Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 89294 times)

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #550 on: June 26, 2017, 01:03:38 PM »
It is a prime example of how the Bible demolishes worldly wisdom.

What exactly do you mean by the term 'worldly wisdom'?
Does that just mean knowledge about the world, or does it mean something specific that I'm not familiar with within your religion?
Worldly wisdom is that God loves everyone and desperately wants to help you if you do your part.  Sounds reasonable.  Not in scripture.  Nothing rips through this worldly wisdom like the doctrine of unconditional election.   But wait!  Are you saying God loves some and not others, that's not my God!  The doctrine is hated and despised by those who want the God who gives you a chance and is fair.  They simply will not accept things any other way than the way they want things to be, not the way things are.

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification.  I'm glad I asked.
I thought you meant that the bible 'demolished' our understanding of the world, by virtue of the fact that it was in conflict with it - which would have been a bit ridiculous.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #551 on: June 26, 2017, 01:04:45 PM »
It is a prime example of how the Bible demolishes worldly wisdom.

What exactly do you mean by the term 'worldly wisdom'?
Does that just mean knowledge about the world, or does it mean something specific that I'm not familiar with within your religion?
Worldly wisdom is that God loves everyone and desperately wants to help you if you do your part.  Sounds reasonable.  Not in scripture.  Nothing rips through this worldly wisdom like the doctrine of unconditional election.   But wait!  Are you saying God loves some and not others, that's not my God!  The doctrine is hated and despised by those who want the God who gives you a chance and is fair.  They simply will not accept things any other way than the way they want things to be, not the way things are.

Well, I will give you points, at least, for admitting that the god you worship is an asshole.
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Overflow

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #552 on: June 26, 2017, 01:11:59 PM »
I have been a quiet lurker on this thread because theology and religion fascinate me.

While I have enjoyed reading this, the conversation has also disappointed me in many ways. I am a Christian, and probably what you would consider pretty conservative. The arguments between Christians on this thread has only provided evidence and ammunition for the agnostics/atheists to ignore Christianity (and probably all religion in general).

In this context, there is very little to be gained from debating various positions on the atonement, the 5 points of Calvinism, baptism (beliver's or infant), nature of Communion, or similar discussions. These topics have literally been discussed for hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of years.

A thread on a financial forum is hardly the place to convince someone that their specific theological tradition is "wrong".

I am a firmly convinced that the abundant diversity found in the Christian faith is healthy. Yes, I have strong theological convictions that I would be happy to explain, but I recognize and embrace the beautiful diversity of traditions and theological practices in Christian.

For the anti-religious, unreligious, and apathetic...I hope you will see that.

While I embrace diversity, I am not advocating that every religion is equally true in its own special way. I find that intellectually incoherent. 

I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation. In order to help us find "center" can we back up a little bit?

If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression. It goes back to the 2nd century and is maybe the one thing Christians can universally agree on. These are the most basic and foundation confessions of Christianity.

(translations vary slightly, but here is a common one)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

AnswerIs42

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #553 on: June 26, 2017, 01:17:17 PM »
How can we reliably learn the truth about reality?

Science. That's the whole point of it.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #554 on: June 26, 2017, 01:23:51 PM »
caracarn, what do you believe about the atonement?  I believe it was made for all who will be saved, not everyone in general.
I think it was said you align (or are) in the Calvanist tradition and that you ascribe to one of the five points of limited atonement. 

I do not believe that.  Romans is again the doctrinal text I would point to when Paul states ALL are sinners and ALL can be saved.  He delves into it in much greater depth and in much greater detail than that (as I am sure you are aware), but I believe Calvin's doctrine there is another false barrier man has placed before God.  God wants ALL to be saved.
The problem with your position is it makes salvation a conditional proposition and turns grace into a works scheme.  You must perform X action to synergize with grace to activate it.  It is just like Catholicism.  I would not greet you as a spiritual brother with that doctrine.
Jim, I'm unclear how it is anymore "conditional" than Calvin's stance.  Calvin indicates (if I understand correctly) that those that God has elected (predestined if you will) have no option to to find their way to belief because God has basically baked it into their DNA.  While the condition is not under their control, it is a condition, i.e. did God pick me as one of the elect.  The only path I see to reconcile that with Scripture is that you refer ALL being saved in Romans as being restricted to a select group, i.e.  ALL who God has chosen for atonement.  Is that how you view it?

zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #555 on: June 26, 2017, 01:24:22 PM »
How can we reliably learn the truth about reality?

Science. That's the whole point of it.

What is reality? Is anything real?

Science has proven that matter does not exist, only energy exists, what are the implications of that?
“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.”

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #556 on: June 26, 2017, 01:26:58 PM »
How can we reliably learn the truth about reality?

Science. That's the whole point of it.

What is reality? Is anything real?

Science has proven that matter does not exist, only energy exists, what are the implications of that?

You get to choose!
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jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #557 on: June 26, 2017, 01:28:18 PM »
It is a prime example of how the Bible demolishes worldly wisdom.

What exactly do you mean by the term 'worldly wisdom'?
Does that just mean knowledge about the world, or does it mean something specific that I'm not familiar with within your religion?
Worldly wisdom is that God loves everyone and desperately wants to help you if you do your part.  Sounds reasonable.  Not in scripture.  Nothing rips through this worldly wisdom like the doctrine of unconditional election.   But wait!  Are you saying God loves some and not others, that's not my God!  The doctrine is hated and despised by those who want the God who gives you a chance and is fair.  They simply will not accept things any other way than the way they want things to be, not the way things are.

Well, I will give you points, at least, for admitting that the god you worship is an asshole.
If election was conditional than love would be conditional, but the love of God is unconditional and so is election.   A high doctrine is seen is as absurd to the world.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #558 on: June 26, 2017, 01:28:47 PM »
I have been a quiet lurker on this thread because theology and religion fascinate me.

While I have enjoyed reading this, the conversation has also disappointed me in many ways. I am a Christian, and probably what you would consider pretty conservative. The arguments between Christians on this thread has only provided evidence and ammunition for the agnostics/atheists to ignore Christianity (and probably all religion in general).

In this context, there is very little to be gained from debating various positions on the atonement, the 5 points of Calvinism, baptism (beliver's or infant), nature of Communion, or similar discussions. These topics have literally been discussed for hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of years.

A thread on a financial forum is hardly the place to convince someone that their specific theological tradition is "wrong".

I am a firmly convinced that the abundant diversity found in the Christian faith is healthy. Yes, I have strong theological convictions that I would be happy to explain, but I recognize and embrace the beautiful diversity of traditions and theological practices in Christian.

For the anti-religious, unreligious, and apathetic...I hope you will see that.

While I embrace diversity, I am not advocating that every religion is equally true in its own special way. I find that intellectually incoherent. 

I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation. In order to help us find "center" can we back up a little bit?

If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression. It goes back to the 2nd century and is maybe the one thing Christians can universally agree on. These are the most basic and foundation confessions of Christianity.

(translations vary slightly, but here is a common one)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The one line about "the holy catholic Church" makes it a segmentational doctrine.  There are nuances in the Creed, and the fact that the Creed is not present in Scripture.  There is not an oath that a Christian is supposed to read in the Bible.  It would state that is not the simplest not the clearest.  It simply obfuscates what is simple and clear by being overlong and pontificating.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #559 on: June 26, 2017, 01:35:01 PM »
caracarn, what do you believe about the atonement?  I believe it was made for all who will be saved, not everyone in general.
I think it was said you align (or are) in the Calvanist tradition and that you ascribe to one of the five points of limited atonement. 

I do not believe that.  Romans is again the doctrinal text I would point to when Paul states ALL are sinners and ALL can be saved.  He delves into it in much greater depth and in much greater detail than that (as I am sure you are aware), but I believe Calvin's doctrine there is another false barrier man has placed before God.  God wants ALL to be saved.
The problem with your position is it makes salvation a conditional proposition and turns grace into a works scheme.  You must perform X action to synergize with grace to activate it.  It is just like Catholicism.  I would not greet you as a spiritual brother with that doctrine.
Jim, I'm unclear how it is anymore "conditional" than Calvin's stance.  Calvin indicates (if I understand correctly) that those that God has elected (predestined if you will) have no option to to find their way to belief because God has basically baked it into their DNA.  While the condition is not under their control, it is a condition, i.e. did God pick me as one of the elect.  The only path I see to reconcile that with Scripture is that you refer ALL being saved in Romans as being restricted to a select group, i.e.  ALL who God has chosen for atonement.  Is that how you view it?
I don't study Calvin so I don't know what his position is.  Irresistible grace means in time all the elect will come to conversion and saving faith.  The condition is Jesus atoned for them and paid for them so in time this can happen.  Don't know the exact verse you are referring to but ALL can refer to the elect.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #560 on: June 26, 2017, 01:39:55 PM »
It is a prime example of how the Bible demolishes worldly wisdom.

