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beansprouts

If humans are innately good...

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"If each man, and all men, have learned self-restraint, then there will be need of but very little restraint on the part of the government; but if self-restraint does not exist in the body of citizens, it must be supplied from without. If men govern the animal that is in them, on which the soul sits astride, like the rider upon his steed, then they are governed. If they will not govern it, it must be governed for them. Government there must be, in some way, if men are going to live together. Society would break up in uproar; it would be like a den of tigers and lions; it would be but a bestial wallow of swine quarreling for their food, and quarreling for their warmth of a winter’s night, and quarreling evermore, if there were no government. To live together as men, and in such a way that men can exercise their higher prerogatives, the lower elements of the human organization must be governed. If men would govern these lower elements themselves, there would be no need of bringing in any other instrument of government; but if they will not do it, it must be done by some other agency.

 

Excerpt taken from, "The Moral Theory of Civil Liberty," by Henry Ward Beecher, June 4, 1869

 

 

Oh Yeah, sometimes I even amaze myself:patriot:

 

I thought I'd reiterate my quote from the federalist papers :) It kind of went unnoticed:D

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Then, what is the definition of innocent? Never doing anything "wrong?" But then what's the definition of "wrong" and who defines that?

Innocence has no concept of right and wrong.

 

A baby does not pee on the parent changing its diaper out of spite or malice. It does so with no concept of what it is doing. However, should an adult pee on another person (or another person's video camera), they know their action is wrong, they are not "innocent".

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Well, according to the majority of fundamental christian responses, that experiment would be impossible because there is no "good" adult, so who would raise the child?

 

The OP's question will never be able to be debated fully with those who use the bible to support their premise against those who do not believe the bible is to be taken 100% literally. It will (and has) digress into one side "preaching" to the other side. Interjecting quotes to convince is only effective if both sides agree as to the authority of the source. It may surprise some of you to know that some who do not take the bible as an ultimate authority have actually studied it, so the quotes are not unknown, just not accepted as final authority.

Please also know that a person not accepting the bible as ultimate authority does reflect upon those people who do. I am not against you, I do not want to change you. I do not think you are "bad," nor do I want to stifle honest debate. Just letting you know that using the bible to support an argument may be ineffective.

<ducking head>

 

No need to duck. :001_smile:

 

So what authority do you use?

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I quote Thomas Paine, but apparently the founders are out of the discussion...

???

Certainlly if we were discussing something appropriate to Thomas Paine, his quotes would be appropriated. I think you (intentionally) misinterpreted the tone/point of my post.

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I was just thinking the same thing. We have quit the local homeschool organization for our state because they were dipping into other political issues besides homeschooling. It was making me so angry! I pay them to watchdog homeschool laws, that's it! They would try to justify their actions by saying it relates to Homeschooling, but they're lying! When they start going after other laws, they're just as bad as the government who tries to regulate everything.

 

Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled thread.:rant:

 

It has been mentioned that we have an innate human need to dominate others. Some say it is a survival skill. Others would chalk it up to our sinful natures. Either way, somewhere along the line somebody's belief system gets trampled.

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You don't entice people to something by using condemnation. That's completely illogical.

 

Biblical truth is not one-dimensional. We are not forced to choose between communicating God’s love to our children and God’s condemnation on account of sin. When we emphasize one to the exclusion of the other, we present an unbalanced and unbiblical message. We should communicate both.

 

Yes, which is why I said it's illogical to try to bring others to salvation by condemnation.

 

 

Do you mean condemnation or coersion? Or is condemnation the method for coersion?

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I don't think it's assumed that everyone in this discussion operates from the same belief system. I don't think the thoughts of the founding fathers are disallowed from the discussion. I think people are simply addressing the OP from their own world-view. No one should be hesitant to share their own POV; Beans didn't ask for the thoughts of one particular set of beliefs.

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???

Certainlly if we were discussing something appropriate to Thomas Paine, his quotes would be appropriated. I think you (intentionally) misinterpreted the tone/point of my post.

