PDA

View Full Version : The Agnostic Religion



OMEGA
September 4th, 2005, 10:17 AM
(Igothisoffthenet)

If there is anything as misunderstood and misrepresented as atheism,
it must be agnosticism. There are many misconceptions about
agnosticism, agnostics, and the reasons why anyone would adopt a
position of agnosticism in the first place. This is unfortunate,
because whether agnosticism is conceived of as a philosophy or
simply an isolated position on the existence of gods, it is
eminently reasonable and defensible.
The definition of agnosticism is one of the more contentious issues
- even many agnostics continue to hold to the idea that agnosticism
represents some sort of "third way" between atheism and theism. Not
only evidence from standard dictionaries but also a careful
comparison between agnosticism and other ideas like theism and
atheism reveal that calling oneself an agnostic by no mean excludes
being either an atheist or a theist.
Limiting oneself to discussing agnosticism as an isolated position
fails to do it justice. It was originally conceived by Thomas Henry
Huxley as a methodology for approaching religious questions,
particularly the existence of God. Even before he coined the term,
however, basic agnostic principles had existed for a long time and
they have always posed serious challenges to basic premises in
theology and religious philosophy. Agnosticism is a skeptical
challenge to the notion that any religious conclusion can really be
"known" in the first place.


Defining Agnosticism
To understand why agnosticism is both reasonable and plays an
important role in the philosophy of religion, the first step is to
get a better grasp of just how the concept is defined. There are
quite a few different definitions of agnosticism, but the
definitions presented here are the most basic, the broadest, and I
think the most reasonable of the lot. Defining agnosticism isn't all
that difficult because the broad understanding of it is well
supported by most standard dictionaries.
Highlights:
• What is Agnosticism?
• Strong Agnosticism vs. Weak Agnosticism
• Standard Dictionary Definitions of Agnosticism

An atheist does not believe in a God.

An agnostic believes it is impossible to know God either exist, or does not exist......at least at the present time.

An Agnostic is not an atheist.

An Agnostic obviously does not believe in God. How can you believe in God if your religion is based on needing proof?

The only reason an Agnostic is not refered to as an atheist is because they are not willing to say there is no God.

An atheist does not believe in God. Nor does an Agnostic.

So I would have to say an agnostic is an atheist.

Granite
September 4th, 2005, 11:33 AM
So, Omega, are you gonna provide a link or pretend this is original?

P.S. Agnosticism is not a religion. :dunce:

Balder
September 4th, 2005, 12:11 PM
Omega regularly quotes outside sources without a link or any attribution.

Tut-tut, Om!








P.S. Here's one possible source (http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/ath/blag_index.htm) for his article.

PureX
September 4th, 2005, 12:14 PM
If there is anything as misunderstood and misrepresented as atheism,
it must be agnosticism. There are many misconceptions about
agnosticism, agnostics, and the reasons why anyone would adopt a
position of agnosticism in the first place. This is unfortunate,
because whether agnosticism is conceived of as a philosophy or
simply an isolated position on the existence of gods, it is
eminently reasonable and defensible.
The definition of agnosticism is one of the more contentious issues
- even many agnostics continue to hold to the idea that agnosticism
represents some sort of "third way" between atheism and theism. Not
only evidence from standard dictionaries but also a careful
comparison between agnosticism and other ideas like theism and
atheism reveal that calling oneself an agnostic by no mean excludes
being either an atheist or a theist.
Limiting oneself to discussing agnosticism as an isolated position
fails to do it justice. It was originally conceived by Thomas Henry
Huxley as a methodology for approaching religious questions,
particularly the existence of God. Even before he coined the term,
however, basic agnostic principles had existed for a long time and
they have always posed serious challenges to basic premises in
theology and religious philosophy. Agnosticism is a skeptical
challenge to the notion that any religious conclusion can really be
"known" in the first place.


Defining Agnosticism
To understand why agnosticism is both reasonable and plays an
important role in the philosophy of religion, the first step is to
get a better grasp of just how the concept is defined. There are
quite a few different definitions of agnosticism, but the
definitions presented here are the most basic, the broadest, and I
think the most reasonable of the lot. Defining agnosticism isn't all
that difficult because the broad understanding of it is well
supported by most standard dictionaries.
Highlights:
• What is Agnosticism?
• Strong Agnosticism vs. Weak Agnosticism
• Standard Dictionary Definitions of Agnosticism

An atheist does not believe in a God.

An agnostic believes it is impossible to know God either exist, or does not exist......at least at the present time.

An Agnostic is not an atheist.This is all true.

An Agnostic obviously does not believe in God. How can you believe in God if your religion is based on needing proof? This is nonsense.

"An agnostic believes it is impossible to know God either exists, or does not exist......at least at the present time." This does not mean that an agnostic does not believe that God exists. it only means that he does not know if God exists, and he believes that he can't know this at the present time.

The only reason an Agnostic is not refered to as an atheist is because they are not willing to say there is no God. This is also nonsense. An agnostic is not called an atheist because he does not share the same beliefs as an atheist, and is therefor not an atheist.

An atheist does not believe in God. Nor does an Agnostic.Repeating this same nonsense over and over will not make it true.

So I would have to say an agnostic is an atheist.You would be wrong.

OMEGA
September 4th, 2005, 05:37 PM
Boy are you guys Picky.

So, Why are Agnostics on this Forum ?

Do they want to Convert to Christianity or just to learn about GOD.

Balder
September 4th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Here's a guess: maybe some believe that there is likely an intelligence of some sort behind the universe, and they would like to know what Christianity says about the nature of that intelligent being or Source, to see if it's a worthwhile, reasonable, and intelligent worldview to adopt.

OMEGA
September 4th, 2005, 06:23 PM
Balder,

God is easily described in the Bible .
He is an Light Being who sits on a Throne and Rules over many Angels.
He looks like a Man and walks and talks to His Angels and Jesus .
He is a very kind and compassionate and wise individual.
He has the power to give a bit of his Life-giving Spiritual Energy to
the Angels and Men that He and his Angels have designed.
What more do you want to know ?

PureX
September 4th, 2005, 08:01 PM
I'm interested in what makes people "tick" spiritually speaking. I'm curious about how people think about and relate to "God", and how this effects them.

Frank Ernest
September 5th, 2005, 04:38 AM
Read the Bible.

David2
September 5th, 2005, 06:09 AM
I'm interested in what makes people "tick" spiritually speaking. I'm curious about how people think about and relate to "God", and how this effects them.

everybody is spritual, otherwise you would not exist. Eze 18:4 all souls are created by Me, and for my pleaure Rev 4:11. It remaind the age old question, what side of spritual do you want to be?. God is spirit and he" Kill sand makes alive" 1Sam 2: 6,7,8,.9,10
Now in these veses , you can find that God is the cause of all causes
.
So whether you decide to live in the spirit with Him or you choose to live in sin without Him . You will receive your just reward, but know for certain if you choose the path of sin life then your reward is death which is another condition in famine , life of war ie sword or in pestilence ie disease of the body and the mind not knowing God and living amonst heathens.
Born in sin ie hell , The devil runs your sin mind, therefore you are living, ie born into hell and you are in one of the conditions above , war torn society, eg Iraq, famine eg Africa or pestilence eg America.
You have choice, the OT repeats IF you choose to not follow My statutes, then you will die ( walking dead , jesus called them) if you choose to follow them , then you will have eternal love, ie life. __________ for support read the rest of Eze ch 18

peace and good day
from your friendly resident messiah :king:

BChristianK
September 5th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Here's a few question for the agnostics?

Is agnosticism inherently stable or unstable? In other words, does one's skepticism exist for the purpose of propelling the imagination and intellect toward discovery? Realizing, of course, that once discovery has been achieved, skepticism is abandoned in order to embrace the knowledge one has discovered.

Or does one cling to skepticism almost as if one begins to have an immovable commitment to the concept that all forms of knowledge are essentially unreliable. This would be, of course, more stable, but it would also mean that there is, at least, one maxim not subject to skepticism, the one that provides the foundation for one’s dedication to the unreliability of absolute knowledge, the one that claims that unknowability permeates our epistemology (lets call that maxim permeating unknowability). The issues of self-contradiction aside, does placing such confidence in the maxim of permeating unknowability constitute a kind of "faith." Does this set up a normative system where individuals actually "strive" to uphold doctrines of permeating unknowability in order to hold fast to their skepticism?

When does one go from an existential skepticism that says, “I don’t know for sure but I’m open to suggestion.” to becoming an advocate for skepticism saying, “I’m not open to suggestion anymore, of one thing I am sure, we ought not claim to have any certain knowledge about God.”?

Does this steadfast adherence to the precepts of skepticism end up actually creating a "religion?" One that seeks to proselytize and to feed the skepticism of its adherents?

PureX
September 5th, 2005, 04:15 PM
Here's a few question for the agnostics?

Is agnosticism inherently stable or unstable? In other words, does one's skepticism exist for the purpose of propelling the imagination and intellect toward discovery? Realizing, of course, that once discovery has been achieved, skepticism is abandoned in order to embrace the knowledge one has discovered.This is a standard absolutist's fallacy, in that it pre-supposes that the opposing extremes are all that exist.

The discovery of new information does not mean one must abandon skepticism. Nor does one's skepticism deny him the ability to hold to a given truism. We are all quite capable of both holding on to what appears to be true at this moment, while remaining skeptical of it's truthfulness as we move into the future and continue to seek new information.

Or does one cling to skepticism almost as if one begins to have an immovable commitment to the concept that all forms of knowledge are essentially unreliable. This would be, of course, more stable, but it would also mean that there is, at least, one maxim not subject to skepticism, the one that provides the foundation for one’s dedication to the unreliability of absolute knowledge, the one that claims that unknowability permeates our epistemology (lets call that maxim permeating unknowability). The issues of self-contradiction aside, does placing such confidence in the maxim of permeating unknowability constitute a kind of "faith." Does this set up a normative system where individuals actually "strive" to uphold doctrines of permeating unknowability in order to hold fast to their skepticism?I don't think so.

Accepting the limitations of human knowledge, and the constant probability of error that comes with these limitations is not a religion, or a theology, or a philosophy. It's simply an observation based on personal and collective experience, and an intellectual response based on this observation. Such an observation would require faith only in the same way that all observations would require one to have faith in the mechanisms of one's own ability to observe and reasonably assess what has been observed. If I observe that my dog cannot speak latin, I am trusting in my ability to observe that he has never spoken latin until now, and in my ability to reason that he is unable to do so. I am also keeping in mind that I could be wrong in spite of my trusting these faculties and living as if I am correct.

I don't see this as any extraordinary act of faith, however. It's the same degree of faith that any human being employs regarding any experience with, and response to reality.

When does one go from an existential skepticism that says, “I don’t know for sure but I’m open to suggestion.” to becoming an advocate for skepticism saying, “I’m not open to suggestion anymore, of one thing I am sure, we ought not claim to have any certain knowledge about God.”?"I don't know for sure, and I'm sure that you don't know, either" does sound like a contradiction, but in reality it's just poorly stated, I think. The first "I don't know for sure" is about a completely different proposition than the "I'm sure that you don't know either" part of the statement. The former half of the statement refers to the existential unknowable that you referred to, while the latter part of the statement refers to our "collective" human experience, knowable at least to some degree by virtue of our being human ourselves. Understanding this, the statement is not so contradictory as it might originally appear.

Does this steadfast adherence to the precepts of skepticism end up actually creating a "religion?" One that seeks to proselytize and to feed the skepticism of its adherents?It could, I suppose, but I haven't run into anyone that could be described as practicing a "religion of skepticism". I think that for most human beings, skepticism does not come as a "default" position. We have to actually work at doubting our own suppositions.

freelight
September 6th, 2005, 01:34 AM
One aspect of agnosticism that posits one cannot know if God exists or more pointedly cannot know God is relatively true. While we can claim to recognize proofs of Gods existence all around or within us......the general notion of this 'God' being so great, infinite, awesome, all-pervading, transcendent keeps a dimension of God always obscure/unattainable to us. Also our knowledge of God is relatively limited in our own finite human comprehension.....so our claims to know God intimately or personally are subjective and only qualified within a certain perspectal context whether from a personal or collective school of mind.

On the other hand those of us of a more gnostic persuasion acknowledge certain aspects of agnosticism yet include the essential necessity of the knowledge of God to afford the progressing soul enlightenment or salvation along its journey towards the Infinite. In general as an ascending mortal or progressing spiritualist.....one can never have the full knowledge of God at once in a relative perspective....but receives light/gnosis each step of the Way in its path to higher perfection/fullness.

The soul appears to exist in both states of ignorance(agnosis) and knowledge(gnosis) at any given time as long as it is in time/space as a progressing or dynamic entity.


paul

David2
September 6th, 2005, 06:51 AM
One aspect of agnosticism that posits one cannot know if God exists or more pointedly cannot know God is relatively true. While we can claim to recognize proofs of Gods existence all around or within us......the general notion of this 'God' being so great, infinite, awesome, all-pervading, transcendent keeps a dimension of God always obscure/unattainable to us. Also our knowledge of God is relatively limited in our own finite human comprehension.....so our claims to know God intimately or personally are subjective and only qualified within a certain perspectal context whether from a personal or collective school of mind.

.

On the other hand those of us of a more gnostic persuasion acknowledge certain aspects of agnosticism yet include the essential necessity of the knowledge of God to afford the progressing soul enlightenment or salvation along its journey towards the Infinite. In general as an ascending mortal or progressing spiritualist.....one can never have the full knowledge of God at once in a relative perspective....but receives light/gnosis each step of the Way in its path to higher perfection/fullness.

The soul appears to exist in both states of ignorance(agnosis) and knowledge(gnosis) at any given time as long as it is in time/space as a progressing or dynamic entity.


paul

This could not be further from the truth. Your personal opinion reveals that your are not able to discern God as God is cleary understood by the Holy Prophets. You fail to recognize what is understood by God when he says Job 33:14 " For God speaketh once , yea twice, yet man perceiveth not.15 " In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed"16 " then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction." Freelight , there are distinctions here that you don't address b/c yo are too busy making some long elaborate, expression which amounts to nothing b/c it is void of God's Word , from the Bible.
This is why i keep telling you that your efforts are in vain, unless you can point to scripture to back up your proposed concepts of oneness or enlightenment with God

. Therefore, the conclusion is you are putting forth " impersonal philosophy" which lacks love, compassion and kindness, caring and sharing in truth.

I have seen elsewhere when you try insert the word "love " beside God, but , you do not fool the perceptive , intuitive realized soul such as one who is quickened in spirit, who is a discerner of thought and intents of the heart, b/c the twoedged sword which is 'the Word' which can divide the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow. Heb 4:12.

hear carefully ,
i hear yor intent, with some refinement it can be rounded and you too can not have to speculate or write criptically.
David2

allsmiles
September 6th, 2005, 07:12 AM
Balder,

God is easily described in the Bible .
He is an Light Being who sits on a Throne and Rules over many Angels.
He looks like a Man and walks and talks to His Angels and Jesus .
He is a very kind and compassionate and wise individual.
He has the power to give a bit of his Life-giving Spiritual Energy to
the Angels and Men that He and his Angels have designed.
What more do you want to know ?

how is this not considered myth? :think:

freelight
September 6th, 2005, 12:06 PM
. Therefore, the conclusion is you are putting forth " impersonal philosophy" which lacks love, compassion and kindness, caring and sharing in truth.


The topic of this thread is 'agnosticism'. It is this that I addressed bringing up valid perspectives upon it. That is the topic David2.


I have seen elsewhere when you try insert the word "love " beside God, but , you do not fool the perceptive , intuitive realized soul such as one who is quickened in spirit, who is a discerner of thought and intents of the heart, b/c the twoedged sword which is 'the Word' which can divide the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow. Heb 4:12.

Indeed God is Love.



paul

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 02:54 AM
(Igothisoffthenet)

If there is anything as misunderstood and misrepresented as atheism,
it must be agnosticism. There are many misconceptions about
agnosticism, agnostics, and the reasons why anyone would adopt a
position of agnosticism in the first place. This is unfortunate,
because whether agnosticism is conceived of as a philosophy or
simply an isolated position on the existence of gods, it is
eminently reasonable and defensible.
The definition of agnosticism is one of the more contentious issues
- even many agnostics continue to hold to the idea that agnosticism
represents some sort of "third way" between atheism and theism. Not
only evidence from standard dictionaries but also a careful
comparison between agnosticism and other ideas like theism and
atheism reveal that calling oneself an agnostic by no mean excludes
being either an atheist or a theist.
Limiting oneself to discussing agnosticism as an isolated position
fails to do it justice. It was originally conceived by Thomas Henry
Huxley as a methodology for approaching religious questions,
particularly the existence of God. Even before he coined the term,
however, basic agnostic principles had existed for a long time and
they have always posed serious challenges to basic premises in
theology and religious philosophy. Agnosticism is a skeptical
challenge to the notion that any religious conclusion can really be
"known" in the first place.


Defining Agnosticism
To understand why agnosticism is both reasonable and plays an
important role in the philosophy of religion, the first step is to
get a better grasp of just how the concept is defined. There are
quite a few different definitions of agnosticism, but the
definitions presented here are the most basic, the broadest, and I
think the most reasonable of the lot. Defining agnosticism isn't all
that difficult because the broad understanding of it is well
supported by most standard dictionaries.
Highlights:
• What is Agnosticism?
• Strong Agnosticism vs. Weak Agnosticism
• Standard Dictionary Definitions of Agnosticism

An atheist does not believe in a God.

An agnostic believes it is impossible to know God either exist, or does not exist......at least at the present time.

An Agnostic is not an atheist.

An Agnostic obviously does not believe in God. How can you believe in God if your religion is based on needing proof?

The only reason an Agnostic is not refered to as an atheist is because they are not willing to say there is no God.

An atheist does not believe in God. Nor does an Agnostic.

So I would have to say an agnostic is an atheist.

I have always considered an agnostic anyone who simply is not decided.

Quite frankly, often agnostics are people who will believe, but they have been
confused by some contact with false Christians in the past. (That is, in the West.)

Generally, simply reading the whole Bible tends to change their whole life. ;)

Granite
September 7th, 2005, 05:57 AM
I have always considered an agnostic anyone who simply is not decided.

Quite frankly, often agnostics are people who will believe, but they have been
confused by some contact with false Christians in the past. (That is, in the West.)

Generally, simply reading the whole Bible tends to change their whole life. ;)

Been there, done that, still happily undecided.

PureX
September 7th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Generally, simply reading the whole Bible tends to change their whole life. ;)No, not really. Lots of people become agnostic from being raised Christian after finally "reading the whole bible". And even moreso, after actually considering what they've read.

allsmiles
September 7th, 2005, 07:50 AM
No, not really. Lots of people become agnostic from being raised Christian after finally "reading the whole bible". And even moreso, after actually considering what they've read.

i couldn't agree more. an honest reading and appraisal of the contents of the bible is very often all it takes to turn someone away from the christian faith. that's what happened to me, once i began to read the bible in the light of historical events surrounding and motivating it's construction, i couldn't help but cease to take it literally.

PureX
September 7th, 2005, 08:45 AM
i couldn't agree more. an honest reading and appraisal of the contents of the bible is very often all it takes to turn someone away from the christian faith. that's what happened to me, once i began to read the bible in the light of historical events surrounding and motivating it's construction, i couldn't help but cease to take it literally.The unfortunate thing is, it was never intended to be taken literally.

The men who wrote those scriptures intended them to inspire thought, discussion, debate and even argument. They wanted people to address the concept God in their own hearts and minds and to share what they found there with others. This was the "living God" that they often referred to. The books of the bible were intended to teach, but not by presenting a dogmatic ideology. They were meant to teach in the best sense of that word: to invite the reader to grapple with the mystery that "God" is and has always been to mankind, for himself.

A big reason people reject the bible is because religion has taught them that they were supposed to take it as a literal dogmatic representation of what God is and what God does and what God thinks. Considered under these inflexible conditions, the bible would be pretty impossible for an intelligent, honest person to take seriously.

Granite
September 7th, 2005, 08:47 AM
i couldn't agree more. an honest reading and appraisal of the contents of the bible is very often all it takes to turn someone away from the christian faith. that's what happened to me, once i began to read the bible in the light of historical events surrounding and motivating it's construction, i couldn't help but cease to take it literally.

Reading the Old Testament alone can do the trick...:readthis:

death2impiety
September 7th, 2005, 09:37 AM
Anyone in here read "The Plot"? It's a good tool in understanding the Bible. I think disbelief comes from a misunderstanding of God, His work and His intentions. A kid reading the Bible with his own agenda, raised in the good ol' USA won't likely take to the Bible quickly as much of what Christianity stands for has been abated by contemporary American thought, evolution and philosophy.

The Pastor at my Aunt's church asked us all a question, I've never thought about before. He asked, "If you went to heaven and all your family and everyone else you cared about on Earth was there. Would you care if Jesus was absent?" Any Christian (or agnostic with Christian hopes/intentions/disagreements or whatever) who puts some real thought into it and answers no, must then realize that their heart isn't really in it for God. God isn't there to come around when we need Him to serve us. We are supposed to serve God and love Him and desire Him with every fiber of our being.

Atheists and Agnostics share at least one thing in common. They are both angry at the alleged God who they (oddly enough) don't believe in or aren't sure exists. That says to me that they are in it for them. They don't feel that God "plays fair" and hold resentment toward Him for not attending to all the needs of the world.

Or they just think it's stupid.

I for one have truly felt His presence and the effect He has on my life when I put all my thought and effort into following and loving Him. It's important not to get discouraged by your own failure to understand and truly love Him. I've fallen a few times and almost rejected Him once. It's important to remember when at first you don't succeed...

Granite
September 7th, 2005, 09:52 AM
Anyone in here read "The Plot"? It's a good tool in understanding the Bible. I think disbelief comes from a misunderstanding of God, His work and His intentions. A kid reading the Bible with his own agenda, raised in the good ol' USA won't likely take to the Bible quickly as much of what Christianity stands for has been abated by contemporary American thought, evolution and philosophy.

The Pastor at my Aunt's church asked us all a question, I've never thought about before. He asked, "If you went to heaven and all your family and everyone else you cared about on Earth was there. Would you care if Jesus was absent?" Any Christian (or agnostic with Christian hopes/intentions/disagreements or whatever) who puts some real thought into it and answers no, must then realize that their heart isn't really in it for God. God isn't there to come around when we need Him to serve us. We are supposed to serve God and love Him and desire Him with every fiber of our being.

