Ilkka wrote:By the way, how can one speak to a religious person? I mean that suggest that "their way is not the only way". Because my grandma wants my brothers and I to get into Christianity as well, or else its "Hell" for us in the end, all day praying for us etc. I guess deep down I can't "make"/suggest her to believe otherwise, because she sees that it is the only way. I think religion is embedded into her self entirely so that there is no coming back to the "real world", much like I am too, unable to get into religion ever, because there has been the "point of no returns" along the way, or atleast one for me.
Well Ilkka, I can't argue with Daniel's approach. Meet a person where they're at, but expand their frame of reference a little at a time, until they don't feel like their way of thinking answers all their questions anymore and they start seeking something bigger than their own worldview. This is best way. But I never have patience for this. I prefer to provoke a person OUT OF their way of thinking. Using their OWN beliefs to show them they don't understand what they believe - so how can they trust what they believe? This makes them question many things VERY quickly. It ALSO makes them hate you for breaking their comfort zone beliefs.
If you want to challenge a christian's faith using purely the bible alone (the sole basis of a christian's belief system, or so they think), I can give you everything you need to make them question everything they believe. I don't recommend this approach, but I've found that in religious christian people that seriously seek spiritual advancement, it has aided them. There are serious differences between 99.9% of christians' beliefs and what the bible actually says. Most christians don't READ the bible. They just believe what the Priest/Pastor's theology teaches them in church. Then when they "read" the bible they only interpret it like their Priest/Pastor does.
If she doesn't read and believe what the bible says, then you can simply say that she doesn't know her own faith because she only listens to what other people (i.e. priest/pastor says) - not in what Jesus said. She's a follower of another human being - not a follower of God. And if she doesn't believe in what Jesus said (which is why christians read the bible, to know that stuff), then how can she say she's a follower of Jesus if she doesn't care enough about what he did or said to read the bible herself? Remember, to a christian, the bible = truth. So that is why we use the bible. They cannot argue with the bible. If they argue with the bible, you can say they are arguing with the book that tells them what is right and wrong so you are doing same as them then - they are not more righteous than you.
If she does read and believe the bible, there's a lot one can talk about. A LOT.
1. WHAT DOES BIBLE SAY ABOUT FEARING HELL?
In the first case, first you must ask her what makes a person go to heaven and what makes a person go to hell.
According to christian beliefs, you must believe you are a sinner and that Jesus paid for your sins by dying on the cross with his blood, and if you accept him as your lord you will go to heaven. If you don't you go to hell.
According to the bible, this is not true. People twist the meaning of small handful of verses to create fiction to tell people this. The evidence for this is that such beliefs contradict many other things in the bible. If you look at WHOLE bible, you see that true christian faith is summarized in new testament book of Hebrews chapter 11 with many examples - and many old testament people like Enoch, Abraham and Elijah were all righteous according to Hebrews chapter 11. The bible says this. They existed before Jesus died on the cross - so if they can be righteous before God before Jesus did his thing, then why can't anyone else? Why do you need Jesus to be righteous if they could be so without Jesus? Because it is a false teaching to make people fear suffering in hell. If a person has fear like that, even fear for hell, then she must read this verse in the Bible: Revelations 21:8. It says that in KJV translation that the people that are FEARFUL will burn in the lake of fire. Fear of hell is only to control people with fear to deceive them. The bible says in 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." and then says that FEAR IS THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE in this verse: 1 John 4:18 "Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." And this verse too! 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
WHY WOULD BIBLE SAY WE MUST NOT FEAR PUNISHMENT IF CHRISTIANS SAY WE MUST FEAR HELL? This is because you can only deceive people that you can control through fear. So you make people afraid of hell to control them then you can make them do, say, believe anything you want. But this is not what Bible teaches. This is also not what Jesus teaches. Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. The idea of the Kingdom of God is that no man is better than another man, and that man must love like God loves. Perfectly. No place for fear. This what Jesus says: Luke 17:20-21(AMP translation) 20 Asked by the Pharisees (religious teachers in time of Jesus) when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, 21 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you]." Matthew 5:43-48 talks about how we must love like God loves. This is what Jesus taught. Not fear of hell. He taught opposite. He taught love for people and love for God.
