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PureX
February 24th, 2016, 03:11 PM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:


Americans want god on their own terms. Some results reflect healthy thinking, but many of the results show the lack of orthodox thinking about god. This is especially true of questions related to the Trinity. 1-in-5 Americans deny that Jesus is the god-man. One third of Americans think the Father is more divine than the Son. The member of the Trinity that is the least understood in the United States is the Holy Spirit. Nearly two thirds (63%) think the Holy Spirit is a force and not a person.

• More than 6-in-10 Americans deny the doctrine of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. 64% agree “The Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.”

I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.


Americans perceive goodness to be a better description of people.


• Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “People do not have the ability to turn to god on their own initiative.”
• Instead of acknowledging depravity, the majority of Americans believe the good in people can outweigh the bad:
~ 67% agree “everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”
~ 4-in-10 agree “god loves me because of the good I do or have done.”

It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.

journey
February 24th, 2016, 04:35 PM
What God sets in place is the only thing that really matters. God's Word is the place to look for what matters.

ok doser
February 24th, 2016, 05:03 PM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:



I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.



It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.



looks like what you're saying is that a lot of people are determined to remain lost


why do you think this is a good thing?

PureX
February 25th, 2016, 12:02 PM
What God sets in place is the only thing that really matters. God's Word is the place to look for what matters.We will each decide for ourselves what matters to us. Just as you have done. And those choices will tend to change as the times and the people making them change. As it should be, and as it has been ordained, by God.

journey
February 25th, 2016, 05:13 PM
We will each decide for ourselves what matters to us. Just as you have done. And those choices will tend to change as the times and the people making them change. As it should be, and as it has been ordained, by God.

You can go against the wishes of God, but that doesn't change what God sets in place.

Crucible
February 25th, 2016, 06:30 PM
Christianity is progressively becoming unoffensive and watered down- there's a lot of telling people what they want to hear- especially for the purpose of boasting a high flock in church.

This is not something too recent either. JC Ryle, a bishop in the mid 1800's even expressed this:

“There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough-a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice-which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.”

It's a quote I've mentioned a couple of times through the several months I've been around, as it empowers the old spirit of Christianity. The way I see it, is that if modern liberals are against the ways of 19th century Christianity- than it is simply dishonest to perpetuate an idea that today's standards are commensurate to Christian ideology.

This world is no longer in an age of Christian expansion and conservation, but has long been transferring to the age of Revelation. Isaac Newton believed that the Apocalypse would occur in 2060, and all the signs, amazingly, seem to be pointing right to that relative point.

egyptianmuslim
February 26th, 2016, 01:29 AM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:



I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.



It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.Jesus will tell who is who

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 10:54 AM
Christianity is progressively becoming unoffensive and watered down- there's a lot of telling people what they want to hear- especially for the purpose of boasting a high flock in church.

The step between Christianity and non-belief is "watered down Christianity". Western society is increasingly moving towards non-belief and this middling version of Christianity is part of that process.

Good to see. :up:

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 11:19 AM
You can go against the wishes of God, but that doesn't change what God sets in place.I'm not sure what the point of this comment is. God has given us freedom of thought and action. One must presume that this is because God wants us to use them, as we see fit. We are choosing who we are and who we are becoming through this freedom of will and one must assume that this is God's will for us. How could it be otherwise?

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 11:24 AM
The step between Christianity and non-belief is "watered down Christianity". Western society is increasingly moving towards non-belief and this middling version of Christianity is part of that process.

Good to see. :up:I don't entirely agree.

I think for some this is the case, but I think for many this morphing of religious Christianity toward realism is being driven by their desire NOT to give up on it. I think they recognize both their need for it (Christ), and the viability of it (the Christian ideal), but they need to eliminate the absurd threats and superstitions to make the dogma logically accessible.

And I do applaud this, as you do, … though for different reasons.

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 12:10 PM
I don't entirely agree.

I'm not surprised. :)


I think for some this is the case, but I think for many this morphing of religious Christianity toward realism is being driven by their desire NOT to give up on it. I think they recognize both their need for it (Christ), and the viability of it (the Christian ideal), but they need to eliminate the absurd threats and superstitions to make the dogma logically accessible.

My point about middling Christianity wasn't for the individual level, but more directed at the societal and generational level.


And I do applaud this, as you do, … though for different reasons.

No doubt.

ok doser
February 26th, 2016, 12:25 PM
The step between Christianity and non-belief is "watered down Christianity". Western society is increasingly moving towards non-belief and this middling version of Christianity is part of that process.

Good to see. :up:


"non-belief"


so you think it's a good thing that people don't believe in anything?

patrick jane
February 26th, 2016, 12:30 PM
I can't stand people that try to make God complicated. They try to make it seem there are things to be done for salvation. That's what leads people away from Christianity.

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 12:43 PM
so you think it's a good thing that people don't believe in anything?

I think the further away society moves from belief in gods, the better.

ok doser
February 26th, 2016, 12:48 PM
I think the further away society moves from belief in gods, the better.

unless those gods are ones you approve of, right?

Selaphiel
February 26th, 2016, 12:49 PM
Americans want god on their own terms. Some results reflect healthy thinking, but many of the results show the lack of orthodox thinking about god. This is especially true of questions related to the Trinity. 1-in-5 Americans deny that Jesus is the god-man. One third of Americans think the Father is more divine than the Son. The member of the Trinity that is the least understood in the United States is the Holy Spirit. Nearly two thirds (63%) think the Holy Spirit is a force and not a person.

• More than 6-in-10 Americans deny the doctrine of the personhood of the Holy Spirit. 64% agree “The Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being.”

I'm more concerned with the lack of understanding and the depth of religious thinking that lies behind than the actual positions themselves. If someone who thinks the Holy Spirit is just a force denies the trinity, then it is not a lot of weight to that denial even if a lot of people hold to it. Have they considered the theological implications of the alternative views?

"Americans wants god on their own terms". Of course everyone are entitled to their opinion, but most of the time these cooked up individualized conceptions are rather lacking in depth and consideration compared to more traditional communal formulations (that goes for all the religious traditions, not just Christianity. For example: The mind numbing mindfulness only Buddhism. It is horrifying and in many cases it serves the exact opposite purpose of that of meditation within a proper Buddhist context).

So it isn't plurality and alternative views per se that is the problem. Rather it is the turning of religion into a consumer product determined by individual desires, lacking in any form of serious reflection.


Americans perceive goodness to be a better description of people.

• Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “People do not have the ability to turn to god on their own initiative.”
• Instead of acknowledging depravity, the majority of Americans believe the good in people can outweigh the bad:
~ 67% agree “everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good.”
~ 4-in-10 agree “god loves me because of the good I do or have done.”

I think most of those are incredibly naitve points of view. Not just from the point of view of Christian tradition (I sincerely doubt that there has been any reflection surrounding the Christian concept of sin and man as 'incurvatus se' preceeding these conclusions), but also from a psychological view. That all people are sinners do not mean that all people are roasting babies on fire.

Whenever I see modern new forms of religion, I quickly get rather nostalgic for the good old traditions, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism or what have you. Of course these traditions needs to be constantly re-expressed in new contexts, but that is a very different approach from simply writing them off. And I am no conservative Christian nor does it mean that tradition should be accepted without criticism, I simply think that religion that simply dismisses tradition often is shallow and bland.

There are good ways to be a real modern progressive Christain. And there are some mind numbingly dumb and shallow ones.

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 01:05 PM
unless those gods are ones you approve of, right?

Not sure what you're talking about.

ok doser
February 26th, 2016, 01:14 PM
Not sure what you're talking about.

oh, you guys worship gods all right

multiculturalism, feminism, sustainability, mmcc, atheism

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 01:28 PM
oh, you guys worship gods all right

multiculturalism, feminism, sustainability, mmcc, atheism

Sure....whatever. :rolleyes:

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 02:06 PM
My point about middling Christianity wasn't for the individual level, but more directed at the societal and generational level.But don't you think the latter follows the former? As times change, the people change. And as the people change, the dogma changes with them. Over time it becomes "tradition", but it begins as contemporary theology. The religion of Christianity that we see, today, bares little resemblance to what it was in it's beginning. And the process of change is inevitable, in spite of the intense insistence to the contrary. So those changes are still taking place. And will continue to do so.

Zeke
February 26th, 2016, 02:08 PM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:



I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.



It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.

I would agree as well, Its also natural for lamentations to build as the old guard looses its stronghold over Souls it has mentally imprisoned in fear and doubt.

And like any good propagandist the Church and Governing powers have supplied its own enemies and taboos to keep the Duality intact, feeding the negative energy it needs to survive it created various divide and conquer methods based on fear and hate. We all need an Ego/straw-man cleanse to see through our so called differences supplied by the good old time religion of Hegelian Dialectic depravity that keeps the pyramid scheme alive in the mind for the Elitist benefit who cooked up this brew of fraud we all thought was reality.

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 02:49 PM
There are good ways to be a real modern progressive Christain. And there are some mind numbingly dumb and shallow ones.On the Bell Curve of human intelligence, most people are average or below average in intelligence. They neither need nor want a complex, sophisticated theology because it would only serve to become ineffective and confusing for them. You and I can "poo-poo" them all we want, as intelligent and sophisticated fellows, but that isn't going to change the reality of who and what they are, or of what they need and can use in terms of theology, or religious orthodoxy.

The orthodoxy that was handed to these average and less than average intelligent folks in the past was riddled with irrationality and superstition. But it worked for them because it was simple and effective. But now days even the average dolt knows that many of these orthodox propositions are both irrational and unbelievable according to the evidence of their modern reality. So they are seeking; not to drop religion, but to "correct" it's orthodoxy in a way that makes it both simple and effective for them, again.

If the leaders of the church were as clever as they like to imagine themselves to be, they would have seen this coming and reformed their orthodoxy for these folks, preemptively. And in some ways they have been trying. But institutions move at a glacial pace thanks to egotism and politics and the desire to self-protect, and so they have not moved fast enough. And the people are having to take the job of theological reform into their own hands (so to speak). And I suppose, that's probably always been the way changes happened to "orthodoxy", as it's never inclined to change of it's own accord.

So I applaud this effort by 'regular folks' to update religious Christianity to make it more reasonable and effective for their new modern understanding of reality, and modern lifestyles. And I believe Jesus would applaud it as well. Because I really don't see Jesus as a stickler for orthodoxy. And in fact, I see him as being quite radical in terms of religious orthodoxy. So much so that he was killed for it.

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 02:50 PM
But don't you think the latter follows the former?

It can, but not necessarily so. It could be that on the societal level, each generation of Christians becomes increasingly "middling", until eventually that society is no longer "Christian" in any recognizable sense of the word. That could theoretically happen without a single person actually changing their beliefs.

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 03:00 PM
It can, but not necessarily so. It could be that on the societal level, each generation of Christians becomes increasingly "middling", until eventually that society is no longer "Christian" in any recognizable sense of the word. That could theoretically happen without a single person actually changing their beliefs.I'm not sure about that last sentence, but it's true that religions (ideologies of any kind) do 'morph', and they can do so to the degree that they become something else, all together.

