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First and foremost, this entry is dedicated to my Lord and Savior.

One of the concerns I've seen about my faith is in the issue of conversion. There is a misunderstanding I would like to clear up here. In one point of view Christians are "perfect" people on high pedestals forcing others to be like them. It rides upon an assumption that Christians have the "Self/Other" binary. While there may be truth in this about some Christians, this is not what the Bible teaches us.
I will start with the account of Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. It's very well known, but let's take a closer look. God created the Heaven and the Earth, and saw that it was good. He created man (Adam), and made woman (Eve) out of the rib of Adam. This does not make Eve inferior to Adam, or men superior to women. Eve is flesh of Adam's flesh, and they became "one flesh" in their marriage. In that sense, they are partners and equals.
The point I want to bring up is that Adam and Eve were both given a soul, and they were both given free will. That is the very reason God placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He forbade Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of that tree, but he didn't force them to obey. Forcing them to obey would have been an act of evil in itself, and God is all good. God wanted it so that following and obeying Him would be a choice for the individual to make.
It is the same with Salvation. God blessed us with Free Will so that all humans would have autonomy and the ability to choose. God wants us to choose the good, but He would never force us to do the good. Adam and Eve both chose to bring Evil into God's world. For that we are all doomed to die and face God's wrath. It's made clear in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." This makes no Christian, or any other person, better than anyone. The only high pedestal belongs to God, and He sacrificed Himself to save us.
Imagine it like this; there is a building on fire, several dozen people are trapped inside. These people are of all kinds, from all races, nationalities, ethnicities, sexualities, and of all divisions of humans. Everyone's in the same predicament. God is outside the building, but He goes in, sacrificing His own life to save every other life in the building. He makes a safe opening, but it is the choice of every individual to either take the escape route, or let themselves burn. God could only make a safe passage to safety, He can't force anyone to take that passage to safety.
Salvation from sin and evil is a choice. And though we all deserve to die. God's grace allows us all to take the safe passage. The very definition of Grace is a mercy we are given despite all the punishment and wrath we deserve. Conversion was never about power or superiority, it is about the choice of Salvation. It doesn't work when its forced upon someone. A person, and this could be anyone from any possible group, has to choose to be saved by their own free will. It is an equal opportunity for all, but it has to be a choice for the individual.
Once you're saved though, you're not perfect. You can still sin, you can still choose to be evil. There are plenty of Christians, and those who claimed to be Christians, who chose to do horrible things "in the name of their belief." Every culture has people who tarnish the name of their culture. And being saved does not automatically make Christians the superiors of the Earth, we are still like all of you. There is only one way to Salvation, and its through Jesus Christ, but we all have the choice to tread that path. Forcing someone to take that path is wrong, and it doesn't work.
As my way to honor God, I want to clear up the misunderstandings and tarnished name of Christianity.
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:icontherealbramblefire:
TheRealBramblefire Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I may not believe in any God(s) but I respect your words and feelings and I think that is how the world should be. Respect for everyone. 
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Student General Artist
Indeed. I can't force you or anyone to believe. Christianity has had a bad rep from the past centuries, especially with the Inquisition and Crusades. Not many realize that those evil periods of history weren't caused by Christians. Conversion to Christianity has to be a personal, spiritual choice, it doesn't work if it's forced upon someone. If you choose not to believe, that's your choice.

One of things I do like about the Bible though is that it teaches us to love everyone, even our enemies. :)
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:icontherealbramblefire:
TheRealBramblefire Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And that is what people must understand. People shouldn't use their religions to get extra power or privileges. It shouldn't be held over what people were born with (LGBT) or to justify hate or racism. If people are peaceful and don't force people into their religion, I have no quarrel. 
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2016  Student General Artist
To be completely honest here, and I really don't mean to offend, but I personally believe LGBT actions are sins, and not a form of identity. I don't hate people who have that, they are still human beings. We all have sins, some are just more prominent than others. I can't blame others for their sins when I sin myself. And even so, I won't force you to agree with my opinion, I was just stating my personal beliefs. It is also stated in the Bible that God loves all of humanity equally, so when people say "God hates..." it's never true.
Yet, even now, I have a hard time even voicing my opinion because some people get offended in an instant even when I say I don't mean any offense. These days, many Christian beliefs go against the popular beliefs, such as the one I stated above. Another example, I'm a Young-Earth Creationist, which means I believe in the literal account of Creation, and it means that I don't believe in Macro-Evolution (There is the difference between macro and micro evolution). I don't need to go further to show how that might offend someone, even a rational mind.
At the same time, I don't go forcing my opinion or beliefs on someone who doesn't share them. And I don't use them as excuses to hate or diminish anyone in any way. It's just that when I try to voice any of my controversial views, it's hard to find someone who would respect them and not blow up in my face with why they believe I'm wrong. It also doesn't help that I'm a white, male, republican and conservative. Adding Christian to the list just adds to the "Evil Racist and Sexist" impression that any title would hold alone.
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:icontherealbramblefire:
TheRealBramblefire Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, but as LGBT myself, I don't believe that something as natural as LGBT relations could ever be called a 'sin'. I also believe blanketing a group of people (Christians) by calling them all sexist or something is completely awful. Some might be sexist but not all of them are. Religion shouldn't be used as a shield for hate or used to control other people. It's important that people understand that. 