What exactly do you mean by the term 'worldly wisdom'?
Does that just mean knowledge about the world, or does it mean something specific that I'm not familiar with within your religion?
Worldly wisdom is that God loves everyone and desperately wants to help you if you do your part.  Sounds reasonable.  Not in scripture.  Nothing rips through this worldly wisdom like the doctrine of unconditional election.   But wait!  Are you saying God loves some and not others, that's not my God!  The doctrine is hated and despised by those who want the God who gives you a chance and is fair.  They simply will not accept things any other way than the way they want things to be, not the way things are.

Well, I will give you points, at least, for admitting that the god you worship is an asshole.
If election was conditional than love would be conditional, but the love of God is unconditional and so is election.   A high doctrine is seen is as absurd to the world.
Jim, I'm trying to actually engage in a discussion.  Let me deal with this in a way you seem to prefer.  Can you explain how you would explain John 12:32 and 1 Tim 2:4-6?

If you'd do not want to get into Scriptural proof than let me know and we'll just agree to disagree.  I'm truly interested in sharing how I see those verses in contrast to you, because just as others have stated I see them very differently.  I do not see that as "absurd" but you can discount the attempt to truly discourse about this that way if you want.  I just feel we should help each other (and this group of others who is interested in the result) get a clearer understanding. 

If God's love is unconditional (which you said it is) then how does that reconcile with what you state as Scripturally based that  he loves some and not others, which is what you just stated as above that is hated and despised by true?  Unconditional means He loves everyone, does it not?

ETA:  Modified to remove Calvin, as you indicate you are not following that teaching, but you are walking down TULIP so it is confusing how you say you are not studying Calvin when you are using the theology directly, or so it appears.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 01:47:00 PM by caracarn »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #561 on: June 26, 2017, 01:57:31 PM »
I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation.

To be fair, the conversation began with theological nuance, translation and interpretation - that seems to be what the OP was all about.

zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #562 on: June 26, 2017, 02:04:14 PM »
Caracan, Jim555, have you had a spiritual experience? Can you describe it?
“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.”

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Overflow

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #563 on: June 26, 2017, 02:05:15 PM »
I have been a quiet lurker on this thread because theology and religion fascinate me.

While I have enjoyed reading this, the conversation has also disappointed me in many ways. I am a Christian, and probably what you would consider pretty conservative. The arguments between Christians on this thread has only provided evidence and ammunition for the agnostics/atheists to ignore Christianity (and probably all religion in general).

In this context, there is very little to be gained from debating various positions on the atonement, the 5 points of Calvinism, baptism (beliver's or infant), nature of Communion, or similar discussions. These topics have literally been discussed for hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of years.

A thread on a financial forum is hardly the place to convince someone that their specific theological tradition is "wrong".

I am a firmly convinced that the abundant diversity found in the Christian faith is healthy. Yes, I have strong theological convictions that I would be happy to explain, but I recognize and embrace the beautiful diversity of traditions and theological practices in Christian.

For the anti-religious, unreligious, and apathetic...I hope you will see that.

While I embrace diversity, I am not advocating that every religion is equally true in its own special way. I find that intellectually incoherent. 

I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation. In order to help us find "center" can we back up a little bit?

If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression. It goes back to the 2nd century and is maybe the one thing Christians can universally agree on. These are the most basic and foundation confessions of Christianity.

(translations vary slightly, but here is a common one)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The one line about "the holy catholic Church" makes it a segmentational doctrine.  There are nuances in the Creed, and the fact that the Creed is not present in Scripture.  There is not an oath that a Christian is supposed to read in the Bible.  It would state that is not the simplest not the clearest.  It simply obfuscates what is simple and clear by being overlong and pontificating.

The word "catholic" simple means universal. It isn't confessing allegiance to the Roman Catholic (proper noun) church. Really "catholic" as a proper noun didn't exist when this was written.

You are welcome to substitute "universal" in for catholic if you are more comfortable with that word.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #564 on: June 26, 2017, 02:05:52 PM »
If He loves everyone than everyone must become saved.  But this is not the case in scripture or by observation.

The word "all" in 1 Tim 2:4-6 refers to all types, Jews, Gentiles, rich, poor, etc..  This was a big change that the gospel was expanding out beyond just the Jews.  In due time many of all types will become saved.

In John 12:32 " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." The word "men" is not in the greek.  "All" again can refer to types as he is the propitiater for the world of all peoples by type.  Again a big change from the OT.




J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #565 on: June 26, 2017, 02:08:15 PM »
I have been a quiet lurker on this thread because theology and religion fascinate me.

While I have enjoyed reading this, the conversation has also disappointed me in many ways. I am a Christian, and probably what you would consider pretty conservative. The arguments between Christians on this thread has only provided evidence and ammunition for the agnostics/atheists to ignore Christianity (and probably all religion in general).

In this context, there is very little to be gained from debating various positions on the atonement, the 5 points of Calvinism, baptism (beliver's or infant), nature of Communion, or similar discussions. These topics have literally been discussed for hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of years.

A thread on a financial forum is hardly the place to convince someone that their specific theological tradition is "wrong".

I am a firmly convinced that the abundant diversity found in the Christian faith is healthy. Yes, I have strong theological convictions that I would be happy to explain, but I recognize and embrace the beautiful diversity of traditions and theological practices in Christian.

For the anti-religious, unreligious, and apathetic...I hope you will see that.

While I embrace diversity, I am not advocating that every religion is equally true in its own special way. I find that intellectually incoherent. 

I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation. In order to help us find "center" can we back up a little bit?

If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression. It goes back to the 2nd century and is maybe the one thing Christians can universally agree on. These are the most basic and foundation confessions of Christianity.

(translations vary slightly, but here is a common one)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The one line about "the holy catholic Church" makes it a segmentational doctrine.  There are nuances in the Creed, and the fact that the Creed is not present in Scripture.  There is not an oath that a Christian is supposed to read in the Bible.  It would state that is not the simplest not the clearest.  It simply obfuscates what is simple and clear by being overlong and pontificating.

Not sure I understand you correctly, but just in case you weren't aware -

The word "Catholic" was understood to mean universal at that time, and was not used to define a specific type of Christianity.  Since Martin Luther wouldn't come for another thousand or so years, none of the offshoots aka heresies gained significant enough traction to truly rival the church - so there wasn't any need to label the church as Catholic, but they did want to describe it as Catholic (Universal, meaning for everyone).


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #566 on: June 26, 2017, 02:11:53 PM »
caracarn, what do you believe about the atonement?  I believe it was made for all who will be saved, not everyone in general.
I think it was said you align (or are) in the Calvanist tradition and that you ascribe to one of the five points of limited atonement. 

I do not believe that.  Romans is again the doctrinal text I would point to when Paul states ALL are sinners and ALL can be saved.  He delves into it in much greater depth and in much greater detail than that (as I am sure you are aware), but I believe Calvin's doctrine there is another false barrier man has placed before God.  God wants ALL to be saved.
The problem with your position is it makes salvation a conditional proposition and turns grace into a works scheme.  You must perform X action to synergize with grace to activate it.  It is just like Catholicism.  I would not greet you as a spiritual brother with that doctrine.
Jim, I'm unclear how it is anymore "conditional" than Calvin's stance.  Calvin indicates (if I understand correctly) that those that God has elected (predestined if you will) have no option to to find their way to belief because God has basically baked it into their DNA.  While the condition is not under their control, it is a condition, i.e. did God pick me as one of the elect.  The only path I see to reconcile that with Scripture is that you refer ALL being saved in Romans as being restricted to a select group, i.e.  ALL who God has chosen for atonement.  Is that how you view it?
I don't study Calvin so I don't know what his position is.  Irresistible grace means in time all the elect will come to conversion and saving faith.  The condition is Jesus atoned for them and paid for them so in time this can happen.  Don't know the exact verse you are referring to but ALL can refer to the elect.
It CAN.  I started with two verses and how you determine that they mean elect.  Let me add another that is typically cited by TULIPers as verification.  John 10:15, which is argued to point to the fact that Jesus died for his sheep.  Then the argument tends to go that people have been identified by God as sheep, hence definite or limited atonement (pick your wordsmithing).  Except the very next verse John 10:16 has Jesus explaining that he will bring other sheep into the fold who are not there.  This seems to imply that they are still sheep, and the TULIP argument is that you cannot change from a sheep to a goat because of the hardcore over reading of Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.  TULIPers argue you cannot convert a "goat" to a "sheep", or an unbeliever into a believer yet the Corinthians and Paul himself went through that process and explain it in 1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:13-14.  My contention in all of this is that ALL CAN refer to the elect, but there is nothing that locks that in as much as the TULIP stance likes to think, in my humble opinion.  To bind oneself to that you need to place a lot of false constraints and cans around verses that are written much more openly and only restricted by added rationalization. 

