Can We Only Learn From One Faith?

There is an old saying that if a man only has one watch he knows the time. If he owns two watches he is never sure. This saying seems to have particular significance when it comes to faith.
For the most part people stay with the faith into which they were born. In general terms the world of faith followers may be approximately divided into the main religions with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism – each having a significant share.
But this is to gloss over the exclusive understanding of all the sub groups. For example both Christianity and Islam are particularly noted for what might loosely be called denominational differences. Thus the followers of Catholicism in Christianity, and the followers of the Sunni branch of Islam might well be the most numerous in their respective faiths but there is little sign that they value the watch of their fellow members in the other faith branches. Baptists do not generally accept Catholics or Mormons as having the truth (and vice versa) any more than the Sunni accept the Shia or Sufi as having the truth (and vice versa).
The question then becomes should we assume that each one of us is certain to tell the correct time without reference to the others watch? Your thoughts please.

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41 Responses to Can We Only Learn From One Faith?

  1. Cherel says:

    As you opened with, “If he owns two watches he is never sure.” I think you have answered your own question.

    Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life.” Paul said, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” James said, “Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.”

    The question becomes, “Do you want to know what time it is, or do you simply want to know what time everyone around you thinks it is?” You will never be on time for anything until you get your own watch set right. That’s my thought. 🙂

  2. peddiebill says:

    I would have thought that even knowing about the existence of other watches might cause you to be a little more humble about being certain that you alone have the only watch set to the right time. Since only a relatively small proportion of Christians share your particular view of faith are you suggesting that it is only your group that is truly saved? If not which others qualify? eg Do the Roman Catholics qualify? They are certainly the biggest single group of Christians who share a common view of faith.

  3. Cherel says:

    Bill, I certainly did not say that I “alone have the only watch set to the right time.” By the grace of God, millions of people have such watches. The Bible says people will be saved from every nation and tongue. I favor no group at all. I desire everyone to be saved and leave that in the hands of God. Not I; but, the Bible says no one will be saved without faith in Jesus who died for their sins to provide that salvation. And, I believe it. A good Methodist should believe that too. John Wesley certainly did. 🙂

  4. Marty says:

    I’m enjoying your blog. I like the way you engage with those you don’t necessarily agree. I think I can learn a lot here. I found you through comments you made over at Neil’s. I typed “peddiebill” into google search and found you. I think it may be possible that your better judgement was right. I’ve tried to engage with Neil, but it’s useless. Homosexuality and abortion are the two main litmus tests he uses to determine whether you are a christian or false teacher. I see it didn’t take him long to label you the latter. Me… well….he was nice to me for a while… tolerated my comments… because I’m prolife… however, I’ve now been labeled “confused”, “passive aggressive” and have “nothing to add to the conversation so just leave”. So I left. Out of curiosity I still keep up with his tirades. I’m a United Methodist in Houston, Texas. Looking forward to reading more of your blog. I blogged for several years, but don’t have the stomach for it anymore. But, there are still a couple of blogger friends I still enjoy visiting. Glad to have found yours.

    • peddiebill says:

      Thanks Marty,
      You have no idea how encouraging I found your comment. Neil’s tirade aimed at me was somewhat unpleasant and the fact that some others on his site joined in made me realise that not only was I not welcome, but I had gained the impression that all his followers probably shared his attitude. There seemed to be no way of getting him to concede anything he had not previously thought about, so it was particularly nice to find out that all at his site were not so close-minded.

  5. Marty says:

    A couple of years ago I & several women at my church read the book “The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims “. It was a facinating read and we were surprised to learn how similiar and intertwined these three faiths are. I believe we can learn much from other faith traditions.

  6. peddiebill says:

    Thanks for the reference. My wife and I have been working through Karen Armstrong’s A History of God”. My wife made what I thought to be a perceptive comment when she said she was surprised at how a simple message that Jesus was bringing had been distorted and complicated by so many layers of subsequent belief. I dont know if you are familiar with Karen Armstrong’s Charter of Compassion which seems to me to have far more chance of getting refocus back on the essentials of faith and the more worthwhile things that unite those across the main faiths.
    Whether or not it can draw many away from the fascination of focussing on the ossified bones of the layers that surround each faith is another question.

