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Why Christians Don't Understand Non-Christians
ArGee | 1/3/01 | ArGee

Posted on 01/03/2002 11:19:13 AM PST by ArGee

A very rich man decided that he wanted to show kindness to the people of the fair city where he lived. Since he was very rich indeed, he decided to throw a banquet for the entire city. He rented the largest sports arena in the city and began his plans. He planned for huge amounts of the best food possible, making allowances for every religious and medical diet. He advertised the banquet in every possible manner - television, radio, billboard, door-to-door canvassing. Considering that there might be some who could not travel, he arranged for free bus transportation to and from the event, and some special-needs vehicles for all who could not ride busses. He even scheduled the banquet to run for 24 hours a day for several days so that everyone could be sure of being served.

He planned long and hard and finally the big day came. The rich man ate quickly and then went about wishing all his guests well and personally making sure that all had every need met. After a while he went outside to tour the grounds and talk with those who had not yet gone in, and those who had already left. Everyone was happy. Many were profusely thankful. It was a glorious occasion.

At one point the rich man noticed a group of people sitting outside a locked door with most unpleasant looks on their faces. Sensing they were not happy, he went over to them. He did not introduce himself but simply asked them if he could be of service.

"We want to go in through this door," one of them replied.

The rich man explained to them that the hall was arranged to feed a large number of people as quickly and effortlessly as possible. This required order inside, and the entrances and exits had been carefully planned to be as efficient as possible. He then offered to go call one of the golf carts that were avaialbe to help people who could not walk far to take them to the entrance. But the man replied, "We do not want to go in the entrance. We want to go in this door. We don't understand why we can't go in any door we wish. We think the man who set this banquet up is mean and hateful for insisting we go in through the entrance. He has tried to bill himself as a very kind man by offering this banquet, but he is not kind at all if he will not indulge us and let us go through this door.

The rich man was distressed at these words, but still attempted to please these people. He tried once more to explain to them what was behind this particular door, and how if they went in this door they would disrupt the meal service being offered inside. He offered to drive them himself, not only to the door, but inside the hall to their tables if they would only go through the entrance to enjoy the meal. Again the man said, "No, but only a hateful man would keep us from going through the door of our choosing. And we will sit here and tell anyone who will listen to us what an awful man he is until he lets us in."

At that the rich man was enraged and he shouted, "Enough." Then he called a police officer to have them thrown off of the property and ordered that they not be allowed to return until the banquet was over and all the scraps had been hauled away. Then, mourning for their loss, he turned to visit with other guests.


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I have always wanted to explain this, but it is a little long for a reply in a thread. When someone tells me how evil G-d is for sending non-Christians to hell, I view them as the person outside the locked door who refuses to go through the entrance, even though G-d has done everything possible to make the entrance easy to go through.

And, I admit I just don't understand that.

Shalom.

1 posted on 01/03/2002 11:19:16 AM PST by ArGee
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To: JMJ333; EODGUY; proud2bRC; RnMomof7
Friends, If you see a problem in this little story, please let me know what it is so that I can correct it. If you think it is accurate and useful, please invite your non-Christian friends to the thread. I'd like to know what they think.

Shalom.

2 posted on 01/03/2002 11:23:59 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
Wonderful illustration, ArGee.
3 posted on 01/03/2002 11:25:41 AM PST by rdb3
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To: ArGee
Wow !.....very persuasive updated version of one of Jesus's parables.......I can hardly wait to read all the vitriolic responses......
4 posted on 01/03/2002 11:27:52 AM PST by Texas Eagle
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To: ArGee
Your analogy is very good up until the rich man yells "Enough!" Our Lord never gives up on us, no matter how many times we turn away from Him. He always gives us the opportunity "to go through the correct door."

Perhaps a better ending would be to have the "group of people sitting outside the locked door" spend eternity smelling the delicious food at the banquet but NEVER getting to taste it.

5 posted on 01/03/2002 11:34:57 AM PST by vrwinger
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To: ArGee
Nice story Argee.

Perhaps you can tell some of the Biblical Christians around here that the enterance may very well include LDSers and Catholics. As well as not affilliated with a Religion Christians.