I get the the TULIP stance is that is Christ died for all and then all mankind rejected him than it would seem pretty stupid and this is a core of the basis for the belief that Scripture must speak of a preordained group.  The counter to that is that God is all-knowing and he could offer up salvation for all because he knows that all would not reject him.  I guess you can then get into a circuitous point here that God then knows who will be saved already, and that may be true, that he knows who will accept the gift, but that does not then flow to God chose who would accept it, but it does seem to counter the basis that He had to elect people because then he'd be foolish and his death pointless if everyone said "Um.  No." 

I am looking for a PLAIN reading that gets one to limited atonement and that is all I am asking you to explain.  You can get there with a nuanced reading, but plain reading of the seven passages where all or everyone is referenced shows those words there, with no limiting language around them.  This is the struggle I have with not seeing limited atonement as a doctrine that is more out of harmony with plain Biblical reading, while I understand you argue the counterpoint.  I'm just asking for the plain reading that gets you to a limit.  If it is there I am missing verses (versus adding interpretation to them as it seems one must do to get there).  You end up assuming how God must be thinking to get to the point versus just taking what God says and not adding or subtracting from it in any way.  Should a simple thing for you to cite and explain plain verses.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #567 on: June 26, 2017, 02:14:20 PM »
Caracan, Jim555, have you had a spiritual experience? Can you describe it?
None for me.  Unless I'm not understanding what you are truly asking by "spiritual experience".  If you are asking if I had a vision, a dream, had a dead relative talk with me and ask me to believe in God for my own eternal soul, no.  No near death experiences.  My path is what I shared in my long discourse with MrDelane.  Just searching and over more and more study being led to where I am.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #568 on: June 26, 2017, 02:19:41 PM »
Caracan, Jim555, have you had a spiritual experience? Can you describe it?
I described what happened to me earlier in the thread.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #569 on: June 26, 2017, 02:27:46 PM »
I have been a quiet lurker on this thread because theology and religion fascinate me.

While I have enjoyed reading this, the conversation has also disappointed me in many ways. I am a Christian, and probably what you would consider pretty conservative. The arguments between Christians on this thread has only provided evidence and ammunition for the agnostics/atheists to ignore Christianity (and probably all religion in general).

In this context, there is very little to be gained from debating various positions on the atonement, the 5 points of Calvinism, baptism (beliver's or infant), nature of Communion, or similar discussions. These topics have literally been discussed for hundreds, and in several cases, thousands of years.

A thread on a financial forum is hardly the place to convince someone that their specific theological tradition is "wrong".

I am a firmly convinced that the abundant diversity found in the Christian faith is healthy. Yes, I have strong theological convictions that I would be happy to explain, but I recognize and embrace the beautiful diversity of traditions and theological practices in Christian.

For the anti-religious, unreligious, and apathetic...I hope you will see that.

While I embrace diversity, I am not advocating that every religion is equally true in its own special way. I find that intellectually incoherent. 

I realize some of this conversation went deep into the theological weeds of nuance, translation, and interpretation. In order to help us find "center" can we back up a little bit?

If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression. It goes back to the 2nd century and is maybe the one thing Christians can universally agree on. These are the most basic and foundation confessions of Christianity.

(translations vary slightly, but here is a common one)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The one line about "the holy catholic Church" makes it a segmentational doctrine.  There are nuances in the Creed, and the fact that the Creed is not present in Scripture.  There is not an oath that a Christian is supposed to read in the Bible.  It would state that is not the simplest not the clearest.  It simply obfuscates what is simple and clear by being overlong and pontificating.

The word "catholic" simple means universal. It isn't confessing allegiance to the Roman Catholic (proper noun) church. Really "catholic" as a proper noun didn't exist when this was written.

You are welcome to substitute "universal" in for catholic if you are more comfortable with that word.
That is the argument given, I get it.  I was brought up in that religion.  The Virgin Mary if not a deity as Catholicism places her.  She is not to be worshiped.  That makes her an idol.  I have not done a study here, but I believe catholic likes to think it means universal because they think they are the one religion (as does everyone).  So I'd like to understand if our definition of catholic being a "unviersal" is a little twist as it went through history (which a simple etymology indicates as the Greek kind of went there but did not quite start there). This conversion also happened before the Catholic church formed so it was simple to say "let's call ourselves the universal church".

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #570 on: June 26, 2017, 02:38:09 PM »
If He loves everyone than everyone must become saved.  But this is not the case in scripture or by observation.

The word "all" in 1 Tim 2:4-6 refers to all types, Jews, Gentiles, rich, poor, etc..  This was a big change that the gospel was expanding out beyond just the Jews.  In due time many of all types will become saved.

In John 12:32 " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." The word "men" is not in the greek.  "All" again can refer to types as he is the propitiater for the world of all peoples by type.  Again a big change from the OT.
Your last statement may be telling.

Of course the NT is a big change from the OT.  It is a new covenant in Christ.  The TULIP argument is no different than the Jews arguing that God was just theirs for the same reason (because Scripture said so, i.e. Scripture is the ENTIRE OT) even though Jesus very clearly taught it was for the Gentile (non-Jew) as well.  παντας (pantas) has no antecedent and it again causes us to draw inferences.  A plain reading allows for an accepted definition when looked at without antecedent which is "every kind or variety".  But I do see how you can look at the explicit lack of antecedent as having a different meaning, so thanks for that.

zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #571 on: June 26, 2017, 02:39:07 PM »
Caracan, Jim555, have you had a spiritual experience? Can you describe it?
None for me.  Unless I'm not understanding what you are truly asking by "spiritual experience". If you are asking if I had a vision, a dream, had a dead relative talk with me and ask me to believe in God for my own eternal soul, no.  No near death experiences.  My path is what I shared in my long discourse with MrDelane.  Just searching and over more and more study being led to where I am.

Well, I guess it is up to you what that means isn't it?

Typical means of bringing about these experiences:

Prayer
Meditation
Martial Arts
Sweat Lodge
Dancing
Music
Drugs
Fasting

Are you saying you came to Christianity intellectually? That would certainly explain the debate going on in this thread, it is very intellectually based. Do you not feel united with god in some way?

Jesus was having a constant spiritual experience. These days we might call him psychotic, perhaps throw him in a mental facility. He might have been schizophrenic or perhaps on a constant mushroom trip. Speaking of, what do you think about the early depictions of the tree of life as the amanita muscaria mushroom?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 02:41:15 PM by zoltani »
“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.”

