What is "real" Christianity?

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What is "real" Christianity?

I would like to know once and for all precisely what "judeo-christian" means. The phrase "judeo-christian values" is bandied about ever and anon, with such implied objectivity, that one presumes to end (and win) any discussion by merely mentioning it. Yet when I examine the phrase, it is anything but clear what is meant herein. judaism and christianity, in a broad sense, are in dispute on many topics (including, but not limited to, the divinity of jesus). Why are they then cobbled together in this catch-phrase? Because they share a common tradition? Islam parttakes just as much from this tradition. Would george bush sound less credible should he say "judeo-christian-islamic"? judaism and islam are in agreement that jesus was not divine. christianity and islam are in agreement that jesus was a man of god. So how do we settle on "judeo-christian"?

Examining further, we see that judaism and christianity are decidedly heterodox. There are orthodox jews, conservative jews, reform jews, hasidic. There are jews who believe the book of genesis is historical, and that Israel is ordained by divine right. Yet there are also gay and atheist synagogues.

"Christian" serves to identify Pat Robertson (evangelical TV personality), pope benedict (catholic, termed the anti-christ by some other denominations), Gene Robinson (gay episcopalian minister), Fred Phelps (hates homosexuals, loves IEDs), and Ted Haggard (hates homosexuals, except when he's getting massaged). The amish are christian, who reject technology. The megachurches are christian, which are so hi-tech they need their own electric grids. New denominations pop up all the time with new twists on the old story, while some denominations now exist only as encyclopedia articles.

So what is "judeo-", what is "christian", and what is "judeo-christian". I simply feel that when one uses the phrase, one seeks to tap the support of all to whom that phrase applies, which cuts fairly wide in its scope. If we define the particulars, and settle on what exactly values the phrase indicates, the scope of that phrase might shrink drastically. We would at least have greater clarity in our discussions and that would be a good thing.

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A small request:  After

A small request:  After completing your posts, please "preview", to make sure you have properly quoted your response, to avoid problems of legibility -- such as above.

caposkia wrote:

Some inside information about the Bible:  From the Greek and Hebrew it is very hard to accurately translate the Bible into English because there are many words used in both Coyne Greek and Hebrew that cannot be literally translated.  If you take the original languages into consideration when critiquing a claim, they make it pretty clear.

First of all:  are you educated in koine Greek and ancient Hebrew?  Please state your academic credentials if you would.

Secondly:  Are you implying that anyone who does not know Greek & Hebrew lacks the ability to properly read the bible?  Does this invalidate any christian congregation which is not headed by a classics scholar?

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

So...are denominational christians "true" christians or aren't they?

You're asking me to make a judgment on thousands of people I've never met before.  Anyone claiming to be christian could be, but it doesn't mean they are.  I would assume most denominational Christians are not due to the red tape the denominations like to throw into scripture.

So here is where I perceive a conflict in your thinking.  In one of your previous threads, you argued that America was a christian nation, and cited quotes from several founders.  I countered by demonstrating that the men you cited belonged to different christian denominations.  You responded:

Quote:
BTW, the person who listed off the different religions of the people who signed the Constitution... sorry to say, their all Christian based religions.  Doesn't matter which it is, they're still Christian.

So at one time, it "doesn't matter" which denomination a christian belongs to, "they're still christian".  Now, you "assume most denomination christians are not" true christians.  I know I may tread the slippery slope of quote mining when I borrow your words from another thread, but I must ask that you clarify this apparent conflict.

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

  So.  Cap.  Are Fred Phelps, Falwell and Robertson (and their respective congregations) not "true" christians  (or " 'true' followers of christ", or whatever term you're juggling now), given their opposition to homosexuals?

I don't know who they are.  I know I've heard the names, but i"m not familiar with them. 

The recently deceased Jerry Falwell was a christian minister and head of Liberty "University", who held homosexuals partially responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

Fred Phelps is head of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are known for demonstrating at soldiers' funerals with signs such as "God Hates Fags - Lev 18:22".

Like you, they cite scripture as the source of their beliefs.

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

 Instead of citing a biblical passage and leaving it to me to figure it out, could you possibly explain "by what objective criteria can I determine if I'm speaking to a 'true follower of Christ"?   My take is that it's just about doing nice things for people, so it's "probably safe to assume", that christians (or " followers of christ", or whatever term you're juggling now) think there's more to "true" christianity than that.

There are a lot of things that make up a true Christian:

personality is key.  Simply put, they will express love to you first and foremost.  You will not be judged by them, they will not demean you because you're gay/lesbian, black, hispanic, etc. 

Their actions will also speak louder than their words.  Sure, nice things for people is good and all, but anyone can do that.  Satanists "do nice things for people". 

True Christians will sacrifice time and money (AT THEIR OWN WILL, not because someone said they'd have to or they would burn in hell) to help out others.  They tend to go the extra mile to help a person or group out. 

They are the ones truly trying to live like Jesus Christ.

The reason why I use Bible scriptures is because that explains it better than I can.  I didn't think I was leaving you to figure it out, I thought it was pretty clear.... though I"m not sure what scripture you're referencing to.  I apologize if what i sent you was unclear.

I certainly appreciate your effort in responding, but I'm afraid your still just begging the question. 

When you say true christians are the ones "truly trying to live like jesus christ", you beg the question, since each denomination has its own concept of what it is to "live like jesus christ".  So also when you cite scripture -- since each denomination claims (by axiom) that it has the most accurate reading of the scripture. 

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zarathustra wrote:First of

zarathustra wrote:

First of all:  are you educated in koine Greek and ancient Hebrew?  Please state your academic credentials if you would.

Koine Greek yes, Hebrew, No, but I do have reliable sources for the Hebrew that I can ask if there's ever a question.

zarathustra wrote:

Secondly:  Are you implying that anyone who does not know Greek & Hebrew lacks the ability to properly read the bible?

No, I'm implying that anyone who does not know Greek or Hebrew lacks the ability to properly critique the Bible. 

There are many things written in the scriptures that Christian scholars debate about because of how unclear it is in our language as far as translation goes.  Paraphrased Bibles are written in the way they are to make an easy read in English.  it is my opinion that they not only ruin the poetic nature of many of the books, but also can 'miss the point' when it comes down to the finer details.    Everything that's necessary for the following of Christ is crystal clear.  Don't get me wrong there.  It's other minor details that come into play. 

Not everyone knows everything and there are suggestions in the Languages of certain things.  Unfortunately, one cannot conclude those certain things unless they have more than a hunch to go on. 

 

zarathustra wrote:

So here is where I perceive a conflict in your thinking.  In one of your previous threads, you argued that America was a christian nation, and cited quotes from several founders.  I countered by demonstrating that the men you cited belonged to different christian denominations.  You responded:

Quote:
BTW, the person who listed off the different religions of the people who signed the Constitution... sorry to say, their all Christian based religions.  Doesn't matter which it is, they're still Christian.

