04 December 2009

Seems Simple...

So in the comments the other day (I loo-ve your comments!) I got this question:


Regina said...
What exactly qualifies a person as a "non-believer?"

December 2, 2009 11:16 AM

After alot of thought, I think it comes down to the sufficiency of Christ's death- if you don't believe in that, then I would say you were a non-believer.

So, you don't put your faith in these things:

1. being a good person
2. being better than people you know
3. attending church regularly
4. baptism as an infant
5. going to a holy land
6. doing what is right
7. saying penance
8. following rules
9. knowing the right people
10. looking like you have it together
11. having a degree, the right car, 2.4 kids...
12. Jesus on a wall or tortilla
13. the latest Mormon prophet
14. knowing a lot about the Bible
15. having grown up in a Christian household

I grew up attending a Catholic Church. I was confirmed as a teen and went on three Catholic missions trips. This is the instructions I recall: Take confession. Take Communion. Go to church. Get the Sacraments. Do your Penance. Mary isn't god, but she goes up to God (he's really busy) and tries to get you an in with your prayer request. Jesus is the dying guy on the cross covered in blood- God's son. Pray to the saint of the left foot when you lose your keys. No, that last one is wrong.

In the Catholic church, I don't remember being taught: that I was sinful. That I should compare myself only to Christ. That you could know Jesus. That the Bible said Christ is the only mediator.
I was trying to pinpoint what makes me a believer. It's not that I go to a church that has a projector screen or that I listen to a Christian music radio station. It's not that I wear a cross instead of a crucifix. It's not so many things, but what it boils down to is that I came to know that when God looks at me, he sees the blood of Christ covering me, and like the Hebrew homes at the first Passover, he recognizes the one with faith in the blood- it doesn't make sense, but you have faith.

Here's a page of wonderful quotes about the fairness of God's exclusivity, far better than I could construct.


Regina said...

So where does that list come from? I know that didn't come from the Bible. It seems judgmental for anyone to concoct such a list, when it is not our job to judge anyone.

mama4x said...

*I* wrote the list to illustrate a few of the things many nonbelievers put their faith in. Some of them used to apply to me. They are all justified through the instruction of the Bible, although they aren't listed there like the list.

I think we can identify people who ARE where we WERE. It is easy to "judge" that someone is doing/experiencing the same thing that we did ourselves. A sober(recovering)alcoholic is able to see behavior and ID deceptive practices of people around them in a keen way that someone who hasn't "been there" can't do.

Judging is something we do every day. It's not always a bad thing. I judge through experience and context if my daughter is lying to me. I judge through instruction and experience if I have time to pull my van through an intersection. I judge through conversation and experience if someone puts their faith in being a good person instead of the death and resurrection of Christ. Because I was there and I recognize the signs and the struggles of such a person.

Christianity is unique among worldviews and other religions that it claims exclusive truth. It claims that Jesus is the only way to know God. There is no other way to stand worthy before Him. So it is ((judged)) by others as judgmental and intolerant. When really, anyone is able to come and be accepted and no one is turned away.

Regina said...

I know for a fact that your understanding of Mary in the Catholic Church is completely wrong. And your tongue in cheek comment about the "saint of the left foot" is outright disrespectful. It seem like you are saying who is a believer and who is not, and your word is the only one. Experience is one thing, but judging those as believers or non-believers is nobody's right.

mama4x said...

Here is the link to the Catholic website that lists the patron saints. My point exactly: Patron saint of arms dealers, jumping (or would you prefer Leaping?).

Re Mary:
My mom taught me that God was really busy, but if we had to tell him something important, we could pray to Mary about it, and she would go to God when he had a minute and essentially say, "I looked over all these prayer requests and they're all in your will, can you just sign off on them?"
From Pope John Paul II: "the Church has always held devotion to Mary in high esteem, considering it *inseparably* linked to belief in Christ/"The Lord is with thee" reveals God's *special personal relationship* with Mary/"Pray for us sinners", and *entrust themselves* to her at the present moment and at the ultimate moment of death."

WHA? Mary is no different than anyone else who put her faith in Jesus! Every one of us gets a special relationship with him- we are all co-heirs with Christ. There is no entrusting of ourselves to her at our death? What could she do? And faith and veneration in her is purely tradition and not supported in the Bible at all.

I am not at all saying that I am the determiner of who is a believer and who is not. I am reporting what has been taught to me about it, through interpretation of the Bible. God knows the heart of all his people and when we get to heaven he determines where we have put our trust- or not.

It seems like you're avoiding the real question and focusing on the details. Faith has two components: essentials and non-essentials. Salvation is essential. Transubstantiation, Mary, confession, baptism- all non-essentials that fall to the wayside when the focus is on the essential. Do you know who Jesus said he is? Do you trust what he said? Why would a holy God want you to be with him after you die? What gives you the right to be in his presence?

I am absolutely sure of my standing- I was ransomed, Jesus got my due punishment for me. It is through NOTHING I have done or could do, and is only through my faith in the truth of his word.

Meredith said...

Wow, Tracy, the truth you speak gives me goosebumps and I feel it is all spoken in love which is so great to hear. Through my life experience, reading the bible, and having a relationship with God over the past 22 years I agree whole heartedly. I will be following your blog for sure. I'm not much of an intellectual or writer so not sure how often I'll post, but I will try to say something as the Lord leads.