Atheists and Agnostics share at least one thing in common. They are both angry at the alleged God who they (oddly enough) don't believe in or aren't sure exists. That says to me that they are in it for them. They don't feel that God "plays fair" and hold resentment toward Him for not attending to all the needs of the world.

Or they just think it's stupid.

I for one have truly felt His presence and the effect He has on my life when I put all my thought and effort into following and loving Him. It's important not to get discouraged by your own failure to understand and truly love Him. I've fallen a few times and almost rejected Him once. It's important to remember when at first you don't succeed...

Wrong. I'm angry with organized religion as a whole and Christianity in particular for the damage they cause. "God" is either not there or so ethereal it would be pointless to feel one way or another towards he, she, or it.

servent101
September 7th, 2005, 10:05 AM
Deathtoimpunity
They are both angry at the alleged God who they (oddly enough) don't believe in or aren't sure exists.

Possibly they are sure that god does not exist - and just are not sure if another God does exist that is not some sort of diabolical monster. You do not seem to realize the god you worship is found and described or taken by going bizzerk (orthodox mindset) over some Source of Writings - taking what is metaphore as literal.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

PureX
September 7th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Atheists and Agnostics share at least one thing in common. They are both angry at the alleged God who they (oddly enough) don't believe in or aren't sure exists. That says to me that they are in it for them. They don't feel that God "plays fair" and hold resentment toward Him for not attending to all the needs of the world.You have no idea how atheists or agnostics think or feel. You've simply made this up because it's the representation of them that best suits your own religious bias.

Atheists are not angry at God because they don't believe in a god to be angry at. If they are angry at all, it's at religion for telling lies about the existence of God and for using those lies to control, manipulate, and exploit people. Agnostics believe that the question of the existence or non-existence (and therefor the nature) of God cannot be answered under the current circumstances, so they could hardly be angry at a god that they neither know the nature of, nor even the existence of.

If you're experiencing anger from atheists and agnostics, it's more likely that they're reacting to your own condescending bias. "Believers" have a tendancy to be completely blind to their own irrational arrogance when it comes to interacting with other people who do not happen to share their beliefs. Your own post is a good example.

allsmiles
September 7th, 2005, 10:21 AM
Anyone in here read "The Plot"? It's a good tool in understanding the Bible. I think disbelief comes from a misunderstanding of God, His work and His intentions. A kid reading the Bible with his own agenda, raised in the good ol' USA won't likely take to the Bible quickly as much of what Christianity stands for has been abated by contemporary American thought, evolution and philosophy.

then what good is it? no offense, but if it isn't possible to take it for what it's worth and be willing to let the holy spirit do it's work, then what good is it to modern americans? it's totally out of it's element, i agree, but i would go further and say that it's lost it's significance. the bible is just as susceptible to the sands of time as is every other sacred text that has ever been written and been claimed to be the exclusive path to god.


The Pastor at my Aunt's church asked us all a question, I've never thought about before. He asked, "If you went to heaven and all your family and everyone else you cared about on Earth was there. Would you care if Jesus was absent?" Any Christian (or agnostic with Christian hopes/intentions/disagreements or whatever) who puts some real thought into it and answers no, must then realize that their heart isn't really in it for God. God isn't there to come around when we need Him to serve us. We are supposed to serve God and love Him and desire Him with every fiber of our being.

what do you have to offer your god that he could have any possible use for?

serving god is a contradiction in terms and makes absolutely no sense.


Atheists and Agnostics share at least one thing in common. They are both angry at the alleged God who they (oddly enough) don't believe in or aren't sure exists. That says to me that they are in it for them. They don't feel that God "plays fair" and hold resentment toward Him for not attending to all the needs of the world.

you used my favorite word! :BRAVO: if one of you can change, you all can!!!!

but seriously folks...;)

i'm not angry with your god, like Granite said, i'm angry with christians. i've said it once, i'll say it a thousand times, the worst part of christianity is christians, that's who i'm angry with. i'm furious with the christians who sacked Constantinople, i'm furious with the christians who destroyed pagan temples and built their own on top of them. i'm furious for the burned books and witches, etc.

i'm not angry with your god d2i, you should know this by now, and any honest atheist/agnostic will say the same thing. i cannot logically be angry with something that does not exist, but i am angry with those who seek to perpetuate a symbol as something that it is not.


or they just think it's stupid.

that's a possibility as well. the biblical depiction of god is a fickle, hyper sensitive one that smacks of incompetence and callous indifference.


I for one have truly felt His presence and the effect He has on my life when I put all my thought and effort into following and loving Him. It's important not to get discouraged by your own failure to understand and truly love Him. I've fallen a few times and almost rejected Him once. It's important to remember when at first you don't succeed...

if it doesn't work it's either

a) satan
b) lies or
c) failure on the part of the person

i submit

d) it just ain't true

funny you should be willing to explore a-c yet dismiss d because of the existence of a-c.

:think:

shilohproject
September 7th, 2005, 03:18 PM
i couldn't agree more. an honest reading and appraisal of the contents of the bible is very often all it takes to turn someone away from the christian faith. that's what happened to me, once i began to read the bible in the light of historical events surrounding and motivating it's construction, i couldn't help but cease to take it literally.Fortunately, literalism is not a requirement, rather is just a nice warm blanket some folks wrap themselves in to stave off the cold wind of responsibility and reason. Too bad, God is good!:cool:

OMEGA
September 7th, 2005, 07:33 PM
i'm not angry with your god, like Granite said, i'm angry with christians. i've said it once, i'll say it a thousand times, the worst part of christianity is christians, that's who i'm angry with. i'm furious with the christians who sacked Constantinople, i'm furious with the christians who destroyed pagan temples and built their own on top of them. i'm furious for the burned books and witches, etc.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who Sacked Constantinople ?

Who Burned the Witches ?

Zakath
September 7th, 2005, 07:38 PM
i'm not angry with your god, like Granite said, i'm angry with christians. i've said it once, i'll say it a thousand times, the worst part of christianity is christians, that's who i'm angry with. i'm furious with the christians who sacked Constantinople, i'm furious with the christians who destroyed pagan temples and built their own on top of them. i'm furious for the burned books and witches, etc.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who Sacked Constantinople ?People.


Who Burned the Witches ?People.

Your point?

OMEGA
September 7th, 2005, 07:55 PM
WRONG,

Christians did not Sack Constantinople.

The Idolatrous, Satan Led, Pagan Catholics did.

The following is from the internet.

In 1204 AD, Roman Catholic crusaders of the Fourth Crusade attacked and sacked Constantinople , leaving behind a legacy of bitterness among Eastern Church which continues to this day.

Papal authority is principally responsible for the accusation, torture and burning for two centuries (1450-1650) of tens of thousands, of what they called, witches .
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486,
is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its
position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for
Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the
identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches. It set forth, as
well, many of the modern misconceptions and fears concerning witches and the
influence of witchcraft. The questions, definitions, and accusations it set
forth in regard to witches, which were reinforced by its use during the
Inquisition, came to be widely regarded as irrefutable truth. Those beliefs
are held even today by a majority of Christians in regard to practitioners of
the modern “revived” religion of Witchcraft, or Wicca. And while the Malleus
itself is largely unknown in modern times, its effects have proved long
lasting.
At the time of the writing of The Malleus Maleficarum, there were many
voices within the Christian community (scholars and theologians) who doubted
the existence of witches and largely regarded such belief as mere
superstition. The authors of the Malleus addressed those voices in no
uncertain terms, stating: “Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as
Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to
maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savours of Heresy.” The immediate,
and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It
made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of
one's questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the
Inquisition. It set into the general Christian consciousness, for all time, a
belief in the existence of witches as a real and valid threat to the Christian
world. It is a belief which is held to this day.
It must be noted that during the Inquisition, few, if any, real,
verifiable, witches were ever discovered or tried. Often the very accusation
was enough to see one branded a witch, tried by the Inquisitors' Court, and
burned alive at the stake. Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition
worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long
course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the
accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious
persons. Old women. Midwives. Jews. Poets. Gypsies. Anyone who did not fit
within the contemporary view of pieous Christians were suspect, and easily
branded "Witch". Usually to devastating effect.
It must also be noted that the crime of Witchcraft was not the only
crime of which one could be accused during the Inquisition. By questioning any
part of Catholic belief, one could be branded a heretic. Scientists were
branded heretics by virtue of repudiating certain tenets of Christian belief
(most notably Galileo, whose theories on the nature of planets and
gravitational fields was initially branded heretical). Writers who challenged
the Church were arrested for heresy (sometimes formerly accepted writers whose
works had become unpopular). Anyone who questioned the validity of any part of
Catholic belief did so at their own risk. The Malleus Maleficarum played an
important role in bringing such Canonical law into being, as often the charge
of heresy carried along with it suspicions of witchcraft.
It must be remembered that the Malleus is a work of its time. Science
had only just begun to make any real advances. At that time nearly any
unexplainable illness or malady would often be attributed to magic, and thus
the activity of witches. It was a way for ordinary people to make sense of the
world around them. The Malleus drew upon those beliefs, and, by its very
existence, reinforced them and brought them into the codified belief system of
the Catholic Church. In many ways, it could be said that it helped to validate
the Inquisition itself.
While the Malleus itself cannot be blamed for the Inquisition or the
horrors inflicted upon mankind by the Inquisitors, it certainly played an
important role. Thus has it been said that The Malleus Maleficarum is one of
the most blood-soaked works in human history, in that its very existence
reinforced and validated Catholic beliefs which led to the prosecution,
torture, and murder, of tens of thousands of innocent people.
The lasting effect of the Malleus upon the world can only be measured
in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and even children,
who suffered, and died, at the hands of the Catholic Inquisitors during the
Inquisition. Its effects were even felt in the New World, where the last gasp of the Inquisition was felt in the English settlements in America (most notably in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials).

=====================================

True Christians were in their homes quietly praying and asking God to protect them

from the Evil, Power hungry Catholic Church.

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 10:41 PM
Been there, done that, still happily undecided.

Sure.

I was just being friendly. Maybe it is actually annoying to post on a list and
have someone attempt to convert you by undue hope in a complete stranger.

Do not mistake what I said, I was not implying that reading the Bible, or going
to Church, nor anything other work on man's part could possibly bring them
everlasting life in Jesus Christ. It is entirely by grace, and so there is absolutely
no boasting rights on my part -- except that we Christians are born somehow
the nothings of this world, those with less personal spirit then everyone else...
the outsiders in this world, the constant foreigners even in our own homeland.

Maybe God is leading you quietly, maybe not at all. I do not know. I do not
consider evangelism to be my role within the Church, anyway.

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 10:51 PM
No, not really. Lots of people become agnostic from being raised Christian after finally "reading the whole bible". And even moreso, after actually considering what they've read.

...

I do not know, I do not have exact statistics on it. It is very common to wave one's
hand and say, "Oh, I read the whole thing", when, in fact, the person simply does
not want to appear foolish for arguing about a thing they have not even read.

However, surely there is a wide difference between studied agnostics who post
on Christian forums for whatever reason... and agnostics I tend to meet in random
forums or on the street.

Regardless, as I replied to the other poster... reading the Bible does not save a
person, in actuality, and I was not intending to imply that. No work saves a person
whatsoever, but only faith in God through grace. There are, no doubt, countless
Christians who have read the Bible and know it quite thoroughly but believe hardly
a word of it.

Then there is a very lesser number of individuals who actually know what is going
on, but have no trust in God.

But, whatever, I was just being friendly, I do not consider evangelism one of
my talents.

Rydo
September 7th, 2005, 11:00 PM
The unfortunate thing is, it was never intended to be taken literally.
I know many Christians personally who would vehemently disagree with you.

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 11:05 PM
Reading the Old Testament alone can do the trick...:readthis:

FYI, if anyone wants to corner me here, I am a huge fan of the Old Testament.

Ask me about how horrible a person I am or something, or why God allows evil
to exist... or is there really any free will at all, if you want, just for conversational
purposes.

Or, hey, look at nature: look at the crime in the streets, the rapes, the tortures,
the murders, the rise of Islamism and Nazism and Marxism (noting that you are
"more right then left")... look at the horrible insects that lay their babies in living
prey only to have them slowly eat them out from the inside... or plagues or
natural disasters... or whatever horrors this world holds.

There legacy of world horrors seems to never end. And each of us have had our
own curses and terrible dilemmas to deal with... some much more then others.

And, noting, you have said that you have read the entire Bible, I could point out
for me, what I have found to be true is what Paul said about how the Law, though
Holy and Good creates death in us, for when we read the Law our fleshly, 'sinful
as it is', rebels against it at every twist and turn. 'So I did not know of covetousness,
but when I read of it sin in me created everyone form of covetousness and so
death was born'... to paraphrase.

And I can point out, having the same flesh as anyone else, my heart is full of
every manner of sin all through the day... granted through the grace of God,
I am able to resist much of it, yet even still I give in here and there... and we
are full of incredible hypocrises of deceit... as another writer noted, 'the heart
is deceitful above all else'.

So, what of all of this?

And, to go even further, there is the book of "The Preacher", which points out
that everything in life is vain, useless, meaningless... we strive, but the race
is not to the swiftest, but luck and chance happen to all... Einstein said that
he can not believe God uses dice, but the Scripture states otherwise: the
world is cast about in varying laws and probabilities...

In fact, to believe in such things, to even know them, is largely and completely
impossible for the flesh. There is no way man can just stroll up into the spiritual
planes and force a meeting with God.

God hides Himself in everything, yet His presence is everywhere.

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 11:07 PM
FYI, if anyone wants to corner me here, I am a huge fan of the Old Testament.

Ask me about how horrible a person I am or something, or why God allows evil
to exist... or is there really any free will at all, if you want, just for conversational
purposes.

Or, hey, look at nature: look at the crime in the streets, the rapes, the tortures,
the murders, the rise of Islamism and Nazism and Marxism (noting that you are
"more right then left")... look at the horrible insects that lay their babies in living
prey only to have them slowly eat them out from the inside... or plagues or
natural disasters... or whatever horrors this world holds.

There legacy of world horrors seems to never end. And each of us have had our
own curses and terrible dilemmas to deal with... some much more then others.

And, noting, you have said that you have read the entire Bible, I could point out
for me, what I have found to be true is what Paul said about how the Law, though
Holy and Good creates death in us, for when we read the Law our fleshly, 'sinful
as it is', rebels against it at every twist and turn. 'So I did not know of covetousness,
but when I read of it sin in me created everyone form of covetousness and so
death was born'... to paraphrase.

And I can point out, having the same flesh as anyone else, my heart is full of
every manner of sin all through the day... granted through the grace of God,
I am able to resist much of it, yet even still I give in here and there... and we
are full of incredible hypocrises of deceit... as another writer noted, 'the heart
is deceitful above all else'.

So, what of all of this?

And, to go even further, there is the book of "The Preacher", which points out
that everything in life is vain, useless, meaningless... we strive, but the race
is not to the swiftest, but luck and chance happen to all... Einstein said that
he can not believe God uses dice, but the Scripture states otherwise: the
world is cast about in varying laws and probabilities...

In fact, to believe in such things, to even know them, is largely and completely
impossible for the flesh. There is no way man can just stroll up into the spiritual
planes and force a meeting with God.

God hides Himself in everything, yet His presence is everywhere.

Actually, apologies, this entire thread is a digression for me, I should not state
that I wish to have a philosophical discussion here, as in "if anyone wishes to
corner me". I may visit the thread again, but then again, any other Christian
could take up where I have left off here. Such is the nature of our spiritual unity.

angelfightfire
September 7th, 2005, 11:33 PM
Wrong. I'm angry with organized religion as a whole and Christianity in particular for the damage they cause. "God" is either not there or so ethereal it would be pointless to feel one way or another towards he, she, or it.

Actually, Christianity is not really an organized religion in the way that other religions are, at least, that is ultimately what Scriptures say. This is how we can have fellowship with each other - Christians - despite denominational or Church walls. I know Christians alike, Protestant, Catholic, Orthdox... or something outside of that.

On the outside, sure, it looks organized. The key word here is not being mentioned, however, and that is "man", as in "organized by man".

If, for instance, you think I agree with what some of the "leaders" of some of the main evangelical Churches are doing or have done -- that is absolutely false. Yet, can I reject a brother or sister in Christ merely because someone stands up in a crowd, declares themself a leader, and represents Christ in some horrible way to all of the world -- to defame all Christians and the Name of Christ himself?

And we have built into our faith the concept of false Christians, false prophets, and anti-Christian cults. Judas was one of the twelve. Most of Israel was rebellious. We have countless cults coming out from us... and under our guidelines these are anti-Christian cults... some who directly deny the Lord, some who claim to be His followers. Even Nazis claimed to be Christians, even while they persecuted true Christians and followed pagan and satanic rituals and beliefs. Nevermind that Christians largely comprised the Allied forces, nevermind that countless Christians worked tirelessly against the Nazi powers -- what are we remembered for in that war by countless non-Christians? We are remembered for the incredible lie the Nazis perpetuated.

It is a wilderness, truly, of walls. It is a world of lies. Somewhere, out there, is the truth. And, it does not help that true Christians even often never progress beyond trying to merely sort out good from evil... far less from them to actually shine their lights in the world and impress the world of the good name of Christ. (Though, I do believe we have done this, and we have done it amply, however our detractors are endless with their propaganda against us... and we do not always bother to trumpet our own beliefs loud enough...)

But, whatever. Blame us for everything, for all of the sins of the world, and throw the Jews in there with us. Then, proclaim Islamists and Marxists and Nazis the truly oppressed, the righteous amongst the guilty... and we the criminals of the whole world. We are used to it. Such is our lot. The whole world hates us. Great. We hate the world.

But, as you have the patience to actually spend time on these forums and not scream and yell at us about why we killed billions and billions of people... maybe you do perceive that subtle twinkle in the eyes... that existance of a plane and a reality which is true and from which all of the lies of the world can but shadow and mimic.

Ugh, and I did not want to continue in this thread. I am a creature of compulsions beyond my own understanding. And proud of it. :)

freelight
September 8th, 2005, 02:21 AM
If agnosticism includes recognition that 'God' cannot be wholly or perfectly known, realized or proven to exist......then all are agnostic...for there is not one person alive today that, whether they have their god-revelation from Spirit or inspired writings can claim to totally have discovered/come to know God in his fulness. (or can they?)

Seen from another perspective......those who do claim to know God in whatever degree and deem this knowledge 'essential' for salvation are 'gnostic' esentially.

An observer may note that neither an agnostic or a gnostic have anything that is validated apart from subjective opinion or 'limited' knowledge. Can one have perfect knowledge of God as a finite human being? Even the most faithful believer in 'God' must admit his knowledge of God is partial to his own perception of what he deems is 'God'.

When the cows come home and the church doors close.....the believer still accepts that he only knows God to a degree and doesnt know him by relative degree pending his own finite capabilities. Does someone here know God perfectly/wholly/thoroughly in the totality of His Infinite BEING? While this view could be had in some metaphysical schools who assume that the "I" that I AM is the Mind of God having universal access to infinite intelligence....the general concensus among most relative theology is that our knowledge of God is limited albiet growing as we ascend Godward towards spiritual perfection/revelation or that we will know all things by and by when we get to 'heaven' in some projected future.

As a final quest-ion......while agnosticism may be more like a transitory view rather than a religion per se.....how could this 'view' be guided to something more fruitful, provided that such an authentic knowledge of God could actually be possessed? Or maybe this view is the most sound without one going fully into the realm of 'faith' or complete atheism.(assuming that both these views may be illogical in the light of certain rationale). In the end, the soul chooses what suits it at any given time in its evolution...which makes for a wonderful journey.

One thing I do know...or at least is consciously evident......is that....I AM.
If this Self-discovery or realization is the beginning of true gnosis or salvation...then thats another chapter :)


paul

PureX
September 8th, 2005, 05:58 AM
I know many Christians personally who would vehemently disagree with you.Yes, and it's their vehemence that exposes their neediness for a "how to" book. Of course where there are sheep in need of someone to tell them what to believe, there will always be a wolf ready to accomodate them.

PureX
September 8th, 2005, 06:18 AM
As a final quest-ion......while agnosticism may be more like a transitory view rather than a religion per se.....how could this 'view' be guided to something more fruitful, provided that such an authentic knowledge of God could actually be possessed? Or maybe this view is the most sound without one going fully into the realm of 'faith' or complete atheism.(assuming that both these views may be illogical in the light of certain rationale). In the end, the soul chooses what suits it at any given time in its evolution...which makes for a wonderful journey. I've always been puzzled by this "need to know" God in the first place. Whether or not God exists, why would I "need to know"? I'm an agnostic because I'm able to admit my limitations as a human being, and I understand that as a limited finite human being, I can't prove or disprove the existence of an infinite proposition like "God". This doesn't bother me, however, because I see no reason that I should be able to prove or to know such things. I don't need to know them, and in fact I believe my life would be very bizarre and quite possibly meaningless if I did know these things. Most of the gifts that I receive as a human being are because of the limitations I experience as a human being. A life based on faith, rather then on knowledge of the infinite, is a life of wonder and freedom. I don't want to be God. I don't want to know what God knows. I don't need to know that a "God" exists, or what is the nature of this "God" if it does exist.

I'm an ignorant human, and I'm glad of it. I can choose to believe in the God that I hope exists, or I can choose to believe in a God of someone else's invention, or I can choose to believe there is no God at all, or I can even choose not to choose. And so can everyone else. It's our ignorance that makes us all so free. I think we ought to be grateful for this.

Granite
September 8th, 2005, 06:21 AM
FYI, if anyone wants to corner me here, I am a huge fan of the Old Testament.

Ask me about how horrible a person I am or something, or why God allows evil
to exist... or is there really any free will at all, if you want, just for conversational
purposes.

Or, hey, look at nature: look at the crime in the streets, the rapes, the tortures,
the murders, the rise of Islamism and Nazism and Marxism (noting that you are
"more right then left")... look at the horrible insects that lay their babies in living
prey only to have them slowly eat them out from the inside... or plagues or
natural disasters... or whatever horrors this world holds.

There legacy of world horrors seems to never end. And each of us have had our
own curses and terrible dilemmas to deal with... some much more then others.