So at one time, it "doesn't matter" which denomination a christian belongs to, "they're still christian".  Now, you "assume most denomination christians are not" true christians.  I know I may tread the slippery slope of quote mining when I borrow your words from another thread, but I must ask that you clarify this apparent conflict.

Since the writing of the constitution, there have been thousands upon thousands of denominations that have formed.  Though I'm not sure how many denominations were around during that time, there was a fundamental agreement on the basis of teaching and living as a Christian. (With exception of the Catholics which were going by their own doctern.  I however cannot judge whether any one Catholic person was or is a follower of Christ or not)   Each denomination had their own "way", but in that sense, if those people of that time of any denomination saw the division of denominations today, it's my understanding that they'd be appalled. 

zarathustra wrote:

The recently deceased Jerry Falwell was a christian minister and head of Liberty "University", who held homosexuals partially responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

I will guarantee Jerry Falwell has no basis for his claims and therefore is a heretic.  Maybe his intentions were good and if he would accept redirection from a better informed individual, then it is possible he could be a Christian. 

However, if he is stuck in his ways and no matter what anyone tells him, he is convinced that homosexuals are still responsible, then I can say with certainty that he is not a follower of Christ.  A follower of Christ follows Christ's teachings and there is nothing in the Bible that suggests anything remotely close to what he is suggesting.   They are also open to challenging their understanding, which means if they're wrong, they will accept it and change their ways. 

zarathustra wrote:

Fred Phelps is head of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are known for demonstrating at soldiers' funerals with signs such as "God Hates Fags - Lev 18:22".

Like you, they cite scripture as the source of their beliefs.

anyone can "cite" scripture, but when it comes down to understanding the intentions of the scripture they're citing, that's when beliefs fall apart.  In context, you cannot support such a claim as "God Hates Fags".  Let's cite scripture; John 3:16 is a perfect example that God LOVES all, not hates.  There are I'm guessing hundreds of other verses I could pull out of the Bible to prove the claim that God LOVES everyone.    Consistency is important when you claim something from the Bible. 

e.g.  I could pull a verse out of the story of Noah, "Genesis"  that says if we sin too much, God is going to drown us.   However, if I take it into context, I will notice that not only is he not going to do that on account of Jesus Christ, but he also promised to never flood the Earth again due to the sin of man. 

Don't even get me started on the Baptist denomination. 

zarathustra wrote:

I certainly appreciate your effort in responding, but I'm afraid your still just begging the question. 

When you say true christians are the ones "truly trying to live like jesus christ", you beg the question, since each denomination has its own concept of what it is to "live like jesus christ".  So also when you cite scripture -- since each denomination claims (by axiom) that it has the most accurate reading of the scripture. 

As far as "living for Jesus"  it's pretty much the same through most of the denominations unless they're dispensationalist churches, which every denomination I think has a few of those.  The Living For Jesus part of the Bible is probably the clearest written text in the Bible. 

ya know what, IAGAY sent me a link in another forum ( http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm )  The first paragraph really brings to light what's wrong with denominations today and the separation from True Christianity or as the site calls it "Churchianity".  I like that term better actually. 


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response Part 1

caposkia wrote:

Quote:
Some inside information about the Bible:  From the Greek and Hebrew it is very hard to accurately translate the Bible into English because there are many words used in both Coyne Greek and Hebrew that cannot be literally translated.  If you take the original languages into consideration when critiquing a claim, they make it pretty clear.

zarathustra wrote:

First of all:  are you educated in koine Greek and ancient Hebrew?  Please state your academic credentials if you would.

Koine Greek yes, Hebrew, No, but I do have reliable sources for the Hebrew that I can ask if there's ever a question.

zarathustra wrote:

Secondly:  Are you implying that anyone who does not know Greek & Hebrew lacks the ability to properly read the bible?

No, I'm implying that anyone who does not know Greek or Hebrew lacks the ability to properly critique the Bible. 

There are many things written in the scriptures that Christian scholars debate about because of how unclear it is in our language as far as translation goes.  Paraphrased Bibles are written in the way they are to make an easy read in English.  it is my opinion that they not only ruin the poetic nature of many of the books, but also can 'miss the point' when it comes down to the finer details.    Everything that's necessary for the following of Christ is crystal clear.  Don't get me wrong there.  It's other minor details that come into play.

You asserted above that it is "very hard to accurately translate the Bible into English".  Does that not imply that someone who reads the bible -- in English, without knowledge of (or at least a "reliable source" for) Greek and Hebrew -- is at risk of mis-reading the bible (and thereupon, mis-comprehending 'real christianity'), due to possible inaccuracies in translation?

It would perhaps be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "'christian' scholars debate about", and how your knowledge of Greek and your "reliable source"'s knowledge of Hebrew makes it "pretty clear".

Likewise, it would most certainly be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "crystal clear" that is "necessary for following christ". 

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

So here is where I perceive a conflict in your thinking.  In one of your previous threads, you argued that America was a christian nation, and cited quotes from several founders.  I countered by demonstrating that the men you cited belonged to different christian denominations.  You responded:

Quote:
BTW, the person who listed off the different religions of the people who signed the Constitution... sorry to say, their all Christian based religions.  Doesn't matter which it is, they're still Christian.

So at one time, it "doesn't matter" which denomination a christian belongs to, "they're still christian".  Now, you "assume most denomination christians are not" true christians.  I know I may tread the slippery slope of quote mining when I borrow your words from another thread, but I must ask that you clarify this apparent conflict.

Since the writing of the constitution, there have been thousands upon thousands of denominations that have formed. 

True enough.  But surely you know there hundreds, if not thousands of denominations before the writing of the constitution.  Surely you don't think christians only began disagreeing with one another after the writing of the American Constitution.

caposkia wrote:
Though I'm not sure how many denominations were around during that time, there was a fundamental agreement on the basis of teaching and living as a Christian.

Surely you know this is false.  Surely you know that the puritan christians came to America to escape the oppression stemming from their disagreements with the anglican christians, who themselves disagreed with the catholic christians.  If you genuinely believe that the congregationalist xians, episscopalian xians, presbyterian xians, lutheran xians and huguenot xians (to cite the examples you gave of our 'christian' founders) were in fundamental agreement -- perhaps you would care to demonstrate your knowledge of the matter by briefly discussing their differences, and then what was their "fundamental agreement".  You will forgive me for otherwise suspecting that you have not duly researched the topic and are simply making a bald and unsupported assertion when speaking of "fundamental agreement".

caposkia wrote:
(With exception of the Catholics which were going by their own doctern.  I however cannot judge whether any one Catholic person was or is a follower of Christ or not)   Each denomination had their own "way", but in that sense, if those people of that time of any denomination saw the division of denominations today, it's my understanding that they'd be appalled. 