    • Marty says:

      I did not recognize her name at first, then I googled it and found a Bill Moyers Journal video where he interviewed her. I remembered seeing that broadcast. Thanks for the info, I will add that book to my reading list. I haven’t commented at Neil’s for quite a while and doubt I ever will again. Nothing productive ever comes from it. But I am glad I visited his blog the other day and googled you. The peace of Christ be with you and yours.

  7. Peter says:

    Egypt: Desire for Money—Jizya—Prompts Attacks on Christians
    Posted By Raymond Ibrahim On June 30, 2011 @ 2:51 pm In Muslim Persecution of Christians | 5 Comments

    If growing numbers of Muslims in Egypt have an intrinsic hatred for all things Christian—most recently demonstrated by the torching of eight Christian homes on the rumor that a church was being built—let us not forget that this hate has instrumental, that is, economic benefits: the extortion of money from the non-believer—tribute from the conquered infidels to their Islamic overlords—otherwise known as jizya.

    Christian homes set aflame due to rumors that a church was being built.

    Consider: on June 24, hundreds of Muslims surrounded a Coptic church in Egypt, vowing to kill its priest—who was locked inside serving morning mass to several parishioners. The Muslims cried “We will kill the priest, we will kill him and no one will prevent us,” adding that they would “cut him to pieces.”
    As usual, police and security forces gave the terrorists ample time to terrorize—appearing a full five hours after the incident began; and when they escorted the priest out, it “looked as if he was the criminal, leaving his church in a police car.”

    What, exactly, did the rioting Muslims want this time? Why were they threatening to kill the priest?

    The official story is that they were livid that the priest had earlier tried to make renovations to the 100-year old church—Islam forbids building new or repairing old churches. After forcing renovations to cease on threats that they would demolish the church, they also tried to banish the priest, giving him 50 days to quit the region. The priest’s time was up, yet he refused to abandon his flock. Hence, the wild attack.

  8. Peter says:

    This kind of thing has been going on regularly for almost 1500 years. It is a direct result of the teachings and lifestyle of Mohammed. There is no way that other religions can live with Islam as “one faith.” it is not allowed under Sharia Law

    • peddiebill says:

      It would probably horrify you but those Muslims in Iraq are saying the same thing about Christians. The US soldiers who invaded (the US soldiers say liberated) Iraq killed a disproportionate number of Muslim civilians. According to some Muslim friends in Iraq, they see this as typical Christian behaviour. Unfortunately they have the statistics on their side.
      As to what is allowed – there is not problem and in fact they quote the Qu’ran – to say that other faiths are fine so long as they leave them to practice their Muslim faith without interference. It did not help that the “liberators” looted their religious treasures. Sometimes it is good to ask how those we criticise see our actions.

  9. Cherel says:

    You said, “they quote the Qu’ran – to say that other faiths are fine so long as they leave them to practice their Muslim faith without interference.”

    If “they” think they are getting that idea from the Qur’an, “they” are wrong. I just read the Qur’an and it does not say that. The Qur’an teaches that Jews and Christians (people of the Book) are to be converted to Islam, submit to Muslims and pay heavy fines to live among them, be exiled from their presence or be killed. Killing unbelievers (non-Muslims) is a clear teaching of the Qur’an and a practice of Muhammad and his followers.

    Muhammad personally led many raids against peaceful villages in Arabia. He gave the men an opportunity to convert, pay heavy fines or be killed. Many of the men were beheaded and he took their possessions and their wives and children as slaves. (Some were kept and some were sold.) Some villagers begged for their lives and he allowed them to leave Arabia with the few possessions they could carry– but that was unusual.

    As Peter said, the very same Muslims who demand a Mosque at Ground Zero will not allow the building or even repair of churches in their lands. Letting them practice their faith without interference requires letting them Islamize everything– veiled women, Sharia law, etc.

    Muslims are slaughtering Christians all around the world as we waste time arguing about the issue. Jihad has been going strong since 610 A.D and will not stop until the tyrannical Islamic ideology is once again openly opposed by the free world. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand, they will soon cut them off. It is that serious. Look at what’s going on in Sudan right now. Two million Sudanese have been killed in the fight with Jihad and the slaughter continues.

    Christians have never engaged in the massive slaughters that Islam thrives on. The crusades were fought to try to regain territory that was conquered by maurading Muslims. Islam started in the Arabian Peninsula and has spread all over the world through unprovoked conquests– not by evangelization. They weren’t being attacked when they spread Islam. They were on the attack.