And, noting, you have said that you have read the entire Bible, I could point out
for me, what I have found to be true is what Paul said about how the Law, though
Holy and Good creates death in us, for when we read the Law our fleshly, 'sinful
as it is', rebels against it at every twist and turn. 'So I did not know of covetousness,
but when I read of it sin in me created everyone form of covetousness and so
death was born'... to paraphrase.

And I can point out, having the same flesh as anyone else, my heart is full of
every manner of sin all through the day... granted through the grace of God,
I am able to resist much of it, yet even still I give in here and there... and we
are full of incredible hypocrises of deceit... as another writer noted, 'the heart
is deceitful above all else'.

So, what of all of this?

And, to go even further, there is the book of "The Preacher", which points out
that everything in life is vain, useless, meaningless... we strive, but the race
is not to the swiftest, but luck and chance happen to all... Einstein said that
he can not believe God uses dice, but the Scripture states otherwise: the
world is cast about in varying laws and probabilities...

In fact, to believe in such things, to even know them, is largely and completely
impossible for the flesh. There is no way man can just stroll up into the spiritual
planes and force a meeting with God.

God hides Himself in everything, yet His presence is everywhere.

Ah yes. The Old Testament. Replete with rape, the mutiliation of women, and genocide. Cute!

Frank Ernest
September 8th, 2005, 06:33 AM
Ah yes. The Old Testament. Replete with rape, the mutiliation of women, and genocide. Cute!
:darwinsm: Sure is more exciting than the prissy, wimpy little sandbox world you prefer.

Caledvwlch
September 8th, 2005, 06:34 AM
:darwinsm: Sure is more exciting than the prissy, wimpy little sandbox world you prefer.
You got a citation to go with that remark?

Zakath
September 8th, 2005, 07:34 AM
...
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486,
is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its
position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for
Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the
identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches. It set forth, as
well, many of the modern misconceptions and fears concerning witches and the
influence of witchcraft. The questions, definitions, and accusations it set
forth in regard to witches, which were reinforced by its use during the
Inquisition, came to be widely regarded as irrefutable truth. Those beliefs
are held even today by a majority of Christians in regard to practitioners of
the modern “revived” religion of Witchcraft, or Wicca. And while the Malleus
itself is largely unknown in modern times, its effects have proved long
lasting.
At the time of the writing of The Malleus Maleficarum, there were many
voices within the Christian community (scholars and theologians) who doubted
the existence of witches and largely regarded such belief as mere
superstition. The authors of the Malleus addressed those voices in no
uncertain terms, stating: “Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as
Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to
maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savours of Heresy.” The immediate,
and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It
made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of
one's questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the
Inquisition. It set into the general Christian consciousness, for all time, a
belief in the existence of witches as a real and valid threat to the Christian
world. It is a belief which is held to this day.
It must be noted that during the Inquisition, few, if any, real,
verifiable, witches were ever discovered or tried. Often the very accusation
was enough to see one branded a witch, tried by the Inquisitors' Court, and
burned alive at the stake. Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition
worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long
course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the
accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious
persons. Old women. Midwives. Jews. Poets. Gypsies. Anyone who did not fit
within the contemporary view of pieous Christians were suspect, and easily
branded "Witch". Usually to devastating effect.
It must also be noted that the crime of Witchcraft was not the only
crime of which one could be accused during the Inquisition. By questioning any
part of Catholic belief, one could be branded a heretic. Scientists were
branded heretics by virtue of repudiating certain tenets of Christian belief
(most notably Galileo, whose theories on the nature of planets and
gravitational fields was initially branded heretical). Writers who challenged
the Church were arrested for heresy (sometimes formerly accepted writers whose
works had become unpopular). Anyone who questioned the validity of any part of
Catholic belief did so at their own risk. The Malleus Maleficarum played an
important role in bringing such Canonical law into being, as often the charge
of heresy carried along with it suspicions of witchcraft.
It must be remembered that the Malleus is a work of its time. Science
had only just begun to make any real advances. At that time nearly any
unexplainable illness or malady would often be attributed to magic, and thus
the activity of witches. It was a way for ordinary people to make sense of the
world around them. The Malleus drew upon those beliefs, and, by its very
existence, reinforced them and brought them into the codified belief system of
the Catholic Church. In many ways, it could be said that it helped to validate
the Inquisition itself.
While the Malleus itself cannot be blamed for the Inquisition or the
horrors inflicted upon mankind by the Inquisitors, it certainly played an
important role. Thus has it been said that The Malleus Maleficarum is one of
the most blood-soaked works in human history, in that its very existence
reinforced and validated Catholic beliefs which led to the prosecution,
torture, and murder, of tens of thousands of innocent people.
The lasting effect of the Malleus upon the world can only be measured
in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and even children,
who suffered, and died, at the hands of the Catholic Inquisitors during the
Inquisition. Its effects were even felt in the New World, where the last gasp of the Inquisition was felt in the English settlements in America (most notably in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials).

=====================================
OMEGA, I know where you obtained this (word for word) (http://www.malleusmaleficarum.org/) and want to remind you that here in the USA we have rules about posting other people's materials without adequately giving them credit.

Please cite the source for your "cut and paste" exercises. :mad:

BTW, what does this have to do with "agnosticism"? :think:

Zakath
September 8th, 2005, 07:35 AM
double posted in error

Granite
September 8th, 2005, 07:44 AM
:darwinsm: Sure is more exciting than the prissy, wimpy little sandbox world you prefer.

:yawn:

If worshipping a Middle Eastern tribal sky god with a bloodlust keeps you happy, more power to you.

allsmiles
September 8th, 2005, 07:46 AM
WRONG,

Christians did not Sack Constantinople.

The Idolatrous, Satan Led, Pagan Catholics did.

The following is from the internet.

In 1204 AD, Roman Catholic crusaders of the Fourth Crusade attacked and sacked Constantinople , leaving behind a legacy of bitterness among Eastern Church which continues to this day.

Papal authority is principally responsible for the accusation, torture and burning for two centuries (1450-1650) of tens of thousands, of what they called, witches .
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486,
is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its
position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for
Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the
identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches. It set forth, as
well, many of the modern misconceptions and fears concerning witches and the
influence of witchcraft. The questions, definitions, and accusations it set
forth in regard to witches, which were reinforced by its use during the
Inquisition, came to be widely regarded as irrefutable truth. Those beliefs
are held even today by a majority of Christians in regard to practitioners of
the modern “revived” religion of Witchcraft, or Wicca. And while the Malleus
itself is largely unknown in modern times, its effects have proved long
lasting.
At the time of the writing of The Malleus Maleficarum, there were many
voices within the Christian community (scholars and theologians) who doubted
the existence of witches and largely regarded such belief as mere
superstition. The authors of the Malleus addressed those voices in no
uncertain terms, stating: “Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as
Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to
maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savours of Heresy.” The immediate,
and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It
made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of
one's questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the
Inquisition. It set into the general Christian consciousness, for all time, a
belief in the existence of witches as a real and valid threat to the Christian
world. It is a belief which is held to this day.
It must be noted that during the Inquisition, few, if any, real,
verifiable, witches were ever discovered or tried. Often the very accusation
was enough to see one branded a witch, tried by the Inquisitors' Court, and
burned alive at the stake. Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition
worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long
course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the
accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious
persons. Old women. Midwives. Jews. Poets. Gypsies. Anyone who did not fit
within the contemporary view of pieous Christians were suspect, and easily
branded "Witch". Usually to devastating effect.
It must also be noted that the crime of Witchcraft was not the only
crime of which one could be accused during the Inquisition. By questioning any
part of Catholic belief, one could be branded a heretic. Scientists were
branded heretics by virtue of repudiating certain tenets of Christian belief
(most notably Galileo, whose theories on the nature of planets and
gravitational fields was initially branded heretical). Writers who challenged
the Church were arrested for heresy (sometimes formerly accepted writers whose
works had become unpopular). Anyone who questioned the validity of any part of
Catholic belief did so at their own risk. The Malleus Maleficarum played an
important role in bringing such Canonical law into being, as often the charge
of heresy carried along with it suspicions of witchcraft.
It must be remembered that the Malleus is a work of its time. Science
had only just begun to make any real advances. At that time nearly any
unexplainable illness or malady would often be attributed to magic, and thus
the activity of witches. It was a way for ordinary people to make sense of the
world around them. The Malleus drew upon those beliefs, and, by its very
existence, reinforced them and brought them into the codified belief system of
the Catholic Church. In many ways, it could be said that it helped to validate
the Inquisition itself.
While the Malleus itself cannot be blamed for the Inquisition or the
horrors inflicted upon mankind by the Inquisitors, it certainly played an
important role. Thus has it been said that The Malleus Maleficarum is one of
the most blood-soaked works in human history, in that its very existence
reinforced and validated Catholic beliefs which led to the prosecution,
torture, and murder, of tens of thousands of innocent people.
The lasting effect of the Malleus upon the world can only be measured
in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and even children,
who suffered, and died, at the hands of the Catholic Inquisitors during the
Inquisition. Its effects were even felt in the New World, where the last gasp of the Inquisition was felt in the English settlements in America (most notably in Salem, Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials).

=====================================

True Christians were in their homes quietly praying and asking God to protect them

from the Evil, Power hungry Catholic Church.

are you saying that real christians didn't exist until after the reformation?

Granite
September 8th, 2005, 07:47 AM
are you saying that real christians didn't exist until after the reformation?

"He" isn't saying a thing, as all Omega can do is cut and paste.:rolleyes: :loser:

allsmiles
September 8th, 2005, 07:53 AM
nice signature Granite, the Raiders have no idea what's in store for them tonight:)

and i always got the impression that the OT Yahweh was a volcano god...

Granite
September 8th, 2005, 07:54 AM
nice signature Granite, the Raiders have no idea what's in store for them tonight:)

and i always got the impression that the OT Yahweh was a volcano god...

Yup, I think the champs will walk over the chumps...

Back to your question to Omega: it does seem he's saying "real" Christians weren't around until after the Reformation. Which seems to imply "real" Christianity was lost sometime after the apostles got it and the Roman church was established.

OMEGA
September 8th, 2005, 11:35 AM
ZAK,

I was just trying to show that Allsmiles has no reason to Blame Christians for doing Evil

because the Catholics are not Christians but a Pagan, Idolotrous organization.

Granite
September 8th, 2005, 11:37 AM
Omega: the least you can do is cite your sources, as opposed to being lazy or trying to give the impression this stuff is actually your material.

allsmiles
September 8th, 2005, 11:39 AM
ZAK,

I was just trying to show that Allsmiles has no reason to Blame Christians for doing Evil

because the Catholics are not Christians but a Pagan, Idolotrous organization.

ahem...


In 1204 AD, Roman Catholic crusaders of the Fourth Crusade attacked and sacked Constantinople

the protestant reformation did not begin until the 16th century dear OMEGA.

are you telling us that "real" christians did not exist until after the 1500's?

and if that is not what you're telling us, than where were all the "real" christians?

Zakath
September 8th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Interesting points; Smiles, Granite...

Well, OMEGA? :think:

Frank Ernest
September 9th, 2005, 04:38 AM
:yawn:

If worshipping a Middle Eastern tribal sky god with a bloodlust keeps you happy, more power to you.
:darwinsm: Hey! If worshipping yourself makes you happy, go for it!

Granite
September 9th, 2005, 06:09 AM
I don't. What you people don't know is a lot.

And it appears that Omega has gone AWOL, which is lazy and convenient.:rolleyes:

Zakath
September 9th, 2005, 06:59 AM
:darwinsm: Hey! If worshipping yourself makes you happy, go for it!


worship
The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.

As nearly as I can tell, Granite doesn't take himself seriously enough to be an object of self-worship.

Granite
September 9th, 2005, 07:26 AM
Too true. If anybody has a sense of humor, self-worship is the last thing on your mind.

OMEGA
September 9th, 2005, 08:04 PM
I can't believe how IGNORANT you guys are:


The Catholics were Proud and Arrogant and spiteful and hatefilled and all around Bad Dudes
maskerading as God's Servants.

If you read your bible , you would see that a Real Christian is Humble, Peaceable, Honest,
Truthful, Full of Kindness and goodness and seeks to be at Peace with all men and women.

Just the Opposite of those ROTTEN, CARNAL TO THE CORE, Catholics.
YECK !!
---------------------

1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Heb 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Ro 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

OMEGA
September 9th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Real Christianity started with the 12 Apostles.

Who worshipped Jesus before and after he died and got up
and walked and talked with the hundreds of people.

1Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once;

Frank Ernest
September 10th, 2005, 03:56 AM
As nearly as I can tell, Granite doesn't take himself seriously enough to be an object of self-worship.
Then I won't take him seriously either. :D :thumb:

Granite
September 10th, 2005, 09:22 AM
Real Christianity started with the 12 Apostles.

Who worshipped Jesus before and after he died and got up
and walked and talked with the hundreds of people.

1Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once;

So would you say "real" Christianity was lost at some point between the apostles and the RCC?

PureX
September 10th, 2005, 09:32 AM
I personally don't think "real Christianity" was ever fully grasped - not even by the apostles. Some people got it just as some people get it even today, but most do not. The moment a person turns Christ into a religion, they've missed the whole point.

I know all the religionists will chime in "Here, here!" but in truth they are the most religious, and the most lost.

OMEGA
September 10th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Christian Churches were started by the Apostles and continued from there.

Down through History there have been other Church Groups who followed JESUS
and did not follow the Catholics.

Waldenses, Vaudois, Henricians, Catharists, Puritans, Bougres, Paulicans, Publicans, Lombardists, Albigenses - all following Christ and calling themselves the Church of God.

======================================

Agape4Robin
September 10th, 2005, 06:17 PM
I personally don't think "real Christianity" was ever fully grasped - not even by the apostles. Some people got it just as some people get it even today, but most do not. The moment a person turns Christ into a religion, they've missed the whole point.

I know all the religionists will chime in "Here, here!" but in truth they are the most religious, and the most lost.I disagree. Paul got it. John got it. Peter got it. They were apostles, were they not?:think:

However, I do agree with the difference between "religion" and Christianity. :thumb:

angelfightfire
September 10th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Ah yes. The Old Testament. Replete with rape, the mutiliation of women, and genocide. Cute!


He does hold the strings on everyone's birth and life, and so, yes, sometimes has to pull them.

I am not a moral relativist. In the slaughter in Rwanda, the NY Times and many on the Left said, "There is no good side, they are all bad." The Clinton Administration helped the UN essentially pull out of the region. After the Rwandan Refugees chased the much larger force of the genocidists out of the country, even still the world continued to give much more aid to the genocidists then to the actual genocide victims.

Needless to say, there were retaliations.

Amnesty International stood up and condemned all retaliations, indeed, even their right to fight back -- equating all killing as equal, regardless of the motives.

Historically, we have seen that the world does believe that it has a right to murder Christians, Jews, and others... but that the victim does not have a right to fight back. They especially are angry when either Christians or Jews fight back.

This is not the same situation.

If someone came into your house, would you wound them? If someone killed your family, would you seek to kill them? If you saw the ocean parted, ten great plagues, heard the very voice of God and saw all of the miracles the Hebrew did, would you believe when you were commanded by this same God to go in and take the land and leave no thing breathing left alive?

But, you leave all of the miracles out of the equation. You pick and choose what from the Bible is true. You assume most of it is untrue. You then have to make guesses: were they really slaves at all? Did they really get freed? Did they really invade the land at all? Was Abraham and his family really living in the land in the first place? Did they ever really go to Egypt, become enslaved, and become a giant nation? Was there really a Joseph?

It goes on and on.

Speculation after speculation after speculation. Regardless, your accusations are unfair. You can not say, "God says it is okay for anybody to claim they are speaking for God and to go about and order wars". That is outrageously not in the context whatsoever. In context, nothing like this is ever said.

This is like if someone comes into you house, ties up your family, rapes and kills them... you come in, you grab your gun, and you kill that person in blind rage... and then the authorities remove the entire story, the entire circumstances, and jail you for life for murder with malicious intent.

They say, "Well, whatever evidence there may be that your family was really raped or killed by this fellow is inconsequential. We do not believe it, and so will throw it out. Therefore, the facts of the case are you shot a man in cold blood who you invited over to your house, and he was not armed with anything."

That is just one example of explaining why your accusations are way off base.

...

That said, a lot of men today are cowards. They never make tough decisions. They would not protect their family if their life depended on it. When they see crimes against other people, they turn their heads and walk away. They do not intervene, they do not report it.

They never fail to try to follow the crowd. They are mortified of something bad being said about them... so they approve of any and every crime willingly.

I do not know if this is where you are coming from, or what. But, this is where a lot of the critics of the Old Testament come from. I would guess not, actually, based on little evidence... but my point is this is the opposite place from where I stand.

So, no, I think Samson is incredible. A role model. I think David is great. Both men who fought a killed a lot of people. I will not shy away from that. I think all of the Prophets in the Old Testament are great. I love all of their stories and admire every single thing they ever did -- except where they sinned.

So, whatever, judge me as you will.

I am proud of it.

Agape4Robin
September 10th, 2005, 06:40 PM
He does hold the strings on everyone's birth and life, and so, yes, sometimes has to pull them.

I am not a moral relativist. In the slaughter in Rwanda, the NY Times and many on the Left said, "There is no good side, they are all bad." The Clinton Administration helped the UN essentially pull out of the region. After the Rwandan Refugees chased the much larger force of the genocidists out of the country, even still the world continued to give much more aid to the genocidists then to the actual genocide victims.

Needless to say, there were retaliations.

Amnesty International stood up and condemned all retaliations, indeed, even their right to fight back -- equating all killing as equal, regardless of the motives.

Historically, we have seen that the world does believe that it has a right to murder Christians, Jews, and others... but that the victim does not have a right to fight back. They especially are angry when either Christians or Jews fight back.

This is not the same situation.

If someone came into your house, would you wound them? If someone killed your family, would you seek to kill them? If you saw the ocean parted, ten great plagues, heard the very voice of God and saw all of the miracles the Hebrew did, would you believe when you were commanded by this same God to go in and take the land and leave no thing breathing left alive?

But, you leave all of the miracles out of the equation. You pick and choose what from the Bible is true. You assume most of it is untrue. You then have to make guesses: were they really slaves at all? Did they really get freed? Did they really invade the land at all? Was Abraham and his family really living in the land in the first place? Did they ever really go to Egypt, become enslaved, and become a giant nation? Was there really a Joseph?

It goes on and on.

Speculation after speculation after speculation. Regardless, your accusations are unfair. You can not say, "God says it is okay for anybody to claim they are speaking for God and to go about and order wars". That is outrageously not in the context whatsoever. In context, nothing like this is ever said.

This is like if someone comes into you house, ties up your family, rapes and kills them... you come in, you grab your gun, and you kill that person in blind rage... and then the authorities remove the entire story, the entire circumstances, and jail you for life for murder with malicious intent.

They say, "Well, whatever evidence there may be that your family was really raped or killed by this fellow is inconsequential. We do not believe it, and so will throw it out. Therefore, the facts of the case are you shot a man in cold blood who you invited over to your house, and he was not armed with anything."

That is just one example of explaining why your accusations are way off base.

...

That said, a lot of men today are cowards. They never make tough decisions. They would not protect their family if their life depended on it. When they see crimes against other people, they turn their heads and walk away. They do not intervene, they do not report it.

They never fail to try to follow the crowd. They are mortified of something bad being said about them... so they approve of any and every crime willingly.

I do not know if this is where you are coming from, or what. But, this is where a lot of the critics of the Old Testament come from. I would guess not, actually, based on little evidence... but my point is this is the opposite place from where I stand.

So, no, I think Samson is incredible. A role model. I think David is great. Both men who fought a killed a lot of people. I will not shy away from that. I think all of the Prophets in the Old Testament are great. I love all of their stories and admire every single thing they ever did -- except where they sinned.

So, whatever, judge me as you will.

I am proud of it.Braaaaaaaaaaaavo!!!!:BRAVO:

Well said!

angelfightfire
September 10th, 2005, 06:40 PM
:darwinsm: Sure is more exciting than the prissy, wimpy little sandbox world you prefer.

Oddly, your little icon you used there is called "darwinism". That is amusing, I wonder how many of these guys that find the Old Testament so horrifying embrace the principles of darwinism? (All, likely.)

Natural selection.

Here are some points:

-> Under these guidelines of Darwinism, morality genuinely does not make sense -- if you are superior, your major goal should be to become dictator, have endless concubines and children... you might settle for multiple wives and many children

-> If you do not even have children - as most of these internet Darwinists don't, we can reason - then you are qualified as being a Darwinian reject... whatever the reason, you have failed, you are a worthless mutation

-> Might makes right under the Darwinian model, again, there is no morality

-> Good looking guys should all start stealing everyone else's women, at least, those who "know the truth about Darwinism". You don't want everyone in the ball game, or who knows, maybe society would collapse.

Darwinism is behind Nazism and Communism.

Without these principles, neither of these systems would have existed.

They have both fed into what is today, modern Islamism. What would Islamism be without the Nazi propaganda or without the support of the Left?

Christianity, on the otherhand, has a moral system which is reasonable - though those who disagree with it, of course, would argue that they fail to see the reasoning thereof - and our actions have good reasons behind them: there is nothing in the Scripture which ultimately can not be applied as being under the Golden Rule.

Someone could say, "But they killed bad people!". Okay. If God showed you miracles and spoke audibly to you, then asked you to kill bad people, would you? Conversely, if God created man, then who has the right to say God can not make him die? If you create something, does anyone complain when you destroy it? Do they have a right to? Of course not.

But, they are all hypocrites.

They have a standard for themselves, and a very different standard for everyone else.

Agape4Robin
September 10th, 2005, 06:42 PM
It's absolutely sickening that some pick and choose what is palatable about the Bible. :think:

Balder
September 10th, 2005, 07:57 PM
It's absolutely sickening that some pick and choose what is palatable about the Bible. :think:
I find it more disturbing that some people, in their insecurity and demand for something "fixed" and unquestionable in order to shore up their lack of faith, are willing to accept obviously immoral acts, such as genocide and other forms of mass murder, as having been commanded and sanctioned by a supposedly good and holy God.

Balder
September 10th, 2005, 08:09 PM
Someone could say, "But they killed bad people!". Okay. If God showed you miracles and spoke audibly to you, then asked you to kill bad people, would you?
If you heard a voice which you believed was God, which told you to go into a rich neighborhood and find a specific house and enter it and slaughter everyone in it, down to the babies and pets, and then take it over for yourself, would you do it?


