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Author Topic: Universal Salvation & Christianity  (Read 1595 times)

ehbowen

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2019, 01:13:23 pm »
Well, not to get off topic, but I don't think there necessarily has to be a supernatural party wanting me (or others in general) to believe that. Frankly, hell has always been a good way of keeping people in the pews, keeping their behavior in check, and keeping the tithe money coming in.  ;)
First, the fact that some people have distorted and misused the very clear teachings of Jesus on hell does not mean that his original words are invalid. Second, I believe that the main objective of the evil one is to get people to give up...on their faith, on life, on hope, and ultimately on their very existence.

Gotta get back to work; lunch is over. Will discuss at greater length later, if you wish.

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EclecticWheel

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2019, 05:41:52 pm »
I would also point out that in my Universalist UPG/Spirituality that there are different levels of existence. High Heavens, Low Hells, and Places In Between. A Soul that is elevated can descend, and a Soul that sinks low can arise. The levels may be permanent, but a Soul's presence in a level can change, upwards or downwards. Spiritual improvement is possible. In fact, I think that it is the point of being spiritual in the first place.

In my Universalism, over very long periods of time, most if not all Souls end up in a higher state. In my view, part of the purpose of spiritual activity is to purify the Self/Soul so as to gain access to higher levels of existence. Those at lower levels of development deserve sympathy and help, not eternal punishment. I find the idea of eternal punishment to be abhorrent and violent, and not fitting for a divine and benevolent Deity (or Deities).

I also believe that there can be lateral movements to different spiritual realms as well. There is not just Heaven, there is Valhalla, the Summerlands, and other places also. So, there are diverse places that a Soul/Human Spirit can end up. It is a spiritual process, in my view. A journey.

[edits for spelling and readability]

I wanted to come back to share the vision my maternal grandmother reported because it corroborates your UPG at least to some extent.  No one in the family except myself took my grandmother's vision seriously until after she died.

The family has been through a lot.  First my grandmother's sister Janice died of cancer, and later her sister Carol was murdered in cold blood, and that was only about a year after Carol was hit by a car by a drunk driver and nearly died from that.  So there is a lot of heart ache, and this is not the only murder in the family: there have been three.  That gives some idea of the context of the vision.

My grandmother was mourning her sister Janice, and then Janice appeared to her for a period of about two hours in the living room.  My grandmother reports being instructed to remain in one place and to focus her attention on Janice.  The idea was that my grandmother's attention was feeding Janice's ability to appear in that form, and Janice was still too underdeveloped to sustain the apparition without focused attention.

As my grandmother reported it to me, Janice explained that there are multiple ascending realms to the afterlife.  She didn't mention any eternal hell whatsoever.  Janice had entered into a lower realm in heaven.  She had basically been a good person in life, but she had some problems with addiction and had made poor choices.  My grandmother asked why Janice had not appeared to her before since that is what my grandmother had been praying for and begging Janice to do.  Janice explained that through a process of growth and purging, she had since ascended to a higher realm and gained strength and was only then able to sustain an apparition, and only with my grandmother's focused attention.

As my grandmother tells the story, my great grandfather had also entered heaven, but in a lower realm still due to his choices, and he was still in the process of growth and purging and dealing with the aftermath of his life.

Though purgatory has often been thought of as an intermediate place between heaven and hell, it can also be thought of as a state and is not in a separate location from heaven.  Likewise, hell is a state and is not in a separate location from heaven, but merely a different experience of the encounter with God or the numinous, and since damnation involves eternal resistance to grace, it may be that no one is ultimately damned in this view.

This is the view of a friend of mine who happens to be an Eastern Catholic and a self-identified traditionalist.  Eastern Catholicism has a different slant on these matters than the Roman take, and the Eastern and Western parts of the Catholic Church have officially agreed not to argue about purgatory, although the way purgatory is explained in the Roman Catholic Church varies in emphasis depending on the individual.  I heard various views on purgatory when I was in RCIA, some more medieval, some more Eastern-influenced, some informed more by modern theological thought.

My grandmother's understanding of her vision very much sounds like a possible interpretation of purgatory to me.  That's how my Catholic friend understood it when I reported it to him.  But it also resonates well with your UPG about various realms.

