Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 52654 times)

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #500 on: June 21, 2017, 07:06:03 AM »
My authority comes from god.  All you have is corrupted and dead writings in a book.
Umm, ok.

Jim - I realize this sounds like nonsense to you.  But to those of us on the outside, we see two people who both claim to have true revelations from God.  Given that revelation is necessarily hearsay to everyone else, how do you suggest we figure out which one of your beliefs may be true?
I don't worry about it.  It is given for some to find the truth and others to stay lost.

Well that's not terribly helpful for those of us trying to figure out what is true.
I guess I'll continue to wait for a revelation of my own.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #501 on: June 21, 2017, 07:42:13 AM »
It's a bit like the MMM message. It would be phony if I said, "I'm a follower of MMM. That's why I have a credit card balance of $75k, a negative net worth, I drive a Ford F150 one mile to work, and every month I spend more than I earn!" And most of us don't begrudge MMM from setting certain rules about being here in his forum. I don't see any problem with God setting some rules for going to his place. It doesn't make him an a-hole, it means he literally needs a level of purity to be in his presence.

I'll preface this by saying, I know this isn't the point you were making by bringing MMM to the conversation.  It just made me think of this example:

This is a good thought experiment.

As a follower of MMM, the goal is to reach FI by living a happy simple life.  To get to FI, and to lead a happy and simple life, do you have to accept MMM as your blog of choice?  Of course not.  You just have to live similarly to MMM, even if you have no idea who he is.  A person can go through their entire lives, never heard of MMM, but still retire by 30.  Heck, Pete did it himself!

So, to get to Heaven, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by Jesus.  You presume this is by accepting Jesus as your God.  You also presume that by accepting Jesus, you do good deeds.  However, what if I understand it as: by doing good deeds, you follow Jesus' guidelines, thus you are accepted by Jesus even if you've never heard of him!?  This makes so much more sense, since much of the world's population will never even hear of Jesus.

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jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #502 on: June 21, 2017, 08:12:46 AM »
So, to get to Heaven, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by Jesus.  You presume this is by accepting Jesus as your God.  You also presume that by accepting Jesus, you do good deeds.  However, what if I understand it as: by doing good deeds, you follow Jesus' guidelines, thus you are accepted by Jesus even if you've never heard of him!?  This makes so much more sense, since much of the world's population will never even hear of Jesus.
Sounds reasonable, but you won't find it in scripture. 

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #503 on: June 21, 2017, 08:40:09 AM »
So, to get to Heaven, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by Jesus.  You presume this is by accepting Jesus as your God.  You also presume that by accepting Jesus, you do good deeds.  However, what if I understand it as: by doing good deeds, you follow Jesus' guidelines, thus you are accepted by Jesus even if you've never heard of him!?  This makes so much more sense, since much of the world's population will never even hear of Jesus.
Sounds reasonable, but you won't find it in scripture.

What makes the bible a more reliable source of moralistic teachings than the Quran or The Very Hungry Caterpillar?
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Vindicated

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #504 on: June 21, 2017, 08:44:39 AM »
So, to get to Heaven, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by Jesus.  You presume this is by accepting Jesus as your God.  You also presume that by accepting Jesus, you do good deeds.  However, what if I understand it as: by doing good deeds, you follow Jesus' guidelines, thus you are accepted by Jesus even if you've never heard of him!?  This makes so much more sense, since much of the world's population will never even hear of Jesus.
Sounds reasonable, but you won't find it in scripture.

I guess we all have to make our own interpretations of the Bible.  My understanding is that my previous statement makes the most sense.  For an all-loving God would not condemn the good people of the world to an eternity of torture.  So, if your God is going to condemn me (a good person) to an eternity of torture, he is not an all-loving God.  He would in fact be an unjust God.

You may say that what I view as "all-loving" or "just" wouldn't necessarily be the same as your God's definition.  I would say that you don't know what your God's definition would be any more than I do.  Your evidence is a text, written by men, and written hundreds of years after Jesus lived.  These men had their own motivations for wording choices.  This text has then been interpreted and translated by other men hundreds of years after that.

I've played the game "Telephone" before.  IF the bible is based on truth, I would be surprised if 50% of it was accurate.  We humans are imperfect after all.
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jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #505 on: June 21, 2017, 09:27:28 AM »
If the Bible is not 100% the Word of God no one should listen to it.  Christians believe it to be inerrant and the actual Word of God.

Vindicated

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #506 on: June 21, 2017, 09:40:29 AM »
If the Bible is not 100% the Word of God no one should listen to it.

There are many great lessons in the Bible, regardless of how inaccurate it may be as a history text.

Christians believe it to be inerrant and the actual Word of God.

This may be the part I find most unfathomable.  It was written by men.
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DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #507 on: June 21, 2017, 10:00:03 AM »
I don't see any problem with God setting some rules for going to his place. It doesn't make him an a-hole, it means he literally needs a level of purity to be in his presence.

If I may inquire: what are your beliefs regarding hell?

I don't necessarily have a problem with the over-arching thesis of Arminian Christianity that you've described: Jesus died for all people, and those who accept him as their savior will live with him in paradise after death. What I find appalling is the flip side of that coin: the alternative to paradise is hell, the lake of fire, eternal torment, etc. Jesus loves you, but you will suffer in agonizing perpetuity if you don't follow him. Couldn't the unfaithful simply, you know, not exist after death? What is it about good people who don't follow Christ that earns them hell?

That's a great question! It's interesting to me that the bible is almost completely silent on what both heaven and hell are like. We don't know if hell is a literal lake of fire with people suffering eternally (not likely, I'd say), or just "nothingness" like your part I bolded above (far more likely, I think). I think most Christians don't believe in the literal burning-and-gnashing-of-teeth with devils and pitchforks version, but rather some kind of non-existence or just empty and lost existence. I think Hell may simply be a separation from God, which would be sorrowful for the person in question in the sense that they now recognize and feel that separation. Or, like you said, the concept of Hell could be just death with nothing to follow. Also, everyone (both believers and non-believers) are held accountable for their actions during their lives. So, believers are not given a free pass there.

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally. Jesus spoke in many metaphors. He said there's going to be lots of wailing when the end times come and the non-saved realize their fate. And when evil people are held accountable for their evilness. He likened the end times to a farmer harvesting the crops, separating the wheat from the chaff (whatever chaff is, I'm no farmer!) and throwing all the leftover chaff/junk into the fire. I don't interpret stuff like that to mean that people will be literally thrown into a fire and forever burned. It was a statement by Jesus on the saved being separated from the non-saved, but we turn stuff like that into pictures of hell being like a fire with devils and pitchforks -- maybe to scare children into being "good," haha!
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MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #508 on: June 21, 2017, 10:18:38 AM »
Christians believe it to be inerrant and the actual Word of God.

With over 10,000 sects of Christianity, Christians believe many many different things.

DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #509 on: June 21, 2017, 10:21:52 AM »
It's a bit like the MMM message. It would be phony if I said, "I'm a follower of MMM. That's why I have a credit card balance of $75k, a negative net worth, I drive a Ford F150 one mile to work, and every month I spend more than I earn!" And most of us don't begrudge MMM from setting certain rules about being here in his forum. I don't see any problem with God setting some rules for going to his place. It doesn't make him an a-hole, it means he literally needs a level of purity to be in his presence.

I'll preface this by saying, I know this isn't the point you were making by bringing MMM to the conversation.  It just made me think of this example:

This is a good thought experiment.

As a follower of MMM, the goal is to reach FI by living a happy simple life.  To get to FI, and to lead a happy and simple life, do you have to accept MMM as your blog of choice?  Of course not.  You just have to live similarly to MMM, even if you have no idea who he is.  A person can go through their entire lives, never heard of MMM, but still retire by 30.  Heck, Pete did it himself!

So, to get to Heaven, you need to follow the guidelines set forth by Jesus.  You presume this is by accepting Jesus as your God.  You also presume that by accepting Jesus, you do good deeds.  However, what if I understand it as: by doing good deeds, you follow Jesus' guidelines, thus you are accepted by Jesus even if you've never heard of him!?  This makes so much more sense, since much of the world's population will never even hear of Jesus.

Ha, I recognized this exact failure in my analogy the second I was typing it! I'm actually glad you pointed it out. And another poster largely addressed the failure with his/her hilarious "I am a jealous blog, you shall have no other blogs before me!" reference. So yeah, my analogy breaks down since MMM is not the only avenue towards early retirement, whereas Christians see Christ as the only avenue of salvation.

So maybe a better analogy in this context would be, "If you want to retire early, you must spend less than you earn" (it's the only avenue barring things like winning the lottery or a huge inheritance). People could throw up all kinds of arguments about why their spending is okay, how it's all for good reasons, how they do good works with their money like giving to charity and for their children's private lessons, how they just can't get ahead, how most of their spending is on absolutely necessary stuff like their car and cellphone plans. And then they could argue how unfair it is that they don't get to retire early, and how us early retirees are elitists and frugal nutcases that reuse toilet paper. So why should they be excluded since they're doing what they can and being "good" with their money? Just don't ask them to give up their car payment and nice house and eating out and their unlimited data cellphone plan. But none of that complaining would change the underlying truth that to retire early, you must spend less than you earn.
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DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #510 on: June 21, 2017, 10:25:26 AM »
Christians believe it to be inerrant and the actual Word of God.

With over 10,000 sects of Christianity, Christians believe many many different things.

What?! No one ever disagrees about the interpretation of the Bible, especially different Christian sects!! And luckily since there are no disagreements, it's never caused any problems in history ;-)
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Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #511 on: June 21, 2017, 11:11:52 AM »
I don't see any problem with God setting some rules for going to his place. It doesn't make him an a-hole, it means he literally needs a level of purity to be in his presence.

If I may inquire: what are your beliefs regarding hell?

I don't necessarily have a problem with the over-arching thesis of Arminian Christianity that you've described: Jesus died for all people, and those who accept him as their savior will live with him in paradise after death. What I find appalling is the flip side of that coin: the alternative to paradise is hell, the lake of fire, eternal torment, etc. Jesus loves you, but you will suffer in agonizing perpetuity if you don't follow him. Couldn't the unfaithful simply, you know, not exist after death? What is it about good people who don't follow Christ that earns them hell?

That's a great question! It's interesting to me that the bible is almost completely silent on what both heaven and hell are like. We don't know if hell is a literal lake of fire with people suffering eternally (not likely, I'd say), or just "nothingness" like your part I bolded above (far more likely, I think). I think most Christians don't believe in the literal burning-and-gnashing-of-teeth with devils and pitchforks version, but rather some kind of non-existence or just empty and lost existence. I think Hell may simply be a separation from God, which would be sorrowful for the person in question in the sense that they now recognize and feel that separation. Or, like you said, the concept of Hell could be just death with nothing to follow. Also, everyone (both believers and non-believers) are held accountable for their actions during their lives. So, believers are not given a free pass there.

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally. Jesus spoke in many metaphors. He said there's going to be lots of wailing when the end times come and the non-saved realize their fate. And when evil people are held accountable for their evilness. He likened the end times to a farmer harvesting the crops, separating the wheat from the chaff (whatever chaff is, I'm no farmer!) and throwing all the leftover chaff/junk into the fire. I don't interpret stuff like that to mean that people will be literally thrown into a fire and forever burned. It was a statement by Jesus on the saved being separated from the non-saved, but we turn stuff like that into pictures of hell being like a fire with devils and pitchforks -- maybe to scare children into being "good," haha!

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I personally know of a number of Christians who do believe specifically in the end of existence for the unsaved. I'm fine with this belief, because I believe that is the fate that we'll all meet at the end of our days. For those who grow up in the Bible Belt, though, we have no shortage of visual aids to demonstrate the prevailing beliefs of Christians in this area:




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zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #512 on: June 21, 2017, 11:15:21 AM »
I don't see any problem with God setting some rules for going to his place. It doesn't make him an a-hole, it means he literally needs a level of purity to be in his presence.

If I may inquire: what are your beliefs regarding hell?

I don't necessarily have a problem with the over-arching thesis of Arminian Christianity that you've described: Jesus died for all people, and those who accept him as their savior will live with him in paradise after death. What I find appalling is the flip side of that coin: the alternative to paradise is hell, the lake of fire, eternal torment, etc. Jesus loves you, but you will suffer in agonizing perpetuity if you don't follow him. Couldn't the unfaithful simply, you know, not exist after death? What is it about good people who don't follow Christ that earns them hell?

That's a great question! It's interesting to me that the bible is almost completely silent on what both heaven and hell are like. We don't know if hell is a literal lake of fire with people suffering eternally (not likely, I'd say), or just "nothingness" like your part I bolded above (far more likely, I think). I think most Christians don't believe in the literal burning-and-gnashing-of-teeth with devils and pitchforks version, but rather some kind of non-existence or just empty and lost existence. I think Hell may simply be a separation from God, which would be sorrowful for the person in question in the sense that they now recognize and feel that separation. Or, like you said, the concept of Hell could be just death with nothing to follow. Also, everyone (both believers and non-believers) are held accountable for their actions during their lives. So, believers are not given a free pass there.

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally. Jesus spoke in many metaphors. He said there's going to be lots of wailing when the end times come and the non-saved realize their fate. And when evil people are held accountable for their evilness. He likened the end times to a farmer harvesting the crops, separating the wheat from the chaff (whatever chaff is, I'm no farmer!) and throwing all the leftover chaff/junk into the fire. I don't interpret stuff like that to mean that people will be literally thrown into a fire and forever burned. It was a statement by Jesus on the saved being separated from the non-saved, but we turn stuff like that into pictures of hell being like a fire with devils and pitchforks -- maybe to scare children into being "good," haha!

Do you remember yourself after you die? Meaning, does your ego go with you and follow you to heaven?