Selaphiel
February 26th, 2016, 03:09 PM
On the Bell Curve of human intelligence, most people are average or below average in intelligence. They neither need nor want a complex, sophisticated theology because it would only serve to become ineffective and confusing for them. You and I can "poo-poo" them all we want, as intelligent and sophisticated fellows, but that isn't going to change the reality of who and what they are, or of what they need and can use in terms of theology, or religious orthodoxy.

The folly is not to be of average intelligence. It is to dismiss and criticize what one hasn't even tried to understand (Creationism and intelligent design people do the same vis a vis science). Criticism assumes understanding of what you criticize. Another part of the folly is the idolization of individual expression. The absolute skepticism of authority to the point where viewing someone as a teacher in things spiritual is looked down upon. Claiming that for example the trinity or the divinity is nonsense is nothing but a hollow statement unless one actually has at least a modicum of insight into what those doctrines actually say.


The orthodoxy that was handed to these average and less than average intelligent folks in the past was riddled with irrationality and superstition. But it worked for them because it was simple and effective

But then you are confounding the orthodoxy with the superstition. If we stick to Christianity here: What doctrine of the seven ecumenical councils are superstition and why? Questioning exorcisms, folk worship of saints, magical views of things like holy water and what not is one thing, but does that have to do with the actual doctrines of faith found in the seven councils? Best case scenario is that they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


If the leaders of the church were as clever as they like to imagine themselves to be, they would have seen this coming and reformed their orthodoxy for these folks, preemptively. And in some ways they have been trying. But institutions move at a glacial pace thanks to egotism and politics and the desire to self-protect, and so they have not moved fast enough

That might be true in some cases. But it is oversimplification to say that it is always the case. It could also be that change actually takes time to consider, that one does not follow every whim and call for change without doing the proper reflective work first. I would say the opposite, much of the good change has actually come from the church, at least in the extended sense, from theologians that has done good and thorough work.



So I applaud this effort by 'regular folks' to update religious Christianity to make it more reasonable and effective for their new modern understanding of reality, and modern lifestyles. And I believe Jesus would applaud it as well. Because I really don't see Jesus as a stickler for orthodoxy. And in fact, I see him as being quite radical in terms of religious orthodoxy. So much so that he was killed for it.

Updating is fine. But as I'm pointing out: Without insight, the criticism often miss the mark, misunderstands the very doctrine it is supposed to criticize and update and valuable religious insight is dismissed in the process.
Jesus stood firmly rooted in prophetic tradition. The kind of reform they stand for is not simply to follow every whim without reflection, it is a careful balance between tradition and creative thinking. That balance is missing in many of these modern revisions. This has more to do with commodification of religion. It is becoming a slogan, an expression of individuality where individual expression in itself is something to be valued.

The same is true with much of western "Buddhism". Mindfulness here is not about clarity, piercing illusions and reaching the truth. It is about optimizing your mind and through it self-realization to become more effective and more productive.

The Berean
February 26th, 2016, 03:09 PM
Christianity is progressively becoming unoffensive and watered down- there's a lot of telling people what they want to hear- especially for the purpose of boasting a high flock in church.

This is not something too recent either. JC Ryle, a bishop in the mid 1800's even expressed this:

“There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough-a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice-which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.”

It's a quote I've mentioned a couple of times through the several months I've been around, as it empowers the old spirit of Christianity. The way I see it, is that if modern liberals are against the ways of 19th century Christianity- than it is simply dishonest to perpetuate an idea that today's standards are commensurate to Christian ideology.

This world is no longer in an age of Christian expansion and conservation, but has long been transferring to the age of Revelation. Isaac Newton believed that the Apocalypse would occur in 2060, and all the signs, amazingly, seem to be pointing right to that relative point.
There will always be a remnant of believers who follow God and his Word and not the world's evil and darkness. The thing is a lot of so called Christians don't even read the Bible. A nephew is living with us right now. He is about 24 years old. A few days ago my wife was watching a documentary about Islam when he walked in. She mentioned to him that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. He got upset when she said that. So my wife challenged him and asked him if he has actually read the Koran and Bible. He became quiet and admitted he has read neither. He claims to be a Christian and has never really read the Bible? That is beyond strange to me. He's very liberal in his beliefs but IMO he just believes whatever will not make other people uncomfortable or offended. My wife and I pray for him. I told him if he ever wants to read through the Bible we can do it together. I hope he takes up my offer in the near future.

Jose Fly
February 26th, 2016, 03:16 PM
I'm not sure about that last sentence, but it's true that religions (ideologies of any kind) do 'morph', and they can do so to the degree that they become something else, all together.

Agreed. :)

Selaphiel
February 26th, 2016, 03:19 PM
To be clear: I think there are important revisions being made to Christian theology and in other religions as well. But I do emphasize that careful thinking and respect for those who has come before you is important. If one hasn't done the work, then one should not bombastically dismiss central doctrines of a religion.

journey
February 26th, 2016, 03:45 PM
I'm not sure what the point of this comment is. God has given us freedom of thought and action. One must presume that this is because God wants us to use them, as we see fit. We are choosing who we are and who we are becoming through this freedom of will and one must assume that this is God's will for us. How could it be otherwise?

I'll give you an example: you can choose to live in sin without Jesus Christ in your life. This is obviously not what God wants.

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 03:52 PM
I'll give you an example: you can choose to live in sin without Jesus Christ in your life. This is obviously not what God wants.Clearly, God wants us to have that option, even knowing that some of us will take it. Because that's how it is. Presuming to know how God "feels" about that is not within my purview. And I don't think it's within yours, either.

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 03:57 PM
To be clear: I think there are important revisions being made to Christian theology and in other religions as well. But I do emphasize that careful thinking and respect for those who has come before you is important. If one hasn't done the work, then one should not bombastically dismiss central doctrines of a religion.I don't believe that most people are doing that. I do believe that most people are considering it to the best of their ability, which is often quite limited, and therefor shallow in depth and scope. (As you rightly pointed out.) But that's endemic of their nature, and beyond our (and their) control.

PureX
February 26th, 2016, 04:00 PM
There will always be a remnant of believers who follow God and his Word and not the world's evil and darkness. The thing is a lot of so called Christians don't even read the Bible. A nephew is living with us right now. He is about 24 years old. A few days ago my wife was watching a documentary about Islam when he walked in. She mentioned to him that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. He got upset when she said that. So my wife challenged him and asked him if he has actually read the Koran and Bible. He became quiet and admitted he has read neither. He claims to be a Christian and has never really read the Bible? That is beyond strange to me.Reading the Bible is not a requirement of being "in Christ". It's sad that so many professing Christians do not understand this. Because they end up worshipping their religion (and their Bibles) instead of living "in Christ".

journey
February 26th, 2016, 04:17 PM
Clearly, God wants us to have that option, even knowing that some of us will take it. Because that's how it is. Presuming to know how God "feels" about that is not within my purview. And I don't think it's within yours, either.

Regarding God's Will - first, He doesn't force it:

2 Peter 3:9 KJV The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Selaphiel
February 26th, 2016, 04:22 PM
Reading the Bible is not a requirement of being "in Christ". It's sad that so many professing Christians do not understand this. Because they end up worshipping their religion (and their Bibles) instead of living "in Christ".

Fundamentalist forms of Christianity raise the Bible to the level of an idol, in contorting it to a book that contains all that is needed for the religious life. Failing to recognize the variety of traditions and voices within the Bible itself.

But there is an error that goes wrong in the opposite direction as well. A Christ that is separated from the biblical witness and traditions also becomes and idol. Christ becomes a pure Feuerbachian projection of our current ideals and as such has little to do with the actual person Jesus from Nazareth. The mind of Christ is irreducibly connected to that tradition, and the community of his followers must relate to that witness and tradition. The belief that the scriptures can speak new meaning when its word meets our experiences, lives and context is central. That is, Christ is a living personal reality that speaks to the church through those words. Apart from that, there is no Christ or church.


I don't believe that most people are doing that. I do believe that most people are considering it to the best of their ability, which is often quite limited, and therefor shallow in depth and scope. (As you rightly pointed out.) But that's endemic of their nature, and beyond our (and their) control.

But it also testifies to a refusal of all authorities, even when the price of that is more ignorance. The balance between criticism and respecting authority is a fine one.

journey
February 26th, 2016, 04:23 PM
What God sets in place remains the same until He changes it, so what people change means nothing.

Knight
February 26th, 2016, 04:52 PM
Good to see. :up:Yes because atheism is responsible for so many altruistic things throughout history. :chuckle:

The Berean
February 26th, 2016, 06:12 PM
Reading the Bible is not a requirement of being "in Christ". It's sad that so many professing Christians do not understand this. Because they end up worshipping their religion (and their Bibles) instead of living "in Christ".

The Bible speaks about the Jesus Christ of history. My point is how can someone call themselves a "Christian" and NEVER read the Bible? They would have no understanding of who God is and the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let alone what it means to live "in Christ".

journey
February 27th, 2016, 12:35 AM
The Bible speaks about the Jesus Christ of history. My point is how can someone call themselves a "Christian" and NEVER read the Bible? They would have no understanding of who God is and the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let alone what it means to live "in Christ".

You're right - they couldn't. I think that real Christians want to read God's Word.

Lon
February 27th, 2016, 02:17 AM
23425 :nono:

This article says all the doom-sayers are flat wrong.

Selaphiel
February 27th, 2016, 03:28 AM
The Bible speaks about the Jesus Christ of history. My point is how can someone call themselves a "Christian" and NEVER read the Bible? They would have no understanding of who God is and the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let alone what it means to live "in Christ".

m5kHx1itU8c

Of course that song is just as correct in describing many conservative forms as liberal forms of Christianity. :)

PureX
February 27th, 2016, 09:20 AM
Regarding God's Will - first, He doesn't force it:

2 Peter 3:9 KJV The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.What humans thought/think God thinks or feels is called 'opinion', not truth. The difference being that human opinion is subject to error, while the truth is simply 'what is'.

The refusal of so many Christians to recognize this difference is a serious problem, and I believe, is a glaring example of mankind's 'original sin', in action. That is presuming ourselves to be God's equals: to know the mind and heart of God.

PureX
February 27th, 2016, 10:07 AM
The Bible speaks about the Jesus Christ of history. My point is how can someone call themselves a "Christian" and NEVER read the Bible? They would have no understanding of who God is and the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let alone what it means to live "in Christ".You conception of God and Christ is completely dependent upon the fact that you were introduced to these through the NT stories and comments. But the stories and comments are only a means of conveying an ideal. And if that ideal is true, then it will be true regardless of the words, stories, comments, or whatever other means we use to convey that truth to one another. Because the truth is 'what is'. It's written into the fabric of existence.