I hope that this doesn't change our friendship or that if you think I'm being confrontational, as that is not my intention.  
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Student General Artist
I complete understand. I don't see you as confrontational. I've seen a lot of people who are intentionally confrontational about these issues, you are not one of them. And it doesn't change our friendship at all. I would also like to say the same, I'm not trying to be confrontational either, I'm simply stating my beliefs on the matter.

I respect your opinion. The way I see it though, and you don't have to believe this yourself, I see Sin as a kind of misunderstood concept. In many ways, Sin is natural. It is a curse, but one that every human has. We've all lied right? It seems natural for us to lie because there isn't a single human being in existence who hasn't lied. Yet, at the same time, it's a sin. Attraction to a person (regardless of the gender) falls along the same lines. But I see it more of an action rather than a personality or identity. In college, I'm taught that Identity is fluid and you're never truly yourself. But I believe otherwise. I believe that all humans have a soul that forms our base identity, and that it grows and develops, but I don't believe we have multiple identities. The status of LGBT may influence someone's life, but I don't think it becomes them or that they become that status. It's kind of hard to explain.
When it comes to animals, I believe that they don't have souls. They may have minds, and feelings, but they don't have spirits, or even a sense of right or wrong. In that way, sin is entirely natural for them, because they don't have a sense of good or evil (by the way, I'm not trying to bash on Warriors, it's a great series). So when animals perform acts on incest or murder, they don't have a consciousness or identity determining the course of their lives or action. Mating with a different species or an animal of any sex makes no moral difference to them because they don't have a morality. Some may be very intelligent, but I don't believe they have identities of their own.
Sin is really a curse that divides us from God and the spiritual aspects of reality. It keeps us from following and accepting God's grand design. And again, I'm not trying to be offensive or confrontational. You don't have to believe this if you don't want to. But I believe that in God's Grand Design, humans are meant to have heterosexual relationships in marriage. It doesn't mean I hate people who are LGBT. You're my friend, and I even have two friends who love each other, and they're both girls. I've met them in real life, and they both have profiles here on DA. I don't hate them or you. And when people use Christianity, or any other religion as a shield for hate, prejudice, or control, it's wrong. I may think LGBT acts are sinful, but I don't hate anyone for doing any sinful acts.
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:icontherealbramblefire:
TheRealBramblefire Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And that is how those people that are bad that say they are Christian need to know. No one is saying that they have to do anything it's just other people getting rights, that's all. No one should have a reason to hate someone else. But that is just my opinion. 
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2016  Student General Artist
I see your point. I'm sorry for such a large text wall earlier though lol