To me that seems unlikely.
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bdylan

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #513 on: June 22, 2017, 11:49:00 AM »
Did anyone actually answer the question on the interpretation of the scripture?  Skimmed it but never saw someone answer. Seems fairly straightforward that it is discussing the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.  The temple was never rebuilt and Judaism never returned to animal sacrifice, the Christian implications fairly clear (Christ was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices). 

Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #514 on: June 22, 2017, 12:48:05 PM »
When Jesus or god or any biblical figure is speaking as a metaphor and when they should be taken literally depends entirely on the particular flavor of Christianity and their agenda. 

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #515 on: June 22, 2017, 12:50:56 PM »
Did anyone actually answer the question on the interpretation of the scripture?  Skimmed it but never saw someone answer. Seems fairly straightforward that it is discussing the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.  The temple was never rebuilt and Judaism never returned to animal sacrifice, the Christian implications fairly clear (Christ was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices).
God made it impossible for animal sacrifice to continue with the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D..  To this day the temple mount is unavailable.  They just can't see Jesus is the Messiah.

bdylan

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #516 on: June 22, 2017, 01:06:41 PM »
When Jesus or god or any biblical figure is speaking as a metaphor and when they should be taken literally depends entirely on the particular flavor of Christianity and their agenda.

Right.  And the OP has been unable to make sense of a scriptural reading that he thinks should be taken literally, but others have explained figuratively.  It's always been explained to me (I'm Roman Catholic) as a literal prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D.  All occurring within the same generation.

From a Christian perspective it makes perfect sense -- the O.T. world has passed away and been eclipsed by the N.T. world and Christ's sacrifice, the Temple is destroyed (never to be rebuilt) and animal sacrifices are no longer needed. 

Now, are there other interpretations?  Of course.  But this is a reasonable one.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #517 on: June 22, 2017, 03:22:21 PM »
When Jesus or god or any biblical figure is speaking as a metaphor and when they should be taken literally depends entirely on the particular flavor of Christianity and their agenda.

Right.  And the OP has been unable to make sense of a scriptural reading that he thinks should be taken literally, but others have explained figuratively.  It's always been explained to me (I'm Roman Catholic) as a literal prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D.  All occurring within the same generation.

From a Christian perspective it makes perfect sense -- the O.T. world has passed away and been eclipsed by the N.T. world and Christ's sacrifice, the Temple is destroyed (never to be rebuilt) and animal sacrifices are no longer needed. 

Now, are there other interpretations?  Of course.  But this is a reasonable one.

Bob, if I can call you that, thanks for addressing my main sticking point.

It turns out that different theories of the olivet discourse have been discussed quite a bit before.  You would fall into what is called the "Full Preterism" line of thinking.  Feel free to wikipedia.

My issue with the full preterist AD 70 theory is that too many things were detailed by Jesus that aren't fulfilled by the events of AD 70.

15“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17“Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18“Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20“But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Josephus the historian estimates that 1.1 million non-combatant Jews died during the tribulation of 70 AD from violence and starvation and close to 100k were taken into slavery.

That's no walk in the park, but it is clearly eclipsed by the Holocaust of WWII (from a Jewish perspective) which killed at least 6 million Jews. 

Then there's the glorious return that's hard to argue has happened.

29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

Note - caps was just pasted from biblehub, I didn't mean to emphasize whats in caps. 

Is there anything in scripture or tradition (since you're Catholic) that can be used as an argument that this glorious return has occurred?


DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #518 on: June 22, 2017, 04:56:13 PM »
Do you remember yourself after you die? Meaning, does your ego go with you and follow you to heaven?

To me that seems unlikely.

Beats me, I guess we'll find out together (or not)! I'm with you, I wouldn't imagine the afterlife (if there's one) having a lot of connection/ego from this life.

I personally know of a number of Christians who do believe specifically in the end of existence for the unsaved. I'm fine with this belief, because I believe that is the fate that we'll all meet at the end of our days. For those who grow up in the Bible Belt, though, we have no shortage of visual aids to demonstrate the prevailing beliefs of Christians in this area:


Yeah, it's unfortunate that some people push the fire-and-brimstone thing so heavily, especially when it's such a turn-off to a lot of us. At the same time, it's unfortunate that some non-believers get so defensive or take it personally that if a Christian believes you need to believe in Christ to be saved, it's somehow disparaging to the non-believer in that they'll "go to Hell" for not believing. The Christian isn't (or at least shouldn't be) passing judgment on that person, any more than we'd be passing judgment on someone by saying, "If you want to get rich and retire early, spend a lot less than you earn." You choose not to accept the message, it's your choice, and it doesn't mean anyone's looking down on that person for choosing otherwise, even if we realize you'll not become rich and retire early if you ignore the message.

When Jesus or god or any biblical figure is speaking as a metaphor and when they should be taken literally depends entirely on the particular flavor of Christianity and their agenda. 

Good point. I argue that since Jesus himself famously made liberal use of parables and metaphors, it would be silly to take anything too literally. Like, I don't think the Kingdom of God is just like a mustard seed. Plus there's the whole language translation thing, which is ripe for all kinds of differences/disagreements.
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zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #519 on: June 23, 2017, 10:02:02 AM »
Do you remember yourself after you die? Meaning, does your ego go with you and follow you to heaven?

To me that seems unlikely.

Beats me, I guess we'll find out together (or not)! I'm with you, I wouldn't imagine the afterlife (if there's one) having a lot of connection/ego from this life.

But in another post you said that we will be judged for our actions during our lives. If that is the case then we would have to remember or have a connection with our ego.

Here's a theory I had recently:
In quantum physics they say that all time, past, present, and future exists at the same time. There is also the idea that things do not exist in a fixed point until they are observed. If all time exists at the same time that could mean that our life timeline is already set and we just experience it one slice at a time. That would imply that free will does not exist. Well, instead of seeing our timeline as a linear thing that you travel along what if it is more like a fractal or lattice structure. From this point forward there are seemingly infinite possibilities, but once you make a decision and carry it out that part of your timeline is fixed. Perhaps there is another you in another dimension of time that chose X instead of Y. That version is now following a different timeline that you cannot experience, as if we are constantly splitting ourselves off into different timelines. 

Carrying this theory forward I started thinking about reincarnation. What if reincarnation is not being born into another body but being born into your same body, making different decision, observing different timelines. Perhaps timelines intersect at certain points and we get that deja vu feeling. Perhaps we are stuck in an infinite loop of experiencing every timeline in which our body or consciousness could possibly exist.

I guess this fits into religion, but maybe more philosophy.
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #520 on: June 23, 2017, 10:32:46 AM »

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally.

Read Revelation 20.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #521 on: June 23, 2017, 10:52:22 AM »
I am going to toss this one at my pastor and see what his response is.  One I've never talked with him about.

Hey Caracarn - just curious if you spoke to your pastor about the morality of slavery.
I'm curious what he had to say.