In this case, the ideal being conveyed is that God's love acting in us and through us and to each other, will heal us and save us from ourselves, and in so doing will restore both man and the Earth to it's rightful place in God's divine plan (logos). And if this ideal is true, as I believe it is, then it will be found to be written into the fabric of reality: of our existence. Because the truth is 'what is'. As I believe it can be. So that anyone who is looking for the truth and/or salvation of mankind, will be able to see it for themselves, and experience it for themselves, regardless of the Biblical textual means of conveying that ideal from generation to generation.

patrick jane
February 27th, 2016, 10:14 AM
You conception of God and Christ is completely dependent upon the fact that you were introduced to these through the NT stories and comments. So that anyone who is looking for the truth and/or salvation of mankind, will be able to see it for themselves, and experience it for themselves, regardless of the Biblical textual means of conveying that ideal from generation to generation.

John 14:6 KJV - John 6:44 KJV -

Selaphiel
February 27th, 2016, 10:54 AM
You conception of God and Christ is completely dependent upon the fact that you were introduced to these through the NT stories and comments. But the stories and comments are only a means of conveying an ideal. And if that ideal is true, then it will be true regardless of the words, stories, comments, or whatever other means we use to convey that truth to one another. Because the truth is 'what is'. It's written into the fabric of existence.

But Christ is per definition as particular title, not a universal one. It is irreducibly linked to Israel and Jewish expectation, particularily apocalyptic Jewish expectation. Christianity is at least to a certain extent a religion of revelation. As in, we do not see truth and God in the fabric of existence (not because it is not there, but because we are blind), God reveals himself to us. Christianity is the religion that claims that the Father was revealed in the Son who is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, and is continually revealed in the risen Christ in the church through the Spirit. He is portrayed in the scriptures, both Old and New testaments. Without those, there is no such thing as Christianity or a 'Christ'. What exactly do you take Christ to mean? Why would you designate such a reality with a title that is so inexorably tied to a particular tradition?


In this case, the ideal being conveyed is that God's love acting in us and through us and to each other, will heal us and save us from ourselves, and in so doing will restore both man and the Earth to it's rightful place in God's divine plan (logos).

But this is a description so general that it is close to being meaningless unless it is further specified. The revelation of Christianity is not an ideal, it is an event: The incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ. There would have been no doubt in the mind of early Christians what resurrection meant. It is the claim that in the event of Jesus Christ, God and the telos of history is revealed. Again, this requires looking into the scriptures.


And if this ideal is true, as I believe it is, then it will be found to be written into the fabric of reality: of our existence. Because the truth is 'what is'. As I believe it can be. So that anyone who is looking for the truth and/or salvation of mankind, will be able to see it for themselves, and experience it for themselves, regardless of the Biblical textual means of conveying that ideal from generation to generation.

I am not so sure that is true. Christianity and the highly particlar Judeo-Christian heritage lead a moral revolution, a reconception of mankind compared to that of pagan antiquity. There was nothing self-evident about it. "Truth is what it is", that is self-evident, it is a simple tautology. But what is that truth and how do you have access to it? Christianity claims that the truth is the Father revealed in the Son in the Spirit. And the Son is a particular human being in history, and the Father affirmed in the resurrection that he was to be identified by the this particular person. That is revelatory.

Granted, the apocalyptic expectation has been modified with the delay of the parousia, and how we receive this revelation in different contexts and whatnot. However, it seems necessary that there is a unbreakable link between scriptures and Christianity. That they contain something that isn't universally available. I think that the scriptures as the message to us in some way, which we understand contextually, is an absolute necessity.

PureX
February 27th, 2016, 11:09 AM
John 14:6 KJV - John 6:44 KJV -What do you think "through me" means in this quote? And how do you support your interpretation of that phrase?

PureX
February 27th, 2016, 11:37 AM
But Christ is per definition as particular title, not a universal one. It is irreducibly linked to Israel and Jewish expectation, particularily apocalyptic Jewish expectation. Christianity is at least to a certain extent a religion of revelation. As in, we do not see truth and God in the fabric of existence (not because it is not there, but because we are blind), God reveals himself to us. Christianity is the religion that claims that the Father was revealed in the Son who is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, and is continually revealed in the risen Christ in the church through the Spirit. He is portrayed in the scriptures, both Old and New testaments. Without those, there is no such thing as Christianity or a 'Christ'. What exactly do you take Christ to mean? Why would you designate such a reality with a title that is so inexorably tied to a particular tradition?There is the story, and there is the lesson (revelation) of the story. The story of Jesus of Nazareth is a mythical story, meaning that it is intended to convey a revelation. As a means to that end, 'Jesus' becomes the Christ. He becomes a human manifestation of God's love, and forgiveness, and kindness, and generosity, and example for all mankind. Jesus is the embodiment of the revelation. Of the lesson being conveyed.

But the essence of that revelation, of that lesson, is a truth. It is a truth that, as truth, permeates existence itself. And can therefor be recognized and experienced by we humans, if we are looking for it.

Yes, we are often blinded from the truth by our own willful ignorance, egotism, and selfish nature. But not always, and not totally. Or else blind we would remain, forever.

The mythical story of Jesus of Nazareth has helped mankind seek and recognize the truth of the saving grace of God's love acting within and through us. But the truth of that grace has always been there for us to see and experience. We didn't HAVE TO read the story. Reading the story just made it easier for us to recognize … unless we make a false idol of it and start worshipping the character in the story, and the story itself, instead of the divine healing love and forgiveness revealed, therein.

As to the Judaic origins, I agree with you. But I am not a Jew. Nor am I a member of an ancient society. So I find no particularly compelling reason to hold to ancient Jewish beliefs and traditions just because Jesus did. Jesus was a Jew, and I am not. Jesus was a member of an ancient society, and I am not. The ancient Jews that interpreted the life of Jesus and created the religion based on his name were ancient Jews. And I am not, so I see no particular reason why I should accept their interpretation and understanding of Jesus as my own, or why I should accept their stories and comments as anything more than what they are.

Maintaining tradition for the sake of tradition lacks reason.

The revelation of Christianity is not an ideal, it is an event: The incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Christ. There would have been no doubt in the mind of early Christians what resurrection meant. It is the claim that in the event of Jesus Christ, God and the telos of history is revealed. Again, this requires looking into the scriptures.That's the claim of those ancient Jews who were expecting their Messiah to come wielding a mighty sword to vanquish all their oppressors, but got a Messiah that spoke of love and forgiveness and of turning the other cheek, instead. And who was killed by their oppressors instead of vanquishing them. They NEEDED to believe in all that mystical symbolism to keep their Messiah alive and powerful. But I am not an ancient Jew. I am not despondent over their lost Messiah. So I don't need to pretend all that mystical symbolism is real. I just need to be healed and saved from myself. As Jesus said I would be, if I would allow God's love within me, to direct me in this life. And that is a truth that I have found to be evidenced by my experience of reality. That's the revelation I needed. And that's the revelation I have received. The rest is just ancient religiosity, to me.

And I think I am not unusual in these needs and differences, which is why others are beginning to do as I am doing: jettisoning the ancient Judaism, and fantasy-based religiosity, and holding onto the pure Christian ideal/revelation.

Selaphiel
February 27th, 2016, 01:30 PM
There is the story, and there is the lesson (revelation) of the story. The story of Jesus of Nazareth is a mythical story, meaning that it is intended to convey a revelation. As a means to that end, 'Jesus' becomes the Christ. He becomes a human manifestation of God's love, and forgiveness, and kindness, and generosity, and example for all mankind. Jesus is the embodiment of the revelation. Of the lesson being conveyed.

How is it a mythical story? The gospels are not pure history in the modern sense, but they are certainly not myths. Jesus of Nazareth was an actual person who lived in an actual context teaching specific things. You are taking the actual historical persona completely out of his context, and declares him to be something that you also have taken out of context. If Jesus is just an incarnation of moral teaching, why is his death and resurrection the central part of the story? Reducing Jesus to a moral teacher does not do him justice. His own teachings declares the events of his life to be central to the interpretation of him. The disciples understands his moral teaching, what baffles them are the events of his destiny. If there is no actual death and resurrection, then there has occured no revelation.

How do you access and argue for the validity of this universal ideal? Why should I not be a Nietzschean? Why should I not be selfish and follow the advise of Ecclesiastes: "Anyone who is among the living has hope --even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!" Why should I not strive to be the superman, rising above the weak? Or in Nietzsche's words: Why should the hawk care about the cries of the lambs? Point being, the actual teachings and revelation of Christ are pretty much anything but self-evident or easily available by looking at existence as it is.


ut the essence of that revelation, of that lesson, is a truth. It is a truth that, as truth, permeates existence itself. And can therefor be recognized and experienced by we humans, if we are looking for it.

Why is it true? As you yourself pointed out, the people expected something different. Antiquity did not believe in enemy love, in fact such teaching was the epitomy of foolishness. And our actions today still show that that is what we really think. It is the same with the prophets of the Old testament, they aren't preaching 'universal human ideals', they preach counter-cultural divine perspectives on historical events. They are words that disrupt 'truth', not confirms it. That is, they are revelatory, and as such they are rejected as folly or accepted as revelation of something beyond ourselves.


The mythical story of Jesus of Nazareth has helped mankind seek and recognize the truth of the saving grace of God's love acting within and through us. But the truth of that grace has always been there for us to see and experience. We didn't HAVE TO read the story. Reading the story just made it easier for us to recognize … unless we make a false idol of it and start worshipping the character in the story, and the story itself, instead of the divine healing love and forgiveness revealed, therein.

But it is not a myth. Either the core events occured or they didn't. If they didn't, then there is no revelation there. If it is the truth, why is it not actually manifest in history rather than myth?


As to the Judaic origins, I agree with you. But I am not a Jew. Nor am I a member of an ancient society. So I find no particularly compelling reason to hold to ancient Jewish beliefs and traditions just because Jesus did. Jesus was a Jew, and I am not. Jesus was a member of an ancient society, and I am not. The ancient Jews that interpreted the life of Jesus and created the religion based on his name were ancient Jews. And I am not, so I see no particular reason why I should accept their interpretation and understanding of Jesus as my own, or why I should accept their stories and comments as anything more than what they are.

Because even if that story is riddled with human limitation, sin and failure. It is still held that God acted with and through Israel, and in and through Jesus Christ.


Maintaining tradition for the sake of tradition lacks reason.

But that is not what has been done. It is rather stating that the claims only make sense within the tradition. It is a story about a particular historical person, in a particular historical period in a particular culture. Taking the person and the honorifics out of the context render them hollow and meaningless. It is simple really, either there is truth in this particularity or it should be dismissed as simple false. The God in that tradition is a God that defined by those particularities. Dismiss the particularities and you have really left that tradition, but yet you want to keep the titles and persons, just without their proper content.


That's the claim of those ancient Jews who were expecting their Messiah to come wielding a mighty sword to vanquish all their oppressors, but got a Messiah that spoke of love and forgiveness and of turning the other cheek, instead. And who was killed by their oppressors instead of vanquishing them. They NEEDED to believe in all that mystical symbolism to keep their Messiah alive and powerful. But I am not an ancient Jew. I am not despondent over their lost Messiah. So I don't need to pretend all that mystical symbolism is real. I just need to be healed and saved from myself. As Jesus said I would be, if I would allow God's love within me, to direct me in this life. And that is a truth that I have found to be evidenced by my experience of reality. That's the revelation I needed. And that's the revelation I have received. The rest is just ancient religiosity, to me.