No, I was just trying to say that there were other "authorities" quoted, and Thomas Paine, as the guy that outlined the idea for our democracy and brought the country together to fight for that ideal and then provided the encouragement necessary when the going got tough, is a good authority for why we have laws. He even broaches the subject of vice and its place in society and government.

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Do you mean condemnation or coersion? Or is condemnation the method for coersion?

 

I'm talking about condemnation as the means of coersion. Naturally, we're all condemned, the perfect don't need salvation. ;)

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Innocence has no concept of right and wrong.

 

A baby does not pee on the parent changing its diaper out of spite or malice. It does so with no concept of what it is doing. However, should an adult pee on another person (or another person's video camera), they know their action is wrong, they are not "innocent".

 

:lol::lol::lol:

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Christianity without a Savior is not true Christianity, and we don’t need a Savior if we are not condemned.

 

 

You've taken my point and ran into the outfield with it. Preaching nothing but condemnation, hell and ****ation ala Fred Phelps, presents God as nothing but a vengeful judge, when there is far more to Him than that.

 

 

Romans 2:3-4 illustrates this.

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I'm talking about condemnation as the means of coersion. Naturally, we're all condemned, the perfect don't need salvation. ;)

 

 

I think we agree. I just wanted to be sure we were speaking the same language. ;)

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I don't think it's assumed that everyone in this discussion operates from the same belief system. I don't think the thoughts of the founding fathers are disallowed from the discussion. I think people are simply addressing the OP from their own world-view. No one should be hesitant to share their own POV; Beans didn't ask for the thoughts of one particular set of beliefs.

 

Not at all. I am very interested in viewpoints from different belief systems. I already know what I think, and I want to hear from others.

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Innocence has no concept of right and wrong.

 

A baby does not pee on the parent changing its diaper out of spite or malice. It does so with no concept of what it is doing. However, should an adult pee on another person (or another person's video camera), they know their action is wrong, they are not "innocent".

 

So, if "good" equals this definition of "innocence," then the answer to the original question would be that we need so many laws because, although we are born "innately good," the minute we progress to the ability to know what is right or wrong, we are no longer "good" (ie "innocent")?

 

And, the question still remains...who decides what is "good" (or "innocent")?

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I think we agree. I just wanted to be sure we were speaking the same language. ;)

 

In my head, condemning people into salvation is not unlike the Phelps folks (and they're the most extreme version of "Christianity" I've ever seen and I take great comfort in the fact that their "church" is about 80% their own family), with their angry words, hurtful protests, and condemning spirit. Screaming at gays that they're all hell-bound, burning down abortion clinics and shooting abortion-performing doctors, coming at people from an offensive stance isn't how Jesus created converts or disciples. Yes, He surely got angry, but even the most foul of offenders heard the gospel honestly, but with love, not angry faces, screaming words, and accusations.

 

And that is what I mean by condemning people into salvation is not a true salvation.

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In my head, condemning people into salvation is not unlike the Phelps folks (and they're the most extreme version of "Christianity" I've ever seen and I take great comfort in the fact that their "church" is about 80% their own family), with their angry words, hurtful protests, and condemning spirit. Screaming at gays that they're all hell-bound, burning down abortion clinics and shooting abortion-performing doctors, coming at people from an offensive stance isn't how Jesus created converts or disciples. Yes, He surely got angry, but even the most foul of offenders heard the gospel honestly, but with love, not angry faces, screaming words, and accusations.

 

And that is what I mean by condemning people into salvation is not a true salvation.

 

There are people who use Christ's name, but really don't know Him at all. IMO they have done more to damage His name and reputation than any secular group on earth. :sad:

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It has been mentioned that we have an innate human need to dominate others. Some say it is a survival skill. Others would chalk it up to our sinful natures. Either way, somewhere along the line somebody's belief system gets trampled.

 

But why does it have to be that way? I don't think it does, and I think the founding fathers understood that too.