Conversely, if God created man, then who has the right to say God can not make him die? If you create something, does anyone complain when you destroy it? Do they have a right to? Of course not.
If you create an insentient, unfeeling material object, no one will complain or call you immoral if you destroy it. But if one day you are able to create a living, breathing, fully thinking and feeling human being in your laboratory, do you still think you it would not be morally problematic to torture her, to burn her alive, or to cut her into pieces?

OMEGA
September 10th, 2005, 09:19 PM
God is Not Immoral.

That is your mistaken conclusion.

God has the Right to Kill and destroy people because He created them

and HE can easily bring them back to life at the Proper time.

Everything is Timing.

God does not want the same situation as NOAH had,
when the world was full of violence
to exist until the time is right.

God gives people time to Change from their Evil ways but if they won't then he removes them from the Earth for awhile so that the rest of the World
will see and behave themselves.

==============================

angelfightfire
September 10th, 2005, 11:27 PM
If you heard a voice which you believed was God, which told you to go into a rich neighborhood and find a specific house and enter it and slaughter everyone in it, down to the babies and pets, and then take it over for yourself, would you do it?


Okay, so now you can't argue from a Scriptural basis, so you go to personal opinion. If Christian A says, "Yes, I would do whatever a voice I believed was God said" then that somehow proves that Scripture teaches this.

Nevermind that you could likely also find out that "Christians" use brain meters over on a Scientologist list. Or "Christians" believe blood transfusion is "cannibalism" on a Jehovah Witness list.

Slanderers don't want the truth. Slanderers want lies. They want distortions which embrace their lies. Mass slanderers are the worst type. Germany mass slandered the Jews before killing them. Tutsis mass slandered the Hutus before killing them. First, comes the hate propaganda, then the murder.

The media constantly thrives on this kind of thing for their bias. A guy calling himself "Christian" stands up and says something atrocious and for the next week all we are reading about is how "all" Christians are this way.

...

I wonder. If the poster truly heard a voice and believed it was God, what would he do?
What would anyone do? Of course, our standards of faith are extremely high. Communists murdered 100 million on the basis of the words of blatant liars. They didn't need God parting an ocean or causing the Ten Plagues of Egypt. They just need Marx and Lenin and Pol Pot and Stalin and Mao and Castro and all of those other idiots who have run their countries into the ground and murdered so many.

Who told the Left to pull out of Rwanda? I wonder. Or, who told them to ignore the two million Afghans slaughtered by the Soviets? Or, who told them to praise Pol Pot's atrocious Communist government? Or, who told them to praise the murderous, totalitarian regime of the Viet Cong -- which is failed, like every Marxist system before it... and taken millions of lives with it?

They say, "I believe nothing". A stone believes nothing. Everybody believes every manner of thing. Imagine a waiter bringing a tray with a piece of maggot infested steak on it: "Do you believe this steak is rotten, sir?"... "No, I do not believe anything!", they would say. But, would they eat it, too? No. No, because they believe it is rotten.

The damned do not believe because they are lacking grace. They have every right to figure out that He exists. That does not save them. But, figuring out God exists presents them with a host of problems -- like that their conscience actually matters.




If you create an insentient, unfeeling material object, no one will complain or call you immoral if you destroy it. But if one day you are able to create a living, breathing, fully thinking and feeling human being in your laboratory, do you still think you it would not be morally problematic to torture her, to burn her alive, or to cut her into pieces?[/


I would suggest filing a complaint, immediately. You might also point out that you had some problems in High School which were grossly unfair and that thing that happened to your dad never should have happened. Suggest to your Maker that he cancel your existance at once, it is completely unfair!

Tell you what. I will cut you a deal. I will do you a favor. Since you are such a brilliant genius to figure everything out, and I have close ties to the Almighty God, I will write a letter to him for you, right now!

" Dear Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God, Creator of Heaven and Earth,

This is Joe.

I have a lot of complaints to make here. You really did a horrible job in this whole creation thing of yours. There should not be any wars. We should all live forever. There should not be any sickness. No one should ever get mad at anyone else. We should all have palaces and be able to have everything we want all the time. Why not? You are God.

Why did you invent pain? What a horrible idea. Now, sex and money and television and movies and drugs and mansions and everything -- great ideas! We should be able to do whatever we want anytime we want without any consequences whatever!

If somebody doesn't like something, they don't have to have it!

We can all have endless servants waiting on us hand and foot. Making them robots, so nobody has to suffer.

We should have the greatest and softest furniture.

There should not be any of those types of people I dislike. No Christians. No Jews. No Republicans. None of those Irish guys with the bushy eyebrows. No Germans. I hate Greeks. What is that? No Greeks. Everybody should agree. This whole idea of people having disagreements is a bad idea.

There should be no conflict.

Everyone should have any type of superpowers they want.

Thanks,

Joe Schmo"

So, we end up with a bunch of people who are the most spoiled and worthless people on the planet.

Heroes? Never exist. Virtue? What virtue when there is no conflict, nothing bad to be virtuous against?

You wouldn't even have people like myself out here which you can come out here and preach against so you can feel a little better about your self while you serve your great and noble and wise campaign.

If you were smart, you would say, "It doesn't have to all be materialistic, you could make a spiritual paradise where everyone experiences the mind and heart of God for all of eternity, where we live as true Children of God". But you lack that faith or even imagination.

This is it for guys like you. There can't be anything superior. Can't be. Completely ruled out. Heard one Christian, heard them all. Is that right? We are all liars in you mind, all deluded. But, you, you tell the truth. You can be believed.

Right.

What a blind hypocrite.

angelfightfire
September 10th, 2005, 11:40 PM
God is Not Immoral.

That is your mistaken conclusion.

God has the Right to Kill and destroy people because He created them

and HE can easily bring them back to life at the Proper time.

Everything is Timing.

God does not want the same situation as NOAH had,
when the world was full of violence
to exist until the time is right.

God gives people time to Change from their Evil ways but if they won't then he removes them from the Earth for awhile so that the rest of the World
will see and behave themselves.

==============================

You are right there.

I mean, God is saying, "Look people, you see bad things here, but I assure you, in the end everything comes out for the best -- better then you can believe. If you but trust me."

The problem is nobody can trust God because everybody is wicked and God is good.

He sets up a system whereby all you have to do is believe God, believe His words, and these people can not even consider His words. They can not even begin to believe them. Because the words of God are good and they are wicked.

They do all of these horribly wicked things, then they say of the wicked people who do them, "You did not do this, God did this! You can go free, we like you!"

Yet, God even tells these people, "You can not see it, but I am making a New Heaven and a New Earth, and everything here that is crooked will be made straight."

They can not fathom any of this.

They say, "Oh, there will you say there will be a New Heavens and a New Earth, and sure only the nations which were Christianized progressed so far and have such incredible freedoms and rights of all of the nations of the world... but I know for a fact that there won't be a New Heavens and a New Earth, that after death, there is nothing!"

They know this for a fact.

Trying to tell them that God is going around and showing people evidence otherwise does not persuade them -- even if God would show them the same evidence if they just tried to listen to what these people said and sought honestly on what they said!

No wonder they are condemned to an eternity of justice, where all of the true believers might look upon them and understand just how wrong sin is and just how Holy God is.

angelfightfire
September 10th, 2005, 11:49 PM
I find it more disturbing that some people, in their insecurity and demand for something "fixed" and unquestionable in order to shore up their lack of faith, are willing to accept obviously immoral acts, such as genocide and other forms of mass murder, as having been commanded and sanctioned by a supposedly good and holy God.

Wow, so check out the accusations here: she is "insecure", she "demands something fixed and unquestionable", she has a "lack of faith", she is "willing to accept obviously immoral acts", she is a supporter of both 'genocide' and 'mass murder'... wow.

That is really some venom.

Reminds me of what the Nazis were saying about the Jews before they started killing them. They said, "The Jews eat babies and do mass murder, they are the most evil creatures on the planet, they are each of them guilty of mass murder, so we must condemn them to death".

Same false accusations murderers always hail against their victims, at least when the murder is politically or religiously motivated and wrong.

If you call someone enough names and shove enough accusations at them, you will persuade some people of the rightness of your argument -- and you do not even have to use reasoning or evidence or anything like that!

Amazing how so many people believe wicked things about others just on the basis of blind hatred and their own hypocrisy -- in fact if such people could but see that their monster they see in us is really the monster in their own heart, just think of how glorious and peaceful this world would be!

Balder
September 11th, 2005, 12:56 AM
Okay, so now you can't argue from a Scriptural basis, so you go to personal opinion. If Christian A says, "Yes, I would do whatever a voice I believed was God said" then that somehow proves that Scripture teaches this.

Nevermind that you could likely also find out that "Christians" use brain meters over on a Scientologist list. Or "Christians" believe blood transfusion is "cannibalism" on a Jehovah Witness list.

Slanderers don't want the truth. Slanderers want lies. They want distortions which embrace their lies. Mass slanderers are the worst type. Germany mass slandered the Jews before killing them. Tutsis mass slandered the Hutus before killing them. First, comes the hate propaganda, then the murder.

The media constantly thrives on this kind of thing for their bias. A guy calling himself "Christian" stands up and says something atrocious and for the next week all we are reading about is how "all" Christians are this way.

...

I wonder. If the poster truly heard a voice and believed it was God, what would he do?
What would anyone do? Of course, our standards of faith are extremely high. Communists murdered 100 million on the basis of the words of blatant liars. They didn't need God parting an ocean or causing the Ten Plagues of Egypt. They just need Marx and Lenin and Pol Pot and Stalin and Mao and Castro and all of those other idiots who have run their countries into the ground and murdered so many.

Who told the Left to pull out of Rwanda? I wonder. Or, who told them to ignore the two million Afghans slaughtered by the Soviets? Or, who told them to praise Pol Pot's atrocious Communist government? Or, who told them to praise the murderous, totalitarian regime of the Viet Cong -- which is failed, like every Marxist system before it... and taken millions of lives with it?

They say, "I believe nothing". A stone believes nothing. Everybody believes every manner of thing. Imagine a waiter bringing a tray with a piece of maggot infested steak on it: "Do you believe this steak is rotten, sir?"... "No, I do not believe anything!", they would say. But, would they eat it, too? No. No, because they believe it is rotten.

The damned do not believe because they are lacking grace. They have every right to figure out that He exists. That does not save them. But, figuring out God exists presents them with a host of problems -- like that their conscience actually matters.

I would suggest filing a complaint, immediately. You might also point out that you had some problems in High School which were grossly unfair and that thing that happened to your dad never should have happened. Suggest to your Maker that he cancel your existance at once, it is completely unfair!

Tell you what. I will cut you a deal. I will do you a favor. Since you are such a brilliant genius to figure everything out, and I have close ties to the Almighty God, I will write a letter to him for you, right now!

" Dear Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God, Creator of Heaven and Earth,

This is Joe.

I have a lot of complaints to make here. You really did a horrible job in this whole creation thing of yours. There should not be any wars. We should all live forever. There should not be any sickness. No one should ever get mad at anyone else. We should all have palaces and be able to have everything we want all the time. Why not? You are God.

Why did you invent pain? What a horrible idea. Now, sex and money and television and movies and drugs and mansions and everything -- great ideas! We should be able to do whatever we want anytime we want without any consequences whatever!

If somebody doesn't like something, they don't have to have it!

We can all have endless servants waiting on us hand and foot. Making them robots, so nobody has to suffer.

We should have the greatest and softest furniture.

There should not be any of those types of people I dislike. No Christians. No Jews. No Republicans. None of those Irish guys with the bushy eyebrows. No Germans. I hate Greeks. What is that? No Greeks. Everybody should agree. This whole idea of people having disagreements is a bad idea.

There should be no conflict.

Everyone should have any type of superpowers they want.

Thanks,

Joe Schmo"

So, we end up with a bunch of people who are the most spoiled and worthless people on the planet.

Heroes? Never exist. Virtue? What virtue when there is no conflict, nothing bad to be virtuous against?

You wouldn't even have people like myself out here which you can come out here and preach against so you can feel a little better about your self while you serve your great and noble and wise campaign.

If you were smart, you would say, "It doesn't have to all be materialistic, you could make a spiritual paradise where everyone experiences the mind and heart of God for all of eternity, where we live as true Children of God". But you lack that faith or even imagination.

This is it for guys like you. There can't be anything superior. Can't be. Completely ruled out. Heard one Christian, heard them all. Is that right? We are all liars in you mind, all deluded. But, you, you tell the truth. You can be believed.

Right.

What a blind hypocrite.
You have made a lot of noise and protestation, and you have assailed some image of who you think I am, but you really haven't responded at all to my post. You wove a complex picture and went on all sorts of flights of fancy, but didn't address the simple questions I posed. Let's cut to the chase here. In your previous post, when someone observed that the OT records many brutal things, you asked what the original poster would do if "commanded," as those in the OT supposedly were, to utterly destroy a population and leave no thing breathing. It seemed to me that you were suggesting that if you had experienced miracles, then you would do what God said even if he told you to wipe out a whole city of people. When I asked you my return question, I wasn't saying that all Christians do this, or that true Christians should do this; I was trying to find out your opinion. In your long post, you didn't respond to this, but I would still like to know what you think. If you say "yes," I might challenge you about this, but that doesn't mean I think "all Christians are like this." I used to be one, and I know better.

angelfightfire
September 11th, 2005, 04:51 AM
You have made a lot of noise and protestation, and you have assailed some image of who you think I am, but you really haven't responded at all to my post.


Your post:



If you heard a voice which you believed was God, which told you to go into a rich neighborhood and find a specific house and enter it and slaughter everyone in it, down to the babies and pets, and then take it over for yourself, would you do it?

This post of yours was a rhetorical question. I was pointing out how you can not pick and choose what you want to believe in the Law and then make accusations. If you regard Moses as a bad witness, then you do not put him on the witness stand to convict the guy you want convicted for murder.

You answered my post with a rhetorical question, I answered your rhetorical question with a bunch of rhetorical questions and situations. I went above and beyond what you asked for.

As you should well know, I therefore find your response here highly ironic and hypocritical.

As for "assailing some imaginary image of you", my post presented hypothetical people and hypothetical situations in order to explain minute variables of the Old Testament and the Law.

Okay, so, either you are stupid, or you are playing stupid here. As you played stupid with your first quote, I can pretty well come to the conclusion that you are still playing stupid.

Or, maybe you, who present rhetorical questions can not make sense out of rhetorical situations yourself? If you have a true difficulty making sense out of hypothetical situations, personifying them, then I could see where you could have some problems here.




You wove a complex picture and went on all sorts of flights of fancy, but didn't address the simple questions I posed.


I most surely did answer it. In many ways.

If you can not make sense out of hypothetical situations, you should not be responding to people with rhetorical questions.




Let's cut to the chase here. In your previous post, when someone observed that the OT records many brutal things, you asked what the original poster would do if "commanded," as those in the OT supposedly were, to utterly destroy a population and leave no thing breathing.


What I said was:




If someone came into your house, would you wound them? If someone killed your family, would you seek to kill them? If you saw the ocean parted, ten great plagues, heard the very voice of God and saw all of the miracles the Hebrew did, would you believe when you were commanded by this same God to go in and take the land and leave no thing breathing left alive?

But, you leave all of the miracles out of the equation. You pick and choose what from the Bible is true. You assume most of it is untrue. You then have to make guesses: were they really slaves at all? Did they really get freed? Did they really invade the land at all? Was Abraham and his family really living in the land in the first place? Did they ever really go to Egypt, become enslaved, and become a giant nation? Was there really a Joseph?




I did not merely say, "If you heard from God", the whole point of that - apparently very difficult to understand - first paragraph... is that these people had all of this evidence that God was really talking to them. If you are not going to believe that God really commanded them, then you can not believe the miracles, nor the killings.

It is just as if you put a witness on a stand to accuse someone of murder, and you find most of what they are saying is a lie. Such witnesses would be thrown out. Their testimony is invalid.




It seemed to me that you were suggesting that if you had experienced miracles, then you would do what God said even if he told you to wipe out a whole city of people.




What "miracles", what evidence 'that God was speaking to me'? That is the problem with these questions.

You continue to refuse to define the terms in anything but the vaguest measures.

You remove all of the variables of the equation, when I am specifically noting that all of those variables are essential to the solving of the equation.

If I merely answer "yes", assuming you will be honest and hold all of those complex variables in place, you very well might then remove them all and then say, "Ah ha! So if you heard voices or something that you interpreted as a miracle you would go about mass murdering people".

That would be highly annoying, but many people would get perverse pleasure out of just such perverse annoyance.

On the other hand, maybe you genuinely do not understand all of the necessary variables here.

I hear it a lot, it is a common accusation, it is not yours. People want to argue that Christians will do anything if they but hear a voice or imagine they hear a voice... or imagine they have witnessed some miracle. It is a common point of derision against Christians.

This is what my previous post was answering.

You are coming at me with a common derisive remark... which is entirely slanderous.

Muhommad suspected that the voices he heard were demons. He wrote what he heard or imagined on things such as leaves. Nobody else saw any evidence of miracles or a voice or anything of the kind. This is not how it was for Moses.

If you wish to rephrase your question honestly, go ahead. Use the same variables I used. Do not attempt to "cleverly" change them around.




When I asked you my return question, I wasn't saying that all Christians do this, or that true Christians should do this;




Do all Christians part the Red Sea or call down the Ten Plagues of Egypt? I am curious?

What would you do if you were with some 600,000 other people and you all heard a voice from the sky and trumpet blasts? What would you do if you saw the Red Sea parting with these people?

Your whole argumentation is biased and deceptive. You want to try to get a Christian to really say that they would kill people based on what blatantly could be delusionary... this is why you remove these great signs and wonders and put in their place "a voice" or "a miracle".

It is a dishonest and despicable rhetorical device which is often used in cruelly stereotyping large groups of people.

I have no doubt you do not use this kind of slanderous accusation against "all Christians", but no doubt a sizeable portion of them. It is a popular accusation of Christian haters.

If you were honest, you never would have intentionally mangled what I was saying.

As for your implications that Moses is not a true Christian, this too, is absurd and despicable. Why not just stop lying and spit out your true thoughts. If Moses is not a true Christian, then neither must be just about everyone else in the Old Testament.

Because just about everyone else in the Old Testament killed people... and a lot of them lkilled very many people. But they all did it through God.

[And, if you were to claim it was not through God, then you also are saying the killings never took place at all.]

Even Jesus has stated that all bad people are going to the fiery Hell.

Which is more severe, then, death, or an eternity of punishment for the great masses of humanity?

What is your definition of a "true Christian"? Some guy in Boise Idaho?

Your deceit is despicable.

Just spit out what you really think and believe... and stop pretending to think and
believe something else.

I don't know. It is possible that you seriously find the orders to kill a bunch of wicked people reprehensible -- thereby calling Moses and God wicked... but that you are okay with David, Samson, Elijah, Elisha, and so forth for their killings... and it is possible you are okay with Jesus and the Apostles for stating that the vast majority of the world's population is going to eternal condemnation in the afterlife...

It is possible. [Highly, highly improbable, but possible.]

In such a case, then, my other accusations were wrong, and I apologize for them.

Otherwise, you are lying in every single one of these posts... you have nothing to stand on in terms of evidence... So, you are forced to rely on idiotic and transparent trickery.

It is either one or the other.

Let anyone else think these things out, they will come to the same conclusions.

It is grossly evident now that I have pointed it out.

...

I think when you read this, you will notice you have been found out and will find
this impossible to respond to.

Let me then only note: you need to start forming opinions which are honest... opinions which are not shameful... opinions which you are willing to talk about openly and honestly -- without relying on idiotic rhetorical trickery which makes you look like a conceited child.



I was trying to find out your opinion. In your long post, you didn't respond to this,
.

That is either a lie or you are entirely stupid.

It could be you spend all of your mental efforts on deception, so that you have
nothing left over for honest reasoning.




but I would still like to know what you think.


Oh, a friend, how nice. He "just wants to know my opinion".





If you say "yes," I might challenge you about this, but that doesn't mean I think "all Christians are like this." I used to be one, and I know better.

Oh, you did! What a surprise. Like the majority of the rest of the population in all Western countries.

"All" Christians... nobody thinks "all" Christians are anything. There are Marxist "Christians", Nazi "Christians", drug addict Christians... even serial killing "Christians".

If you have an opinion, go ahead and spit it out.

Just be honest. Be a man. Speak your mind. Stop relying on deceptive practices which pump up your ego when they actually work because of their "clever" design.

If you are going to bother doing that you might as well start writing me letters about how you are some bank executive in Nigeria.

At least then you could try to get some money from me, instead of just trying to support your cardboard imaginings of what the Bible is about... and thereby earn yourself curses from God...

Balder
September 11th, 2005, 12:17 PM
Angelfightfire,


You’re right that I find it a little difficult to respond to your post -- not because I think I’ve been found out, but because your post is so full of your projections and your own hatred of some “image” you have constructed of certain types of people. You said quite a lot about the hateful rhetoric and divisive language of Christian-haters; are you a non-Christian hater? Because your letter is just dripping with derision for me, insulting my intelligence, maligning my motivations and my honesty, misrepresenting my beliefs and opinions … all based on two rather short exchanges with you, containing two or three questions which you believe were merely rhetorical. Are you really certain you have enough information from my posts to have me all figured out and sized up, such that you have a reliable foundation for your three pages of accusations? To me, it seems probable that the image or windmill you are attacking here has probably been built through your encounters with real people in your past. But not with me.

Anyway, I’ll try to respond to your post.


This post of yours was a rhetorical question. I was pointing out how you can not pick and choose what you want to believe in the Law and then make accusations. If you regard Moses as a bad witness, then you do not put him on the witness stand to convict the guy you want convicted for murder.
Are you saying that only the person who believes the Bible entirely, and does not “pick and choose” which parts might be accurate and which parts might not be, has the right to make a judgment about the Bible? Do you know of any other object or situation in the real world where this set of conditions would obtain? Do you have to believe a person is flawless and without error before being capable of judging his behavior or his words?