I'm not altogether clear why you make a singular exception for catholics.  From the 4th century up until the Protestant Reformation, the catholic church and christianity were by and large one and the same.  Unless, of course, you're implying that 'true christianity' did not begin until Luther's reformation.

 

 

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response Part 2

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

The recently deceased Jerry Falwell was a christian minister and head of Liberty "University", who held homosexuals partially responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

I will guarantee Jerry Falwell has no basis for his claims and therefore is a heretic.  Maybe his intentions were good and if he would accept redirection from a better informed individual, then it is possible he could be a Christian.

I will guarantee that Falwell and his ilk did not and do not make their claims without some passage in the bible on which to base them.  As you're presently treating the matter, it is simply your word against his. 

caposkia wrote:

However, if he is stuck in his ways and no matter what anyone tells him, he is convinced that homosexuals are still responsible, then I can say with certainty that he is not a follower of Christ.  A follower of Christ follows Christ's teachings and there is nothing in the Bible that suggests anything remotely close to what he is suggesting.   They are also open to challenging their understanding, which means if they're wrong, they will accept it and change their ways.

 

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

Fred Phelps is head of the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members are known for demonstrating at soldiers' funerals with signs such as "God Hates Fags - Lev 18:22".

Like you, they cite scripture as the source of their beliefs.

anyone can "cite" scripture, but when it comes down to understanding the intentions of the scripture they're citing, that's when beliefs fall apart.  In context, you cannot support such a claim as "God Hates Fags".  Let's cite scripture; John 3:16 is a perfect example that God LOVES all, not hates.  There are I'm guessing hundreds of other verses I could pull out of the Bible to prove the claim that God LOVES everyone.    Consistency is important when you claim something from the Bible.

Phelps et al have verses that they can pull out of the bible to prove their claim that "god hates fags":

Leviticus 18:22  

 22 " 'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13  

 13 " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

caposkia wrote:

e.g.  I could pull a verse out of the story of Noah, "Genesis"  that says if we sin too much, God is going to drown us.   However, if I take it into context, I will notice that not only is he not going to do that on account of Jesus Christ, but he also promised to never flood the Earth again due to the sin of man.

Once again, this charged word, "context".  Once again, each denomination -- or each so-called "christian"-- can claim to be the one using the proper context, and that all others are out of context.  Without some independent means for defining the proper context, it remains one "christian"'s word against the next's. 

Furthermore:  since you seem to be tying "real christianity" to reading the bible "in context", please acknowledge that the bible was not compiled until the 4th century.  Please explain by what criteria real christianity operated prior to the bible's compilation.  (I've brought this up previously in the thread.  If you have the time, go back and see what other contributors have had to say in answer to this.)

caposkia wrote:

Don't even get me started on the Baptist denomination.

Why not?  You've already got started on catholics.  As far as I know, baptists -- just like catholics -- claim to be real "christians".   Go ahead and get started, please.  And while you're at it, you might reveal to us what exact denomination you subscribe to, so we might have a concrete example of "real christianity".

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zarathustra wrote:I will

zarathustra wrote:

I will guarantee that Falwell and his ilk did not and do not make their claims without some passage in the bible on which to base them.  As you're presently treating the matter, it is simply your word against his. 

It's one thing to pull a verse out of the Bible and claim something by it.  It's a whole other ball game if you actually take the verse in context of the story. 

zarathustra wrote:


Phelps et al have verses that they can pull out of the bible to prove their claim that "god hates fags":

Leviticus 18:22  

 22 " 'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13  

 13 " 'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

No where in each verse exampled does it say, "God hates fags".  God does however obviously dislike the act of sleeping with the same sex.  You can try to back yourself up by digging further into the words than what's there by saying that it means God hates the people, but you will fail miserably. 

I can see some people may have a problem with Lev. 20:13 and my understanding of it, however if the Bible is true, then death isn't the end, it's only a punishment.  To us on Earth, death means the person is no more, gone, that's the ultimate consequence that there's no turning back from. According to the Bible, you're just not in the physical world anymore.  It may be their only punishment and they are actually still alive.  (see it as; life is a gift from God.  There are directions on how to appropriately use it 'like a car' if you abuse it, you'll lose it.)  With a car, you can drive on the sidewalk if you wanted to, does it mean you should? 

You also have to take into consideration why the extent of the laws given by God were there in the first place.  It's my understanding that God was trying to prove to the "high and mighty" Israelites that they weren't as perfect as they thought they were and that they couldn't succeed God's expectations without His help. 

You also need to take into consideration the fact that we live under the New Testiment, not the Old Testiment.  We live under Grace, not Law.  (To further clarify, see PTM magazine May/June edition 2008.  P. 8-13.  Law or Grace, by Steve McVey)

zarathustra wrote:

Furthermore:  since you seem to be tying "real christianity" to reading the bible "in context", please acknowledge that the bible was not compiled until the 4th century.  Please explain by what criteria real christianity operated prior to the bible's compilation.  (I've brought this up previously in the thread.  If you have the time, go back and see what other contributors have had to say in answer to this.)

The Bible as a book was not compiled until the 4th century.  Most of the stories were written 1000's of years B.C.  Keep in mind any actual date you have of any texts that have been put in the Bible are understood to be only copies of the original text.  Therefore, the dates you'd have for each story only refer to the copies and not the original texts. 

Also, the Bible is a summary.  It has the general instructions for life if you will.  Christians prior to the writings, but after Jesus followed by the teachings of those who kept the word of Jesus and moved on. Most of those were written to clarify, but not in a manner for publication or making into a book.  If you're talking about before Jesus' time, you'd have to look into the Jewish sects. 

zarathustra wrote:

Why not?  You've already got started on catholics.  As far as I know, baptists -- just like catholics -- claim to be real "christians".   Go ahead and get started, please.  And while you're at it, you might reveal to us what exact denomination you subscribe to, so we might have a concrete example of "real christianity".

well, alright then.  First, I do not "subscribe" to a denomination.  I don't believe in denominations, it's separatism.  If you follow the other forum; "...quest for the unholy grail", a link was given to me by IAGAY that used better wording than I had.  So lets call the denominational religions "Churchianity" and my following "Christianity". 

Let's just sum it up for the Baptists.  If you're an extreme Baptist, then you will never let your children play old maid, because if you do, then someone driving by your house at 50 MPH might see your kids playing Old Maid, think they're playing poker and gambling, and everyone knows that gambling leads to premarrital sex. 

Simply put, they tend to be too paranoid about what's ok to do to enjoy life.  Though the Northern Baptists are a little more lax, they still tend to walk with a broom stick up their butt.  They seem to have a better grasp than other denominations on the teachings of Jesus however. 