Why even bother with the name Jesus and the title of 'Christ' then? Where did he say this? If Christ did not truly die and truly get raised in a non-mythical manner, then there is no healing in what he said. It is the path to destruction, a path to crucifixion How can you be healed by what is not real? It seems as though you want your cake and eat it too.


And I think I am not unusual in these needs and differences, which is why others are beginning to do as I am doing: jettisoning the ancient Judaism, and fantasy-based religiosity, and holding onto the pure Christian ideal/revelation.

You use the word fantasy-based. How do you know that your religiosity is not simply a projection in the Feuerbachian or Freudian sense? That is the fascinating part with the Bible and taking the scriptures seriously, they escape such easy categorizations.

The thing is: Removing the Jewish context and the idea that the life of Jesus Christ actually happened makes the idea of a Christian revelation into pure nonsense. The only thing your religion has in common with Christianity then is the rather peculiar need to use names and titles from it, but removing the content and context of them. And perhaps most importantly, there is more depth in those scriptures. Simply dismissing them as ancient and barbaric is too simple. There are horrifying elements in them, but also a surprisingly honest appraisal of the world. They are interesting when engaged with intelligently.

I think you are way too quick to simply dismiss orthodoxy as merely fantasy for ignorants. I dare you, go read a theologian like Wolfhart Pannenberg and come back and tell me he was ignorant and into fantasy based religiosity. He was among the most well read and intellectual powerhouses of 20th century theology and he would not have any of that mythical Christianity.

The Berean
February 27th, 2016, 02:05 PM
I was going to respond to you, PureX, but Selaphiel pretty much covered everything I wanted to say, and in a more eloquent manner.

For some reason you have attempted to separate the the Christ "ideal" from Jesus Christ and that is just plain folly. But the greatest flaw in your thinking is believing that Jesus Christ was a myth, that he never existed in history. That is simply not true.

PureX
February 27th, 2016, 02:57 PM
I was going to respond to you, PureX, but Selaphiel pretty much covered everything I wanted to say, and in a more eloquent manner. He does that. :)


For some reason you have attempted to separate the the Christ "ideal" from Jesus Christ and that is just plain folly. But the greatest flaw in your thinking is believing that Jesus Christ was a myth, that he never existed in history. That is simply not true.I'm separating it from the "Jesus religion". I'm not saying Jesus is a myth, I'm saying that the story of Jesus that we read in the Bible is a mythical story. Meaning that it is intended to convey an ideal/revelation to those who read it. Jesus was not a Jewish evangelist. Jews don't even believe in evangelism. He was a Jew proposing a new way of understanding their relationship to God and each other, to other Jews. And it was a new way of understanding that was so profound and radical that it transcended Judaism, in fact. And could thereby be adopted by people of any religion, or non-religion.

Just because you can't separate the ideal from the Judaic religiosity from which it sprung doesn't mean that no one else, can.

I can, and I do.

ok doser
February 27th, 2016, 03:00 PM
Just because you can't separate the ideal from the religiosity doesn't mean that no one else, can.

I can, and I do.


and in doing so, you throw out so much of what He is, just to satisfy your own foolish desire to create your own god


what a shame

Lon
February 27th, 2016, 03:19 PM
myth
/miTH/

noun
noun: myth; plural noun: myths
1. a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.
synonyms: folk tale, folk story, legend, tale, story, fable, saga, mythos, lore, folklore, mythology
"ancient Greek myths"
•traditional stories or legends collectively.
"the heroes of Greek myth"

2. a widely held but false belief or idea.
"he wants to dispel the myth that sea kayaking is too risky or too strenuous"

The problem with 'Myth' is that the examples given in the first are nearly all 'not true' and so most think immediately of the second as defining myth as 'false.'

Purex may be trying to stick with the classical first line of 'a traditional story conveying a truism,' at least possibly, but it is a definition used to allow for exactly either interpretation trying to appease both sides. It is generally an academic employ or given by liberal theologians embracing such language.

Imho, the use of "Myth" only means 'something false or untrue' to be of any good communication today. I'm chagrined that 'gay' and 'rainbow' are no longer classically accepted definitions either. We need to let some things go and move on to words that convey better meaning and I'd suggest dropping 'myth' because #1 is no longer used or understood in the English language, or appreciated. Nobody believe in a 'true' myth anymore in this age of skepticism and cynicism. It is no longer a good canned word for the liberal theologian. My two cents and advice. -Lon

Zeke
February 27th, 2016, 05:07 PM
He does that. :)

I'm separating it from the "Jesus religion". I'm not saying Jesus is a myth, I'm saying that the story of Jesus that we read in the Bible is a mythical story. Meaning that it is intended to convey an ideal/revelation to those who read it. Jesus was not a Jewish evangelist. Jews don't even believe in evangelism. He was a Jew proposing a new way of understanding their relationship to God and each other, to other Jews. And it was a new way of understanding that was so profound and radical that it transcended Judaism, in fact. And could thereby be adopted by people of any religion, or non-religion.

Just because you can't separate the ideal from the Judaic religiosity from which it sprung doesn't mean that no one else, can.

I can, and I do.

Exactly, that separation that sprung from the Judaic motif that was separated by some other nomenclature before that Judaic title became vogue, and plagiarized from the past. That rubs the exclusive minded the wrong way, yet its over due, they have had their day and look at the planet reeling under their educated watch.

Robert Pate
February 27th, 2016, 05:32 PM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:



I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.



It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.

I see it as a departure from the faith, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.

Buzzword
February 27th, 2016, 06:53 PM
I'm loving the discussion happening between Purex and Selaphiel, so let me just add some pertinent quotes.

“The Bible, when taken as an ethical rule book, offers us no clear categories for many of our most significant and vexing socioethical quandaries. We find no explicit mention, for example, of abortion, capitalism, communism, socialism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, systemic racism, affirmative action, human rights, nationalism, sexual orientation, pornography, global climate change, imprisonment, extinction of species, energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, genetic engineering, space travel, and so on – not to mention nuclear weapons, biological warfare, and just-war theory.”
-Brian McLaren


“I charge you before God and his blessed angels that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow Christ. If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as you were to receive any truth from my ministry, for I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of His will our God has revealed to Calvin, they (Lutherans) will rather die than embrace it; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented. For though they were precious shining lights in their time, yet God has not revealed his whole will to them. And were they now living, they would be as ready and willing to embrace further light, as they had received.”
-John Robinson


“The notion that humankind’s understanding of God has deepened or progressed shouldn’t unsettle us. To the contrary, it should be cause for celebration.”
-Oliver Thomas


“Peter's world is changing [in Acts 10], and he must move beyond the mind-set that says, 'The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.' Instead he says, 'The Bible says it, but I think God is up to something new, so I will listen to and follow God.'”
"Our quest for truth, certainty, purity of doctrine, and our tendency to label others who don’t agree with us, to separate from them and to demonize them, lead us to black-and-white thinking. I am right and you are wrong. I am faithful and you are unfaithful. I am whole and you are wounded or defective. We have ‘all the gospel’ and you do not."
-Adam Hamilton

PureX
February 28th, 2016, 09:31 AM
How is it a mythical story? The gospels are not pure history in the modern sense, but they are certainly not myths.Actually, that's exactly what they are. Most myths contain accurate information that's been exaggerated and embellished to better serve their intent; which is to convey an ideal, lesson, or revelation of some kind. And that's exactly what the story of Jesus of Nazareth is, and is intended to do.

Jesus of Nazareth was an actual person who lived in an actual context teaching specific things. You are taking the actual historical persona completely out of his context, and declares him to be something that you also have taken out of context. If Jesus is just an incarnation of moral teaching, why is his death and resurrection the central part of the story?We don't know that Jesus actually existed. But that doesn't matter because whatever and whoever Jesus was, he is NOW the embodiment of an ideal. He is NOW the central character in a religious myth. That is his proper "context" from our perspective.

Reducing Jesus to a moral teacher does not do him justice. His own teachings declares the events of his life to be central to the interpretation of him. The disciples understands his moral teaching, what baffles them are the events of his destiny. If there is no actual death and resurrection, then there has occured no revelation.You're not reading the story as a story. And you're insisting that I must not do so, either. But it IS a story, now. That's ALL IT IS, NOW. Because whatever reality there may once have been to it is now lost to us. All we have is the story, and the lessons/revelations that the story conveys to us.

The Jews of the time interpreted that lesson and revelation in the way that best made sense to them. As did the Christians who assembled the written texts centuries later. But I am not an ancient Jew, nor a medieval monk, nor even an orthodox Christian of today. So I feel no particular compulsion, nor see any logical reason for me to adopt their interpretations of the mythical story. And so far, I am not seeing you offering me any, either, except that you are shocked that I'd dare to interpret the mythical story for myself, and in a way that best serves my own needs and temperament. Which I find rather myopic of you.

How do you access and argue for the validity of this universal ideal?The ideal as I see it is simple, and is universal: that God's love acting in us and through us to others, can and will heal us and save us from ourselves. I believe it because I tried it, and found that it's true. And I have seen many others try it and they also have found that it's true. And I have also seen that as more and more people follow this prescription, they make each other's lives better.

So from my own experience and witness, the access is universal, and so are the results.

Why should I not be a Nietzschean? Why should I not be selfish and follow the advise of Ecclesiastes: "Anyone who is among the living has hope --even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!" Why should I not strive to be the superman, rising above the weak? Or in Nietzsche's words: Why should the hawk care about the cries of the lambs? Point being, the actual teachings and revelation of Christ are pretty much anything but self-evident or easily available by looking at existence as it is.You should do as you think appropriate, and I am sure that you will. But I believe that you will discover the Christ ideal of living through love to produce better results for you and for everyone in your life, over all.

Why is it true? As you yourself pointed out, the people expected something different. Antiquity did not believe in enemy love, in fact such teaching was the epitomy of foolishness.Many still think like this, today. Many professing Christians right here on TOL still believe in an "eye for an eye", and a "me first" mentality. But slowly, over a long time span, we humans do seem to be becoming kinder toward each other. Though sadly, here in the U.S. present, we have been falling back into moral Darwinism, again.

But I'd rather hope for positive change than live without hope of it. Just as I'd rather live for universal love, forgiveness, kindness and generosity than live for greed, live in fear, or live to pursue selfish desires.

… the claims only make sense within the tradition.That simply is not true, and I have my own life experiences to prove it to me. But whatever you need to prove whatever you believe, to yourself, is your own concern. As it should be.

Why even bother with the name Jesus and the title of 'Christ' then?They are the language and ideological framework I've been given, in this culture, so they are the language and ideological framework I use. I simply disregard the ancient Judaic religious associations because I am not an ancient Jew. Nor even a modern one.