Vindicated

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #522 on: June 23, 2017, 11:12:07 AM »
Carrying this theory forward I started thinking about reincarnation. What if reincarnation is not being born into another body but being born into your same body, making different decision, observing different timelines. Perhaps timelines intersect at certain points and we get that deja vu feeling. Perhaps we are stuck in an infinite loop of experiencing every timeline in which our body or consciousness could possibly exist.

There is a Netflix movie called "The Discovery" which relates to your ideas here.  Check it out.
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DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #523 on: June 23, 2017, 04:19:14 PM »

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally.

Read Revelation 20.

Right, I mentioned the "lake of fire" above. I don't know, Revelation is famously and purposely full of symbolism. It is very difficult to interpret, and of course has led to lots of disagreements about the meaning. I remain skeptical that the reference to the dead being thrown into a lake of fire should be interpreted literally, any more than the whore riding on a beast, etc.
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tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #524 on: June 23, 2017, 04:34:16 PM »

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally.

Read Revelation 20.

And this is the whole problem with the bible.  It's often not clear when things are literal and when they are not.  When it comes to clearly communicating meaning, the Christian God is a pretty shitty writer.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 05:33:00 PM by tyort1 »
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #525 on: June 23, 2017, 05:21:45 PM »
The bible was written like that specifically so that it could be used to whatever purpose the elite needed at the time. It still happens today. I don't think any of it is literal.



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tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #526 on: June 23, 2017, 05:34:38 PM »
The bible was written like that specifically so that it could be used to whatever purpose the elite needed at the time. It still happens today. I don't think any of it is literal.

And that's the trap - people reading the bible don't understand it and assume they the problem is with themselves for not being smart enough or wise enough or enlightened enough to understand.  Really the blame should be put on God for being a bad writer.
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Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #527 on: June 23, 2017, 06:18:44 PM »
The mental gymnastics people will do to explain all the contradictions and lack of logic are pretty impressive.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #528 on: June 23, 2017, 06:46:20 PM »
I am going to toss this one at my pastor and see what his response is.  One I've never talked with him about.

Hey Caracarn - just curious if you spoke to your pastor about the morality of slavery.
I'm curious what he had to say.
He still did not get back to me.  I sent him a lengthy e-mail explaining out conversation, and he sent back that it will require a longer response.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #529 on: June 23, 2017, 06:49:30 PM »

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally.

Read Revelation 20.


Right, I mentioned the "lake of fire" above. I don't know, Revelation is famously and purposely full of symbolism. It is very difficult to interpret, and of course has led to lots of disagreements about the meaning. I remain skeptical that the reference to the dead being thrown into a lake of fire should be interpreted literally, any more than the whore riding on a beast, etc.

It's not "famous" for anything.  They are "famous" interpretations that state that.  The beginning of revelation indicates that these things will come to pass, not that they are all not literal.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #530 on: June 23, 2017, 07:05:21 PM »

I actually cannot recall any sections in the bible that speak of eternal torment (that may be there, but I don't recall). But even if it was, there are many metaphorical descriptions like that that should not be interpreted literally.

Read Revelation 20.


Right, I mentioned the "lake of fire" above. I don't know, Revelation is famously and purposely full of symbolism. It is very difficult to interpret, and of course has led to lots of disagreements about the meaning. I remain skeptical that the reference to the dead being thrown into a lake of fire should be interpreted literally, any more than the whore riding on a beast, etc.

It's not "famous" for anything.  They are "famous" interpretations that state that.  The beginning of revelation indicates that these things will come to pass, not that they are all not literal.

These metaphorical things will come to pass!
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DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #531 on: June 24, 2017, 10:25:16 AM »
The bible was written like that specifically so that it could be used to whatever purpose the elite needed at the time. It still happens today. I don't think any of it is literal.

And that's the trap - people reading the bible don't understand it and assume they the problem is with themselves for not being smart enough or wise enough or enlightened enough to understand.  Really the blame should be put on God for being a bad writer.

But God didn't write the bible. It's a collection of stories, poems, gospels, historical accounts, accounts of visions/dreams, letters, etc., all written by people. Sure, most of us Christians feel it's inspired by God, but I'm not one that takes it as absolute, inerrant, straight-from-the-mouth-of-God text. I really don't even understand where that belief would come from. There's no preface in the Bible that says, "Everything in here is THE PERFECT WORD OF GOD, PERIOD."


Right, I mentioned the "lake of fire" above. I don't know, Revelation is famously and purposely full of symbolism. It is very difficult to interpret, and of course has led to lots of disagreements about the meaning. I remain skeptical that the reference to the dead being thrown into a lake of fire should be interpreted literally, any more than the whore riding on a beast, etc.

It's not "famous" for anything.  They are "famous" interpretations that state that.  The beginning of revelation indicates that these things will come to pass, not that they are all not literal.

Okay, if you want to quibble over the word "famous," perhaps you'll like the term "well-known" better. As in, Revelation is well-known for being chock-full of symbolism. Practically all of John's visions are symbolic -- heads on a beast representing nations, horns representing kings, waters representing multitudes of people, bowls poured out representing God's wrath, and on and on. Perhaps of all the books in the bible, Revelation has the most symbolism, and is the most disagreed upon over interpretation. I believe Revelation is an accurate account of the future (and accurately predicted events that have since passed), but for anyone to claim with surety they know what it all means and exactly/literally what it will look like ("it will be a LITERAL LAKE OF FIRE!!") is just hubris.
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jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #532 on: June 24, 2017, 04:28:01 PM »
The Bible does assert it was written by God.  Jesus quotes scripture as the word of God.

2PE 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2TI 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

1 TH 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #533 on: June 25, 2017, 02:33:40 PM »
The Bible does assert it was written by God.  Jesus quotes scripture as the word of God.

Respectfully, I just don't see it that way, and I think it doesn't make sense. Sure, some of it is literally straight from God's mouth to a person, like the Ten Commandments given to Moses. But Paul's letters to the churches were not dictated by God. David's psalms were not either. There are countless other examples. Again, we could say these people (hopefully) had their inspiration or motivation from God, but to me it's a ridiculous stretch to say their words were directly from God, as if they were in some trance hearing him dictate things to them.

Plus, Jesus himself is referred to as "the Word of God" (yet another metaphor, not to be taken completely literally, since he's obviously a person and not actual words on a tablet or page). One could substitute "Christ" for "Word of God" in your 1 TH reference, for example, and it would make as much sense to me as saying it refers to words from God's mouth.

I think making the claim that the Bible is the inerrant, absolute truth straight from God does our Christianity a disservice, and is not supported. It strains all credulity and likely leads people to doubt the more important truth within, which is that Jesus Christ died so we could be saved. It's like those who claim the earth is 6,000 years old because "the Bible says so" (though it doesn't). It just flies in the face of all reason and predictably causes anyone hearing such nonsense to doubt the whole, far more important message.
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #534 on: June 25, 2017, 04:13:30 PM »
The Holy Spirit wrote through men and it is preserved by Divine providence.  This has been a core Christian belief since forever.
Your position cuts right at the core of the faith by undermining the foundation of it. 
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 04:18:56 PM by jim555 »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #535 on: June 25, 2017, 08:00:23 PM »
This has been a core Christian belief since forever.

