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Author Topic:   The Marketing Of Christianity
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 1 of 591 (780807)
03-21-2016 4:33 PM


In our other thread started by member jar, What Is Christianity? the opportunity was given for anyone who called themselves a Christian to define in their own words what Christianity was to them. The topic had some valuable and well thought posts, but began to drift towards argumentativeness as to what was right and what was wrong. jar did not intend to argue the point there, so I propose starting a new topic called "The Marketing Of Christianity". In this topic it is appropriate to argue. Please present your best case and prepare to defend it. I will also allow atheists(Hard variety) to present arguments as to why they believe that Christianity is a fiction of humanity.

Keep in mind, however, that there is a clear distinction between facts and beliefs.

Per Forum Guidelines, The sincerely held beliefs of other members deserve your respect. Please keep discussion civil. Argue the position, not the person.
I'll start--with jar as my chosen debator. The rest of you feel free to jump in as we get this party rolling!

jar writes:

Were any of Jesus teachings related to a religion? Or is Christianity more the product of the early salesmen and writers?

I would say that Christianity is a product of the early church as well as the latter church. Religion is similar to politics in that many people simply regurgitate what they are taught---through various popular scriptural quotemines, thoughts of others told to them which they parrot on down the line, and personal bias.
jar writes:

A great example of why following the teachings and actions of Christ can be a problem can be seen in the evolution of "The Great Commission" (see The evolution of the Great Commission over time. ). The "Great Commission" is what the stories says Jesus told the disciples to do and yet it grew and evolved and changed over time as the authors of the different stories modified it to fit their narrative and epistle.
The same pattern can be seen in the iterations of Paul's vision.

I agree that the emphasis has changed over time. Different people have different personal experiences...some even claiming personal encounters with GOD and/or what they call The Holy Spirit. And lets take this term marketing. It is one thing to hawk sunglasses at a Yankees game or positive thinking seminars or instant wealth generating seminars or any other manner of livlihoods and schemes to earn a living. It is arguably different to devote ones life---to the extent of being in personal danger and losing all that one has---to proselytize with the motive not of making money or earning a living but with the motive to help other people find a better life. I will argue that the evidence shows that Saul Of Tarsus was knocked off of his high horse not by a tree branch or a bolt out of the blue but by God Himself. Paul was a chosen instrument of God so that everyone could be Jewish---but with a few improvements.

Faith & Belief, please.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 4 of 591 (780826)
03-22-2016 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
03-22-2016 12:32 PM


Re: Early Marketing
jar writes:

James, Peter and John were said to be disciples and companions of Jesus while Paul was a self appointed apostle.

Paul might claim that once he was knocked off of his horse, God Himself had a mission for Paul to do. Perhaps one question to ask would be what we discern concerning the motives of the marketing.

These days they call it networking.

What are the motives in any community gathering? As we watch politicians we ask what the motives for various platforms are. Religion differs from politics at times, and is nearly identical in human behavior other times.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 12:32 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 5:45 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 6 of 591 (780834)
03-23-2016 2:53 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
03-22-2016 5:45 PM


Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
Before we go much further, perhaps it might be a good idea to examine Judaism since it was the religion of both Jesus and Saul(before he became Paul and "started" a new religion) I'll confess that I've never studied Judaism in any depth, but I thought that before we get too deep into the marketing and belief of Jesus Christ as any more than a rabbi,teacher,and/or judge we might examine how Jesus and Paul understood G-d. I pulled up an article Judaism 101 and was reading a page called The Nature Of G-d. The author states that
quote:
Most areas of Jewish belief are open to significant dispute, but not the nature of the Creator
. Assuming this has always been true, it might be helpful for us to study a bit how Jesus taught concerning the nature of the Creator and contrast this with how Paul taught. IIRC, Paul mentioned Jesus much more often than he ever taught about God. According to Judaism 101
quote:
Judaism firmly maintains that G-d has no body. Any reference to G-d's body is simply a figure of speech, a means of making G-d's actions more comprehensible to beings living in a material world.
We are forbidden to represent G-d in a physical form. That is considered idolatry. The sin of the Golden Calf incident was not that the people chose another deity, but that they tried to represent G-d in a physical form.
Thus could Paul as a Jew have reconciled Jesus Christ as God with the idea that God has no form?

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 5:45 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 03-23-2016 8:59 AM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 8 of 591 (780856)
03-24-2016 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
03-23-2016 8:59 AM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
jar writes:

What makes you think Paul saw Jesus as God?