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caposkia wrote:I can see

caposkia wrote:
I can see some people may have a problem with Lev. 20:13 and my understanding of it, however if the Bible is true, then death isn't the end, it's only a punishment.
Oh, death is only a punishment.  I thought it was death.

Quote:
To us on Earth, death means the person is no more, gone, that's the ultimate consequence that there's no turning back from. According to the Bible, you're just not in the physical world anymore.
The bible has other crazy shit written in it as well.  Is there proof you can present, independant of the bible, that people live after death? (I realize the oxymoron I've presented, but you, according to what you've written below, don't.)

Quote:
It may be their only punishment and they are actually still alive.
No, it may not be.  It's not possible.  In what sense are people 'acutally still alive' when they're dead?  Are there definitions of these two words that you're using that I'm not in order to make it possible for someone to be alive after death?  Could you clarify that for me or point me to proof that people live after death?

Quote:
(see it as; life is a gift from God.  There are directions on how to appropriately use it 'like a car' if you abuse it, you'll lose it.)
That's good to know.  If one uses the life given to him by god in a way that god doesn't want, he loses his life.  But god decides people's sexuality, not people themselves, so abiding by his sexual urges would be right except that god thinks it is 'detestable' to be gay and that gays should be 'put to death' if they do anything gay.  Right.  So, it's fair to say that god thinks gays are detestable and that they should be killed, but not that god hates gays?  What, exactly, qualifies as hate?  God would be put in jail for talking that way in Canada and much of Europe for violating hate-crime laws.

Quote:
With a car, you can drive on the sidewalk if you wanted to, does it mean you should?
The reason people often don't drive on the sidewalk (there are people that do) is because it's against the law; the sidewalk is for pedestrian and not motor traffic.  However, being capable of driving on the sidewalk and being capable of having gay sex are not equivalent.  Being homosexual is not a choice and abiding by one's sexual urges is often not either, but both being a motorist and driving on the sidewalk are choices and neither is a prescribed by god in a person's genetic makeup.

Stop making excuses for god to be a bigot, caposkia, unless you too are a bigot.

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Thomathy wrote:Oh, death is

Thomathy wrote:

Oh, death is only a punishment.  I thought it was death.

er.... yea  um... Death is defined by dictionary.com as; "the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism"  which would mean you as an organism on Earth are no longer functioning...

Thomathy wrote:

No, it may not be.  It's not possible.  In what sense are people 'acutally still alive' when they're dead?  Are there definitions of these two words that you're using that I'm not in order to make it possible for someone to be alive after death?  Could you clarify that for me or point me to proof that people live after death?

Alive in the Spirit maybe????

Thomathy wrote:

That's good to know.  If one uses the life given to him by god in a way that god doesn't want, he loses his life.  But god decides people's sexuality, not people themselves, so abiding by his sexual urges would be right except that god thinks it is 'detestable' to be gay and that gays should be 'put to death' if they do anything gay.  Right.  So, it's fair to say that god thinks gays are detestable a that they should be killed, but not that god hates gays?  What, exactly, qualifies as hate?  God would be put in jail for talking that way in Canada and much of Europe for violating hate-crime laws.

You're guiding your thoughts by Old Testiment Law.  (The reason for the Laws of the OT are a completely separate conversation)

The New Testiment makes it clear that all sin is forgiven through Jesus Christ.  If everyone can be cleansed of sin through Jesus Christ, why would they need to be put to death? 

Think of the gay thing this way.  God created men and women for specific purposes and sex to be done in a specific manner.  If people use the creation contrary to its purposes, of course the creator or inventor of that product is going to be miffed.  I don't believe that would necessarily mean the inventor of the product would hate the violators, but he/she wouldn't be happy with them. 

e.g.  If the inventor of glass found out that people were using blown glass as a bong, I think it'd be a good assumption that they'd be a little miffed at the idea of using their invention in such a way.  Why should that person hate them for it though?  Don't mistake anger for hatred. 

In the case of God, he loves all, the Bible says so, so for anyone to say; "God hates..." is already contradicting Biblical teaching. 

Thomathy wrote:

The reason people often don't drive on the sidewalk (there are people that do) is because it's against the law; the sidewalk is for pedestrian and not motor traffic.  However, being capable of driving on the sidewalk and being capable of having gay sex are not equivalent.  Being homosexual is not a choice and abiding by one's sexual urges is often not either, but both being a motorist and driving on the sidewalk are choices and neither is a prescribed by god in a person's genetic makeup.


The point was, it is understood in the same manner as a law.  Most people won't act upon the urge if they have it to drive on the sidewalk because it's against the law.  The sidewalk was designed for people to walk on, not people to drive on.  Sex was designed for a man and a woman, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. 

As far as genetic makeup, from the studies I've seen, there have been some sort of mental difference for all of those who have illegally driven on the sidewalk. 

Just so the record's strait.  I have nothing against gays or lesbians.  I accept them like anyone else.  I don't fully understand the mental/genetic differences that cause them to have that state of mind and therefore, I do not judge them for their acts or who they are.  I know and trust God and know what has been said by Him.  I myself have had many questions regarding that topic. 


 


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FYI, I think you missed Part

FYI, I think you missed Part 1 of my last post

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

I will guarantee that Falwell and his ilk did not and do not make their claims without some passage in the bible on which to base them.  As you're presently treating the matter, it is simply your word against his. 

It's one thing to pull a verse out of the Bible and claim something by it.  It's a whole other ball game if you actually take the verse in context of the story.


Once again, this begs the question, of what the proper context is.  When asked previously, you claim that it's "pretty clear" what the proper context is.  Yet if the Falwells, Phelpses and all other professing christians each claim in turn to have the proper context (which I'm sure they find "pretty clear" )--and differ with one another in doing such, how do we determine who the truthful claimant is?

caposkia wrote:

The Bible as a book was not compiled until the 4th century.  Most of the stories were written 1000's of years B.C.  Keep in mind any actual date you have of any texts that have been put in the Bible are understood to be only copies of the original text.  Therefore, the dates you'd have for each story only refer to the copies and not the original texts. 

Also, the Bible is a summary.  It has the general instructions for life if you will.  Christians prior to the writings, but after Jesus followed by the teachings of those who kept the word of Jesus and moved on. Most of those were written to clarify, but not in a manner for publication or making into a book.  If you're talking about before Jesus' time, you'd have to look into the Jewish sects.

I may not have made clear in my exchange with you, but prior to the 4th century compilation, several other gospels were in use by christians, which were only rendered non-canonical following the Nicene Council.  The Council itself was convened in part due to the diversity of christian belief, with the goal of settling once and for all what christianity was.  Which is to say:  there was no unadulterated agreement among christians what the "words of jesus" were, and the canonization of the NT was an attempt to reach back three centuries to determine what they actually were.