And yet here are two Christians who disagree on this 'core Christian belief.'
This helps to show why it is nearly meaningless to talk about 'Christianity' in a general sense as if it were a monolithic homogeneous religious group.

I would ask the same question I asked earlier (which I know you are not interested in, Jim) -
How do you suggest we go about figuring out which one of your beliefs may actually be true?

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #536 on: June 25, 2017, 08:14:50 PM »
Every historical confession of faith holds to the core "Word of God" doctrine.  Someone who denies this doctrine is outside the faith.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #537 on: June 25, 2017, 09:03:36 PM »
Every historical confession of faith holds to the core "Word of God" doctrine.  Someone who denies this doctrine is outside the faith.
When you say 'outside the faith,' I think we should probably clarify that you mean outside of your faith.
Off the top of my head, Unitarians are Christians and do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
I'm sure there are other denominations I'm not thinking of momentarily.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #538 on: June 26, 2017, 04:57:11 AM »
Every historical confession of faith holds to the core "Word of God" doctrine.  Someone who denies this doctrine is outside the faith.
When you say 'outside the faith,' I think we should probably clarify that you mean outside of your faith.
Off the top of my head, Unitarians are Christians and do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
I'm sure there are other denominations I'm not thinking of momentarily.

Not to mention that Catholics and Protestants don't even use the same Bible. The Catholics came first, right? So isn't anyone who denies that Bible outside the faith?
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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #539 on: June 26, 2017, 06:27:10 AM »
Every historical confession of faith holds to the core "Word of God" doctrine.  Someone who denies this doctrine is outside the faith.
When you say 'outside the faith,' I think we should probably clarify that you mean outside of your faith.
Off the top of my head, Unitarians are Christians and do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
I'm sure there are other denominations I'm not thinking of momentarily.

Not to mention that Catholics and Protestants don't even use the same Bible. The Catholics came first, right? So isn't anyone who denies that Bible outside the faith?

Yes, it seems very difficult to pick the winner.  We need a religion ETF.  I prefer to buy the market.

Logically, though, if there is a possibility of damnation (which is the worst case), we can exclude the religions which say that non-compliance will not lead to damnation.  But I still don't like the odds.  It's a shame that God isn't performing loads of miracles like he did a couple of thousand years ago.  If a burning bush talks to me or a rotting corpse comes back to life it makes the choice easier.

Isn't this all a bit, well, silly?  It's all nonsense, isn't it?  For example, Catholics are meant to believe that the communion wine becomes literally the physical blood of Jesus once swallowed.  Do you guys really believe this stuff?

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #540 on: June 26, 2017, 07:11:15 AM »
Every historical confession of faith holds to the core "Word of God" doctrine.  Someone who denies this doctrine is outside the faith.
When you say 'outside the faith,' I think we should probably clarify that you mean outside of your faith.
Off the top of my head, Unitarians are Christians and do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible.
I'm sure there are other denominations I'm not thinking of momentarily.
Jim is a lot more succinct than I was (perhaps that's why the retorts are much less detailed as well.  Maybe I should take a lesson from him ;)  ).

As I've watched Jim take on the defense, I've been following along and feel I might want to either resume or perhaps present a different angle for those to consider who truly are trying to understand belief in Jesus (as taught in the Bible, the only source of value, as opposed to by religion which is all a perverted creation of man.  Before you all jump on this statement I'll elaborate on that more from one of my favorite commentators John MacArthur using his explanation in a later post). 

Jim has hit on a core item here.  People want God to make sense to them and follow rules that are logical to them and because He does not and has no reason to, you can use that to ridicule that it is stupid of ridiculous and therefore can't be true because it does not jibe with your world view.  But as Jim said, just because you want to scream into the wind that it is all wrong, does not make it so.  It is whatever it is, and no amount of you, me or the doorpost screaming it is something it is not will change it.  Almost all of the pushes back on Jim have been because it does not make sense to you.  Yet both Jim and I have cited scripture that clearly indicate God tells us it will not make sense to you until you come to faith.  I get that this is a crappy "argument" in your mind, but God is not trying to argue, any more than Jim or I are.  God is just telling you like it is.  You're not going to get it, until you get it.  Ridicule will not change that fact, and each of us decides.

Now the other angle that always makes it very, very, very difficult to have any meaningful discussion with people about Christ is that those who have not spent years immersed in Bible study miss the point that you cannot take a verse here another verse there and test them all in individuality, much as J Boogie is trying to do with his reference in Matthew and trying to show how Jesus clearly talked about works being part of salvation.  The key to understanding, and why it takes to long to get there, is that you need to understand the Bible in context with many, many others areas of the Bible that provide a different angle or nuance of the same thought or concept.  That is why Paul's writings are so key, and why there are cross references amongst all the epistles, Acts, and tons of pointing to OT information.   It is impossible for anyone, Jim or I included, to help anyone "get" this when it takes literally years of patient study to get to where we are, to see the connections in the text, overlay them with the understanding that these a different authors who did not know each other and wrote over a thousand years apart in come cases, but who unveil the exact same truth.  The core texts I point anyone to who really wants to begin to study are the Gospel of John, Romans and Hebrews.  Those are the three books that will give you the doctrinal immersion, with the caveat that if you are not already a believer they will make little sense in pointing the way.  You need to think of the Bible as one giant textbook about a very, very, very specific topic.  It's not a World History book, where you can analyze each chapter independently because it covers different civilizations or time periods.  It is not a Science book where you can learn about gravity here and light in the next chapter and the concepts from one chapter to the other are not very connected.  I stated this early on, that the summary of the Bible is God's love poured out for man so take the only acceptable result for his creation (that we all burn in hell forever) and provide a magnificently easy way through his mercy and love to instead have a different fate.  Again, I get this all sounds like so much horse poop to those  outside the faith, but that's what it is, and no amount of saying it is not changes that.  It just shows what each individual believes.  So "getting" the Bible is brutally hard.  I've been at is on the periphery for fifteen years and very, very deeply for the last eight and I still would not say I'm anywhere near to unlocking all the magnificence there.  I find new connections every time I examine a commentary or another study, and as I've said, that just strengthens the faith, because it is such a rich and complex tapestry that comes together and points to the same thing.  But it does not do that when you take one verse at a time and try to point it where you want it to lead.  It's like a compass needle.  You can use you finger to make the needle point wherever you want, but as soon as you let go of your meddling influence, it  points to the truth it always did.  The only thing that made it seem to say something else was your interference in the message. 

Chapter 3 of the book of Romans is a terrific explanation of why natural man rails against God.  I'll add another post when I have time sharing some key statements he makes that immediately seemed useful to me watching the tirades against Jim's points.  This thread is just a current time example of the railing.  I get you want it your way, but God is not Burger King.  And He does not care that you don't like it, just like I don't care when my kids don't like my rules.  But I do not have the authority that God has, because I am not perfect, not can any of us ever be.  God shows us clearly that all of us fall short, because none of us can be perfect, and perfection is all he can accept.  The whole "I do good things and am nice to people" falls apart under God's standard because you still have a bad thought at least once in your life.  Not acting it is irrelevant to God.  It matters to man because we are so small, but God can accept nothing less than perfection.