Good question. I knew I would have to actually read the Bible in order to defend my beliefs. This morning I was reading the book of Acts and reading about the stoning of Stephen. Several questions arose in my mind concerning what I was reading and whether it was relevant to our discussion regarding the marketing of Christianity and the evolution of Saul/Pauls beliefs. The author apparently had access to Stephens speech to the Sanhedrin nearly verbatim. Thus my focus at the moment is on the author of the Book of Acts and whether this so-called "new religion" movement can be traced before Saul got knocked in the head(heart?) and began his "new religion". Reading on, I saw where Stephen was selected along with others, one even called a proselyte.
quote:
6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

I suppose that my question is this:
What is the Word of God? Why did the Hellenists and the Hebrews disagree?

What are the differences between the Jewish idea of the word(s) of God and the Hellenists ideas of the word?

What did the author mean when he said that "they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch."? Why did the Apostles mention the Holy Spirit...or at least why did the author of Acts mention it?

What makes you think Jesus saw himself as God?
My understanding is that Jesus saw God as His Father...and even according to Philippians 2:6...Jesus.. who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. What puzzles me though is that if Judaism teaches that God has no form, why would the author of Philippians state that Jesus was in the form of God?
What makes you think James or Peter saw Jesus as God?
I still have a lot off study to do, so it may take awhile to understand this one.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 03-23-2016 8:59 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 10 of 591 (780860)
03-24-2016 10:21 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
03-24-2016 5:57 PM


Acts
jar writes:

The Gospel of Luke-Acts was likely written sometime around 80-90 AD by an anonymous source and adding emphasis to what had evolved over the preceding half century. One key feature is the Pentecost and thus that narrative played a significant role; thus the mention of the Holy Spirit.

This fact just does'nt sound definite to me for some unknown reason. Perhaps I am guilty of imagining what truth actually is.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:24 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 11 of 591 (780861)
03-24-2016 11:01 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
03-24-2016 5:57 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
what is shown is the evolution of the various products being marketed that were far different than what might have been marketed by Jesus or James (brother of Jesus).
One mans "evolution" is another mans "progressive revelation." Had Jesus ministry lasted any longer it too may have shown evidence of progressive revelation.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:26 PM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 14 of 591 (780864)
03-24-2016 11:44 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
03-24-2016 11:26 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
all im suggesting is that progressive revelation is certainly possible in life. I know things now that i was not ready to know 30 years ago.

But lets get back towards our main topic. I think I was hung up on the origin of the term "Holy Spirit"...
AbE: Oh I see you addressed it...

jar writes:

This was the first instance of adopting and evolving a Jewish tradition to attach a Jesus centric mythos.

If Jesus death is placed around the year 30AD then Paul's conversion took place 4-10 years afterwards.

Does that help?

Using our old Source/Content argument, perhaps the author of Luke/Acts had inspired content. Stephen certainly sounded genuine. Saul gets knocked off the horse shortly after...Stephen certainly was a product of the Pentecost conversions.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:26 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 03-25-2016 9:06 AM Phat has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 14858
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 16 of 591 (780877)
03-25-2016 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by jar
03-25-2016 9:06 AM


Re: Christianity 101
Very interesting! Im already learning some new things in this thread. But lets get back to marketing.

  • Why did Paul want to change the whole emphasis off of the individual onto Jesus Christ? (or did he?) It has always been my understanding that Jesus--or rather the holy Spirit--changed Paul and because of this dramatic conversion a new emphasis...a progressive revelation if you will...began largely under Pauls teaching.

    IF this whole idea and belief that Jesus Death,Burial, and Resurrection opens a door for dramatic conversion experiences, we should be able to find some evidence.

    Also, the original Apostles themselves should show signs of a dramatic conversion--empowerment, if you will-from the Holy Spirit Himself.

  • What was the motive and change in emphasis from Jesus as Rabbi,Teacher,Judge while alive to Savior,Redeemer,God in human form that has largely shaped and influenced contemporary Christianity since then?

    I also wish to reintroduce a post from your other thread:

    Phat writes:

    What, if anything, was Jesus marketing? Is there any evidence that Jesus would have approved and/or disapproved of Pauls new religion"?


    jar writes:

    Jesus was clearly marketing a collection of behavior patterns, a way that people should relate to one another and to their God. Please your God by taking care of each other and the world you live in; feed the hungry, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, comfort the sorrowful, teach the children to do the same.

