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I'm starting a new thread on a topic being discussed in the "Real Name for Mormons" thread. I consider it my Christian duty to give the poor Mormons a break.

In post #45530, cmonkey says: ”Ask a Buddhist or a Jew the same question. Does it really matter that much? I mean, if you praise God and do right by each other and follow the golden rules, do you really think that it will matter in God's eyes which branch you happen to be coming from? I surely hope not. I belive that it doesn't matter if you are "Christian" (as opposed to any other denomination; I'm not sure when it became a section of the belief, rather than a tenet, but that's a whole 'nother thread) Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever, that if you live a good life, God won't care which book you got the word from."

I think there is much truth in this statement. And I don't think it necessarily contradicts the tenets of Christianity, once you get away from the dogma of the organized religions.

Faith is required for salvation, but what is faith? According to the bible: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. and John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
So true faith is belief in the absence of empirical evidence. It is based on the spiritual, the transcendental.

Faith is also life changing. It is not simply cerebral or rational belief, like accepting the theory of gravity. It is a spiritual interaction with God. Note James 1:22-24 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. and Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So faith is supposed to change your life. Faith manifests itself in good works. In fact, true faith must lead to good works, otherwise the genuineness of that faith is in question. Consider the words of James 2: 17-20: 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? (NIV)

Given this intimate and necessary relationship between faith and works, I think it possible that good works can be evidence of a genuine spiritual relationship with God. I think this could be true even if the person performing the good works has not consciously accepted the theology of organized Christian religion. I think it possible to accept and know God at a spiritual level before doing so at a rational level. In fact, I think the spiritual acceptance of God is more important than the rational realization. In other words, I think the theology that people believe is less important than the spiritual connection. As James said, even demons believe. What counts is the spiritual acceptance of God's love. That is true faith. And that kind of faith manifests itself in good works.

This is a long way of saying that I think people who do good for the right reasons have been inspired by God and established a spiritual connection with God even if they don't know it yet. They have faith, even though it may be hidden from them. Otherwise, why do good? So yes, I agree with cmonkey that nonChristians can be saved(What exactly is a "cmonkey" anyway?).

Finally, in the tradition of this board I thought I'd end with a personal attack. So I'll just pick someone at random...JavaFan, I hate whatever it is you are wearing today.
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