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Special Note: This page is written mainly for Christians...it's an appeal to other
Christians, especially mainstream Christians to move towards a more sane
and loving doctrine of Salvation that is respectful of the Spiritual paths of
others without judging them or condemning them. So much of this article
is written with the assumption that Christianity is true. As I said earlier
the statements on this site are my beliefs only and a belief cannot be stated
as a fact, no matter how fiercely one believes in it or how much evidence
he/she feels he/she has. I have written this paragraph to let any non-
Christian who should happen upon this page know, that this article is geared
towards those with a Christian world view and is not meant to be offensive
to those who for whatever reason choose not to follow the Christian path.

How a Christian views the doctrine of Salvation is very important, not
only for their own assurance, but for how they see people of other
religions and cultures. There are normally two main views the
Christian takes of the non-christian:

1. That they are totally lost and “sinners” on their way to Hell unless
some Christian reaches and converts them (my argument is that this sounds
like Christians are Saviors rather than Christ...but I’ll get to that in a
minute.)
2. That everyone is a child of God unless and ONLY unless that person
continually and willfully their entire life rejects any part of revelation
that God gives them in whatever format and according to whatever culture or
religion they are apart of. (this is my view)

There is another view...that a lot of Christians secretly hold...it’s what
they probably consider a more “charitable” view, but it nontheless diminishes
God’s work in other cultures and religions and demeans those who hold those
views. The view is that somehow someway, those who have never heard will have
some kind of “opportunity” to accept Christ. Of course no one is clear on how
this “opportunity” is going to arise. And my argument continues to be...what about
people who have LEFT Christianity because they were in an abusive Fundie environment
that left them completely psychologically scarred to the point where they have
either given up on religion or they can’t look at Christianity again
without being upset. (are we to assume that these people are LOST if
Christianity is true, because they had previously been “converted” by a
modern day Pharisee? (note, I’m not saying all Fundie Christians are Pharisees.
I grew up in a Fundie Church, and while, I don’t agree with a lot of their
theology, most of them were very loving people.)


We Christians tend to be extremists... For example here is one doctrine
that deeply disturbs me and I will explain why: “Once Saved, Always Saved”
Yes, I know this doctrine sounds absolutely beautiful to those who hold to it.
And, there is, I believe, some truth to it...but it’s been overly exaggerated.
In my opinion the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine is a red herring whose
purpose is to cause us to remain in our selfish self-satisfaction with our own
security, while ignoring all those that this doctrine disenfranchises. Salvation
is not salvation if it requires human intervention...this is what people
have traditionally striven for, why is this Salvation any better?

The Doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved” seems to arise from Romans: 10: 9-10:
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your
heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with
your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that
you confess and are saved.” (While this is true, does this speak of eternal
fire insurance? Does this say that otherwise you will NOT be saved? You can
only read what is there, you can’t start assuming things just because it
sounds good.)

Ok...so what is wrong with this doctrine...only everything:
1. This is Paul speaking. What Jesus says flies in the face of this if we are
to take it as the official “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine. While
there is most definitely truth in this statement, you cannot build a whole
“Christian” doctrine out of 1 thing Paul said when it goes against what
Jesus said (at least it goes against what he said when it is stretched to an
extreme to create this doctrine.)

Jesus seemed to indicate that if someone didn’t do the will of his father
that they would not see the kingdom of Heaven. Of course I’m sure a very
creative “Once Saved, always saved” believer could say that they will be in
Heaven, just with a blindfold on.


2. While, this gives assurance to many...it also freaks many others out.
Because now your salvation is dependent upon you “believing enough” which is
still a work and not Grace. In our culture today, if my salvation is dependent
upon me believing enough, then I’m screwed, because as everyone else, I have
doubts sometimes. Does this mean I love God less? No!

3. Believing this doctrine means that people who are “Christians” who don’t
really love God but are looking for eternal fire insurance are going to spend
eternity in Heaven, whereas those who loved their creator with all their heart,
but were believers in another culture or religion are going to Hell because
they didn’t have the right information? Give me a break!

The arguments for this doctrine are oftentimes exaggerated: Like, somehow if
you don’t believe this doctrine you will be in a constant state of doubt like a
wife or husband who is constantly questioning whether their spouse loves them or
not. (Note...they completely turn the facts around here and use faulty
analogies. They use a Straw man argument here. God always loves you.
The question is...do you love God? If you don’t want to be with God he certainly
isn’t going to force you because then free will would be meaningless and there would
have been no point in this “incubation period” we call life on earth, why not
just start out in Heaven? Of course there are some who could argue with me on
this point intelligently...but for me, it just doesn't add up any other way.)

Here is a simple example to help to get rid of this false premise: This
morning I noticed my husband’s wedding ring was sitting on the nightstand. I
took it and went into the office where he was working on a computer program. I
took his left hand and put the ring on and said: “Will you continue to be married
to me?”