    I think Jesus would approve of some of Paul's product, disapprove of parts and just laugh at much of it. Jesus would likely have approved of the inclusionary parts, getting rid of outdated "God's Commandments" like circumcision, dietary restrictions, identification as a people apart and even going so far as adopting and co-opting pagan practices and worship.

    I doubt Jesus would have approved of Paul's effort to make his death of greater significance and would have laughed at the very idea of Christianity as a separate religion.

    I imagine Jesus would have disagreed with Paul's misogyny or his early concentration on End of Times and would have been appalled with the idea that the goal was some afterlife and not a concentration on this life.

    It seems to me that if what you say is true, Paul would have actually had to lie (or at least grossly exaggerate the truth) when it was reported what occurred on the Damascus Road.

    quote:
    9 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

    3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

    5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”

    Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

    6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”

    Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

    7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.


    It seems we are left to either brand Paul has a storyteller claiming extraordinary properties for the belief that he then marketed, or that the actual event happened and explains Pauls dramatic transformation.

    Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

  • This message is a reply to:
     Message 15 by jar, posted 03-25-2016 9:06 AM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 17 by jar, posted 03-25-2016 7:49 PM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 18 of 591 (780886)
    03-26-2016 2:37 AM
    Reply to: Message 17 by jar
    03-25-2016 7:49 PM


    Re: Christianity 101
    jar writes:

    As you have been shown, the story of Paul's experience did undergo dramatic transformation as it got revised and retold, but the only real change was one of allegiance; Paul switched sides.

    Who were these people on each side? Lets examine the conflict and the reasons for the conflict.
    9 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
    What did Saul despise against these people and what persuaded him to switch sides so dramatically?

    jar writes:

    I doubt Jesus would have approved of Paul's effort to make his death of greater significance and would have laughed at the very idea of Christianity as a separate religion.

    Interesting. It is true that the death,burial, and resurrection is BIG among the people whom I associate with at church. It is what they have been taught. But let me tell you about my Pastor.
    Pastor Joe works for the city as a GRID coordinator. Our church is under the umbrella of the Free Methodists who are a bit tamer than the Pentecostals and who focus a lot on community involvement and much less on building big fancy church buildings. Pastor Joe is a man whom I trust,though one of his main scriptures that he suggests we all know well is 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 Joe is not religious...he works with secular organizations all day--but he really loves Jesus. It seems that so did all of the Apostles, including Paul. It could make someone ask why all of these people love someone who has died? Why do they continually ahare the story with people and why do they talk as if Jesus is alive today? I know that money and fame are not the motive.
    jar writes:

    Stop and think. Stop just believing what you have been told because it is comforting. See what the actual evidence shows.

    I am trying to put aside what I have been taught and what is comforting to me in order to critically examine these issues in this topic. I will confess, however, that while it is easy for me to question, it is much harder for me to doubt. I had a Damascus Road experience--pun intended--back in 1993 before I even came to EvC.

    You have had many conversations with me--many times calling me out on "word salad" explanations, christian cliches, and regurgitation's of what other Christians had obviously taught me.
    I too have studied what you have written here at EvC...sometimes agreeably,often strongly disagreeably, yet examining the evidence and quite honestly trying to disprove you. So far in this topic I find myself learning from your replies and setting aside what I believe to an extent that I can understand what you believe. I mentioned my Pastor Joe only because I know him better than I know most of you and to me his character and behavior count as evidence.
    Anyway, lets go on.

    There was very little change in the Disciples either; remember Peter had been willing to draw sword when Jesus was arrested.
    Yes, but this was before the death, burial and resurrection. We can legitimately ask whether the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had any transforming power on humanity-at-large. What does the evidence show?
    Paul never experienced Jesus Death,Burial, and Resurrection except from being told the stories AFTER whatever actually happened on his way to Damascus. And very little changed about Paul after the incident; he was still the fanatic, set in his ways, not open to compromise unless it is in his advantage, opinionated person that he was before the incident.
    Speaking only for myself, what you say is quite true and usual for Christians--after their conversions, transformations, and "born again" experiences. The initial transformation was very real and dramatic for me--but requires a daily commitment. I will agree that Christianity is mostly about what we DO...on a daily basis, but I won't let go of the belief that it is also possible because of WHO He is. At least for now.

    I don't think anyone doubts that Paul experienced something dramatic, but that is not evidence that anything really happened, only that Paul believed something happened.
    Lots of people believe that something happened once and forever and that because of it, something can happen to us also.

