Just Believe?

who-you-are-will-show-in-what-you-do

On Steve’s blog , he recently wrote a post entitled “Just Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Master and . . . Wait.” In response, “grouchyfarmer” commented … and I responded.

grouchyfarmer: The whole “saved by faith alone” thing was always so diametrically opposed to what Jesus actually taught that I always had difficulty understanding how anybody bought into that idea. As the verse from Matthew specifically states you are judged by what you do, not by what you believe, or at least not just by what you believe.

Me: I think you hit the proverbial nail, GF. In today’s Christian world it is ALL about “belief.” You must “believe” to be saved and you must maintain that “belief” throughout the rest of your life or be condemned to a fiery hell. The ACTIONS Jesus said should go along with that “belief” are, for the most part, conveniently ignored in the believer’s rush to teach others to .. you guessed it … believe.

As many of us are more than abundantly aware, the common response from Christians to the misfortunes of others is to send “thoughts and prayers.” (This is not to discount the religious organizations that truly provide help and assistance to those in need, but in this instance, I’m referring to individuals.) Yet all throughout the bible are teachings that tell God’s people to take care of others through ACTIONS …

Feed the hungry … Give drink to the thirsty … Clothe the naked … Care for the sick

More frequently, however, we instead find believers using the power of WORDS to reach others for their Christ: witnessing, preaching, blogging, writing books, etc.

One wonders … have they forgotten that very clear scripture in gMatthew where the writer talks about what it will take to “inherit the kingdom”:

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 

And to take it a step further, what about the admonition from John in the Book of Revelation:

Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Instead, it seems many believers rely more on the words of Paul in the book of Ephesians:

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.

There’s no argument that in today’s world it is difficult to find the time to help others, yet based on the book that believers follow, this is exactly what Jesus taught.

Of course, for those of us who have no interest in the teachings of Jesus (or any other religious guru), our efforts towards helping others are not prompted by religious beliefs. We do it because it’s the human thing to do.

16 thoughts on “Just Believe?

  1. “Faith” ought to mean doing as Jesus taught. Instead, it has come to mean having empty beliefs — empty in the sense that they don’t affect what you do.

    This is why I sometime says “there is nothing Christian about Christianity”.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. “Instead, it seems many believers rely more on the words of Paul…”

    I have said for a long time that most of the denominations…make that…cults that people call “Christian” are actually Paulist. The character of Paul strikes me as someone who only hated himself more than he hated everybody else.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. This quote is from Marcus Aurelius, pagan philosopher and Roman emperor, “Revere the gods and take care of other people. Our lives are short and the only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts.” No speculation about obtaining a favored place in the afterlife, just satisfaction in having done the right thing and recognition that the good people do in life may inspire others long after one is gone.

    It’s always seemed better to me to do good because it’s the right thing to do rather than for the dubious carrot of eternally singing praises to a deity who at the same time is subjecting half of humanity to eternal torment because they didn’t believe the right thing.

    Liked by 6 people

    • One thing that has always repulsed me about much of Christian teachings is the focus on future reward/punishment.

      I don’t even know how it works for me. It has to be worth it in the present. Things have to matter now. I don’t believe in doing things for future reward (or out of fear of future punishment).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Think about this: if someone tried to sell you a “perfect” existence, on the condition “…you don’t get any of the benefits until you die…”, would you buy it?

        If I were in charge of the afterlife, I would give people not what they thought they’d earned, but what they feared they truly deserved. I don’t imagine that philosophy would have many adherents.

        Like

    • And that dubious carrot of eternal singing is even more dubious in view of what Jesus said of the one unforgivable sin (the one that gets very little attention). And what sin might that be? No, it is not uttering the name Jehova (apparently that only gets you stoned) but actually a sin of the mind, of contemplating whether or not The Holy Ghost is real.

      A casual Google search provides the following revelation: “In Mark 3:29 Jesus says that “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.””

      I’ve read elsewhere that simply doubting the existence of the Holy Ghost a.k.a. Holy Spirit qualifies for this unforgivable blasphemy.

      So, anyone who read this very reply to a comment could be guilty, and damned to an eternity in hellfire, because they probably paused and wondered, “Hmmm… is the Holy Ghost real?”

      Ooops, just reading that last line, putting those words into your consciousness… well, sorry.

      My bad.

      But seriously, heaven must be a pretty empty place in view of this unforgivable sin. Who could possibly qualify for entry under such conditions?

      Liked by 4 people

      • Oh, wow, I’d completely forgotten about that comment he’d made about the Holy Ghost. I suspect most people will have as well. I find myself wondering about the origins of that comment because it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the things Jesus said. And if I remember right, and I admit I may not, that is the only time he said anything like that.

        I would think that if it was something Jesus thought was this important he would have mentioned it elsewhere. He spoke of this spirit or holy ghost elsewhere but this was the only time he said that just doubting its existence was some kind of eternal sin.

        The concept of the “trinity” was not part of the early church. It was more or less rammed down people’s throats around 380 and even then it was controversial. I find myself wondering if that verse was inserted at a later date in order to make people accept that?

        Liked by 4 people

        • I agree with you. And am wondering that Jesus’ remark in John 16.8 may correlate:

          “And when [the Comforter] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

          Perhaps the blasphemy is in my conscience telling the Holy Spirit to buzz off. Unpardonable, until I repent and believe the gospel.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Or perhaps it was something they forgot to delete as it kind of contradicts the whole, “accept Jesus as your saviour and all your sins will be forgiven” promise.

          And don’t get me started on other aspects like what if Pol Pot or Hitler accepted Jesus as their saviour…. please 😇

          Liked by 1 person

        • Raina, yes, he did indeed make the comment after the pharisees claimed his miracles were being done by the influence of the devil and not god. Jesus was mad and really lit into them “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” It’s a rather memorable speech and I’m surprised I forgot the part about the Holy Ghost.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. We don’t even really know who wrote Ephesians, but we do know it wasn’t Paul. It is almost certainly a forgery or at least falsely attributed to Paul. First and Second Timothy, Hebrews, Ephesians and Titus are all known to have been written by someone else. So at least seven of the fourteen epistles, and perhaps as many as nine, should not be attributed to him in the first place. Even in the very early church scholars knew Hebrews wasn’t written by Paul. It was Augustine who managed to force people to accept Hebrews as being written by him despite the fact he had absolutely no proof. The only ones we know to have been written by him are Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon and First Thessalonians.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have no doubt you are correct … but among believers (and the population in general), Paul is the guy. I supposed I could have just referenced the scripture without naming him, but then you wouldn’t have been able to write this comment and educate the uneducated! 😈

      Liked by 1 person

  5. At what point does faith ~ the fervent belief in doing the same thing over and over again will return a different result ~ become insanity ~ the fervent belief in doing the same thing over and over again will return a different result ~ ?

    To this day the best response I have found to their overbearing infallibility is tell them to put it in the closet ~ Matthew 6:5-6: When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. I say to you, they have their reward.

    When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

    I actually think last line was Jesus doing a little tongue and cheek diss on dummy disciples …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. one caveat: we have no real idea what “Jesus” said anyway. Quoting Bible verses, even those conveniently red lettered in our study bibles, doesn’t really respond to the question of what did this jesus, whoever he was,really say? There were no eye witnesses. No known authors. And many of the supposed quotes and actions are not quite as loving as “liberal” Christians and agnostics who try to play the “Jesus was a social welfare and social justice liberal”card would like. (Jesus…purportedly…loved Him that juicy, crispy eternal punishment kick, for example)

    Liked by 1 person

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