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Author Topic:   Christianity Needs to Return to Being a Good Example
Inactive Member

Message 49 of 57 (861755)
08-26-2019 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Stile
11-23-2018 11:49 AM

What do you think?
Should Christianity continue to try and force itself on anyone and everyone they can?
Or should Christianity go back to it's roots and try to provide a good example and gain whatever social growth is possible that way?

I agree with the main thrust of his point, but then why not take it a step further and disavow Christianity altogether? Of course the bible has a set of morals, many which I and most everyone else agrees with. The abrasive, brow-beating typified by fundamentalists is obviously not only guaranteed to not get converts, but to actually create enemies out of them. I view the bible as an important collection of historical documents. That we have a mostly intact collection that offers a preview of the ancient world is of enormous value. But maybe that just appeals to my interest in history. What it doesn't certify is the validity of that historical document. I could write a novel about an alien invasion that took place on this day, bury it in the dessert, and with any luck some schmuck is gonna find it 2,000 years from adn fawn over it like it was the holy grail. It'll be a historical document at that point... but it doesn't mean anything I wrote actually happened.

So it seems to me that while you understand his premise, at the same time what is even the point then of "being a Christian?" He stated that you don't need Christianity to understand morality. If that's the case, then what do you need Jesus for at this point in time?

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.

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.

"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

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 50 by GDR, posted 08-26-2019 9:02 PM Hyroglyphx has replied

Inactive Member

Message 51 of 57 (861784)
08-26-2019 9:50 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by GDR
08-26-2019 9:02 PM

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.

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?

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.

Jesus 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.

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.

Ah, but are you not then worshipping a God of your choosing? You can't imagine the petulant indignation of Yahweh spoken about in the Torah and Mishnah being the same as the love of God spoken of by Jesus... but you'll use the OT when its quoted by Jesus. You have created for yourself a Mr. Potato Head God... picking the parts of God that you find palatable and excluding the parts that seem contradictory to it. Not a 'jot' or a 'tittle' shall pass away until it all be fulfilled... Translation: every apostrophe and every comma in the Mishnah is from God... so believe all of it and follow all of it. But you don't. And you've now said as much.

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?

Your all or nothing approach makes no sense.

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.

Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.

"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by GDR, posted 08-26-2019 9:02 PM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by GDR, posted 08-27-2019 2:06 AM Hyroglyphx has replied

Inactive Member

Message 53 of 57 (861789)
08-27-2019 2:34 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by GDR
08-27-2019 2:06 AM

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it" -- Thomas Paine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by GDR, posted 08-27-2019 2:06 AM GDR has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by GDR, posted 08-27-2019 11:20 AM Hyroglyphx has taken no action

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