Yvon Chouinard

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #572 on: June 26, 2017, 02:55:56 PM »
It CAN.  I started with two verses and how you determine that they mean elect.  Let me add another that is typically cited by TULIPers as verification.  John 10:15, which is argued to point to the fact that Jesus died for his sheep.  Then the argument tends to go that people have been identified by God as sheep, hence definite or limited atonement (pick your wordsmithing).  Except the very next verse John 10:16 has Jesus explaining that he will bring other sheep into the fold who are not there.  This seems to imply that they are still sheep, and the TULIP argument is that you cannot change from a sheep to a goat because of the hardcore over reading of Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.  TULIPers argue you cannot convert a "goat" to a "sheep", or an unbeliever into a believer yet the Corinthians and Paul himself went through that process and explain it in 1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:13-14.  My contention in all of this is that ALL CAN refer to the elect, but there is nothing that locks that in as much as the TULIP stance likes to think, in my humble opinion.  To bind oneself to that you need to place a lot of false constraints and cans around verses that are written much more openly and only restricted by added rationalization. 
The other sheep in John 10 are the Gentiles as opposed to the Jews he was speaking to, those chosen, and ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48).   
1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:13-14 - Don't know what point you are making with these.  The ungodly get saved. 
Quote
I get the the TULIP stance is that is Christ died for all and then all mankind rejected him than it would seem pretty stupid and this is a core of the basis for the belief that Scripture must speak of a preordained group.  The counter to that is that God is all-knowing and he could offer up salvation for all because he knows that all would not reject him.  I guess you can then get into a circuitous point here that God then knows who will be saved already, and that may be true, that he knows who will accept the gift, but that does not then flow to God chose who would accept it, but it does seem to counter the basis that He had to elect people because then he'd be foolish and his death pointless if everyone said "Um.  No." 
Without election no one would become saved.  The atonement actually atones and guarantees all the blessings of salvation for those to whom it is for.  No atonement means no salvation.  Universal atonement means everyone gets saved.
Quote
I am looking for a PLAIN reading that gets one to limited atonement and that is all I am asking you to explain.  You can get there with a nuanced reading, but plain reading of the seven passages where all or everyone is referenced shows those words there, with no limiting language around them.  This is the struggle I have with not seeing limited atonement as a doctrine that is more out of harmony with plain Biblical reading, while I understand you argue the counterpoint.  I'm just asking for the plain reading that gets you to a limit.  If it is there I am missing verses (versus adding interpretation to them as it seems one must do to get there).  You end up assuming how God must be thinking to get to the point versus just taking what God says and not adding or subtracting from it in any way.  Should a simple thing for you to cite and explain plain verses.
I can site many verses showing chosen, elect, predestinated.  You can then use the "tunnel of time" to dismiss them.  God determines the beginning to the end and ordains all events, so the tunnel of time is not going to work.  In fact it makes your case hard, why not do something if millions are seen perishing?


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #573 on: June 26, 2017, 03:09:53 PM »
It CAN.  I started with two verses and how you determine that they mean elect.  Let me add another that is typically cited by TULIPers as verification.  John 10:15, which is argued to point to the fact that Jesus died for his sheep.  Then the argument tends to go that people have been identified by God as sheep, hence definite or limited atonement (pick your wordsmithing).  Except the very next verse John 10:16 has Jesus explaining that he will bring other sheep into the fold who are not there.  This seems to imply that they are still sheep, and the TULIP argument is that you cannot change from a sheep to a goat because of the hardcore over reading of Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.  TULIPers argue you cannot convert a "goat" to a "sheep", or an unbeliever into a believer yet the Corinthians and Paul himself went through that process and explain it in 1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:13-14.  My contention in all of this is that ALL CAN refer to the elect, but there is nothing that locks that in as much as the TULIP stance likes to think, in my humble opinion.  To bind oneself to that you need to place a lot of false constraints and cans around verses that are written much more openly and only restricted by added rationalization. 
The other sheep in John 10 are the Gentiles as opposed to the Jews he was speaking to, those chosen, and ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48).   
1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:13-14 - Don't know what point you are making with these.  The ungodly get saved. 
Quote
I get the the TULIP stance is that is Christ died for all and then all mankind rejected him than it would seem pretty stupid and this is a core of the basis for the belief that Scripture must speak of a preordained group.  The counter to that is that God is all-knowing and he could offer up salvation for all because he knows that all would not reject him.  I guess you can then get into a circuitous point here that God then knows who will be saved already, and that may be true, that he knows who will accept the gift, but that does not then flow to God chose who would accept it, but it does seem to counter the basis that He had to elect people because then he'd be foolish and his death pointless if everyone said "Um.  No." 
Without election no one would become saved.  The atonement actually atones and guarantees all the blessings of salvation for those to whom it is for.  No atonement means no salvation.  Universal atonement means everyone gets saved.
Quote
I am looking for a PLAIN reading that gets one to limited atonement and that is all I am asking you to explain.  You can get there with a nuanced reading, but plain reading of the seven passages where all or everyone is referenced shows those words there, with no limiting language around them.  This is the struggle I have with not seeing limited atonement as a doctrine that is more out of harmony with plain Biblical reading, while I understand you argue the counterpoint.  I'm just asking for the plain reading that gets you to a limit.  If it is there I am missing verses (versus adding interpretation to them as it seems one must do to get there).  You end up assuming how God must be thinking to get to the point versus just taking what God says and not adding or subtracting from it in any way.  Should a simple thing for you to cite and explain plain verses.
I can site many verses showing chosen, elect, predestinated.  You can then use the "tunnel of time" to dismiss them.  God determines the beginning to the end and ordains all events, so the tunnel of time is not going to work.  In fact it makes your case hard, why not do something if millions are seen perishing?
So yes, it does not appear you are attached to hardcode TULIP viewpoint.  Yes, we can run in circles on this one because either version is placing things on contexts each of us believes are there in the Bible and not reading the same context into things that are not specifically stated. 

Thanks for the discussion.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #574 on: June 26, 2017, 03:11:58 PM »
I am hardcore TULIP, I think you have misread me.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #575 on: June 26, 2017, 03:16:19 PM »
Yes, we can run in circles on this one because either version is placing things on contexts each of us believes are there in the Bible and not reading the same context into things that are not specifically stated. 

When a text is allegedly the inerrant instruction of an allmighty being it's interesting that so much of it is still open to personal interpretation by depraved individuals.


zoltani

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #576 on: June 26, 2017, 03:16:28 PM »
Jim555, what are your thoughts about the Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi texts?

Gnosticism, which took elements from many sources, professed to be based on gnosis, the Greek word for "knowledge," or rather "insight." It is a transcendental knowledge of God's redemptive purpose, and this redemption is effected through the Logos who is Christ. The resurrected Christ is an inner spiritual experience and the gnosis is the secret knowledge which Jesus gave to his immediate followers to be shared only with those of sufficient spiritual maturity.

While it is difficult to find one's way in the complexity of Gnostic belief, it is possible to indicate some points on which most of the sects were in agreement. These include:

1) The Godhead -- as in Hinduism and theosophy -- is eternal, infinite, and absolute. It is, in fact, beyond the range of human thought. Silence can best express it. He or It does not create in the Biblical sense -- making something out of nothing. He emanates from himself manifestations as reflections, and among those emanations is the creator of earth and material things, known as the Demiurge and usually identified with the Old Testament Jehovah, the God of Israel. Jehovah is said to have created an imperfect, even evil, world and he is ignorant of the existence of the real Godhead, believing himself to be the absolute ruler of the universe. So while the God of the Old Testament was rejected as the lower deity who created the wholly evil phenomenal world (and sometimes was even identified with Satan), it was Jesus the Christ who revealed the High God, the Father within.

2) Man is a mixture of spirit and matter but has a spark of the Highest -- the Pleroma. For man to be saved he must be freed from his bondage to the visible world and its rulers, the planetary spirits. The means of his salvation is gnosis -- a mystical, spiritual enlightenment for the initiated, which brings them into contact with the realm of spiritual realities. This process is described in the Nag Hammadi text called The Gospel of Truth, which contains a powerful statement on the human condition as an emptiness, ignorance, and dereliction to be healed by the saving revelation of Christ. Many Gnostics insisted that ignorance -- not sin in the orthodox Christian meaning -- is what involves mankind in suffering (as do Buddhists, with whom they share other basic views). Most Gnostics believed that man must wake up, must become aware of his condition and the possibility of his release.
http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/world/christ/xt-oost.htm


If the bible is the one true word then what does it mean that these Gnostic texts were written around the same time, even pre-dating Christianity, about the same figure, Jesus, but suppressed for thousands of years? Who was it that decided which text would become the one true text? According to the above article that it was Saint Irenaeus who sought to attack and suppress Gnosticism. Wikipedia states the same:

"As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition.[4] Against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture."

"The resurrected Christ is an inner spiritual experience"
This really jives with and reflects my own thoughts that it is allegory for the enlightenment of Jesus, and that we all are able to obtain it within ourselves. I like the gnostic texts because it gives power to the individual and makes him responsible for his own spiritual experience, not God. I think though that most people do not want this burden so Christianity is easier to follow and accept.

“The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.”

Yvon Chouinard

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #577 on: June 26, 2017, 03:26:21 PM »
Jim555, what are your thoughts about the Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi texts?
You don't want to know. 

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #578 on: June 26, 2017, 05:48:13 PM »
If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression.
As we talked about earlier in this thread, the 'what' is vaguely interesting on its own - but it's the 'why' that is of much more interest.