2. WHAT DOES BIBLE SAY ABOUT BEING RIGHTEOUS (I.E. IN RIGHT-STANDING WITH GOD)?
Hebrews 11 says it is TRUST in God that makes one righteous. This is true all through the bible. It does not contradict anything in it. This TRUST in God is EVEN AGAINST WHAT PEOPLE THINK THE LAW OF GOD IS.
Two favorite examples IN THE BIBLE:
a. Abraham was ordered by God to kill his own son. This is murder and we all know its wrong. It doesn't matter that Abraham was stopped. The point is he didn't do what was right when ordered to kill his son - he was fully intending to do it.
b. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. The law of God says in those days you must stone a prostitute to death. It was against God's law to marry a prostitute. Yet there it is in the bible - people doing things against religious laws and they are seen as righteous people of God.
So this proves that obeying the law of God does not make you righteous. Galatians 3:2-3 confirms this: "2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing and believing? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] 3 Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh? (he means dependence on good works or obeying religious laws)"
So if being good doesn't make you righteous according to the bible - what does?
People will use many verses to say what makes a person righteous - and interpret their own meaning because they lack spiritual understanding of what is truly said. Immature children think in black and white, right and wrong. Children need rules otherwise they cannot function. So they take a verse like John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." and say that if you don't don't believe in Jesus you cannot go to heaven. But I have already proved with Hebrews 11 that the bible contradicts this immature childish interpretation. People that truly followed the teachings of Jesus know that you cannot make your own interpretation. Jesus said things many people didn't understand, this is the same. This verse also says you cannot interpret scriptures by your own intellect alone: 2 Peter 1:20
To interpret this verse, you need something special. This verse says what you need: 1 Corinthians 2:11 "For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
So we need the Spirit of God to understand God.
Any child reading this verse will think it means you cannot be righteous if you don't go through Jesus: John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
But with the Spirit of God you learn the true meaning of what Jesus said, which is consistent with his life and his other teachings. Human language is limited to explain the concepts he was trying to explain. So instead he tried to SHOW them rather than explain. He was setting an example as a Human Ethicus (to use daniel's term). That is what he meant with "I am the way". He was speaking of himself as example, not as the "doorkeeper" that "allows" people in or not. He was showing through the way he was BEING what truth is. Truth isn't data, or facts, or rules. Truth is a state of BEING. Jesus said "I am the truth" because he was SHOWING people that they didn't need to be controlled by religious laws or rules or "seek the ultimate truth". Truth is not a "thing" but how to explain it to people with no spiritual understanding? Maybe by saying "look at me, i am example! I am truth. See? Truth is not a piece of information to know or own, it is a WAY OF BEING". The same with the rest of the verse. Jesus was telling people that if they wanted to avoid death and have eternal life, i.e. in their own language "to go to the Father", then he is showing them through example that there is only one way to do that. And that is by BEING the way, the truth, and the life. And he was saying that he was showing by example how to do it yourself.
The bible says God is love and perfect love drives out all fear. He who fears, is not made perfect in love because he still fears punishment. I.e. cannot trust God because he fears punishment from God. So the Bible says not to fear hell or you will miss God completely and end up in the very thing you fear - hell. The bible gives examples of christians going to hell: Matthew 7:22-23 "On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.'Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
The bible is very clear that it is not any religion that makes you righteous - but it is by simple trust in God. So no one needs to be manipulated with fear of hell to believe in Jesus. That won't help anyone. Righteousness with God is a free gift to everyone and no one needs to do anything for it. There is no need to have fear of punishment from God, and no need to try and earn it by good works. That is just man's pride to want to believe he must do something to earn it.
4. IF THE ABOVE DOES NOT WORK
Christians believe they need a saviour because Adam sinned and doomed all his descendants to being born in sin because of it. But Genesis 4:16 says that Cain (son of Adam) went to the Land of Nod to find a wife. So the people of the land of Nod were not descendants of Adam, therefore this "curse of being born in sin" does not apply to them. Just tell the christian that you're not from Adam's descendants but you're from the land of Nod so you don't have the same need that Adam's descendants to get rid of sin.
You will confuse the living shit out of a christian with that - it usually makes them leave you alone.
Grandma's are stubborn though.
The bible are full of nuggets like these to make people start asking questions.