What I intend by this observation is that there was never a consensus on "real" christianity, either preceding, during or following the bible's compilation.

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

Why not?  You've already got started on catholics.  As far as I know, baptists -- just like catholics -- claim to be real "christians".   Go ahead and get started, please.  And while you're at it, you might reveal to us what exact denomination you subscribe to, so we might have a concrete example of "real christianity".

well, alright then.  First, I do not "subscribe" to a denomination.  I don't believe in denominations, it's separatism.  If you follow the other forum; "...quest for the unholy grail", a link was given to me by IAGAY that used better wording than I had.  So lets call the denominational religions "Churchianity" and my following "Christianity".

I'm sure you'll address this in responding to Part 1 , but I'll reiterate:  You have shown yourself more than content to overlook the separatism of denominations when it serves your argument (e.g., that America is a "christian" nation), yet you are quick to dismiss them when called to account for their insoluble differences.  The fact remains that the vast majority of professing christians do subscribe to particular denominations; are the vast majority therefore not "real" christians?

caposkia wrote:

Let's just sum it up for the Baptists.  If you're an extreme Baptist, then you will never let your children play old maid, because if you do, then someone driving by your house at 50 MPH might see your kids playing Old Maid, think they're playing poker and gambling, and everyone knows that gambling leads to premarrital sex. 

Simply put, they tend to be too paranoid about what's ok to do to enjoy life.  Though the Northern Baptists are a little more lax, they still tend to walk with a broom stick up their butt.  They seem to have a better grasp than other denominations on the teachings of Jesus however. 

Not entirely certain what your insinuation is here.  You seem at the very least to have some reservations about their practices -- yet they seem to you "to have a better grasp than other denominations on the teachings of Jesus".  Are the baptists (and the 'other denominations, with their weaker grasp) real christians or aren't they? 

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Why is it about labels?If

Why is it about labels?

If claims were like assholes everyone would have one.

So they claim crap and we claim what they think is crap.

HOW  do we SHOW, without dictating, where their comic book claims went wrong?

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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HOW? .... science, history, humor, satire, empathy, comparative religion ....


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zarathustra wrote:FYI, I

zarathustra wrote:

FYI, I think you missed Part 1 of my last post

about the whole needing to know the original languages thing? 

Let's put it this way, if you're going to critique the Bible and question approaches to "wording" or why things are said the way they are.  Or even critique as far as understanding in many cases where metaphores (not always but sometimes) come in, then it is very useful to know Coyne Greek and Hebrew.  If you want to just get an understanding of a story in general, then you can read a (non-paraphrased) english version.  I say non-paraphrased because the more paraphrased the translation, the more "privelages" the tranlator took in their translation to attempt to make it sound more fluid in English.  As far as the Bible is concerned fluidity in other languages isn't necessarily clarification.  Usually isn't.

 

zarathustra wrote:

Once again, this begs the question, of what the proper context is.  When asked previously, you claim that it's "pretty clear" what the proper context is.  Yet if the Falwells, Phelpses and all other professing christians each claim in turn to have the proper context (which I'm sure they find "pretty clear" )--and differ with one another in doing such, how do we determine who the truthful claimant is?

There are many factors here that could be taking place for anyone to get a different understanding than it's understood to be intended. 

1.  Many people, though they claim it's in the Bible actually got their information from another source whether it be a church body, pastor, friend etc.  e.g. "they said so, therefore X must be true".

2.  The Bible is a book as a whole, while at the same time the books within it are individual writings.  It's not only important to read each story as is and fully, it's also important to take into consideration other writings within the Bible as a whole.  You take each story as is and compare it to the rest of the Bible.  Each story within the Bible regardless of what others say is congruent.  None will contradict. 

I'm sure you'll want to bring up the subject of other books that either used to be a part of the Bible or could be and are not.  Any good scholar of Biblical writings will take any and all resources into consideration when trying to understand and comprehend teachings and writings of the Bible. 

(obviously your average joe schmoe isn't going to take the time to carefully read.  This is why it's important to be sure joe schmoe isn't so easily falling into reason #1)

The quickest resource to soak up information is by word of mouth.  Any "believer" in the Christian God is getting most of their information from the church that they attend AND the christian people they hang out with.  Usually those people will hold similar individual views.  (regardless, everyone disagrees one way or another in some aspect here and there) 

simply put, #2 is if you take in the information without question, there's a good chance that your information may not be accurate.   What makes  a difference between a follower and a religious Christian is whether Joe S. takes the time to research the new information they recieved at church that day or that their friend told them and also pray about it.

3.  There are many religions out there and I emphasize 'RELIGIONS'.  I do so because this is what it really comes down to.  What makes a religion a religion is simply this.  Is there anything there forcing you to stay with that following?  e.g.  Will you be punished by some person/entity in some tangeble way if you walk away or disagree?  Is there any consequence for disagreeing with the leader?

Nowhere in the Bible does it say to condemn or "cast out" someone questioning a belief.  The Bible teaches to love REGARDLESS!!!

Therefore, you need to take into consideration what kind of situation these people may be in.  Are they going to have some sort of consequense if they don't speak out like they are? are they doing it on their own free will.  Have they been brainwashed into believing that if they didn't take that view that God would be angry with them and condemn them to hell? 

none of that is the teachings of the Bible. 

4.  Last but not least... and I think I covered all the possibilities with this one.  Are these individuals ALWAYS QUESTIONING WHAT THEY KNOW???  My guess is not.  Wisdom and Knowlege especially about the more controversial topics take time.  You can't just sit there and say; "this is what I believe, this is how I will act about that belief and this is how I will treat others who don't agree" as soon as you learn it.  It's a process that takes much time to take in and understand.  I'm sure it wasn't an overnight decision for 99% of the non-believers on here to decide that they were not going to follow the Christian God or any other God for that matter.  It probably took years for most. 

I'm telling you to always question what you know.  That's quite a dangerous claim coming from someone who supposedly follows a non-existant God.  For me to make that statement would mean that I would have to do that too.  Believe it or not, it's how I've come to where I am today in my belief. 

See, what usually happens is a person starts off questioning everything!  As you get older or more knowlegeable, you stop questioning as much.  Eventually, a person gets comfortable enough in what they know to stop questioning most things.  Unfortunately, most people in the world fall into this category.  I say, when you stop questioning is when you should ask yourself why you stopped questioning.   If your answer is, "becasue I know" then it's time to double check to make sure what you know is really true. 

example: 

Now before I say, this is obviously an easy one to prove, but it's just food for thought and easy on purpose. 

