Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ

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19 Sep 2023, 2:12 pm

Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ and Christian Practice Due to Asperger's Syndrome

For the most part, this post is based on my own experience, and my intent is to help others with Asperger's. I am well aware of the accuracy of: "If you meet one person with ASD, you have met one person with ASD." So take what is useful to you and ignore the rest. For brevity, I will use the abbreviation AS = Asperger's Syndrome, even though it is no longer a formal diagnostic term because it accurately describes myself and the group to which this post is mainly directed.

This post has the following main parts:
. Introduction
. Aspects of AS That Can Hinder One from Becoming a Believer in and Disciple of Jesus Christ
. Aspects of AS That Can Interfere with Bible Reading and Study
. Aspects of AS That Can Make Relationships with Other Christians and Going to Church Difficult
. Conclusion
. Resources


Introduction

There are two previous posts in which I discuss Christianity that you may find helpful:
viewtopic.php?t=415499
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=411831&start=16#p9242475 (A reply to the post of another.)
To begin with, AS is not even the tiniest obstacle to Christ's welcoming you into His kingdom and a saving relationship with Him. The problems are always with the human. External circumstances such as AS, lack of education, or condition of birth cannot stop the love of Almighty God:

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39 ESV).

The biggest reason people refuse to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus is that they love their sins so much. (Sin is any failure to obey God, whether doing that which God forbids, or not doing that which God commands.) AS or no AS, this is true of all people.

"Whoever believes in Him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed" (John 3:18-20 ESV).

There are many excuses that people use to refuse to obey God and refuse to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most common excuse is to pretend that God does not exist, or that God is someone or something other than what the Holy Bible reveals Him to be. Belief in Big-Bang cosmogony and Darwinism is an example of this. But this pretense is exactly that: a pretense, a pretense in the face of what each person really knows, however deep down and repressed the knowledge of God may be. And again, AS or no AS, this is true of all people.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:18-22 ESV).

Just how bad of a fool is the one who pretends that there is no God? So bad that such fools refuse to believe in Jesus Christ and are thus condemned to eternity in the fires of Hell. And, they are such fools that they give up eternal life with God in Heaven. And again, AS or no AS, this is true of all fools.

"That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:15-18 ESV).

The Greek word that is translated believe is πιστεύω, the verb form of πίστις, usually translated faith or trust. The two words refer to the same concept: a committed choice to trust Jesus Christ for salvation and all the affairs of one's life. It is not an emotion or intellectual persuasion; there are other Greek words for those. Rather, it is an act of the will to trust the Lord Jesus in spite of emotional or intellectual doubts or apparently contradictory empirical evidence. This trust explicitly includes obedience to all of the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is thus a cost to following Christ: a genuine, sincere, heartfelt, life-long striving to obey all God's commands at all costs.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26-33 ESV).

To put it bluntly: to be a disciple of Christ and go to Heaven to be with Him for eternity requires absolute commitment, loyalty, service, and obedience to the Lord Jesus. ("Hate" in the passage above is a literary device to greatly magnify the required love for Jesus Christ; Scripture commands love for neighbor in many places. How much more should we love and honor parents.) And again, AS or no AS, this is true of all people. But! Unlike all other religions, Christianity does not teach that one is saved by good works.

"Then they said to him, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom he has sent.'" (John 6:28-29 ESV).

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV).

Notice that Christians are saved by God's grace and through faith. That is, faith is an instrument by which Christians receive God's grace. Faith is as the cup, an instrument, by which a guest receives a gift of coffee. And, salvation is not just one gift, but a package of gifts that the Lord Jesus Christ purchased on the Cross at great and horrible cost to Himself. This horrible cost shows how much God loved the world. The Cross shows such a great magnitude of goodness, love, mercy, and kindness of God that it completely overpowers any objections or questions mere puny humans may have about God or anything He does, including even Hell. Notice also that good works are one of the gifts in the salvation package. Good works follow salvation; salvation does not follow good works. Also, note that faith is a gift from God; it is thus necessarily adequate to salvation for each believer, and need only be used/exercised by the believer. It is thus time to examine just what Christ did on the Cross (though space does not permit a full exposition).

In what is sometimes called the Great Exchange, for all who would believe in Him, the Lord Jesus took their sin upon Himself, and also the punishment for all that sin, to wit, the equivalent of eternity in Hell, upon His own holy, sinless self. In other words, He took the rap for all believers. During His entire earthly life, the Lord Jesus Christ never sinned, even once, even a little. He neither did the slightest wrong, nor omitted the slightest part of any duty. And in Himself, He credits all believers with His perfect righteousness, earning their eternal life, though He rewards believers according to their works. Note that it is according to their works, not because of their works; Christ did the earning. So Christ exchanges the believer's sin for a credit to His perfect righteousness, a righteousness that is good enough to get into Heaven.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree [cross], that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).

"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5 ESV).

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30 ESV).

To be justified, means to have been declared not guilty or vindicated in one's actions by an authority. Because the blood of Christ entirely wipes away the guilt of sin, believers are no longer guilty; naturally therefore, they may in perfect truth be justified.

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15 ESV).

Scripture says of those who are justified:

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But [of the unjustified] as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.'" (Revelation 21:3-8 ESV).

That lake of fire is everlasting. It is not the minor burn of touching something hot and instinctively yanking one's finger or hand away instantly. It is whole-body immersion in fire. There is no yanking back, no water, no analgesics, only having to endure the exact and perfect justice of God as He vindicates His infinitely valuable glory and holy Name that you have violated. The horrible torment will never end, but go on day after day, year after year, century after century, eon after eon, forever.