As for "assailing some imaginary image of you", my post presented hypothetical people and hypothetical situations in order to explain minute variables of the Old Testament and the Law.
Are you sure you’re thinking of your post to me and not to someone else? Go back and look at it. I do not see a bunch of hypothetical situations and people that would “explain minute variables of the Old Testament and the Law.” I see a lot of objections that Christians are treated and accused unfairly, remarks about slanderers and communists, a sarcastic letter you composed on my behalf about how unfair life is (a projection on your part), another projection about what I think (“This is it for guys like you. There can't be anything superior. Can't be. Completely ruled out. Heard one Christian, heard them all. Is that right?”), and an insult thrown in for good measure (“blind hypocrite”).


Okay, so, either you are stupid, or you are playing stupid here. As you played stupid with your first quote, I can pretty well come to the conclusion that you are still playing stupid.

Or, maybe you, who present rhetorical questions can not make sense out of rhetorical situations yourself? If you have a true difficulty making sense out of hypothetical situations, personifying them, then I could see where you could have some problems here.
I really was interested in your answer to my question; I was not merely asking it rhetorically. You still have not directly answered it (what you would do, if you also believed you had experienced real miracles and been directed by God to kill people), but I no longer expect that you will.

I suspect that you also find killing off a whole population of people to be evil or at least morally problematic in most situations. Where we may differ is that you believe that there are some situations, however, where it would be morally acceptable and just, with the mass killings of Canaanites and others in the OT being some examples. I realize you do not consider yourself a moral relativist, but this does seem like an example of moral relativity: if the situation is just right, it is indeed okay to wipe out entire nations of people, down to their infants, elders, and livestock, even if in many other situations it would not be permissible.

Rather than going through and responding to all of your comments (my original plan when I started writing this morning), I think I will make things simpler and just state my own opinion about these things as clearly and directly as possible. Then you can see whether your accusations are appropriate or not.

I believe that all human beings pass through stages of moral and spiritual development. At different stages, our moral “compass” and our understanding of the nature of the divine, change accordingly. Morally, our “circle of concern” widens and we are able to embrace more in it than previously – moving from self-centered concern to wider and wider contexts. Spiritually, our understanding of God deepens, moving from rather mythical conceptions to more sophisticated, relational, and experientially grounded perspectives. I further believe that the Bible records some of this development in moral and spiritual understanding. At the time of the Hebrews, warfare was obviously very common, life was very hard and often brutal, and the “circle of concern” was largely identified with one’s particular tribe or culture, sometimes extending out to embrace a few outsiders, but certainly not all. In the “incubator” of Hebrew culture, I think certain more profound moral understandings were allowed to grow, though for a long time these moral attitudes and practices were confined to their limited context; outside of that context, the same moral considerations did not apply.

Thus, at their stage of moral and spiritual development, I believe the Hebrews acted appropriately – meaning, in accordance with their limited perspectives. I’m sure they believed they were doing right in killing off those populations, and that they were divinely guided in doing so. From a more developed perspective, what they did is no longer permissible or commendable. I believe the Bible is a “true representation” of a particular people’s way of thinking, and very possibly an accurate record of what they did, but I do not believe it is literally and historically true in all aspects. It is an interpretation of history, as all histories are interpretive exercises.

I think that when you take the Bible as the literal and inerrant word of God, it becomes difficult to appreciate this developmental perspective. You have to accept that God really did order genocide and that God really does plan to send the majority of humankind into a condition of eternal conscious torment, instead of understanding these things as being reflective of a particular people’s ongoing, unfolding dialogue with themselves and with ultimate reality. I personally consider mass-killing of populations and the sentence of eternal conscious torment as morally reprehensible things. I believe I can understand, to a degree, the contexts in which these ideas emerge, and I can appreciate the very real struggles that people have gone through as they have wrestled with human evil and violence, and with assimilating divine “inspiration” and spiritual realization into the fabric of human life. It is an ongoing struggle. But we sell ourselves, and God, short, when we take particular limited perspectives as absolute and unquestionable and look no further.

Best wishes,
Balder

Agape4Robin
September 11th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Okay, so now you can't argue from a Scriptural basis, so you go to personal opinion. If Christian A says, "Yes, I would do whatever a voice I believed was God said" then that somehow proves that Scripture teaches this.

Nevermind that you could likely also find out that "Christians" use brain meters over on a Scientologist list. Or "Christians" believe blood transfusion is "cannibalism" on a Jehovah Witness list.

Slanderers don't want the truth. Slanderers want lies. They want distortions which embrace their lies. Mass slanderers are the worst type. Germany mass slandered the Jews before killing them. Tutsis mass slandered the Hutus before killing them. First, comes the hate propaganda, then the murder.

The media constantly thrives on this kind of thing for their bias. A guy calling himself "Christian" stands up and says something atrocious and for the next week all we are reading about is how "all" Christians are this way.

...

I wonder. If the poster truly heard a voice and believed it was God, what would he do?
What would anyone do? Of course, our standards of faith are extremely high. Communists murdered 100 million on the basis of the words of blatant liars. They didn't need God parting an ocean or causing the Ten Plagues of Egypt. They just need Marx and Lenin and Pol Pot and Stalin and Mao and Castro and all of those other idiots who have run their countries into the ground and murdered so many.

Who told the Left to pull out of Rwanda? I wonder. Or, who told them to ignore the two million Afghans slaughtered by the Soviets? Or, who told them to praise Pol Pot's atrocious Communist government? Or, who told them to praise the murderous, totalitarian regime of the Viet Cong -- which is failed, like every Marxist system before it... and taken millions of lives with it?

They say, "I believe nothing". A stone believes nothing. Everybody believes every manner of thing. Imagine a waiter bringing a tray with a piece of maggot infested steak on it: "Do you believe this steak is rotten, sir?"... "No, I do not believe anything!", they would say. But, would they eat it, too? No. No, because they believe it is rotten.

The damned do not believe because they are lacking grace. They have every right to figure out that He exists. That does not save them. But, figuring out God exists presents them with a host of problems -- like that their conscience actually matters.




I would suggest filing a complaint, immediately. You might also point out that you had some problems in High School which were grossly unfair and that thing that happened to your dad never should have happened. Suggest to your Maker that he cancel your existance at once, it is completely unfair!

Tell you what. I will cut you a deal. I will do you a favor. Since you are such a brilliant genius to figure everything out, and I have close ties to the Almighty God, I will write a letter to him for you, right now!

" Dear Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God, Creator of Heaven and Earth,

This is Joe.

I have a lot of complaints to make here. You really did a horrible job in this whole creation thing of yours. There should not be any wars. We should all live forever. There should not be any sickness. No one should ever get mad at anyone else. We should all have palaces and be able to have everything we want all the time. Why not? You are God.

Why did you invent pain? What a horrible idea. Now, sex and money and television and movies and drugs and mansions and everything -- great ideas! We should be able to do whatever we want anytime we want without any consequences whatever!

If somebody doesn't like something, they don't have to have it!

We can all have endless servants waiting on us hand and foot. Making them robots, so nobody has to suffer.

We should have the greatest and softest furniture.

There should not be any of those types of people I dislike. No Christians. No Jews. No Republicans. None of those Irish guys with the bushy eyebrows. No Germans. I hate Greeks. What is that? No Greeks. Everybody should agree. This whole idea of people having disagreements is a bad idea.

There should be no conflict.

Everyone should have any type of superpowers they want.

Thanks,

Joe Schmo"

So, we end up with a bunch of people who are the most spoiled and worthless people on the planet.

Heroes? Never exist. Virtue? What virtue when there is no conflict, nothing bad to be virtuous against?

You wouldn't even have people like myself out here which you can come out here and preach against so you can feel a little better about your self while you serve your great and noble and wise campaign.

If you were smart, you would say, "It doesn't have to all be materialistic, you could make a spiritual paradise where everyone experiences the mind and heart of God for all of eternity, where we live as true Children of God". But you lack that faith or even imagination.

This is it for guys like you. There can't be anything superior. Can't be. Completely ruled out. Heard one Christian, heard them all. Is that right? We are all liars in you mind, all deluded. But, you, you tell the truth. You can be believed.

Right.

What a blind hypocrite.http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=8300&stc=1

angelfightfire
September 12th, 2005, 12:38 AM
Angelfightfire,


You’re right that I find it a little difficult to respond to your post -- not because I think I’ve been found out, but because your post is so full of your projections and your own hatred of some “image” you have constructed of certain types of people. You said quite a lot about the hateful rhetoric and divisive language of Christian-haters; are you a non-Christian hater? Because your letter is just dripping with derision for me, insulting my intelligence, maligning my motivations and my honesty, misrepresenting my beliefs and opinions … all based on two rather short exchanges with you, containing two or three questions which you believe were merely rhetorical. Are you really certain you have enough information from my posts to have me all figured out and sized up, such that you have a reliable foundation for your three pages of accusations? To me, it seems probable that the image or windmill you are attacking here has probably been built through your encounters with real people in your past. But not with me.


Possibly. There are some outs from much of what I said, however. That is what happens when you accidentally use popular hateful stereotypical arguments like yours, "Christians would mass murder if they just believed God spoke to them or saw some miracle".

Your whole thesis is just dripping with conceit and hatred. It tries to project this image of Christians as mass murdering psychopaths listening to random voices and interpreting random invents as signs from God for which to start their murdering spree.

I honestly would never expect such argumentation from a true Buddhist... such people tend to be completely out of the faith, and if anything, they would not hold a judgemental stance like this on Christians -- of which I know and have known quite a few.

So, I am reacting to your statement. It is not quite as popular as, say, support for the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", but it is a very popular hateful epitaph and point of derision. And, of course, having done a lot of work with Jews, I have seen this very same type of argumentation laid against them many times. After all, you are talking about Moses here.

Really, I would like, if anything, for you to step away from this ludicrous "rhetorical question" and just forget about it.

You seem to be very insistent on trying to trap me into fitting this horrid view of Christians. I will not do it.




Anyway, I’ll try to respond to your post.

Are you saying that only the person who believes the Bible entirely, and does not “pick and choose” which parts might be accurate and which parts might not be, has the right to make a judgment about the Bible?


What I have said is very clear. You are attempting to use the testimony of Moses in order to condemn God and Moses of murder, for instance. (And thereby anyone who believes this testimony.) IN order for you to do this you must disbelieve the vast majority of what Moses wrote and only actually accept the killing.

I do believe this is entirely unfair and hypocritical, yes.



Do you know of any other object or situation in the real world where this set of conditions would obtain?


I already applied this case to many hypothetical situations, but you are slow to understand.

The best case here is directly to the case of a trial. You wish to convict someone of murder. Your only witness, however, is Moses. Yet, the only way you can convict the accused of murder is by discounting most of what your own witness has to say.

This is not acceptable in a court of law, it is not acceptable in science, and it is not acceptable by anybody who still has their reasoning faculities with them.

We actually do use these standards every day.



Do you have to believe a person is flawless and without error before being capable of judging his behavior or his words?


Everybody has error. But you are discounting the vast majority of the testimony of Moses and want to isolate on singular events which pale in signifigance in order to prove your case.

Do I believe a witness I believe has mostly lied about everything... even if his statements are something I want to believe? I do not. No.

I am sorry you would pick the best of Moses to leave out and only leave in only the worst -- but by doing so you make the entirety of his books questionable under your own standards, therefore you should not be trying to prove one thing nor the other conclusively. Your own standards disprove your own accusations.




Are you sure you’re thinking of your post to me and not to someone else? Go back and look at it. I do not see a bunch of hypothetical situations and people that would “explain minute variables of the Old Testament and the Law.” I see a lot of objections that Christians are treated and accused unfairly, remarks about slanderers and communists, a sarcastic letter you composed on my behalf about how unfair life is (a projection on your part), another projection about what I think (“This is it for guys like you. There can't be anything superior. Can't be. Completely ruled out. Heard one Christian, heard them all. Is that right?”), and an insult thrown in for good measure (“blind hypocrite”).


We have already been over this.

If you are incapable of understanding rhetorical answers, then you should not use rhetorical questions.




I really was interested in your answer to my question; I was not merely asking it rhetorically. You still have not directly answered it (what you would do, if you also believed you had experienced real miracles and been directed by God to kill people), but I no longer expect that you will.


You are still pretending to be stupid, still refusing to keep to the variables I spoke of, and still trying to trap me into saying, "Sure, I would mass murder if I but believed some voice or miracle happened to me".




I suspect that you also find killing off a whole population of people to be evil or at least morally problematic in most situations. Where we may differ is that you believe that there are some situations, however, where it would be morally acceptable and just, with the mass killings of Canaanites and others in the OT being some examples. I realize you do not consider yourself a moral relativist, but this does seem like an example of moral relativity: if the situation is just right, it is indeed okay to wipe out entire nations of people, down to their infants, elders, and livestock, even if in many other situations it would not be permissible.


Now, finally, you have moved away from the rhetorical and are moving towards the specific!

Moral relativism speaks of holding different standards for others then for the same standards for ourselves.

Here is an example of moral relativity, when the NY Times and Amnesty International stood against the victims of genocide in Rwanda claiming that "both sides are equally bad" and that it was wrong for the genocide victims to defend themselves. Had the Rwandan Patriotic Front listened to these people - who were part of the forces that completely abandoned Rwanda so that the genocide could take place - then the genocide would have complete and this very day Rwanda would be ruled by the genocidists.

This same kind of hypocritical standard is often claimed by those who would pretend to be on the side of justice. It is a despicable standard. They never apply it to themselves. It is impossible to stand behind realistically. Under such a model merely convicting the guilty and punishing them is a wicked thing to do. This, therefore, condones all criminality. And while condoning all criminality it further punishes all innocence.



Rather than going through and responding to all of your comments (my original plan when I started writing this morning), I think I will make things simpler and just state my own opinion about these things as clearly and directly as possible. Then you can see whether your accusations are appropriate or not.


I am not sure you have rightly figured out which accusations I actually levelled against you and which ones I did not. Regardless, I appreciate you moving away from the rhetorical and down to the specific. If we remain on the rhetorical it is impossible for me to speak of specifics.



I believe that all human beings pass through stages of moral and spiritual development. At different stages, our moral “compass” and our understanding of the nature of the divine, change accordingly. Morally, our “circle of concern” widens and we are able to embrace more in it than previously – moving from self-centered concern to wider and wider contexts. Spiritually, our understanding of God deepens, moving from rather mythical conceptions to more sophisticated, relational, and experientially grounded perspectives. I further believe that the Bible records some of this development in moral and spiritual understanding. At the time of the Hebrews, warfare was obviously very common, life was very hard and often brutal, and the “circle of concern” was largely identified with one’s particular tribe or culture, sometimes extending out to embrace a few outsiders, but certainly not all. In the “incubator” of Hebrew culture, I think certain more profound moral understandings were allowed to grow, though for a long time these moral attitudes and practices were confined to their limited context; outside of that context, the same moral considerations did not apply.


There you go!

Absolutely, God allowed some things within these contexts, which He would not expect from Christians today.

As Jesus said, to paraphrase, 'Moses let you divorce your wives because you heart's were hard, but I tell you that you can not divorce your wives except for the case of adultery'.

This same kind of principle applies elsewhere in the Law. Now to take that and say, "Well, God therefore advocated divorce", is wrong. It is misreading the text and throwing in hyperbole in order to accuse God.

As other Scripture states, "God hates divorce".

There are many of these kinds of situations within the Old Testament.

Within context, this is what is being said. If you take out the context, you could warp and make any words say anything anywhere.

The Law, as it is written, is on the surface. The kernel of the Law which is true for all is, "Do not do to others what you would not have done to you". This is stated positively as "do to others as you would have them do to you". This has not changed, nor has the Law changed.

The Law, however, was written to all, not just to those who are spiritually reborn.

There is no "evolution" about this matter. If we wish to argue that man has evolved, spiritually and mentally, I would take severe case with this. What happened with the Nazis and Communists was worse then what has ever happened before. Rwanda itself, of which I have spoken of many times was just a very few years ago.

Maybe our appearances have changed, maybe we have a more civil society on the surface, but these things we have done lately -- they were never done to this magnitude in the past.





Thus, at their stage of moral and spiritual development, I believe the Hebrews acted appropriately – meaning, in accordance with their limited perspectives. I’m sure they believed they were doing right in killing off those populations, and that they were divinely guided in doing so. From a more developed perspective, what they did is no longer permissible or commendable. I believe the Bible is a “true representation” of a particular people’s way of thinking, and very possibly an accurate record of what they did, but I do not believe it is literally and historically true in all aspects. It is an interpretation of history, as all histories are interpretive exercises.


I disagree with this, largely, but not completely.

From a spiritual, Christian perspective - one which has largely defined the moralities of the West - it is no longer acceptable to, for instance, take women as booty in war. Nor should it be acceptable for Christians to divorce their wives for whatever reason they wish. Nor should we have slaves. Nor should we have multiple wives. And so forth.

However, I would have to point out we have replaced this matters of vulgarity with other matters which are just as evil, but more subtle. So, while we might say the expression of good as progressed in the world, we also must confess that so too has the expression of evil in the world progressed today. And, I, for one, am not content in the least to say that the expression of good has properly caught up with today's expression of evil.

For instance, neither the Nazis nor the Communists took two wives (though their leaders surely had many mistresses), however they both locked up and murdered every manner of people for the most hypocritical and slanderous of reasons.

The Nazis did not do much raping of women in war, as their Germanic ancestors did... however, they did round up all of the Jews and Gypsies and other "undesirables" and systematically seek their destruction.

Under Pol Pot's regime, men were killed for being "wealthy" because they owned glasses.

These things said, Jesus was very explicit about how some of the things Moses said was permissable for people of the flesh... that he said so because their own hearts were so hard. However, the Bible was never written to people who do not know good from evil. It may have been legally permissable because people demanded it, to allow men to divorce their wives for whatever cause -- but that does not mean it was condoned.

Likewise, today, there are many things which are legally permissable in our various nations, but this does not mean all of things are condoned by God.



I think that when you take the Bible as the literal and inerrant word of God, it becomes difficult to appreciate this developmental perspective.


That is an extremely simplistic approach, a very popular one, and the way this operates is like this: a lot of people take the good words of the Scripture and mangle them to justify their own wickedness, meanwhile others say, "They did not mangle these words, but they honestly read the text as it states".

So, there are two guilty parties here: one, the guilty party that actually mangles the words of Scripture to justify their wickedness, and two, the guilty party that claims these people who mangled the words of Scripture did not mangle them.

Both guilty parties work hand in hand to acquit the guilty and convict the innocent.

It is wrong.

On the other hand, take Islam. There are many Muslims who say that jihad is not talking about jihad against infidels. If you read the actual text, however, it becomes very plain that they must be mangling the words to believe this. Worse, the guys who believe jihad means jihad against infidels actually have a Islamist scriptural basis to teach what they teach.

But, this is why you don't see a lot of moderate Muslims attacking non-moderate Muslims. In the Christian West, you often see Christians opposed to other Christians under these same guidelines.

This is not to say that I would argue the Muslims who water down their own Scripture are worse then those who actually believe it. Far from it. But, they are all guilty to some degree because they all continue to support these wicked Scriptures.





You have to accept that God really did order genocide and that God really does plan to send the majority of humankind into a condition of eternal conscious torment, instead of understanding these things as being reflective of a particular people’s ongoing, unfolding dialogue with themselves and with ultimate reality.



I think using the invasion of the land of Canaan is not the best example of this, because for people who do not believe in the miraculous, they have to discount everything but what they might argue was non-miraculous. Thereby the entire text becomes complete nonsense. It completely removes the context.

A better example is the Ten Plagues of Egypt used to free the slaves from Egypt. This example forces one to stay within the context of the text... if only hypothetically for those who can believe in miracles.

Might we state that this event, the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the showdown between Moses and Pharoah and so forth was wicked? No, I do not believe so. I surely could not condemn Moses on the basis of this.

Also, should we state that God might not give eternal condemnation to the great masses of mankind. Under the moral rules of mankind, that would not seem to make sense. But, when you start talking about the miraculous, and the others planes of existance, you get into difficult territory to understand.

Look at the simple bigger picture: God is God and He did create everything. He is all knowing, He is all powerful, He is everywhere. In fact, as Paul pointed out, "We all move and live and have our being within God".

This is a statement Paul used to persuade the Greeks, and it is a common belief through the entire world.

However, "How then can evil exist, if God is good".

You can say whatever you like, you can argue that bad things happen in the world because of chance and according to the natural laws of the world and so forth. The Scripture says as much, as well, for instance, in Ecclesiates. However, that does not mean God has given up control of the world -- it just means that the workings of God are more complex then what can be fit in a simple understanding.



I personally consider mass-killing of populations and the sentence of eternal conscious torment as morally reprehensible things.



Yet, you do not show you understand these things. God has created everyone. They make themselves into what they wish to be. Eternal conscious torment, what is that, if some choose it? Heaven would be torment for those who prefer Hell. And, that is more exactly what we are talking about here. That the Kingdom of Heaven is coming to earth.

As for mass killings of populations, I am generally opposed to this, as well. I think God is generally opposed to it as well -- yet we will all die. Death does not end us, according to Scripture.

Do I seriously think that mass destruction has never happened because of the corruption of a nation? No, I can not argue that. We see the falls of empires after their corruption. I might say, "It is sorry to see such an empire fall", but I also have to understand that the corruption itself was what really killed it.

Ultimately, therefore, you are not judging Scripture, but God... even if you disagree that Scripture was written by God through mere mortals.



I believe I can understand, to a degree, the contexts in which these ideas emerge, and I can appreciate the very real struggles that people have gone through as they have wrestled with human evil and violence, and with assimilating divine “inspiration” and spiritual realization into the fabric of human life. It is an ongoing struggle. But we sell ourselves, and God, short, when we take particular limited perspectives as absolute and unquestionable and look no further.

Best wishes,
Balder

But, here is the bigger picture. You are denying the miraculous. Now, if you are really a Buddhist, you are likely incapable of denying that miracles do, indeed, happen. Otherwise, why be a Buddhist, if, for instance, you do not believe Buddha really received any kind of great spiritual awakening which was, in fact, miraculous?

The Scripture does not say, "Take up your sword and go and kill people". Rather, the Scripture teaches that God has set up the authorities of the nations of this world. We are to respect those authorities, insofar that we can and should, according to those bounds by which the Lord set. And as those bounds including the first century AD system of Rome, we see, then, that those bounds were very liberal.

Where there is Law, we must obey it and operate under it. Where there is no law, we must operate as our conscience dictates.

By no means would God ever command anyone to do anything wicked.

