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Do Christians really think like this and if so how can we be friends? (long sorry)

(145 Posts)
GreatGooglyMoogly Mon 06-Aug-07 22:03:25

Following a rather heated, unplanned discussion about Christianity/ God with Christian friends of ours (we are atheists) I have gathered that they believe the following: that not believing in their God is the ultimate Sin and that no matter how you live your life otherwise, ie. if you are good, friendly, responsible, caring, law-abiding people but don't believe in their God you will still go to Hell when you die. It would seem that basically the only thing that matters is that you believe in their God, not how you otherwise live your life. Therefore non-Christian murderers/ criminals, etc are on a par with us in their eyes as none of us believe in God (the ultimate Sin) and we will all therefore go to Hell.

Surely if there is a God He would not be so awful and unwavering? And surely our friends cannot think of us as the ultimate Sinners or they wouldn't associate with us?

fairyjay Mon 06-Aug-07 22:04:58

Sounds like the evangelical Christian belief.

massivebigpantsface Mon 06-Aug-07 22:07:22

Of course they would associate with you because they will want to 'save' you. seriously though they are your friends and are hopefully accepting of you as people as you are of them. If you find it hard to discuss this with them then try to focus on what yuo do have in common. We have had many, similar heated debates with two of our closest friends and we just leave it alone now.

wannaBe Mon 06-Aug-07 22:08:47

they are probably friends with you because they like you, and thus don't want you to go to hell, so are going to pray for you, and try to convert you to their beliefs.

Sadly some do think like this yes. Not all though, but some. I have a friend who is similar - she told me that god would forgive me for having sex before marriage, as long as I prayed and asked him .

tissy Mon 06-Aug-07 22:10:57

Some Christians do think like that, yes. Most don't.

I consider myself a Christian, some other Christains might not consider me one!

It's all apparently down to which branch of Christianity you adhere to. That approach is very fundamentalist- i.e. this is the TRUTH, because the Bible says so. All other views are WRONG. You cannot get to Heaven except through Jesus, so technically, unless you accept Jesus and his teachings you are damned. However most "liberal" Christians would see a lot of Christ's teaching (loving thy neighbour etc) in people of other faiths, and no faith, and conclude that these people can't be all bad.

Bloss will be along soon to put me right, no doubt

CountessDracula Mon 06-Aug-07 22:12:29

But as you don't believe in hell, do you care?!

Clearly they are mad

GreatGooglyMoogly Mon 06-Aug-07 22:15:27

Yes, I know that they do want to 'save' us but I had not been aware of how they think of us (as non-Christians). Mostly they know to leave the subject of religion alone but occasionally they don't seem to be able to. I don't really know how I can be friends with people who think such things about me/ us. Am I really just supposed to forget about it?

GodzillasBumcheek Mon 06-Aug-07 22:15:35

I think this is a bit unfair...yes, it is written (somewhere) that you can't go to heaven unless you believe prior to death, and that you should have faith even though you canot see God, but the apostle Thomas got to stick his fingers into (previously) dead Jesus' side and get actual proof...yet he's allowed in heaven! Way not fair

Although this is hypothetical as not believing in heaven or hell i shouldn't be bothered. And yet it niggles!

GreatGooglyMoogly Mon 06-Aug-07 22:16:50

I don't care about the going to hell bit CD but I do care about what they think of me/ us as we are supposed to be friends.

CountessDracula Mon 06-Aug-07 22:19:51

But as they are clearly mad you either bin them or accept them as slightly odd friends

TranquilaManana Mon 06-Aug-07 22:20:04

<shakes head>

how anyone can beleive this stuff....


edam Mon 06-Aug-07 22:21:48

I think that's pretty much what the Bible says, tbh, as far as I recall. There are several very clear references to good works alone not really cutting it. You have to believe in God and that he sent his only son to die for us. <<disclaimer, am not a regular church-goer>>

Read the Bible and you'll find God can be pretty awful, look at poor Jonah! And Lot's wife. Etc. etc. etc. Plenty of smiting the unbelievers. However, to play fair, Jesus pointed out smug God-botherers who play holier than thou are not doing themselves any favours either - you could mention the Pharisees to your friends.

I guess non-believers might end up the Catholic church's later inventions of purgatory and limbo, though, rather than Hell.

CountessDracula Mon 06-Aug-07 22:22:57

surely non believers just end up as ashes or mouldering 6 feet under?

aloha Mon 06-Aug-07 22:23:11

'they can't leave religion alone' hmm...obssessive nutters...great friends!

rantinghousewife Mon 06-Aug-07 22:25:29

I'm guessing that if that is what they believe and by the sounds of it, it's a pretty deep seated belief, you may just have to accept that this is what they think of you. I can't understand it, at all but some christian denominations believe this. Only you can know if you want to remain friends knowing this is their belief of you.

Desiderata Mon 06-Aug-07 22:27:27

They're evangelicals, Googly. A different thing altogether.