My friend, I urge you to repent of your sins and put your full trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will thus go to Heaven to be with Christ, and not go to Hell. If you are now ready to repent, you may want to go to the Conclusion, then come back here. If you are not ready yet, perhaps the next section will alleviate some of your concerns and questions.


Aspects of AS That Can Hinder One from Becoming a Believer in and Disciple of Jesus Christ

As related above, many people do not repent and believe in Christ because they would rather keep their sins. This is tragic but true, and includes those with and without AS. And, there are many other earthly causes that are just as true for those with AS as for neurotypicals. Examples will include cherished family or national traditions, fear of persecution or family or social rejection, and preexisting philosophies or world views, such as Darwinism, whose presuppositions (or axioms) render Christianity either incomprehensible to them or as just one alternative among many. But some impediments to saving faith are either common to or specific to AS. Reminder: such impediments are no barrier to God's saving grace and love. They just make us work a little harder, that is all.

Anger at God

A large percentage of those with AS live rough lives. Bullying, social rejection, under employment, unemployment, difficulty obtaining services, poverty, and so on are common. It is thus possible to become bitter or angry at the world, and by extension, angry at God. However, anger at God is unfair, unjust, unwarranted, and just plain evil, because God is perfectly just and has, by right of creation, complete ownership and right of control over each human.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27 ESV).

"You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me'; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?" (Isaiah 29:16 ESV).

"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?'" (Romans 9:20 ESV).

We all want to be our own gods and masters and have things the way we want them, so this can be a hard truth to swallow, and many thus harden their hearts against the Gospel.

"They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart" (Ephesians 4:18 ESV).

But consider: perhaps God has a benevolent and loving purpose for your sufferings. Genesis chapters 37 through 48, except chapter 38, eleven chapters out of a fifty chapter book, tells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob. His envious brothers actually sold him into slavery and lied to their father about it. Joseph had a good share of troubles, including lengthy unjust imprisonment, but God raised him up to be Pharaoh's right-hand man and used Joseph to save very many people from death by famine. Joseph's response to his brothers' crime is telling:

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today" (Genesis 50:20 ESV).

Moreover, God has His benevolent eye particularly on society's poor and outcasts.

"For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing" (Deuteronomy 10:17-18 ESV).

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV).

This writer can testify that, as he looks back on his life, had life on earth not been so unattractive for him, he perhaps would not have sought Heaven so earnestly, and thus obtained eternal life in Christ instead of eternal hellfire. However, it is not as though the life of a disciple of Christ is a bed of roses. But there is a special joy in the midst of toil and suffering for Christ.

"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Romans 8:16-17 ESV).

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4 ESV).

Mistrust

"But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25 ESV).

On the one hand, it is foolish to be too trusting of people, and for excellent reason: we are all sinners. On the other hand it is possible to be overly cynical and not trust anyone, especially if one has a history of being bullied, abused, ostracized, lied to, and so on. It is also possible to let this cynicism bleed over from people to God, something hideously unfair; God cannot lie, be mistaken, or break even the least of His promises. Such mistrust of God is the exact opposite of the faith that He commands. Also, it is this absolutely trustworthy character of God that makes His Word, the Holy Bible, not only free of error or falsehood, but infallible (without possibility of error).

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV).

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8 NKJV).

Given the number of false religions and perversions of Christianity out there, a healthy skepticism of religious teachers is in order. But God has given us some men who are deeply committed to Christ, and highly trained in the Bible, often having studied God's Word for decades. A cynicism that causes a person to not avail one's self such a valuable resource deprives one of much spiritual growth and blessing. This writer, having endured much abuse from people, never saw other people as resources, and thus never sought mentoring in either the professional or spiritual realms, to his great detriment.


Aspects of AS That Can Interfere with Bible Reading and Study

In this section, we will explore some of the things that can hinder some people with AS from profiting from Bible study and reading as much as they otherwise could. Some of these are common to new believers and even old believers, not just those with AS.

Biting Off Too Much at Once

Imagine you enter a large museum and a guide tells you about the layout of the building and what is where, and the purpose or theme of each section, then hands you a map. As you explore the museum for yourself, you will easily be able to tell if the guide was telling you the truth or not, but it may take some time. And, your understanding of the exhibits will probably be much enhanced by the guide's overview. Likewise, just picking up a Bible and reading from cover to cover will be discouraging and difficult without guidance. (The resources section below is intended to provide some of that kind of guidance.)

Low Skill with Literature

Actually, nearly all of us fall into this category with respect to the Bible, even if we have studied literature at the university level. One problem is that education at all levels has been thoroughly corrupted by nonsense theories for almost a century. Classically, the task of the reader was to accurately discern both the stated and implied meanings that the author intended to convey. "Deconstruction," intellectual and moral relativism, and postmodernism have blasted what was once a reasonable communication channel between author and reader. In other words, most of us no longer know how to skillfully read. A second problem for the naive Bible reader is ignorance of the ancient cultures, their histories, and their literary conventions and styles. Much of this information is actually given or implied in Scripture itself, but it must be extracted, understood, and retained. Good study Bibles, expository sermons, and commentaries are invaluable in overcoming this deficit and are thus especially essential for the new Bible reader. They also fill the role of the museum guide described above.

So far, these issues are common to all new Bible readers. For those with AS, these problems may be compounded both because of AS and because many of those with AS are likely to pursue hard sciences or skilled trades, for example, rather than training in the humanities. We will examine some specifics related to AS below.

