Conversations in Religion

What is Religion?

According to Ronald J. Wilkins:
Many people think of religion in terms of what they see. They equate religion with a set of dogmas (or doctrines), a form of worship, and a moral code. In reality, dogma (or doctrine) is an attempt to verbalize what is believed; worship is the externalization of human responses which seem appropriate to whatever a person believes is the Ultimate Answer to Life's Mystery; and morality is the response to whatever a person thinks is proper conduct. When these are organized, ritualized, and agreed on by a group of people, those people form a community of believers. What they do is often called a religion.

Conversations in Christianity
Christianity From All Sides

Name/Handle: J. Rob

Site URL

Your Tradition: Orthodox Christian

Define "Christian": One who has made a complete decision to follow the ways of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: The Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...three in persons yet undivided...

Your Concept of Human Nature: One nature corrupted by sin since the fall of Adam

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: When we attain the grace we have lost through sin.

Your Concept of an After-life: Heaven and Hell

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: A preparation for the life to come.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? The Orthodox Church was started by the Apostles themselves in 33 AD. It was the same Church that compiled the books of the Bible and the Religion which the Catholic Church split (Reasons being: the Catholics wanted Papal suppremacy which the Orthodox would not allow). The traditions of the Orthodox Church have not been broken since it was started.

Name/Handle: Zemyna

Site URL

Your Tradition: Romuva

Define "Christian": Someone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the authority of his temporal it Pope in the Latern Church, Patriarch or Metropolitan.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: All of nature is sacred. It feeds us, supports us, heals us and in the end we return to it. It is Mother to us and we owe her respect and reverance.

Your Concept of Human Nature: In today's western society, human nature is to accumulate as much as possible to the detriment of others. The reason being security. Material Wealth is one of the "easiest" ways of ensuring security.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Enlightenment is when you have gone past your mortal self and have realized who your true self is. Once this is done, you have come closer to the godhead.

Your Concept of an After-life: Reincarnation

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To learn, to listen, and teach others and to eventually enter a state of godhood.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? It is a reconstruction of the indigenous pre-christian religion of Lithuania.

Lithuania was the last country in Europe to Christianize. Officially it accepted Christianity in 1387, when the Grand Duke Jogaila married the Queen of Poland and united the two countries under one King.
In 1410 the Grand Duke Vytautas, cousin to Jogaila, soundly trounced the Teutonic Order at the Battle of Tannenburg, which put an end to the Crusades against Lithuania. It was the Crusade against the Balts which caused the various Lithuanian princelings and tribes to unite under one lord, Mindaugas. He accepted Christianity, in the hopes that it would help protect his people. It did not work and reverted back to Paganism.
Romuva strives to reconstruct the ancient beliefs and customs. We are tradition which gives reverance and honour to the ancestors at each and every ritual, as well as making offerings to the animals. Our Supreme god is Dievas, closely followed by the Thunder God Perkunas. Zemyna, the Earth Goddess, daughter of Saule (Sun Goddess) and Menulis (Moon God, is the next one in importance. We gain our nourishment from her, we trod upon her and she supports us.

Name/Handle: RevMel

Site URL

Your Tradition: Protestant (Evangelical) Christian

Define "Christian": I am a mediocre follower of a first century Jewish carpenter

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: She is alive and well and working in the universe. She created me and she loves me exactly as I am.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Me awake with my eyes closed thinking

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Seeing how much God loves the outcast and doing something to assist Her in ending the suffering

Your Concept of an After-life: A bar (not too noisy) with one round table surrounded by my friends talking and laughing and crying without getting sleepy

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: I was created to help my Creator end the suffering of the oppressed. Until I do that, I cannot realize my purpose or my potential

What should everyone know about your Tradition? My tradition is Jesus thru the eyes of Gandhi an King, it is the tradition of militant nonviolent resistance to injustice. Everyone should know about it because it is the world’s one hope.

