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What does it mean to you to be Christian?
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HamSandwich
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Jul 27, 2014, 07:33 AM
 
Hi,

I was actually christened a few months ago. In a tiny church right around the corner... The priest is alright, the other community members are a bit heterogeneous, I'm now a protestant, not catholic.

What does it mean to you to be Christian? Do you pray each day? Do you visit the service each week? What does it give back to you?

Open for debate?
Pete
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 27, 2014, 01:12 PM
 
Is a heterogenous community a bad thing?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Jul 28, 2014, 12:42 PM
 
Been listening to a Jesuit priest who does tech podcasts.

I can't say anyone has made me more jealous of faith than him, and he almost never says a word about religion.

Just wearing the collar and being a cool mother****er is apparently all it takes.
     
ebuddy
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Jul 28, 2014, 09:33 PM
 
First, congrats on your decisions, PeterParker. Interesting that you opted to post this in the PWL. I'm hoping this does not become unnecessarily combative.

I'm also a little confused by your use of heterogeneous. Did you mean homogeneous; lacking in diversity. Or is the community more diverse than you'd like?

Finding a church home can often be a challenge. Some churches try too hard to welcome you and violate space while others aren't near as motivated or engaged as you might think of faith in an living, almighty God. Sometimes the people are fine, but the pastor/priest comes off as stilted or "showy" or conversely, more deadpan than you'd think. With a family, a larger church can usually offer more ministry/educational opportunities for the family. Plus, they usually have more events and a larger draw that frankly, keeps things more interesting, IMO. I would personally view a heterogeneous congregation a positive thing and the larger environments can provide that.

Your general question has filled a volume of literature more vast to even begin to reference here, but I'd say that this worldview permeates every breath, every thought, and nearly every decision you make. You are essentially, never alone. It is a discipline of introspect, growth, enlightenment, and revelation that you can never tire of. When you made the commitment, you became a disciple of Jesus and as such you are part of His commission, His will, and His eternity. Like the excitement of an impending storm, it becomes much bigger than you or your immediate woes. Instead of cursing or indicting a god for strife or for the folly of mankind around you, you may be more inclined to thank God for a new day, a cool breeze, or a pleasant experience. Altruism is not something that you are guilted into or performed for show, but merely an act of service and love. But for me, loving humans has been the hardest part and something God and I have been working on for some time now. Loving other Christians can often be most difficult as well. Try not to put them on pedestals and choose your mentors wisely based on the fruits of their actions.

You don't have to be a pre-tribulation or post-tribulation Christian to be saved. You do not have to believe the earth was created 6,000 years ago to get to heaven. You do not need to believe that homosexuals are the devil or that Democrats are his minions. All you need to do is;
  • Believe in Jesus Christ and that He lived, died, was buried, and rose again to fulfill God's need to cleanse us of our sinfulness for His desire to fellowship with us.
  • Repent of your sins. You will never be perfect, but if you're not growing -- you're dying.
  • Learn what Jesus taught by way of caring for one another and in following His laws and do what you can to obey these teachings. And by the way, the best way to learn is to teach others.

I attend service every weekend and serve several hours a week in a church, but church can happen anywhere, at any time. If you're not into the fellowship (the people), keep looking. While Grace itself is not something you earn -- church, just like prayer and frankly most other endeavors in life, will generally give back what you put in. The more you pray, the more effective and meaningful it will be. The more you studiously read Scripture and understand the cultures, the more you will learn of God and man. The more you invest in time to get to know the folks at church, the more fulfilling those relationships will be. The more you engage the above, the easier the three above points are to internalize and live by.
ebuddy
     
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Jul 29, 2014, 01:58 AM
 
What was said when you were christened? Was this the first time?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 29, 2014, 04:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
  • Believe in Jesus Christ and that He lived, died, was buried, and rose again to fulfill God's need to cleanse us of our sinfulness for His desire to fellowship with us.
  • Repent of your sins. You will never be perfect, but if you're not growing -- you're dying.
  • Learn what Jesus taught by way of caring for one another and in following His laws and do what you can to obey these teachings. And by the way, the best way to learn is to teach others.

I get the second two, but whats so important about the first one?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Jul 29, 2014, 07:39 PM
 
I will second ebuddy's comment the right church is important.

You can get "not right" churches.

Example: there was a special service for my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. The homily was about a woman comitting suicide because she had an abortion.

Seriously... WTF, man?


Edit: he also felt the father being black was relevant.

Edit 2: that side of the family is extraordinarily devout. Normal Catholics consider them hardcore. They were horrified that's what the priest chose. We had a pretty serious bitchfest on the drive to the dinner buffet.
     
ebuddy
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Jul 29, 2014, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
I get the second two, but whats so important about the first one?
Good question. Christian doctrine is founded on the premise that Jesus is God. When Christians revere his teachings, they're not merely trying to live by the words of a great guy, but of a living, engaged God.