Disconnection from Neurotypical Humanity

Manufactured goods and people's ways of doing things tend to be designed to smoothly fit in with the characteristics of "most people." By way of example, some restaurants set tables with coffee cups and other items ready for the next customer. The handles of the coffee cups are on the right side of the cups, under the not unreasonable assumption that the next customer is probably right handed. So the 10% who are left handed have to turn the cup around. This trivial example illustrates the problem of the "tyranny of the majority." Those who do not fit the usual pattern encounter small and large difficulties or hardships the majority does not, or even face rejection by other people. This "tyranny" may range from completely inadvertent to willfully malicious. At the same time, in normal circumstances it obviously makes sense to do what is best for most people, and to the degree possible, provide for those "left out." By way of example, there are many narratives (stories) in the Bible that God put there to teach us. These stories benefit the majority of people because neurotypicals will instinctively pick up on both the explicit and implied emotional content, including that of characters in the narratives. Those with AS may lose some of this benefit due to not receiving some or all of the emotional content. But, there is abundant compensation, not only for people with AS, but also for children and the intellectually disabled: the Holy Spirit whom the Father in Heaven gives to all believers.

Thus, we should first consider how the good and merciful Creator does provide richly and abundantly in His Holy Bible for those who would otherwise be "left out" due to AS and disconnection from neurotypical humanity, or any other external hindrance.

"But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand" (Job 32:8 ESV).

"In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will'" (Luke 10:21 ESV).

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God" (1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV).

Left to ourselves, nobody would obtain eternal life in Christ; none of us would understand the Bible or the Gospel because of our depraved, sinful nature. But the almighty and merciful and loving God who created us and knows us perfectly not only gives saving faith as a gift, but the Holy Spirit so believers can understand that faith and his Word, the Holy Bible. Without the Holy Spirit (who is given to all true believers in Christ) even the wise and understanding are clueless. With the Holy Spirit, small children are able to understand the Gospel and become disciples of the Lord Jesus. By comparison, difficulties caused by AS are small. (The contrasts given in the verses above apply to some who are wise and understanding, and to some little children; not all little children repent and believe and some very wise people do repent and believe.)

The value of mentoring was mentioned above. There is a similar resource: commentaries on the Bible or parts of the Bible by godly, mature, pastors and scholars. Because these are written, they may be perused at leisure. Although not written for AS readers, they often expound on the "human angle" and offer useful insights. Good commentaries will also have a wealth of historical and linguistic information that help everyone see a particular passage in its historical context, how it fits into the overall plan of salvation, and the Bible as a whole. This can make enormous improvements to the reader's comprehension of otherwise nearly impenetrable passages.

One common example of the problem of cultural differences between modern readers and ancient writers is that children (neurotypical or AS) who have grown up without fathers, or with angry, drunken, abusive, or molesting fathers can have a hard time understanding the loving, merciful fatherhood of God the Father. For example, this writer long understood the value of repentance shown in the parable of the Prodigal Son, but only more recently understood the significance of the father's welcome and celebration. For those with AS, the best defense against missing the not directly stated, but implied emotional or other information in Biblical narratives is to realize that God is the real author of the Holy Bible; He inspired human writers put in the Bible exactly what He knew is important. Therefore if you see some "unimportant" detail, ask yourself why is it there and what God is communicating. Get help from a neurotypical pastor, commentary, or mature Christian if needed.

Poetry

This writer has no use at all for poetry, secular or Christian, nor for hymns. It almost may as well be written in Chinese for all he understands. There may be isolated statements that make sense, but as a whole, the thought-form, for want of a better term, of poetry is utterly alien to this author's brain. And, the Holy Bible is loaded, especially the Old Testament, with poetry. Fortunately, much biblical poetry has within it useful snippets that are understandable apart from the poem as a whole. For example, in the following snippet, we learn that God delights in truth in the inner heart as opposed to pretense or hypocrisy and teaches us wisdom:

"Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart" (Psalm 51:6 ESV).

Part of the problem seems to be that poetry speaks to the emotions, and those with AS may not understand certain emotions or even be capable of experiencing one or more emotions, but this author is unable to speculate further. This writer has responded to this situation as follows, which items may be helpful to others also:
. Read commentaries on the poetry being read/studied. Unfortunately, other than useful snippets, the author has come out feeling as ignorant as when he started.
. Trust that God is on your side. He made you and knows your infirmities and does not demand from you what He has not given you.
. Be content with God's providence in your life.
. If God has given you an analytical mind, your ability to deeply understand the doctrines from Romans, Ephesians, and Hebrews, for example, compensates for your being poetically challenged.

Emotions That Are Commended or Commanded in Scripture

"Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, 'Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them'" (Luke 21:1-3 ESV).

There are a number of places in Scripture where emotions or attitudes are commended or even commanded. While emotions are basically involuntary, in many cases we can use our intellects to argue ourselves into a right frame of mind. Choosing to exercise faith in God's promises is a good example of this. The problem for some with AS, is that they lack particular emotions; they do not have the "biological hardware" necessary to experience one or more emotions, either at all or with "normal" strength. First, as with the poor widow, God does not demand of us what He has not given us. Second, with careful and honest introspection, it is almost always possible to compensate with the intellect perfectly acceptably to God. Intellectual conviction can motivate to a duty or warn one off a sin just as well as emotions. For example, in the parable, the Good Samaritan was moved by compassion.

"But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion" (Luke 10:33 ESV).