I thought this was all interesting, so I wanted to share.  My grandmother came from a Congregational Methodist background, but spent most of her life in non-denominational churches with a charismatic twist.  The beliefs she held after her vision are, I presume, quite different from what she was taught growing up, although my mother's family tends to have folk beliefs.  I remember the novena candles adorning their homes, and other trappings that didn't really seem typical for people in Protestant backgrounds.

My grandmother and my aunt both came to me asking if it was permissible to pray for their dead since they had been taught there was no more hope after death -- you're saved or you're damned.  Their mother had told them there was no point in praying anymore.  Addressing them in a Christian context, since that's where they're coming from, I simply told them that if God is beyond time, then every prayer is potentially efficacious.  Their requests were heard before the beginning of time, and perhaps God intervened during a person's life because of a request that occurred after that person's death.  That seemed to satisfy them and gave them consolation and hope.

Their way of faith and folk beliefs are very interesting to me.  My grandmother really wanted me to share my own rituals with her, but she died before I got the chance.  But I still involve my great aunt and cousin in them, and they derive much comfort from it.  From these experiences I am loathe to characterize everyone coming from evangelical and fundamentalist backgrounds as close minded.  People are complicated, and so are their faiths.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Donal2018

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2019, 01:38:06 pm »
...I wanted to come back to share the vision my maternal grandmother reported because it corroborates your UPG at least to some extent.  No one in the family except myself took my grandmother's vision seriously until after she died.

...As my grandmother tells the story, my great grandfather had also entered heaven, but in a lower realm still due to his choices, and he was still in the process of growth and purging and dealing with the aftermath of his life.

...Though purgatory has often been thought of as an intermediate place between heaven and hell, it can also be thought of as a state and is not in a separate location from heaven.  Likewise, hell is a state and is not in a separate location from heaven, but merely a different experience of the encounter with God or the numinous, and since damnation involves eternal resistance to grace, it may be that no one is ultimately damned in this view.

...My grandmother and my aunt both came to me asking if it was permissible to pray for their dead since they had been taught there was no more
Their way of faith and folk beliefs are very interesting to me.  My grandmother really wanted me to share my own rituals with her, but she died before I got the chance.  But I still involve my great aunt and cousin in them, and they derive much comfort from it.  From these experiences I am loathe to characterize everyone coming from evangelical and fundamentalist backgrounds as close minded.  People are complicated, and so are their faiths.

That is a pretty extraordinary story. Thanks for sharing it. If I had an experience like that, I might be convinced about the Afterlife. Right now I am just speculating, so all that stuff is UPG for me, emphasizing "unverified". I am hoping it is true, though.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2019, 02:26:55 pm »
That is a pretty extraordinary story. Thanks for sharing it. If I had an experience like that, I might be convinced about the Afterlife. Right now I am just speculating, so all that stuff is UPG for me, emphasizing "unverified". I am hoping it is true, though.

I am not sure what to make of my own or others' reported experiences.  I live with the uncertainty.  But I remain open to possibilities.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Donal2018

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2019, 02:52:50 pm »
I am not sure what to make of my own or others' reported experiences.  I live with the uncertainty.  But I remain open to possibilities.

Good point. Tolerating uncertainty is a part of life. I would call myself an open-minded skeptic. I doubt everything, but I am willing to discuss anything. Sort of a spiritual agnostic. I do have high hopes about what is and what may be, though. I am just not afraid to say "I don't know" when appropriate.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2019, 04:01:47 pm »
Good point. Tolerating uncertainty is a part of life. I would call myself an open-minded skeptic. I doubt everything, but I am willing to discuss anything. Sort of a spiritual agnostic. I do have high hopes about what is and what may be, though. I am just not afraid to say "I don't know" when appropriate.

I measure my beliefs by my actions and commitments.  Whatever my doubts and uncertainties, what I "believe," for my purposes, is what I commit to through my actions, and that can coexist with doubt.  I commit to what is good for me, and since it is good for me, I can pray, "Lord, I believe: help thou my unbelief."
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Darkhawk

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #21 on: July 03, 2019, 01:10:05 pm »
makes me wonder why some Christians I have met find this universalist view so repugnant.  I wouldn't like to say how many Christians that would be or even that it is the majority.  Most of the Christians I am personally friends with are either universalists or sympathetic to universalism.  Nevertheless I have come across Christian clergy who utterly abhor the idea.  All of this is just in the realm of my personal encounters -- I haven't looked into any surveys.