 

For example, when we fight for homeschooling rights, we're not hurting the public schools in the least, or trampling on another parent's right to send their children to school. Some might say we're hurting the teacher's unions, but I don't see how. However, the more the government tries to regulate us, the more they hurt both homeschoolers and public schoolers. They waste money, time and resources on about 1% of the population instead of concentrating on the students they do have. The excuse is, they don't know what's going on in our homes. Because there are a few HS parents that abuse their kids, the govt feels the need to regulate us.

 

So, to take us back to the topic at hand, we might not agree on innately good or bad, but what we all seem to agree on is, there is no reason for bad behavior. It's why I like the quote I posted so much. If we would all be "self governing," we would not need so many laws and, theoretically, our rights would be secure. However, it seems that less and less people are self-governing, and more and more corrupt. Thereby, necessitating more intervention by the govt.

 

Sigh, I'm going to build a bunker now. :D

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So, if "good" equals this definition of "innocence," then the answer to the original question would be that we need so many laws because, although we are born "innately good," the minute we progress to the ability to know what is right or wrong, we are no longer "good" (ie "innocent")?

 

And, the question still remains...who decides what is "good" (or "innocent")?

Well, in the USA, the idea is to make laws only to protect the rights of others. So, the laws are designed to keep one person's free speach from libeling another, one person's freedom of expression from resulting in the loss of life of another, etc. The real issues arise when people try to enforce morality, rather than protect rights.

 

I already wrote the whole innocence to knowledge, moving from God towards vice, etc. Go back a page or two, I'm feeling too lazy to be redundant.

 

And yes, the loss of innocence is what creates the vaccuum in which vice thrives. Oh, and the definition of "innocence" is pretty simple: it is the lack of knowledge, the inability to understand "right" and "wrong," uncorrupted.

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There are people who use Christ's name, but really don't know Him at all. IMO they have done more to damage His name and reputation than any secular group on earth. :sad:

 

I have to agree.

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Well, in the USA, the idea is to make laws only to protect the rights of others. So, the laws are designed to keep one person's free speach from libeling another, one person's freedom of expression from resulting in the loss of life of another, etc. The real issues arise when people try to enforce morality, rather than protect rights.

 

I already wrote the whole innocence to knowledge, moving from God towards vice, etc. Go back a page or two, I'm feeling too lazy to be redundant.

 

And yes, the loss of innocence is what creates the vaccuum in which vice thrives. Oh, and the definition of "innocence" is pretty simple: it is the lack of knowledge, the inability to understand "right" and "wrong," uncorrupted.

 

So, then "good" and "rights" are relative terms based on the culture in which one lives and the ultimate authority on determining the meanings of both at any given time is the government?

 

And, what's the definition of "right" and "wrong" and who decides that?

 

I'm curious as to whether or not this is the definition of "good" that the others in the thread are using?

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Well, according to the majority of fundamental christian responses, that experiment would be impossible because there is no "good" adult, so who would raise the child?

 

The OP's question will never be able to be debated fully with those who use the bible to support their premise against those who do not believe the bible is to be taken 100% literally. It will (and has) digress into one side "preaching" to the other side. Interjecting quotes to convince is only effective if both sides agree as to the authority of the source. It may surprise some of you to know that some who do not take the bible as an ultimate authority have actually studied it, so the quotes are not unknown, just not accepted as final authority.

Please also know that a person not accepting the bible as ultimate authority does reflect upon those people who do. I am not against you, I do not want to change you. I do not think you are "bad," nor do I want to stifle honest debate. Just letting you know that using the bible to support an argument may be ineffective.

<ducking head>

 

 

Let's just say :iagree: and leave it at that.

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The OP's question will never be able to be debated fully with those who use the bible to support their premise against those who do not believe the bible is to be taken 100% literally. It will (and has) digress into one side "preaching" to the other side. Interjecting quotes to convince is only effective if both sides agree as to the authority of the source. It may surprise some of you to know that some who do not take the bible as an ultimate authority have actually studied it, so the quotes are not unknown, just not accepted as final authority.