You use the word fantasy-based. How do you know that your religiosity is not simply a projection in the Feuerbachian or Freudian sense? That is the fascinating part with the Bible and taking the scriptures seriously, they escape such easy categorizations.I don't really care. I am not searching for the "truth" beyond a truth that 'works' in my life. If believing in feats of magic worked in my life, I would choose to do so regardless of whether it aligned with some satanists dogma, or some scientist's experiments. The truth is what works in my experience of reality. Not what someone else claims it is, to them.


I think you are way too quick to simply dismiss orthodoxy as merely fantasy for ignorants.I don't dismiss orthodoxy because I think it's a fantasy for ignorants. I dismiss it because it doesn't 'work' as truth in my modern experience of reality. I fully understand that the people who hold to it are doing so because doing so 'works' for them in some way. But it doesn't work for me, nor, apparently for increasing numbers of my fellow humans.

Lon
February 29th, 2016, 08:26 AM
“The Bible, when taken as an ethical rule book, offers us no clear categories for many of our most significant and vexing socioethical quandaries. We find no explicit mention, for example, of abortion, capitalism, communism, socialism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, systemic racism, affirmative action, human rights, nationalism, sexual orientation, pornography, global climate change, imprisonment, extinction of species, energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, genetic engineering, space travel, and so on – not to mention nuclear weapons, biological warfare, and just-war theory.”
-Brian McLaren



My problem with Brian McLaren is that he seems to not read his Bible as often as he should. This quote is erroneous simply because the Scriptures give the sentiment in how to rightly treat these topics and with a biblical confidence. There are of course other problems I have with his process-type theology, but I'm addressing specifically this liberal and imho, uninformed biblical commentary.

Daniel1769
February 29th, 2016, 12:18 PM
My problem with Brian McLaren is that he seems to not read his Bible as often as he should. This quote is erroneous simply because the Scriptures give the sentiment in how to rightly treat these topics and with a biblical confidence. There are of course other problems I have with his process-type theology, but I'm addressing specifically this liberal and imho, uninformed biblical commentary.

The problem with the Brian McLaren quote is that he is wrong. The Bible addresses most of these subjects, even if not by name. The ones it doesn't address like how to travel in space is because it isn't relevant. The Bible doesn't tell me how to change a flat tire. So what? Anyone who says the Bible doesn't specifically and clearly address issues like homosexuality, nationalism, pornography, etc. is either dishonest, in denial or just hasn't read the Bible. I don't know who Brian McLaren is,but he is obviously very ignorant and not worth listening to at all.

PureX
February 29th, 2016, 04:23 PM
Lon and Daniel - what neither of you seems to grasp is that your presumption that the Bible addresses those issue is based entirely on your own personal interpretation of the text. Because the text itself does NOT address any of those subjects, specifically. You are simply interpreting the text in such a way as to imply (to you) that the text 'means to' included them, morally, theologically, and/or metaphorically.

Then you are assuming that your inclusive interpretation of the text is the only possible way of interpreting them, so everyone else should just recognize that fact. But in fact, the text did not directly include any those issues, and your assumption that it 'means to' is just your own assumption. One that not everyone else agrees with.

Lon
March 1st, 2016, 08:14 AM
Lon and Daniel - what neither of you seems to grasp is that your presumption that the Bible addresses those issue is based entirely on your own personal interpretation of the text. Because the text itself does NOT address any of those subjects, specifically.
:nono: "Don't steal" means embezzling as well." Our bodies are not our own, we are not our own, we were bought with a price. Thou shalt not murder" (kill for selfish reasons). These cover most of the concerns with few exceptions. There are other scriptures that speak to these other issues.


You are simply interpreting the text in such a way as to imply (to you) that the text 'means to' included them, morally, theologically, and/or metaphorically.
People who don't read their bibles, don't know what it says. That's true.

Then you are assuming that your inclusive interpretation of the text is the only possible way of interpreting them, so everyone else should just recognize that fact. But in fact, the text did not directly include any those issues, and your assumption that it 'means to' is just your own assumption. One that not everyone else agrees with.
Generally, most of the time, words mean something or they wouldn't be said and handed down. Only those who revere the words of God would pay this much attention.

PureX
March 1st, 2016, 09:38 AM
:nono: "Don't steal" means embezzling as well." Our bodies are not our own, we are not our own, we were bought with a price. Thou shalt not murder" (kill for selfish reasons). These cover most of the concerns with few exceptions. There are other scriptures that speak to these other issues.In your mind they do. But not in everyone else's. "Thou shalt not kill" could mean thou shalt not kill anything. Or it could mean though shalt not kill some things. Or it could mean thou shalt not kill indiscriminately. Or it could mean thou shalt not kill unjustly. And who decides what is just or unjust killing? Who decides what is indiscriminate killing? The answer is that we do. Just as we decide if fetuses are included in that which we shall not kill.

You have decided this for yourself. And that's fine. But having done so, you then just presume that your decision overrules everyone else's. That if they disagree with your interpretation of this vague dictum, they are disagreeing with God Himself. And yet they are not. They are merely disagreeing with your interpretation of an ancient religious text, that God did not even write. (That, too, is an assumption on your part.)

Everyone fills in the vagaries with their own imagined intent. And that's as it must be because the text is vague. But that doesn't give any of us the right to then just assume that our interpretation of the text is the only and absolutely correct interpretation of it, and therefor anyone else's is wrong and immoral. Yet this is what you are assuming, isn't it.

People who don't read their bibles, don't know what it says. That's true.And the people who do read it don't always agree on what it means.

Generally, most of the time, words mean something or they wouldn't be said and handed down.And yet nearly every word in the dictionary has multiple meanings. And even more-so when they have been translated from other languages.

Only those who revere the words of God would pay this much attention.God didn't write any words. That, too, is a presumptive interpretation of the text, by you, that not everyone shares.

ok doser
March 1st, 2016, 09:46 AM
In your mind they do.

in most people's minds they do


But not in everyone else's.

correct

retarded people, for example, would struggle with them



(i clipped your struggle)

Lon
March 1st, 2016, 10:55 AM
In your mind ... not in everyone else's. "Thou shalt not kill" could mean...Or it could...Or it could....Or it could mean...
Who decides..? .... we do.
:nono: God does. When in doubt, don't Romans 14:8,23


You have decided this for yourself.
:nono: "when in doubt" Romans 14:23


And that's fine. But having done so, you then just presume that your decision overrules everyone else's. That if they disagree with your interpretation of this vague dictum, they are disagreeing with God Himself.
Yes, most of us do. There is something wrong about ripping what God placed in a person, out. I've seen the videos. You've never seen an abortion video? Do yourself an enlightening favor.

And yet they are not. They are merely disagreeing with your interpretation of an ancient religious text, that God did not even write. (That, too, is an assumption on your part.)
You pulled the double here, that even if I proved it true, you doubt the veracity of even the scriptures themselves :Plain:

Everyone fills in the vagaries with their own imagined intent.
ONLY if you are not filled with the Spirit of God. Nick, John W, Delmar, Chrysto and I are from very different denominations. We all agree that abortion is murder.


And that's as it must be because the text is vague.
Romans 14:23

But that doesn't give any of us the right to then just assume that our interpretation of the text is the only and absolutely correct interpretation of it, and therefor anyone else's is wrong and immoral. Yet this is what you are assuming, isn't it.
Absolutely.


And the people who do read it don't always agree on what it means.
And yet nearly every word in the dictionary has multiple meanings. And even more-so when they have been translated from other languages.
God didn't write any words. That, too, is a presumptive interpretation of the text, by you, that not everyone shares.
I'm capable of diagramming a sentence. Most, sadly, cannot. Context is indeed, king.

PureX
March 1st, 2016, 11:43 AM
:nono: God does. When in doubt, don't Romans 14:8,23

:nono: "when in doubt" Romans 14:23

Yes, most of us do. There is something wrong about ripping what God placed in a person, out. I've seen the videos. You've never seen an abortion video? Do yourself an enlightening favor.

You pulled the double here, that even if I proved it true, you doubt the veracity of even the scriptures themselves :Plain:

ONLY if you are not filled with the Spirit of God. Nick, John W, Delmar, Chrysto and I are from very different denominations. We all agree that abortion is murder.

Romans 14:23

Absolutely.

I'm capable of diagramming a sentence. Most, sadly, cannot. Context is indeed, king.I think it's both sad and very weird that you were completely incapable of responding coherently to any of the points in my post. My guess is that you were not even capable of comprehending my observations because you are so thoroughly invested in the idea of your own unquestionable righteousness. It's kind of shocking, even though I see this all the time on TOL.

ok doser
March 1st, 2016, 11:47 AM
lon responds to the points in purex's post:


in response, purex once again demonstrates his desperate need for a mirror:
..you were completely incapable of responding to any of the points in my post.



a mind is a terrible thing to waste :nono:

Crucible
March 2nd, 2016, 12:46 AM
I'm separating it from the "Jesus religion". I'm not saying Jesus is a myth, I'm saying that the story of Jesus that we read in the Bible is a mythical story. Meaning that it is intended to convey an ideal/revelation to those who read it.

I don't understand what in the Hell is keeping you atheists from realizing the simple fact that the 'story' is literal and the message is to you're stupid, bewildered face_

PureX
March 2nd, 2016, 09:39 AM
I don't understand what in the Hell is keeping you atheists from realizing the simple fact that the 'story' is literal and the message is to you're stupid, bewildered face_Common sense … a reasonable comprehension of the fact of reality … a desire to be honest with ourselves and each other … it's not so difficult to understand, really.

Town Heretic
March 2nd, 2016, 10:27 AM
I don't understand what in the Hell is keeping you atheists from realizing the simple fact that the 'story' is literal and the message is to you're stupid, bewildered face_
If you're going to be condescending you might want to check your pronoun usage...though it's inarguably funnier this way.

Lon
March 2nd, 2016, 12:58 PM
I think it's both sad and very weird that you were completely incapable of responding coherently to any of the points in my post. My guess is that you were not even capable of comprehending my observations because you are so thoroughly invested in the idea of your own unquestionable righteousness. It's kind of shocking, even though I see this all the time on TOL.

Common sense … a reasonable comprehension of the fact of reality … a desire to be honest with ourselves and each other … it's not so difficult to understand, really.
I know you guys don't ever get this, but we indeed have a topsy-turvy definition of what is 'common' for sense, what is biblical, and what is logical. Don't ever let it surprise you again. Generally, it is the difference between what we believe the state of man is prior to God getting a hold of him/her. It goes "man is basically good" or "man is depraved, and his 'common-sense' is wrought with sin and injustice in his fallen state.
Learn this one thing and appreciate it lest we have to have you 'surpriosed at the lack.' My common-sense is to accept what God says is true and learn, "as the one created" to think like his Creator instead of trying to 'god it' on my own. This is ever the problem with you, you stand alone without a god when you appeal to 'common' sense. The world is fallen. "Common" sense therefore is what is shared among the fallen, including,but not as evident, the intellect.

