Sunday, June 27, 2010

If you could choose

Lay aside your current beliefs. Try to be open-minded. Think critically. Be fair. Try to think like God. If God were a loving God, how would the plan go? If you were God and wanted to make a world that was fair and good and right for all people in it, how would you do it?

1. God would be....
  • Male
  • Female
  • Neither, a spirit
  • Male and female, separate beings but one in equal partnership
  • Nothing, no god
2. The afterlife would be...
  • Nothing, just death
  • Heaven and Hell
  • Levels depending on a person's relative goodness
  • everyone all together, no separation from each other, like in life
  • everyone is "saved" and is happy
3. Marriage and families after death would be...
  • 'til death do you part, not with your spouse and children from the earth
  • forever, with your spouse and children from life if you chose to remain with him/her
  • can be forever if you have a shared affinity with each other
4. Ordinances/ sacraments (baptism, etc) are...
  • optional for salvation
  • required for salvation
  • not necessary for salvation
  • nice ceremonies and have nothing to do with salvation
5. Any ordinances...
  • must be done in this life
  • are not necessary in the life
  • can be done on behalf of a person if they were unable to obtain them in this life
6. God's church on the earth should be led by:
  • paid clergy who pursue church leadership as a career
  • a person or people who decide to start their own religion
  • apostles, prophets called by God
  • people elected from the church body
7. The purpose of life is...
  • a joke
  • meaningless
  • to be good to others and be happy and then we die
  • to worship God
  • to become like God
8. The effects of sin (wrongdoing)...
  • are limited to this life
  • demand justice so therefore cannot be forgiven
  • repentance is possible through one's own efforts
  • repentance requires an intermediary to take away the effects of sin
  • there is no sin
9. The end result of all this is...
  • a world that comes to its end through laws of nature
  • people who have lived on the earth obtain God's knowledge and power
  • people worship God forever as angels
  • people become one with God by their spirits combining
  • nothingness
10. Revelation and miracles...
  • are no longer necessary
  • are only for church leaders
  • are available to anyone who asks in faith
  • are only for God's chosen people
  • are not real
11. The best church to join is....
  • a source of community and a place to share spirituality
  • people's best attempt at recreating the church that Christ set up
  • whichever you feel most comfortable in
  • God's vehicle for communicating his will and organizing his kingdom on the earth
  • there's no such thing

12. Christ was/is...
  • a wise teacher
  • a heretic who claimed to be God
  • a false prophet
  • who he says he is
13. God is...
  • a general sense of goodness, love and beauty that permeates everything
  • angry and vengeful
  • the perfect parent
  • a benign presence in the universe
14. Christ's suffering and death was...
  • a blood sacrifice
  • the result of his delusions
  • vicarious suffering for the effects of our sins so we could be free of them
  • unimportant to the world and to us as individuals
15. People can act in God's name:
  • whenever they feels like it
  • when church leaders give them that authority
  • when God inspires them to act
  • when God confers that authority on them
If you chose:
  • God should be male and female
  • where a person goes in the afterlife depends on a person's relative goodness,
  • families can be together forever
  • God has instituted some essential ordinances for salvation but provides a way for them to be accomplished if they are not obtained in this life
  • God's church on the earth should be led by apostles and prophets
  • the purpose of life is to become like God
  • repentance from sin is possible with an intermediary
  • people who have lived on the earth gain God's knowledge and power (thereby becoming like God)
  • revelation and miracles are available to all those who ask in faith
  • the best church to join is led and directed by God
  • Christ is who he says he is and that his suffering and death was an act performed vicariously for each person on the earth to have the spiritual effects of his/her sins taken away
  • God is the perfect parent and gives people power to act in God's name like a parent who gives their child responsibility and they learn.
Then, you would probably be very interested to know that these doctrines are taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you have questions about the LDS Church answered at or by contacting the local LDS missionaries at LDS church buildings on Sundays.

I found that this set of doctrines and beliefs were unique to the LDS Church (often called Mormon) and was impressed at the fairness and completeness of their teachings. I felt like everyone was covered and if a person (like the many billions who have lived) had not learned and accepted the gospel, and had the correct ordinances performed, that they would not be lost or condemned to hell, not having had the chance to accept or reject it. To me, the LDS teachings are more logical and rational than what I had learned elsewhere; example: if God is our father and is male, don't we have a mother too?

When I was thinking about Christian churches, I felt that the right church for me had to possess certain beliefs that provided a means for salvation for all people. This list of questions is my attempt at summarizing the different views that are present in the world on the variety of topics I listed. It is by no means exhaustive. If you have want to add a topic to the list and have my suggest the various dominant world views on that topic, please suggest it to me in the comments.

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