So, now that you've shared what you believe, could you tell us why you believe it?

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #579 on: June 26, 2017, 05:50:28 PM »
Jim555, what are your thoughts about the Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi texts?
You don't want to know.

Given Zoltani took the time to write all that out, I think they are probably genuinely interested in what your thoughts are.

I don't want to speak for someone else though - but I'll add that I am sincerely interested in hearing what you have to say.  Honestly the entire Calvinist viewpoint really fascinates me.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #580 on: June 26, 2017, 06:35:42 PM »
Jim555, what are your thoughts about the Gnostics and the Nag Hammadi texts?
It is hard to reply to these doctrines since they have no basis in  scripture. 
The Word of God has been preserved by providence and these "lost" texts are not meant to be included as scripture.
Sounds like some New Age mumbo jumbo.

FireLane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #581 on: June 26, 2017, 07:39:26 PM »
caracarn, what do you believe about the atonement?  I believe it was made for all who will be saved, not everyone in general.
I think it was said you align (or are) in the Calvanist tradition and that you ascribe to one of the five points of limited atonement. 

I do not believe that.  Romans is again the doctrinal text I would point to when Paul states ALL are sinners and ALL can be saved.  He delves into it in much greater depth and in much greater detail than that (as I am sure you are aware), but I believe Calvin's doctrine there is another false barrier man has placed before God.  God wants ALL to be saved.
The problem with your position is it makes salvation a conditional proposition and turns grace into a works scheme.  You must perform X action to synergize with grace to activate it.  It is just like Catholicism.  I would not greet you as a spiritual brother with that doctrine.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the irony? The two most fervent and outspoken Christians in this thread are arguing with each other over what the Bible really teaches.

What gives, guys? Based on what I've been reading in this thread, all you have to do is read the Bible with an open heart and a willingness to believe, and God will reveal the truth to you. It seems like that didn't work in this instance, since at least one of the two of you must have received an incorrect revelation. How are the rest of us supposed to figure out who's right and who's wrong?

Or, y'know, maybe the Bible is just a collection of poetry, folklore and mystical metaphors assembled by human beings over the ages. Maybe there's no one "true" meaning waiting to be discovered, and we all come away with different interpretations based on our own life experiences and the preconceptions we bring to the text. Sounds logical to me!

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #582 on: June 26, 2017, 08:03:28 PM »
It is hard to reply to these doctrines since they have no basis in scripture.

Fair enough.

One thing I find interesting is that when you discussed how you came to your beliefs you mentioned your intense studying of the bible.  But you didn't actually tell us how you came to believe that the bible was worthy of intense study and a trustworthy source of knowledge initially.

I'm curious, how exactly did you come to believe that the bible was the 'Word of God'?

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #583 on: June 26, 2017, 08:06:56 PM »
caracarn,

I would be curious on what you think about those who never hear the gospel in their entire life, like American Indians before the westerners arrived.  No gospel, no possibility of faith, no chance to be saved.  If God wants every single person saved wouldn't they at least get the chance to say no?

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #584 on: June 26, 2017, 08:43:11 PM »
It is hard to reply to these doctrines since they have no basis in scripture.

Fair enough.

One thing I find interesting is that when you discussed how you came to your beliefs you mentioned your intense studying of the bible.  But you didn't actually tell us how you came to believe that the bible was worthy of intense study and a trustworthy source of knowledge initially.

I'm curious, how exactly did you come to believe that the bible was the 'Word of God'?
Right after my conversion.  Once I was reading it and it made sense for the first time.  It says the Holy Spirit witnesses with your spirit, I know this sounds like hocus pochus, but it is true.  Before that I was like I will give it a chance, but being an agnostic I was highly sceptical of most things.  How can I know this is true?  What if I am falling into a trap?  What if this is all bunk?  I see no way to get faith since I didn't trust anything.  When you trust nothing you have nothing to hold on to.  It says faith is the gift of God, and it is, that is how it happens. 

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #585 on: June 26, 2017, 09:12:14 PM »
Right after my conversion.  Once I was reading it and it made sense for the first time.  It says the Holy Spirit witnesses with your spirit, I know this sounds like hocus pochus, but it is true.  Before that I was like I will give it a chance, but being an agnostic I was highly sceptical of most things.  How can I know this is true?  What if I am falling into a trap?  What if this is all bunk?  I see no way to get faith since I didn't trust anything.  When you trust nothing you have nothing to hold on to.  It says faith is the gift of God, and it is, that is how it happens.

It doesn't sound like hocus pocus exactly, it sounds like religious faith - and I'm curious to understand how you wound up relying on faith if you were such a skeptic to begin with. 

For example - looking at the questions you listed:

Quote
How can I know this is true?  What if I am falling into a trap?  What if this is all bunk?

What sort of study did you do to answer those questions?
Did you study the bible itself (as a document, I mean), archeology, history, etc?
It seems like you would want to look at evidence and weigh it if you were so skeptical.

I guess I just don't understand how faith is a pathway to truth.
Millions of people believe their own religions (which contradict yours) on a faith which is just as strong.
Caracarn clearly believes his own doctrine on faith, never mind all the Muslims, Jews and others who believe their own doctrines on faith and personal revelation.

How can we possibly trust faith if we have no way to confirm the belief it leads us to?

We don't use faith as a justification for any other belief in our lives (and I'd be willing to bet you don't rely on faith for anything else). I find it odd we would trust such an important belief to faith.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 09:18:44 PM by MrDelane »

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #586 on: June 26, 2017, 09:23:13 PM »
The long awaited response from one of our pastors on slavery.   He sent me a PDF, that says it is 3.5MB but I have tried about 15 times and it will not upload.  Is contains about 20 pages of various books.  I really will not be able to retype everything but here are the areas he highlighted and also the note he started with.

It is clear that slavery as well as every other social injustice
is the direct result of sin entering the world. God created
originally man and woman both in His image in a state of
complementarity equality. They were essentially the same but
with different roles. They were in paradise with no slavery and
both were called to be the vice regents of the whole earth,
responsibly subjugating its resources for the benefit of
mankind. Sin as it always does ruins everything. Slavery as we
know it absolutely denigrates the image likeness of God in
man and was not God's original intention at all. But sin
entered and God began to restore man in his image. This first
requires a change on the inside through salvation (Gen 3:15)!
But eventually God will make right all the things he allows
among which most horrifically is physical death with a close
second, human slavery. Like human death, he never intended
it to be this way, but for now allows it with the goal of
eradicating it:). Along the way he has given man the capacity
and directed him as in common grace to be able to mitigate
the pain it causes. So too with human slavery. He allows it and
like death (dead to sin) even uses it as a metaphor for our
relationship to Jesus (slaves of Christ). However the cup of his
wrath is filling up for its evil. One day it will be fully done
away with. The sections that follow then demonstrate how
God was and still is in the process of dealing with human
slavery. It is true that Slavery in the Nation of Israel was an
altogether different kind of a slavery, but was still the result of
living in a fallen world.
Let me know if this helps. I've tried to highlight relevant
portions to help the reading.
PK

Manners and Customs of Bible Lands by Fred H. Wight Moody Press
Slavery among the Hebrews themselves was not allowed.

Why the Mosaic Law permitted slavery instead of abolishing it.
When the laws were given at Mt. Sinai, slavery was universal among the nations of the world.  It was not practical to do away with it all at once.  Further, laws were given to prevent the worst abuses and evils of it from being present among the Jews.

....mitigate the evils and prepare the way for their ultimate repression.

...slavery among the Jews had virtually disappeared by the time of Christ and His disciples.

Slavery in the Roman Empire
Attitude of the Apostles toward slavery in the Roman Empire
They did not attempt to do away with the terrible evil immediately.  ... Rather, they were satisfied to give forth Christian principles, and so preach the gospel of liberation from sin that the result would be to do away with human slavery through the conquering power of Christ....Philemon.... done more to overcome slavery than any other document ever written.

Manners and Customs of Bible Times
Ralph Gower Moody Press

....they were carefully protected by the law.

Slaves were often well treated, as if members of the family.
God treatment was not solely a Jewish characteristic.
Some slaves were entrusted with great authority, could marry, were set free

Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
Gleason L. Archer Zondervan Publishing House

Was slavery all right in the sight of God?
Noah cursed his son....namely Cannan...singled out

The fulfillment of this curse came about in Joshua's conquest.