Please also know that a person not accepting the bible as ultimate authority does reflect upon those people who do. I am not against you, I do not want to change you. I do not think you are "bad," nor do I want to stifle honest debate. Just letting you know that using the bible to support an argument may be ineffective.

<ducking head>

 

:iagree:

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Go, Rose!

 

And, you do know, of course, that there are conservatives who are not Christian, who are guided to help the needy, too.

 

Yes. I was using the word God here to indicate forces believed in by religious people because of those religions, which is not at all clear by that one little word.

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So, then "good" and "rights" are relative terms based on the culture in which one lives and the ultimate authority on determining the meanings of both at any given time is the government?

 

And, what's the definition of "right" and "wrong" and who decides that?

 

I'm curious as to whether or not this is the definition of "good" that the others in the thread are using?

As far as good being innocent, no, I don't believe anyone else is using that definition.

 

Rights, based on the Bill of Rights, are relative to the USA, but I believe the FFs were right about God given inalienable rights (life, liberty and the persuit of happiness), so those rights would only be relative to human beings, or born human beings.

 

Good, though, I'll still have to stick to my original defintion equating goodness with innocence. Once you have the knowledge of "evil" or "bad," then you've lost your innocence and have an obligation to do good. Since people will become lazy and give into vice, or perhaps prefer vice to the arduousness of persuing "good," laws are put into place.

 

Paine wrote a whole thing about this in "Common Sense" in the section on government. The laws are not so much to prevent people from doing "bad" things as to protect fellow citizens from experiencing a loss of their own rights due to the actions of someone else.

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My opinion, fwiw

 

It's not fair of Bill to say Christians tell their children they are evil, but it's not fair of Christians to NOT acknowledge that orthodox Christianity does indeed tell us that we are all fallen and evil. So, I would say Bill is right in a way, in that, if we are orthodox Christians telling our kids about our faith, while we may not say "You are evil" to our kids' faces, we ARE teaching them that "all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God."

 

Maybe someone needs to define "evil." Maybe we are getting stuck, in this conversation, on what we all think evil means. Is it intent-driven? Is it "not Good" with Good defined as "righteousness?"

 

As for the OP's question, I don't think we are good by nature, but I think we all have the capacity to do both good and evil. I think we need some laws because that's how a society figures out how to live with each other, when people don't want to do what's right for the group. The laws provide incentive to do what will keep the society functioning. Maybe we don't need so many laws all the time, but I do think we need laws.

 

And as far as young children being evil? Well, to me, some of it is definitely maturity. After all, who really thinks Jesus, as a young child, never had a bad moment, never needed any correction of any kind? I think he did not sin, so perhaps he was a pretty easy kid, but I do think he might have needed to be educated in the social niceties and in the "law" of his society. Not saying he ever stole a chariot or anything :D, just maybe there is a fine line between being developmentally appropriate and sin. I do think toddlers can cross the line. They may need to be told "No!," and that's not sin, but if they keep doing it with that gleam in their eyes (and you know very well that look), then that is sin. Do they keep doing it because of their fallen nature? I think so. Do we still love them? Of course! Just because you are not perfect doesn't mean...well, anything, really. I believe everyone needs a Savior. We all have a selfish nature.

 

And I also don't think the whole survival thing is completely accurate. Wouldn't that trait fall away if generation after generation didn't need to be selfish to get food, water, attention, etc.? Or isn't there enough time for that to be extinguished? Or perhaps it only takes one generation of scarcity to bring it back? I don't know.

 

Just thoughts.

I'm actually Orthodox and this isn't our take, so I don't think you can say that all orthodox Christians believe this. We don't believe in original sin, per se. We believe that we inherit the costs of those who sinned, not that we are born evil.

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The OP's question will never be able to be debated fully with those who use the bible to support their premise against those who do not believe the bible is to be taken 100% literally. It will (and has) digress into one side "preaching" to the other side. Interjecting quotes to convince is only effective if both sides agree as to the authority of the source.