I wonder why that would be that universal salvation in a Christian context would seem so abhorrent.  It seems that for a religion that emphasizes grace that this would be a natural idea.  I think part of it comes down to how select scriptural passages can be difficult to interpret in a universalist light, so this might be seen as rejecting scripture, but there are other scriptures that tend more easily to a universalist interpretation.  And there are lots of ambiguous and difficult scriptures generally, and theologians do all kinds of things with them, including universalist theologians.

Personally I've always been kind of baffled by non-universalist Christianity, particularly the people who are happy to consign the people they disapprove to hell.  I just kind of sit there and go, "You're ... celebrating what is, by your own standards, your incarnate god's spectacular failure to accomplish his stated goals?"

Iunno.  My angle on universalism these days is folkloric rather than anything else, but I go to a UU church so so long as I've got a universalist theology I'm good. ;)  But mine is "Everything in hell is stolen property."
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Beloved

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #22 on: July 03, 2019, 05:25:01 pm »
My grandmother was mourning her sister Janice, and then Janice appeared to her for a period of about two hours in the living room.  My grandmother reports being instructed to remain in one place and to focus her attention on Janice.  The idea was that my grandmother's attention was feeding Janice's ability to appear in that form, and Janice was still too underdeveloped to sustain the apparition without focused attention.

As my grandmother reported it to me, Janice explained that there are multiple ascending realms to the afterlife.  She didn't mention any eternal hell whatsoever.  Janice had entered into a lower realm in heaven.  She had basically been a good person in life, but she had some problems with addiction and had made poor choices.  My grandmother asked why Janice had not appeared to her before since that is what my grandmother had been praying for and begging Janice to do.  Janice explained that through a process of growth and purging, she had since ascended to a higher realm and gained strength and was only then able to sustain an apparition, and only with my grandmother's focused attention.


Thanks for sharing. Did the visit bring your grandmother comfort? What an amazing experience.

Klaw

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #23 on: July 03, 2019, 08:11:39 pm »
The most (personally) convincing arguments I've read in regard to universal salvation in a Christian perspective are contained in the book The Evangelical Universalist by Gregory MacDonald, but it has been a long time since I've read this book, and I'd like to get reacquainted to remind myself of what I found so convincing about it.

Interestingly enough my mother and I talked on the phone today. She evidently has changed her stand point after studying Revelations. She says that according to the New King James version, immediately at the beginning of the end days everyone, no matter what you did in life, that accepts Jesus as their lord and savior will go to heaven.

Everyone else is stuck on Earth enduring the flooding, fire, horrors, etc. Until they too repent. It is suppose to take 7 years if I remember right. There is supposed to be another battle with Satan who is defeated and confined while Jesus rules on Earth a thousand years. Satan is released and this time he is permanently vanquished. This is all from her own research. The Missouri Synod Lutherans do not teach Revelations. What I personally learned was from repeated questions to Pastor.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #24 on: July 03, 2019, 09:14:46 pm »
Thanks for sharing. Did the visit bring your grandmother comfort? What an amazing experience.

I believe it did.  What I most noticed was how amazed she seemed by the encounter, and grateful that at least one person took her seriously.  She died about a year later.
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Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

ehbowen

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Re: Universal Salvation & Christianity
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2019, 10:37:32 pm »


Interestingly enough my mother and I talked on the phone today. She evidently has changed her stand point after studying Revelations. She says that according to the New King James version, immediately at the beginning of the end days everyone, no matter what you did in life, that accepts Jesus as their lord and savior will go to heaven.

I learned the doctrinaire Hal Lindsey version nearly fifty years ago, but I now have a different take on the Revelation (as well as many other subjects...;) ). Rather than seeing it as the "shooting script" for the Earth's final days, I now see it as God giving us...and Satan...a glimpse of His "contingency plans." It shows what my God is prepared to do if necessary...but only if it is absolutely necessary. And it may not be. Right in the text, more than once, it states, "And men did not repent." So, then, if men DO repent...the drastic measures may not be necessary.

The Revelation is a prophecy of judgment. But elsewhere in Scripture God specifically states that prophecies of judgment are always conditional...and that He is always looking for an intercessor.

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