6 posted on 01/03/2002 11:35:43 AM PST by francisandbeans
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To: ArGee
It's a nice parable, drawing on Jesus's parable of the wedding feast and the invited/uninvited guests. The problem for non-believers is that the story presumes a direct encounter between all the potential guests and the rich patron. The guests have the opportunity to hear about the baquet, come down to the hall, and talk to the patron. Since the banquet is heaven and the rich man is the Father, for the story to be analagous for non-believers, God would have to reveal himself, reveal heaven, and dialog with humanity in a direct sense. Seeing as how He hasn't chosen to do it quite that way, we're left with imperfect parables to describe the perfect. Absent faith, the parables can be easily misunderstood and unappreciated ("He who has ears, let him hear..."). But nice job, anyway. :)
7 posted on 01/03/2002 11:35:59 AM PST by kezekiel
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To: Texas Eagle
Should be an interesting thread.
8 posted on 01/03/2002 11:37:25 AM PST by Mikey
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To: ArGee
You forgot to include all the people that hear the advertising for the banquet, and go around telling every one that will listen that it is all nonsense; no one rented the hall, no one is offering a banquet, and all the evidence for the reality of the event is a scam; a myth invented be the frightened hungry people of the city...
9 posted on 01/03/2002 11:38:36 AM PST by L,TOWM
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To: ArGee
bumpitty.

Keep the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
and take up thy shield of faith - the flaming arrows will soon start flying your way.

10 posted on 01/03/2002 11:39:34 AM PST by sanchmo
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: vrwinger
Your analogy is very good up until the rich man yells "Enough!" Our Lord never gives up on us, no matter how many times we turn away from Him. He always gives us the opportunity "to go through the correct door."

It is my belief that the door is closed permanently when we face G-d in judgement after death. If, at that time, we have not become His, then we may never become His.

However, I understand your belief and will not challenge it too strongly. Your ending is also a good one.

Shalom.

12 posted on 01/03/2002 11:39:37 AM PST by ArGee
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To: rdb3
Thank you.

Shalom.

13 posted on 01/03/2002 11:40:08 AM PST by ArGee
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To: Texas Eagle
Thank you.

Shalom.

14 posted on 01/03/2002 11:40:33 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
Bump for later.
15 posted on 01/03/2002 11:41:28 AM PST by humblegunner
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To: L,TOWM
ooops---... invented by the...
16 posted on 01/03/2002 11:42:19 AM PST by L,TOWM
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To: francisandbeans
Perhaps you can tell some of the Biblical Christians around here that the enterance may very well include LDSers and Catholics.

When I am in a conversation with individuals, I prefer to discuss only the individual and myself. I am not interested in "all those other people."

The question is for you and me, are we accepting G-d's invitation to the banquet and following His way or insisting He do things our way?

Shalom.

17 posted on 01/03/2002 11:43:00 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
Very good parable. But the non-participants in the meal can perhaps be divided into two groups: (1) Those who want to eat but will not use the designated door; and (2) those who know in their hearts that the banquet food is the best meal they can have but refuse to partake at all.

There is no shortage of people who refuse to believe the gospel because it is inconvenient to their lifestyle.

18 posted on 01/03/2002 11:44:09 AM PST by tom h
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To: ArGee
You are wrong when you say/imply that non-Christians don't understand Christians. We do. We just don't buy Christian theology. We're not locked out. We have our own more open and accessable paths to where we want to go in this life and in the next.
19 posted on 01/03/2002 11:45:25 AM PST by Magician
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To: ArGee
Golf carts right at the Pearly Gates. Imagine that?
20 posted on 01/03/2002 11:46:37 AM PST by Cagey
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To: ArGee
A couple more comments: the title is misleading because before reading the parable it sounds like it was composed by an unbeliever. Also, some of the earlier posters had it right -- God will not give up on the outsiders, but when the banquet is over He will, with great resignation, consign them in perpetuity to a place outside the banquet hall.

You can also stress the notion that all they have to do is choose the correct door and they are admitted, and that it is their poor choice that makes them so hapless.

21 posted on 01/03/2002 11:48:38 AM PST by tom h
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To: kezekiel
The problem for non-believers is that the story presumes a direct encounter between all the potential guests and the rich patron.

Thank you for your kind words. Of course, I believe that all men (and women) have the opportunity for such a direct encounter. Not a physical encounter, but a direct one. Jesus has promised to come in to any heart that opens to Him. Any heart. No exclusions. No conditions.