 

Just letting you know that using the bible to support an argument may be ineffective.

<ducking head>

 

Meanestmom,

 

After shoveling snow for over 4 hours, I am back. We had over 10 inches!

 

Please let me know what authority you use?

 

Why can't we hold a debate if you use your authority and I use the Bible as mine?

 

After all, don't people hold opposing views in debates?

 

By the way, I am not against you or any other person here. I am enjoying the discussion. I wish Bill would come back and answer my questions.

 

Thanks.

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Okay -- I'm sure this is a stupid question. But it's going to bug me -- If they were homeschooling, what did a gay bus driver have to do with them?

 

It had nothing to do with them, just more proof to me that they were a bunch of repressed, vengeful women.

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By the way, I am not against you or any other person here. I am enjoying the discussion. I wish Bill would come back and answer my questions.

 

Thanks.

 

Sorry, it been a very busy day trying to get ready for the Chanukah and Christmas celebrations.

 

And no we are not Jewish, but we try to honor our neighbors and share the holidays in a spirit of brotherhood with all regardless of their faiths or non-faiths.

 

 

Have you witnessed the above conversation?

 

You're asking if I've witnessed parents telling their children they were born in sin and were evil natured, and if I have witnessed these folks confuse the words of Samuel Butler (spare the rod, spoil the child) with Biblical scripture, and if I've seen them act on this world view by beating their children and engaging in what I would call mental cruelty?

 

My answer is: Yes, I have.

 

A schoolmate of mine, and a onetime friend, was raised in such circumstances.

 

It was deeply disturbing to watch him become more and more troubled over the years. To witness him fall into trouble with the law in his teenage years, and finally to learn he'd murdered a woman and gone to prison.

 

So, yes I've seen it firsthand. It was brutal, ugly and wrong. And I wish I could have stopped it. Do I think this is "typical" of child rearing in any segment of our society? Mercifully, no.

 

You seem to know a lot of negative things about Christian parenting. How often do you see Christian parents tell their kids they are evil?

 

This is a leap you (and others) have made. Neither Audrey, nor myself, singled out Christians (or even mentioned Christians at all).

 

I can't believe I need to say this, but in the interest of clarity let me say the vast majority of the friends I've had from Christian homes have had loving parents and good home lives. Many (most) incorporated the good values learned in their homes and became compassionate and decent people.

 

And I'd say the same about my Jewish, Muslim, and Atheist friends as well.

 

It's a very small minority of people who raise their kids to believe they are "bad". And one need not be a member (or non-member) of any particular faith to treat kids in this fashion. But those than do I believe cause tremendous damage to their children.

 

None of us are perfect, but goodness can be cultivated, good values can be taught, and good behavior modeled and encouraged. And the converse is also true. We as parents need to set the expectations for our children, that's all I'm saying.

 

Just as Cindy mentioned, how do you know me?

 

I don't know you. I never said I did. And I'm not accusing you of anything.

 

Why, if you don't treat your children as evil natured beings (and I take you at your word), do you seem to be taking it personally that I express my opinion that treating kids like they are innately evil is harmful?

 

Just like Audrey, you make general statements against Christians without much to back it up.

 

Whaaa?

 

 

What exactly is bothering about the Bible?

 

To discuss the questions I have about the Bible (especially when it comes to interpretations I don't fathom) is a potentially great topic of discussion for the future but the time is a little short for me today and I don't have an adequate concise answer.

 

What do you have against the Lord?

 

I'm assuming by "the Lord" you are referring to Jesus here, and my answer is I have nothing against him.

 

I hope you feel I answered your questions.

 

Bill

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It had nothing to do with them, just more proof to me that they were a bunch of repressed, vengeful women.

 

Seriously. What do people have against bus drivers?

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It was deeply disturbing to watch him become more and more troubled over the years. To witness him fall into trouble with the law in his teenage years, and finally to learn he'd murdered a woman and gone to prison.

