Announcement

Collapse

Apologetics 301 Guidelines

If you think this is the area where you tell everyone you are sorry for eating their lunch out of the fridge, it probably isn't the place for you


This forum is open discussion between atheists and all theists to defend and debate their views on religion or non-religion. Please respect that this is a Christian-owned forum and refrain from gratuitous blasphemy. VERY wide leeway is given in range of expression and allowable behavior as compared to other areas of the forum, and moderation is not overly involved unless necessary. Please keep this in mind. Atheists who wish to interact with theists in a way that does not seek to undermine theistic faith may participate in the World Religions Department. Non-debate question and answers and mild and less confrontational discussions can take place in General Theistics.


Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Are spiritual fruit exclusive to Christianity?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Are spiritual fruit exclusive to Christianity?

    For a long time, going back to when I was a Christian, I have always thought Gal 5:22, 23 were pivotal verses.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    To begin with, these verses give us an 'operational definition', a way of discerning people who are 'holy', or on the 'right track'. When I was a Christian I mixed in Christian circles and saw people who I recognised were living these verses. I admired and respected them greatly I still do.

    However, since becoming a 'non-Christian', my circles have expanded and I've met people involved in many faiths and none who also exhibit what seem to me to be these very same characteristics.

    When I see a Buddhist engaging in 'metta', or lovingkindness meditation, I see him or her engaged in much the same practice as petitionary prayer and at the same time developing and expanding compassion and lovingkindness to all beings.

    I cannot distinguish between their compassion and kindness and a Christian's.

    Even as a non-Christian, I still strive to practise these fruits, and I engage in 'spiritual' practices that develop them.

    I wonder if Matthew 8:5-13 has some clues in this?

    5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

    7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

    8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

    10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
    And also Luke 9:49, 50

    49John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us." 50But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."
    And to be fair Matthew 12:30

    "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
    I am very fortunate. I've met quite a few 'saints'. Some of them are Christians.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
      For a long time, going back to when I was a Christian, I have always thought Gal 5:22, 23 were pivotal verses.



      To begin with, these verses give us an 'operational definition', a way of discerning people who are 'holy', or on the 'right track'. When I was a Christian I mixed in Christian circles and saw people who I recognised were living these verses. I admired and respected them greatly I still do.

      However, since becoming a 'non-Christian', my circles have expanded and I've met people involved in many faiths and none who also exhibit what seem to me to be these very same characteristics.

      When I see a Buddhist engaging in 'metta', or lovingkindness meditation, I see him or her engaged in much the same practice as petitionary prayer and at the same time developing and expanding compassion and lovingkindness to all beings.

      I cannot distinguish between their compassion and kindness and a Christian's.

      Even as a non-Christian, I still strive to practise these fruits, and I engage in 'spiritual' practices that develop them.

      I wonder if Matthew 8:5-13 has some clues in this?



      And also Luke 9:49, 50



      And to be fair Matthew 12:30



      I am very fortunate. I've met quite a few 'saints'. Some of them are Christians.

      Thoughts?
      22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

      -Love: For God/Christ that compels us to love others
      -Joy: A inward joyful disposition because of all that God has done for us in Christ
      -Peace: Peacefulness knowing we are in right standing with a holy God thanks to Christ's finished cross-work

      I'll stop there because I think you get the idea. The reason(s) Christian's display these characteristics is vastly different from the reason(s) non-believers display those same characteristics. A non-believer cannot be said to possess the Holy Spirit and at the same time have no love for Christ - that is automatic disqualification no matter how holy their disposition may appear.
      Last edited by Scrawly; 04-29-2015, 10:15 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
        22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

        -Love: For God/Christ that compels us to love others
        -Joy: A inward joyful disposition for all that God has done for us in Christ
        -Peace: Peacefulness knowing we are in right standing with a holy God thanks to Christ's finished cross-work

        I'll stop there because I think you get the idea. The reason(s) Christian's display these characteristics is vastly different from the reason(s) non-believers display those same characteristics. A non-believer cannot be said to possess the Holy Spirit and at the same time have no love for Christ - that is automatic disqualification no matter how holy their disposition may appear.
        You're assuming such a love of Christ must be explicit. There are respectable schools of theology that suggest an argument may be made this is not so. Karl Rahner's idea of the 'anonymous Christian' is one.