As to the moral status of slavery in ancient times, it must be recognized that it was practiced by every ancient people of which we have any historic record.....Not until the more exalted concept of man and his innate dignity as a person created in the image of God had permeated the world as a product of Bible teaching did a strong sentiment arise in Christendom in criticism of slavery and a questioning of its right to exist.  No equivalent movement toward abolition is discernible in an non-Christian civilization of which we have any knowledge.

In New Testament times slaves who became Christians were regarded as true brothers of the Christian free men and fellow heirs of the kingdom of God.  They were bidden to serve their masters faithfully, respectfully, and with a right good will, as if they were serving the Lord Himself (Eph 6:5-8)- even though they should seek to earn or purchase their freedom whenever possible (1 Cor 7:21)

...undermined slavery.  This principle found expression first in the Christian world and then in other religions and cultures, which were shamed by the Christian example into abolishing slavery within their own domains.  Thus God's ultimate purpose was brought to fruition.


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #587 on: June 26, 2017, 09:30:15 PM »
caracarn,

I would be curious on what you think about those who never hear the gospel in their entire life, like American Indians before the westerners arrived.  No gospel, no possibility of faith, no chance to be saved.  If God wants every single person saved wouldn't they at least get the chance to say no?
I do not have any answer to that other than what you have said all along.  There are stories of aborigines in Africa for example, who felt the indwelt piece that God places in all of us that clearly points us to him (explained in early chapters of Romans where man is without excuse because of everything he sees in creation), who years later finally hear the message and understand clearly God sent them a messenger to share the good news.  I would also say that Abraham did not hear the gospel, nor did Moses or others, but the Bible clearly says they were saved as their faith was counted as righteousness, so perhaps God allows something similar with those prior to actual access.  I just do not make the leap that your view has that because some people have no access that means God planned who does over all time.  God adjusted his plan to allow for salvation as man moved (as noted above by my pastor's comments on slavery).  Before NT times people were being saved, so there was clearly a path to salvation before the gospel.

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #588 on: June 26, 2017, 09:36:34 PM »
Right after my conversion.  Once I was reading it and it made sense for the first time.  It says the Holy Spirit witnesses with your spirit, I know this sounds like hocus pochus, but it is true.  Before that I was like I will give it a chance, but being an agnostic I was highly sceptical of most things.  How can I know this is true?  What if I am falling into a trap?  What if this is all bunk?  I see no way to get faith since I didn't trust anything.  When you trust nothing you have nothing to hold on to.  It says faith is the gift of God, and it is, that is how it happens.

It doesn't sound like hocus pocus exactly, it sounds like religious faith - and I'm curious to understand how you wound up relying on faith if you were such a skeptic to begin with. 

For example - looking at the questions you listed:

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How can I know this is true?  What if I am falling into a trap?  What if this is all bunk?

What sort of study did you do to answer those questions?
Did you study the bible itself (as a document, I mean), archeology, history, etc?
It seems like you would want to look at evidence and weigh it if you were so skeptical.

I guess I just don't understand how faith is a pathway to truth.
Millions of people believe their own religions (which contradict yours) on a faith which is just as strong.
Caracarn clearly believes his own doctrine on faith, never mind all the Muslims, Jews and others who believe their own doctrines on faith and personal revelation.

How can we possibly trust faith if we have no way to confirm the belief it leads us to?

We don't use faith as a justification for any other belief in our lives (and I'd be willing to bet you don't rely on faith for anything else). I find it odd we would trust such an important belief to faith.
Faith doesn't rely on some proof system.  I guess it is always blind.  How does one know what is believed is true?  From my view it is the Word illuminated by the Holy Spirit which convinces me it is true.  I can't prove it by some logical deduction or proof.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 09:49:45 PM by jim555 »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #589 on: June 26, 2017, 09:50:36 PM »


The long awaited response from one of our pastors on slavery.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post the segments you did.  I can only imagine it was a pain to retype all of that.  I appreciate it.

I'd be curious to read the PDF.  Could I PM you my email address and maybe you could send it to me directly?

In the meanwhile - here are a few things that jumped out at me upon reading what you retyped:

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But eventually God will make right all the things he allows
among which most horrifically is physical death with a close
second, human slavery. Like human death, he never intended
it to be this way, but for now allows it with the goal of
eradicating it:).

Doesn't it seem odd that God had time to tell us to stop wearing mixed fabrics, eat shellfish, and not make graven images but couldn't tell us not to own eachother as property?

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When the laws were given at Mt. Sinai, slavery was universal among the nations of the world.  It was not practical to do away with it all at once.

Something was not practical for God to do?  Really?
That seems a bit hard to believe.

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Slaves were often well treated, as if members of the family.
God treatment was not solely a Jewish characteristic.
Some slaves were entrusted with great authority, could marry, were set free

I think we can all agree that even if the above were true, it is still wrong to own another human as property.

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As to the moral status of slavery in ancient times, it must be recognized that it was practiced by every ancient people of which we have any historic record.....Not until the more exalted concept of man and his innate dignity as a person created in the image of God had permeated the world as a product of Bible teaching did a strong sentiment arise in Christendom in criticism of slavery and a questioning of its right to exist.

This seems like an interesting history lesson (and I mean that sincerely), but it also seems completely irrelevant as part of a discussion on morality.  Since when does the number of people who engage in an activity or its frequency decide what is right or wrong?

The issue was never whether or not slavery was common, but whether it is morally acceptable.


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In New Testament times slaves who became Christians were regarded as true brothers of the Christian free men and fellow heirs of the kingdom of God.  They were bidden to serve their masters faithfully, respectfully, and with a right good will, as if they were serving the Lord Himself (Eph 6:5-8)- even though they should seek to earn or purchase their freedom whenever possible (1 Cor 7:21)

I find it troubling that the only thing Jesus ever said about slavery was to tell slaves to obey their masters.

Overall it seems that your pastor is saying slavery wasn't the way things were 'meant to be.'
He equates it to physical death, as something which is an unfortunate consequence of a fallen world that we must accept - but not as something that is immoral.

I really would like to read the whole thing before saying much more, because I realize it's unfair to judge his stance by only reading a few excerpts.  But I will say that I find it troubling that any religious system would require one to make these types of mental contortions to avoid simply clearly saying that slavery is immoral. 

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #590 on: June 26, 2017, 09:58:38 PM »
Faith doesn't rely on some proof system.

That was the foundation of my question.
It seems that faith is what people rely on when they have no evidence.

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I guess it is always blind.  How does one know what is believed is true?  From my view it is the Word illuminated by the Holy Spirit which convinces me it is true.  I can't prove it by some logical deduction or proof.

What I am getting at is, do you use that standard for anything else in your life?  Is there anything else that you take on faith alone?  Don't you seek evidence and proof for every other belief you have?

Why is this case different?

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #591 on: June 26, 2017, 10:11:53 PM »
And this is why the tenet of tyort1ism is awesome.  It neatly cuts through the gordian knot of faith, scripture, conflict, doubt, inconsistencies and fixes it all with elegant simplicity.  "Good works" don't matter.  Faith doesn't matter.  Religious belief does not matter.  Some writings in some book don't matter.

Everyone gets in to heaven, no matter what.  The end.
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #592 on: June 26, 2017, 10:51:52 PM »
And the promised excerpts from Macarthur's Romans Commentary regarding Chapter 3

13 charges against mankind

First, mankind in universally evil, there being absolutely no exceptions.

Second, man is not only universally evil but also spiritually ignorant.  Quoting again from Psalms, Paul says "There is none who understands (see Pss. 14:2, 53:3).  Even if men somehow had the ability to achieve God's perfect righteousness, they would not know what it is or how to go about attaining it.

In his letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul points out that man's spiritual ignorance is not due to unfortunate outward circumstances (my note for Jim:  this could apply towards the American Indians) or lack of opportunity.  It is due solely to his own innate sinful nature that does not WANT to know and understand, much less obey and serve God.

Men are not sinful and hardened against God because they are ignorant of Him, but to the contrary, they are ignorant of Him because of their sinful and hardened disposition. .... He not only does not understand God but has no inclination to do so.

Fallen and condemned man, trapped in his sin, is similarly confused.  Because he sees it as a threat to his life-style rather than an eternal blessing, he makes every effort to escape the gospel, which the Lord has so graciously provided for salvation.

Third, in addition to being universally evil and spiritually ignorant, fallen man is rebellious.