 

So, yes I've seen it firsthand. It was brutal, ugly and wrong. And I wish I could have stopped it. Do I think this is "typical" of child rearing in any segment of our society? Mercifully, no.

 

To discuss the questions I have about the Bible (especially when it comes to interpretations I don't fathom) is a potentially great topic of discussion for the future but the time is a little short for me today and I don't have an adequate concise answer.

 

Bill

 

 

Bill,

 

Thank you for responding to my questions. I'm sorry your friend suffered so much. It did not have to be that way.

 

I would love to discuss with you any topic concerning scriptures out of the Bible. When you have the time, please let me know what is on your mind.

 

Sometimes it's tough to discuss important issues in a forum because a discussion can go off on a tangent. But I have enjoyed hearing everyone's opinion. It helps me to know what people are thinking about and what they believe.

 

Thanks again.

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What's good though?

I do experience the world as basically benevolent- but humans have an incredible capacity to turn all the gifts and blessings of life to trash. If you project "good" onto the world, you probably have an idea of what "good" is that doesn't necessarily match up with the "good" that is inherently there, which is largely impersonal. Mostly, I feel people make their own troubles far more than troubles are made for them. A basic attitude of acceptance toward life, in all its colours and extremes, can turn misery to happiness- its not life that is at fault, it is us.

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Thanks for your response. Although this forum is not primarily a theological one, I would like to make a couple of additional comments to our friendly discussion.

Yes, which is why I said it's illogical to try to bring others to salvation by condemnation.

 

Your argument is not convincing, i.e. that it is illogical to try to bring others to salvation by using condemnation.

Let’s remember that the whole context of this discussion is whether children are innately good or whether they have a tendency to sin; and secondly, whether parents who teach their children that they have a tendency to sin are somehow scarring or abusing their children.

When I mentioned the book of Romans, you said that you agree with me. Then you again point to the notion of the faulty logic associated with what I said.

If Paul’s argument from Romans is not convincing, why not consider Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the greatest theologian and Christian intellectual in our nation’s history. His sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,†is a good place to start. How do you account for the eyewitness account that so many people were overwhelmed during the sermon that Edwards had to ask the crowd to be quiet so he could finish the sermon? Were these people not saved? What was illogical about what Edwards wrote?

What is the Biblical basis for your assertion?

Salvation by fear is not true salvation.

Coming to the Lord simply out of a fear of Hell is not salvation. There must be repentance of sin. Again, I'm quite familiar with the Gospel.

 

Same answer. Nowhere does the Bible teach that people who believe the Gospel are not saved because they turn to the Lord on account of the fear of hell, dying, some dread disease or the wrath of God.

Most people recall the Philippian jailor’s famous question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?†However, fewer people remember the prior verse, “And he called for the lights, and rushed in and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.†The text further says that he believed in God and that he was baptized.

Finally, injecting repentance into the discussion doesn’t do anything either to answer the question or clarify the gospel.

Christianity by condemnation is not true Christianity.

 

Same answer. I still don’t know what you mean by “Christianity by condemnation.†Are you saying that people are not true Christians if they respond to the Gospel when the message of condemnation is preached? In the alternative are you saying that parents who present the notion that children have a tendency to sin are not true Christians or are not behaving in a Christ-like manner when they do so?

Regardless, bringing up Fred Phelps is not meaningful to this discussion. Again, the context here is whether children have a tendency to sin and whether parents are wrong if they teach children that truth.

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Yes. I was using the word God here to indicate forces believed in by religious people because of those religions, which is not at all clear by that one little word.

 

I know you know. But I always feel the need for the clarification in general company :D

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Thanks for your response. Although this forum is not primarily a theological one, I would like to make a couple of additional comments to our friendly discussion.

Yes, which is why I said it's illogical to try to bring others to salvation by condemnation.

 

Your argument is not convincing, i.e. that it is illogical to try to bring others to salvation by using condemnation.

 

That's ok; I wasn't trying to convince you of anything. And, I further explained my meaning behind "salvation by condemnation." I feel I was quite clear in my explanation. Sorry if you're still confused.