Now, according to one, dim view of the world... this is how the West operates. In this outrageously illogical manner, unless it is not Christians operating it. But, regardless, we have seen we have no operated in this manner at all. Rather, we have a very great civilization, full of peace and prosperity and every manner of technical and moral advancement.

Because, while the Left can pick out certain Christians and state, "They represent all Christians", the truth remains such statements are patently absurd, for these nations of the West continue to have majority Christian populations.

Balder
September 12th, 2005, 11:03 AM
There are some outs from much of what I said, however. That is what happens when you accidentally use popular hateful stereotypical arguments like yours, "Christians would mass murder if they just believed God spoke to them or saw some miracle".

Your whole thesis is just dripping with conceit and hatred. It tries to project this image of Christians as mass murdering psychopaths listening to random voices and interpreting random invents as signs from God for which to start their murdering spree.
This is not my thesis. I certainly do not believe that "Christians are potential mass murdering psychopaths," and I never meant to imply that with my question. As I suggested, perhaps you have had previous conversations in which such ugly things were suggested, but that is not what I am saying. In fact, I expect most Christians to be moral people, with a reasonable distaste for murder. If anything, what I am trying to elicit with my questions is a degree of doubt that the claims that God ordered the brutal murder of thousands of people, including children, are accurate or the best representation of what happened. I believe such stories impugn the character of God, and I think the Christian community would be better off to openly acknowledge this.


I honestly would never expect such argumentation from a true Buddhist... such people tend to be completely out of the faith, and if anything, they would not hold a judgemental stance like this on Christians -- of which I know and have known quite a few.
As I keep saying, I think you have read the wrong motivations and intent into my questions. I am not making the judgmental or slanderous claims that you think I am.


What I have said is very clear. You are attempting to use the testimony of Moses in order to condemn God and Moses of murder, for instance. (And thereby anyone who believes this testimony.) IN order for you to do this you must disbelieve the vast majority of what Moses wrote and only actually accept the killing.
No, I don't agree with this. I believe the testimony of Moses demonstrates that he operated from a particular moral and spiritual level of understanding which, while very likely faithful and earnest, was not the most enlightened perspective possible for human beings.


I already applied this case to many hypothetical situations, but you are slow to understand.

The best case here is directly to the case of a trial. You wish to convict someone of murder. Your only witness, however, is Moses. Yet, the only way you can convict the accused of murder is by discounting most of what your own witness has to say.

This is not acceptable in a court of law, it is not acceptable in science, and it is not acceptable by anybody who still has their reasoning faculities with them.
I disagree with your assessment here also. If you hold that one has to believe that someone is incapable of error before even attempting to evaluate or make judgments about their words or actions, then I think that is an unrealistic position. With regard to Moses and the Bible, I do not automatically discount everything Moses has to say, just out of hand; but I do believe I am called, as a human being and a moral agent, to evaluate what he says and does. Approaching the Bible in an objective fashion, I do not believe I have any reason to consider it at the outset to be perfect, without possibility for error or the influence of limited human perspectives.

Balder asked: Do you have to believe a person is flawless and without error before being capable of judging his behavior or his words?


Angelfightfire replied: You are still pretending to be stupid, still refusing to keep to the variables I spoke of, and still trying to trap me into saying, "Sure, I would mass murder if I but believed some voice or miracle happened to me."
I take it you do not want to come out and say that you would help exterminate an entire community of human beings if you believed you were told to do so by God because you know that such activity is not good. And of course, I would expect you to feel that way. Which is why I am saying you should consider that the early Hebrews were mistaken when they believed this to be God's will, or something he would justly endorse.

Balder wrote: I believe that all human beings pass through stages of moral and spiritual development. At different stages, our moral “compass” and our understanding of the nature of the divine, change accordingly. Morally, our “circle of concern” widens and we are able to embrace more in it than previously – moving from self-centered concern to wider and wider contexts. Spiritually, our understanding of God deepens, moving from rather mythical conceptions to more sophisticated, relational, and experientially grounded perspectives. I further believe that the Bible records some of this development in moral and spiritual understanding. At the time of the Hebrews, warfare was obviously very common, life was very hard and often brutal, and the “circle of concern” was largely identified with one’s particular tribe or culture, sometimes extending out to embrace a few outsiders, but certainly not all. In the “incubator” of Hebrew culture, I think certain more profound moral understandings were allowed to grow, though for a long time these moral attitudes and practices were confined to their limited context; outside of that context, the same moral considerations did not apply.


Angelfightfire responded: There you go!

Absolutely, God allowed some things within these contexts, which He would not expect from Christians today.

As Jesus said, to paraphrase, 'Moses let you divorce your wives because you heart's were hard, but I tell you that you can not divorce your wives except for the case of adultery'.

This same kind of principle applies elsewhere in the Law. Now to take that and say, "Well, God therefore advocated divorce", is wrong. It is misreading the text and throwing in hyperbole in order to accuse God.

As other Scripture states, "God hates divorce."

There are many of these kinds of situations within the Old Testament.

Within context, this is what is being said. If you take out the context, you could warp and make any words say anything anywhere.

The Law, as it is written, is on the surface. The kernel of the Law which is true for all is, "Do not do to others what you would not have done to you". This is stated positively as "do to others as you would have them do to you". This has not changed, nor has the Law changed.

The Law, however, was written to all, not just to those who are spiritually reborn.

There is no "evolution" about this matter. If we wish to argue that man has evolved, spiritually and mentally, I would take severe case with this. What happened with the Nazis and Communists was worse then what has ever happened before. Rwanda itself, of which I have spoken of many times was just a very few years ago.
I don't think the presence of evil in this world disproves the truth of the evolution of moral and spiritual perspectives. The fact that we consider genocide today to be evil, but the Hebrews and other early tribal people apparently did not, is evidence of this change. The more moral awareness you have, the more "evil" you can see in the world (when before you were unconscious of it or more fully "implicated" in it). However, every single human being starts out at the lowest level and must traverse all of them individually. Therefore, even if a community may operate generally at a higher level than some other communities, you will still find individuals at virtually all levels of development within any specific community.


But, here is the bigger picture. You are denying the miraculous. Now, if you are really a Buddhist, you are likely incapable of denying that miracles do, indeed, happen. Otherwise, why be a Buddhist, if, for instance, you do not believe Buddha really received any kind of great spiritual awakening which was, in fact, miraculous?
I have never denied that "miraculous" or "supernatural" events are possible. But that doesn't mean I accept all claims of the miraculous indiscriminately.


Where there is Law, we must obey it and operate under it. Where there is no law, we must operate as our conscience dictates.

By no means would God ever command anyone to do anything wicked.
Right. So if you accept that, then when you are faced with morally problematic passages in the Bible, you have at least two possible responses: conclude that killing off a community of people, including their infants, elders, and women, is not wicked; or conclude that such claims represent a limited and fallible human interpretation of "the will of God."

For me, I choose the latter.

Peace,
Balder

angelfightfire
September 13th, 2005, 01:36 AM
This is not my thesis. I certainly do not believe that "Christians are potential mass murdering psychopaths," and I never meant to imply that with my question. As I suggested, perhaps you have had previous conversations in which such ugly things were suggested, but that is not what I am saying. In fact, I expect most Christians to be moral people, with a reasonable distaste for murder. If anything, what I am trying to elicit with my questions is a degree of doubt that the claims that God ordered the brutal murder of thousands of people, including children, are accurate or the best representation of what happened. I believe such stories impugn the character of God, and I think the Christian community would be better off to openly acknowledge this.


I see. I believe you. My apologies for giving you the third degree. You are correct, there are a large amount of people who believe these things and would use such statements to try and trap Christians to have them state that they would do such things. However, such people invariably are on the very far left -- and I was wondering how this made sense with you, as you did not react to my statements against Marxism or about Islamism... and you have noted that you consider yourself a Buddhist.

I do not think you would say, "In fact, I expect most Christians to be moral people, with a reasonable distaste for murder", if you felt this way, either.

Such people would never make such statements.

Previously, your statements were vague enough that I had to wonder. And you did not immediately correct your statement, apparently you did not understand what I meant by "leaving out the variables of the equation", either... that is leaving out the variables of the evidence Moses and the Hebrews were stated to have at that time.

You are correct. Most Christians would never have done what Moses did. Not that God could not make any Christian like Moses, He could. He just happened to have made Moses in the way that He did.

But, it was not just Moses, was it? But, it was all of the Hebrews. And who are the Hebrews we are talking about here, who are the Jews? So, you see, this is a very sensitive topic.

It appears, however, that you were simply unaware of this.

I would take it that most Christians would not take such issue with such a topic or statements made.

Regardless, let us move on, past this touchy topic.



No, I don't agree with this. I believe the testimony of Moses demonstrates that he operated from a particular moral and spiritual level of understanding which, while very likely faithful and earnest, was not the most enlightened perspective possible for human beings.


But, it was not just Moses here, was it? By that time all of the Hebrews were willing to follow the man and do whatever he said.

But, who was Moses? What were his motivations? There are many texts which suppose a great many things. Most of these are mostly obviously outrageous lies.

What we do know is quite simple. The man was a Hebrew. The Hebrews were slaves. He was adopted into the house of the Pharoah. Some texts claim that he did not know who he was all along. Yet, how could that have been, as he would have looked like these Hebrews, and his nursemaid was his mother.

Maybe he did not discover who he was until he was around forty. That is a possibility. Regardless, he would have known on a deep level. And he would have lived for forty years in this seat of luxury and power, knowing that he was saved miraculously at birth. Believing that this salvation was a sign from God, that God delivered him, so he might deliver his people.

He would have lived in torment for those forty years. Waiting for God to act. But, God would not have acted because it was not God's time to act.

His torment and rage would have been unbearable, but he would have suffered under it, being an extremely meek man.

Then, when he was forty, he acted out. He blew up. He killed a slavedriver. He buried his body.

For the next forty years he lived as a fugitive. Forty more years. Would that have erased the incredible pain? Would his having a new family and a new life had removed his pain? Would he have ever been able to forget his brothers and sisters working as slaves back in Egypt?

Would he have doubted why God saved him? Would he have doubted over all of those forty years, or would he have been able to forget? He would have been burdened all along, heavily burdened. So, when God finally came to him again and said, "I am sending you to free your people", he finally had his say, he did not want to go. He knew God could save them through anybody He wished. But, God had chose him.

What was it that bothered Moses about the Ten Plagues? What bothered him was that the people did not believe him. He did not show concern that these plagues would happen. He still had that rage, that rage was inside him.

But, what was that rage? It was not what it appeared to be. It was an understanding of the Lord's anger against sin, that is what it was. It was a door to the feelings of the Lord. His puny, mortal rage was nothing but so that he could understand God's great rage which would have surpassed him.

It was like the waiting that God made Moses do. Just as God waited patiently all of those years watching His people suffering under the cruel weight of slavery, He made Moses wait, so that Moses would be able to believe and understand God -- and so Moses would do anything God said.

There is a psychological profile of Moses, for you.

I doubt you would find that comforting. I think you might find it accurate, however.

So, what I am saying here is simply this: under the same circumstances as Moses, are you so sure that no one else today would do as he did?



I disagree with your assessment here also. If you hold that one has to believe that someone is incapable of error before even attempting to evaluate or make judgments about their words or actions, then I think that is an unrealistic position. With regard to Moses and the Bible, I do not automatically discount everything Moses has to say, just out of hand; but I do believe I am called, as a human being and a moral agent, to evaluate what he says and does. Approaching the Bible in an objective fashion, I do not believe I have any reason to consider it at the outset to be perfect, without possibility for error or the influence of limited human perspectives.


You are correct in this: No one at the outset, before reading the Bible should consider it true, unless they have other evidence which indicates that it should be true. The Scripture is quite plain on this, "Test all things and hold fast to that which is true".

You do not seem to think that the Scripture has that ring of truth to it, that taste of truth, after reading it. Is this because you simply can not believe miracles?

Do you simply believe that miracles can not happen? Perhaps because you have never seen miracles before?

If you believe that all of us 'move and live and have our being within God', to paraphrase the Scripture, is it beyond question that God could act within history, showing His hand? Is it also unlikely that God would do this all of the time, or would He hold back His hand, as He has held back gold and precious jewels -- giving them not just glory in presence and substance, but glory in rarity, thereby highlighting their finery?




Balder asked: Do you have to believe a person is flawless and without error before being capable of judging his behavior or his words?


But, which words would be true, and which words would be false? You would believe that he ordered massacres, but you would not believe that he freed the slaves through miracles? That he ordered Death, the Destroyer, to take from each household in Egypt the firstborn? To smite their land with a darkness whose signs may very well last until this very day? Was it that there was a slave revolt?

If they made all of this up, why would they accuse their own people? Why would they speak so incredibly roughly of their own people? Why would generation after generation pass down the truth, when it spoke so plainly and hard against their own nation? What other nation on the face of the planet has kept such a testimony that so convicts them?

Or, did he order the massacres in Canaan? Or, did he come down from the moutain and order the massacres against his own people -- and did he really force them to grind up the Golden Calf and put it in water so they would drink it? Did he really call for God to cause Hell to open up and swallow a whole family alive?

What about the plague of snakes?

He also wrote that Abraham lived in Canaan. If you are not going to believe the story of Moses, then why believe the story of the slavery? Why was it not just that the Jews at one time, while in Canaan, decided to invent the whole story of slavery and Moses? (Granted, you may not be aware of this, but there is some rather strong evidence of the invasion of Jerusalem by the Hebrews.)

Indeed, I have not heard of the miracles of the Ten Plagues nor any of the miracles of the Wilderness of Walls being recorded anywhere else -- though there are many potential signs which do point to some kind of great cataclysm in Egypt. And... from what we know of one of the Pharoah's, Amenhotep, we do see a man who fit the figure of Pharoah as represented in the Scripture to a "t".

We also know a great darkness sorrounds the demise and later vilification of that great Pharoah, which is most mysterious.

But, I suppose I digress here. I suppose you are not interested in what may have actually occured, but how Christians today must see it. (And, I would suppose, Jews as well?)




I take it you do not want to come out and say that you would help exterminate an entire community of human beings if you believed you were told to do so by God because you know that such activity is not good. And of course, I would expect you to feel that way. Which is why I am saying you should consider that the early Hebrews were mistaken when they believed this to be God's will, or something he would justly endorse.



I did not say this, and you know it. I merely said that to judge the circumstances, you must consider all of the circumstances. You can not and will not do that, however.

Christians do not do these things because they believe the full spectrum of circumstances sorrounding Moses and the Hebrews at that time. It was far, far more then just "a voice" or "a miracle".

It was extreme and extraordinary proof, evidence not only of "some power" but of the True and Righteous God who has sympathy on the poor and oppressed, but who will not tolerate sin. A God who does not fail to judge all men, but a God who judges all men with complete righteous and incredible power.

Today, where are such miracles or proofs that we might point to them, to say, "This is the voice of the Lord"?

Our standard of proof is exceedingly high, whether you believe them or not.

We know wickedness from righteousness. Did we not fight against the wicked Axis powers duing WWII? Did we require a sign from God to send us to fight against these patently wicked powers? It was a righteous cause, and we knew we had to fight it. Indeed, we were so blind - most of us - that we did not enter the war sooner... but, we along with so many, let nation after nation be eaten up, we did not attack even when we heard great evidence of the beginnings of the Holocaust... we did not act even when our great ally, Britain, was being grossly beseiged.

But, when we did act, did we not know that what we were doing was right, even though this meant the death of soldiers and civilians alike? When we did act, did we not then embrace not just the cause of our own defense, but also the cause of the gross massacres of the Jews, of the minorities, of the Eastern Europeans, of the British, of the Western Europeans, and of the Russians? Did we not act knowing the deeds of the Japanese against so many Asian countries?

Was this, too, barbarity?

Was this really so far from what happened in the times of Moses? Maybe you could argue your case against the war against the Canaanites (even though Moses warned that if they left them alive they would always cause problems... even though we see this to this very day)... but, could you make the same case for what they did to become a free people and escape the slavery of the Egyptians?

But, if it was Amenhotep, why would the Egyptians have reviled him, and not the Hebrews?

Have never wondered about that?

If the Hebrews had a slave revolt and freed themselves, would not the Egyptians had honored Amenhotep and reviled the Hebrews?

Are you going to seriously suggest no blood was shed to free the Hebrews?




Balder wrote: I believe that all human beings pass through stages of moral and spiritual development. At different stages, our moral “compass” and our understanding of the nature of the divine, change accordingly. Morally, our “circle of concern” widens and we are able to embrace more in it than previously – moving from self-centered concern to wider and wider contexts. Spiritually, our understanding of God deepens, moving from rather mythical conceptions to more sophisticated, relational, and experientially grounded perspectives. I further believe that the Bible records some of this development in moral and spiritual understanding. At the time of the Hebrews, warfare was obviously very common, life was very hard and often brutal, and the “circle of concern” was largely identified with one’s particular tribe or culture, sometimes extending out to embrace a few outsiders, but certainly not all. In the “incubator” of Hebrew culture, I think certain more profound moral understandings were allowed to grow, though for a long time these moral attitudes and practices were confined to their limited context; outside of that context, the same moral considerations did not apply.

[...]

I don't think the presence of evil in this world disproves the truth of the evolution of moral and spiritual perspectives. The fact that we consider genocide today to be evil, but the Hebrews and other early tribal people apparently did not, is evidence of this change. The more moral awareness you have, the more "evil" you can see in the world (when before you were unconscious of it or more fully "implicated" in it). However, every single human being starts out at the lowest level and must traverse all of them individually. Therefore, even if a community may operate generally at a higher level than some other communities, you will still find individuals at virtually all levels of development within any specific community.



They did not consider the slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians to be evil? Did the Americans bomb the Japanese? Some would argue that unnecessarily took lives, others would argue that this saved lives. Even while there are many debates about this subject... and such subjects as the fire bombings against Germany, largely, these things have not been reviled by the surviving nations who suffered the torments of the Axis powers.

They have not been applauded, either. But, they have been accepted as grim and necessary facts. Do not think it is just the Americans and the British who feel this way... though perhaps many from Germany and Japan do not. But, these things are accepted as necessary from all of the victim nations who still remember these crimes: from the Jews to the Polish to the Chinese to the Koreans to the Czechs, and so on.

And, if we are so greatly concerned about genocide, I would suggest that you watch the movie out now on Rwanda, "Hotel Rwanda". I would also suggest that you pick up some books about the Rwandan situation.

Why is it that the "civilized" nations of the world literally abandoned these poor and impoverished people to an incredible nightmare of genocide?

You seem to be entirely ignorant of Rwanda.

This is not surprising. Have you heard about all of the rock concerts we are doing for Rwanda and the aid we are sending them to help their country? That is right, because we do not and we are not. (Yes, there is some aid, but it is pitiful, even today.)

And, if you seriously think that ends it, you are quite mistaken. Have you failed to read the news about what has been happening in the Congo Republic by the very UN soldiers? Do you think these things are lies? Or, for that matter, what these very same people have been doing in the Balkans?

Have you followed Zimbabwe? Or have you heard about Sudan?

I fail to understand your point about how "civilzed" we have become under the light of reality. Could it be that you have not followed the news on these situations? It is true... they make everyone look bad, all of us "civilized" folks who heard about this mass genocide in Rwanda and thought nothing of it.

And, even if the news was distorted - and it was - do we not now know the facts?

Or, how about Afghanistan, for that matter? Remember the great "outrage" from the world over the US invading Afghanistan? Yet, how did we see it? I will tell you as one of those who politically are in power right now: we saw it as the chance not only to try and get Al Qaeda, no, we saw it as a crusade - yes, a crusade - to align with men who were not even of our faith, the Northern Alliance... to take out the bloody dictatorship of the Taliban... and unrighteous regime if there ever stood one on the face of the planet. And we knew we could do it with minimum civilian casualities.

But, this is not my point. This is not the irony. The irony is a horrible truth that all of these global protesters failed to recognize: but a little over a decade before this ended a bloody, horrible seige of that very nation which took an estimated - a well estimated - two million Afghani lives. A seige which lasted not for a few months, but for ten long years. A seige which sought not to bring true freedom of religion and deliverance from a bloody regime... but a seige, a war, which sought to impose athiesm and totalitarianism on the land. A seige which was not protested by the far left, but a seige which the far left supported.

Is that not savagery?

It is calculated savagery. It is savagery hiding behind the careful built up appearances of "goodness". It is a carefully calculated wickedness which our barbaric ancestors were still yet incapable of. They were far from capable of it, for they did not know how to pretend to be civilized.

They were a pure and simple people who did not understand how to be exceedingly evil and put on every pretension of righteousness.

...

Yet, I do not wholly disagree with you, as I have already said. I would just point out that, yes, there is more evil in the world. It is darker today then it was yesterday. Evil, like anything almost, builds on the past. But, as it gets darker, so too is there greater Light... for the Light does not serve the darkness, but the darkness serves the Light.



I have never denied that "miraculous" or "supernatural" events are possible. But that doesn't mean I accept all claims of the miraculous indiscriminately.



I find it very hard to understand how one might divide between myth and fact... not when looking at the myths of the world... but when looking at Scripture.

I also am skeptical as to what you mean by "miraculous". Do you believe it is possible for the Red Sea to be parted? Do you believe that God could act through a man to announce plagues? Do you believe that the Ten Plagues could have happened? Do you believe that it could have been possible that the Hebrews heard the voice of the Lord and the terrible trumpet blasts? Do you believe that the leaders of the Hebrews could have "sat and ate with the Lord"?




Right. So if you accept that, then when you are faced with morally problematic passages in the Bible, you have at least two possible responses: conclude that killing off a community of people, including their infants, elders, and women, is not wicked; or conclude that such claims represent a limited and fallible human interpretation of "the will of God."

For me, I choose the latter.

Peace,
Balder

There is nothing to celebrate about such horrible things. However, through history countless nations and peoples have been clearly corrupted and then after destroyed by natural disaster, plague, famine, or war. (And other means.)

And, there is the fact that we must all die... and that horrible things happen to all alike.

What of all of these things? Are we to say, "God, I am more noble then you?"... or would we somehow pretend that God is not ultimately in control of all things? Surely, God does not perform wickedness, but could He not stop it? Indeed, how often do the poor and oppressed call out, "Is there no justice in this world?!"

