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Author Topic:   Why are all Christians atheists?
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 121 of 161 (396270)
04-19-2007 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 115 by Nuggin
04-18-2007 1:08 AM


Re: Good point
Nuggin writes:

Man, you guys gotta get on the same page.
I've got two completely oposite answers on two different threads. You're claiming that Christianity changes through time while Jj is saying that it can not, will not, has never and will never change one bit.

Maybe you two should form a thread of your own.

I haven't read the other thread yet concerning jj.

As jar said, Christianity does change very obviously on the face of it. Even the RCC just went through some big changes. I say 'even' because to some the RCC would seem the embodiment of stagnant doctrinarianism.

People change, times change. If religion doesn't remain relevent it dies out.

There are two things I would say. One is that I am not advocating that religion change just to cater to a time. I am talking about a more gradual evolution rather than a purposeful decision making process.

The other is that the idea of God provudentially preserving His message does not mean that it has to be the SAME message for all people all of the time. Myabe I put things in perspective more than jj or others, in that I see Christainity as a changed and evolved Judaeism, which was in turn an evolution of something else. I don't see Christianity as an isolated event, but a timely revelation of more of God's message. I see no reason to assume that there will not be more in the way of revelation.

Obviously things change...we don't use Latin anymore, the Mass has changed, we don't believe in the flat earth or the earth as the center of the universe. Evolution is taught in RCC schools. To deny obvious change is silly. Yet, extreme traditionalists would say that this is unwanted progressiveness. So to be clear, this is not the kind of change I am speaking of...this superficial controversial change. I am half and half on the benefits of such. I believe in change as in the evolution of ideas based on timely revelation.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 1063 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 122 of 161 (396272)
04-19-2007 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 121 by anastasia
04-19-2007 1:01 PM


Re: Good point
been a while since I've done this. pulling out all the stops to get your attention.

please come into chat right now, if it is at all possible.

(i'm gone at 2 eastern time, not sure when i'll be back)

ABE:
i'd assume in the afternoon/evening, but . . .

Edited by kuresu, : No reason given.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 123 of 161 (396281)
04-19-2007 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by RickJB
04-18-2007 3:31 AM


Re: Good point
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RickJB writes:

Hi Ana,
I find your beliefs intriguing. You seem to embrace a form of Christianity that centres on spirituality rather than strict doctrinal adherence. Are you a member of a more progressive sect, or a liberal branch of the Church of England perhaps?

Which brings me to my question. In refuting the idea of the religious atheist do you believe that all religions, in their own way, are praying to the same God, or in the case of polytheistic faiths like Hinduism, facets of a single God?

LOL, Rick, I am pretty strictly Catholic! I don't see a reason to be either spiritual or doctrinal to the exclusion of the other. I won't even consider myself a 'free-thinker' because not much that I write is in any direct opposition to my religion.

For your question, no, I do not think all Gods are the same by default.

A Hindu etc. is not praying to the 'same God' because the images of their Gods are in opposition to the images of the Christian's God. There is more than the idea of facets. There is actual opposition in the facets, which MUST rule out some as being 'real'. BUT the same 'one God' can be intervening or communicating with good people of any faith.

I perhaps can shift the emphasis from what men do and put it on what God does. Say tomorrow I start a religion based around the goddess Sigwa. Sigwa would be a facet of nothing save my imagination. She could coincidentally have some features of the 'real God' but that would not mean anything if I thought she was a different God or ruled out the real one. Even so, if anyone fell for my set-up, and conscientiously tried to live well and seek truth, whatever real God there may be could reach out to that individual.

When you say facets there is the idea that one God revealed Himself to different people in many ways. This could be, but not in opposing ways! He can't be one AND one of many. I will not tell you that all religions must be 'correct' but different. I will not say that men will reincarnate just because they believe it, while others will go to heaven just because they believe that. We are not in control of what is true concerning God or nature.

So, no, not all people pray to the same God, but the same God could very well hear all prayers!