Name/Handle: Tim (Jag's Brother)

Site URL

Your Tradition: Independent Baptist

Define "Christian": Someone who has asked Jesus to come into their heart and is living close to what the Bible teaches.


Your Concept of Human Nature: SINFUL, MAN IS SEEKING SOMETHING.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: READ Eph. 2:8-9 and Romans 10:13.

Your Concept of an After-life: Man will either be with God and Jesus or in the lake of Fire.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To Worship GOD.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? I would like everyone to KNOW the truth. The only place to find the truth is in GODs word. The KJV. Man is a sinner by birth. All of mankind will face Jesus, some at the judgment seat of CHRIST (saved) the rest at the white throne judgment (lost). Each person at some time will have to make up his or her mind. Do I follow the word of GOD, You will face judgment. Jesus will save all who ask. Romans 10:13
The Baptist Church is a living work, made up of People who have asked to be saved and are living to give Glory to GOD.
If you want the complete plan of salvation e-mail me.

Name/Handle: Ivan

Site URL

Your Tradition: The Holy Rosary

Define "Christian": who loves Christ and Mary

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: my Father almighty

Your Concept of Human Nature: beloved child of the Father

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: love Jesus and Mary, only that!

Your Concept of an After-life:no reply

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: no reply

What should everyone know about your Tradition? everyone is looking for the peace.

Name/Handle: penlay

Site URL

Your Tradition: Pentecostal Christian

Define "Christian": Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ is God and makes him Lord and Savior of their life

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: Uncreated, perfect being in three Persons

Your Concept of Human Nature: Created by God but ruined by sin at the Fall

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior so that he might dwell in us

Your Concept of an After-life: Soul is eternal either is permanently ultimately united with God (heaven) or separated from him (Hell)

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To be united with God eternally

What should everyone know about your Tradition? The question many people ask about Pentecostal Christianity is this: Why do we, as Christians, need Pentecostal, Full Gospel Christianity, with all that comes with it? There are three reasons.

Name/Handle: Allistair Lomax

Site URL

Your Tradition: Quaker

Define "Christian": One who follows the Living Jesus Christ

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: Theistic, firmly within the Judeo-christain understanding

Your Concept of Human Nature: Without the dialogic relationship between God and man fallen

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Christ not only forgives our sins, but also empowers us to follow his Voice, and live in righteousness.

Your Concept of an After-life: Resurrection into the Presence of God

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To live in obediance to the Voice of God