    If you actually read what we have that is attributed to Paul the vast majority concerns how to get along with life day to day, how to get along with others, how to get along with those who do not believe as you do, how to manage the business of a "Church".
    In your opinion based on what you have studied, would Paul have been content to market a new and improved Judaism versus a new product known as Christianity? Why or why not?

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 17 by jar, posted 03-25-2016 7:49 PM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 19 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 9:31 AM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 20 of 591 (780894)
    03-26-2016 12:13 PM
    Reply to: Message 19 by jar
    03-26-2016 9:31 AM


    Re: Christianity 101
    jar writes:

    Pauline Christianity is based on Paul amplifying and explaining what Jesus really meant. What you see in Paul's Epistles is Jesus through the filter of Paul.

    But isn't this true of all of us? Don't we as Christians explain or attempt to explain what Jesus meant through our own filter? You often chide me for making up God as I want Him to be...and i will admit that this is a usual human trait even among seasoned churchgoers. However, I personally disagree with you when you say things like
    jar writes:

    A GOD that wants to be worshiped is just too silly a thought. Maybe some picayune God might worry about what folk thought of Her, like the little girl who worries that her corsage might not be right, too big, or too small, or the guy that worries about his tie not being in style or that people think he looks funny, but GOD cannot be so insecure.

    It has always been my understanding that God encourages us to worship,pray,and basically have a relationship. After a day in which I fall short (which is everyday) I can sit in a quiet spot and begin to talk. The evidence would show that i was only talking to myself, but I believe that God...powerful and busy as He is, hears me and helps me. Of course I am aware of the human trait mentioned earlier to create a God in MY imagination that favors me...and I of course have no right as an ant in a universe to expect such a thing...but I believe that the Creator of all seen and unseen is powerful enough and has the time to listen to all of us...even if we talked all at once.

    Much of my Christianity has been shaped by the 30 year collection of inter-office memos penned by Paul and perhaps others.

    Note what Jesus says to the religious leaders of His day in

    John 8:44 writes:

    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    Do you personally believe it is even possible to be a respected religious/spiritual leader and not have a daily relationship with G-d?


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 19 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 9:31 AM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 21 by ringo, posted 03-26-2016 12:27 PM Phat has responded
     Message 25 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 12:57 PM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 22 of 591 (780897)
    03-26-2016 12:29 PM
    Reply to: Message 21 by ringo
    03-26-2016 12:27 PM


    Re: Christianity 101
    Ringo writes:

    So the marketing works.

    The question remains: What is the product? Does it really cure warts?

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 21 by ringo, posted 03-26-2016 12:27 PM ringo has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 24 by ringo, posted 03-26-2016 12:54 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 23 of 591 (780898)
    03-26-2016 12:38 PM
    Reply to: Message 19 by jar
    03-26-2016 9:31 AM


    The Form Of God
    jar, I wanted to re-emphasize a question I had earlier.
    My understanding is that Jesus saw God as His Father...and even according to Philippians 2:6...Jesus.. who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. What puzzles me though is that if Judaism teaches that God has no form, why would the author of Philippians state that Jesus was in the form of God?

    If we as humans go about doing good and doing the daily simple things...giving a guy spare change, feeding the homeless, carrying in the neighbors groceries, etc etc...are we imitating Christ? I suppose we could thus say---as you have said...that doing for others is loving God. Comments?


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 19 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 9:31 AM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 26 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 3:27 PM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 27 of 591 (780903)
    03-26-2016 4:04 PM
    Reply to: Message 26 by jar
    03-26-2016 3:27 PM


    Re: The Form Of God
    jar writes:

    The people of the period were not really concerned with consistency and also constantly used forms of speech as a way of promoting understanding. Take your example of Judaism teaching that God has no form as an example. Even if that was true (and for the most part it is) that did not stop them from writing stories where God did have form (see Genesis 2&3) and where God not only had form but appeared to folk, wrestled with folk, stopped for water with folk, talked to folk, took advice from folk.

    Stop expecting accuracy and remember that much of the Bible stories (almost all the important parts) are just Mythology.

    I strongly disagree with this, but first perhaps i had better understand the word Mythology.

    quote:
    noun
    1.
    a collection of myths, especially one belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition.
    "Ganesa was the god of wisdom and success in Hindu mythology"
    synonyms: myth(s), legend(s), folklore, folk tales, folk stories, lore, tradition
    "no ancient culture is without its mythology"
    2.
    the study of myths.