Zeke
March 2nd, 2016, 02:29 PM
Ah the curse/spell of mental artificial spiritualism, A egocentric confused theology majoring on statues and codes/creeds projected from a Soul under bondage to Magistrate of fiction wearing a facade of God, a energy source that is ever demanding on its host.

Selaphiel
March 2nd, 2016, 04:24 PM
Actually, that's exactly what they are. Most myths contain accurate information that's been exaggerated and embellished to better serve their intent; which is to convey an ideal, lesson, or revelation of some kind. And that's exactly what the story of Jesus of Nazareth is, and is intended to do.

I do not deny that there are instances of embellishments in the gospels. However, if you reduce all of the extraordinary in the story, especially the resurrection, then it is nothing but a tragedy. Certain stories only convey meaning if they are in fact true in their central events, the resurrection is one of them. If it is true, then conveys great meaning, in fact it conveys the truth of God over against the truth of the world. If it is a myth, then it is a lie. The innocent and just remain dead and crushed by the world, ultimate reality/God says 'no' instead of 'yes' to Christ in that case. If you do not believe that Christ was raised from death, then the story is really a tragedy, not gospel.


We don't know that Jesus actually existed

I would say we know with every bit of certainty as any other famous ancient person whose existence is taken for granted.


. But that doesn't matter because whatever and whoever Jesus was, he is NOW the embodiment of an ideal. He is NOW the central character in a religious myth. That is his proper "context" from our perspective.

See above. If the central events did not actually occurr in some sense, the story conveys nothing worth preserving. Christ is the identifying word of God. If he was not actually raised, then there is no confirmation that that is the case at all. Jesus as an embodiment of an ideal is a completely anachronistic reading of the text, completely take out of the particular context the actual writers lived in and was a part of. When a reading would have rendered Jesus completely unrecognizable to his actual followers, then you are no longer talking about the same person.


But it IS a story, now. That's ALL IT IS, NOW. Because whatever reality there may once have been to it is now lost to us. All we have is the story, and the lessons/revelations that the story conveys to us.

Then why bother with it over any other story? "Christian" becomes a meaningless label at that point. Christianity is the belief that it remains a living word, that speaks to the church today as well thorugh the risen Christ in the Spirit.


The Jews of the time interpreted that lesson and revelation in the way that best made sense to them. As did the Christians who assembled the written texts centuries later. But I am not an ancient Jew, nor a medieval monk, nor even an orthodox Christian of today. So I feel no particular compulsion, nor see any logical reason for me to adopt their interpretations of the mythical story. And so far, I am not seeing you offering me any, either, except that you are shocked that I'd dare to interpret the mythical story for myself, and in a way that best serves my own needs and temperament. Which I find rather myopic of you.

You are missing the point. It is rather that the whole story is warped in its meaning if removed from its actual context. You can interpret it all you want, but I can point out that the interpretation doesn't make much sense given the historical and cultural context of the story. Christ simply is not a universal title, it is a particular title whose meaning comes from that world. The same with Jesus' actions and words, they make sense within his context of eschatological Judaism, as do the interpretation of his death and resurrection by the church.


You should do as you think appropriate, and I am sure that you will. But I believe that you will discover the Christ ideal of living through love to produce better results for you and for everyone in your life, over all.

It does? According to the story it doesn't go very well with Jesus himself. Doesn't go well with his followers either. If you view the resurrection as a mere myth, then his story is a tragedy. What happened to him for his troubles was that he suffered a torturous death. Same is the case with the martyrs. They died follow his teachings. In fact, his very teachings say that it will not go well with those who follow his teachings. Bonhoeffer was hanged by the nazis, Jon Sobrino was assassinated by the government he criticized, just to mention two modern examples of radical followers of those teachings. They will be in raised up with him of course, but if you write his resurrection off as a mere metaphor or myth, that goes out the window. Then all that is left is the persecution. Then it seems that the words of Ecclesiastes is more proper than the teachings of Jesus, better to be a live dog than a dead lion.


They are the language and ideological framework I've been given, in this culture, so they are the language and ideological framework I use. I simply disregard the ancient Judaic religious associations because I am not an ancient Jew. Nor even a modern one.

But then they are just words warped beyond recognition. When Peter professes "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", then it seems reasonable to understand the statement in light of what it meant to Peter.


I don't really care. I am not searching for the "truth" beyond a truth that 'works' in my life

Then you are contradicting yourself. You wrote: "But slowly, over a long time span, we humans do seem to be becoming kinder toward each other. Though sadly, here in the U.S. present, we have been falling back into moral Darwinism, again.". That statement makes no sense unless you postulate a scale of goodness. To say that someone is becoming more kind/good, you are implying a standard that is true. So say that someone is falling back to something, moral Darwinism in this case, assumes the same. If you deny such a truth, then moral Darwinism is no better or worse, just different. What is good is then determined by power, not by what is true.

exminister
March 3rd, 2016, 03:34 AM
I think it's both sad and very weird that you were completely incapable of responding coherently to any of the points in my post. My guess is that you were not even capable of comprehending my observations because you are so thoroughly invested in the idea of your own unquestionable righteousness. It's kind of shocking, even though I see this all the time on TOL.

In this case Lon could not see the forest for the trees and his response was ironic.
You made a very interesting case. Wish Lon could have addressed that instead.

PureX
March 3rd, 2016, 09:30 AM
My common-sense is to accept what God says is true and learn …The problem, here, is that YOU are deciding what "God says", and YOU are deciding what God means by it. So that in effect, you are simply deifying your own understanding and interpretation of an ancient religious text. And that is a form of self-idolatry. And that self-idolatry forms the foundation of your religion, and your identity. Which is why you simply cannot allow yourself to see it for what it really is.

And that's why (I believe) you are incapable of responding to my posts and observation, coherently. They simply 'cannot compute' in your worldview. Because they question your unquestionable assumption: that your idea of God IS God.

I'm sorry, Lon, I'm just pointing out the obvious, here.


The world is fallen. "Common" sense therefore is what is shared among the fallen, including,but not as evident, the intellect.When logic and reason become our enemy, ego becomes our ruler. And ego is just a clinical term for self-idolatry. The very thing you accuse everyone else, of, is the very thing you are doing yourself: worshipping your own idea of God as if it were not your idea of God, but God itself.

ok doser
March 3rd, 2016, 09:46 AM
When logic and reason become our enemy, ego becomes our ruler

and of course, you are blind to the fact that you have allowed "logic and reason" to be your ruler, oblivious to the fact that what you believe to be "logic and reason" are nothing more than your ego-based interpretation of what you think logic and reason should be


and so, while Lon's worldview is anchored by an understanding of beliefs that have a track record of being sound and valuable, your worldview is anchored by nothing


and you will, of course, be unable to understand anything of what I've just said

Caino
March 3rd, 2016, 09:58 AM
AMR posted an interesting link on one of the closed theology threads, and I found myself agreeing with many of the changes that are happening in the views that modern American Christians are expressing about Christian religious dogma.

First, here is the link: The State of Theology (http://ligonier-static-media.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/thestateoftheology/TheStateOfTheology-Whitepaper.pdf)

And here are some of the findings presented in it:



I find myself agreeing with a number of these positions, and I feel it's a positive sign that others are considering Christianity in what appears to be a more realistic and functional light, than that of the past.



It's not at all surprising that the ideology of Christianity is changing. Even in spite of the many and ongoing efforts at thwarting change. But I am a little surprised to find these changes reflecting modern perceptions and values to the degree that they are. (Though I don't know why I should be, as I suppose it's only natural.)

Anyway, I see this as a positive sign, and I'm just wondering what others think.
The gospel began to change immediately after Jesus left, then Pauls new gospel reached a petrified point in the Roman church. Today the liberal spirit of Jesus is behind many of the positive changes taking place.

PureX
March 3rd, 2016, 10:24 AM
I do not deny that there are instances of embellishments in the gospels.Which ones are they, do you think? And upon what basis are you determining this? On the basis of logic, and reason, and rigorous honesty? Or on the basis of what you want and need to believe to be true? Because I can't think of any reason to believe that walking on water and rising people from the dead and the various other feats of divine magic are NOT embellishments intended to convey the ideal of hope, and the ideal of overcoming our 'Earthly nature', except that I simply want/need to believe they are true.

I believe those ideals are true, too. But I don't logically need to believe that the story's embellishments are not embellishments, to do that. And I don't think it's healthy for other adult human beings to do that, either. It's like being an adult that still insists on believing that Santa Clause is a real person. And who claims that if Santa Claus in not a real person, then the ideal and practice of expressing love, friendship and generosity through gift-giving, that his mythical myth of Santa conveys to us, is a lie.

The truth is not dependent upon the myth. The myth is simply a means of expressing and conveying the truth amongst ourselves. And adults that can't or won't understand that are intellectually stunted, and are intellectually stunting themselves. They are being childish, and deliberately ignoring of the facts of their own reality.

This is not healthy behavior. And it's not honest.

The reality of Jesus' existence is hidden from us in the mists of time. We will very likely never come to know that reality, now. All we have, now, is the story of him and of his existence as a divine/human being. And that story has clearly been embellished to help convey to us a great truth (which many of us have come to hold sacred).

It is that truth; that ideal, and the hope that it promises that really matters. NOT the facts of Jesus' existence. Because the story of Jesus' existence is only the means of conveying the ideal and the promise of 'Christ'. To admit that the story is embellished takes nothing from the ideal and the promise that the story conveys. To call the story mythical takes nothing away from the ideal and the promise that the (now mythical) story conveys to us.

And it is the ideal and it's promise that is the truth. Not the story. The story is just a mythical story to us, now. As the fact of Jesus' existence is lost to ancient history and has since been subjugated to convey the message of Christ. But the truth of the ideal his story conveys is not lost. Nor is the promise that comes with it. The ideal and promise we call 'Christ' is real, here and now, and is available to anyone who wishes to open their heart and mind up, and experience it's reality.

You keep trying to insist that if the story is not historically accurate, then the ideal and promise of Christ is not true. But the truth of Christ is not dependent on the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Nor should your faith in that truth, be. Especially when making your faith dependent in that way forces you to choke, stifle and retard your own intellectual honesty, and causes you to propose that others do the same.

Selaphiel
March 3rd, 2016, 11:08 AM
Which ones are they, do you think? And upon what basis are you determining this? On the basis of logic, and reason, and rigorous honesty? Or on the basis of what you want and need to believe to be true? Because I can't think of any reason to believe that walking on water and rising people from the dead and the various other feats of divine magic are NOT embellishments intended to convey the ideal of hope, and the ideal of overcoming our 'Earthly nature', except that I simply want/need to believe they are true.

Have you tried? What effort have you actually made in trying to discern such a thing yourself? Which commentaries and theologians have you read?

Writing it off as either impossible or writing it off as willful disbelief without having done proper studies makes such a claim rather insignificant.

I'm afraid it is a little bit more complex than that false dichotomy. We have historical-criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, textual criticism etc. to examine such questions. We can also compare the stories with other contemporary literature and thought systems.

How exactly does it convey hope if it didn't happen? That doesn't make much sense. The story of the resurrection conveys no hope if it did not actually happen in any way, shape or form.