What should everyone know about your Tradition? THE GREATNESS OF OUR CAUSE

By Lewis Benson

The threefold task of the New Foundation Fellowship is the Confront the Society of Friends with Fox’s Gospel Message, to seek the renewal of Quaker life by the Power of this Gospel and to proclaim this message to everyone, both Christians and non-Christians.
There is a danger that our vision of the work could be truncated, so that it becomes for us a strictly denominational effort. It would be very easy for the New Foundation to begin to see itself as Quaker fringe group, and develop a self-image rooted in that mentality.
So far we have not yet received the wisdom or the strength to commence on the third part of this threefold task. We have discovered that at the grass-roots level the Quakers of today are ready to hear what we have to say, and we have been totally preoccupied with this new openness.
This preoccupation with the Quaker side of the work should not cause us to lose sight of the larger implications of our concern. If we lose the larger vision, if we become a fringe group, then we can easily come to regard ourselves as a phenomenon within the Quaker denomination. We might think of ourselves as part of the pluralistic Quaker scene. The Quakers are puzzled by the New Foundation Fellowship, and try to give us a status by assigning us to the category of a fringe group, or one of the many satellite groups that are loosely associated with organised Quakerism. We ought not to drift into this kind of thinking about ourselves.
It is equally important that when we think of the Quaker cause, we should not equate this with the Quaker denomination. When I tell my own meeting that I think that the Quaker cause is the greatest thing in the world, they think I mean the Religious Society of Friends, especially the General Conference branch, is the greatest thing in the world. That is not what I’m saying at all.
Our cause is not a denominational cause. The Quakers of the seventeenth century never thought of themselves as a denomination within Protestantism. They were making a new beginning from a new starting point, building anew from a new foundation. The Quaker understanding of Christ and Christianity has a different ground, root and foundation from the Protestant and Roman Catholic forms. The early Quaker missioner saw him or herself in the vanguard of a movement that would transform existing forms of Christianity and inaugurate a new era of Christian history. This is the exalted vision that early Friends had.
Modern conservative Quaker leadership looks back on that time as an era of extravagant enthusiasm, something that for the good of all eventually cooled off and became what we have today. But the motive power of those first Quakers was that they actually believed that God had called them to build a structure on a new foundation.
This new foundation was the newly recovered apostolic Gospel that Christ has come to teach his people himself. In this phrase, Fox implies the functional christology that is many times spelled out in his writings. At the centre of the Gospel Fox preached was his message concerning the Offices or functions of Christ, not only as teacher but as prophet and priest and king and bishop and shepherd and so on.
Fox’s declaration that the Christian Church was in a state of apostasy was based on his belief that this Gospel of power had been lost soon after the apostolic age. Biblical scholars today say that there was a gospel preached in the apostolic age, which did not survive, and was transformed into something else when it got out of Palestine and got over into Greece and Rome and western civilisation. Fox brought this powerful primitive Gospel back into the life of the Christian world and proclaimed it again.
If this apostolic gospel is the Power of God and the greatest resource that the early Quakers had (and they believed it was, and I believe it was), they couldn’t see how there could be any really vital Christian life in the absence of that Gospel. The church that does not have this Gospel at its centre doesn’t have the power to gather people into an invincible community under the leadership of Christ, a fellowship that learns together, obeys together and suffers together.
And so there is a defence for Fox’s claim that these essential things had been lost in the church, because the apostolic gospel of power had been lost. Fox tried to bring back all that was lost through he church’s failure to continue to do the first work of God’s people in the new covenant, which is to preach the Everlasting Gospel. He believed that it was by the power of this Gospel that a great people had been gathered and was being gathered. He believed in the convincing power of this gospel, and in its moral power, and in its fellowship forming power.
It was by this power that thousands in seventeenth century England were moved to meet in silence to experience Christ in all his offices. Out of these many worshipping fellowships emerged a new model Church with a new church order: gospel order a new worship: gospel worship and a new ministry: gospel ministry. A new apostolate was being raised up to preach the Everlasting Gospel. When Fox wrote to the emperor of China that "there is power which is greater than all powers and that power is now being manifest," he was speaking of the power of this gospel.
William Penn said of these new Quaker apostles that "they were bold from certainty." Unfriendly people called them "the confidentest people on earth" How could they be anything else but bold and confident when they saw every day new demonstrations of the power of God which is the Gospel? One of the missioners in London wrote to Margaret Fell at Swarthmoor Hall, "We hit something every day we shoot for our bow abides in strength."
People are constantly asking why we feel it necessary to put Fox in the spotlight after centuries of neglect. The reason is that Fox is the man who recovered this Everlasting Gospel after and began to preach it again after it had gone into eclipse for sixteen hundred years. It is not that Fox is the best source of information on this matter, he is the only source of information. There is no one else you can compare with Fox on this, among the early Friends or in any other religious tradition.
A second reason why Fox should be important to those who are Quakers is that the Quaker community in 1982 has inherited a number of traditions, none of which is capable of bringing the whole Society into a sense of common Quakerhood. Instead we are being invited to accept the proposition that Quakerism is by definition pluralistic. But Fox’s gospel offers the proven possibility of a Quaker unity that can grow and respond to the challenges and opportunities of today.
A final reason is that Protestant Christianity is a spent force. Its basic weakness that it separates righteousness from salvation. It gives Christ the power to save us in our sins, but not the power to save us from our sins. This version of Christianity cannot bring us to know Christ as the living head of a community of disciples that learns together, obeys together and suffers together. The church, the world, and the Society of Friends are in need of rediscovering the principles of God’s righteousness, and of being gathered together into an invincible community where the call of God for a righteous holy people who live by His rule is taken absolutely seriously.
We who are called the New Foundation Fellowship have made a new beginning from this starting point. The new foundation in whom we have fellowship is Christ himself, who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. If we are faithful and keep to the simplicity of the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe we will be enabled to do great things for God in our generation. We have a great cause, and it is deserving of our enthusiastic support.

