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I don't know about the rest of you, some of you may or may not have already crossed a similar scenario in the past, but I haven't myself but it's something I thought I would bring up: Suppose that I were to find myself in a discussion of religious views and beliefs, in this case with someone who happened to be a Christian, and he/she were to ask me the question of, "Do you believe in God?" As an in-the-closet pagan, I would not want to feel 'put in the cauldron' if you will, by this sort of question. I think it would be good to be prepared before hand to avoid stumbling around or trying to dodge the question. I'm sure many of you would be straight-out with your own response. However, were I ever to be in a conversation with a person(s) and was asked if I believed in God, my answer would simply be that I believed in something different than that of 'God'. It might not be the best answer, but I would hope that I would be careful enough with my answer as to not accidentally alarm or raise eyebrows, esp. by simply saying no.

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Very eloquently stated. The issue of Jesus (Yeshua HaMasheach) being wholelly G-d while part of a unified 1 true God is an issue of confusion and contention. It is an interesting yet easy apologetical point. It was one of the major issues of two councils. I do appreciate that you noted the shift in 200 AD. You obviously study before you speak. On a  side note an interesting study is the rabbinical standpoint and belief on HaMasheach and why Yeshua although being a great Rabbi could not have been HaMasheach.
It shows. It is refreshing to have a deep theological conversation with intelligent people. When I was a Christian and said we needed to restore the base of apologetics to our Christian study I got kicked out of several life groups and even entire congregations God forbid anyone say, let us think and show that our faith is logical and defensible.

What you discuss is the first rule of apologetics. On day one we are taught that in order to be effective we must be always open to debates, learning opportunities, and new information. We are taught that when we study/research a topic we must not merely put away everything we know, but tear it down to naught.

Only after that is done can we examine the verses and other material for what is actually there. Otherwise our pre-conceived ideas and ideologies will impede us from learning the fullness of what the bible says. I try to apply this to not only my studies of academia but to my life as a whole. I try to approach my work, my friends, and my family with the same openness yet resoluteness. I am always willing to alter any stance but you must prove it to me. 

It has been hard for me to find a way to embrace all my years in christianity with my new found faith. I spent most of this past year refusing to discuss anything related to my old life. This site and the books I am working on show me how my path was always pointed here and how I can talk with christians without appearing or being dubious in my beliefs.

I have also been in this scenario... My sister has become a "Born Again Christian" so we butt heads all the time regarding almost everything. When she asked me this question a short while ago actually I told her "No. Not in your god anyway. I believe in Gods, and Goddesses." It ended up in a fight but she is set into her new found ways. I changed the subject shortly after the question. But as someone else said if she asked if I believe in Jesus/Christ my answer would be a resounding no.
I've been reading about reification recently. Have you heard of this?

Reification, was compared to the mass hysteria of the witch trials.

 

So you start with an abstract idea, and it becomes tangible when witches were killed.  Even if they weren't real witches, and it was just people being called that.  It matters very little in terms of making
something 'real' out of the abstract.

 

The same applies to God, when you think about it.

 

Yes, exactly what I was getting at =) Further, people get very uncomfortable at differently defined notions or concepts of "God", especially if they've managed to reify it. If someone (like you) comes along and says no, I don't see God like that, they get massively uncomfortable as you're making them think about something they've managed to make tangible (a very human need).

Spot on, SIN! =)
I have been put in this situation a few times and because I don't want to make others uncomfortable or push my perspective on them or in some cases just want to deal with the guaranteed argument that would follow I came up with this for a reply ... I tell people Yes I believe in a higher power, but I do not believe in everything I was taught to by the church and I no longer believe in organized religion. ... That usually either satisfies them or makes them think long enough that I can change the topic lol **peace & blessings**
I like that reply and have heard it used by lots of people.
The hardest one so far to have this conversation with was my niece ... I want to be honest and open with her so that she knows that even if Auntie does not agree, she can still talk to me, but I don't want to contradict my sister, her mother ... So my niece and I get in this conversation and she is upset because her mother will not allow her to go to any other places of worship or to read books on any other religion, she wants to study Buddha ... I do NOT personally agree with that BUT she is my sister and this is her daughter ... so I told my niece first and foremost that her mother believes she is doing what is right for her and going to church and learning her mothers views isnt going to hurt her at all, I also told her that Auntie believes all God/esses are one and the same just many different representations, so that everyone can find a God/ess that resonates with them (she knows I am not a Christian as I wear my Raven/pentegram always), and I told her that if she listens to the lessons in church WHEN she does study other religions she will see some of the similarities ... side note my niece is 17 so I wasnt having this conversation with a little one. So ok I don't always go with my "pat" answer :) I really don't know if I handled that right or not, on most things I would go to my sister but when it comes to religion she gives no quarter at all and I believe religion, or lack there of, is a personal decision, and every person should be allowed to study and learn any religion they wish to find where they fit :) But as others have said the answer given varies by the person asking ... just thought I would share this experience because I do think it actually helped her. **peace & blessings**
It is wrong to never allow study of other faiths/paths. It is important for everyone regardless of beliefs. You are doing well to encourage to study. I hate seeing close minded people

While my mother was transitioning to the other side at a local Hospice facility, a wonderful minister sat and talked and counseled with my sister, my cousin and I. She had the most striking blue eyes and she looked straight in my eyes before she asked me if 'I believed in..' and she hesitated for a moment, then said 'a Divine Intelligence'.... I truly believe that she actually could read my mind, that I was not of the Christian faith. She never said God..or Jesus.......she didn't try to convert us over, she was just there to comfort us. Needless to say I will never forget her. I am not of Wiccan faith...I believe in the earth and the Universe..and so many many things out there bigger than we can imagine. Definitely there is a Divine Intelligence behind it all.

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