I figured you'd disrespectively disagree with me, so credit to you for glossing over the 'aggressive rant' nature of my post: reading it through it does come off a bit aggressive so sorry about that
I think I honestly missed the aggressiveness. If you were being aggressive I didn't feel it.
Are there any statistics of what % of Christians (for example, works equally well with other faiths) are 'born-again' as opposed to those who would say they were Christian from childhood, or more precisely, by their parents choice? I'd be amazed if the proportion of 'born-again' Christians is more than 20%.
Aren't there statistics to cover ALL the sides of a debate. Statistics are flexible.
Do you have to teach them Christianity to teach them morals? My parents taught me morality, but not as the 10 commandments: what they taught me about morals could be put fairly accurately into 'treat others as you would wish to be treated' which pretty much covers the 10 commandments (ignoring the ones which specifically relate to God)
You can be a moral person without Christianity. That is certainly true. And the Golden Rule is usable across many religions.
and imho, if God does exist and would punish me for not believing in him, or praising another god, or any other religion-related sins, even if I had lived my life according to "treat others as you would wish to be treated" and was sorry for any occasions on which I had transgressed that rule and hurt others uneccesarily, if he would punish me for that, he is not God.
God SO loves us that He made a plan (a sacrifice) for our unbelief and alllll our sins against Him and each other well before we were created. He is amazing in His long suffering. He is the beginning and the end and knows all of what is happening in between. This question of yours begs for your own research. There is nothing like getting into it for yourself and realizing it on your own. If you just take my word for it (not that you are *wink*) then you are being a hypocrite to your current beliefs. Have you looked into all the aspects, tried it out and researched this on your own and come to this conclusion or did you just adopt this belief based on what you've seen and heard? I'm not at all being sarcastic or aggressive, I'm just curious. I know that I can give you my beliefs on this question, but it's not gonna have a whole lot of weight to it if you already think I'm a bible thumping, deceived individual, am I right?
Oh alright, I'll give you my thoughts anyway b/c I just can't shut up anyway.
God's sacrifice for us was SOOOOO huge that it is the ultimate slap in the face to NOT BELIEVE, to NOT recognize, to say He does not exist is to spit on what He did for you and me. Even the way a human cell works screams out the story of it's Creator. Even if you were to ignore the bible, the church, the conservative nutty Christians, the hypocrites in all our lives...the earth and the way it all moves and creates evidences a Creator. God is so amazingly loving that He gives us AMPLE, AMPLE time to learn about Him, to come back to Him, to recognize, to realize that we are not our own gods or that we are to serve wooden idols. The ultimate punishment after our death here on earth (if we do not accept that we are lost and need a savior in Christ) is eternal separation from Him, but the minor punishments (or consequences) here on earth are either gentle or not so gentle ways of His to bring us into alignment with His will for us. Okay, okay...I'm definitely rattling on here. The point is...He loves each one of us and does not want for any of us to perish, but also does not want a relationship with a robot. Our free will allows for us to chose to believe and have a one on one relationship with him. That's not just going to church or forcing yourself to read the Bible, but to have a REAL one on one relationship, daily, intimate. He DOES talk to his children and longs for a physical reunion with us, which will come.
What 'evidence' for the existence of God do we see every day?
Well, a critical skeptic could explain away any evidence I gave them, am I right? The evidence I see is in the transformation stories of people, myself included. But then an Agnostic or Atheist or Buddhist would give me another reason for my evidence. So this argument is cyclical. In my own life I get quiet with a journal and the Bible, talk with God one on one. My evidence is that a child who grew up being emotionally abused and molested gave herself to Christ, believed that he was real and wanted a personal relationship with me and throughout my talking with God, my pouring out of my own will in my life was able to TRULY forgive the people who abused and molested me. My evidence is watching my best girlfriend who grew up strictly Morman and was a serious drug abuser come to HAVE strength and power and a transforming kind of love for herself and the people in her life who continually try to beat her down. It's most definitely in the transformation of a person's spirit. BUT...that's not the evidence you are looking for. It's that irrational, dishonest and lazy "evidence" you have been given previously. My suggestion to you would be to ask HIM for some evidence. And maybe you have? But then you have to wonder if your insistent disbelief has created a barrier that needs to be brought down in order to hear Him. I've heard many stories of people throughout my few years on the earth who professed to being at the end of their rope with this world, their situation and shouting at God "IF you ARE real - SHOW UP! Help me! Save me from this!" and he did. The trick will be not allowing yourself to explain it away as chance like your skeptical mind will want to.
All Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Muslims, Pagans, etc will be serving the one true God when they each accept that Christ is the Messiah that they all are looking for. Woo Boy - that'll fire up the heat in here!
Would you ever describe a 9-year-old as a 'socialist' or a 'patriot'? A Democrat or a Republican? A 'homosexual' or a bigot?
Kids are subject to what their parents subject them to. What parent, who truly believed that there was only ONE way to Heaven and that was to accept Christ as their savior, would look at their kid and say "eh, you're on your own with this life, buddy." THAT would not be good parenting. And conversely, if I knew matches started a fire and saw my kids playing with matches and I DIDN'T stop them or give them wise council, then that is bad parenting too.
So why would you describe a 9 year old as a Christian?
I would describe any person of any age who knew the facts of how to accept Christ as their savior and followed them (asking Christ into their heart) as a "Christian." Problem is...the Christian label has been watered down and been used against so many people that it tends to have a negative connotation. A person who is really chasing after the heart of God and following the example of Christ could be more appropriately labeled "a follower of Christ." Abby made a commitment based on what she knew at a certain age and it's my responsibility to teach her how to carry that commitment out. As she grows and her brain develops, so will her relationship with Christ. She could at a later age depart from what she's learned and she'll be responsible for herself. At this point though she's our responsibility and we are teaching her what we believe and experience as truth.
I assume the case is even more true for the 2 younger children? If you don't understand something, how can you love it, and much less use it as a moral guide for life?
Yep - the younger two, and really just Zman, have only the bare bones. They are along for the ride until they get a little older and can understand. Zman is learning the basics of how to pray and learning the Bible stories. He can still apply scripture to his life, although it's his parents responsibility to point it out and help him do so.
I gues we are never going to agree on this, however i think that certainly any discussion of heaven/hell is inappropriate with children who cannot think critically: here is a set of moral guidelines for life, if you follow them you go to heaven, if you don't you go to hell: to me this is emotional blackmail, so if (as obviously you do ) you teach children about Christianity, if you want them to have a strong relationship with God, I would personally omit the heaven/hell parts of the stories,
I definitely get the emotional blackmail idea you have, but I don't subscribe to it. I think since I came to know Christ on my own and experienced Him as a healer and a friend first, I have a harder time understanding what others feel when they come from a non-emotional religious background. I NEEDED CHRIST and so when I accepted Him, he came right in and made me feel grounded and comfortable and began healing wounds in me that shouldn't have been there at age 13.
Hell is terrifying and you're right...it's an age appropriate discussion to have. Just like I wouldn't jump right into all the details of human sexuality with my nine year old, I wouldn't go scaring my five year old with the reality of eternal separation from God. Abby knows the distinction of Heaven and Hell on a basic level, but as she gets more into the Bible (be it now while under our roof or later when she's an adult) she'll understand that Hell was created for a purpose just as Heaven has it's purpose.
Thanks for the banter, Kick!! Guess I'd better get back to duties!