Name/Handle: Paul Samaan

Site URL

Your Tradition: Coptic Orthodox

Define "Christian": a follower of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is all-divine the essence of good He is a loving Father to all of us.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Human nature has been flawed with the sin of Adam, but Jesus Christ took this sin away from us and did not allow it to keep us from salvation.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation comes through repentance, holy communion, faith, and good deeds

Your Concept of an After-life: There shall be a heaven and a hell.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To attain salvation in the afterlife.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? The Coptic Orthodox tradition is an ancient tradition which was handed down from the hands of the Apostles who, in turn, received it from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. This monotheistic tradition was preached to Egypt in approx. 70 a.d. by St. Mark the Apostle and the Evangelist.
The Coptic people in Egypt accepted Christianity though they were the direct descendants of ancient Egyptians. In fact, the word "Coptic" itself is a Greek word meaning "Egyptian." Also, the Coptic language which is still used in our services and in some cities of Egypt is the LAST derivative of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.
It is obvious from the preceding that the Coptic Church is very rich in history but the richness does not stop there. In about 321 a.d, when the Christian church was going through a period of division, Saint Athanasius, who was a Copt from Egypt, defended the very root of Christianity- the Divinity of God- in the council of Nicea. He was a mere deacon at the time, yet he fought a successful battle against the Arian heresy and preserved the true faith against those who wished to change it. Saint Athanasius went on to become a Pope of the Coptic Church.
Our church also proves its rich tradition in its pride in martyrs. During the Roman persecutions from 200-300 a.d., the blood of hundreds of thousands of Coptic Christians was spilled for the sake of their faith. Saint Abanoub was a 12 year old boy who was tortured by the governor of his village many times, yet he was always healed by our Lord. Finally, the young boy earned the crown of martyrdom by being beheaded. Saints like this make the Coptic Church holy because its people are ready to defend their faith no matter what trials they might face.
The Coptic tradition is also rich in its monasticism. The very first monk, Saint Antony was a Copt from Egypt. He heard the verse, "If you wish to follow me, go sell all what you have and give them to the poor..." in church, and he left all his riches and traveled to the Red Sea area of Egypt where he founded the very institution of monasticism. All monks of this world are children of our father Saint Antony, who was a Copt. Also, the first monk to make a cenobitic rule was St. Pachomius, who was also a Coptic monk.
Besides the rich history of the Coptic Church, there is a moving reason as to why people should be informed about the Coptic Church. This reason deals with the change of the church. While many churches have changed, and split, and adapted... the Coptic Orthodox Church has remained the same in its beliefs, morals, and faith since it was founded by its first pope, Saint Mark the Apostle. This lack of change allows the congregation to feel how Christianity felt in the early period.

Name/Handle: Deacon Ninure

Site URL

Your Tradition: Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

Define "Christian": One who believes that that Jesus was/is both fully human and divine, that Jesus lived and died to prove God's concern for all humanity. A Christian who believes this, should stive to conform one life to the teaching of Jesus, and to also "give one's life"

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is love, life, and all that is good. God is both female and male, and more.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Humans are basically confused, and lazy. It is human to take the easy way out. Being "good", loving, and free from bigotry takes constant, daily effort!

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: While salvation/grace is free, for it to have any meaning, one must do good: i.e. practice randomn acts acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty.

Your Concept of an After-life: When I will at be complete, be reunited with all those who have touched my life with love, and God just as God is.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To be a channel of God's love, both recieving and giving.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? It is, rather new, and I think unique. It was founded primarly by a Gay man to proclaim that God loves Gays and Lesbians, but it also goes beyond that. We preach a three pronged Gospel: Christian Salvation, Christian Community, and Christian Social Action.