But man-made religions are demon-inspired efforts to escape from God, not to find Him.  Every person who comes to Jesus Christ for salvation has been sent to Him through the divine intervention of God the Father (John 6:37, 44)

Fourth, Paul charges that men are naturally wayward. 

Fifth, Paul charges that the natural man is spiritually worthless. 

Sixth, the natural man is charged with being corrupt, which is both a repetition of the first charge and something of a summary of the previous five charges.  "There is none who does good," Paul says, "there is not even one."

The seventh charge of Paul's indictment is that by nature fallen mankind is spiritually dead....A spiritually dead heart can generate only spiritually dead words.

The eighth charge is that by nature fallen mankind is deceitful

The ninth charge in Paul's indictment of the unconverted man is closely related to the previous one. 

The tenth charge in the indictment continues the imagery of speaking, describing the ungodly as those "whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."

The eleventh charge is that the ungodly are innately murderous: "their feet are swift to shed blood."

The twelfth charge in the overall indictment, and the second one that is manifested in man's conduct, is that of general destructiveness.

The thirteenth and last of the charges in Paul's indictment of condemned man is that of his peacelessness

Romans 3:21-25a
How to be right with God

The very reason that religion is universally common to mankind reflects man's attempts to answer such questions.  As noted in the last chapter, people cannot escape feelings of guilt, not only for doing things they know are wrong but for being the way they are.  Man's sense of lostness, loneliness, emptiness, and meaninglessness is reflected in the literature and archaeological remains of every civilization.  So are his fear of death, of existence, if any, beyond the grave, and of divine punishment.  Nearly every religion is a response to those fears and seeks to offer a way of reaching and satisfying deity.  But every religion except Christianity is man-made and works-centered, and for that reason, none of them can succeed in leading a person to God.

Scripture makes clear that there is indeed a way to God, but it is not based on anything men themselves can do to achieve or merit it.  Man can be made right with God, but not on his own terms or in his own power.  In that basic regard Christianity is distinct from every other religion.  As far as the way of salvation is concerned, there are therefore only two religions the world has ever known or will ever know--the religion of divine accomplishment, which is biblical Christianity, and the religion of human achievement, which includes all other kinds of religion, by whatever names they may go under.

Whether he law of God is the Mosaic law of the Jews or the law written in the hearts and consciences of all men, including Gentiles (Rom 2:11-15), obedience to it can never be perfect and therefore can never save.  That is a devastating truth to everyone who seeks to please God on his own terms and in his own power--which is why the gospel is so offensive to the natural man.

Hilasterion (propitiation) carries the basic idea of appeasement, or satisfaction.  In ancient pagan religions, as in many religions today, the idea of man's appeasing a deity by various gifts or sacrifices was common.  But in the New Testament propitiation always refers to the work of God, not of man.  Man is utterly incapable of satisfying God's justice except by spending eternity in hell.

The only satisfaction, or propitiation, that could be acceptable to God and that could reconcile Him to man had to be made by God.  For that reason, God in human flesh, Jesus Christ, "gave Himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:6),  He appeased the wrath of God.

The Hebrew equivalent of hilasterion is used in the Old Testament in reference to the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, where the high priest went once a year....But the yearly act, although divinely prescribed and honored, had no power to remove or pay the penalty for a single sin.  It could only point to the true and effective "offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb 10:10, 14)

Romans 3:25b-31
How Christ died for God

The theme of the book of Romans, and the heart of the gospel message, is the doctrine of justification by faith alone in response to God's grace.  It is a doctrine that has been lost and found again and again throughout the history of the church.  It has suffered from understatement, overstatement, and perhaps most often, simply from neglect.  It was the central message of the early church and the central message of the Protestant Reformation, under the godly leadership of men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.  It is still today the central message of every church that is faithful to God's Word.  Only when the church understands and proclaims justification by faith can it truly present the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the most significant passages that teaches that truth is the present text (Rom 3:25b-31).  At first reading this passage seems terribly intricate, complicated, and baffling.  But its basic truth is simple, while also being the most profound truth in all of Scripture: Justification for sinful mankind was made possible by God's grace through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross, and it is appropriated by men when they place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior.

The greatest lie in the world, and the lie common to all false religions and cults, is that, by certain works of their own doing, men are able to make themselves acceptable to God.  The greatest error in the belief is its sheer impossibility.  But the greatest evil of that belief is that it robs God of His glory. 

Paul completely cuts the ground out from works righteousness by declaring, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works"

First we will consider some things that neither prove nor disprove true faith.  Although they will be evident to some degree or another in true believers, they can also be evidenced, sometimes to a high degree, in unbelievers.

First is visible morality.  A person can be outwardly moral yet not be saved.  Some pagans and cultists put many Christians to shame by their high standards of behavior.  When a certain young man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"  Jesus told him to keep the commandments and then proceeded to list some of the major ones.  When the man responded, "All these things I have kept," Jesus did not challenge his sincerity.  According to outward appearance and his own human perception of obedience, the man probably was speaking the truth.  But when Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and then "come, follow Me," the man "went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property" (Matt 19:16-22).  By his refusal to obey Christ, the man demonstrated that his outward obedience to the law was not done out of love for God or for the purpose of His glory but was done out of self-love and for the purpose of his own self-interest.  When commanded to give all of his possessions as well as all of himself to Christ, he refused.  And by this refusal, even his seemingly good works were exposed as spiritually worthless works, because they were done out of selfish motivation.

Second, intellectual knowledge of God's truth is not necessarily a proof of saving faith.   It is possible to have a great deal of knowledge about God's Word and yet be unsaved.

Third, religious involvement is not necessarily a proof of saving faith.

Fourth, active ministry in Christ's name is no certain proof of saving faith.  Outwardly, Judas was as active as any of the other disciples.

Fifth, even conviction of sin does not necessarily demonstrate saving faith.  Mental institutions throughout the world are filled with people who are so burdened by their knowledge of their sinfulness that they cannot function in society.  Their sense of guilt became so overpowering that it drove them to insanity--but it did not drive them to Jesus Christ. 

Sixth, assurance of salvation is not an infallible mark of saving faith.  The world is full of people who are sincerely convinced in their own minds that they are right with God and that their place in heaven is secured.  If being persuaded that we are Christians makes us Christians indeed, we would need no warnings about being deceived by false hopes.  If it were not possible to believe oneself saved when one is not, Satan would have no way to deceive people about their salvation. 

Seventh, the experience of a past "decision" for Christ does not necessarily prove saving faith.  If no evidence of godly living results form the event...it is no proof of salvation.

There ARE, however, some reliable proof of saving faith.  God does not leave His children in uncertainty about their relationship with Him.

The first reliable evidence of saving faith is love for God.  The unsaved person cannot love God and has no desire to love Him.

A second reliable evidence of saving faith is repentance from sin and the hatred of it that always accompanies true contrition.  The second mark of saving faith is the  reverse side of the first.  The person who genuinely loves God will have a built-in hatred of sin.  It is impossible to love two things that are contradictory of one another.  To love the holy and righteous God is, almost by definition, to have a deep abhorrence of sin.

The true believer often hates sin even while he is doing it and ALWAYS after he has done it, because it is completely contrary to his new nature in Christ.  Even though a believer's humanness sometimes draws him into sin and, like Paul, he does the very thing he knows he ought not to do (Rom 7:16), he will have no peace of conscience until he repents of it. 

If a person's sin does not bother him and increasingly put him under conviction about it, that person's salvation is questionable.  The test for true repentance is not simply sorrow....

A third reliable evidence of true faith is genuine humility.  A person cannot be saved as long as he trusts and exalts himself.

A fourth reliable evidence of true faith is devotion to God's glory, which is closely related to the love of God and repentance of sin. 

A fifth reliable evidence of true faith is prayer.  Every genuine Christian will freely admit that he does not pray as often or as earnestly and persistently as he should.  But in their innermost being, communion with his heavenly Father will be the desire of his heart.

A sixth mark of saving faith is selfless love, not only for God, as in the first mark, but also for other people, especially fellow Christians. 

A seventh mark of saving faith is separation from the world. 

An eighth mark of saving faith is spiritual growth.

The ninth and final mark of saving faith is obedient living. 

Hebrews 11 makes clear that God's way of salvation by faith alone extended back to the Fall, when the need for salvation began.



tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #593 on: June 26, 2017, 11:04:49 PM »
So basically per the Christian mythos, god creates imperfect beings, says "you people aren't worth being in my presence", then kills his own son in human form so we then get to be with god.  But only if we recognize how shitty we are and how awesome god is for killing his son for us.