But an equal degree of charity toward the robbery victim could have been engendered by reasoning applied to knowledge of Scripture and common sense. Lack of emotions or weak emotion is not insincerity. A determined commitment made with the intellect is true sincerity. For another example, gratitude is an emotion, but its lack does not prevent intelligent giving of thanks.


Aspects of AS That Can Make Relationships with Other Christians and Going to Church Difficult

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV).

That believers in Christ will meet together is not only explicitly commanded, but the entire New Testament assumes that believers will regularly attend church. It may be difficult for those with AS to fully understand why this is so important, but God would not have commanded it if it was not. For someone who has never even been in a church building, that first visit can be daunting, especially for those with AS. Let us begin with some important distinctions. First, the word church has three main meanings. Obviously, it may mean a building used for Christian worship and related activities. It is also frequently used, both in the New Testament and now, to refer to a particular congregation, or group of believers who are organized together under ordained elders or overseers. Such congregations will include not only true disciples of Christ, but unbelievers and hypocrites. A hypocrite is someone who puts on an act, pretending to be a good Christian when he knows he is not. Then finally, church, is used is a broad sense: the visible church is simply the set of all people in the world's congregations, and the invisible church is the set of all true believers spanning all space and time. Obviously, there are a lot of buildings that are labeled "Something Church" and groups that call themselves "Something Church" that have perhaps some loose connection to the Lord Jesus Christ, but whose doctrines and teachings are contrary to Scripture, and whose members are (at least mostly) unbelievers. But even congregations with sound doctrine and composed of mostly believers are not perfect; all of the members and leadership are still sinners, the believers being redeemed and forgiven sinners, but still sinners. And, they are especially apt to sin against those with AS in the following ways, often unintentionally. They:
.Have too much artificial grace
.Associate with those who make them feel good
.Are prejudiced against those who are different
Thanks be to God, with some encouragement, these can be overcome and believers can be reconciled to one another.

Artificial Grace

This writer has coined the term artificial grace to refer to worldly motives that drive apparently Christian behavior. An obvious case is the child who will be spanked if he is not ready for church when the family is scheduled to leave the driveway. Music and other entertainment are especially problematic; The author's Roman Catholic grandmother used to attend "Holy Roller" services when a child because she liked the music and the antics of the congregants. Now, if the primary reason to attend church is in obedience to God, such worldly motives are not a problem. But if someone would not attend church without such worldly benefits, then that congregant is possibly a hypocrite, and poor company for a believer in any case. Worldly entertainment could also keep a true believer away from a spiritually stronger church, or even corrupt a new believer's heart.

"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'" (1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV).

All believers, AS or no AS, should avoid churches that provide too many worldly benefits to members as a whole (as opposed to charity to the deserving poor, for example). Entertainment is not worship. Likewise, games and fun have their place in moderation, but true fellowship in Christ involves conversation around spiritual things.

People Tend to Associate with Those Who Make Them Feel Good

Winner and Crooke in Social Thinking @ Work make the point that people tend to converse with and become friends with those who make them feel emotionally good.

"He said also to the man who had invited him, 'When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just'" (Luke 14:12-14 ESV).

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45 ESV).

These passages teach a broad lesson with many applications in life. It is all too easy to be motivated by personal gain rather than benefit to others. Two such applications are germane to the matter at hand. First, Winner and Crooke's observation applies to Christians also. For sincere Christians who strive to be charitable to all, rejecting fellowship with someone with AS probably represents a blind spot open to correction. But there is a flip side application: The person with AS who is unable to relate to others on an emotional level should be aware of the burden he may be imposing on the other person. He should seek someone who is satisfied with interaction on an intellectual level for "fun" conversation. Some people are willing to endure considerable boredom out of politeness and charity. In any event, godly wisdom is needed. For what it is worth also, this author has serious reservations concerning the morality of Winner and Crooke's program of voluntarily expressing emotions that one does not feel or agree with intellectually.

Prejudice

A short excursus is in order. Most prejudice is not racism. Racism is a determined stance that another race is inferior in some way to one's own race. Prejudice is a useful part of normal thought processes, and part of the way God made us. It is nothing more than assuming something on the basis of insufficient data. The last time you flipped a light switch, you were prejudiced that the light would come on. You assumed, on the basis of what you did know that it would come on, but did not know enough to "certify" that it would come on. You knew the wiring was good, the lamp worked last time, and that there was power in the house. Had the light not come on due to a bad lamp or other reason, you would have been surprised. There are simply not enough hours in the day to verify every little detail all the time.

But when unjust prejudice hurts other people, that is another matter. (Unfortunately, there is room for just prejudice based on common behaviors of a people group. For example, stores provide a useful service in Black neighborhoods, but they could not stay in business without enhanced measures against shoplifting.) And certainly, willful unjust discrimination is sin.

"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' while you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there,' or, 'Sit down at my feet,' have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" (James 2:1-4 ESV).

Often, people with AS are perceived, sometimes quickly, as being "strange" or "a little off," and thus avoided or regarded with suspicion. This and all of the other social problems one with AS may have in a congregation of Christians are similar to problems with social situations generally. There is one big exception: Christians are expected to be kind, charitable, and loving toward others and they know it. On this basis, it becomes reasonable to ask for some tolerance, explain AS, and invite the other person to explicitly tell you if you are boring them or would like to end the conversation, and so on.

"You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:18 ESV).