Everyone knows 2+2 is 4.  But is it.  How do you know?  Do you know that because someone told you that 2+2 is 4? Or can you back your claim up to prove that 2+2 is really 4.  The bigger question is, have you ever had to prove to anyone 2+2 is 4, or has it always been something that most people you are close to have accepted as truth and therefore not necessarily needing proof. 

This is what happens with many people who get stuck in religion.  Their information is understood like that math problem and therefore becasue most people around them agree, they never have really taken the time to have to prove it.  That's why it's important to take everything into context. 

I hope that wasn't too much information, but you did ask a question that required a fairly broad answer.  If this was too much, please let me know and I'll try to clarify in simpler terms. 

zarathustra wrote:

I may not have made clear in my exchange with you, but prior to the 4th century compilation, several other gospels were in use by christians, which were only rendered non-canonical following the Nicene Council.  The Council itself was convened in part due to the diversity of christian belief, with the goal of settling once and for all what christianity was.  Which is to say:  there was no unadulterated agreement among christians what the "words of jesus" were, and the canonization of the NT was an attempt to reach back three centuries to determine what they actually were.

What I intend by this observation is that there was never a consensus on "real" christianity, either preceding, during or following the bible's compilation.

There are many writings outside the Bible that are very relevant to the Christian following and I am constantly in question of those sources and still doing my research on many of them.  I dont' have a conclusion personally as far as where I stand on any outside source.

Simply put though, the basic core beliefs of Christianity have never changed and unless religion gets involved, won't.  Simply put, Christianity is LOVE.  One word.  Everything else details of understanding and many of them are controversial even in the Christian following because there isn't a clear understanding of all of it.  But simply put, it all comes down to love.

zarathustra wrote:

I'm sure you'll address this in responding to Part 1 , but I'll reiterate:  You have shown yourself more than content to overlook the separatism of denominations when it serves your argument (e.g., that America is a "christian" nation), yet you are quick to dismiss them when called to account for their insoluble differences.  The fact remains that the vast majority of professing christians do subscribe to particular denominations; are the vast majority therefore not "real" christians?

[/qutoe]

Their actions will always speak louder than their words and their subscription.  Some subscribe to a denomination because they either feel they have to or feel there's no other way.  A true follower will not be any part of a religion that teaches against the Bible if they are aware of it. 

It is my general understanding that in the worlds Christiandom, there are over a Billion followers.  In the true following of Christianity there are Millions.  My understanding at this point is that most may not actually be "real" Christians.  I can't say that for sure because I don't know the masses personally and their following.  From what I see from mainstream Christianity, I'd say not. 

zarathustra wrote:

Not entirely certain what your insinuation is here.  You seem at the very least to have some reservations about their practices -- yet they seem to you "to have a better grasp than other denominations on the teachings of Jesus".  Are the baptists (and the 'other denominations, with their weaker grasp) real christians or aren't they? 

In order to answer that question appropriately, truthfully, and acceptably, I'd need to take each individual into consideration.  Be it that within the Baptist religion, there are many forms as with other religions, it's really impossible to accurately answer that question. 

By forms I mean Southern Baptists are very different than Northern Baptists just as New York Baptists I'm sure are very different from Californian Baptists.  Each has a different approach to the teachings though all are taught through the same curriculum. 

As far as the curriculum, it seems to me in my experience that they have a better understanding of what the Bible teaches than other religions.  Or better yet, how to approach those teachings. 


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 Quote:Each story within

 

Quote:
Each story within the Bible regardless of what others say is congruent.  None will contradict.
 

Quote:
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to condemn or "cast out" someone questioning a belief.  The Bible teaches to love REGARDLESS!!!

I could point out specific verses, but you'd probably just ridicule me for taking them out of context without explaining how they are invalid. 

Quote:
My understanding at this point is that most may not actually be "real" Christians.
 

Oh oh oh, what fallacy is this everyone?

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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caposkia wrote:zarathustra

caposkia wrote:

zarathustra wrote:

FYI, I think you missed Part 1 of my last post

about the whole needing to know the original languages thing?

There were actually some specific responses I requested.  I'll reproduce them for convenience:

  1. Quote:
    It would perhaps be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "'christian' scholars debate about", and how your knowledge of Greek and your "reliable source"'s knowledge of Hebrew makes it "pretty clear".
  2. Quote:
    Likewise, it would most certainly be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "crystal clear" that is "necessary for following christ".

     
  3. Quote:
    caposkia wrote:
    Since the writing of the constitution, there have been thousands upon thousands of denominations that have formed.
    True enough.  But surely you know there hundreds, if not thousands of denominations before the writing of the constitution.  Surely you don't think christians only began disagreeing with one another after the writing of the American Constitution.

  4. Quote:
    caposkia wrote:
    Though I'm not sure how many denominations were around during that time, there was a fundamental agreement on the basis of teaching and living as a Christian.
    Surely you know this is false.  Surely you know that the puritan christians came to America to escape the oppression stemming from their disagreements with the anglican christians, who themselves disagreed with the catholic christians.  If you genuinely believe that the congregationalist xians, episscopalian xians, presbyterian xians, lutheran xians and huguenot xians (to cite the examples you gave of our 'christian' founders) were in fundamental agreement -- perhaps you would care to demonstrate your knowledge of the matter by briefly discussing their differences, and then what was their "fundamental agreement".  You will forgive me for otherwise suspecting that you have not duly researched the topic and are simply making a bald and unsupported assertion when speaking of "fundamental agreement".


  5. Quote:
    I'm not altogether clear why you make a singular exception for catholics.  From the 4th century up until the Protestant Reformation, the catholic church and christianity were by and large one and the same.  Unless, of course, you're implying that 'true christianity' did not begin until Luther's reformation.

 

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butterbattle wrote:I could

butterbattle wrote:

I could point out specific verses, but you'd probably just ridicule me for taking them out of context without explaining how they are invalid. 

If you really are so sure that I would, then are you that sure that you're not taking them out of context?

butterbattle wrote:

Quote:
My understanding at this point is that most may not actually be "real" Christians.
 

Oh oh oh, what fallacy is this everyone?

 

It's not a question I can legitimately answer.  He asked the question.  I explained that solely from what I thought from what I had observed.  I believe I stated that. 

Also, "MAY" is a key word in that statement.  I cannot actually sit here and guarantee validity of that statement.  Again, it is what I thought from what i observed at this point.

Conclusion.  If you can so readily and easily take my statement out of context, what would stop you from taking Biblical texts out of context?


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zarathustra wrote:There were

zarathustra wrote:

There were actually some specific responses I requested.  I'll reproduce them for convenience:

  1. Quote:
    It would perhaps be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "'christian' scholars debate about", and how your knowledge of Greek and your "reliable source"'s knowledge of Hebrew makes it "pretty clear".