So in short if you want to "get it", the process is about understanding the Word of God and nothing more.  No church is going to get you there, which is why all this argument about what different Christian sects spout off is pointless.  They all fail and are all wrong in some way.  Focus on the Word and learn from it and that is all that God provided and is needed.  All respect to J Boogie but the Catholic process is one of the biggest reasons this message gets so perverted in the world because of all the trappings that are totally not from God.  To Kris' point, yes they are one of the oldest of the wrong ways, and therefore have been spreading lies that confuse God's message for much longer and that is what makes it so sad.  So heading back to where I started, I can't ever explain it well enough to get anyone there.  There is just too much.  I just pray that those who are at all interested make a decision to study and learn on their own and let God lead them.  In the meantime, I just need to get better at Jim's method of just stating the short point, but wanted to just get a couple other things out there so they exist for someone to find them someday and hopefully arouse their curiosity enough to seek.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 07:13:23 AM by caracarn »

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #541 on: June 26, 2017, 07:59:32 AM »
The Bible is a closed book to the unregenerate.  It was designed that way.  If you are to understand it God must give that to you.  On your own it will never open up.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #542 on: June 26, 2017, 08:16:27 AM »
Credo ut intelligam.
You must believe in order to understand.

This is the same sort of approach that is claimed by virtually every other religion on earth which shields them from criticism, critique and doubt.  If something doesn't add up, it is because the one asking questions simply does not have true faith.

Proponents of Scientology say something very similar:  "Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life."  Something didn't turn out the way the Church says it should?  Clearly the person in question did not sincerely desire to improve their life.

It creates an unfalsifiable position which is immune from critique or questioning (and also not rationally justified).

This is not a pathway to truth or knowledge.  Religion is the only place where we make these demands on people in order to understand a supposed truth.  Can you imagine if we taught physics or geometry this way?  "You must first believe in the pythagorean theorem in order to understand it."

But of course this is different.

FireLane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #543 on: June 26, 2017, 08:47:32 AM »
This is not a pathway to truth or knowledge.  Religion is the only place where we make these demands on people in order to understand a supposed truth.  Can you imagine if we taught physics or geometry this way?  "You must first believe in the pythagorean theorem in order to understand it."

Or, considering which board we're on, can you imagine if an investment adviser used this as his sales pitch?

"My returns are extraordinary, surpassing anyone else in the market. But no mere end-of-year financial statement can prove this. You must turn over your money to me and believe in your heart that I'm the best active manager there is, and then riches will miraculously flow into your account. If you invest with me but didn't get the returns I promised, it's because you didn't have enough faith in my investing greatness."

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #544 on: June 26, 2017, 09:22:07 AM »
Credo ut intelligam.
You must believe in order to understand.

This is the same sort of approach that is claimed by virtually every other religion on earth which shields them from criticism, critique and doubt.  If something doesn't add up, it is because the one asking questions simply does not have true faith.

Proponents of Scientology say something very similar:  "Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life."  Something didn't turn out the way the Church says it should?  Clearly the person in question did not sincerely desire to improve their life.

It creates an unfalsifiable position which is immune from critique or questioning (and also not rationally justified).

This is not a pathway to truth or knowledge.  Religion is the only place where we make these demands on people in order to understand a supposed truth.  Can you imagine if we taught physics or geometry this way?  "You must first believe in the pythagorean theorem in order to understand it."

But of course this is different.
Everything you mention is accurate, and I get that is what makes it so frustrating.  All I can do is provide reasonable responses to questions, and share my views.  I do not view this "you must believe in order to understand" as a way for God to hide.  I know the idea that must people come to God as a result of some major trauma that causes them to seek is a major turn off for many indicating the only reason someone believes is they are weak.  I've had a lot of discussions with people who take that stance, but more than a few minutes with me usually eliminates the "you're just not strong willed/intelligent/pick your word enough to avoid the obvious delusion of the fairy tale".  I totally concur that many people I know came to faith after a massive downturn of one type or another.  I'm not denying that is reality, but I do not agree that is somehow an argument against God.  I'm not saying you are, but it just came to mind.

To me things like Scientology flash warning signs with their requirement of spending massive amounts of money to participate, their secrecy and being closed off.  I'm not sure I see any parallel to God and Scientology, as God is nothing but open to those who seek to learn more.  My statements were not "I will not give you wisdom until you agree to join" as Scientology does.  I am having an open discussion with anyone who wants to and will be transparent with what a given understanding of something is in the broader church I study with.  Our church spends nothing on programs and other trappings.  Many other churches do.  Our church is strictly about Bible study and fellowship with other members.  Sure we spend money to run the facilities, pay the pastors, etc. but they do not have jets, giant homes, or send their kids to private schools because of their exorbitant salaries.  I understand that the vast majority of churches are run as businesses and therefore outside folks can easily get that impression.  I'm very aware of the barriers the wrong execution of "church" places in the way to people feeling it is anything other than another groupthink/cult/pick your poison.  The zealot who gets in your face I would not say is an example of how Christ guides us to behave.  He shared the message when people asked and challenged false doctrine if it was being taught improperly by others in authority who purported to speak for God and called them out.  It was righteous anger.  I'm not going to get righteously angry with you or anyone else, because it is not my right.  God will do that if he wants.  So as confusing as it may be, I share your same skepticism/confusion with religion just that I feel more convicted that I am clear on the flawed execution of Catholicism and others and therefore stay away from any denomination because once you do that you start getting man made sprinkles on top of what was already perfect, and the sprinkles have now made it less than perfect and more open to attack and misunderstanding.

Paul writes in extremely complex sentences, many times digressing for added clarity for multiple verses or chapters before returning to the original thought.  It is hard to follow and unpack the nuance, and while I would never purport to have nearly the knowledge of God that Paul did, I get that process in that I'm responding here with decades worth of study that emboldens my confidence because I know how clear it is once you dig in, but I also can appreciate the fact that one without that background has little reason to "believe" as I do (I only insert that word in quotes because I'm not sure what else to explain it as).  Paul had a direct connection to God, having spoken with him, that we will never have and also inspiration to drive what he did share to correct and admonish believers who even that time (well before the Catholic deviation) were getting it terribly wrong (Corinth, etc.)  Man muddies God's water the first second he gets involved.  It starts in the Garden of Eden where everything was perfect yet man was still not satisfied.  The Roman church was doing things as well as anyone at the time of Paul and therefore that book is much more focused on educating right doctrine than on correcting wrong behavior.  This is why it and Hebrews are the core books to avoid all the added confusion of admonishments to stop doing things that the other churches in the epistles were involved in.  The longest Greek sentence ever written is Ephesians 1:3-14 (yes, maybe someone will discover a longer one, but it wins for the last 2,000 years).  It's hard.