Sorry, but that is some messed up stuff.
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jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #594 on: June 27, 2017, 04:04:07 AM »
caracarn,

I would be curious on what you think about those who never hear the gospel in their entire life, like American Indians before the westerners arrived.  No gospel, no possibility of faith, no chance to be saved.  If God wants every single person saved wouldn't they at least get the chance to say no?
I do not have any answer to that other than what you have said all along.  There are stories of aborigines in Africa for example, who felt the indwelt piece that God places in all of us that clearly points us to him (explained in early chapters of Romans where man is without excuse because of everything he sees in creation), who years later finally hear the message and understand clearly God sent them a messenger to share the good news.  I would also say that Abraham did not hear the gospel, nor did Moses or others, but the Bible clearly says they were saved as their faith was counted as righteousness, so perhaps God allows something similar with those prior to actual access.  I just do not make the leap that your view has that because some people have no access that means God planned who does over all time.  God adjusted his plan to allow for salvation as man moved (as noted above by my pastor's comments on slavery).  Before NT times people were being saved, so there was clearly a path to salvation before the gospel.
Abraham lived hundreds of years before Moses and therefore before the OT.  He had direct revelation of God.  Any one who is saved has the same faith.  Abraham is set as an example of justification by faith apart from works In Romans 4.  Also Noah was saved pre-OT, again by faith via direct revelation.  OT people and NT both are saved by the same faith.  Abraham and Noah had direct dealing and therefore heard the gospel and believed it.  There is no salvation without saving faith. 
Not everyone has the same opportunity to hear.  For example a person born in a remote tribe today may live and die and never hear it.  So they never had a chance to refuse it, right?  According to you what happens to a person like that?  What about a baby who dies ten seconds after birth, no personal sins, no faith?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 04:37:23 AM by jim555 »

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #595 on: June 27, 2017, 04:06:24 AM »
So basically per the Christian mythos, god creates imperfect beings, says "you people aren't worth being in my presence", then kills his own son in human form so we then get to be with god.  But only if we recognize how shitty we are and how awesome god is for killing his son for us.

Sorry, but that is some messed up stuff.
Man was created good and became bad post Fall. 

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #596 on: June 27, 2017, 04:14:24 AM »
I don't see anywhere in the Bible where slave owners are told to free their slaves.  The Bible is a spiritual book and slavery and bondage have spiritual meanings.  Fallen man is said to be in bondage to sin and Satan.  And the saved are in a bond servant relationship with Jesus.

doublethinkmoney

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #597 on: June 27, 2017, 06:15:13 AM »
I wasn't raised Christian but my husband was and in his early twenties decided it didn't make sense to him. He also saw a lot of christians who talked a big game but didn't follow the principles of the faith.

Personally, the Bible is a flawed book. It clearly is tainted with sexism, classism and basically is designed to keep the suppressed "hopeful" for a better life in the next life so that they aren't too concerned with the suffering imposed upon them here and now. It's all about how god will provide, god will save and to be dependent on an outward force to help and save you. It makes people stagnant and no matter what they do- they can turn to god to forgive them.

The religion that I most approve of is Buddhism, I'm not Buddhist. However, the difference is that it encourages oneself to look inward and to focus on changing oneself and how they interact with the world. HOW to be a better person vs just be better. HOW to deal with suffering bc no one will save you but yourself. You control you and are responsible for your behavior and happiness. It empowers people and encourages them to make positive change and not to wait or depend on some saving grace. This is a philosophy I could follow and try to. I also appreciate how in Buddhism they believe you are born perfect and enlightened but we forget as soon as we enter world and have to relearn and find that inner enlightened Buddha within us. Mostly I appreciate how it empowers people to change themselves instead of focusing on other people and converting them. If everyone just focused on making themselves better the world would be greatly improved.

Again I'm not an expert on this philosophy and these are just my thoughts from what I've picked up. I also practice a Budo martial art that has many of these same principles on self refinement.



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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #598 on: June 27, 2017, 06:49:48 AM »
If someone were to ask me "What do Christian's Believe?" the Apostle's Creed is the simplest and clearest expression.
As we talked about earlier in this thread, the 'what' is vaguely interesting on its own - but it's the 'why' that is of much more interest.

So, now that you've shared what you believe, could you tell us why you believe it?
Agreed MrDelane. The "why" is always interesting. I was hoping to bring a unifying statement to rally some of the scattered points we had been discussing.

Here are a few thoughts on "why" I believe.
- I find Jesus to be the most compelling and beautiful figure in history. His words and works draw me and call me to follow.

- The story of the Bible, which finds it's center in Jesus, crafts a narrative that makes the world make sense to me. On a macro level, the scriptures offer me a story a redemption that allows me to thrive and have hope in this life.

- Christianity gives me an explanation and solution for the sin/pain/brokenness inside me and surrounding me.


In the end, I believe Christianity is coherent, intellectually robust, and historically verified.  While those things have strengthened the confidence I have in my faith, it's not the reason I believe. I was drawn in by the beauty of Jesus, the captivating narrative of redemption, and power to fix whats broken in me.

While Christianity is "real", what brought me and keeps me in is the intangible affections and internal compulsion.

Am I bothered that it wasn't pure rationalism that led me into my faith? No.

Most decisions in life are steered by affections and inexplicable desires. Marrying my wife wasn't an act of pure rationalism. I met her, went crazy for her, fell in love. Can I explain it all? No. Does it make sense (are we the roughly the same age, similar life goals, similar philosophy for life/kids/finances, etc)? Yes. But I didn't marry her because it makes sense.

I was drawn to her in a different sort of way.


MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #599 on: June 27, 2017, 07:41:26 AM »
Agreed MrDelane. The "why" is always interesting. I was hoping to bring a unifying statement to rally some of the scattered points we had been discussing.
That's a fair point, and a good effort.  Though it is a bit telling of the difficulty we have in discerning the facts about reality that your attempt to unify the believers led to a discussion of how your beliefs differ.

Quote
Here are a few thoughts on "why" I believe.
- I find Jesus to be the most compelling and beautiful figure in history. His words and works draw me and call me to follow.

- The story of the Bible, which finds it's center in Jesus, crafts a narrative that makes the world make sense to me. On a macro level, the scriptures offer me a story a redemption that allows me to thrive and have hope in this life.

- Christianity gives me an explanation and solution for the sin/pain/brokenness inside me and surrounding me.

I would just like to point out that the first three reasons you listed speak to how it makes you feel and how it helps you makes sense of the world, neither of which say anything about whether or not it is true.

Now clearly, you are free to believe things for whatever reasons you choose, I'm not saying you're not.  But when I hear these style of responses it does make me wonder if you are more concerned with what you might find comforting than what is true.

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In the end, I believe Christianity is coherent, intellectually robust, and historically verified.

How did you verify Christianity historically?

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While those things have strengthened the confidence I have in my faith, it's not the reason I believe. I was drawn in by the beauty of Jesus, the captivating narrative of redemption, and power to fix whats broken in me.

What makes you believe there is something broken in you?  What did you determine that it was, and how does Christianity 'fix' it?

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While Christianity is "real", what brought me and keeps me in is the intangible affections and internal compulsion.

I find it strange that you chose to put real in quotes.
It gives the impression that the reality of the claims are not that important to you.

Quote
Am I bothered that it wasn't pure rationalism that led me into my faith? No.

Most decisions in life are steered by affections and inexplicable desires. Marrying my wife wasn't an act of pure rationalism. I met her, went crazy for her, fell in love. Can I explain it all? No. Does it make sense (are we the roughly the same age, similar life goals, similar philosophy for life/kids/finances, etc)? Yes. But I didn't marry her because it makes sense.

I was drawn to her in a different sort of way.

I would say the two are not really comparable.  I'm willing to bet that marrying your wife involved much more rationality than your belief in Christianity.  Only looking at it on a surface level it is clear that you have first hand experience of your wife's existence, she has provided evidence of her love and commitment for you through her actions, etc.

It seems that an equivalent analogy would have been if someone had simply told you about your wife - a woman they themselves had never personally met but was told about as well. Through the stories you hear she sounds amazing to you, and so you fall in love and decide you'd like to marry her and dedicate your life to her sight unseen.

I understand that you will say you didn't marry her because of the rational evidence I listed above - but I would be willing to bet you wouldn't have considered marrying her even for a second without it.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 07:43:59 AM by MrDelane »