Of course I was playing with him, but this illustrates something very important.
In your average marriage you don’t constantly question whether or not you are
still married? If one spouse makes a mistake or even does something really
hurtful to the other, this does not automatically spell divorce. It is only when
there is no love there that the relationship is over. Even when one person
continues to deeply love the other, if that other person doesn’t love them,
there is no relationship.


So how can we reconcile all the different ideas for a sane doctrine of
Salvation? I believe we should dismiss our proud faulty premises and go with
something more biblical. (I have drawn many of these ideas from books in
the suggested reading list...in the interest of time...I can’t go into super
deep detail here “proving my case” if you are interested in going further in
this study consult the reading list.)

Here is what I believe (note, my belief doesn’t make it a divine decree...it
only makes it my belief...every individual must formulate their own beliefs,
even if their belief is not to believe in anything.)

1. We are saved by Grace. There is no way we could be “perfect” on our own.
If one believes in reincarnation then salvation is not a problem...because
that is the mode of salvation...but those who don’t believe in reincarnation
believe in only one earthly chance (this is the premise I am working from...not
that it is a divine decree...but that it is my belief only.) If God were just
choosing to let those who are “good” go to Heaven, then what would be the cutoff
point...how fair would it be to say: “Ok...you committed 230 sins in your life...you
get to go to Heaven, but you...oh...you committed 231...that’s our cutoff point...
I’m sorry.) Some would at this point say..."Why couldn't everyone be saved?" Well they
can, however if someone does not want a relationship with God, and does not want
to be with God, How loving is a God that forces someone to love him? That's
not real love. In fact, one could make a case for that being Spiritual rape, and
I don't believe it's in God's character.

2. All people are saved by Grace, through the sacrifice of Christ except those,
and only those who throughout their entire life willfully reject any piece of
divine revelation they receive in whatever manner, whether expressly “Christian”
or not. (In other words we are leaving the traditional premise of God continually
rejects those who don’t have it “right” to we continually reject God...We are not
chasing after God, he is chasing after us...however if someone makes it clear that
they don’t want anything to do with God, I believe he backs off and gives you that
freedom, otherwise he would be tantamount to a divine stalker.)


3. Grace enables everyone who wishes to have a relationship with the divine to
have one. If you love God, however, he/she is revealed to you, I believe you
are included in this promise. (Note: Grace frees you up to have a “genuine”
relationship...God loves you just like you are...you don’t have to wear a mask or
be “perfect.”)

4. Christianity is not a superior religion or spiritual path. Christianity doesn’t
save a person, Christ does. (This is why I rant all the time about how Christianity
should be seen as a divine revelation rather than a whole “religion” unto itself.
Because, even though I do believe that Christianity is the truth and Judaism
before it, I also believe very strongly that God has worked in lives of individuals
in other cultures and religions as well, and it is very disrespectful to assume
they are all “false” and any less God’s Children.)

5. You don’t have to “earn” salvation in any way. It’s a gift, given to everyone
who was ever born. (Because God is outside of time, this even includes those
before the time of Christ, it didn’t matter when historically this event happened
in “our” time.) The only way you “lose” salvation is if you don’t want to be with
God. If you don’t love God and don’t want a relationship with him. (The one problem
with this premise is this: People many times mistakenly assume this means that if
you don’t want to be with God he is going to torture you forever, in which case,
that is enough reason for you not to want to be with him. However, I think this
premise is flawed also. If you don’t want to be with God, he’s not going to force
you. How can you live forever, if you refuse to be plugged into the source of life?
The view of Hell as a literal torture chamber hurts God’s image. (See the Hell page.)
Doctrines of Hell and Salvation go hand in hand. If you have a faulty perception
of one, you will have a faulty perception of the other.)

6. The old testament “law” shows that it takes Grace...that no one can be
“good enough” on their own. Grace means it’s important that none of us consider
ourselves “better” than anyone else and yet, this is the attitude that many
Christians have taken towards non-Christians.

7. The point of missions is called into question when we think like this (or at
least this is what some say. But the mission is important because Jesus said it
was and told us to do it, not because it makes us important. Acting as if everyone
who doesn’t know Jesus from some explicit revelation “we” gave them is lost makes
it look as if we believe “we” are saviors, and we should never get that proud.)
However the mission was supposed to be to share the good news: “God loves you, you
are a child of God, now act like one.” Not: “Good news, you have the potential
to become a child of God, if you believe just the right way and do just the
right “Christian” things.” Ummm...no. Making the good news “conditional” makes
it no longer news.