So going back to the points, I think some solid decent commentaries from people like Macarthur, and other solid expository commentators are a way to help with the analysis and understanding.  It's just that without desire or belief they are not the types of books one picks up and jumps in to with a lot of zeal, so therefore it goes back to "you must believe to understand" because otherwise it is unlikely you will expend the required effort to REALLY understand.  You will just be reading words on a page in the Bible or the commentary but not spending hours checking out the cross references and seeing how they all knit together in an amazing whole.  This is where I have trouble not laughing at what get called contradictions.  It's the entire analysis that is needed to see why they are not.  I cannot defend it sentence by sentence as people want me to.  It's just not how it works with God's Word, because it is all one message pointing at itself from a thousand different directions and angles.  It does not say he parted the Green Sea in one place and the Red Sea in another, and while that absurd example is hyperbole, it works the same way for the contradictions others insist are there because they have not studied the context and what is really being said.  Could one say I might be overlooking things because I want to align things that to you seem unalignable?  It is certainly possible.  But I think the counterpoint I can make to that is that you refuse to see alignment because it is in your interest (because of your personal desire to control your world and your understanding of it to make you feel good) to overlook how ten verses would have to all be twisted in a way to make it not point in the same general direction.  These contradictions have been debated for ever and I'm not going to make any argument that has not been made, so not going to bother.  I'm just suggesting that the rose colored glasses each of us wear lead us where we get and even though people want God to be less ambiguous so it would not be so vague, that's not what He gave us.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #545 on: June 26, 2017, 09:24:57 AM »
This is not a pathway to truth or knowledge.  Religion is the only place where we make these demands on people in order to understand a supposed truth.  Can you imagine if we taught physics or geometry this way?  "You must first believe in the pythagorean theorem in order to understand it."

Or, considering which board we're on, can you imagine if an investment adviser used this as his sales pitch?

"My returns are extraordinary, surpassing anyone else in the market. But no mere end-of-year financial statement can prove this. You must turn over your money to me and believe in your heart that I'm the best active manager there is, and then riches will miraculously flow into your account. If you invest with me but didn't get the returns I promised, it's because you didn't have enough faith in my investing greatness."
Same thing I said about Scientology. 

All these examples point to some benefit I receive from getting you to believe.  All the benefit of you believing goes to you and God.  I get nothing out of your belief in this case.  In both the examples above, we clearly see the leader of the Scientology church is insanely rich and this investment advisor is angling for the same thing.  I get nothing from your belief, so pitch an example like that and you have a more cogent counterpoint.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #546 on: June 26, 2017, 09:39:17 AM »
This is not a pathway to truth or knowledge.  Religion is the only place where we make these demands on people in order to understand a supposed truth.  Can you imagine if we taught physics or geometry this way?  "You must first believe in the pythagorean theorem in order to understand it."

Or, considering which board we're on, can you imagine if an investment adviser used this as his sales pitch?

"My returns are extraordinary, surpassing anyone else in the market. But no mere end-of-year financial statement can prove this. You must turn over your money to me and believe in your heart that I'm the best active manager there is, and then riches will miraculously flow into your account. If you invest with me but didn't get the returns I promised, it's because you didn't have enough faith in my investing greatness."
Same thing I said about Scientology. 

All these examples point to some benefit I receive from getting you to believe.  All the benefit of you believing goes to you and God.  I get nothing out of your belief in this case.  In both the examples above, we clearly see the leader of the Scientology church is insanely rich and this investment advisor is angling for the same thing.  I get nothing from your belief, so pitch an example like that and you have a more cogent counterpoint.

Actually, you do. Social "proof." In other words, if you manage to get someone else to come to your "truth," then that reinforces what you already believe. Makes it seem like a good thing that you believe, and a good thing that you convinced someone else to believe, and it gives the happy feeling of being on the right path. Instead of being literally the only person in the world to believe something, which is lonely and can make one prone to doubt. The social aspects of these kinds of religions are built on that. (Church, ritual, all members of the faith doing certain things to demonstrate belonging to the "club," etc.)
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

Father Dougal

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #547 on: June 26, 2017, 09:59:32 AM »
Welcome back, Caracarn.

I was wondering something.  You were kind enough to share your beliefs with us before, and you were saying that most Christian religions have misinterpreted the Bible (or added their own new directives).  This we probably agree on! (But let's not get excited, it's probably the only thing.)

However, you also mentioned that you had a pastor to whom you looked for guidance (he was going to get back to you to explain why God was ok with slavery).  So it seems like you might be part of a church which is, in your view, interpreting the Bible correctly.  Is that the case (if so, can you tell us which church?), or is the pastor a freelance?

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #548 on: June 26, 2017, 10:29:49 AM »
To me things like Scientology flash warning signs with their requirement of spending massive amounts of money to participate, their secrecy and being closed off.

I totally agree with you on the above statement, but that is not the point I was making at all.

My point was the Scientology makes the same claim that many denominations of Christians do, which is that you must first believe in order to understand.
If there is a perceived problem or question about the religion the deficiency is always assumed to be a lack of faith on the part of the questioner - never a legitimate issue that must be explored.
I can think of no other aspect in life in which that would be an acceptable approach to knowledge, but somehow in religion it has become commonplace.

Yet if we were to take that same approach to literally anything else (as I mentioned with physics and geometry as examples) we would all agree it was nonsense.
The concept of belief before understanding is not a pathway to truth.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 10:44:39 AM by MrDelane »

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #549 on: June 26, 2017, 10:55:18 AM »
Welcome back, Caracarn.

I was wondering something.  You were kind enough to share your beliefs with us before, and you were saying that most Christian religions have misinterpreted the Bible (or added their own new directives).  This we probably agree on! (But let's not get excited, it's probably the only thing.)

However, you also mentioned that you had a pastor to whom you looked for guidance (he was going to get back to you to explain why God was ok with slavery).  So it seems like you might be part of a church which is, in your view, interpreting the Bible correctly.  Is that the case (if so, can you tell us which church?), or is the pastor a freelance?
I've been here, but did not have anything to add so was just following along.  Felt convicted to chime in this weekend as the conversations with Jim had gotten to a point.

So from a privacy standpoint on the internet because my church has my city name in it, I'll just provide the non-location specific answer and hope that will suffice.  It is Grace Church and if you mean by "freelance" are we denominational, no we are not.  The church was originally a Baptist church many decades ago "Over the years, Grace Baptist Church became Grace Church to more reflect the New Testament Church model."

I am sharing the Our Beliefs section here to help answer other questions that I assume would follow:

The Word of God
This church stands unequivocally for the whole counsel of God contained in the sixty-six books of the Holy Word of God.

We believe that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God." (2 Timothy 3:16)

"All Scripture" is defined as the entire Bible. The words of Scripture were communicated by the Spirit of God to holy men who were chosen by that same Spirit to record without error the Divine Revelation (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:21). Divine Inspiration applies to the entire body of the Holy Scriptures - the thirty-nine Old Testament books and the twenty-seven New Testament books as they appear in the original manuscripts.