Name/Handle: Liam Galligan

Site URL

Your Tradition: reformed evangelical

Define "Christian": One who holds to the essential doctrine of repentance and salvation through Christ alone, in order to bring us back into communion with the Father (God), and who seeks to love the Lord with all his mind, body, and strength.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is a loving, just , Holy, Righteous, God, who is immortal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. He is revealed to us in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Same in essence and equal in power and Glory. He loves us and desires for us to be in communion with him once again. God is also in control, nothing happens without God allowing it, he is sovereign.

Your Concept of Human Nature: I believe as the bible says: we are sinful by nature, and without God's grace are capable of doing no good. Through one man, sin entered the world, and through sin, death. We are sinful by nature.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation comes through Christ's atonement of our sins through his death on the cross, and our repentance of sins. It is a total dependance on God to save us, being sinful, we are not able to accomplish this. No one may come to the father except through Christ, being drawn by the Spirit

Your Concept of an After-life: I believe after we die, those that have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, go to be with him in Heaven, those that have rejected Christ will go to Hades (Hell). Christ will return one day, and ressurect our physical bodies, and we will be rejoined with it and dwell with God forever (If having accepted Christ) If not, I believe as stated in the book of revalation, that our ressurected bodies will be re-united, and suffer eternally in hell (the second ressurection. rev. 20:1-15

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: To serve and worship the one true God our creator

What should everyone know about your Tradition? We are reformed, meaning that we hold to the basic tenents of the reformation of Martin Luther. We believe salvation comes by God's grace through faith in Christ alone. We believe in baptism as an outward expression of our inward devotion to God, and believe that although it is not necessary for salvation, it is necessary for growth. We believe that Christ was both fully God, and fully man, that he pre-existed with the Father, and the Holy Spirit. that he was and IS God. We believe that he suffered and was crucified under pontious Pilate, was born of the virgin Mary. We believe that he died was buried, and on the third day rose again, and is now seated at the right hand of the father. We also affirm that he will come again for the saints, and establish his reign here on earth. and will judge both the living and the dead. We also affirm the first seven ecumenical councils, and seek to fulfill the great commision as stated in Matthew 28. In addition to this, we hold to a holy apostolic catholic church. (catholic meaning church universal, holding to the basic tenents of the faith, denominations we believe were set by man, not God. We desire all to know Christ, and fulfill His will in thier life.

Name/Handle: Jeff Davies

Site URL

Your Tradition: Unitarian

Define "Christian": One who believes in salvation through Christ: there are Unitarians who are Christians but do not believe in the Trinity (hence the name) or the divinity of Christ. It's a valid position but not mine.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: I have difficulty with most concepts of God

Your Concept of Human Nature: human: we are neither innately good nor evil: we have the potential for both (for want of other terms)

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation implies the fall and original sin - I don't believe in that

Your Concept of an After-life: None

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: We make our own

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Unitarianism is a non-credal religion (or denomination within Christianity - depending on which Unitarian you ask). It's roots are in the denial of the doctrine of the Trinity: worldwide it is known as Unitarian-Universalism reflecting the other historical trend - the denial of the doctrine of the Elect of God.
While honouring roots in the Christian and Jewish heritage, Unitarianism today also seeks insight from other religion and philosophies, the arts, music, and our experiences of life itself in short, from all that human beings have found helpful and meaningful through the generations.
Individual beliefs within Unitarianism are quite diverse. But we share respect for one another, a concern for finding truths worth living by, from whatever source, and a strong sense of community. Our services of worship, discussion groups, etc. aim not to supply prepackaged answers, but rather, through sharing the best that we know, to help us move more deeply into our own lives and into the lives of our community.