Those bad people who only claim the name of Christians give us a bad name, and I'm really seeing how that is affecting people's view of Christianity in particular. There are many who still believe Christians were responsible for gruesome acts in history like the Crusades and Inquisition. And there are people who see Christians, and God, as racist, sexist, elitist, selfish, and more. And sadly, this hasn't been the worst of it.
Now I know Hebrews aren't technically Christians, but in some ways, I see Christianity as an extension and advancement of Judaism and Hebrewism. All three believe in the same God, and we all believe in the Old Testament. This may end up as another text wall, but please bear with me. You know the story of Joseph right? He has 12 older brothers, and he was born in his father's old age. He was the favorite, even given a luxurious coat of many colors. At this point, he and his family were all people and shepherds of Canaan, and they believed in God. Joseph's brother's hated how favored he was over them, so they threw him in a pit, sold him to slavery, and convinced their father that a vicious beast slew Joseph.
Joseph was brought to Egypt and either was sold to the Pharoh or the man under Pharoh (I can't quite remember). Anyway, the wife of Joseph's master tried to advance on Joseph sexually, and when he refused, she convinced her husband that Joseph attempted to rape her. For that, Joseph was imprisoned. While in prison, he met two servants who had reoccurring dreams. God allowed Joseph to interpret their dreams, and when the Pharoh heard about this, he summoned Joseph to interpret a dream he kept having of the future, which no one else could interpret. Joseph predicted, through Pharoh's dream, that their would be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. For helping Pharoh prepare, he was given the second highest position in Egypt.
During the 7 years of plenty, Joseph met his brother's again. They weren't aware that who they saw was Joseph, but at that point, they all regretted their actions because they never understood what the consequences were, especially for their aging father. Joseph ended up forgiving them in the end, and his whole family, and more from Canaan were granted a place among Egypt's people. Generations passed, and God's people from Canaan multiplied until they outnumbered the Egyptians. And that began just ONE of the worst experiences for God's people.
Now we're at the story of Moses (did you know the two stories were this connected?). There's a new Pharoh in charge, and he thought that if the Hebrews multiplied any further, they would overthrow the great kingdom of Egypt. So he issued orders for his soldiers to steal the firstborns of every Hebrew household and feed them to the Alligators in the Nile. Then he condemned all the rest of the Hebrews to slavery. Moses was spared because his mother hid him in a basket floating down the Nile, where he was found by Pharoh's wife and her handmaidens. Taking the child as their own, Moses grew up besides Ramses (I don't know if there was more than one Ramses, but I suspect this all happens in the gap of history between Egypt's middle Kingdom and Egypt's Late Kingdom, it would explain the gap in records).
One day, Moses saw the harshness of the Hebrew's slavery and killed one of the slave drivers. For his murder, he was either banished or ran away on his own. I think he ends up in either Canaan or some other land with people who loved the Lord. He began a life of his own and learned of the Hebrew God. Then he encounters the famous burning bush moment where God speaks to him and commands him to free His people. After some negotiation (seriously, if you read the account you will actually see Moses making excuses like how he wasn't fluent in speech), Moses finally returns to Egypt and convinces Aaron of the Hebrews (and possibly Moses' biological brother) to speak with him to Pharoh. Pharoh refuses to release God's people, and each time he refuses, a plague was laid across Egypt and all but the Hebrews.
Now, I'm not sure what people think of the plagues, but I believe that the Pharoh brought this upon himself. If he had simply let the Hebrews go right away, Egypt wouldn't have suffered any of those plagues. Anyway, back to the story. Each of these plagues took part in tearing down what could have been Egypt's Middle Kingdom. The Nile, which was the spiritual and agricultural center of Egypt was turned to blood and vermin like toads, disease and locusts spread like a wildfire. Famine grew, and fire from the sky destroyed a lot. Then the Egyptians suffered the same treatement their earlier Pharoh gave to the Hebrews (although they could have avoided it by painting the blood of a lamb upon their doorways).
Once all was said and done, Pharoh finally agreed to let the Hebrews go, and that was after his own son and heir died. God told the Hebrews to plunder what they wanted from the Egyptians and leave (it was all for building the Nation of Israel). But the Pharoh was so desperate that he sent every soldier he had and chases after the Hebrews to slaughter them. Moses splits the Red Sea (which was during the flood season, the Red Sea isn't so deep otherwise) and they escape. Then the Red Sea crashes down on the Egyptians.
There are people who don't believe any of this really happened because there aren't really any records of this outside the Bible. But I believe there were no records because for one: Why would the Egyptians record this. Their Pharoh, firstborns, and entire army just died in one fell swoop. The Nile was turned to blood, and horrible plagues possibly killed even more Egyptians. And people who were their slaves got out unscathed and they also plundered the treasures of that time period in Egypt. It was recorded by Moses when he wrote down the first five books of the Bible, but Egypt was basically destroyed. It isn't far fetched to think that it's the reason why Egypt has such a large gap in history between the Middle and New Kingdoms. And if this was the first Pharoh of Ramses (as I suspect since I've heard a Ramses in the New Kingdom) there's no reason for Egypt to record his name if he allowed this to fall on Egypt.

I didn't get to any of the other times that people who've worshiped God has suffered, but I'm really sorry for such a large text wall, so I'll stop this comment here.
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:iconhellohannah265:
HelloHannah265 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is so true. You perfectly described this, and I applaud you for it. Clap I can't force someone to be something they're not or they've chosen not to be. I can say that I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I also believe God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is my Lord and Savior and He has come to save me from the disparity that is Sin. If they choose not to believe in it, it's fine with me. They don't have to. I could care less what they choose to do in life. I do wish, however, that they would come and be saved and not have to go to Hell, because from what I know, it's worse than being burned alive in a 400-degree (C) oven. But I can't force them to. That's not how life or love works.
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you for the applause and compliment. God gave us all the ability to choose because He wants us to find our own ways to Him, not because we're forced to find Him. It's just sad when I see someone who chooses not to follow God because I know what awaits them. And I've heard the real, worst part about Hell is the Eternal separation from God.
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:iconhellohannah265:
HelloHannah265 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yep. It's sad to see someone be so blinded from the light that they will never be able to see God. :( 
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:icontaqresu650:
Taqresu650 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2016  Student General Artist
From there, we can only pray.
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:iconhellohannah265:
HelloHannah265 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Amen
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