Anonymous asked: Do you think that the possibility of extraterrestrial life is compatible with Christianity? Also what do you think would be the implications on Christianity if humanity were to come in contact with alien life.
Sure, I think it’s possible. The bible doesn’t preclude the possibility of other forms of life(whether we end up interpreting them as angels or demons or something else…), and the fact that it doesn’t specifically name “beings from another planet” only indicates that:
1. The Hebrews didn’t need such information and/or would not have understood it even if they were told
2. It is not relevant to Christianity
3. There are no aliens
As far as how the discovery of alien life would impact Christianity, well, there’s thousands of different denominations with different ways of incorporating new information. I like this question, but it seems that most often when it’s discussed, the assumption is that the alien life will be atheistic- what if they’re not? What if they’re Christian, or something close to it? What if they believe in something entirely different but not wholly incompatible with “earth religions?” It’s hard to think that they’d have no beliefs at all(even if only in random chance/evolution) if they’re intelligent beings… and would the nature of the aliens themselves affect how religious people interpret them? Suppose they look like our conception of angels/demons?
There’s just too many unknowns to answer how aliens would affect religion, if they exist at all. Bottom line, I don’t know, and I’ll wait and find out with everyone else… but it’d make for interesting science fiction in the meantime.
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Anonymous asked: Can you mix paganism and Christianity?
There are some pagan/Wiccan beliefs that are not incompatible with Christianity(the rule of three, for example). You can’t believe in multiple gods and be a Christian, no. So, it would depend on the particular form of paganism, and what belief.
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Anonymous asked: this might be a disturbing question, but i struggle with self harm and i've read that self-harm is a really awful sin. i tried to look in the bible but all i really found were self-harm in the terms of idol worship or demon possession. i dont fit into either of those categories. i know that it's bad to self-harm and im trying to stop, but are there any scriptures talking about this? (and also will my struggle possibly land me in hell?)
I don’t find it disturbing. But sin is not the issue with self-harm: living with it without seeking treatment causes harm to yourself. Causing yourself harm should be avoided, regardless of your religious views. Why fear hell when you’re putting yourself through torment in -this- life?
There are some scriptures which mention the act, but the sort of self-harm/cutting described is mostly related to pagan rituals and idol worship, as you’ve noticed. Those ritualistic beliefs were considered sinful, but for the vast majority of people who engage in self-harm today, that’s not the reason they’re doing it. The scriptures you may want to search for instead are those related to depression or anxiety:
Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Being depressed, anxious, or suicidal- none of these feelings are sinful or wrong. They simply are, and they can be accepted and dealt with, but there is no need to do that alone. Most people can’t, and no one has to. But the advice I can offer you is limited, so if you need other resources, these are some hotlines/support sites that may be of assistance:
Please remember that God loves you, and loves the body you were given as much as you should. It is the only one we have throughout this life, and acting on self-harm won’t cure the underlying emotion. You seem like a good person, and I’m sure that you wouldn’t cause harm to anyone else, even if they asked you to. You would seek help for them- So love yourself just as much.
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elisabethpond asked: hey i am sorry i am spaming your ask box but just one little questions. Do you think jesus really walked over the water or do you think it was a methapher by the author used to describe something else?
I rarely mind questions. That’s an interesting one, too. I lean more to this being a description of an actual event(not a metaphor), though it appears to also have symbolic meaning beyond the literal words.
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elisabethpond asked: hey i want to ask you a question. This is something i thought about before starting to go to church. Everybody is different because everybody in this world was raised differently and lived different situations. So if basically noone is the same why do we all say we believe in the same? Isnt faith an extremely personal matter? it is basically how i see the universe. Shouldn't that be my choice? i dont want to be arrogant, i am honestly confused about it. let me now what you think and thanks
I’m not entirely sure I understand your question. Faith -is- a personal choice, but we humans can still determine some measure of truth(or what is more likely to be true) within a belief system. Religion should have an internal logical coherence and not contradict known evidence from other sources without a reasonable explanation. If someone still wishes to believe in a particular belief system despite being made aware of the logical/evidential problems with it, I wouldn’t have an issue with that, to the extent they aren’t hurting anyone else… but I can say that their belief system is flawed due to <x> reasons. Same as anyone else can do for mine. It leads to interesting debates, but no one is required to believe in anything simply because it seems to be the most likely possibility.
If you’re asking, how are we ultimately judged based on our beliefs… well, I don’t know. I believe in one objective truth- which is why I care about finding it- and I also assume God is fair(including to those who don’t find His truth), and that if He’s not, there’s nothing we can do about it anyway… so believe in what you think is right, and don’t hurt other people in the meantime.
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Anonymous asked: Are you pro life or pro choice? And why?
I am pro-choice. No human being has the right to use the body or organs of another human being without their willing consent- not even to preserve their own life. If one believes that a fetus is a human life, then they are no exception to this rule.