And yes, I believe that some polytheistic faiths use the concept of 'facets' of their one God, but whether or not this is the same 'God' is dependent on other things like 'does this God reincarnate us?', or 'does this God exist eternally?' or 'does this God transcend or condescend to human endeavor?'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by RickJB, posted 04-18-2007 3:31 AM RickJB has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 124 by ringo, posted 04-19-2007 2:50 PM anastasia has responded
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ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 124 of 161 (396286)
04-19-2007 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 123 by anastasia
04-19-2007 1:58 PM


Re: Good point
anastasia writes:

A Hindu etc. is not praying to the 'same God' because the images of their Gods are in opposition to the images of the Christian's God.

Funny, a Protestant fundy would say the same thing about the statues in Catholic churches. Is your God different from the Protestant God? Or is your conception of Hinduism no more accurate than the fundy conception of Catholicism?


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by anastasia, posted 04-19-2007 1:58 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
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RickJB
Member (Idle past 3541 days)
Posts: 917
From: London, UK
Joined: 04-14-2006


Message 125 of 161 (396296)
04-19-2007 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 123 by anastasia
04-19-2007 1:58 PM


Re: Good point
Ana writes:

LOL, Rick, I am pretty strictly Catholic!.....And yes, I believe that some polytheistic faiths use the concept of 'facets' of their one God

So how do you react to the paganistic/polytheistic influence that is clearly in evidence in the Catholic (unreformed) church? The trinity, the Virgin Mary and the saints provide scope for the extension of worship onto separate entities.

The Nicene Creed outlines a God with three facets, does it not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by anastasia, posted 04-19-2007 1:58 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 129 by anastasia, posted 04-19-2007 3:36 PM RickJB has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 126 of 161 (396301)
04-19-2007 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 124 by ringo
04-19-2007 2:50 PM


Re: Good point
Ringo writes:

Funny, a Protestant fundy would say the same thing about the statues in Catholic churches. Is your God different from the Protestant God? Or is your conception of Hinduism no more accurate than the fundy conception of Catholicism

Ringo, a fundy will not say the God I worship is not the same God, but only that I don't worship Him in the right way!

Let's see..shall we play 'Ask a Fundy'?

Amd I wouldn't say my conception of Hinduism is 100 percent accurate or that I know as much about it as if I had spent a lifetime within it, but it is accurate IMO to say that polytheism and monotheism are mutually exclusive. Thus, whatever conceptions I have about the gods of Hinduism are irrelevent. They are not the same God that I worship, as my God has no THEY. As I said to Rick, even if the sum total of the THEYS/GODS = MYGOD, there would be other factors...reincarnation, etc. that would determine if Hindus worshipped the same God as I do.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4399 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 127 of 161 (396303)
04-19-2007 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 123 by anastasia
04-19-2007 1:58 PM


Re: Good point
I don't wish to add to what you said, only wish to say how accurate it was.

Very good reply A...

What's with Ringo? Does he have difficulty discerning the difference between what is real and what is only 'a symbol' of the real?

Does he wish to solve the theological issues regarding denominationalism, or only use them as a defense to stigmatize?

As a former alter boy, I must say... I am thankful for the physical reminders of history and spritual realitites. But I never once thought I was bowing to a statue. In my mind was always the deity behind it. Though in some respect Ringo is right. I see no need to go to a church to do so now. The deity is with me always. One need not bow at all. I pray most while driving durring the week.

I suppose anyone would decry bowing to a statue without understanding anything about what it represents. The statue is irrelevant, one could do the same thing in a desert of sand. And it is this 'perception' of what faith is not that creates a stigma that becomes a catch all.

Maybe some people are hopelessly stupid?

There are those I'm sure, who bow to statues (even within Catholic churches) who do not understand the 'real' thing, and only believe blindly in some magic words and utterances, thinking that will save them. But I hate to guess at this point how common that is.