Sorry, I wasn't following.

How about the deity of Jesus.  I dont' know where you stand as far as legitimate christian followings, but the Jehovah's Witnesses and other Christians debate this excessively along with the Mormons. 

Most Christians see Jesus as an equality of God, though a different person.  (shares the being of God while being His own person)  Jehovah's witnesses, with a little manipulation of a sentence in John 1:1 changes that deity into just another god. 

Now looking into the Greek, this could actually be quite complicated due to the fact that in the original language, the sentence translation could go either way and still be an "accurate translation" of the statement. 

However, this would make the Book of John and the rest of the Bible contradictory.  Therefore, the Jehovah's witnesses took those same liberties with the rest so it all becomes congruent. 

From an English language perspective, you have 2 conflicting translations, both whom don't contradict themselves, but contradict each other.

However, if you take into consideration the original language AND take everything into context, this would never work.  The reason is the original words used to refer to God and to Jesus.  In the Hebrew and Greek, they are identical words.  Regardless of how you translate, the words should be translated into the same words and not different words because that's how it was in the original language.  (I'm referring to references of who God is and Jesus in the Bible and not names specifically) 

Also, to translate the sentence to "a god" in John 1:1, they would have to take that liberty with all like sentences for accurate translation congruency and they do not.  If they did, most of the book wouldn't make sense in the English language. 

See books of John, Hebrews and compare Hebrews to Psalms. 

That's just one of many, the main one i could think of at this point.  Another is the Hell topic, but that's so abstract between scholars that I can't say anyone is conclusive in their understanding.  There's only a better understanding of what it is verses how it is through the languages.  Which ironically blows the whole,  "if you deny God then you're going to burn in hell for all eternity mwwoohahahahahaaaaa"  out of the water. 

zarathustra wrote:

  1. Quote:
    Likewise, it would most certainly be helpful if instead of speaking in abstract, you gave a precise example of something "crystal clear" that is "necessary for following christ".

 

  Ok, like love? Kindness?  Honesty???  actually, just read Colossians 3.  I think it sums it up pretty well.  http://www.bible.com and use the NASB.

Though just reading through, don't take that as excessive due to the fact that if any one of those is broken at a time, it does not mean you're not a follower, it just means you're human.  The idea is to try your best at following those. 

Love is the key always.  It's emphasized throughout.  Love is necessary for following Christ.  If I had to pick a crystal clear specific, it'd be love.
 

zarathustra wrote:

  1. True enough.  But surely you know there hundreds, if not thousands of denominations before the writing of the constitution.  Surely you don't think christians only began disagreeing with one another after the writing of the American Constitution.

surely not

zarathustra wrote:

Surely you know this is false.  Surely you know that the puritan christians came to America to escape the oppression stemming from their disagreements with the anglican christians, who themselves disagreed with the catholic christians.  If you genuinely believe that the congregationalist xians, episscopalian xians, presbyterian xians, lutheran xians and huguenot xians (to cite the examples you gave of our 'christian' founders) were in fundamental agreement -- perhaps you would care to demonstrate your knowledge of the matter by briefly discussing their differences, and then what was their "fundamental agreement".  You will forgive me for otherwise suspecting that you have not duly researched the topic and are simply making a bald and unsupported assertion when speaking of "fundamental agreement".

I think you'll understand if you look at the specifics.  It wasn't the basics that they disagreed on was it. 

zarathustra wrote:



I'm not altogether clear why you make a singular exception for catholics.  From the 4th century up until the Protestant Reformation, the catholic church and christianity were by and large one and the same.  Unless, of course, you're implying that 'true christianity' did not begin until Luther's reformation.

 

...but of course not.  It's the catholic church that corrupted the teachings however.  I'm not exactly sure where that happened on the timeline, but I will admit way back in the beginning of the catholic church, they were precisely what Christianity was suppose to be.  Ironically it's in the name Catholic. 

True Christianity began with Christ.  You understand that.  it's been adapted over time by different followings. 


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Me and the gnosis writers of

Me and the gnosis writers of buddha, the jesus, say we are god. Simply a rejection of all superstition and separatist god theologies, period. Simple .... Sure, many will disagree, so to them I say as a jesus did, "the laws will never change", as now it is written scientifically in thermodynamics, another message of the eternal oneness, of NO MASTER.


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caposkia wrote:My

caposkia wrote:

My understanding at this point is that most may not actually be "real" Christians.

I just want to clarify.  This is not a statement I can back up.  It is a statement purely from opinion and personal conclusion. 

I realize that everything said on this site cannot be said unless clarified with simple strait forward wording.  This is why I should have never said this statement above.  It's unfounded. 

I'm talking with many people who so easily take scripture out of context, so why would I not expect someone to do the same with my statements.  I'm not talking about everyone, but those know who they are. 

I apologize because these forums have no room for opinion or speculation.  I could be way off with this statement and it could possibly be the other way around. 

Z, to clarify your question, I would have to investigate each individual person and their following as well as how they represent Jesus before I can make such a conclusion.  I'm sorry if this was unclear earlier to you and others. 

 


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Thanks cap, as an Athiest, a

Thanks cap. I am an Athiest, a fan of my "gnosis" buddha jesus, but the Christian label is broken, worthless this day, and even destructive.  


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Cap, I appreciate your

Cap, I appreciate your attention to this topic and the fact that we've stayed polite (at least in this thread).  Yet I fear the discussion may have run its course, or at least become bedeviled by the details.

I agree with you that knowledge in ancient languages -- not to mention several other fields -- is requisite for making any meaningful appraisal of scripture.  In fact, it probably lies beyond the ability of any one individual, but rather at best requires a team of experts.  However, you are well aware that it is not in this rigorous manner that christianity is typically practiced; any fool can pick up a moth-eaten copy of the bible and start his own "christian" church.  Furthermore, biblical scholarship is a relatively modern development; christian doctrine has been formulated over the centuries by those lacking the necessary academic resources to analyze the source of their doctrine.  Case in point:  The KJV remains in popular use, indicating that millions are basing their faith on a poor, error-ridden translation. 

I submit that to the degree that it relies on the scriptures, "true" christianity was impossible to define for the better part of the last 2 millennia, and remains so even with the advent of modern biblical scholarship.

You cite mormons and jw's as examples of doctrinal errancy due to misreading of the scriptures.  Very well, but they can simply make a similar claim against you.  Joe Smith for one claimed that the book of mormon was necessary to put "true" christianity back on track, and that all other "christian" churches were in apostasy.  Likewise you hold that the catholic church is corrupt, while it claims to be the one, true church.  To use your words, any claim to 'true' christianity is "purely from opinion and personal conclusion". It appears that the attempt to define "true" christianity is but a perpetual game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with thousands of players (new ones joining every day), and no clear winner.  It's ultimately Joe Smith's word against Luther's against the pope's against Jim Jones' against David Koresh's against...[insert thousands more]...against yours.