Christians are taught that blood is very important. The soul is in the blood and the treatment of it should be with respect and reverence. One means of encouraging respect for blood is to govern the shedding of it, including the use of its flesh for sustenance and in pouring out its life's-blood. More importantly, they were taught that if you shed man's blood, man will shed yours. Of course, great respect for the sacrifice necessary in your survival showed an obedience not only pleasing to God, but unquestionably useful in a purely anthropological sense. In short, blood was necessary to atone for God-given provisions. When we sin (one of which is murder), we separate ourselves from a perfect, loving God. God still wants fellowship with mankind. Atonement was necessary -- God Himself, under the principles of His own laws, became the only perfect sacrifice for us to respect and attempt to live by. We all have our "crosses to bear" (usually of the first-world sort these days. ) In short, we did not earn salvation, God gave it to us if we choose to accept it and commit to living it out.

The benefit of accepting this commitment to God and growing in obedience is a much more profound existence after our, on average, 75-year lesson is over. Jesus was the example of living, of dying for the atonement of our sins, and of a triumphant return home. Life ever-after, as promised to all of us.
ebuddy
     
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Jul 30, 2014, 12:44 PM
 
I guess I've always thought that the 'be good' & 'treat others good' parts should really trump any worshippy parts. Its just that the measured, humble and altruistic picture that is painted of Jesus has never really gelled with the whole 'worshipping me is the most important part if you want eternal happiness' part.

I know it looks like I'm just being critical as usual, but I'm trying to speak genuinely here and not just trying to rile anyone up. This really is how I think and feel about the things I have heard about Jesus. Other than this I find the guy very difficult to find much fault with.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Jul 30, 2014, 01:44 PM
 
I think that's fair. It's something which has always bothered me as well.

Being a good person should be all it takes to get into heaven.


I thought of a little playlet where you have a devout Christian and an atheist hippy waiting in line at the Pearly Gates.

Whichever angel is the doorman (I forget) starts with the Christian.

"You were a fine follower of The Lord, but there was one important part you didn't follow. God tasked you to be steward of the earth. Throughout your entire life you took God's bounty and wasted it. I'm sorry, I cannot allow you in."

Button gets pressed. Trapdoor opens. Chute to hell.

The hippy walks up with a big smile on his face "when I was on earth, I took care of it and the things on it. I loved my fellow man, I loved the animals and trees. I made sure never to waste anything. I even turned my own shit into compost!"

The angel replies "yes, but you didn't accept Jesus as your savior."

Button gets pressed. Trapdoor opens. Chute to hell.
     
Chongo
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Jul 30, 2014, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I think that's fair. It's something which has always bothered me as well.

Being a good person should be all it takes to get into heaven.


I thought of a little playlet where you have a devout Christian and an atheist hippy waiting in line at the Pearly Gates.

Whichever angel is the doorman (I forget) starts with the Christian.

"You were a fine follower of The Lord, but there was one important part you didn't follow. God tasked you to be steward of the earth. Throughout your entire life you took God's bounty and wasted it. I'm sorry, I cannot allow you in."

Button gets pressed. Trapdoor opens. Chute to hell.

The hippy walks up with a big smile on his face "when I was on earth, I took care of it and the things on it. I loved my fellow man, I loved the animals and trees. I made sure never to waste anything. I even turned my own shit into compost!"

The angel replies "yes, but you didn't accept Jesus as your savior."

Button gets pressed. Trapdoor opens. Chute to hell.
Thus illustrating the need for faith and works
Faith and Works

"‘Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’" (Matt. 7:21).

"‘Why do you call me "Lord, Lord," and not do what I tell you?’" (Luke 6:46).

"For he will render every man according to his works . . ." (Rom. 2:6-8).

"For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified" (Rom. 2:13).

"For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgments . . . (Heb. 10:26-27).

"What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?" (Jas. 2:14).

"So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (Jas. 2:17).

"But some one will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. . . .Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? (Jas. 2:18-20).

"You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone" (Jas. 2:24).
     
subego
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Jul 30, 2014, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
Thus illustrating the need for faith and works
From an outside perspective, and I'm perfectly willing to admit I don't understand, putting those on the same plane makes no sense to me.

Works are what matters. Requiring faith implies pettiness and vanity one would hope the divine didn't suffer from.

Unless there is a direct correlation with divine power and worship, but the rulebook pretty clearly states that's not how it works.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 31, 2014, 11:03 AM
 
It really is difficult to see past the worship conditions as anything other than ego. This is what dates religious belief for me more than anything else. 2000 years ago a leader with an ego was just fine if not outright desirable. These days leaders are elected to represent people, so they are expected to do so for the greater good while keeping their own ego or agenda in check.