CNN never spends all their time reporting all the “potential” things that
could happen, only what has happened or is happening. Let me ask you...are
you thrilled and excited when you get a letter in the mail that tells you you
are a winner of 10 million dollars IF you send in the winning number? I’m always
of the opinion...”Don’t tell me I’m a winner unless I’ve actually won. The
potential to be a millionnaire is worthless as long as it is only “potential.”
I don’t know of any store in America or the world for that matter that let’s you
spend your potential money. (well, yes, credit cards, but even then "Real" money
is coming from somewhere, it's not just a theory.)

I can wholeheartedly understand the situation where someone has been so
psychologically damaged by “Fundie Christianity” to the point where the whole
gospel has been so warped for them that they cannot ever accept “Christianity”.
Am I to believe that people are so great that they can override God’s mercy and
love? Some people who are atheists are not atheists because they don’t “want
to believe” many of them do, however Christianity has turned itself into a
very unintellectual religion that is not a source of comfort for those who want
to be logical thinkers (am I then to believe that all super smart people can’t
go to Heaven? )

Example: In Fundie Christianity...you have to believe EVERYTHING the bible
says as absolutely literal unless it uses words such as “like” which make it
obvious it’s a similie (apparantly there is no such thing as a metaphor in the
bible, even though it is full of similies. For those of you a little rusty on
your high school English...a similie is when the text says something like:
“She was “like” a starry night” a Metaphor says: “She was a starry night.” Most
fundies accept similies but not most metaphors for what they are). So this
means you have to shut down your intelligence to believe the Creation story
literally happened in 6 literal days (I like to believe it happened just like that,
but that’s the kind of person I am...I also like to believe in fairies.) I’m sorry but
one story being a “myth” doesn’t make every story a myth. To force someone to
believe in the creation story as literal in some ways forces them to reject the
gospel.

Now, while I am on this topic...I just know some fundie Christian is going to
say: “What about what the bible says about false religions?” My answer is...I’m not
God. Because I’m not God, I have no idea what is in someone else’s heart. I don’t
know how they view God or don’t view God. I don’t know if they are “using” God for
their own gain, or if they are truly seeking a relationship. I’m sure that
there are obviously false views of God, we can’t all be right on every point
of doctrine. (This includes me.) I believe however that God looks on the heart
and not external matters.

Also, throughout history certain groups of “Christians” have been responsible
for horrible injustices and prejudices (this still continues today). The
horrible things done in the name of “Christianity” doesn’t invalidate the
person of Christ. It instead invalidates any right a “Christian” thinks
he/she has to consider him/herself superior morally or in any other way to
God’s other children.


For this reason I can’t categorize any specific religion as a “false” religion,
or any religion as a “true” religion. Not because there aren't false views of God,
there must be, in truth we really cannot all be right about everything. But
categorizing a "religion" as false or true inevitably disenfranchises the individual.
I believe that Christ is the incarnation of God, that he died for our sins
and was ressurected. I know this defies logic. But I believe it. Whatever
else is in the bible, I believe Jesus’ word over anyone else’s word. I can’t
judge anyone or their religious practice or lack there of, (not even a fundie...
while I say that Fundie Christianity has been damaging to many...this is not
saying that fundies are “lost” I’m not in charge of the eternal “lost and found”
department.)

The other argument that I’m bound to get is this: “Aren’t you focusing too much
on God’s Grace, what about his judgement?” When I say I believe in Grace, I mean,
if you are seeking to love and seeking truth, if you are wrong on some view...then
Grace covers you. I mean this for me as well. I am speaking from my heart if I’m
wrong, I believe in God’s Grace for me too. Also, In considering God’s Grace vs.
God’s Judgement. I would rather overestimate God’s Grace than his Judgement.

Overestimating God’s Grace (and who is to say we are overestimating, afterall,
how judgemental and “mean” could he possibly be if he was willing to become
human and sacrifice himself like that? And do you really think he would do this
for only a certain number of people whose only hope is if other “people” tell
them all the proper doctrines?) leads to loving God more and being
psychologically healthy. It also leads to viewing ALL other people as having
intrinsic worth in God’s sight and as children of God instead of “potential”
children of God. (How much better our world might be if we could see every
person with this love and respect, yes, even those on the Jerry Springer show...
I don’t know their hearts, I don’t know what their life will turn into,
I’m not God.) Overestimating God’s judgement leads to fear, repression,
judgementalism, and psychological imbalance.

In conclusion: “You are a child of God....God loves you...Walk in the light you
have.” Don’t let someone threaten you or emotionally abuse you with the fear
of Hellfire. All the “Work” has been done for you. You have grace. If you now
have love for the divine in your heart, you meet the requirement.

Blessings,
Zoë Grace =)




Special Thanks to the following for graphics:
Barbara and Bill's Best of the Web
Heather and Warren's Gif Pages
My Favorite Religious Gifs
Some Great Backgrounds!