Therefore, with time and patience and common civil courtesy, and service and love to others, you can find yourself being well accepted into the congregation. In terms of service, you may not have sufficient people skills to be a leader or strong disciple maker, but there are other ways to serve by working with things instead of people such as building construction and maintenance, computer work, or janitorial work. There are also small tasks, if done regularly and faithfully, that are of significant value by relieving busy elders or pastors of such tasks, such as opening the building and turning on the lights, setting up AV equipment, writing newsletters, and so on. When pastors and elders are relieved of two five minute chores each Sunday, that adds up to ten more minutes a week or 8.7 hours per year that they are freed up to minister to the flock in person, especially to casual or infrequent visitors for whom access is thus limited.

Music and Noise and Lighting

Many of those on the spectrum can be overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. It is of course, possible to shield oneself somewhat from flashing lights or pounding music or whatnot, but the author wishes to take the liberty to suggest that it would be better to go elsewhere if at all possible. Entertainment is not worship.

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24 ESV).

God is particular about how He is to be worshiped. Two sons of Aaron died because they worshiped God their own way instead of God's way. In another incident, people looked into the Ark of the Covenant and paid with their lives. Uzzah died for merely touching the Ark.

"Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:1-2 ESV).

"Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter" (1 Samuel 6:19 NKJV).

"And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God" (2 Samuel 6:6-7 ESV).

"But all things should be done decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40 ESV)

For this author, it is difficult to reconcile these Scriptures and John 4:24 (above) and the reverence, awe, respect, and dignity of the spiritual worship that God deserves with the rambunctious entertainment that passes for worship in some congregations.


Conclusion

God is giving you your heartbeats and breaths one at a time. Someday, perhaps even today, He will give you no more. At that time, you will go, for all eternity, to either Heaven or Hell. You will be irrevocably either eternally saved to be with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father in Heaven or eternally damned to the Lake of Fire.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6 ESV).

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you have doubts and questions, but want to believe in Jesus Christ? Do you do things of which you are ashamed, and want the power to stop and obey God instead?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV).

If you want to believe, that is have faith in Jesus Christ, it is a free gift of God. Ask Him! More than that, the Holy Spirit gives Christians the power to exercise faith and imperfectly, but substantially, obey God. And He is yours for the asking.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13 ESV). So Ask!

Salvation is a work of God. But in this day and age, we still want to ask, "What button do I push?" The model prayer below is not such a button. But such prayers, if they reflect your heart, can be as a glowing green LED telling you, that by God's power, you have passed from death to life in Jesus Christ, your new Lord, Master, God, and Savior.

Oh, most Merciful and Gracious Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that you have created me. I know that I have, of my own fault sinned against you. I know that I deserve to be punished. I repent and turn away from my sins. I believe that you have sent your only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Have mercy on me and forgive my sins, not because I deserve your mercy and lovingkindness, but because You are merciful and gracious. I know that you have sent Jesus Christ to pay for my sins and appease your just anger against me. Thank you for your great mercy and for your wonderful gift of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for coming into my life. Have mercy on me and teach me how to live as one of your disciples ought to live. By your grace and help, I promise to seek you, learn from you, obey you and glorify you, in this life and forever. (from: https://beforgiven.info/TRACT.htm)


For Further Reading and Study

Neither this post, nor an entire major library of books can answer all questions. One systematic theologian who tried to come close published three volumes of about 1000 pages each. But here are some resources to help you learn more about Christianity, in particular that variant known as the Reformed Faith. It is the author's conviction that the Reformed Faith is the variant most true to the Holy Bible.

Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Christian Life, A Doctrinal Introduction

David McKay, The Bond of Love, God's Covenantal Relationship with His Church

Edward Donnelly, Biblical Teaching on the Doctrine of Heaven and hell

The Westminster Catechisms and Confession of Faith of 1647 (A translation to contemporary English is at https://beforgiven.info/HostedLiterature.htm.)

Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination This book is not just about predestination; this classic work is in fact a concise systematic theology that is easy to read and accessible to the layman.


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“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 ESV).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16–18 ESV).


funeralxempire
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19 Sep 2023, 3:20 pm

Pretty sure gods not existing is by far the largest contributor to why I'm not Christian.

You're looking at "the problem" from the wrong angle to understand it. OP boils down to Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ From a Christian Perspective but since it seeks to understand those who reject your faith that's not going to be an accurate lens that can provide any worthwhile insights.


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19 Sep 2023, 3:22 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Pretty sure gods not existing is by far the largest contributor to why I'm not Christian.

You're looking at "the problem" from the wrong angle to understand it. OP boils down to Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ From a Christian Perspective but since it seeks to understand those who reject your faith that's not going to be an accurate lens that can provide any worthwhile insights.


Did you read all of the OP? :o

I gave it a skim and figured 'tl;dr'.



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19 Sep 2023, 3:29 pm

blitzkrieg wrote:
Did you read all of the OP? :o


Most of it, although the framing issue stood out immediately. :nerdy:


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19 Sep 2023, 6:01 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
Did you read all of the OP? :o


Most of it, although the framing issue stood out immediately. :nerdy:


You must have a good attention span. I mean, I could have read all of that but it seems like a waste of energy. I mean, I am Christian but it was just too much, for me, anyway.



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19 Sep 2023, 6:36 pm

tl;dr

This thread belongs in PP&R, anyway.


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19 Sep 2023, 9:22 pm

Why is this nonsense here at all? Would this post be considered at all acceptable if it was not about the dominant religion in the US and many Western countries? Or any dominant religion? If the OP was a fanatic about something that wasn't widely accepted, it would be clear that the post should not be on WP at all.



