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Author Topic:   Christianity Needs to Return to Being a Good Example
GDR
Member (Idle past 189 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(1)
Message 7 of 57 (843992)
11-23-2018 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
11-23-2018 11:49 AM


Good article and good post Stile. Too often the church has focused on getting bums in the pews. Too often the church has focused on personal salvation and essentially trying to scare people into believing.

The point of Christianity is to take God's love into our communities and the world. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give comfort to those in distress, home the homeless etc. That is the point. Getting new church members is good because it increases your ability to do the other things I just mentioned, but that comes as a result of doing first things first. Increasing the congregation isn't the goal but it should be a consequence of getting the other part right.

As far as personal salvation goes the word of Jesus show us plainly that it is about having hearts that find their joy in loving and serving their neighbours, and even loving them sacrificially. It isn't about getting one's theology right but believing in the message of love that Jesus embodied.

Read my signature.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Stile, posted 11-23-2018 11:49 AM Stile has seen this message

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Phat, posted 11-24-2018 5:35 AM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 189 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


(1)
Message 14 of 57 (844021)
11-24-2018 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Phat
11-24-2018 5:35 AM


Re: GDRs Trademark Signature
Phat writes:

You sure are proud of that trademark that you adopted!


I'm not sure that proud is the right word. It is hardly original to me.

There is a line in a piece of music that we do in church sometimes. It goes like this: "so complex so simple, so clear so mysterious".

On this forum we argue about the complex and mysterious all the time. It is nice to sometimes focus on the clear and simple parts. My signature in Micah 6:8 does that well.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Phat, posted 11-24-2018 5:35 AM Phat has taken no action

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 189 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 50 of 57 (861782)
08-26-2019 9:02 PM
Reply to: Message 49 by Hyroglyphx
08-26-2019 1:12 PM


Hyroglyphx writes:

There is one argument that the fundamentalists make that does make sense to me. This push for a feel good gospel, one that is inclusive and non-abrasive, makes people feel all warm and squishy on the inside. It does promote love, inclusion and unity. But then you also exclude all the other parts that aren't so warm and squishy. In which case, why do you promote it at all? Like it or not, you have no frame of reference for Jesus outside of the bible. But this isn't a pick and choose adventure. You either believe all of it, warts and all, or you don't... or shouldn't.

So why is he a Christian then at all? I can extract just as much meaning and value from Jesus' parables without having to swallow the whole thing. But if he isn't willing to swallow the whole pill, then he's not a Christian... he's just an admirer of Jesus' teachings. That's an important distinction if you ask me.

That makes no sense to me. The Bible is a library of 66 books, written in different times, in different cultures for different reasons and with different motives. It isn't at all necessary to view the Bible as a book dictated by God but IMHO, we should view it as a book that God is able to speak to us through, with parables, histories that worked out well and not at all well, where people get it right and more often wrong, and so on.

We should work our way through different Biblical writings and figure out what the message is for us. As a Christian I start with the resurrection of Jesus and work from there. Also to properly understand Jesus' message we need the OT as He is constantly quoting it in the Gospels. We can understand the message in the OT through the lens of Jesus.

For example if we accept on faith the accounts in the NT that Jesus embodied the Word or the nature of God, then we can come to the conclusion that when we are told to love our enemies we can more than reasonably know that we can reject the OT accounts that have Yahweh both committing and commanding genocide.

Your all or nothing approach makes no sense.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-26-2019 1:12 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 51 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-26-2019 9:50 PM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 189 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 52 of 57 (861788)
08-27-2019 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Hyroglyphx
08-26-2019 9:50 PM


Hydroglyphx writes:

It was written at slightly different times, but not from different cultures. The entirety of the bible was written from and written by the Jewish perspective. All of it. Of course now we're getting into whether the bible was written by God, through man, or whether it was divinely inspired by God but still has all the frailties of man interlaced in it. But either the bible has authority or it doesn't. And if we have to figure out which parts were authored by God and which parts were authored by men, then why have any regard for it at all? I am certain that I can find wisdom somewhere within the Vedic text. I can find wisdom somewhere in the teaches of Buddah. Somewhere in the teaching of the Qur'an. But do I regard myself as a Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu? No, I don't. Why? Because to make that monumental leap of faith is to buy into it wholesale. And if you buy into it wholesale, then you're somewhat obligated to believe all of it. If not, by what measure do you use to believe some of it, but not others?

Once again it makes no sense to understand it all in the same way. The books cover a span of at least six centuries involving a multitude of authors. Even whoever wrote the Gospel of Luke said that he used a variety of sources to compile a cohesive account of what happened.

The word inspired also gets way overused in this context. I think that CS Lewis was inspired to write what he did but that doesn't mean that God dictated it to him. Yes, I think that the Biblical authors were inspired but neither does that mean that God dictated it to them. In some cases in the OT the stories were written by scribes that were obviously motivated to write accounts in a way that would please their master who had the power of life and death over them.

What we do have though is a narrative of a progressive understanding of the nature of God with the Israel story climaxing in Jesus. In the Gospels, and particularly in the Sermon on the Mount we can see where Jesus corrects many of the laws from the Torah and criticizes the multitude of laws that the Pharisees tried to load on the nation.

Sure, you can find wisdom in all sorts of religious texts including the Bible. As John says in Chap 1, the Word became flesh. He didn't write that the Word became a book or more precisely a collection of books.

The Christian religion is centered on the belief that God resurrected Jesus and that when we want to understand the nature of God and what it means to our lives we look to Jesus. Of course when we want to understand Jesus we turn to the Bible. We can read there about the accounts compiled by the the different authors of the Gospels and then we can read the epistles written by the first theologians such as Paul who had access to Jesus' contemporaries.