Name/Handle: asher

Site URL

Your Tradition: none

Define "Christian": one who believes that Jesus Christ is the saviour who has risen from the dead.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is the trinity, of Father Son and Spirit

Your Concept of Human Nature: humans naturally want to do good, they naturally want to be honest, kind, trustworthy, and all of the other qualities which are considered "good" but in our nature their is a strong inclincation to go against these qualities, and eventually it becomes more natural to sin.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation is to accept the idea that we are imperfect and need salvation, the way to this, I believe is to accept that Jesus is the Messiah which the Jews are still waiting for.

Your Concept of an After-life: Heaven is where believers in Christ and innocents (children, people who have never heard of Jesus) go. I dont know what Heaven is like, but I'm certain God is a pretty good host and it wont be boring. Hell is where non-believers go, by this I do not mean "sinners" but people who have not accepted Jesus as saviour. Hell will be extremely unpleasant.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: The purpose of life is to make your peace with God and do the work he has for you, to rely on him completely, and never rely on your own understanding.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? I'm not exactly clear on what is meant by "tradition" when pertaining to Christianity, when i was a child i never atended church, my family has no fixed concept of God and are, frankly, violently opposed to the mere idea of Christianity, I do not attend Church, so i take me beliefs directly from the Bible, I have no other source.

Name/Handle: howlelujah

Site URL None given

Your Tradition: Southern Baptist

Define "Christian": One who recognizes, accepts, and trusts Jesus as God manifested in flesh for the purpose of liberating people from the bondage of rebellion against God.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: "Sovereign, transcendant, personal creator, redeemer, and sustainer of all being" would be my attempt at describing God. But of course, God is ineffable.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Humans seem to be one of God's orneriest inventions. We have a free will (like God), but our knowledge is finite and our compassion flawed. Each of us winds up rebelling against God, mistrusting God's purposes and means. That tends to separate us from fellowship with God and with others. That's why we desperately need Jesus.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation comes to one who trusts Jesus as savior. (See "Christian" above.) Salvation brings an awareness of God's loving presence in life's activities as well as moral strength to live up to human potential. After all, that seems to be what God created us for anyway as we "be" what God intended for us we both honor God and enjoy personal fulfillment. Salvation is, however, NOT escape from problems, reality, or this world.

Your Concept of an After-life: The unmitigated presence of God defines for me both heaven and hell. Those who know God as loving sustainer of life rejoice to be in God's presence. Those who rebel against God couldn't be more agonized than to be in that same presence. As for wings and harps, etc., I take the biblical references to be metaphorical.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: My purpose is to be what God created me to be. That requires that I pay attention to God, be obedient even (or maybe especially) when I do not understand or feel resentful. My purpose is NOT to seek happiness or fulfillment or godhood. Jesus said, "He who would seek his own life will lose it."

What should everyone know about your Tradition? Southern Baptists are a fractious, sometimes noisy bunch. We not infrequently shoot ourselves in the foot, especially in public forums. But the Baptist tradition is that of freedom: freedom for individuals to communicate with God as they wish, freedom to interpret the Bible as they see fit, freedom to establish churches according to their own wisdom. Baptists were largely responsible for the separation of church and state that we enjoy in the US and Baptists continue to fight against religious intolerance. But since we don't believe that we have the right to tell each other what to do as worshiping bodies, we Baptists, especially Southern Baptists, have some pretty vocal and frustrating folks in our ranks. Well, that's the cost of freedom. "Oh, to be with the saints above/ that truly would be glory./ But to dwell with those below/ now that's a different story!"

Name/Handle: abba_father

Site URL

Your Tradition: Non-denominational Christian

Define "Christian": A Christian is a person who seeks union with God through union with the Christ Spirit. This union can be accomplished through ritual, meditation, contemplative prayer or other ways.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: The nature of God can only be experienced. Any concept of God will be too limiting. In Exodus, when Moses asked God what his name was, He said I AM. God is not separate from creation, but is the source of Life. God is more than the sum of creation. St. John's Gospel starts out with the words "In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God". This Word creates and sustains the universe. It is through this Word that Christians seek union with God.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Human nature can be categorized in at least two ways. The original nature, which is still latent, was in complete union with God. The fallen nature is consciously separated from God.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: Salvation is union with God through Christ. This union doesn't have to be only after physical death. It can (and should) be right here, right now.