I don't know that it realy matters in the end. I think God is far bigger, and smaller, than we often think. Both qualities were displayed upon the Cross. I suspect I may likely find myself serving those in heaven, whom I always assumed to be lacking understanding (the first being last and vice versa...).

To be there at all is good enough for me.


This message is a reply to:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 128 of 161 (396308)
04-19-2007 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 126 by anastasia
04-19-2007 3:20 PM


Re: Good point
anastasia writes:

Let's see..shall we play 'Ask a Fundy'?

No need to ask a fundy. I grew up surrounded by them, so I know what they'll say (some of them, at least). They'll say the Catholic "God" is no more "real" than Thor or Zeus or Allah.

... it is accirate IMO to say that polytheism and monotheism are mutually exclusive.

I don't think there's much difference, actually. As I mentioned in an early post, I think the first question is, "God(s) or no god(s)." Only when that question is answered does "Which God?" even come up.

They are not the same God that I worship, as my God has no THEY.

**shrug**

A Trinity is "They", no matter if you paint it in pretty colours and glue sparkles to it.

there would be other factors...reincarnation, etc. that would determine if Hindu's worshipped the same God as I do.

I don't see that the trappings of doctrine have anything to do with "Which God?" either. Reincarnation is fundamentally (for want of a better word) no different from "salvation".

Now, a religion that concentrated on this life instead of the next - that would be different.


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 129 of 161 (396309)
04-19-2007 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by RickJB
04-19-2007 3:08 PM


Re: Good point
RickJB writes:

So how do you react to the paganistic/polytheistic influence that is clearly in evidence in the Catholic (unreformed) church? The trinity, the Virgin Mary and the saints provide scope for the extension of worship onto separate entities.

The Nicene Creed outlines a God with three facets, does it not?

First off Rick, there is no paganistic/polytheistic influence concerning the Trinity and the saints. There may be a similarity in result but there was no direct influence of paganism on the Nicene council or the formation of Trinitarian doctrine. There was pagan influence on many things...and pagan acceptance of many things because of similarities, but it is not correct to say that there was an 'influence' unless you want to provide examples from church fathers etc.

Secondly, I don't care what facets the Christian God has...and this doesn't include a facet of Mary! but the question of the Trinity has nothing to do with the OP or whether all religions are facets of one God.

One God may have several personas, and other personas may still be false.

I think you would be better off getting your facts straight!

The Trinity is present in the reformed church doctrine. So are Mary and the saints in some cases. Only in a very few of the churches that are not technically considered of a Lutheran branch, is the Trinity questioned. It does not follow that the 'unreformed' church allows scope for worship of non-deities, or that the other churches are worshipping more than one God.

None of this has to do with why Christians don't worship other Gods.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.

Edited by anastasia, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by RickJB, posted 04-19-2007 3:08 PM RickJB has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by RickJB, posted 04-19-2007 6:35 PM anastasia has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 130 of 161 (396316)
04-19-2007 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 127 by Rob
04-19-2007 3:26 PM


Re: Good point
Rob writes:

don't wish to add to what you said, only wish to say how accurate it was.
Very good reply A...

Thanks R...and I must say you seem to have finally taken some advice and are able to speak openly as yourself. At least I am relieved that you are capable of this! although I know being yourself will still not always make you a favorite.

What's with Ringo? Does he have difficulty discerning the difference between what is real and what is only 'a symbol' of the real?

Does he wish to solve the theological issues regarding denominationalism, or only use them as a defense to stigmatize?

Well, no, I think Ringo said it pretty well in his first post in the thread...the one with the little graph type thing...but that was shot down almost immediately by the OP originator, and you have to discern the 'real' Ringo from the Rinog who wants YOU to answer.

As a former alter boy, I must say... I am thankful for the physical reminders of history and spritual realitites. But I never once thought I was bowing to a statue. In my mind was always the deity behind it. Though in some respect Ringo is right. I see no need to go to a church to do so now. The deity is with me always. One need not bow at all. I pray most while driving durring the week.

