could have saved a lot of lives, by just not letting us develop religions.


40 posted on 01/13/2009 4:32:44 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr

God does not micromanage us. We manage that quite handily ourselves. For fifty years, we have given our children over to the enemy. Is it any wonder that they now wish to be like them? Is this God’s punishment or the result of our own actions? Both?

Sins are sins because they’re destructive to the sinner, not because pious people are afraid someone, somewhere is having a good time.


41 posted on 01/13/2009 5:04:34 AM PST by TheOldLady
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To: TheOldLady

While God may not micromanage us, I believe that He created a pre-determined path for each of us to follow. Since God can neither be denied nor wrong, we have no choice but to follow the path He created for each of us.


42 posted on 01/13/2009 5:26:46 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr
"While God may not micromanage us, I believe that He created a pre-determined path for each of us to follow. Since God can neither be denied nor wrong, we have no choice but to follow the path He created for each of us."

Sorry, I don't buy predestination. We have free will, and though God knows what we're going to do with it, he does not destroy it by preordaining what we do. Otherwise, why Heaven and Hell? If God already created everyone's destiny, why bother with the messy life-on-earth thingy? Just go straight to sorting everyone out, up or down.

43 posted on 01/13/2009 7:27:25 AM PST by TheOldLady
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To: stuartcr
Many have died for their beliefs, even non-Christians

Sure, many have died for what they believed to be true, but how many have died for something that they knew to be untrue? The apostles knew whether or not their claim that Jesus was resurrected from the dead was true or not. They went to their deaths defending their assertion that He was the Son of God.
44 posted on 01/13/2009 7:27:47 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: TheOldLady

When I was a kid we had Choose Your Own Adventure books. You would read the book and make choices on the way that led to a different story ending. I think that’s how God works with us. A case of if you go this way this will happen. That way, this will happen. He just knows all the scenarios.


45 posted on 01/13/2009 7:32:25 AM PST by HungarianGypsy (When I write a story my characters like to go off and do their own thing.)
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To: TheOldLady

Well, it’s a good thing I’m not selling it. It just happens to be what I believe.

Why heaven and hell? I don’t believe in hell, and I hope there’s a heaven.

You’ll have to ask God about the why...I’m guessing you get a different answer than I did.


46 posted on 01/13/2009 7:32:39 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: Sopater

I can’t give you the names, but I’m willing to bet, that lots of people have died for what they knew wasn’t true or at least didn’t know for sure.


47 posted on 01/13/2009 7:34:19 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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To: stuartcr

You said — “Seems that since God knows whats going to happen, He could have saved a lot of lives, by just not letting us develop religions.”

Well..., one way would be to have God *directly control* how people choose things like religions for themselves (and whether they want to choose what the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has provided for salvation through the Messiah of Israel) — versus — choosing whatever they want on their own free accord, even if it results in their own pain and suffering and killing and murders, and ending finally in eternal separation from God, in the lake of fire.

Our Creator God, the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob, has given the “choice” to people to choose God’s offer of salvation, freely (on their own) through Jesus, the Messiah of Israel — or — to choose their own way, their own “religion” (which is what it is), even if they are misguided and deceived and are hell-bent on their own self-destruction.

God’s plan was to give “choice” in the matter so that those who are “with God” eternally, in the end, are those who wish to be with God and have accepted that salvation that He has offered through His Son, the Messiah of Israel.

The problem goes a lot further than simply a few false religions and people hell-bent on destroying themselves. It goes way back to the beginning pages of the Bible where sin first entered into God’s perfect creation (as He knew it would, and thus, He had already provided the “way of salvation” even before He created the entirety of creation.

Jesus said that one should not worry about one’s death. That’s not the problem. He said the real thing to worry about is the “second death” which results in the lake of fire and eternal separation from God. So, all these people who are dying, are actually part of the “first death” — which comes to all of mankind, regardless of whether they have accepted God’s plan of salvation through His Son, Jesus, the Messiah of Israel — or — they have decided to go their own way of a false religion.

The “key” is the “second death” (after judgement) and whether one will be eternally with God, or forever separated from God in the lake of fire. God had already pronounced the judgement of “death” (i.e., the “first death”) upon mankind, back in the beginning. It’s the “second death” which is determined by the individual themselves.

This is the “plan” that God is following to rid the world of all sin and pain and death and suffering, by allowing Satan and his evil angels to carry through their lies (in the form of false religions) and death and destruction, to bring out, to the fullest, the results of what is accomplished by Satan’s lies. Then God brings His full judgement, during that 7-year Tribulation time, which He says He has *saved up* from the beginning, all the way until that time. All the judgement that God has not deservedly given out, throughout human history is going to be *fully dispensed* at this particular time. That’s a lot of judgement and will be a fearsome time, to be sure.

It’s at the end, and when all things have been accomplished, as God has already told us ahead of time, in the Bible, that all living and all of creation will be brought back to the perfection and sinlessness of the beginning of creation. There will be no more death, pain, destruction and/or sin in the world, in all of creation — any more — after that time (that time of full completion).

So, God allows the sin which started in the beginning to have its *full fruition* — at which time God puts a complete and total end to it, people having seen (for themselves) over the course of human history that all things that they have tried, apart from God, has utterly failed. When all has been tried and all has finally failed — God steps in and puts an end to it all. Those who have chosen to reject God will be eternally separated from Him and those who have chosen to be with God (according to how He has provided) will be with Him in eternal life and joy and happiness in a world that is without sin, pain, death or suffering...


48 posted on 01/13/2009 7:39:24 AM PST by Star Traveler
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To: stuartcr
I’m willing to bet, that lots of people have died for what they knew wasn’t true or at least didn’t know for sure.

Didn't know for sure? Absolutely, that's faith.

Knew to be a lie or untrue? Only if they felt that they were protecting someone I'd imagine. However, for all of the apostles (except John) to be martyred without renouncing makes it very near impossible for me to believe that they knew it not to be true.
49 posted on 01/13/2009 7:55:16 AM PST by Sopater (I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face.)
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To: Star Traveler

Thanks. Personally, I don’t know enough to be able to definitively say ‘this is what God wants...’, like you do.


50 posted on 01/13/2009 8:26:33 AM PST by stuartcr (If the end doesn't justify the means...why have different means?)
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