    Leaders of “Christianized” nations have sinned and done much harm in the world but that destruction did not arise from following the lifestyle or the teachings of Jesus. You slander Christianity every time you promote such lies. Hitler was not a Christian. He was a demonized man who deceived and enslaved his countryman and slaughtered millions of Christians along with 6 million Jews.

    If America is such a horrible country why do people from all over the world try to get here so they can be free? Why have we aided countries all around the world when they face disasters? (Muslims countries don’t have a reputation for helping others– they don’t even believe in helping anyone but Muslims.) Why do many Iraqis and Afghans appreciate our help? Why do we spend so much money on nation building? Why do we try to help other countries become free? Why haven’t we created an American Empire rather than helping and then coming back home?

    America is not perfect but she is exceptional! Sin and corruption in high places are endangering her from within right now and Christians around the world are praying for her survival. We need righteous leaders once again. If she falls, who will take her place as the bastion of freedom and the beacon of hope?

  10. peddiebill says:

    “they don’t even believe in helping anyone but Muslims”????? Since when was Japan a Muslim country because there is plenty in the media about Muslim aid to Japan after their Tsunami. The Australian Muslim Aid organisation is also ignorant of your reading of the Qu’ran because I know they give a portion of their aid to non-Muslim countries.
    I obviously read different newspapers than you get in the US.
    Despite the nasty things you say about Muslims and the nasty verses in the Bible advocating violence to tribes unfriendly to the Jews I refuse to believe just because you are a Christian who follows the teachings of the Bible that is a fair representation of your faith. Why do you not extend the same degree of charity towards the Muslims? I can assure you that there are plenty of Muslims in New Zealand and I have yet to meet one who apppears nasty or unkind. I know of examples of Muslim places of worship in New Zealand being attacked by religious bigots but as yet I have not been able to find cases of the reverse happening to Christian Churches in this country by Muslims. Do you not think it possible that our behaviour is partly shaped by our experiences? Do you also not think it possible that a Muslim reading your comments might get the idea that these are comments of someone who is not likely to be welcoming towards those of other faiths? Dont take my word for it. Show your comments to a Muslim and ask them for their reaction. I may well be wrong.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Jesus parable about the wheat and the tares. You certainly dont seem to accept accept his injunction about leaving the judgment to God.

  11. Cherel says:

    I was not addressing individuals. I’m sure their are millions of wonderful Muslim individuals who do not practice what the Qur’an teaches. My point was, the Qur’an teaches violence and intolerance toward other faiths and plenty of Muslims take that teaching seriously– as is evident in the world.

    If New Zealand is not having to deal with any Muslim issues, I’m happy for you, but that is not the case worldwide. For example, Europe is being Islamized as we speak– against the will of most non-Islamic Europeans. Islam demands public acceptance of its practices and never shys away from violence in implementing its will. In Dearborn, Michigan Muslims want Christians to be arrested for sharing Biblical truth with Muslims. They want to shut down freedom of speech not only in Arabia, but in America! Plenty of Muslims really desire peace but Islam does not advocate or even allow for peaceful co-existence of Islam with other faiths and many Imams emphasize the message of Jihad for the spread of Islam. That is a fact.

    I am very aware of the wheat and the tares parable. That parable is a warning to avoid trying to separate believers from hypocrites in the church– not about letting un-Biblical teachings and actions go unchallenged. There are plenty of scriptures about defending (non-violently) the faith and opposing false doctrine. I’m sorry you have so much trouble distinquishing between truth and error and that you would rather attack Christians than defend truth.

  12. peddiebill says:

    I would be interested in how others see your comments. You may be right and hopefully I am wrong about the form of Christianity I suspect you represent.

  13. Marty says:

    “Muhammad personally led many raids against peaceful villages in Arabia. He gave the men an opportunity to convert, pay heavy fines or be killed. Many of the men were beheaded and he took their possessions and their wives and children as slaves. (Some were kept and some were sold.)”

    Sounds a lot like some of the Old Testament stories to me.

    Cheryl, have you ever heard of the Interfaith Dialogue Dinners? A couple of people from my church attended one a couple of years ago. I heard it was an eye opening experience for them. Perhaps there is one in your area. It couldn’t hurt to check it out.