But, there is justice in this world, and we do not comprehend all things -- just as the Lord told Job. There is far more to everything then what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears. The Lord is a just God, and yet, He hides himself. Where is justice, therefore, where is God? Do we not all know that God is justice and He is everywhere? Yet, only those who have faith in Him can trust in Him to bring all justice to all people.

Good and bad alike.

Balder
September 13th, 2005, 12:31 PM
Previously, your statements were vague enough that I had to wonder. And you did not immediately correct your statement, apparently you did not understand what I meant by "leaving out the variables of the equation", either... that is leaving out the variables of the evidence Moses and the Hebrews were stated to have at that time.

You are correct. Most Christians would never have done what Moses did. Not that God could not make any Christian like Moses, He could. He just happened to have made Moses in the way that He did.
I did understand that the "variables of the equation" that you were talking about were the miracles and other events that happened during their lifetimes. I am not sure they have a direct bearing on the issues I'm talking about, at least for the perspective from which I see them, but we'll see.

One question is, what separates Moses from those people who would never do what he did? There must be a number of variables, depending on why he did what he did, and why some others wouldn't do it. For instance, some people might lack his fortitude or courage or passion or faith, and thus they wouldn't be able to rise to his level of greatness. On the other hand, because he also ordered or participated in some pretty terrible acts (as did others in his day), some people might not do what he did because they would find some of those things to be morally objectionable.

Balder wrote: I believe the testimony of Moses demonstrates that he operated from a particular moral and spiritual level of understanding which, while very likely faithful and earnest, was not the most enlightened perspective possible for human beings.


Angelfightfire replied: But, it was not just Moses here, was it? By that time all of the Hebrews were willing to follow the man and do whatever he said.
Yes, that's true. Personally, although Moses was a man of his times, with all that entails, I think he was "ahead" of his times (or at least his people) in some ways. He was likely more educated than the slaves he led out of Egypt, and I believe he had genuine spiritual insight and experience. I sometimes rely on one model that has been proposed for classifying moral development: v-Memes or "value memes." In the language of that system, I think Moses helped usher in a movement from one meme to another, helping bind people together around a vision of law and justice that transcended the moral orientation of most of the people he was leading. The prevailing v-Meme for those people would be classified as Red, which is the sort of value system that you find among many tribes and gangs: a kind of warrior code of honor, bravery, power, and so on, that encourages a rather narrow group solidarity or loyalty. The v-Meme which Moses helped to bring in would be Blue, a values system grounded in a mythos of membership in a higher, guiding order, centered in a vision of law and justice (not just "Red" bravery, loyalty, and honor).

To give a detailed understanding of this would probably be too involved. My point here is simply that I see Moses as operating from a particular moral orientation, which has its strengths and weaknesses, and as having played a transformative as well as a liberating "role" for his people. I do not believe he was operating from a moral perspective that was as developed as ones that have been articulated by Jesus or other saints, even though some of what he taught may have contained the "seeds" for those higher understandings to emerge or develop. What Moses did, and what those who followed him did, was not always in keeping with the kind of activity those higher perspectives would encourage or endorse (in my opinion).


But, who was Moses? What were his motivations? There are many texts which suppose a great many things. Most of these are mostly obviously outrageous lies.

What we do know is quite simple. The man was a Hebrew. The Hebrews were slaves. He was adopted into the house of the Pharoah. Some texts claim that he did not know who he was all along. Yet, how could that have been, as he would have looked like these Hebrews, and his nursemaid was his mother.

Maybe he did not discover who he was until he was around forty. That is a possibility. Regardless, he would have known on a deep level. And he would have lived for forty years in this seat of luxury and power, knowing that he was saved miraculously at birth. Believing that this salvation was a sign from God, that God delivered him, so he might deliver his people.

He would have lived in torment for those forty years. Waiting for God to act. But, God would not have acted because it was not God's time to act.

His torment and rage would have been unbearable, but he would have suffered under it, being an extremely meek man.

Then, when he was forty, he acted out. He blew up. He killed a slavedriver. He buried his body.

For the next forty years he lived as a fugitive. Forty more years. Would that have erased the incredible pain? Would his having a new family and a new life had removed his pain? Would he have ever been able to forget his brothers and sisters working as slaves back in Egypt?

Would he have doubted why God saved him? Would he have doubted over all of those forty years, or would he have been able to forget? He would have been burdened all along, heavily burdened. So, when God finally came to him again and said, "I am sending you to free your people", he finally had his say, he did not want to go. He knew God could save them through anybody He wished. But, God had chose him.

What was it that bothered Moses about the Ten Plagues? What bothered him was that the people did not believe him. He did not show concern that these plagues would happen. He still had that rage, that rage was inside him.

But, what was that rage? It was not what it appeared to be. It was an understanding of the Lord's anger against sin, that is what it was. It was a door to the feelings of the Lord. His puny, mortal rage was nothing but so that he could understand God's great rage which would have surpassed him.

It was like the waiting that God made Moses do. Just as God waited patiently all of those years watching His people suffering under the cruel weight of slavery, He made Moses wait, so that Moses would be able to believe and understand God -- and so Moses would do anything God said.

There is a psychological profile of Moses, for you.

I doubt you would find that comforting. I think you might find it accurate, however.
It's been awhile since I read the Exodus account, but much of what you say seems to reflect my memory of it. I am not sure about the idea that Moses knew all along that he was a Jew and was waiting for liberation for 40 years; it seems to me more likely that, once he realized it, he saw his whole life with the Egyptians in a new way, and understood the treatment of the Jewish slaves in a new way as well. But since my memory is so rusty, I won't insist on that interpretation.


So, what I am saying here is simply this: under the same circumstances as Moses, are you so sure that no one else today would do as he did?
No, I think there are probably many people who would do as Moses did, in those same circumstances. Again, though, I think a person's actions in those conditions would depend, to some extent, upon their own moral and spiritual maturity. For instance, I do not think that some of the great Christian saints would have done the same things. I think, for some of them, ordering the mass murder of a whole community would have been unthinkable and totally wrong. I would say the same of the Buddha or of many Buddhist saints, such as Shantideva: they would not have ordered the mass murder of people, either of their own people (for a religious transgression) or of foreigners, nor would they have urged the brutal conquering of other lands.

Balder wrote: I disagree with your assessment here also. If you hold that one has to believe that someone is incapable of error before even attempting to evaluate or make judgments about their words or actions, then I think that is an unrealistic position. With regard to Moses and the Bible, I do not automatically discount everything Moses has to say, just out of hand; but I do believe I am called, as a human being and a moral agent, to evaluate what he says and does. Approaching the Bible in an objective fashion, I do not believe I have any reason to consider it at the outset to be perfect, without possibility for error or the influence of limited human perspectives.


Angelfightfire replied: You are correct in this: No one at the outset, before reading the Bible should consider it true, unless they have other evidence which indicates that it should be true. The Scripture is quite plain on this, "Test all things and hold fast to that which is true".

You do not seem to think that the Scripture has that ring of truth to it, that taste of truth, after reading it. Is this because you simply can not believe miracles?

Do you simply believe that miracles can not happen? Perhaps because you have never seen miracles before?
No, as I said later in my last letter to you, I do believe miraculous events are possible. I have also witnessed and experienced extraordinary things in my own life.

I believe the Bible communicates many spiritual truths, but after reading the Bible, I do not have the impression that it is infallible, nor do I take everything it says literally. In some places, I think it reflects a mythological more than an historical perspective, though obviously the two are woven together rather tightly.

Balder asked: Do you have to believe a person is flawless and without error before being capable of judging his behavior or his words?

Angelfightfire replied: But, which words would be true, and which words would be false? You would believe that he ordered massacres, but you would not believe that he freed the slaves through miracles? That he ordered Death, the Destroyer, to take from each household in Egypt the firstborn? To smite their land with a darkness whose signs may very well last until this very day? Was it that there was a slave revolt?
I am not sure if it breaks down to something as simple as weeding out true and false statements. I think the Bible reflects a worldview, with the interpretations appropriate to that worldview, which most certainly colored the narration of historical events. Biblical hermeneutics is a complex and intricate process, and I for one do not believe that a proper hermeneutical approach must deny at the outset the existence of any miraculous or "supernatural" events. But that does not mean that one conversely must accept every supernatural claim at face value, nor accept that every interpretation offered by the Biblical authors for a particular event is "absolutely true."

Some of the "pictures" the Bible paints of God -- of his motivations, feelings, activities, and so on -- appear to me to be more reflective of particular human ways of understanding things, rather than infallible portraits of the nature of the Absolute.

Balder wrote: I take it you do not want to come out and say that you would help exterminate an entire community of human beings if you believed you were told to do so by God because you know that such activity is not good. And of course, I would expect you to feel that way. Which is why I am saying you should consider that the early Hebrews were mistaken when they believed this to be God's will, or something he would justly endorse.

Angelfightfire replied: I did not say this, and you know it. I merely said that to judge the circumstances, you must consider all of the circumstances. You can not and will not do that, however.
I am willing to consider all of the circumstances. I just think that people often leave out the important roles that human moral, cognitive, and spiritual development have in shaping the contents of the Biblical record, and in driving the activities and interpretations recorded in the Bible. I think those circumstances should be considered as well.


Christians do not do these things because they believe the full spectrum of circumstances sorrounding Moses and the Hebrews at that time. It was far, far more then just "a voice" or "a miracle".

It was extreme and extraordinary proof, evidence not only of "some power" but of the True and Righteous God who has sympathy on the poor and oppressed, but who will not tolerate sin. A God who does not fail to judge all men, but a God who judges all men with complete righteous and incredible power.

Today, where are such miracles or proofs that we might point to them, to say, "This is the voice of the Lord"?

Our standard of proof is exceedingly high, whether you believe them or not.
Here, you are emphasizing "proof" that it is really God talking as being the determining factor whether or not one would carry out the massacre of whole communities of people, including infants. This implies, of course, that God might really command such acts, and that it would be okay for Christians to do them if they believed they had evidence as compelling as the evidence they believe the early Hebrews had. It also implies that Jesus could have led such campaigns himself during his time on earth, if he had wanted to; that he would not have had qualms about asking his disciples to go into Roman villages and kill everyone in them, if he had thought it would have furthered the mission of his church. (The Book of Mormon has Jesus doing just this in the New World: leading bloody campaigns of slaughter.)

In other words, the "determining factors" you are emphasizing are not so much moral in scope, but evidential and circumstantial. Perhaps I am wrong, but I have always believed that Jesus would have rejected the idea of wiping out communities on moral and spiritual grounds; I believe he would consider such acts to be immoral and evil. The Buddha certainly rejected such activity, in no uncertain terms.

Concerning your remarks about all the wars humanity has fought, recently and in its history, and how you fail to see how there has been any moral development throughout that history, I'll try to explain my perspective a little more rather than responding point by point to your comments.

Just as an aside, yes, I am familiar with what happened and is happening in Rwanda (and I've seen Hotel Rwanda as well) and in other parts of the world. I am also well aware of what has been done by the Chinese to the Tibetans, as some of my teachers and acquaintances have suffered under that brutal regime.

When I say that I believe that humans undergo spiritual and moral development, I do not mean to imply that the whole world nowadays operates at a higher level than it did in the past. It is a staggered and uneven development, varying person to person, family to family, group to group, culture to culture, nation to nation. There is quite a bit of evidence that human beings, in all cultures, pass through similar general stages of moral awareness and understanding as they grow from infancy to adulthood. Typically, the most basic progression is from a self-centered perspective to wider perspectives which are able to appreciate the value and needs and rights of others: an expanding circle of concern and consideration, and a progression from fairly simplistic childish models ("It's not fair! It's my turn!") to more sophisticated, socially and psychologically nuanced models. Not all human beings will grow through the whole range of moral perspectives. Typically, people "settle" around the value system honored and taught by their particular society, with some staying below that level, and some rising above it.

I think we would agree that societies which allow child sacrifice and child prostitution, which endorse slavery, which totally subjugate women and put dissidents through meat grinders, which thrive on racism, which preach hatred and distrust of all outsiders, which rule by fear and intimidation, which regularly seek to exploit others, and so on, are generally less morally developed than those societies in which such things are rejected for their cruelty and lack of compassion.

Obviously, you will find societies operating at a wide spectrum of moral "orientations," and they will not always be consistent. They may exhibit a clash of value systems, as you find in many modern countries. However, I think it is possible to identify general "centers of gravity" for particular societies, such that it is possible to say that the US Constitution represents a more morally advanced perspective than the philosophy of Nazism, the whims of Saddam, or the edicts of the Taliban.

One "problem" in the modern age is that the technology developed by relatively compassionate cultures or individuals may be appropriated and used, to terrible effect, by those who operate from much more self-centered and destructive worldviews...within the same culture, or between very different cultures.

This is a very complex and subtle topic, however, and it is fraught with opportunities for indulging in elitism. It would take much more time than a simple post to really articulate all of its dimensions. From the perspective I have been describing, modern Christian- and Enlightenment-influenced cultures have typically moved "beyond" the moral orientation of the early Hebrew and Christian culture, where stoning people and burning them alive were seen as appropriate ways to maintain social order and cohesion. In general, we are put off by such things and would not tolerate them now; they seem unnecessarily cruel. We have found better ways to maintain order, without having to resort to or indulge in our more brutal impulses. Modern society is also imperfect and riddled with contradiction, but in general terms, I feel comfortable saying it occupies a more righteous and compassionate perspective than the one inhabited by Moses and his contemporaries (even though he also struggled to transform and improve the prevailing views of his day).

Best wishes,
Balder

servent101
September 13th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Balder
Right. So if you accept that, then when you are faced with morally problematic passages in the Bible, you have at least two possible responses: conclude that killing off a community of people, including their infants, elders, and women, is not wicked; or conclude that such claims represent a limited and fallible human interpretation of "the will of God."

For me, I choose the latter.

Good to see you back - your up and hitting on all eight cylinders again - good for you... and I understand your outlook
Perhaps I am wrong, but I have always believed that Jesus would have rejected the idea of wiping out communities on moral and spiritual grounds; I believe he would consider such acts to be immoral and evil. The Buddha certainly rejected such activity, in no uncertain terms.

I respect the Buddha, and in a recent post - http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=866747#post866747 to someone I suggested
The Law was given to a very obstinate and stubborn people - and the Law is good, but there are people whom to expect to follow the Law, as good as it is, they are so far beyond that in their own lives - it would be kind of like telling Lance Armstrong to put training wheels on his bike. There are some "religions" that are so far above the Law... going far beyond in Purity and KNOWLEDGE that for them, they take it as good, that you try to follow the Law, and they do not take offense... but all in all the Law was written to a very stubborn and obstinate people.

The history of these people, and the barbaric tribes that surrounded them, and the lack of what we take for granted that allows us to do far more than feed ourselves - back then in that specific geographical location life consisted of survival, with very little in the way of any social safety net… it really was a matter of kill or be killed. I appreciate your view that yes Christians have come a long way - and as well the necessity to destroy a complete rival tribe - well that today I would hope that we have gotten past, as today hopefully we are all a little less barbaric as this modern age does afford us many avenues to work out our differences peacefully. As for how barbaric the times were - it is recorded that during the forty years of wandering, only two people survived to enter into the “Promised Land” Joshua and Jonathan - all others perished mostly at the hands of the various warring tribes in the region.

To me I am willing to seek a peaceful way to solve my difficulties with my fellow human beings, but even today, a few still see murder as a legitimate way to find security, and sometimes we have to defend ourselves by any means possible.

As for if it could have been God - who gave the command, I think it is and it was a logical and compassionate command - as death is God’s gracious provision, that we loose this “crap” that has attached itself to our soul - including this fear of death which seems to entrap you into thinking the loss of life - a whole tribe, is something that God does not have the capacity to make for the dead a better future, for those who have been killed by the sword for the sins of the society they were born into, and who could not escape from whatever was “detestable” because of the times… it was a blessing to end it, and have their souls in God’s hands. As Krishna says - the unknowing morn for the dead.

With Christ’s Love


Servent101

Mustard Seed
September 16th, 2005, 03:43 AM
(The Book of Mormon has Jesus doing just this in the New World: leading bloody campaigns of slaughter.)


Correction----

Jesus did no such thing in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. His visit to the Americas, as ellaborated in the Book of Mormon, was followed by over three centuries without armed conflict. True he did through his profits encourage his followers to defend their families their liberty and their right to worship God "unto the shedding of blood" it was always a last resort and could not be initiated by them. It was what might be labeled a 'just war' requisit. They were also guided in how to treat captives. It was the civilization's straying from Christ's admonitions that led to their annihilation.

servent101
September 16th, 2005, 04:18 AM
Mustard Seed
True he did through his profits encourage his followers to defend their families their liberty and their right to worship God "unto the shedding of blood"

This is not so much true today... as we go to court now, and win in court... but in the Old West when things were not so, where people would shoot first to take away people's right to liberty and their rights to worship God - sure shoot back. Generally though Christians go to court now a days - and even if the law changes to stop Christians from worshiping - it is clear that we do not use violence against the law - we do though have the right to defend ourselves against guns and the like - immediate threats to our lives. Laws can never take away religious freedom - as the legislation of any sort of "philosophy" only backfires. If they want to (though I doubt if they ever could) legislate some form of censorship on Christians... all the more power to them, for this would triple the number of Christians in ten years.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Mustard Seed
September 16th, 2005, 07:53 PM
Mustard Seed

This is not so much true today... as we go to court now, and win in court... but in the Old West when things were not so, where people would shoot first to take away people's right to liberty and their rights to worship God - sure shoot back. Generally though Christians go to court now a days - and even if the law changes to stop Christians from worshiping - it is clear that we do not use violence against the law - we do though have the right to defend ourselves against guns and the like - immediate threats to our lives. Laws can never take away religious freedom - as the legislation of any sort of "philosophy" only backfires. If they want to (though I doubt if they ever could) legislate some form of censorship on Christians... all the more power to them, for this would triple the number of Christians in ten years.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

I think the USSR is proof that you can 'legislate' away religion. If you think that the Russian Orthodox Church was greatly aided by the Bolshevik revolution then I'd have to ask to see some numbers indicating such.

As far as you're posts relevance to mine. I'm not really seeing it. In the accounts Ii was referencing it was another nation that was trying to deprive the freedom of religion through force of arms. So the idea of legislating away religion is not reallly an item in the Book of Mormon, though the legislating away of correct guiding principles in a government is something that is noted and one of the warnings of the book. The idea that a people can, through their own wickedness and lack of vigilance, morph their just government into it's anti-thesis.

Ever read "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat?

servent101
September 16th, 2005, 08:10 PM
Mustard Seed
Ever read "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat?

No but tell me what you find so true about that book... but as for the truth in
I think the USSR is proof that you can 'legislate' away religion. If you think that the Russian Orthodox Church was greatly aided by the Bolshevik revolution then I'd have to ask to see some numbers indicating such.

As far as you're posts relevance to mine. I'm not really seeing it. In the accounts Ii was referencing it was another nation that was trying to deprive the freedom of religion through force of arms. So the idea of legislating away religion is not reallly an item in the Book of Mormon, though the legislating away of correct guiding principles in a government is something that is noted and one of the warnings of the book. The idea that a people can, through their own wickedness and lack of vigilance, morph their just government into it's anti-thesis. if the Christians were still flourishing - well if anyone knew about it they would be dead - so all in all what proof do you have either?

Granted my case is weak... and I am not saying I am sure on that matter - but I do agree that we need to tarry late into the night... to keep the liverties that we have, and to find a way to live at peace with our neighbours... reminds me of a verse - That if a man's ways are right with the Lord, then even his enimies will live at peace with him.

Anyways - there is that necessity to follow peace, at all costs - even to run, when we see the tide turning - as the wicked devower themselves - and when we have to leave, there is no "salt" there for them to be preserved. All a Christian has to do is leave, and the persuing chaos his or her enimies will devower them one and all - but to stay, at risk of life and limb in chaos - bringing the Good News - that is our calling - but God also lets us know when He has had enough too. God does not rejoice when the wicked perrish... but when the people in general start to kill saints, well that just does not sit right with me either for some reason... I don't think it is our calling anymore.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

servent101
September 16th, 2005, 08:13 PM
Mustard Seed
Ever read "The Law" by Frederic Bastiat?

No but tell me what you find so true about that book... but as for the truth in
I think the USSR is proof that you can 'legislate' away religion. If you think that the Russian Orthodox Church was greatly aided by the Bolshevik revolution then I'd have to ask to see some numbers indicating such.

As far as you're posts relevance to mine. I'm not really seeing it. In the accounts Ii was referencing it was another nation that was trying to deprive the freedom of religion through force of arms. So the idea of legislating away religion is not really an item in the Book of Mormon, though the legislating away of correct guiding principles in a government is something that is noted and one of the warnings of the book. The idea that a people can, through their own wickedness and lack of vigilance, morph their just government into it's anti-thesis. if the Christians were still flourishing - well if anyone knew about it they would be dead - so all in all what proof do you have either?

Granted my case is weak... and I am not saying I am sure on that matter - but I do agree that we need to tarry late into the night... to keep the liberties that we have, and to find a way to live at peace with our neighbors... reminds me of a verse - That if a man's ways are right with the Lord, then even his enemies will live at peace with him.

Anyways - there is that necessity to follow peace, at all costs - even to run, when we see the tide turning - as the wicked always turn onto themselves - and when we have to leave, there is no "salt" there for them to be preserved. All a Christian has to do is leave, and the perusing chaos in his or her enemies lives will destroy them one and all - but to stay, at risk of life and limb in chaos - bringing the Good News - that is our calling - but God also lets us know when He has had enough too. God does not rejoice when the wicked perish... but when the people in general start to kill saints, ... I don't think it is our calling anymore.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Balder
September 17th, 2005, 12:29 AM
Angelfightfire,

I noticed you started another thread where you talked about non-Christians who question Moses' consistency WRT killing being lying hypocrites. I hope you don't mean that all non-Christians who have a problem with some of the things Moses and his contemporaries did are hypocrites and liars. It's easy to make sweeping statements about groups of people, or about certain moral positions, but I hope you recognize that such generalizations are often as intellectually dishonest (and distorting) as the supposed tactics you are criticizing.

I thought about responding to you on that other post, but I remembered this one here -- where a number of questions and issues are still in the air. Not that you have to respond, but ... well, this is a prod in that direction!

Peace,
B.

P.S. MustardSeed, doesn't the Book of Nephi record Jesus' destruction of the inhabitants of many cities?