        Just as an aside CS Lewis seems to suggest he holds this idea in 'The Last Battle' when he has Aslan say 'I take to me the services which thou hast done to Tash [the false God]... if any man swear by him and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me [Christ] that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
          ... I've met people involved in many faiths and none who also exhibit what seem to me to be these very same characteristics.

          When I see a Buddhist engaging in 'metta', or lovingkindness meditation, I see him or her engaged in much the same practice as petitionary prayer and at the same time developing and expanding compassion and lovingkindness to all beings.

          I cannot distinguish between their compassion and kindness and a Christian's.

          Even as a non-Christian, I still strive to practise these fruits, and I engage in 'spiritual' practices that develop them.

          Are spiritual fruit exclusive to Christianity?

          Thoughts?
          No. We just call it being nice. It is its own reward - no need for the Promised Land ... and all that.

          NORM
          When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
            For a long time, going back to when I was a Christian, I have always thought Gal 5:22, 23 were pivotal verses.

            To begin with, these verses give us an 'operational definition', a way of discerning people who are 'holy', or on the 'right track'. When I was a Christian I mixed in Christian circles and saw people who I recognised were living these verses. I admired and respected them greatly I still do.


            Originally posted by pancreasman
            However, since becoming a 'non-Christian', my circles have expanded and I've met people involved in many faiths and none who also exhibit what seem to me to be these very same characteristics.

            When I see a Buddhist engaging in 'metta', or lovingkindness meditation, I see him or her engaged in much the same practice as petitionary prayer and at the same time developing and expanding compassion and lovingkindness to all beings.

            I cannot distinguish between their compassion and kindness and a Christian's.

            Well, while I take your point that people who aren't Christians can exhibit truly good personal characteristics, there are two problems here:

            (1) Buddhist meditation and Christian petitionary prayer are not the same thing at all. Christians are asking God to involve Himself in the situation, or to manifest His power in some way. Buddhists are seeking internal peace with the situation.


            (2) I think there's a significant difference between Buddhist compassion and Christian compassion: The Buddhist is focusing on being at peace internally, 'coming to terms' with the suffering; the Christian is wanting the suffering to end, or at least bring some other good with it.




            Originally posted by pancreasman
            Even as a non-Christian, I still strive to practise these fruits, and I engage in 'spiritual' practices that develop them.

            I wonder if Matthew 8:5-13 has some clues in this?



            And also Luke 9:49, 50



            And to be fair Matthew 12:30



            I am very fortunate. I've met quite a few 'saints'. Some of them are Christians.

            Thoughts?

            Interesting post. I agree, in part. I think the fruit of the Spirit are things that God produces in the lives of Christians as they actively follow Him. The imagery of fruit clues us to the likelihood that they will take time to develop and ripen. The main point of the passage is to contrast the results of the Spirit's work in our lives with the results of the 'flesh' :our base human natures. It is possible that people who aren't Christian will exhibit some of the 'fruit', but not qualitatively the same, and not without a lot of effort.
            ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

            Comment


            • #7
              My thought is that many people universally strive to love one another. I have seen this among all faiths. And the morally upright I know believe and live and strive by the fruit of the spirit as laid out in Galatians. There is not law against these and are universal virtues. In that sense there is no difference. The primary idea here is the lack of knowing where these come from. If it were not for the Holy Spirit no one would know these to be correct. Paul mentioned that pagans had a few things correct but they did not know where it came from. It came from God. So sure this is a correct part of certain religions. That doesn't mean the rest of the religion is true. I do think that it speaks to how great God is that he reveals himself to some even if they are unwilling to hear all of it just yet.
              A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
              George Bernard Shaw

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                For a long time, going back to when I was a Christian, I have always thought Gal 5:22, 23 were pivotal verses.



                To begin with, these verses give us an 'operational definition', a way of discerning people who are 'holy', or on the 'right track'. When I was a Christian I mixed in Christian circles and saw people who I recognised were living these verses. I admired and respected them greatly I still do.