  14. Cherel says:

    First, Bill, what “form of Christianity” do you “suspect” I represent? 🙂

    Marty, I can’t imagine what Interfaith Dialogue Dinners can actually accomplish. Have you heard of Chrislam? It’s an attempt to combine Christianity with Islam. It cannot happen without sacrificing truth. One must choose between serving Allah and serving Yahweh. They are very different and only One of them is truly God. One must choose between the Bible and the Qur’an. They contradict each other in all the important doctrines. Either Jesus is the divine Son of God or he’s just a prophet with less status than Muhammad. Either Jesus actually died for our sins and rose again to guarantee eternal life for us or Jesus did not die for our sins but was taken to heaven by Allah and will return as a prophet with the Muslims 12th Immam in the near future. (And we have nothing to cover our sins but our own good works!) Either we should love our enemies and show it by praying for them, sharing the gospel with them and helping them with physical needs, or we should force them to convert, be reduced to dhimmitude status or die. It goes on and on. Either we follow Christ or Muhammad.

    I choose to follow Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and soon coming King of Kings.

    • peddiebill says:

      It must be nice to know in advance what others are really thinking and how hopeless their religion is for them. Time wasting dinners to share ideas are then redundant – and in fact you would not even have to meet such tiresome religious losers. Is that what you are really saying?

  15. peddiebill says:

    Cherel, here is a challenge for you. Re-read your numerous comments directed at me, at my beliefs and limited understanding and your stated attitudes to my doubts and questions, identify the common themes and attitudes and see if you can guess how someone like you must appear to someone like me.

  16. Marty says:

    “Marty, I can’t imagine what Interfaith Dialogue Dinners can actually accomplish.”

    Cherel, I can’t imagine not imagining! What a close-minded attitude you have before even trying to step out of your comfort zone or that hedge you’ve dug around yourself. One thing, at least in my mind, is that the dinners can widen our circle of friendships. It can help us in understanding and respecting another’s person’s faith tradition. You not only appear to have no respect for other faiths, you don’t appear to even have respect for those within your own faith that may have a different interpretion of a Scripture verse than you do. That is sad indeed.

  17. Cherel says:

    When you cannot deal with the message, you attack the messenger. That has been the standard treatment I have received on this website. If you, Bill, want to spend time reviewing our conversations you may see that pattern in your responses. I have consistently attempted to deal with issues (truth from the Bible) and have been regularly insulted for doing so. It doesn’t matter to me how you view me personally but I am concerned that you know the truth which you will never come to by exalting doubt and confusion and attempting to make all belief systems equal. Truth stands alone. Light shines into darkness. (Darkness doesn’t shine into light. It does often desire to put it out.)

    Rather than continuing to judge me, why don’t you try accepting that the true motive of my heart is to share truth because I care about your eternal destiny. You, who want me to accept all other faiths as equal to faith in Christ, will not even accept my right to have a genuine unadulterated faith in Christ.

    Please try to concentrate on what I am saying rather than preparing your next attack. I did not say that meeting with people of other faiths would not be interesting. I’m sure that it would be. I am always interested in acquiring knowledge and I care about people. (I watched some of an IDD meeting on U-Tube before I wrote my last comment to see what it was about.) What I said was, “I can’t imagine what IDD can actually accomplish” when true faith demands alleigance to TRUTH as one sees it. I then listed some of the doctrinal truths of Christianity and Islam which cannot be sacrificed by either side if they would remain faithful to their sacred texts. Neither of you responded to the issues. Both of you decided to attack me personally. How you respond is up to you. But, understand, your attacks reveal your own smug close-mindedness, judgementalism, bias, and lack of respect for the TRUTH that Jesus said will set you free.

    This site is supposed to be about sharing ideas but it is apparently only for people who are willing to “check their own faith in at the door” and enter to mindlessly agree that all faiths are equal which, of course, means that none are TRUE!

    All the trouble in the world started with Satan’s question, “Has God said….?” He denied God’s TRUTH and tempted Eve to believe in another “faith”– that she could become like God if she would simply disobey His command and make her own way. The result is obvious today and yet other faiths are still the temptation.