Let’s remember that the whole context of this discussion is whether children are innately good or whether they have a tendency to sin; and secondly, whether parents who teach their children that they have a tendency to sin are somehow scarring or abusing their children.

 

I haven't forgotten that at all, but thanks for the reminder.

 

When I mentioned the book of Romans, you said that you agree with me. Then you again point to the notion of the faulty logic associated with what I said.

 

I don't recall specifically saying I agreed with you nor do I recall saying you specifically were illogical. I'm fairly certain my response regarding illogic was to Bill.

 

If Paul’s argument from Romans is not convincing, why not consider Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the greatest theologian and Christian intellectual in our nation’s history. His sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” is a good place to start. How do you account for the eyewitness account that so many people were overwhelmed during the sermon that Edwards had to ask the crowd to be quiet so he could finish the sermon? Were these people not saved? What was illogical about what Edwards wrote?

 

I'm not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand. You yourself reminded me the issue is whether children are sinful and whether the reminding of that issue is damaging--an issue, I'd like to point out, I've never really addressed in this particular thread. I've read Edward's sermon and have a copy of it. And again, I explained my meaning behind salvation by condemnation. Again, I felt I was clear in what I said.

 

What is the Biblical basis for your assertion?

Salvation by fear is not true salvation.

Coming to the Lord simply out of a fear of Hell is not salvation. There must be repentance of sin. Again, I'm quite familiar with the Gospel.

 

Same answer. Nowhere does the Bible teach that people who believe the Gospel are not saved because they turn to the Lord on account of the fear of hell, dying, some dread disease or the wrath of God.

 

Same answer, I've repeated twice.

 

Most people recall the Philippian jailor’s famous question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” However, fewer people remember the prior verse, “And he called for the lights, and rushed in and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.” The text further says that he believed in God and that he was baptized.

Finally, injecting repentance into the discussion doesn’t do anything either to answer the question or clarify the gospel.

 

You don't believe in repentance? Simply believing doesn't save. If it did, the demons would be saved, as well.

 

Christianity by condemnation is not true Christianity.

 

Same answer. I still don’t know what you mean by “Christianity by condemnation.” Are you saying that people are not true Christians if they respond to the Gospel when the message of condemnation is preached? In the alternative are you saying that parents who present the notion that children have a tendency to sin are not true Christians or are not behaving in a Christ-like manner when they do so?

 

Again, same answer, for the third time.

 

Regardless, bringing up Fred Phelps is not meaningful to this discussion. Again, the context here is whether children have a tendency to sin and whether parents are wrong if they teach children that truth.

 

Actually, it was meaningful to the discussion, as he was used as an example of my meaning. You seem to be trying very hard to take what I said and apply it where it's not intended. As what happens many times in this forum, there are "spin-off" discussions within a thread. Again (and I'm finding this to be tedious) I've never said one way or the other in this thread what I believe about children and sin. If you want to know what I feel about that, feel free to ask, but please, this circular discourse is trying. I've explained myself clearly about salvation. I have no desire to repeat myself. If you're unclear about my thoughts on salvation and the methods by which the Gospel is given, reread my previous posts. If you have questions about my personal beliefs regarding sin natures, children, and their knowledge of said sin nature, then ask that. My feeling is, though, that this really isn't a sincere "friendly discussion."

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Simply believing doesn't save. If it did, the demons would be saved, as well.

You are misreading James. In this section of James, he is using a form of diatribe introduced by the phrase, “But someone will say” (2:18). The argument of the hypothetical objector is then stated, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (2:18-19)

James then begins to refute the argument of the objector by stating, “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow” (2:20). The foolish fellow is the one who presents the idea that even the demons believe and tremble. James does not hold that view.

Paul uses this device in 1 Corinthians 15:35-36. In verse 35 he introduces the argument of a hypothetical objector, “Someone will say.” Then he raises the objection, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” Then, he says, “You fool” as he refutes the false statement made by the objector.

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