Hydroglyphx writes:

esus may have said that he didn't come to abolish the law, but in practice that is exactly what he did. I mean, its no wonder 1st century Jews thought he was a heretic. I may personally have agreed with him and found his message so much more palatable than the Torah, but I certainly can understand why most Jews rejected it for having been so far removed by Jesus.

I agree. It was a tough message. He was very political in that He was telling them that if they carried out their plans for a military revolution the Romans would do what they always did. This of course ultimately was the case. His message essentially was that the enemy wasn't really the Romans but that the enemy was evil itself. The only weapon against evil is love, and that the way to change their situation was to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and to love their enemies. It was all about changing hearts. So, yes, you are right, it wasn't a popular message, and hardly understood for that matter.

Hydroglyphx writes:

Was it a different God that was ordering genocide and smashing Phillistine infants on the rocks? Did he change his mind? Can god in one instance command death of the first born son also be the same God that commanded us to love even our enemies? You seem to say, no. But the bible says, yes. And if you think this part of the bible was compromised by the frailty of man then what makes you think the warm and squishy parts weren't? What is your metric?

You are correct in that you can't reconcile the genocidal Yahweh with the God that we see whose nature is embodied by Jesus. As I have said to Faith it is CHRISTianity and not BIBLEianity. If you worship an inerrant Bible then you understand the nature of God quite differently than you do if you worship God as we see Him in Jesus.

Hydroglyphx writes:

Either you are a Christian or you are an admirer of Jesus. Its okay to be an admirer of Jesus if that's what you are. I am too.

That's fine but it really isn't much different than being an admirer of Buddha or Gandhi for that matter. What is different about Jesus is that God resurrected Him. The Christian religion grew and spread based on that belief.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-26-2019 9:50 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-27-2019 2:34 AM GDR has replied

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 189 days)
Posts: 5410
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 54 of 57 (861805)
08-27-2019 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by Hyroglyphx
08-27-2019 2:34 AM


Hydroglyphx writes:

Then why is it revered as if God wrote it? Jews certainly believe that every word in it was authored by God, spoken through Moses, or David, or Daniel, or whomever.

It is revered because it is the story of how the Jews worked out their understanding of God over the centuries. More often than not they were part of the problem, and were no better than their pagan neighbours. But through all of it, (starting with their monotheistic views), the nature of God as we see in Jesus gradually crept in. It is also revered because God speaks to us through the Scriptures when it is read with a mind and heart that understands it through the lens of Jesus.
I would question your comments about the Jews. Jews like Christians have various views about the Scriptures. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount corrected what was in the Scriptures. When he talked about divorce he went so far to say that it was Moses who said what he said and not God who said it, and then went on to say that it came from hard hearts but that He was correcting it. He also said that it wasn’t about an eye for an eye but that we were to love our enemies.

Hydroglyphx writes:

While your point is well taken its important to remember that without the bible there is no framework in which to know Jesus -- as the bible is the only measure to know who he was and what he was about. And then of course, he himself had stated "I AM," which assuredly was very much intentional given his audience. This was his way of saying that he didn't merely come as a messenger from God, but that he IS God. And all of this is context of the Torah, which, in his roundabout way was him saying trust the Torah and also trust in me, for I am the summation and the fulfillment of the Law.

Christians have so often focused on the point of Jesus being God that they forget about Jesus being a flesh and blood human being. He suffered the trials and tribulations of being human, including His torture and excruciatingly painful and humiliating dehumanizing death on the cross. He went into Jerusalem as an act of faith knowing what the authorities would do to someone doing what He was about to do. Remember He prayed to the Father that He could be spared the whole thing, but through prayer and through His understanding of the narrative of the Jewish story as told in their Scriptures, and that this was His calling. He also on faith believed that the Father would affirm and vindicate His life and death.
When Jesus was crucified His disciples saw Jesus as another failed messiah but then the resurrection changed all that. They then were able to look back at Jesus’ life and teaching. He referred to Himself as the “Son of Man” which was an obvious reference to the “Son of Man’ being enthroned over a worldwide kingdom in Daniel 7. They saw Him forgiving sins which only God could do. They came to understand that this was the time of God’s visitation, or return, embodied in the man Jesus. They saw Jesus as the new Temple where on could go meet and be forgiven by God.

Hydrpglyphx writes:

But the point is, you obviously can't have one without the other, seems to me. They are inextricably linked... as you said from John's gospel, the Word became Flesh and Jesus was the Word... the living embodiment; the living testament; the living validation that what was written is a preview into the mind of God.
So how do we reconcile that with all the heinous savagery that is also contained therein?

You can’t.

GDR writes:

That's fine but it really isn't much different than being an admirer of Buddha or Gandhi for that matter. What is different about Jesus is that God resurrected Him. The Christian religion grew and spread based on that belief.

Hydroglyphx writes:

Yes, I agree it propagated from that central tenet, but it does not mean it is accurate anymore than it is the belief that Noah's Ark saved only 7 people in the entire planet to repopulate earth filled with inbreds. At some point we have to ask rhetorical questions. Was this event meant to be believed in a literal sense, was this something akin to a parable, and how should we be able to know in either direction?

The flood story is part of the great Hebrew mythologies. In it we can see a story of how God is always with us and that even if there is but one godly man left on the planet He won’t give up on us.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Hyroglyphx, posted 08-27-2019 2:34 AM Hyroglyphx has taken no action

  
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