  18. peddiebill says:

    Cherel, You have arrived in your journey which is presumably why you are certain you can tell me that I am not there yet. I actually see myself as only just starting on the journey and I enjoy asking questions and honestly believe that even challenging long established tradition is a good way of sorting out that which I can ultimately put my trust in. Everyone is different in that we all learn in different ways. My site offers one of those ways but it is clearly not for everyone. Others tell me that my site has helped them so the fact that my beliefs and questions annoy and disappoint you will not cause me to pull up the tent pegs and slink off defeated. Your truths are not my truths because we have lived through different experiences. The three very sick people I visited in hospital yesterday did not get salvation from me but I guess the fragments of faith I have gleaned thus far at least caused me to visit them. I cannot pretend I have your truth because to me truth is more than emotional attachment to faith statements. You have no wish to dialogue with non Christians – ie both talk and listen to one another with those of different faith, but for me to not talk and listen to them is inappropriate. Because my experiences of dialogue usually have been positive and I believe help me learn I do not share your certainty that others have nothing to teach me because their creed is different. I guess I am never going to come up to your high standards of true unquestioning belief. For those who prefer your approach might I suggest they contact you. What do others think?

    • Marty says:

      I agree.

      I find a lot here to think about. It stretches my faith, cause me to think, and helps me know I am not alone in this journey we call faith. I must admit that I have to ask God daily to help me in my unbelief. I haven’t arrived yet either Bill. But God can handle that. I’m certain of it.

  19. Marty says:

    “What I said was, “I can’t imagine what IDD can actually accomplish” when true faith demands alleigance to TRUTH as one sees it.”

    But the purpose of IDD isn’t to cause you to question or change the “truth” that you have found in your faith tradition. Quite the contrary. Quoting from their website: “The Institute aims to eliminate or reduce false stereotypes, prejudices and unjustified fears through direct human communication.” …”The vision of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog is to help unite communities in order that the spirituality of all individuals be heard in a space that is free of dogmatism, criticism, oppression, and fear.”…”An intrinsic aspect of the IDD is to promote the study of world religions and spiritual faiths in order to gain wisdom and knowledge so that people will have a renewed sense of gratitude, and respect for the spiritual beliefs they hold closest to their hearts.”

    Cherel, do you feel that if you learn respect for other faith traditions that that in some way means you no longer have allegience to your faith tradition? I would certainly hope that is not the case.

    “It doesn’t matter to me how you view me personally but I am concerned that you know the truth which you will never come to by exalting doubt and confusion and attempting to make all belief systems equal”..

    I hope that you can see how this statement and others you’ve made..” the true motive of my heart is to share truth because I care about your eternal destiny”…”the TRUTH that Jesus said will set you free”. ..especially said to a professing Christian… can be understood as you not thinking that they are saved. And furthermore, I don’t read anything into what Bill’s written that he is attempting to make all belief systems equal. He is only attempting to understand other traditions and not pass any judgements.

    “This site is supposed to be about sharing ideas but it is apparently only for people who are willing to “check their own faith in at the door” ”

    Oh that is just simply not true. Perhaps it would help if you just stated what your belief or interpretation was or how you see a certain passage of Scripture and not make statements like the ones above that suggest you know the condition of another’s soul. That’s quite off-putting and makes you look rather arrogant. It would make for better communication imho, if that is what you’re really interested in.

  20. Judi says:

    Marty, I think you are perhaps new to Bill’s site. Cherel has good reasons to make these statements. She’s being honest about her motives but you doubt her respect of others. Apparently we all seem arrogant when we simply state what we believe, or worse yet what scripture says.

    All our souls hang in the balance and it’s much more important to search out and find the truth than it is to admire endless questions and forge bridges between the faiths. How can two walk together unless they agree? What fellowship has light with darkness?

    We all benefit by focusing on the issues at hand rather than the intent of one another’s hearts, which is truly showing one another respect. As much as I disagree with Bill on most matters, even regarding salvation, I don’t judge his motives and heart’s intent. He means well, believing what he believes, as we all do. Let’s leave off personal attacks and talk about the issues. There’s fireworks aplenty there.

    • Marty says:

      Yes I am new to this site. But I’ve read quite a bit of the archives including the comments. I also recognize when one Christian is questioning another Christian’s salvation.

  21. Cherel says:

    Response to Bill

    You said: “Cherel, You have arrived in your journey which is presumably why you are certain you can tell me that I am not there yet. I actually see myself as only just starting on the journey…”

    Throughout our many exchanges I have not presumed anything about your spiritual condition. I have responded to your own claims to doubt and unbelief and your lack of a profession of saving faith. Even though you grew up in a Christian environment and have full access to the Bible which is the source of faith, and you are an aging adult, you say you are “only just starting on the journey…” Why?