Beyond the legalistic understanding, pregnancy and childbirth is a deeply personal experience that cannot be adequately understood by anyone who isn’t in the situation. The fetus/unborn baby, however we want to name it, is intimately connected to its mother in a way that no other two humans ever are. It is a part of her body, and yet also separate. For all the difficulty that I might have when thinking about someone else’s abortion, it has no more affect on me than someone else’s pregnancy would. In my situation, it is very easy to say that abortion is wrong and ought to be avoided- but do I also have an obligation to provide a ‘home’ for a fetus that is unwanted by it’s own mother? If I care about preserving life, it seems that I might be required to say yes, if that baby has as much right to life- superseding the desires of the woman who carries it- as those on the pro-life side tend to believe it does.
But I wouldn’t volunteer for that job. Most people wouldn’t. The inconvenience it would cause me would always be far more of a concern than the life of that fetus. The only moral difficulty that abortion causes me is the question of what I would do if it were -my- fetus. And I don’t know what my choice would be, regardless of the circumstances behind that pregnancy. I’m not sure I could ever go through with an abortion… but then, I’ve never been in the position to find out.
So I can’t help but see the moral outrage against someone else’s abortion as judgment against the mother, not concern for the unborn life. A person may recoil at the thought of abortion, judging on what they think they would do, if it were theirs… but they have no feelings of tenderness for a life that does not yet exist and is not a part of themselves- only the mother can, and so only she should get a say in how that life is brought into existence.
All that said, I am all in favor of addressing the causes of unwanted pregnancy and eliminating the need for abortion of a healthy fetus. Why a woman may make that choice, I believe, is a far more relevant question for Christians than whether or not she should.
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Anonymous asked: Hi I have a question thats been bothering me. (Btw, I am kind of returning to religion) Ive been struggling with depression and some other issues. While going through this time I looked for verses to try to help me and I was wondering how do I know that God is willing to do any of the things that He did for the people in bible for me? I'm not sure if I am being clear, but will He really deliver me? What if His blessings were just for them, and I am destined to be miserable? Can that happen?
Christ’s sacrifice was made for all people, as a new covenant between them and God. No one is forgotten or abandoned by God. Here on earth, though, it can be difficult to remember this, and this leads to doubt or feelings of worthlessness. It’s understandable that you might feel that way, as I struggle with depression myself, but you are still among those who were destined to be reconciled with God. Nothing can change that.
God bless! :)
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i asked you (not very kindly, mind you) to go through your posts *for* me.
Ok. Request denied.
I believe that the metaphysical evidence supports the existence of God more than it does atheism. I’ve argued this point many times, just not specifically in that comment. If you have a question related to the specifics of my beliefs, I’d be happy to address that.
i’m interested in reasons (or “arguments”…or “metaphysical evidence”) why you think a god exists.
And the reason why your request is denied is because I make a policy these days to only discuss the arguments for God with people who are genuinely interested in understanding how other people think who do not share the same beliefs. I do not discuss arguments for the existence of God with people who insist that I prove God to them, to their satisfaction, because I don’t really care if you believe in God or not. It has zero impact on my life, but obviously, my beliefs(and those of many other Christians who are largely minding their own business) are a matter of *great concern* to many internet atheists.
Based on your blog, you are not interested in the former. I am not interested in the latter. Thus, we have nothing to discuss.
If you have a *specific* question, then address it to my inbox, and I’ll answer.
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Anonymous asked: I have a question about prayer. I'm kind of confused about what exactly the point is? If God knows all and God has everything in his plan then how would my prayer change anything? My friend and I were discussing this and she said that the point is to draw yourself closer to God, which makes sense. Just wondering if you could add some insight.
Your friend has a great way of putting it.
Most of the confusion about prayer comes from viewing it as ‘wish fulfillment’, though prayer is better thought of as part of the process of salvation or forgiveness. I do believe some prayers are granted, when it’s right for God to do so and there is a desperate need for it to happen… but it’s worth noting that there is no -need- for God to answer a prayer if it is within human ability to solve the problem. I.E., if you can help someone without praying for them, then do so.
But on occasions when there is literally nothing you can do- and nothing anyone else can do- then prayer is a way of leaving it to God instead. Even then, the prayer might not be granted… yet, most who pray find comfort in it, and in God. Ultimately, comfort and faith is the value of prayer, and the reason why the poor and the outcasts of society tend to find religion much easier to grasp than anyone else.
I’m sorry if this sounds stupid or insensitive but i really have to ask this.can christians enter chinese temples or places of worship of other religions?my christian friends say they can’t because it’s against their religion but is it really true?
No, there’s nothing un-Christian about entering a building to a God/idea you don’t believe in.
On a more general note, worship is an act of will. You can’t erect a Christmas tree and find yourself “accidentally” worshiping a pagan deity with it- it has only the value and beliefs of the one who decorated it. If the supermarket has a special on idol-sacrificed meat, it’s ok for Christians to eat that, too.
However, as a friend, or as a fellow believer, there’s not really any reason to encourage anyone to go against their conscience. If a Christian wants to avoid “pagan” trees, idol meat, palm reading, or anything else, let them do so. If they believe that it is wrong to enter X building, to the extent that that belief causes no harm or trouble for anyone else, it IS un-Christian to try and force them inside. They may have their own, very legitimate reasons to refuse… so leave them to it.
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