Revelation 3:20 (NIV) 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (emphasis mine)
Shalom.
22 posted on 01/03/2002 11:49:19 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
Sorry, but your story is a poor analogy. Theology expects me to believe in a guy throwing a banquet with no indepedently verifiable evidence.

I'm not buying it.

23 posted on 01/03/2002 11:50:16 AM PST by LuvItOrLeaveIt
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To: kezekiel
It's a nice parable, drawing on Jesus's parable of the wedding feast and the invited/uninvited guests.

Oh, yeah. His parable was trying to point out that those who should really have known who He was were not beyond losing their heritage. Christ was trying to say something very pointed to the leaders of Israel.

Shalom.

24 posted on 01/03/2002 11:50:49 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
The story could also include a group of people with Megaphones standing at the proper entrance, urging people to go to the locked door, and a group of people warning everyone not to go anywhere near the tent.
25 posted on 01/03/2002 11:51:14 AM PST by ConservativeNJdad
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To: ArGee
Why do you write God as G-d?
26 posted on 01/03/2002 11:51:34 AM PST by Codie
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To: L,TOWM
You forgot to include all the people that hear the advertising for the banquet, ...

Every story has a point. Some have several, but I find those harder to follow.

And harder to write.

You are welcome to write the story of those people. No sarcasm implied.

Shalom.

27 posted on 01/03/2002 11:52:46 AM PST by ArGee
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To: sanchmo
and take up thy shield of faith - the flaming arrows will soon start flying your way.

Shields UP!

Thank you.

Shalom.

28 posted on 01/03/2002 11:53:33 AM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
the door is closed permanently when we face G-d in judgement after death...

We are certianly in agreement on that point... My only disagreement is that our Lord will never display the human emotion of exasperation the rich man showed with those who cannot follow a simple plan (until, as you point out, it's too late)...

29 posted on 01/03/2002 11:55:24 AM PST by vrwinger
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: ArGee
Howdy all,

It would seem to me that the fable would be more accurate if the banquet being offered was not only the best food available, but the only food available. And if it was indeed the only food available, then requiring the potential diners to use a particular door is non-sensical. If indeed God is omniscient/omnipotent, then there is no reason for a single entry to maintain order. It would be ridiculous to assume that God cannot handle someone coming in the side entrance. There's no reasonable explanation, short of arbitrary fiat for the one entry rule.

And after all, isn't the important thing that we all go to the feast, and not the route we take to get there?

31 posted on 01/03/2002 11:57:49 AM PST by stingrayfm
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To: ArGee
It is really much simpler than that.

Cristianity requires a person to believe a certain way or they burn in hell for eternity.

This fear makes Christians intolerant of other belief systems (bigotry).

It is not that Christians cannot understand other belief systems; They do not want to.

32 posted on 01/03/2002 11:58:36 AM PST by eFudd
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To: lexcorp
Now somone getting closer to a more accurate analogy!
33 posted on 01/03/2002 12:00:15 PM PST by LuvItOrLeaveIt
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To: proud patriot
We can't relate to non-Christians because we can't understand why a person would want to spend eternity in hell.

So a person becomes a Christian, only to escape an eternity in Hell?

That is the most shallow reason for coming to Christ, if you'll permit my saying so. We don't come to Christ because we want to escape torment. We come to Christ because we want Him, for His sake. Anything else is selfishness on our part.

34 posted on 01/03/2002 12:00:21 PM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: ArGee
Well, a lot of us (agnostic) would have an alternative story, one in which they had never seen this rich man, but were told about him by different groups- The rich man's banquet would sound like a pretty good deal, and very generous, but the different groups would all disagree about who he was, where he was, and how one should get to the banquet.

one group would say the rich man told them he had chosen them to be his special friends, but that he expected them to eat a special diet to retain his favor, another group would say that the rich man's son loved them so much he was willing to die for them, and for everybody else as well, and that all you had to do to get into the banquet was acknowledge the sacrifice the son had made.

Another group would say the rich man will feed you if you pray five times a day facing a certain city.

none of these groups would be able to take you to the place where the feast was being held, and show you the banquet, but they would all be very very sure the place existed, and that you would be welcomed if you showed up, and asked to be let in, as long as you had done what the rich man wanted.

these groups would also tell you the other groups were evil, or at best mistaken, and would never get any food. Occasionally one of these groups would murder a bunch of folks from another group, and say the rich man told them to.