    You said: “the fact that my beliefs and questions annoy and disappoint you…”

    What annoys me is your insistence that you “don’t know” anything worth believing in and yet you insist on spreading your unbelief as if it were an answer to something. What disappoints me is your attachment to “eternal insecurity” and your willingness to belittle others who have faith.

    You said: “I cannot pretend I have your truth because to me truth is more than emotional attachment to faith statements.”

    My deep abiding faith in Jesus is not based on an emotional attachment to faith statements. My emotions swing from day to day but my faith in God is strong because He Is Trustworthy, Faithful and True! and because of the change He has accomplished in my life. I grew up in church plagued with personal fears and doubts. By His grace, I always believed in God and in His Word but I doubted God’s love for me and feared death and eternity until He revealed His love to me and changed my life when I was 25. At that point my doubt and fear turned to faith.

    Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

    And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.Heb 10:19-23 NLT

    You said: “I guess I am never going to come up to your high standards of true unquestioning belief.”

    I hope this is not true. The standards are not mine. God has set the standards and He requires that you lay aside your doubts and questions and “choose to believe” in His existence and sincerely seek Him before He will reveal Himself to you in a personal way. I pray you will.

    And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. 11:6

    You said: “You have no wish to dialogue with non Christians…”

    That is not what I said or what I meant. Of course I desire to talk with non-Christians. I care about their current lives and their eternal souls. We can learn something from everyone we converse with. However, I am not looking for another faith. I believe Jesus is Who He said He is and I’m not looking for another savior.

  22. Cherel says:

    Marty (and Bill, of course).

    Bill and I have had many lengthy discussions on several topics. I have never made arrogant assessments of his spiritual condition. I have simply read and responded to his clear statements. He does not believe in the virgin birth, the incarnation of Jesus (that He is God in the flesh,) or the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus to save us from our sins. He doesn’t believe in the Trinity. He doesn’t believe God created the heavens and the earth as stated in Genesis. He believes in evolution. He doesn’t believe the Bible (as a whole) is God’s inspired Word. Etcetera.
    (If I am wrong about any of these statements, Bill, please correct me.)

    He has never professed to be saved in any of our conversations. He confesses that he’s still searching for the truth. His site proposes to “make one think” by dispensing doubts and questions.
    As I have already told Bill, the problem with that approach is that it actually encourages doubts and questions and discourages faith. Bill has accused me of lacking humility on numerous occasions for expressing unwavering faith in salvation through the blood of Jesus– as if doubt is actually more virtuous. That is simply not what the Bible teaches.

    As I have also told Bill, I do not make a habit of disputing with people concerning their beliefs. I have spoken out on this site because Bill asks for feedback, and I would respectfully absent myself entirely from this site if he asked me to.

    I respect people and their right to their beliefs. I do not have to agree with the tenets of another faith to respect the person who holds to them. I do not wish to silence or control people of other faiths. And, I do believe we should have the freedom to discuss our beliefs but not to force them on one another.

    I love to discuss issues. I do not like making things personal. If you want to know more about my beliefs you can always check out my sites.

    • peddiebill says:

      Cherel,I think you are wanting me to reduce my faith to Christmas Cracker sayings rather than listening to what I actually say about what I believe. I have for example written an article on the Trinity – discussing its setting and development. I have suggested it needs further development because some of us think the Universe is bigger, older and more complex than humans used to think and concepts like six day creation and a six thousand year old world at the centre of the Universe no longer fits the evidence, and we now need a larger concept of God than a smaller scale human like father – and therefore our ideas of the Trinity also need expansion. Since the Trinity concept was not fully developed until after the Bible was compiled – and then only to fit the experience of the people of the time, the notion of an evolving understanding of the Trinity should not be offensive to some. Since I believe the Trinity was an advance on the Old Testament idea of God, you misrepresent what I have explained in some detail in my article by saying I dont believe in it. Re- read the article please. That I believe science describes the creation process better than the prescientific descriptions in the Bible, two alternative versions of which are given in Genesis, is not to say I dont believe in Creation. I simply refuse to close my mind to the contemporary discoveries of science – although you have every right to do so if you choose.
      I honestly dont know what it means to say Jesus is God in the flesh. When for example Jesus says “Why do you call me Good? Only my Father in Heaven is Good”. Did he really mean “please call me good because I am really my Father in heaven?” It is true I side with many of the Bible scholars in saying the Virgin Birth is based on a mistranslation of Isaiah and I certainly would not claim to understand the biology of a Virgin Birth. On the other hand I am not going to say I will automatically accept every claim I dont understand when there is a perfectly rational alternative. I believe there is a saying that goes something like: “Think when you hear hoof beats in the night, of horses not unicorns”.
      Please note I am happy for other Church people to be as irrational as they like. On the other hand I am puzzled why I am required to believe that which I dont accept because it fits someone else’s (Cherel’s)interpretation of the Bible. Are you really saying you have not changed your interpretation of the Bible since you first entered Sunday School?

