A sinner saved by the grace of God given to those with faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. Period.
Should I take it as a sign that I get a 'this website is not available message' every time I try to click on your link from my work computer?
Hmm. A sign of what? I'm not sure.
I'm sorry Mark, but this message disturbs me deeply. The threat of eternal damnation coming from respected adult figures can be incredibly scary to a young person (or anyone) who takes religion seriously. It's one thing to warn about dangers that can be substantiated (the dangers of drugs, casual sex, careless driving, treating people poorly), but hell is a threat that can't be substantiated, nestled within a religion whose divine inspiration can't be substantiated, nestled within a concept (the existence of divinity) that also can't be substantiated. I write this with a certain amount of heartache, because I've spent most of my life trying my hardest to believe in the divine origin of Christian doctrine. While I have intellectually accepted that it's extremely unlikely that Christianity is a divinely inspired religion, I still bare the scars and neurotic remnants of my former religious life. While there are good and beautiful doctrines in Christianity that can be defended an supported via strictly secular means, I hate to think that others are being exposed to, and internalizing, some of the more damnable doctrines of the religion. I think the hell-threat is one of the worst.
Spencer:I love your compassion.I don't think of hell as a threat. Jesus speaks of it as the chosen path of those who choose to trust themselves rather than God. Condemnation, according to Jesus, is self-inflicted and most certainly not God-inflicted. Christians who try to guilt others into faith have it wrong. Christ graces us into faith. But even Jesus believed in the existence of hell, dominion without the life of God, as chosen by its inhabitants.My own journey from atheism to Christian faith was propelled in part because the evidence for the truth of Christian proclamation about Christ seemed so plausible. No other rational, scientific, or religious system seems to so fully and convincingly explain reality.And there is Jesus with Whom I fell in love. I am deeply grateful that you take the time to read what I present here and even more, that you take the time to write. You are a great person and all of us have the deepest affection and greatest respect for you and your wonderful family. You're good people, Spencer, which is one reason that the very notion of hell hurts you so much. That says good things about you.God bless.Mark
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