For your parable to be accurate, we would have to assume that God reveals himself to us directly on a pretty regular basis- he has not done so to me; (no sarcasm, just statement of fact)if he does so I would be happy to accept his invitation.

35 posted on 01/03/2002 12:01:10 PM PST by fourdeuce82d
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To: tom h
Thank you for your kind words.

See my post 27. The invitation I gave to L,TOWM applies to you also, in all seriousness.

Shalom.

36 posted on 01/03/2002 12:01:53 PM PST by ArGee
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To: francisandbeans
Perhaps you can tell some of the Biblical Christians around here that the enterance may very well include LDSers and Catholics. As well as not affilliated with a Religion Christians.

Very good point FaB. I grew up with the Catholic Church and spent 12 years in Catholic schools, yet I was always taught that I was a Christian. There are two things the Biblical Christians tend to forget. Jesus Christ was born a Jew and he had an extremely high tolerance for all people as long as they believed in his Father.

37 posted on 01/03/2002 12:02:48 PM PST by Gabz
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: fourdeuce82d
For your parable to be accurate, we would have to assume that God reveals himself to us directly on a pretty regular basis- he has not done so to me; (no sarcasm, just statement of fact)if he does so I would be happy to accept his invitation.

Very well said. I've never seen an invitation, let alone the guy running the banquet! All I've ever seen are third and fourth hand accounts of possible invitations. That's not good enough in my book!

40 posted on 01/03/2002 12:07:29 PM PST by LuvItOrLeaveIt
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: ArGee
You neglected to mention the rich man's sweatshop and how a few of the meals in the company cafeteria are randomly poisoned.
42 posted on 01/03/2002 12:08:41 PM PST by Tauzero
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To: Magician
You are wrong when you say/imply that non-Christians don't understand Christians.

What I said was that Christians don't understand non-Christians.

Where do you want to go and how are you planning to get there?

Shalom.

43 posted on 01/03/2002 12:11:10 PM PST by ArGee
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To: tom h
You can also stress the notion that all they have to do is choose the correct door and they are admitted, and that it is their poor choice that makes them so hapless.

It was precisely this that I intended to stress. Thanks for pointing it out.

Shalom.

44 posted on 01/03/2002 12:13:53 PM PST by ArGee
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To: lexcorp
Could you please tell me what part of this quote was poorly translated; "I am the way, the truth and the light, no one comes to the Father but through me".
45 posted on 01/03/2002 12:16:10 PM PST by soundsolutions
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To: LuvItOrLeaveIt
Theology expects me to believe in a guy throwing a banquet with no indepedently verifiable evidence.

Theology expects nothing. G-d has His own expectations. And, no matter what you say, I don't think it's going to cut it if you challenge Him and say, 'There was no evidence.'

What you mean to say is that you have defined precisely what evidence is admissable and will insist that G-d provide the evidence you asked for and you will reject anything else. Just like the people who insisted that the man let them in the door they asked for and rejected anything else.

And this is what I don't understand.

Shalom.

46 posted on 01/03/2002 12:16:33 PM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee
I understand Christianity, and Islam, and Judaism, and Scientology, etc, etc. I just don't believe any of them are TRUE. Simple as that.

The Christians here will claim that I REFUSE to believe for perverse reasons, but this is only to make themselves feel better about their own belief by "explaining away" the skepticism of others. Such arguments (or, more correctly, accusations) will only tend raise more red flags for a principled skeptic. Men of intellectual character are justifiably suspicious of those who make matters of fact (e.g. whether Jesus was God) matters of morality.

47 posted on 01/03/2002 12:17:26 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Codie
Why do you write God as G-d?

I have an answer on my profile page. I put it there because I was typing it so often.

Shalom.

48 posted on 01/03/2002 12:17:59 PM PST by ArGee
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To: ArGee;*BRAAD
I'm sorry I thought Jim Robinson said no Religious Discussions.

We are BRAAD

WE'RE HERE. WE'RE INTOLERANT. GET USED TO IT!

49 posted on 01/03/2002 12:18:38 PM PST by Khepera
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To: ArGee
ArGee---Once inside,are guests free to choose to leave either temporarily or permanently??

Bob

50 posted on 01/03/2002 12:20:08 PM PST by IGNATIUS
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