harshbarge wrote:My real question is does being christian automatically make you good. Im having trouble holding back urges to flame the person who said they are only good because they dont want to be punished
p.s. I would really like to hear robbyjo's input on this topic
Thy wish be done...
Well, being a Christian doesn't make automatically one good. Also, you don't need to be a Christian to be good (in a general common sense). There are lots and lots of hypocrite Christian people. I won't consider that as good.
But what I believe is that when a Christian does repent, he will be changed better and better.
Another problem is, as lessthanpleased pointed out, "goodness" varies upon cultures. Moreover, worldly goodness varies from people to people. Therefore we need to settle what you mean by "good". If the "goodness" is as defined in the Bible, then nobody in this earth is good except for the true repentant believers of Christ...
For western culture, whether you realize it or not, many notions of goodness are influenced by Christianity...
I believe that religion isn't peer-pressure. Of course, in some condition that's true -- just not necessarily. The problem with some Christians (note: just some, not all) is that it is indeed that they actually view other religions as outcast. This shouldn't be true. Christians must respect other religions too. However, as Jesus has mandated in Matthew 28 (the grand commission), Christians must keep spreading the gospel -- not through bashing other religions (which sadly mostly true nowadays), but rather because they want others just saved as they believe only through Jesus is salvation granted.
Also, being good because afraid of being punished isn't right. Maybe it's a good important step. As I remember from my catechesization that stages of reverence to God is as follows:
* Stage 1: Afraid of being punished, therefore do good
* Stage 2: Do good because God will return favor somewhere in the future
* Stage 3: Do good because you're motivated to obey God (i.e. as long as I'm obeying the "rules", everything else is up to me)
* Stage 4: Do good because you really love God and doing bad would imply you would sadden God.
Sadly, only few are able to come to stage 4.