Salvation...why do we need that in the first place?
It seems really cruel from my perspective that God even set up a situation where it was possible for people to burn and writhe in agony for eternity. (But this goes back to free will and a whole can of worms.)
I think I said this earlier but the thing that scares me the most about christians is how certain they are, how confident, how arrogant they are that they have it all figured out. Having it all figured out is totally impossible scientifically. If scientists can accept that they don't know everything why can't christians?
Not at all. If you understand that God is perfect, then you understand that God can't be in the presence of sin, nor can he let sin go unpunished. But because he's also a Loving God, he provided a way out, a way to cleanse the sin from anyone willing to accept it. But so sacrifice less than a perfect one would be acceptable--it would fall short. Thats why Christ died.
Its not cruel, its just God is holy and Perfect. He CAN'T live with sin--and it can't go unpunished. But he gives a way out. He could have said, when Adam and Eve messed up, "Ok, they screwed up, I tried to give them free will, and they abused it. Lets wipe the slate clean and start over."
It all comes down to understanding the core of who God is.
Second part--admittedly, many Christians are "holierthan though" and in general arrogant, but none should claim to know it all. We don't. I have NO idea why God has done most of what he has done, or how. But I know enough. Thats it. Christians seem like they know it all because yes, we're confident in salvation. Because faith in Christ simply makes sense once you accept it, or truly realize you need it.
One of my teachers has a friend, she's about 27ish, who came in and shared her story. I'll shorten it, but give the gist.
Junior or senior year of prom--guy she went with raped her. She didn't tell anyone. In college, a guy taking her home from a party also raped her. Again, she didn't tell anyone. Starting in high school, and leading into college and after she left/had to leave (not sure) she was HEAVILY addicted to drugs and alcohol. Her alcohol tolerance is incredibly high. She didn't come out and say it, but indicated she was raped at least one other time. She ended up in the hospital a number of times, and was in jail on suicide watch less than a year ago. She basically said she did things she wasn't proud of for her addictions.
She had a number of Christian friends throughout much of that, who stuck with her even when they found her in horrifying situations. She tried rehab a number of times. And she told us that she eventually realized that she needed God. She knew NOTHING about scripture or theology, or anything, just that without him, she'd destroy herself.
She's not completely clean, but she's improved a lot. It was horrifying to hear what she want through, and see how drastically her life has changed. Thats part of why we are so certain. Miracles like that.
[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yff3jH8NECs]"Touch my Awesome Button."[/url]