      • Cherel says:

        The Trinity statement was why I asked you to correct me if I was wrong. It may not be precisely accurate to say you don’t believe in the Trinity– but your article left me thinking the concept is up for renovation. Sorry if I misrepresented your belief there.

        We have discussed Creation and the virgin birth in detail before so I won’t go into them in detail again. I will simply affirm my strong belief, based on numerous scriptures throughout the Bible, that instantaneous creation by the WORD of God (Jesus) is the clear teaching of scripture. And, a detailed account of the virgin birth of Jesus is shared in the Gospels. His sinless life revealed His godliness.

        You say, “I honestly don’t know what it means to say Jesus is God in the flesh.”

        I have to assume you don’t spend much time in the Bible when you make such declarations. I could list passage after passage confirming that the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God. You pulled out one passage and misquoted it to deny His sonship. You said Jesus said, “Only my Father in Heaven is Good” which means Jesus is not God.

        The passage says, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. (Mark 10:18) Jesus did not deny that He was God. He simply asked the rich young ruler who he thought he was talking to. He could have phrased it, “Do you call me good because you understand that I am God?” This is the same Jesus who asked Peter, “But who do you say that I am?” To which Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” and Jesus responded, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.”
        Matthew 16:15-17 NLT

        Jesus is God, as the Word declares. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…..And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2, 14) NLT

        And how could you not know John 3:16? “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” NLT

        I don’t require you to believe anything but God does– if you want to be saved.

        As I’ve told you before, Bill, my understanding of scripture has changed through the years. The difference between you and me is that you feel free to change the scriptures while I feel free to let them change me.

      • Marty says:

        I read your article on the Trinity last night. There was nothing in the article to suggest to me that you didn’t believe in it. The word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible and it was, as you stated, a concept that developed after the Scriptures were written. I find that the more fundamentalist types have only one interpretation of the Scriptures and theirs is the only right interpretation. I’ve been a church secretary for over 30 years and have worked mostly with moderate pastors, but have worked with a couple of fundamentalists. So I am quite familiar with the terminology they use. One even came back from a visit with a family, who were members, and informed me the husband and wife weren’t saved. I think a judgement like that is quite a bit above one’s paygrade and told him so. I saw that judgement handed down on you at Neil’s and here as well. I became a United Methodist about 8 years ago. My upbringing and most of my adult life was Baptist. Scriptures became new to me again at this particular Methodist church. Each Sunday I would hear a different slant, something that I’d never thought about before, on those old Scriptures I’d been reading all those years. I couldn’t wait to get to church on Sunday morning. It was a breath of fresh air to learn different ways of looking at things. That pastor is gone now and others have come and gone, but I will always be grateful to him for opening my mind to new interpretations. Thanks for what you are doing here Bill. There is nothing wrong with questioning. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe. There are seasons of doubt. God can handle all of it though and won’t throw you out with the dish rag. I hope I never arrive at the place where I think I understand it all if doing so means feeling superior to those who struggle with their faith or make them feel they don’t measure up in God’s eyes. Peace.

      • Marty says:

        I would also like to add that doubt and questioning does not mean denial.