(Noteworthy aside:   Although charging that that the catholic church is corrupt, you acknowledge that it once was the locus of "true" christianity.  It is first of all rather suspect that "true" christianity can so easily and elusively go off course, and furthermore that 5 centuries after the Reformation commenced, the catholic church still has more followers than all other christian denominations combined.  Not that you're doing it, but some "christians" handle this inconvenient stat by claiming the catholic church is not merely corrupt, but the antichrist.)

As far as claiming that there was no "basic disagreement" among the christian denominations espoused by some of the Founding Fathers:  I submit that a disagreement  is "basic" enough if one must assume a distinct denominational label to the exclusion of another.  Were there no "basic disagreement", there would be no impetus for separate denominations. 

You yourself suggest that out of the 2 billion "christians" in the world today, "true" christians number only in the millions.  I therefore propose that for all future discussions, the bare term "christian" be retired, and each adherent employ the prefatory label of his particular denomination (or non-denomination, as the case may be).  As awkward as this may appear in practice, it will spare any discussion from needless No Scotsman digressions, and tedious Q & A sessions to determine what the chrétien du jour actually believes.  And all to the good, each adherent will quickly appreciate how little they have in common with the 2 billion others they're sharing tent space with.

 

 

There are no theists on operating tables.

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I AM GOD AS YOU
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zarathustra,  Thanks for

zarathustra,  Thanks for writing ... that will make an xlint email ... you state my views better than I can.

  Hey all christians. This huge site is informative, regarding all religion.

   =======  Understanding Hinduism  =======

"Jesus versus churchianity"

http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm

  


caposkia
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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Thanks

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Thanks cap. I am an Athiest, a fan of my "gnosis" buddha jesus, but the Christian label is broken, worthless this day, and even destructive.  

This unfortunately holds a lot of truth.  This is why I'm so adamant about clarifying my following. 


caposkia
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zarathustra wrote:I agree

zarathustra wrote:

I agree with you that knowledge in ancient languages -- not to mention several other fields -- is requisite for making any meaningful appraisal of scripture.  In fact, it probably lies beyond the ability of any one individual, but rather at best requires a team of experts. 

especially if you want to get as critical as many people do on this site. 

zarathustra wrote:

However, you are well aware that it is not in this rigorous manner that christianity is typically practiced; any fool can pick up a moth-eaten copy of the bible and start his own "christian" church. 

Which is why it's important to be a follower and not a leader.  Many pastors will never call themselves leaders because of this reasoning (clear Biblical teaching)

It's also clear in the Bible that Jesus taught love and unity.  You don't need a bunch of scholars to figure that out.  If you're starting a new religion that does not show love to all or separates instead of uniting, then it's very easy to prove your errors.  It's whether you're willing to hear the truth in that case that will make the difference. 

zarathustra wrote:

Furthermore, biblical scholarship is a relatively modern development; christian doctrine has been formulated over the centuries by those lacking the necessary academic resources to analyze the source of their doctrine.  Case in point:  The KJV remains in popular use, indicating that millions are basing their faith on a poor, error-ridden translation. 

regardless of the poor translation of the KJV, the "love and unity" that Jesus teaches as the core of his following is still crystal clear.  Therefore, there is no excuse for anyone even reading that Bible to condemn others for their disagreements. 

zarathustra wrote:

I submit that to the degree that it relies on the scriptures, "true" christianity was impossible to define for the better part of the last 2 millennia, and remains so even with the advent of modern biblical scholarship.

Basically, it's because there are so many people that think they have it more right than everyone else that they forget to focus on Jesus.  It's really a simple concept.  Love and Unity.  It never said anything about exclusivity.  Salvation through Jesus Christ is for EVERYONE!!!  Until those thousands of sects can understand that, they will always distort the following that Jesus started. 

zarathustra wrote:

You cite mormons and jw's as examples of doctrinal errancy due to misreading of the scriptures.  Very well, but they can simply make a similar claim against you. 

Been there.  I'm the only one that can sufficiently back myself up.  They say Jesus is "a god" I say Jesus is God.  (John 1:1).  They say their translation is better.  I say according to the Greek, you'd have to change every phrase in that context to say "a" which they don't.  They say, well, I dont' know the Greek, but this is what I was told.  I say, learn the Greek.  

Same goes for many situations with the JW's and the Mormons as well as other sects.

zarathustra wrote:
 

Joe Smith for one claimed that the book of mormon was necessary to put "true" christianity back on track, and that all other "christian" churches were in apostasy.  Likewise you hold that the catholic church is corrupt, while it claims to be the one, true church.  To use your words, any claim to 'true' christianity is "purely from opinion and personal conclusion". It appears that the attempt to define "true" christianity is but a perpetual game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with thousands of players (new ones joining every day), and no clear winner.  It's ultimately Joe Smith's word against Luther's against the pope's against Jim Jones' against David Koresh's against...[insert thousands more]...against yours.

I say to them, do you agree on the core beliefs written clearly in scripture.  They say yes, I say what's to argue?  They say no, we have a longer conversation coming.  I again can back up my understanding.  If they can too, then I have something to consider on my own understanding.

zarathustra wrote:

(Noteworthy aside:   Although charging that that the catholic church is corrupt, you acknowledge that it once was the locus of "true" christianity.  It is first of all rather suspect that "true" christianity can so easily and elusively go off course, and furthermore that 5 centuries after the Reformation commenced, the catholic church still has more followers than all other christian denominations combined.  Not that you're doing it, but some "christians" handle this inconvenient stat by claiming the catholic church is not merely corrupt, but the antichrist.)

I have no right to call anyone antichrist unless I can back up that claim, which btw, no one effectively has.  Also, it's not numbers that makes or breaks the following.  Anyone focusing on numbers as a defense has missed the point.

zarathustra wrote:

As far as claiming that there was no "basic disagreement" among the christian denominations espoused by some of the Founding Fathers:  I submit that a disagreement  is "basic" enough if one must assume a distinct denominational label to the exclusion of another.  Were there no "basic disagreement", there would be no impetus for separate denominations. 

You yourself suggest that out of the 2 billion "christians" in the world today, "true" christians number only in the millions.  I therefore propose that for all future discussions, the bare term "christian" be retired, and each adherent employ the prefatory label of his particular denomination (or non-denomination, as the case may be).  As awkward as this may appear in practice, it will spare any discussion from needless No Scotsman digressions, and tedious Q & A sessions to determine what the chrétien du jour actually believes.  And all to the good, each adherent will quickly appreciate how little they have in common with the 2 billion others they're sharing tent space with.

sounds like a plan.  I call myself simply a follower.