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20 Sep 2023, 2:00 am



SMiLes, Typically There Are Those Who View
Their Religions Literally in Dogmatic Ways;

And Those Who Do it in A More Mystical
Meditating Flowing Unifying Way And

Even in Nature

Forest Bathing

(Truly Spiritually Free)

As Science Even Shows

The Benefits of All This

Heaven Within; Yawn, Worshipping

And Giving Praise to a Story Book Name;

Is No Different Than Idol Worship; It Surely

Has Form

Yet As Empty

of Essence As

A Golden Chalice

Or A Golden Robe

Missing the Naked
Enough Whole Complete Part;

This Much i Experience; LoVE iN Peace

When Real in Human Beings Giving Sharing
Caring Healing For All With Most Respect Least Harm,

Never Needs

Worship; Never

Fears Criticism

As Of Course LoVE iN Peace

When Real Is Naked Enough Whole Complete.

Oh Yeah, There's One More Thing or Better Put Nothing;

When You Arrive Naked Enough Whole Complete; There is

No Need to Fear 'Sticks' in A Dirt/Ash Nap or Want for 'Carrots'
in a Dirt/Ash Nap Either;

Yet of Course, Even That

Old Dusty Book; Yep That

So-Called King James Bible Includes the

Verse, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or,
lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

Per Luke 17:21; Yet of Course, it is A Rather Large Book
Comprising An Anthology of Innumerable Roman Greek
Writing Ghost Authors And Innumerable Faceless Scribes

Making Copy Mistakes

And Intentional Changes too

Over Centuries Upon Centuries;

There is Really No Disadvantage

Of Creating Your Own Bible Based

On Real Lived Experience Creating Wisdom;

Rather Than Relying on Antiquated Authors and Text;

If You Have

The 'Hardware'
And 'Software'

To Do it of Course;

And the Life Experience
Generating Wisdom Required;

And of Course That's All Up to You;

Perhaps, with a 'Little Help From Friends'..:)



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20 Sep 2023, 2:10 am

funeralxempire wrote:
Pretty sure gods not existing is by far the largest contributor to why I'm not Christian.

You're looking at "the problem" from the wrong angle to understand it. OP boils down to Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ From a Christian Perspective but since it seeks to understand those who reject your faith that's not going to be an accurate lens that can provide any worthwhile insights.


Idk I do not belive in gods or god...that could change if any of them revealed themselves, but idk if they want to be believed in they should do a better job of proving themselves, because most godly phenomena is explained by science now. Like thor was never banging on an anvil sending lighting down to earth, rain is not the result of Odin's tears ect we know that now so why do some people cling to god like young children may cling to the idea of santa and the easter bunny only to find out that's not real. Idk when my mom exposed to me that stuff was faked the first thing I thought was 'does that mean god is fake too' but I thought better of saying that as I figured it would make her mad. But I pondered it on my own still while pretending to still belive in god and all that.

Also salvation from jesus, what's he going to save us from...he's been dead for thousands of years even if he really existed in some way......like he'd be a zombie at this point, so what is he going to come back and stop the oil industry or something?

And repenting for what...existing? sorry I just can't with this stuff. Plus many of us who do not want saving grace in Jesus Christ, we have been there, done that and it didn't work for us like its not like none of us have ever heard the story of god and jesus we just don't believe in it anymore. Of course I cannot speak for all but a lot of ex christians express similar thoughts. Most satanists are ex christians.


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20 Sep 2023, 1:09 pm

As attempts to get other people to believe in your imaginary friend go, it's clear that this one has had a lot of effort put into it, but it's thoroughly unconvincing. It's the intellectual equivalent of digging large holes and filling them back in again: hard work, but achieving nothing.

Quote:
There are many excuses that people use to refuse to obey God and refuse to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most common excuse is to pretend that God does not exist, or that God is someone or something other than what the Holy Bible reveals Him to be. Belief in Big-Bang cosmogony and Darwinism is an example of this. But this pretense is exactly that: a pretense, a pretense in the face of what each person really knows, however deep down and repressed the knowledge of God may be.

This is laughable. It's an assertion made without evidence. Why would anyone believe it unless they were motivated to do so? It's not an intellectually honest claim.

I could just as easily say that I think all humans know deep down that God doesn't really exist, and that they're just choosing to believe in something comforting because they're scared to face the facts. Equally, a Muslim could say that all humans know deep down that Muhammad is Allah's messenger, a Hindu could say that all humans know deep down about the Great Vishnu, Zoroastrians would say that everyone believes in Ahura Mazda, Shintoists could say that everyone knows deep down about Kami, and all over the world people would have known about Jesus before the word of Christianity was spread there.

The fact is that when you die you will be obliterated. There is no evidence for any Heavenly Father waiting to save you and offer you eternal paradise. You are a collection of atoms, and the atoms don't need you. Sure, we'd all like there to be eternal paradise, but there's no reason to think there is (whereas it's hard to dispute that both Darwinian evolution and Big Bang cosmology are facts). Religion is basically the result of evil people trying to control foolish people, and it's lead to huge amounts of totally unnecessary suffering. Thankfully these days more and more people are turning away from it.

Religious people are often superficially nice, but there's a tendency for them to struggle to be good. Look at religious objections to homosexuality and birth control for example: there's no justification for it, they've just confused the things that evil people wrote down thousands of years ago for actual morality, absolving themselves of the responsibility to reason.



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20 Sep 2023, 6:54 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Pretty sure gods not existing is by far the largest contributor to why I'm not Christian.