I might as well claim that a story where US armed forces invade some imagined place and meets no resistance upon arrival because they were handed help from military inteliigence conveys the reliability of the US military intelligence. But if in reality they got no such information and met heavy resistance and suffered causalities, then the story is a lie and actually conveys the opposite.

If the resurrection is a symbol or metaphor that did not actually happened, then there is no gospel, it is a tragedy. The gospel is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. If the real story was that Jesus of Nazareth was captured, tortured, crucified and buried and remains dead, then the real truth is that Rome and the collaborating Jewish religious elite won.


I believe those ideals are true, too. But I don't logically need to believe that the story's embellishments are not embellishments, to do that. And I don't think it's healthy for other adult human beings to do that, either. It's like being an adult that still insists on believing that Santa Clause is a real person. And who claims that if Santa Claus in not a real person, then the ideal and practice of expressing of love, friendship and generosity that his mythical existence conveys to us, is a lie

The ideals might be correct. But the story would be redundant.


The truth is not dependent upon the myth. The myth is simply a means of expressing and conveying the truth amongst ourselves. And adults that can't or won't understand that are intellectually stunted, and are intellectually stunting themselves. They are being childish, and deliberately ignoring of the facts of their own reality.

This is not healthy behavior. And it's not honest.

So you claim, but you have given very little evidence that you have made much effort at studying or understanding serious theologians who believe that the resurrection was a real event. Was Wolfhart Pannenberg intellectually stunted? Is Robert W. Jenson intellectually stunted? Wolfhart Pannenberg was an incredibly well informed person. His former doctoral students wrote in his eulogy about how ridiculously much he gave of himself to intellectual pursuits (they reported that at the most intense writing periods, he read 1000 pages of academic literature a DAY). He believed in and defended the resurrection as an actual event.


The reality of Jesus' existence is hidden from us in the mists of time. We will very likely never come to know that reality, now. All we have, now, is the story of him and of his existence as a divine/human being. And that story has clearly been embellished to help convey to us a great truth (which many of us have come to accept).

It is that truth; that ideal, and the hope that it promises that really matters. NOT the facts of Jesus' existence.

Then you do not hold to any recognizable form of Christian belief. Jesus Christ is a living reality, that speaks in word and sacrament to the Church. If he didn't exist, then you might as well keep your ideals and attribute them to a bunny named Otto in a story you wrote yourself.


Because the story of Jesus' existence is only the means of conveying the ideal and the promise of 'Christ'. To admit that the story is embellished takes nothing from the ideal and the promise that the story conveys. To call the story mythical takes nothing away from the ideal and the promise that the (now mythical) story conveys to us.

This is where you are very much mistaken. It is the same error you find in naive humanism. You live in a culture with Judeo-Christian values, values we got from accepting the claims of our religion. They still hang on, but they lose their ontological foundation if you deny those stories. This is what makes Nietzsche such a brilliant critic of religion, because he understood that. Those ideals are every bit as much a fairytale as the stories they are based upon, if you deny those stories. This is why he attacked the humanists as well for living in the 'shadow of the Buddha'. They want to hold onto the ideals of a story and worldview they no longer believe in.


But the truth of the ideal his story conveys is not lost. Nor is the promise that comes with it. The ideal and promise we call 'Christ' is real, here and now, and is available to anyone who wishes to open their heart and mind up, and experience it's reality.

It is not. If the central events of the story are in fact not true, those ideals are not true either. Then the truth is the 'will to power' and the strong will always dominate the weak. It is pure naivete to believe that ideals that follows from a particular ontology are transferable upon the dismantling of that ontology. If the core events did not happen and Christ is dead and not alive. Then what REALLY happened in that story was that empire won, Caesar/Pharaoh/World is the true God, not Jesus Christ. You cannot just write a story and pretend that it dictates reality irregardless of what really happened.

You can of course write a myth that portray what you hold to be ideals, but the myth itself is insufficient to actually demonstrate that said ideals are in fact true. You have given NO reason as to why anyone should believe those ideals over for example the ideal of the will to power, to dominate and control others to your favor, that whatever you do you do for your own gain. "It works for me" is not such a demonstration. Being a horrible genocidal tyrant has worked pretty well for many a dictator.

The Christian can say that is true because "The powerful, represented by Rome and the temple elite, killed Jesus of Nazareth, but God raised him up". That is the gospel. If that last part is just a metaphor, then reality is simply "The powerful, represented by Rome and the temple elite, killed Jesus of Nazarath".

Of course, Christianity may be false. But then so are its ideals unless you can actually demonstrate their validity in how the world actually is. Buddhism might be correct, but only if the Buddha's analysis of reality is ACTUALLY correct. Islam might be true, but only if Muhammad actually received revelation from Allah and that said revelation of historical incidents and moral claims are actually true.

And of course. Atheism and physicalism might be true. In that case, it has consequences for what ideals and what kind of morality might be true (if morality, as opposed to mere description of behavioral patterns, is possible in physicalism). In short, ontologies matters.

ok doser
March 3rd, 2016, 11:21 AM
Because I can't think of any reason to believe that walking on water and rising people from the dead and the various other feats of divine magic are NOT embellishments ...


well, let's apply your "logic" and "reason" to the miracle of walking on the water, as an example

your "logic and reason" tells you that a man, like yourself and everybody else you know, cannot walk on the water because you believe that walking on water would violate the laws of physics


the flaw in this reasoning is that Jesus was not a man like yourself and everybody else you know

He was/is God, for whom the laws of physics do not apply


again, this is a concept that you will reject, because your pride and ego won't allow you to consider that Jesus, as God, is capable of things that you are not, because you have made your "logic and reasoning" your god

Zeke
March 3rd, 2016, 01:30 PM
Which ones are they, do you think? And upon what basis are you determining this? On the basis of logic, and reason, and rigorous honesty? Or on the basis of what you want and need to believe to be true? Because I can't think of any reason to believe that walking on water and rising people from the dead and the various other feats of divine magic are NOT embellishments intended to convey the ideal of hope, and the ideal of overcoming our 'Earthly nature', except that I simply want/need to believe they are true.

I believe those ideals are true, too. But I don't logically need to believe that the story's embellishments are not embellishments, to do that. And I don't think it's healthy for other adult human beings to do that, either. It's like being an adult that still insists on believing that Santa Clause is a real person. And who claims that if Santa Claus in not a real person, then the ideal and practice of expressing love, friendship and generosity through gift-giving, that his mythical myth of Santa conveys to us, is a lie.

The truth is not dependent upon the myth. The myth is simply a means of expressing and conveying the truth amongst ourselves. And adults that can't or won't understand that are intellectually stunted, and are intellectually stunting themselves. They are being childish, and deliberately ignoring of the facts of their own reality.

This is not healthy behavior. And it's not honest.

The reality of Jesus' existence is hidden from us in the mists of time. We will very likely never come to know that reality, now. All we have, now, is the story of him and of his existence as a divine/human being. And that story has clearly been embellished to help convey to us a great truth (which many of us have come to hold sacred).

It is that truth; that ideal, and the hope that it promises that really matters. NOT the facts of Jesus' existence. Because the story of Jesus' existence is only the means of conveying the ideal and the promise of 'Christ'. To admit that the story is embellished takes nothing from the ideal and the promise that the story conveys. To call the story mythical takes nothing away from the ideal and the promise that the (now mythical) story conveys to us.

And it is the ideal and it's promise that is the truth. Not the story. The story is just a mythical story to us, now. As the fact of Jesus' existence is lost to ancient history and has since been subjugated to convey the message of Christ. But the truth of the ideal his story conveys is not lost. Nor is the promise that comes with it. The ideal and promise we call 'Christ' is real, here and now, and is available to anyone who wishes to open their heart and mind up, and experience it's reality.

You keep trying to insist that if the story is not historically accurate, then the ideal and promise of Christ is not true. But the truth of Christ is not dependent on the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Nor should your faith in that truth, be. Especially when making your faith dependent in that way forces you to choke, stifle and retard your own intellectual honesty, and causes you to propose that others do the same.

These are excellent points, I have concluded also that the physical requirements has been perverted beyond its original intent, which was to portray a conscience principle that is personally experienced through life.
Luke 17:20-21, Galatians 4:23-28, give merit to another possibility concerning this story, that has been shown to exist in prior cultures which debunks the originality claimed by the Christians religion, that has also disregarded Hebrews 13:8, that points the being in the moment instead of the past or perceived futures.

PureX
March 3rd, 2016, 03:35 PM
Have you tried? What effort have you actually made in trying to discern such a thing yourself? Which commentaries and theologians have you read?Commentaries by theologians are the last place I would look, as they are clearly going to be biased and opinionated. That's their job, after all. Nor would I cross reference the various versions of the story, to compare them, because it's not the story I'd be seeking to illuminate, it's the reality of a man that inspired the story.

And of him, there is nothing. No objective evidence at all. No bones. No real-time historical documentation. Nothing. Just stories, written years after the fact, containing obvious exaggerations, lots of religious interpretation, and very little actual information. We don't even know if he was married, or had children. Apart from the story, we have nothing. Apart from his being the character in the story, we can't even say for sure that he existed.

We can know that a specific Roman emperor existed because emperors were very famous and powerful people who effected the lives of many others. And they were referred to in the writings, sculptures and architecture generated by people who were alive to personally experience the emperor's existence. But Jesus was not wealthy, powerful, or even famous. There would have been no reason for anyone else to refer to him in his own time. No one would have written of him, or carved sculptures of him, or built temples to hold his bones. That's why there's no such evidence to find. Nothing exists of Jesus but the religionist's stories and the opinions of theologians.

You accept those as proof because you have to. But I don't have to. I don't need to believe in divine miracles to believe in the truth of the ideal and promise of Christ that the story presents.


I'm afraid it is a little bit more complex than that false dichotomy. We have historical-criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, textual criticism etc. to examine such questions. We can also compare the stories with other contemporary literature and thought systems.Those are all about the mythical story of Jesus of Nazareth, not the reality of man that the story is about. But there is no reality of that man, left, for anyone to study.


How exactly does it convey hope if it didn't happen? That doesn't make much sense. The story of the resurrection conveys no hope if it did not actually happen in any way, shape or form.You're hoping that you'll exist forever, even after your body dies. Jesus died, and yet he still exists in the minds and hearts of billions of people, more than two millennium later! He has long 'outlived' even the most famous emperors in all human history. His spirit is still alive within the spirit of billions of other people.

I'd say that's a pretty good reason for you to be hopeful. Because your spirit already shares a great degree of commonality with mine, and with everyone else. And through that commonality, your spirit will remain alive in mine and in others for a very long time. And the more you are willing to share your spirit with us, the more true that becomes.


If the resurrection is a symbol or metaphor that did not actually happen, then there is no gospel, it is a tragedy.You seem to be confused about what is real and what is not. Your spirit is the most 'real' thing about you (according to Christian ideology). Your physical body is what is temporary. Jesus never promised that your body would last forever. He promised that if you align your spirit with the eternal spirit, it will live forever. And that's quite literally true. Because that eternal spirit exists in all of us, and we in it.