The God-head

We believe there is only one living and true God - an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth.

He is inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love. Furthermore, in the unity of the God-head there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are equal in every great work of redemption. (Exodus 20:2,3; 1 Corinthians 8:5-7; Revelation 4:11; 1 John 5:7; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

The Saving Work of Christ
We believe the eternally existent Son of God came into the world expressly for the redemption of mankind which was proposed and purposed in the eternal counsels of God.

This saving work required His miraculous birth into this world through the conception of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. His human nature was sinless and perfect. Even though being incarnate, He retained His absolute Deity being at the very same time God and man, yet one person. (John 1:1,2; John 1:18; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 1:20).

We further believe that the Son of God lived a perfect and sinless life on this earth. Having pledged Himself to the perfect performance of the will of the heavenly Father, He became the divinely appointed sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world. His death on behalf of sinners and for sin was substitutionary in the most absolute sense—the Just for the unjust—that He might be the Savior of the lost. (John 1:29; Romans 3:25, 26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:5-14).

Nevertheless, according to the Scripture, on the third day after His death, He was raised from the dead by the power of God in the same body which He possessed before His death, though glorified. We believe His incorruptible, resurrection body is the form that, at the return of Christ, will be given to all believers. (John 20:23; 1 Corinthians 15:2-7, 20; Philippians 3:20-21).

Furthermore, we believe forty days after His resurrection, He ascended into heaven. His saving work having been perfectly and completely accomplished, He sat down at the right hand of the Father where He constantly performs His work as intercessor and advocate for all believers. (Ephesians 1:22,23; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person—equal with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature.

He was active in Creation, and in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled. He convicts of sin, righteousness, and of judgment. He bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony. He is the agent of the new birth; He seals, indwells, equips, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and helps the believer. (John 14:16,17; Matthew 1:18; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:16,26,27).

The Personality and Work of Satan
We believe that Satan has a personality and is the unholy god of this age. He is the author of all powers of darkness and is destined to judgment in the eternal lake of fire. (Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:2; Job 1:6, 7; Isaiah 14:12-17).

The Natural State of Man
We believe that man was created without sin in God's image and likeness, but by voluntary transgression fell from his innocent state. Therefore, all men are now conceived in sin, and sin, not by constraint, but by choice.

They are, therefore, under just condemnation without defense or excuse. We believe mankind is depraved and without divine life. Every portion of his being has been affected by the fall with his spiritual relationship to God totally destroyed. (Genesis 3:1-6,24 and 5:10-19; Romans 1:18,22; Psalm 14:1-4; Isaiah 1:6; Jeremiah 17:9).

The Appropriation of Salvation
We believe that due to the universality of sin and the depravity of mankind, there is no entrance into the kingdom of God except through new birth.

A believer is granted the new birth through the simple and single condition of faith in the person and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that no other action on the part of the believing sinner, such as baptism, prayer, or faithful service, is necessary as a condition of salvation. (John 1:12,13; Acts 16:31; Philippians 3:4-9; Titus 3:5)

The Eternal Security of the Believer
We believe Scripture teaches that any person who through faith in Christ and repentance from sin is once and forever delivered from his lost estate to be kept eternally by the power of God. (John 5:24, 10:27-30; Romans 8:33-39; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1,2; 1 Peter 1:5).

The Responsibilities of the Believer
We believe that believers should conduct themselves so as not to bring reproach upon their Lord and Savior; and that separation from worldly pleasures and practices is mandated by God.

We further believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to declare the truths of the Holy Scripture to the world through their life-style and conversations. (Romans 12:1,2; 2 Corinthians 5:20 and 6:14-7:1; John 17:18; Acts 1:8).

Furthermore, Scripture clearly states that a believer is to support the local church through prayer, continual attendance, financial gifts, and obedience to those in authority. (Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:12,13).

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that there are only two ordinances supported by Scripture: baptism of the believer and communion.

We believe that Christian baptism is a believer being immersed into water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to symbolize our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior. Furthermore, it symbolizes the believer's death to sin and resurrection to a new life. The second ordinance, communion or the Lord's Supper, commemorates the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. After self-examination and by using the bread and the fruit of the vine, the believer remembers Christ and what He has done in death and resurrection for him.

The Blessed Hope (The Rapture)
We believe according to the Word of God that the next successive event in the fulfillment of prophecy will be Christ's coming in the air to receive His own: those who are alive and those who have already died.

The Holy Scriptures clearly teach that the return of Christ is imminent, and believers are instructed to be constantly looking for this blessed hope. We further believe that following this rapture of believers, there will begin the period of Tribulation on the earth which was predicted in the Scriptures. Finally, afterwards, He will end that time of judgment on the earth by His return in power and glory. (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14; Revelation 19:11-21).

The Second Advent of Christ
We believe according to the Scriptures that Christ will return to rule the earth after the seven year Tribulation, eternally banishing Satan and his fallen angels to the lake of fire.

The world will not be converted before the second coming of Christ, but rather, this present age will terminate with a fearful apostasy in the professing church. Following the period of Tribulation on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ will return again to this earth as He went, in the clouds of heaven, and with power and great glory. This will inaugurate the millennial age, establishing peace on the earth. This return also grants Israel the fulfillment of all her covenant promises, and binds Satan in the bottomless pit or abyss. (Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Ezekiel 23:21-28; Revelation 20:1-6; Romans 8:10-23).

The Eternal State
We believe that at death the soul of those who have received Christ pass immediately into His presence, and the soul of those who have rejected Christ pass immediately into condemnation and misery in hell.

When the souls of those who have received Christ pass immediately into His presence, they will there rest in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body when Christ comes to receive His own. The soul, spirit, and body reunited will dwell with Him forever in glory. We further believe that after death the souls of those who have rejected Christ remain conscious of condemnation and misery in hell until the great white throne judgment at the end of the millennium. Then soul. spirit, and body will be reunited and cast into the lake of fire, there to suffer in agony forever. (Luke 16:19-26; 2 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:11-15).

Spiritual Gifts
We believe that God the Holy Spirit has and does bestow spiritual gifts during the Church age; however, not all gifts listed in the Bible function today.

During the first century, the Holy Spirit bestowed temporary gifts that functioned till the completion of the New Testament Canon. These gifts are apostleship, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing, and working of miracles. The permanent gifts remain for the rest of the church age. They are evangelist, pastor/teacher, administrations, helps, giving and showing mercy. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:7-12; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

Spirituality
We believe that spirituality is attained in this dispensation by a believer walking in fellowship with the Lord.

Through constant fellowship, study of the Word, and obedience to the Word, spiritual maturity will develop in time. We also believe that one sin removes a believer from fellowship but NOT salvation. Confession and forsaking of that sin is imperative for restoration to fellowship. It is the responsibility of every believer to be constantly Spirit controlled. (1 John1:3-10; 2 Peter 3:18; Proverbs 28:13; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1; Ephesians 5:18).