You're looking at "the problem" from the wrong angle to understand it. OP boils down to Hindrances to Repentance and Saving Faith in Jesus Christ From a Christian Perspective but since it seeks to understand those who reject your faith that's not going to be an accurate lens that can provide any worthwhile insights.


Idk I do not belive in gods or god...that could change if any of them revealed themselves, but idk if they want to be believed in they should do a better job of proving themselves, because most godly phenomena is explained by science now.


Agreed, the fact that I feel quite firmly that gods don't exist doesn't mean it would be impossible to persuade me. It's not like being an atheist on Family Guy after literally meeting God.

OP starts off with a bunch of assumptions that aren't actually sound, like that gods exist, that YHWH is the only 'true god', that YHWH produced a human son who was also an avatar of himself, etc, etc.

Any one of those assumptions being incorrect makes the rest of them irrelevant. For example, I lean towards Jesus having a historical counterpart who was executed by the Romans (I'm somewhat skeptical, on the fence but slouching in that direction).

But, even if the existence of Yeshua ben Yosef was confirmed beyond the shadow of a doubt, that wouldn't prove that he was divine to any extent. If he isn't divine, he's at most a wandering preacher and quite possibly a wandering schizophrenic (of course those two probably overlap more than we'd like to consider).

Of course, even if one accepts the basic premises of Christianity, which of the dozens of competing sects actually has the correct understanding? Each of them claims to have the correct understanding, but they base that on their own theological understandings. Having internally consistent logic isn't the same as being correct.

If we're going to bicker over who's imaginary friend can beat-up everyone else's imaginary friend, everyone else should just give up and go home because my imaginary friend is Bob Probert and Jesus wouldn't stand a chance against Probie.

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20 Sep 2023, 8:19 pm

The primary hindrances to repentance are those self-proclaimed "Born-Again" Christians who pontificate endlessly without saying anything relevant, useful, or even factual.  They are also the most likely people to point out the sins of others while refusing to even acknowledge their own obvious sins.  Why are they so very angry, arrogant, didactic, and hypocritical?  Perhaps it is because...

... Their "Christ is in control" mantra collides head-on with the fact that Christians themselves are not in control of everything, especially how their expressions of religious beliefs will be received and discussed.

... Their faith is being invalidated by the mere existence of all of the non-Christians around them.

... Their religious leaders encourage them to feel inadequate, worthless, dependent, and deserving of harsh punishment from an angry God.

... They are not supposed to accept affirmation or gratitude for what they do, because only God is worthy of praise and thanks.  This affect their egos as much as does salt on a fresh wound.

... They are so hung up on the story of Jesus as told in Mark 11:12-19, that they have forgotten what Luke 10:25-28 says.

... They are stuck in the first half of "Fake It Until You Make It", and do not yet know how to really "Make It" as Christians.

... They are taught that they are so worthless that only an infinitely-loving God could possibly give them any love at all.

... They are told that they cannot accomplish anything of value without the Grace of God.

... They attend or lead only those churches that base their ministries solely on moral exhortation, and that are fear-based, risk-averse, isolated, shallow, antagonistic to science, simplistic and judgmental about sexuality, and inhospitable to questions or doubt.

... They believe that any knowledge or wisdom that is not directly imparted to them by the Holy Spirit comes from the devil, and is therefore blasphemy.  This includes life-saving medical knowledge.

... They believe that Freedom of Religious Expression protects them from being criticized for their beliefs, in spite of the obvious fact that expressing their religious beliefs in a public forum actually invites criticism of their beliefs.

... They believe that revelations of their leaders' non-Christian behaviors are all "Fake News", even when those leaders are caught committing those brazen acts.

... They cannot force non-believers to believe as they believe.

... They have not actually studied the Bible, and lose every theological debate with those who have -- even with Atheists.

... They have not yet figured out a way to make religion financially profitable for themselves as itinerant laborers.

... They have realized that as bad as things are, they are not bad enough to signify Judgment Day.

... They know that faith and religion are losing ground to knowledge and skeptical inquiry.

... They know that they are losing a cultural war for the minds of believers and unbelievers everywhere.

... They realize that educated people, with all their knowledge and skeptical inquiry, are generally happier and more successful in their careers and relationships.

... They realize that the "Christian Values" that America was founded on included slavery, the subjugation of women, and the slaughter of native Americans.

... They see that non-Christians the world over are not as miserable as they are.

... They sincerely believe, with all their their hearts, all their souls, all their strength, and all their minds that to have fun and be happy are sins.

... They think that just because they are Christians, that everyone else should automatically love, obey, respect, and trust them, and it upsets them to know that no one else does.

... They think that just because they are Christians, that life should be better for them than for non-Christians, and it upsets them to know that their lives are just as miserable as even those of complete non-believers.

... They think they have all of the answers, but are upset because no-one asks them the appropriate questions.

... They worship their religion more fervently than the person about whom it was established.

... They would rather construct echo-chambers where only their beliefs are expressed than risk entering an open forum where their beliefs may be questioned and critiqued.

:evil:


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21 Sep 2023, 4:55 am

The biggest hindrance is a love for satan and evil which prevents the individual from coming to Christ. It takes a cold evil heart to reject Jesus Christ.
Only if the sinner realises they are wicked and need a saviour will they repent.
Even those who think they are Christians (Usually via upbringing) have evil hearts as they refuse to repent and turn away from their sin.
Not one person living on this earth today or who lived in the past except Christ deserves to go into Heaven. All deserve Hell.
Satan has decieved people into assuming that Hell is not real so there is no need to be saved, or that Hell is just an example of being switched off or something like that.