True, God can always be with you, but I am still of the belief that we are to have a Sabbath and devote one day to God. COnsider that many folks will not keep God in mind during the week or while driving...its a fail safe.

There are those I'm sure, who bow to statues (even within Catholic churches) who do not understand the 'real' thing, and only believe blindly in some magic words and utterances, thinking that will save them. But I hate to guess at this point how common that is.

I mentioned earlier that without the proper causal (sp?) agents there are many things in Catholcism that can turn into superstition. A non-Catholic recently told me they were praying the rosary...without knowing their mind set I can not determine whether they feel just fingering these beads is holistic!

I don't know that it realy matters in the end. I think God is far bigger, and smaller, than we often think. Both qualities were displayed upon the Cross. I suspect I may likely find myself serving those in heaven, whom I always assumed to be lacking understanding (the first being last and vice versa...).

Interesting idea Rob. You are much bigger 'in person' after all! And yes, I believe it could be frightening, just like the Publican and the Pharisee, to see who wins God's favour in the end. Good thing is that in Heaven I don't see it mattering much. The lesson in that story is not to judge now. And to be personal...well, you will find that God works in weird ways, and the people you find who seem most obstinate are sometimes coming to God from other angles.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 131 of 161 (396322)
04-19-2007 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 128 by ringo
04-19-2007 3:35 PM


Re: Good point
Ringo writes:

No need to ask a fundy. I grew up surrounded by them, so I know what they'll say (some of them, at least). They'll say the Catholic "God" is no more "real" than Thor or Zeus or Allah.

Well, then, why?

I don't think the fact of Catholics using statues in worship is a good reason to say the God is different, but in my experience it has only said that the humans were idolaters. If you want to tell me that one God allows statues and the other doesn't, we may be on to something.

I don't think there's much difference, actually. As I mentioned in an early post, I think the first question is, "God(s) or no god(s)." Only when that question is answered does "Which God?" even come up.

True, but 'which God' is still dependent on whether the God is mono or poly. We have already the premise of gods existing. Sp the question goes to 'how many' first before it can go to which one.

**shrug**

A Trinity is "They", no matter if you paint it in pretty colours and glue sparkles to it.

You know Ringo that there could have been a 'they' and no one would have cared. If God wanted to havea son who was detached and another God, that would have been no easier/harder to accept than a son of God who was not detached and was a man. Probably easier actually, to accept.

As I said, the amount of Gods a Christian could have is not relevent when it comes to answering why Zeus is not one of them. I do think it would be a better question to ask why the xian God is not in some polytheisic pantheon! Oh, If only we had more diversity here.

I don't see that the trappings of doctrine have anything to do with "Which God?" either. Reincarnation is fundamentally (for want of a better word) no different from "salvation".

Now, a religion that concentrated on this life instead of the next - that would be different.

Of course they do. You can't determine 'which God' without the trappings concerning what that God does or doesn't do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by ringo, posted 04-19-2007 3:35 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 18332
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 132 of 161 (396334)
04-19-2007 4:44 PM
Reply to: Message 131 by anastasia
04-19-2007 4:21 PM


Re: Good point
anastasia writes:

I don't think the fact of Catholics using statues in worship is a good reason to say the God is different, but in my experience it has only said that the humans were idolaters.

I'm just saying that to some people, the Catholic religion is more like the Hindu religion than it is like the Protestant religion. I'm lumping all theists together and separating them only from athests. Remember?

We have already the premise of gods existing. Sp the question goes to 'how many' first before it can go to which one.

Is that what the topic is about, though? We don't really care "Which one?" or "Which three?" That's farther down the diagram than we need to go.

... the amount of Gods a Christian could have is not relevent when it comes to answering why Zeus is not one of them.

I agree, which is why I say there is no fundamental ( :D ) difference between mono-God and poly-God. The fundamental difference is between any-God and not-any-God.

You can't determine 'which God' without the trappings concerning what that God does or doesn't do.

The trappings have nothing to do with "what God does or doesn't do". The trappings are what humans do.