The remaining modern exception is a dictator. Ego, greed, personal ambition, rule through fear etc, etc.

Of course, a creator is not the same thing as a leader but our only real analogue for that is parents creating children. This theme runs throughout the Abrahamic religions doesn't it? Certainly the Catholics are big on this idea.

It begs the question: Why are god's children never allowed to grow up? [and live by their own rules]
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
el chupacabra
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Aug 1, 2014, 10:38 PM
 
If someone were to show respect to their dad for their entire life because he raised them, is it just something they do because he requires it to cater to his ego?
     
subego
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Aug 1, 2014, 11:16 PM
 
Of course not.

What's being said is the father requiring it is the father catering to his ego.




As an aside, I really feel compelled to use the singular "they" when referring to God, but have so far successfully fought it off.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 1, 2014 at 11:27 PM. )
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 2, 2014, 06:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
If someone were to show respect to their dad for their entire life because he raised them, is it just something they do because he requires it to cater to his ego?

Well you can respect your father without living by his rules. Of course if you go back to stay/live with him again its not unreasonable that some of his rules should come back into effect, though I think its perfectly fair to say that a 10 or 15 year old would be living under rather different rules than a 42 year old.
So if the Earth/entire Universe is god's house, its not like we can ever move out which means we are always living under those same rules and again we are never allowed to grow up. So to speak.

All that of course applies if your father is a good man. If he is a total scumbag or loser and still demands respect and adherence to his rules, I don't think its unreasonable to say that there is ego at play.

Now if god truly wants to be a father figure, then perhaps what he really wants is for us to grow up and learn to treat each other well without his rules, oversight or intervention. Maybe his goal for us is to eventually leave him behind?
I guess we're not there yet as long as we keep murdering and abusing each other though. Perhaps humanity is in its rebellious teen phase.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
el chupacabra
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Aug 2, 2014, 12:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Well you can respect your father without living by his rules. Of course if you go back to stay/live with him again its not unreasonable that some of his rules should come back into effect, though I think its perfectly fair to say that a 10 or 15 year old would be living under rather different rules than a 42 year old.
So if the Earth/entire Universe is god's house, its not like we can ever move out which means we are always living under those same rules and again we are never allowed to grow up. So to speak.
We do things that greatly inconvenience us for our parents for our entire life. We live by a sort of unspoken set of rules or code. And as americans/brits/Canadians we'er some of the least respectful, least compassionate people in the world. Many other nations you're more tightly bound to parents for your whole life often living under same roof whole life. Personally I find government puts way more restrictions and rules in place that wastes our time and restricts us/me from growing up more than my religion. And some don't have any problem with that. Theres always going to be rules in our lives and I don't see why a supernatural entity wouldn't be entitled to be a part of it.
Now if god truly wants to be a father figure, then perhaps what he really wants is for us to grow up and learn to treat each other well without his rules, oversight or intervention. Maybe his goal for us is to eventually leave him behind?
Is this not essentially how it is - if he exists; Does he really intervene that much, if at all?
I guess we're not there yet as long as we keep murdering and abusing each other though. Perhaps humanity is in its rebellious teen phase.
I guess I don't view it as being forced to live by his rules, after all I have the natural right/ability to go out and murder, and abuse anybody without worry of divine intervention.
     
subego
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Aug 2, 2014, 12:40 PM
 
Until you die, then the divine intervenes with a hot poker for all eternity.
     
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Aug 2, 2014, 01:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Until you die, then the divine intervenes with a hot poker for all eternity.
Nutty Calvinists.
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ebuddy
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Aug 3, 2014, 08:38 AM
 
@ PeterParker, any thoughts?
ebuddy
     
ebuddy
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Aug 3, 2014, 08:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
It begs the question: Why are god's children never allowed to grow up? [and live by their own rules]
Good question. The short answer is, because God is God and we are not. I don't know if it's so much about God's ego as it is an apparent foreknowledge of human nature. He knows us and we're easily distracted.

2 Timothy 4:3; For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
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Waragainstsleep
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Aug 5, 2014, 04:27 AM
 
This just leads me back in a circle somewhat.

Surely a wise, secure deity should be happier and prouder with people who do think as he would like us to without needing to worry about his approval or wrath?

As an atheist its easy for me to conclude that these implications of ego, insecurity and the need for extreme approval as well as the pettiness, jealousy vengeful spite that come across in the behaviour of god in the old testament are simply human traits that were more likely projected by those who wrote the stories and accounts that make up the OT as their idea of how a god should think, feel and act. The god of the OT feels very much like a King, Pharaoh or emperor rather than a god.