Other lies from Satan are:-

"There is no God"

"The Bible is not true"

"There is plenty of time for me to repent".

" I will be alright"

"Jesus was just a man"

"Jesus will not accept me because I have done some bad things".

" I can't receive salvation because I am gay"

"I refuse to repent because Christianity is a white mans religion"

"I refuse to repent because Christianity is a black mans religion"

"I refuse to accept Christ because of all the evil on the earth" or
"I refuse to accept Christ because of the evil done to me in the past by family of parents or others "Insert name of group etc" ". (Being self righteous by shifting the blame for one's own sins back onto Jesus Christ who is one of the few people who really loves you) ".

(And many more excuses for not accepting Christ! Are your excuse here " **** ")



The reality of the message is not how good or bad you are, or not how good or bad I am or not how good or bad others are.... "For ALL have sinned"....
The reality is ALL of us need a SAVIOUR as the wages of sin is "Death" and that word "Death" is for all eternity. Is not being switched off, but is eternal punishment for our sins. We are ALL guilty!

It is pointless in frightening you or frightening myself into repentance unless I point the way so we can avoid such eternal punishment.

God came down from Heaven to live on this earth and become the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
In the past before this New Covernant before mankind and God came along, one would need to sacrifice an animal or bird on our behalf. Example is where one would take two goats without blemish (The best of our goats to show that we and God was taking our sin seriously), and The first goat would be killed and the blood would be placed on the second goat, and the second goat which was still alive, would be taken out into the wilderness and let lose, as it was a symbol of one's sin being taken away from you. The term for this goat was called "Scape goat", and it was thought of as being very unlucky if one's goat came back as they thought this was their sins coming back to them!
But that was the Old Covernant between mankind and God. It was a temporary thing!

Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins! God became man to die for us! To take our place! We deserve death for our sins! Not one of us is innocent as we are born into sin! It is easy to point out sin! Even if we look at others and have a habit of lieing to ourselves!
What is sin? In the Old Testament, God have us the Ten Commandments. This was to show us what sin is. God already knew we could not keep them even if we tried!
Jesus expounded on this to give us an example. He was talking about the commandment not to covet another mans wife. He expounded by saying "Even if one looks to such a woman one has sin in one's heart".
Jesus already knew we could not prevent ourselves from sinning. Religions whether they have Christian foundations or not, based on trying to do good and trying not to do bad are already fighting a losing battle as NONE of us can avoid sin by our own efforts. Believe me! I have tried and failed again and again. DO NOT GET INTO THAT TRAP! Takes you around in circles and takes you away from God. (Is called "Religion by works" where one "Tries" to do good to balance the bad. In reality it does not did he of our sin. Nothing wrong with trying to do good, but is of itself fruitless and makes us believe the great religious deception of "If we do good, we st to Heaven. If we do bad we go to Hell". A total lie and fabrication of the Gospel message as the Gospel message says "All will go to Hell who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour".

Any Christian group who teaches one must be good to go into Heaven is lieing and do not know their Bibles as while being good is good in itself, it decieves us from the need of a Saviour. It becomes religious machinery without Jesus Christ, where those who teach it, despite their many high qualifications they try to fall back on, tend to explain away certain scriptures to their congregation by saying words like "What it actually means is..." (In other words they give a different meaning to what the Bible says because they themselves are not willing to accept the truth of the Gospel message that Jesus Christ IS the way to Salvation).

So what must one do to be saved?

Repent and believe. That the Lord Jesus Christ died for you! Repent from your sins and believe. That's it! At that moment one has accepted Christ! One has acknowledged one has sinned and is a sinner, and one has accepted that Jesus Christ has become the ultimate sacrifice for ALL your sins! Both past, present and future.ALL of them! From that point onwards one follows Jesus,! Simple!

The biggest decision one can ever make in one's life. This is THE GOOD NEWS.


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Last edited by Mountain Goat on February 31st, 2026, 01:42 am, edited 36 times in total.


Last edited by Mountain Goat on 21 Sep 2023, 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Fnord
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21 Sep 2023, 5:53 am

↑ tl;dr

All that preaching means nothing without expressing the love of Christ with your every action, every word, and every thought.

Preaching peace and inclusion brings people in.

Preaching Hell-fire and condemnation turns people away.

I've been on the receiving end of too much of the latter and too little of the former to have any respect for religion.


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Mountain Goat
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21 Sep 2023, 6:00 am

Fnord wrote:
↑ tl;dr

All that preaching means nothing without expressing the love of Christ with your every action, every word, and every thought.

Preaching peace and inclusion brings people in.

Preaching Hell-fire and condemnation turns people away.

I've been on the receiving end of too much of the latter and too little of the former to have any respect for religion.


You don't have to. All you need is Christ.

(Ammending the autocorrect changing words I put above. Had to go back to factory settings to get the tablet to work).


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Last edited by Mountain Goat on February 31st, 2026, 01:42 am, edited 36 times in total.


funeralxempire
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21 Sep 2023, 6:23 am

Mountain Goat wrote:
The biggest hindrance is a love for satan and evil which prevents the individual from coming to Christ. It takes a cold evil heart to reject Jesus Christ.


It really just takes a mild degree of skepticism for the outrageous claims at the core of Christianity.

I dismiss your god for the same reason both of us dismiss Thor, Zeus and Ahura Mazda.

Monotheists aren't that different from atheists, atheists just don't make any exceptions.


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