Your Concept of an After-life: My belief in an afterlife differs from most Christians. I have a tendency to believe in reincarnation. At least until union with God.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: The purpose of life is for God to know Himself through creation.

What should everyone know about your Tradition? There are many aspects to Christianity. Most denominations share these various aspects, but may emphasis different ones. I think this is marvelous. In this way each Christian can find that denomination which suites his or her needs.

Name/Handle: Jagannath Prakash

Site URL

Your Tradition: Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

Define "Christian": A Christian is one who accepts the love and grace which God offers in the person of Jesus the Christ.

Your Concept of God/Divine Nature: God is utterly beyond our comprehension, yet is as close as our own heart beats. God can be seen in nature as well as in the High Church Traditions and the humble gathering of saints around a small country church alter. While I believe in the Personhood of God, as manifested in Jesus, I also believe in the utterly transcendent nature of the Divine I AM.

Your Concept of Human Nature: Humans are reflections of God's own nature. God Is Love, we have love. God Is Truth we have truth and so on. I do not believe in a "fall" whereby all became "vile sinners" but I do believe that, for reasons which are probably as diverse as people themselves, we have all left the direct presence of God for a while and are roaming about these material spheres. Our nature is to yearn for God. Material nature is to yearn for separation from God.

Your Concept of Salvation/Enlightenment: There are countless ways to God. At-One-Ment with the Godhead is the eternal birthright of all beings. When one comes to understand this, regardless of how this is conceptualized, one has attained salvation. However, as a Universalist, I also believe that our "need" for salvation is a mark of our non-knowing as we are all the causelessly, eternally, unconditionally, beloved children of the Divine Parent.

Your Concept of an After-life: Reincarnation comes closest. I believe that life is but a series of learning experiences. When the body "dies" the soul enters another body and continues the journey. When the time is right, the soul returns to God Who gave it. This does not mark the end of growth nor development, but merely the field of one's experience. Sound complicated? Read Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
I also believe that the use of Jesus and his followers about Hell was a metaphor by the Master of Metaphors. Gehenna was a garbage dump outside the city of Jerusalem. The metaphor was: If you do not heed my words it would be just as well if you were tossed in Gehenna. God is God of Love, not torture.

Your Concept of the Purpose of Life: This is as varied as life itself. Ultimately the purpose of life is to fully and completely Be. God is "I Am" because God is fully Aware. When we are fully aware we also are "I Am" (BUT, I also believe in the eternal distinctness of the individual being. i.e. God's "I Am" is not the same as my "I Am" but my "I Am" is perfectly in harmony with Gods).

What should everyone know about your Tradition? The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is a mainstream Christian denomination. Its doctrines lie well within the breadth of traditional Christian doctrine. Each congregation is independent and there is room with the Fellowship for diversity. My beliefs should not, therefore, be considered those of the UFMCC or its members. We are all where we are. If you want to be somewhere else, go there. If not, then Be Here Now (as Guru Ram Dass used to say. Jesus is still honored 2000 years later because he was fully present in his oneness with the Divine Parent.

Go on a Sacred Quest!

Are you ready to begin a Quest for Truth? Here's your chance!
The Absolute Truth may contained within one of the following links.
Only the Wise will discover It!

Let the Quest begin!

Christian Link Christian Link Christian Link Christian Link Christian Link
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Christian Link

These links have been submitted by the participants in this Conversation.
Therefore, neither I, ACT, Geocities nor anyone else can take responsibility for what might be hidden here! That makes it even more fun!
I have attempted to avoid replication of these links, but a few were recommended by several of our participants, so if you find the same one twice, read it again!
Of course, should you find something here which is offensive please notify me as soon as possible and I will delete it.

Thanks, and enjoy your quest!

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