                However, since becoming a 'non-Christian', my circles have expanded and I've met people involved in many faiths and none who also exhibit what seem to me to be these very same characteristics.

                When I see a Buddhist engaging in 'metta', or lovingkindness meditation, I see him or her engaged in much the same practice as petitionary prayer and at the same time developing and expanding compassion and lovingkindness to all beings.

                I cannot distinguish between their compassion and kindness and a Christian's.

                Even as a non-Christian, I still strive to practise these fruits, and I engage in 'spiritual' practices that develop them.

                I wonder if Matthew 8:5-13 has some clues in this?



                And also Luke 9:49, 50



                And to be fair Matthew 12:30



                I am very fortunate. I've met quite a few 'saints'. Some of them are Christians.

                Thoughts?
                If you are referencing the Bible in search for this answer why on earth leave out Matthew 7:16!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pytharchimedes View Post
                  If you are referencing the Bible in search for this answer why on earth leave out Matthew 7:16!
                  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
                  I left it out because I wasn't presenting an exhaustive list.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MaxVel View Post





                    Well, while I take your point that people who aren't Christians can exhibit truly good personal characteristics, there are two problems here:

                    (1) Buddhist meditation and Christian petitionary prayer are not the same thing at all. Christians are asking God to involve Himself in the situation, or to manifest His power in some way. Buddhists are seeking internal peace with the situation.


                    (2) I think there's a significant difference between Buddhist compassion and Christian compassion: The Buddhist is focusing on being at peace internally, 'coming to terms' with the suffering; the Christian is wanting the suffering to end, or at least bring some other good with it.







                    Interesting post. I agree, in part. I think the fruit of the Spirit are things that God produces in the lives of Christians as they actively follow Him. The imagery of fruit clues us to the likelihood that they will take time to develop and ripen. The main point of the passage is to contrast the results of the Spirit's work in our lives with the results of the 'flesh' :our base human natures. It is possible that people who aren't Christian will exhibit some of the 'fruit', but not qualitatively the same, and not without a lot of effort.
                    The problem I have with this sort of view is twofold:

                    1. It stops Gal 5:22 from being an operational definition of spiritual development. If we can't discern the difference between the kindness of person A and the kindness of person B UNLESS person B TELLS us they are Christian, then I think the verse becomes redundant.

                    2. It creates a two tiered system of virtuous acts. If my kindness lacks the quality of a Christian's kindness, it's a very easy step to regard my kindness as inferior. I've actually experienced this attitude from Christians before.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "A non-believer cannot be said to possess the Holy Spirit ...."---possess?...is this some kind of pantheism?...Holy Spirit=God?

                      @pancreasman
                      How would you understand human nature?...is it inherently good, inherently bad?...both?...inherently neutral?......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by siam View Post
                        "A non-believer cannot be said to possess the Holy Spirit ...."---possess?...is this some kind of pantheism?...Holy Spirit=God?

                        @pancreasman
                        How would you understand human nature?...is it inherently good, inherently bad?...both?...inherently neutral?......
                        Those questions are too big for me.

                        Human nature is ... complex ... and capable of great beauty and goodness as well depths of depravity.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post

                          Human nature is ... complex ... and capable of great beauty and goodness as well depths of depravity.
                          Perhaps the answer is in your statement? If human nature has the capacity for both good and bad...then the "good" cannot be exclusive to Christians. Correct me if I am wrong....but...."Good" can only be exclusive to Christians if we presuppose that all humanity is inherently bad and can only be "good" with the help of the "Holy Spirit"....(or belief in X which leads to "possession" of said "Holy Spirit")

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If other religions can have some of the truth but be missing the most important part about salvation, can their followers have some work of the Spirit in their lives? He works in them before they come to Christ anyways, so it would make sense that there could be a possibility.
                            Last edited by Ana Dragule; 04-30-2015, 04:30 AM.
                            I am become death...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes. Next question?
                              "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                              There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by shunyadragon, 09-09-2016, 03:27 PM
                              1,258 responses
                              55,072 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Tassman
                              by Tassman
                               
                              Working...
                              X