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A group for members of all religions, or no religion at all, to talk about religion
More like lies
You have taken this verse outside of the context of the entire Bible, not understanding that this is figurative. This verse, when taken literally, directly contradicts Ezekiel 18, among many other verses and passages.
Yeah, I got that. I was humorously hinting that I was Jewish (meaning descending from those so-called barbarians). Besides, circumcision isn't barbaric. Barbarians to the best of my knowledge didn't circumcise their kids.
There are severe abuses being carried out by Catholic officials today, most of which I'd say are far more harmful than financial trickery. You won't find me defending abuses committed by the hands of believers. In fact, if anything, I'm much harder on believers than non-believers. Believers should know better.
Totally fair question. I'm with you on that.
True, but you have to recognize that you're conflating two different things: on one hand, "the church" ... which, at least when it comes to Catholicism, is very organized and centralized, with a 'top-down' form of leadership via the Pope (Protestant churches are very different in that regard. You have senior pastors, obviously--and even some who oversee a network of dozens of churches, like you see with Hillsong, Planetshakers, etc--but even then, they're only the leaders of their own particular organization. There's no "official leader" of Protestantism in the aggregate like there is with Catholicism--and I think it's why Catholicism is more vulnerable to systematic abuses).
So on one hand, when you talk about Christianity, you've got "the church." But Christianity is also a set of beliefs. A single individual can practice Christianity even when there isn't a building or another believer to share it with. We're talking about hell and salvation in this thread. That's a matter of belief, because each individual is responsible for their own choice. My church isn't responsible for my salvation.
Fear isn't as strong a motivator as you might think. Sure, maybe someone will choose to believe in Jesus because they're simply avoiding hell--but that fear is unlikely to make them live more like Jesus. So, while fear might motivate someone, usually it only motivates them to the bare minimum.
When people give to the homeless, or donate blood, or extend grace and forgiveness to others, they're typically not doing it from a place of fear. They're doing it out of love because they realize they too have been forgiven, they too have been recipients of charity. And for the Christian, well, he's been given the most incredible treasure of all--to be washed completely clean of his sin and been accepted by God. It's out of that gratitude that the Christian serves his fellow man--not out of fear of hell. The Christian understands that he's in no danger of going there.