    So...are you stating that the bible is largely a collection of myths? I object!
    ABE:
    I recall you once saying this about jesus:

    jar writes:

    ... I do see much that was unique and wonderful about his life and teachings. Even if, as I have said before, the story of his life and death were only tales told around a campfire, I still see much good.

    Of course due to your Jewish influences in life, I can see where you differentiate between jesus and G-d. But what if G-d were simply a cultural myth? (And of course I DON'T believe that He is)

    Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 26 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 3:27 PM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 28 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 5:18 PM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 29 of 591 (780917)
    03-27-2016 4:04 PM
    Reply to: Message 28 by jar
    03-26-2016 5:18 PM


    Re: The Form Of God
    jar writes:

    Phat, as long as we are alive all we can know is the myth, the God(s) and god(s) we create. Cultural myths are essential. The bumbling god of Genesis 2&3 that is learning on the job, learning by trial and error, fearful but intimate was a cultural myth. The god of Exodus who changes Pharaohs mind simply so that she can show how big her dick is with yet another plague was a cultural myth. The supremely competent overarching god of Genesis 1 who is also aloof and does not interact with the creation is a cultural myth.

    Critics would assert that you operate out of your flesh(soul, intelligence) and have nary a clue what spirit even is. We can discuss that later.

    But first some more questions. Lest I go in a thousand directions at once, lets get back to Stephen and Acts.

    You mention

    Phat, as long as we are alive all we can know is the myth, the God(s) and god(s) we create.
    Read the story of Stephens speech to the Sanhedrin. The God whom Stephen spoke of was in my opinion the GOD you mention, Creator of all seen and unseen..spoken of in your beloved Nicene Creed. Stephen quite obviously was not speaking of a God he created. Stephen had an intimate relationship with the Creator of all seen and unseen. And the Sanhedrin hated him for it. Care to explain what happened according to your mythos worldview? And why were the people of "The Way" mentioned in Acts as the ones Saul wished to kill? You claim that John was written nearly after Pauls death, yet John mentions Jesus as being The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Not some mere Rabbi who taught us all to love God only by doing for others and who made beer runs and kept the spirits flowing at neighborhood parties!

    Also what changed Sauls mind and heart? Surely more than simply seeing an opportunity to hawk a new belief system and earn a better living than making tents!


    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 28 by jar, posted 03-26-2016 5:18 PM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 30 by jar, posted 03-27-2016 7:37 PM Phat has responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 14858
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 1.1


    Message 31 of 591 (780928)
    03-28-2016 2:18 AM
    Reply to: Message 30 by jar
    03-27-2016 7:37 PM


    God Unplugged
    jar writes:

    What makes you think Stephen is not speaking of a God he created?

    What is the evidence of an intimate relationship with the Creator of all seen and unseen?

    Evidence Phat.

    the story mentions that Stephens face shown like that on an angel, and also reports that those who heard Stephen became enraged. Seems to me that if Stephen was only talking about a god he created, nobody would have much cared.

    jar,from long ago writes:

    First, good and evil are a Human construct and a relative determination that we make. The Bible itself says that God creates both good and evil. God is complete.

    Second, there are no full and complete descriptions of GOD to be found in the Bible. Instead, what we find are different individual views, characterizations, word pictures that try to describe the concept, GOD.

    Third, the different stories in the Bible follow along the same pattern as all Epic Tales and Fables. The stories themselves are meant to convey a message. In some cases it was to found an identity, in others to set social norms and still others are meant to teach some moral.

    So in your opinion, what message was the story of Stephen versus Sanhedrin mean't to convey? What were the sides involved in this human conflict? And why did Saul flip a 180 and switch sides? (As far as Saul/Pauls transformation, i'll give you that many of us...though we have been changed, largely still have our soulish traits. You still carry the arrogance that made yiou quit college. I still prefer fantasy over reality at times, though in my defense I am allowed to have beliefs without being declared WRONG by people who have only some alleged facts and not a majority vote.(For example, there is controversy over when the Bible was written, who wrote certain Chapters, and a host of other disputes.) You are a learned Bible teacher...I'll give you that. I disagree with you in that you place too much faith in human wisdom...logic, reason, and "reality" and don't have any doubt that humans either MUST be capable of good on their own or else God HAS to be evil. Not everything can be proven with evidence but why does this negate a rational belief?

    Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 30 by jar, posted 03-27-2016 7:37 PM jar has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 32 by jar, posted 03-28-2016 9:03 AM Phat has responded

      
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