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 02:20 AM
Mustard Seed
Granted my case is weak... and I am not saying I am sure on that matter - but I do agree that we need to tarry late into the night... to keep the liverties that we have, and to find a way to live at peace with our neighbours... reminds me of a verse - That if a man's ways are right with the Lord, then even his enimies will live at peace with him.

That is exactly what the Book of Mormon teaches. After the initial establishment of the primary Book of Mormon civilization there is a split and one group is called the Nephites and the other group the Lamanites. Initialy one is righteous and the other is not but that is far from static. The entire account shows that when one group is righteous they are protected by God, it doesn't matter which group it is, so long as they are keeping God's commandments. God then uses, at times, the other group as a scourge to "stir" the other group up to "rememberance". You are correct. If we live righteously then we have nothing to fear from our enemies. Granted being righteous, as I understand it, means being eternaly vigilant to threats, regardless their source, to our peace, rights and the safety of our families. Righteous men are to provide for the "sacred support" of their families. This entails all from providing physical and spiritual sustenence to spiritual and physical defense, when needed.


Anyways - there is that necessity to follow peace, at all costs - even to run, when we see the tide turning - as the wicked devower themselves - and when we have to leave, there is no "salt" there for them to be preserved. All a Christian has to do is leave, and the persuing chaos his or her enimies will devower them one and all - but to stay, at risk of life and limb in chaos - bringing the Good News - that is our calling - but God also lets us know when He has had enough too. God does not rejoice when the wicked perrish... but when the people in general start to kill saints, well that just does not sit right with me either for some reason... I don't think it is our calling anymore.


With Christ's Love

Servent101

There's actualy a point in the Book of Mormon where God comands one of the last prophets to stop preaching and exorting precisley because they have reached the threshold you ellude to. The people, we are told, had put off their day of repentance untill it was "everlastingly" too late to turn around. Not because of any thing God had done but because their own moral momentum, if you will, had them persecuting, throwing out of the land, or killing the saints. They were purging the land of the very salt that was postponing their destruction. So, as you pointed out, when the salt leaves, the remnant is worthless and ready to be spewed out of their mortal frames by the land itself.

I know that that book was written for our day. God knew that we were going to face situations that would have us destroying ourselves so he prepared this book to help us, if we will, learn from the civilizations of the past. And not through the eyes of some pontificating historian but from the view of an omniscient God that actually knows what it is we need to change to avoid such again.

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 02:44 AM
Angelfightfire,
P.S. MustardSeed, doesn't the Book of Nephi record Jesus' destruction of the inhabitants of many cities?

Yes. But go back and read it. Those that were killed were killed precisly because they themselves had stoned and/or killed the prophets of God that came to them.


9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.

3 Nephi 9: 9


25 And in another place they were heard to cry and mourn, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, [b]and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared, and not have been buried up in that great city Moronihah. And thus were the howlings of the people great and terrible.

--3 Ne. 8: 25

These people knew what they had both done and allowed to occur. My understanding is that those primarily responsible, and some others, were those who were destroyed during the destructions detailed in 3 Nephi. The less wicked part were largely those that were spared. So if you have the less wicked part realizing why they were being punished (via cities being droped into the sea and mountains covering others and fires and whirl winds and all manner of divinely permited acts of destruction) then the part that was destroyed was clearly aware of the killing, etc. they had done to deserve the punishment they received.

If you call that leading campaigns of slaughter then, I will conceed in one sense, you are correct. But I do not think simply saying that Jesus led campaigns of slaughter without the context is not just or proper. The truth is that the civilization KNEW they had it coming and THEY were the ones that initiated a campaign of slaughter. Jesus/Jehovah was simply executing justice upon those who started the blood letting in their society and causing them to stop such taking of life.

So my disagreement is in that even God was leading such carnage simply to counter, recompense, and ultimately stop the capacity, of those who previously decided themselves that they wanted in on the game of spilling the blood of the innocent.

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 02:57 AM
Mustard Seed

No but tell me what you find so true about that book... but as for the truth in if the Christians were still flourishing - well if anyone knew about it they would be dead - so all in all what proof do you have either?



Just dawned on me that I failed to answer your first question.

The book is about the purpose of law and government. It was written by a french man who lived around the time of the French Revolution(s) (I would say the bloody one, but they all were). His book addresses the fact that governments tend to go from being instruments of protecting the life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of hapiness, into instrumets used to deprive it's citizens of those very things. It is largely set up to counter socialism by showing that it inherently turns government against it's primary purpose, but the idea holds true for any time the government is corrupted. It goes from protector to primary offender.

It's really an astounding book, and while I don't agree with all the conclusions Mr. Bastiat comes too, he really enunciates key elements of government and shows how society simply revolves in cycles where one class trumps another followed by another trumping from another class, that goes on so long as the society doesn't learn the lesson that government is not there to procure things of others for the benefit of others, but to protect what each has, then that society is doomed to class warfare untill everyone has given each other sufficient punishment to get them all humble enough to work together to protect everyone's rights to life, liberty, property, and ther pursuit of happiness.

It's really quite short and easy to find on the internet. You can read it in an evening or two. I recomend it.

OMEGA
September 17th, 2005, 07:21 AM
Servant 101 said,

I respect the Buddha,
--------------------------------------
The Buddha is an IDOL = Idolotry .

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 08:03 AM
Servant 101 said,

I respect the Buddha,
--------------------------------------
The Buddha is an IDOL = Idolotry .


Correction.

The Buddha was made into an Idol. Buddha himself would not, in any stretch of the imagination, agree with what's been done with his name. Go and study the actual begining of Buddism Omega. If you knew what the man actually said then maybe, just maybe, you would respect him like Servant does. One can respect an innovator without worshiping them or ascribing to the same system held by those who have a religion named after that person.

Your excitement to quickly jump on the "That's idolatry!!! And THAT! AND THAT!" doesn't lend you credibility and doesn't reflect well on Christianity.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

--Prov. 4: 7

Agape4Robin
September 17th, 2005, 03:26 PM
Your excitement to quickly jump on the "That's idolatry!!! And THAT! AND THAT!" doesn't lend you credibility and doesn't reflect well on Christianity.
:rotfl:


Mormonism reflects christianity?:rolleyes:

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 03:28 PM
:rotfl:


Mormonism reflects christianity?:rolleyes:


Mormonism is true and complete Christianity.

Agape4Robin
September 17th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Mormonism is true and complete Christianity.Mormonism is a true and complete CULT!

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Mormonism is a true and complete CULT!

Ahhh... how cute. The cult label.

Flash back to a classic--


http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11283&highlight=cult

Yes. I did always like that link I put at the start of that thread.

Agape4Robin
September 17th, 2005, 04:49 PM
Ahhh... how cute. The cult label.

Flash back to a classic--


http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11283&highlight=cult

Yes. I did always like that link I put at the start of that thread.

Mormonism maintains that the true gospel message was lost from the earth shortly after the apostles died.<LI type=i>The Mormon Apostle Orson Prat said, "Jesus...established his kingdom on earth...the kingdoms of this world made war against the kingdom of God, established eighteen centuries ago, and they prevailed against it, and the kingdom ceased to exist." (Journal of Discourses. Vol. 13, page 125). <LI type=i>But Jesus said, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18, KJV).
As you can see, Mormonism contradicts what Jesus said. That is why they must say that the Bible is not trustworthy. That is, it isn't trustworthy wherever it disagrees with Mormonism.

<LI type=A>Since Mormonism claims to be the restoration of the gospel, it also claims to have the authority to perform priestly duties and, therefore, properly represent God here on earth. <LI type=A>All offices of the Mormon church grow out of the priesthoods.
<LI type=i>Melchizedek - This is the greater priesthood. It consists of several offices:
<LI type=a>Elder, seventy, high priest, patriarch or evangelist, and apostle.
Aaronic - a part of the greater Melchizedek priesthood.

Aaronic priesthood - This is the lesser priesthood


<LI type=a>Is synonymous with the Levitical Priesthood (D.&C. 107:1,6,10)
Performs the administration of the ordinances (D.&C. 107:13-14)
Deacon, teacher, then priest.


Quite simply, the Bible contradicts what Mormons believe concerning the priesthood.


Jesus is the only high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 3:1; 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11,15,17,21,24,26; 8:1; 9:11).
"Where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20).
"And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" (Heb. 7:15-16).
The Melchizedek Priesthood is unchangeable and untransferable

"but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood" (Heb. 7:24).
Want more?

freelight
September 17th, 2005, 05:56 PM
Mormonism is true and complete Christianity.


Lets see,...the last time I checked this threads topic was about 'The agnostic religion'....not christianity or mormonism. Each has their 'opinion' as exampled above.

Another perspective on agnosticism would be to imply that both christianity and/or mormonism are anti-agnostic in their claims that they actually DO possess a knowledge(to whatever degree which could be questioned) of 'God' - these are alleged claims and beliefs relative to the system invested in. What makes these 'claims' more relevant or substancial than a purely agnostic view which accepts that a vital knowledge cannot be had of the existence or the non-existence of God? Isnt it only 'belief' that makes a difference? There are christian, lds, agnostic and gnostic believers.....each having their own paradigm within their respective schools. I find some aspects in each school useful in some dimensions...yet other aspects just as useless as well.

While I delight in the free-spirit ventures of a freelance gnostic....I must admit to be an agnostic at some levels, as it is apparent that the Supreme God, the ONE ....in the Immensity of His/Her Infinite BEING....cannot wholly be comprehended/apprehended by this presently constituted finite mind. But alas,....as the soul continues in spiritual progress/revelations...more and more of the divine State or Being shall be realized.

While christianity and mormonism both claim divine revelation.....one cannot exclude the element of mythos in their cosmologies....and the power of 'belief' that these systems must include for their own perpetuation.

So....for now I remain mostly gnostic(loving knowledge, free enterprise, logos)...while also being a-gnostic realizing that the whole of All knowledge is not always afforded my awareness, that essentially there is always God the Unknown existing beyond knowledge.
This makes for a most wonderful God...who remains forever both known and unknowable.

paul

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 07:47 PM
Just so the likes of paul(freelight) and others don't freak out at my posting of this in this thread I will also post it on a new thread so that the hijacking damage will be contained from here on out.

On to the response.



Mormonism maintains that the true gospel message was lost from the earth shortly after the apostles died.<LI type=i>The Mormon Apostle Orson Prat said, "Jesus...established his kingdom on earth...the kingdoms of this world made war against the kingdom of God, established eighteen centuries ago, and they prevailed against it, and the kingdom ceased to exist." (Journal of Discourses. Vol. 13, page 125). <LI type=i>But Jesus said, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18, KJV).

Yes. Peter came to Joseph Smith and gave him the keys that Christ had given him. Where's your tie to Peter?



As you can see, Mormonism contradicts what Jesus said. That is why they must say that the Bible is not trustworthy. That is, it isn't trustworthy wherever it disagrees with Mormonism.


We do not say the Bible is not trustworthy. We simply acknowledge that certain things have been lost from it or changed. We fully accept Christ's statement with regard to Peter and revelation. That is why it's important that Peter James and John appeared to Joseph and continued the line of authority. Hence my question regarding where you tie in to Peter if you believe the church was established through/upon him.




<LI type=A>Since Mormonism claims to be the restoration of the gospel, it also claims to have the authority to perform priestly duties and, therefore, properly represent God here on earth. <LI type=A>All offices of the Mormon church grow out of the priesthoods.
<LI type=i>Melchizedek - This is the greater priesthood. It consists of several offices:
<LI type=a>Elder, seventy, high priest, patriarch or evangelist, and apostle.
Aaronic - a part of the greater Melchizedek priesthood.

Aaronic priesthood - This is the lesser priesthood


<LI type=a>Is synonymous with the Levitical Priesthood (D.&C. 107:1,6,10)
Performs the administration of the ordinances (D.&C. 107:13-14)
Deacon, teacher, then priest.


Quite simply, the Bible contradicts what Mormons believe concerning the priesthood.

The above demonstrates nothing of the sort. It doesn't even quote the Bible for reference to where and exactly what is supposedly being contradicted. Oh wait. Here's the Bible verses lacking explanations and just spat out. I see understanding is what we're after.



Jesus is the only high priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 3:1; 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11,15,17,21,24,26; 8:1; 9:11).

Let's flesh these out a wee bit.

Here they are in order of you're citation (or did you copy and paste from some other site?). The only difference is that I just wholesale droped in the inbetween verses on Chapter 7 for continuity.

1 WHEREFORE, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

He's the Apostle (Special Witness) and High Priest of the profesion. Of course Christ called and ordained Apostles Prophets etc. So this verse is not saying he's the only one with these titles, simply that he's the head. Which we believe.

6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Okay. We believe that. Again no exclusivity here. In fact I'd be curious to know if you think the namesake of the Priesthood was a high priest in the very priesthood that took his name?


10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Essentialy the same.

20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Again nothing new.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Simply stating that the Aaronic priesthood, alone, is not sufficient. We believe that.



10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Simply saying that if the Levitical priesthood was sufficient then why was there those called after the order of Melchisedec and not just a continuation of calling after the order of Aaron.



12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

We had best come to concensus on this. I take the above as saying that it was changes only in that it was augmented. If you think otherwise then you'll need to explain to me how an unchanging God can go and simply change the law and the priesthood that administers it whenever he wants, without consideration of the claims of eternal concistancy.

Christ came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it. For why would he destroy a perfect law? I say God gave the Israelites a preperatory Law and corresponding priesthood that could be augmented/fullfilled by Christ. Thus the changing is changing only in augmentation rather than in destruction and replacement.


13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.



Simply stating that Christ was not born into the tribe that had the responsibility of carrying out the Levitical/Aaronic priestly duties. He was born into Judah.


14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,

Here's you're problem. If Christ is the ONLY Priest after the order of Melchisedec then why does it say that he is "another priest"? How do you have another if you havent had a previous?

<"How can I have some more if I haven't had any yet?" Sandlot tangent, my apologies>

16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

A disannulling of the commandment, but not the Law. Again we believe the Aaronic priesthood alone is insufficient.

19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:

Jesus, and all members of the Melchisedec priesthood had to take an oath. But those of the Aaronic were born into it, so they didn't take an oath. We take upon us the Melchisedec priesthood in the same way in our faith. Do you? If you do what does you're oath concist of? What are it's tennants and when do you do it? Or do you think that Christ being a member of it is all that is needed?

21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)

22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

So "such an high priest became us" what does that mean? Are we then Christ? Or is this a continuation of the commandment to be perfect as Jesus and his Father are and take upon us all those things they have.


27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

We also believe that Christ ended the sheding of blood for atonement.


1 NOW of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Again. There's no explicit (nor do I see any implicit) exclusivities to the title of High Priest in the Melchesidic Priesthood.

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Simply stating that Christ's resurection and nature as our Saviour makes him "an high priest of good things to come". We verily believe that. Again, no preclusions, explicit or implied, as to Christ being the only High Priest in the Melchesedic Priesthood.




"Where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20).

We believe that once a person is a High Priest they are such forever. No discrepancy here.



"And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" (Heb. 7:15-16).

Yep.


The Melchizedek Priesthood is unchangeable and untransferable

Why no scriptural support for the above? Just forget to put it down? Or was it not there on the page you likely copied and pasted? Seems a little like trying to slip in an unsuported assertion. That doesn't work to well in arguments in which rational is the intended deciding factor.



"but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood" (Heb. 7:24).


24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

No disagreement here. That is why it's so important to know that our line of authority goes back to Jesus. Passing through Peter. The rock.

[quote]
Want more?






Well if the remander is of the same quality or lesser then what's the point? Unless, after answering or conceeding my above points you want me to bring into question the "more" you have in store.

Mustard Seed
September 17th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Lets see,...the last time I checked this threads topic was about 'The agnostic religion'....not christianity or mormonism. Each has their 'opinion' as exampled above.



I apologize if you feel at all put out or bothered by the discusion. It stemmed from the fact that there was a misrepresentation of LDS beliefs. As I feel the right and responsibility to correct stuff the thread was, for a portion of it, steered in a different course than intended by it's title. But rest assured it was done in the name of preserving the integrity of that herein presented through the process of second guessing.

You may all continue on.

All responses to the priesthood/LDS issue can be addressed in a thread I just started.


http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22922

freelight
September 18th, 2005, 11:11 AM
I apologize if you feel at all put out or bothered by the discusion. It stemmed from the fact that there was a misrepresentation of LDS beliefs. As I feel the right and responsibility to correct stuff the thread was, for a portion of it, steered in a different course than intended by it's title. But rest assured it was done in the name of preserving the integrity of that herein presented through the process of second guessing.

You may all continue on.

All responses to the priesthood/LDS issue can be addressed in a thread I just started.


http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22922


Hi MS,

Just thought to jostle this thread back on topic is all - I understand your defending mormonism and all, but it seems there are plenty of hash-outs(threads/debates) on 'mormonism' and it gets old hat after-awhile.(being an ex-mormon and having gone thru so many debates therein can become tedious). Also your stance about 'your' faith appears unmovable so one begins to wonder at what point the dialgoues will serve a fruitful purpose in the pursuit of truth (when 'truth' in these venues are 'relative' and subject to ones own conditionings/favor/leanings/logic, etc.). Thanks for the thread for those who want to discuss that subject there.

The agnostics still find 'God' a mystery which religion pretends or claims to offer knowledge about...and then its impossible to sustain these beliefs apart from having 'faith'.
The question is then, as repeated earlier more or less......'how better off is a believer in God over one who is agnostic?' - who fares better? Does your belief in your religion or God(per your tradition/cult-ure) give you an advantage over a non-believer? Is your religions 'claim' the ultimatum of absolute truth? The primary deciding factor seems to come down to 'belief' - having 'faith' that these things are so. Some believe,...some choose not to due to inadequate proofs however they perceive them. 'Belief' then in belief systems such as christianity/mormonism must be the kicker/ticket to grant the individual some kind of saving benefit or 'blessing'. Does 'belief' in an invisible God or religious system/church organization really grant you something better than what an agnostic might possess or not possess?....besides your own thinking that it does? You really cant say that your faith has any other vitalizing aspect or dynamic but for the perpetuation of particularized belief...and such 'suits' you well, seems to satisfy your religious sentiments.(spiritual experiences included or besides).


Ok agnostics,......time for you to chime in to bring balance to the discussion....if you are out there.

To the Unknown God,


paul

servent101
September 19th, 2005, 07:24 PM
MustardSeedkey elements of government and shows how society simply revolves in cycles where one class trumps another followed by another trumping from another class, that goes on so long as the society doesn't learn the lesson that government is not there to procure things of others for the benefit of others, but to protect what each has, then that society is doomed to class warfare untill everyone has given each other sufficient punishment to get them all humble enough to work together to protect everyone's rights to life, liberty, property, and ther pursuit of happiness.[/quote]

Yes... I have heard that a lot of times - and it seems to be so true, but for some reason some people just do not learn from their mistakes... all in all though, I believe Christians are not here to learn how to rule the World, for in fact - God does, we are here to learn how to invent ourselves - for the purpose of Fellowship with God... and these trials and temptations are only here for a short time, and as Faith goes, we do believe that God is bringing about this
sufficient punishment to get them all humble enough though Balder might think it is a little harsh - especially in the Old Testament... what he would not do to protect his own I wonder exactly what length each of us would go to protect our physical well-being, and that of our loved ones... and yet, this is suppose to be done in prayer and supplication, this is how it is on an individual level... but as far as countries it is a different matter, though what is going on in the world,,, as you say - we really should learn or at least our government needs to re-evaluate it's position on issues and policies. God is the Master of the World - America would do a lot better to actually believe this, and follow a more liberal path. That is only my opinion of course and I am not saying I am right or wrong.

With Christ's Love

servent101

servent101
September 19th, 2005, 07:36 PM
freelight
Ok agnostics,......time for you to chime in to bring balance to the discussion....if you are out there.

I am not an agnostic - but I do agree with them, that if there is a God, that someone has to show or explain this God too them, that they cannot discern for themselves. In some ways I only can agree, and show them the most "Christian" behaviour I can. As a Mystic or Extreme Eccumentalist I believe Christ did die for everyone, that this is not anything other than an example of God's Character - that God is just to keep on trying because God's effort in Jesus shows us the character of God. This idea about Jesus taking the punishment for our sin's away- well in certain cases, rare ones, yes someone is simply released from a certain bondage like in a few moments - but for the most of us, we still suffer and are in bondage to sin - but there is a lot more we can do to release ourselves from sin by knowledge and wisdom - but the church seems the attempt is a lack of faith. All in all the church today is simply not coherent, so there is no way for agnostics to find out about the nature of God, except through everyday life, and hopefully some information would come their way - but it would have to be better than what I can do - and as far as the church - it is almost impossible to find the TRUTH there.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Mustard Seed
September 19th, 2005, 07:38 PM
Yes... I have heard that a lot of times - and it seems to be so true, but for some reason some people just do not learn from their mistakes... all in all though, I believe Christians are not here to learn how to rule the World,

But they are. The meek shall literally inherit the earth, and it's governance, under God.


for in fact - God does, we are here to learn how to invent ourselves - for the purpose of Fellowship with God

Would you consider us being here for both reasons?


... and these trials and temptations are only here for a short time, and as Faith goes, we do believe that God is bringing about this

And the meek will be one of his instruments in doing so. Both the meek AND God will rule the world.

If we want to go off on world domination we might start up another thread. So if you reply to this I suggest making another thread for such.

servent101
September 20th, 2005, 12:25 PM
Mustard Seed -
But they are. The meek shall literally inherit the earth, and it's governance, under God.... and I hear you here...


If we want to go off on world domination we might start up another thread.

good idea... though I somehow lost the "knowledge" of how to actually do tht since they changed they forum. send instructions please and I will.

But in the meantime ... what did you think of post 106 ... to freelight, as this is more on topic.

What I addressed in the post you responded too was primarily [ sufficient punishment to get them all humble enough[/quote] and in that regard... after the great and dreadful day of the Lord... no man will ask - do you know the Lord, for all will know Him - possibly all people do know the Lord - it is just that "some" believe they have the only so called responsible exegesis of their "writ" and without that dogma, the world will never be free from their need to support the Clergy....? - could the great and dreadful day of the Lord be an occuracne that happens to us individually? and all people know the Lord, as God reserves the right to reveal Himself or Herself to whom, where, and how God wants.

With Christ's Love

Servent101

Servent101