  23. peddiebill says:

    Cherel, My lack of profession of a saving faith on this site is simply a fear that my words will be misinterpreted. If I have enough faith to want to serve others, and take risks in order to do so, this may indeed still mean that I dont have a saving faith, but that is not how I personally feel. But surely even in your terms you would believe it is not up to you or anyone else to make that decision. Yet you have made it for me. Presuming the worth of someone else’s faith conveys a sense of superiority which needs to be earned. Remember this is a web site and therefore I cant see you working with the sick and the destitute or being kind to the undeserving which makes it much harder for me to understand that you are the sort of person whose truth I wish to learn more about.
    The catch is that all these religious terms like salvation, and copious quotes from the Bible, count for nothing if they dont also mean something in terms of attitude. Having once been physically assaulted by a self-claimed born again Christian for saying the “wrong” thing about a verse in the Bible I have personal reason for believing different religious terms mean different things to different people. Virtually every post and comment I make seems to upset you in some way and your use of religious terms leaves me confused because they dont seem to match the tone you appear to be using with me. You tell me you are praying for me (which tells me you think I am in an un-enlightened position compared to you) then you say things like: “Please concentrate on what I am saying instead of preparing your next attack”….. I am sorry but somehow that makes me I feel as though I am facing a bossy wife!
    I admit I have a real weakness that when I am criticised or when people are being superior with me I want to retaliate. Looking back over my responses I can see I have done this at times and I am truly sorry. If you read my responses to those like Marty you will note that I can learn from others when they are not busy being cross with me.

  24. Cherel says:

    Bill, your “lack of profession of a saving faith” is what I have responded to in our conversations. You have had the opportunity on numerous occasions to make a faith statement but you only expressed doubts and more questions. You cannot honestly accuse me of acting “superior” and “presuming the worth” of your faith when you didn’t claim to have any.

    I am responding to the content of your posts by sharing my perspective of the information presented. I realize I have a tendency to get to the point. I could meander around the bushes but that would greatly lenghthen my comments– which are long already. If you could assume I mean well and receive my comments in that light it would help. As to tone, speaking the “truth in love” has more to do with motive and content than with tone. Jesus made some very strong statements to people and there is no doubt He loved them. If you think I have bad motives, what might they be? I have nothing to gain from you and this certainly devours my time.

    I knew the “please concentrate on what I am saying” was a strong statement when I made it. I chose to say it because the responses I was getting seemed to be more personal than content oriented. For example, I listed the differences between Christianity and Islam– which are real and important– and got no response at all.

    Your “bossy wife” comment was a little sexist, wasn’t it? I mean, a male or a female could ask you to concentrate. 🙂 Hope you didn’t offend your wife! 🙂

    It is not in my heart or in my nature to want to come across as superior in any way. I am sorry that my passion for truth translates that way sometimes. Be assured it is not my intent. If we could just discuss issues without assessing levels of humility or arrogance, etc. I think we would be better off. That’s just my humble opinion, of course! 🙂

    My prayers for you simply involve asking God to lead you into a settled grasp of the truth which becomes a foundation of unwavering faith that strengthens you and helps you minister life and faith to others. God knows what you need. I just agree with Him to accomplish His will for your life so that you will be blessed. I am for you– not against you.

    • peddiebill says:

      Cherel you need have no fear that my wife was offended by my statement. She laughed when she saw your statement and agreed with the phrase in my reply.
      With you and God as prayer partners both working on my behalf as a team my worries should be over. This definitely puts you in a higher ranking than me. Please disregard my previous misapprehension that you had a misplaced view of your superiority.

  25. Marty says:

    “I don’t require you to believe anything but God does– if you want to be saved.”

    God requires us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

    “The difference between you and me is that you feel free to change the scriptures while I feel free to let them change me.”

    Wow. Just wow.

  26. peddiebill says:

    Have you seen the “Yes Minister” British TV comedy with the leading civil servant Sir Humphrey’s tag line “I could not possibly comment” ?

  27. Cherel says:

    Since neither of you had reasoned responses to my comments and, once again, resorted only to personal insults, I must accept the fact that you are not serious about discussing Truth. So, I will close with a scripture suggested by my husband who is ready for me to be done with this discussion and this web site.

    “guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.” 2 Tim 6:20-21

    • Marty says:

      Sorry you feel that way Cherel. But even in your exit you seem to be accusing Bill and I of having “so-called knowledge” and “wandering from the faith” when we were only being honest with you on how you were making us feel.

    • peddiebill says:

      Cherel, I too am sorry you feel that way. It is odd isnt it – you think I have been insulting you whereas your helpful and well-intentioned non-insulting observations like telling me I dont know my Bible dont necessarily come across as helpful observations. However as to the verse you have chosen for me….Sounds like good advice to me. I should have remembered this verse earlier.

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