All religions attract believers who take the readings to extremes. The basic tenet of the Christian faith (and by this I mean the writings of the New Testament), is that of forgiveness. The big JC says none of the things you describe. Quite the opposite, really.

Those who wish to follow the Old Testament are slippery fish, indeed. I would pay no heed. tbh, I think they're a bit barking, but if you like them, then just accept their foibles and ... change the subject!

lisad123 Mon 06-Aug-07 22:35:09

Im a JW and we dont believe anyone goes to hell. Although those who have have learned about the religion and then left will not to be saved, those that havent heard the message will be given a chance. We also dont believe in Heaven in the "normal" way, just that certain people will go to heaven but the rest will live on earth in peace.


CGOmum Mon 06-Aug-07 22:37:39

Well this is a hard one but born again Christians do believe that only the saved will go to Heaven and that only those of us who go before God and ask for forgiveness and guidance in our lives will go to heaven hence saved and once you've given your live to God then your born again.

To say that all those not saved our ultimate sinners is incorrect as we are all sinners but Christians are only different because Jesus gave his life so that we could be saved from hell.

Yes none Christians will not go to Heaven is the belief and the aim is to tell everyone of God's story but the choice is for each person. Doing good things and living as a saint doesn't cut it as God word says that we must believe in him with faith and hence no evidence will ever be found as this is totally against the bibles teachings you have to love and believe in him without seeing or finding evidence.

You have your believes and they have theirs and these no point not being friends because of it you need to just respect each others feelings and your Christian friends will believe in God that he will deal with any issues required.

As for criminals etc it all boils down to the same points that a sin is a sin whether it's a little white lie to save someone's feelings, sex outside of marriage or murder they are all sins and yes Christians believe that all sinners will go to hell, but ask for forgiven and admit that they are living to God's well will lead you to heaven and Gods side.

As for the heated discussion your friends lives are guided by God everything they do is done with God and they are God speakers on earth so try to ensure they live to this as Christians.

God's word is that he loved everyone and hence Christians aim to love everyone no matter what they do, have done or are going to do and so they are friends with none Christians, this is not an aim to convert everyone as this is not a Christians job it's their job to tell God's word and let God move in each persons to bring them to a place where they decide to give their life to him and get saved.

They are your friends so avoid conversations regarding belief as they will always end up heated as yes they are following Gods word and as a none believer they will find it hard to not understand why you can't believe like them, but they like you for who you are so you should both just accept where your at and leave the beliefs at the door - they will be unsure about your discussion as they will not want to loss your friendship.

brimfull Mon 06-Aug-07 22:38:39

this is the reason I think religion is not for me.
I was a "born again christian" as a teen/young woman and the horrible thought that my whole familywouldn't be save like me when christ came back was awful.
I soon came to the conclusion that God wasn't petty like that and came to my senses.

Hathor Mon 06-Aug-07 22:44:00

Not only evangelical Christians. Some Muslims believe non-Muslims will not go to heaven.
Bit of a problem if your mates are not of the same faith.

fairyjay Mon 06-Aug-07 22:47:27

Snap ggirl!

CGOmum Mon 06-Aug-07 22:48:24

I would say all religions believe that if you are not the same as them then you will not go to heaven or whatever they call it enlightenment, heaven, heaven on earth etc etc.
But religion should get in the way of friendships true friends can get past it things like this.
As for the sinner bit just accept that we are all sinners is anyone on mn not going to admit to doing something against the bible teachings and whether you believe them or not isn't the point here your friends do.
Your friends may be saved now but once they to were sinners and just because God's saved them they are still human and he loves them as much as he loves you thats clearly written all though the bible old and new

edam Mon 06-Aug-07 22:48:30

If you are an atheist, you don't believe in heaven and hell anyway, so why does it bother you if your friends think you are headed in the wrong direction?

My father is an atheist who is happy to be teased by religious relatives/friends and gives as good as he gets. If someone tells him he's headed for hell, he just jokes about it, doesn't bother him as he thinks they are endearingly daft for believing in fairies.

madamez Mon 06-Aug-07 22:49:53

Well there's all kinds of variations in all religions, really. There are hardline can't-shut-up-about-it nutters at one end, and at the other end you'll get the folks who, if asked what religion they belong to, will say the one they were baptised into as babies or brought up into, but they don't bother about it much - and lots of folks in between.
As to whether you can stay friends with this particular set of fish-heads, it depends what other merits they have. If you can politely agree not to discuss the subject further, and if you can maybe think of their belief as something along the lines of supporting a different football team to you or being notably finicky about their food or any other harmless but silly quirck a friend might have, then you'll probably be all right.

GodzillasBumcheek Mon 06-Aug-07 22:50:47

Soooooo...if i believe in God i can go and kill ten people, go to church, ask forgiveness and go to heaven . see, that's why i don't believe Christianity is good. Sorry. and now i will go to bed and not say my prayers, and if i die before i wake i do not pray to god my soul to take because i don't want to join all the murderers and rapists in heaven.

Again this is all hypothetical so please attempt not to be too offended.

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