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This message is a reply to:
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 Message 135 by anastasia, posted 04-19-2007 8:59 PM ringo has responded

  
RickJB
Member (Idle past 3541 days)
Posts: 917
From: London, UK
Joined: 04-14-2006


Message 133 of 161 (396364)
04-19-2007 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 129 by anastasia
04-19-2007 3:36 PM


Re: Good point
Ana writes:

There may be a similarity in result but there was no direct influence of paganism.....There was pagan influence on many things...and pagan acceptance of many things because of similarities, but it is not correct to say that there was an 'influence' unless you want to provide examples from church fathers etc.

Sounds like you're splitting hairs to me! Either there was an influence or there wasn't. Given Christianity grew from within pagan culture it is very unlikely for there not to have been some influence and there is much evidence to support it. Christmas and Easter are based in part on pagan festivals, for example.

Ana writes:

I think you would be better off getting your facts straight!

The fact remains that the trinity represents a single God in three different forms.

Ana writes:

The Trinity is present in the reformed church doctrine. So are Mary and the saints in some cases. Only in a very few of the churches that are not technically considered of a Lutheran branch, is the Trinity questioned.

Of course, but my focus was on catholicism.

Anyway, were drifting OT here. My intention was only to point out what I see as the hazy boundary between monotheism and polytheism.

The last word on this goes to you if you want it! :)


This message is a reply to:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 134 of 161 (396389)
04-19-2007 8:28 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by RickJB
04-19-2007 6:35 PM


Re: Good point
RickJB writes:

Sounds like you're splitting hairs to me! Either there was an influence or there wasn't. Given Christianity grew from within pagan culture it is very unlikely for there not to have been some influence and there is much evidence to support it. Christmas and Easter are based in part on pagan festivals, for example.

What I was splitting hairs over was that there is more pagan influence on culture and customs than on doctrines.

The fact remains that the trinity represents a single God in three different forms.

Yes, single.

Of course, but my focus was on catholicism.

Anyway, were drifting OT here. My intention was only to point out what I see as the hazy boundary between monotheism and polytheism.

Yes, you were talking about the Trinity but focusing on Catholicism.

My point was that Christianity is monotheistic, and whether or not the God has more than one form does not answer the question of why a Christian is an 'atheist' regarding Zeus etc.

The last word on this goes to you if you want it!

Thanks, don't get that offer too frequently around here!
I don't think I have any last word without being OT. I think you just noticed that polytheism/monotheism are not such clear cut examples of contradictory facets of God. But, when I talk about polytheism I mean groups who do not believe in many facets of One God, but in absolutely more than One God.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4503 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 135 of 161 (396395)
04-19-2007 8:59 PM
Reply to: Message 132 by ringo
04-19-2007 4:44 PM


Re: Good point
Ringo writes:

I'm just saying that to some people, the Catholic religion is more like the Hindu religion than it is like the Protestant religion. I'm lumping all theists together and separating them only from athests. Remember?

Yes, yes, no matter where you live the grass always grows more heretical on the other side of the fence.

Is that what the topic is about, though? We don't really care "Which one?" or "Which three?" That's farther down the diagram than we need to go.

Dunno, I think that is exactly what the topic is about. If someone wants to know 'which one?' the logical way to eliminate others is to ask 'what do you have?' If you have many Gods in your pantheon there is little point in trying to defend why I don't believe in only Thor or only Zeus. If I believe in only one God then the question is about 'why one God?' and not 'which one?' at all.

I agree, which is why I say there is no fundamental ( ) difference between mono-God and poly-God. The fundamental difference is between any-God and not-any-God.

Obviously I think the idea of Christian atheists is dumb. I am just attempting to ask the question as it really is; why don't Christians follow other religions?...because its really not about the god/s in the long run. It's about the what-does-God-dos?.

The trappings have nothing to do with "what God does or doesn't do". The trappings are what humans do.

I am not catching this in the context. :(


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