The gospel is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. If the real story was that Jesus of Nazareth was captured, tortured, crucified and buried and remains dead, then the real truth is that Rome and the collaborating Jewish religious elite won."Won" what? What did they win? They had no effect on Jesus' spirit at all. They certainly did not kill it, as it lives on inside of you and I and billions of other people even to this day!

The ideals might be correct. But the story would be redundant.A lot of people need the story to help them understand the ideal. The same way children need the story of Santa Claus to help them understand the ideals we practice through the ritual of Christmas. It only becomes "redundant" after we become adults, and come to understand the truth of those ideals represented by the mythical story.

So you claim, but you have given very little evidence that you have made much effort at studying or understanding serious theologians who believe that the resurrection was a real event.I'm not looking for proof that it was a "real" event. Why would I? I don't need it to be. The promise of Christ proves itself. The 'evidence' is all around us, once we open our eyes. The spirit is eternal. We all live on in each other. Just as we all need each other to live, even in the here and now.


Was Wolfhart Pannenberg intellectually stunted? Is Robert W. Jenson intellectually stunted? Wolfhart Pannenberg was an incredibly well informed person. His former doctoral students wrote in his eulogy about how ridiculously much he gave of himself to intellectual pursuits (they reported that at the most intense writing periods, he read 1000 pages of academic literature a DAY). He believed in and defended the resurrection as an actual event.That tells me that he had very serious doubts about it. Why else would he have expended so much time and energy defending it? You're overlooking the obvious.


Then you do not hold to any recognizable form of Christian belief.Well, you are not the determiner for what is a recognizable form of Christian belief for anyone but yourself. And I can't think of any reason why I should cede to anyone else's idea of what I should believe to be a Christian. Can you?

Jesus Christ is a living reality, that speaks in word and sacrament to the Church. If he didn't exist, then you might as well keep your ideals and attribute them to a bunny named Otto in a story you wrote yourself.You're being a little childish, here. I actually agree with the first sentence of that statement. But being 'in Christ' and being 'in the Christian Church' are two different things. They may overlap, but they don't have to.


This is where you are very much mistaken. It is the same error you find in naive humanism. You live in a culture with Judeo-Christian values, values we got from accepting the claims of our religion. They still hang on, but they lose their ontological foundation if you deny those stories.I'm not denying any stories. I am affirming them for what they are, and for what they give is. I'm only denying the intellectual dishonesty involved in insisting that we pretend they are factual when they are clearly mythical. Myths often contain factual information, but they are not intended to be factual and they often contain fantastic exaggerations to better convey their message. They are intended to convey revelatory lessons and ideals, not historical facts.

You can of course write a myth that portray what you hold to be ideals, but the myth itself is insufficient to actually demonstrate that said ideals are in fact true.That is correct. The myth presents us with the revelation of some truth. The proof of that truth must come from it's application to our experience of being.

You have given NO reason as to why anyone should believe those ideals over for example the ideal of the will to power, to dominate and control others to your favor, that whatever you do you do for your own gain. "It works for me" is not such a demonstration. Being a horrible genocidal tyrant has worked pretty well for many a dictator.There are "reasons" that we might follow either of these paths (universal love or individual selfishness). But one of those choices leads to eternal joy and gratitude, while the other leads to eternal damnation. Remember, it's the spirit that lives forever.

journey
March 3rd, 2016, 04:07 PM
I give thanks that I'm not a victim of humanism, atheism, or the thought that God's Word is a myth.

Selaphiel
March 3rd, 2016, 04:26 PM
Commentaries by theologians are the last place I would look, as they are clearly going to be biased and opinionated.

So you assume you are right even before looking at the best formulations of the other points of view? And you accuse them of bias? Theologians who write such commentaries are academically trained professionals, experts in their fields. Accusing them of bias without argument is just ridiculous.


And of him, there is nothing. No objective evidence at all. No bones. No real-time historical documentation. Nothing. Just stories, written years after the fact, containing obvious exaggerations, lots of religious interpretation, and very little actual information. We don't even know if he was married, or had children. Apart from the story, we have nothing. Apart from his being the character in the story, we can't even say for sure that he existed.

You mean apart from the writing about him, both stories and testimonies (the testimonies traced from Paul and then to James and the apostles are really close to the events), there is no evidence? We can't say for sure, but then again, history does not deal in proof, it deals in probability of accuracy.


That's why there's no such evidence to find. Nothing exists of Jesus but the religionist's stories and the opinions of theologians.

Opinions of theologians? I'm starting to doubt that you have ever read a work of theology in your life. You have a lot of strong opinions about a field you seem to know very little about. The theologians that deal with those questions are biblical scholars. Exceptionally few biblical scholars or historians of antiquity doubt the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.


You accept those as proof because you have to.

I have to? Why do I have to? I have not even remotely suggested anything like 'proof'. I didn't grow up in a religious home, I set foot in church about 2 times before I met serious Christian thought at the university. I accept them because I believe there are good arguments for them.


I don't need to believe in divine miracles to believe in the truth of the ideal and promise of Christ that the story presents.

You don't believe in the Christ as the story presents it. Even if the entire story is a myth, Christ does not mean what you think it means in that story. The entire story might be complete make believe, but Christ in that context still means Messiah, a title whose only real meaning is found in Jewish scriptures. In particular its the concept of Messiah similar to second temple apocalyptic/eschatological Judaism. This is the sort of thing you would know if you had bothered to read what those 'biased theologians', aka as the actual experts on those questions, instead of dismissing them before you have read them.


Those are all about the mythical story of Jesus of Nazareth, not the reality of man that the story is about. But there is no reality of that man, left, for anyone to study.


By that standard, there is no reality of anyone who is dead that we can study. Which is ridiculous.

Again, how have you reached the conclusion that they are mythical stories? What scholarly material have you actually read on the subject matter?


You're hoping that you'll exist forever, even after your body dies. Jesus died, and yet he still exists in the minds and hearts of billions of people, more than two millennium later! He has long 'outlived' even the most famous emperors in all human history. His spirit is still alive within the spirit of billions of other people.

The spirit of the man you don't believe even existed exists in your heart? Those hearts and minds are delusional unless he actually existed and is actually alive.


I'd say that's a pretty good reason for you to be hopeful. Because your spirit already shares a great degree of commonality with mine, and with everyone else. And through that commonality, your spirit will remain alive in mine and in others for a very long time. And the more you are willing to share your spirit with us, the more true that becomes.

Why would that matter? In the end, why would those memories matter? If there are no resurrection of the dead in any form. Then why would the fact that some meaningless organisms on a minor planet in an insignifcant solar system was a bit inspired by you for what amounts to a drop in the sea in cosmic time before the entire universe disperses out in absolute entropy? The answer is: It doesn't. Christianity on the other hand says that there is real resurrection and new creation. That might be false, but at least it is a coherent story that would have meaning if true.


You seem to be confused about what is real and what is not. Your spirit is the most 'real' thing about you (according to Christian ideology). Your physical body is what is temporary. Jesus never promised that your body would last forever. He promised that if you align your spirit with the eternal spirit, it will live forever. And that's quite literally true. Because that eternal spirit exists in all of us, and we in it.

Where did he promise that? What is this spirit anyway? What is the eternal spirit? How will I live forever in this eternal spirit? How is that eternal spirit any less magical than an act of God? Maybe all of that is true, but it has very little to do with what Jesus taught IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THE STORY IN ITS PROPER HISTORICAL CONTEXT. It is an absolute nonsensical interpretation of story.




"Won" what? What did they win? They had no effect on Jesus' spirit at all. They certainly did not kill it, as it lives on inside of you and I and billions of other people even to this day!

Sorry, but that is absolutely meaningless. You have not in any way established why that would matter. Why is his 'spirit' good? How is his spirit any better than the spirit of Hitler or Stalin?


That tells me that he had very serious doubts about it. Why else would he have expended so much time and energy defending it? You're overlooking the obvious.

Because he cared enough to construct careful arguments about it? The only obvious thing here is that you are once again dismissing a thinker and all his work before you have even read it. Not only do you dismiss it, but you have secret access to his real psychological motivations. This is getting beyond ridiculous.


Well, you are not the determiner for what is a recognizable form of Christian belief for anyone but yourself. And I can't think of any reason why I should cede to anyone else's idea of what I should believe to be a Christian. Can you?

Yeah, that is what hamburger eating vegetarians keep saying as well. "I determine what a vegetarian is, and I hold that it means that I can eat 500g hamburgers every day if I want to". Words have meanings, worldviews have content. If your beliefs dont in any way, shape or form resemble that content, then that label is probably not a good label for you.


You're being a little childish, here. I actually agree with the first sentence of that statement. But being 'in Christ' and being 'in the Christian Church' are two different things. They may overlap, but they don't have to.

A living reality as in a living subjectivity, not as a memory of a person that according to you didnt even exist. You might as well call Gandalf a living reality then.

And again, 'in Christ' is a term used by St.Paul and its meaning is derived from him. And it is not the vague feel good spirituality you are talking about here. You need to accept that words and concepts actually have meaning, they refer to certain propositions.


I'm only denying the intellectual dishonesty involved in insisting that we pretend they are factual when they are clearly mythical. Myths often contain factual information, but they are not intended to be factual and they often contain fantastic exaggerations to better convey their message. They are intended to convey revelatory lessons and ideals, not historical facts.

1) That assumes that the stories in question actually are myths.

2) A myth can indeed convey an ideal, but a myth alone cannot validate it. A myth can convey heroism, it cannot convey whether heroism is a true virtue or not.


That is correct. The myth presents us with the revelation of some truth. The proof of that truth must come from it's application to our experience of being.

You complain about a lack of objectivity in the gospels, yet the validation of your own belief is a pure appeal to subjective experience?


There are "reasons" that we might follow either of these paths (universal love or individual selfishness). But one of those choices leads to eternal joy and gratitude, while the other leads to eternal damnation. Remember, it's the spirit that lives forever.

The only form of eternal life that you have presented is being remembered. A memory could in theory be a form of objective immortality, but never a subjective one. A subjective form of immortality demands the survival of the actual experiencing subject in one form or another. Without that, talking about eternal joy and gratitude are absolutely meaningless, since they are states only possible in living experiencing subjects.

PureX
March 4th, 2016, 10:44 AM
The only form of eternal life that you have presented is being remembered.If that's all you perceived from what I posted than I don't see much point in continuing this conversation. We apparently understand the concept of 'spirit' in very different ways, which then fundamentally effect our understanding of the Christian ideal and promise.

I've pretty clearly stated why I do not accept the religious dogmas and superstitions associated with contemporary religious Christianity. And I am apparently not alone in this position. It does not appear to me that you are going to be capable of understanding my position clearly enough to discuss it, however, as you seem too intent on defending your own perceptions to contemplate and discuss mine.

And that's OK. There's no special reason why you should want to contemplate or discuss mine.

Peace, brother.