For some reason it still surprises me that more Christians do not reach this same conclusion.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Chongo
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Aug 5, 2014, 09:32 AM
 
Sounds like Marcionism.
     
subego
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Aug 5, 2014, 09:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
This just leads me back in a circle somewhat.

Surely a wise, secure deity should be happier and prouder with people who do think as he would like us to without needing to worry about his approval or wrath?

As an atheist its easy for me to conclude that these implications of ego, insecurity and the need for extreme approval as well as the pettiness, jealousy vengeful spite that come across in the behaviour of god in the old testament are simply human traits that were more likely projected by those who wrote the stories and accounts that make up the OT as their idea of how a god should think, feel and act. The god of the OT feels very much like a King, Pharaoh or emperor rather than a god.

For some reason it still surprises me that more Christians do not reach this same conclusion.
To me, it seems more likely that Gods are closer to humans than the NT would lead you to believe.

IOW, it's the opposite of what you state. Gods actually are petty and have egos. The idea they don't, is the mortal projection of what we want gods to be like.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 5, 2014, 10:53 AM
 
Shouldn't it take more than omnipotence to deserve worship though?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Aug 5, 2014, 11:02 AM
 
It has to. I'm claiming gods aren't omnipotent.
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It has to. I'm claiming gods aren't omnipotent.
The predominant gnostic view is they are, but only within their native "spheres" of influence, within this dimension/probability they're much more limited (by design) and can only affect change through their agents. Here, we're the gods (in the making) and our will is supreme, when/if we learn to exercise it, creating our own reality, either individually or as groups, based on our thoughts and actions.

That would mean that, yes, there is a creator. But, no, it won't (can't) get directly involved. Another twist is that it's the substance of our reality while its genius is completely separate from it.
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Aug 5, 2014, 01:18 PM
 
Excellent discussion of OT Vs NT G d
http://www.catholic.com/sites/defaul.../ca110411a.mp3
     
subego
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Aug 5, 2014, 01:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The predominant gnostic view is they are, but only within their native "spheres" of influence, within this dimension/probability they're much more limited (by design) and can only affect change through their agents. Here, we're the gods (in the making) and our will is supreme, when/if we learn to exercise it, creating our own reality, either individually or as groups, based on our thoughts and actions.

That would mean that, yes, there is a creator. But, no, it won't (can't) get directly involved. Another twist is that it's the substance of our reality while its genius is completely separate from it.
What little religion I have, probably hews closest to Gnosticism.

I find the implicit lack of trust in the divine to be appealing.
     
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Aug 5, 2014, 08:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
This just leads me back in a circle somewhat.

Surely a wise, secure deity should be happier and prouder with people who do think as he would like us to without needing to worry about his approval or wrath?
But one without faith would be void of this concern. He did not create automatons, you and I have the freedom to choose as we have.
As an atheist its easy for me to conclude that these implications of ego, insecurity and the need for extreme approval as well as the pettiness, jealousy vengeful spite that come across in the behaviour of god in the old testament are simply human traits that were more likely projected by those who wrote the stories and accounts that make up the OT as their idea of how a god should think, feel and act. The god of the OT feels very much like a King, Pharaoh or emperor rather than a god.
Perspectives. Someone leaning toward a more antagonistic view of religion, not of God necessarily, but of His faithful and how they've represented themselves in the life-experience of the atheist; may see a vengeful, wrathful, ego-maniacal, insecure boob. They would likely say the same of faithful people, interestingly.

Those with whom I fellowship see the Author of Life including all of its joys, trials, and victories. They see God on a beautiful day, in a flower, the flow of a river, a wondrous nature teeming with variety, and the opportunity of each new day.

For some reason it still surprises me that more Christians do not reach this same conclusion.
Some do. Varying perspectives as only a free people could ever entertain.
ebuddy
     
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Aug 6, 2014, 10:05 AM
 
Is it a lack of perspective on my part I see God of the OT and God of the NT as individuals with different characters?
     
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Aug 6, 2014, 01:55 PM
 
They do have enormous fundamental differences.

If gods don't have to be omnipotent, do they have to have powers at all? Is the act of creating a species sufficient to claim the title of god?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Aug 6, 2014, 02:54 PM
 
If you take OT God, and allow for the possibility he (again... really want to write "they") isn't omnipotent, I can kinda buy into it. At least in parts.
     
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Aug 7, 2014, 07:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Is it a lack of perspective on my part I see God of the OT and God of the NT as individuals with different characters?
Absolutely not. I mean, not IMO. It follows logically that one would perceive different manifestations of God differently. However, if one were to talk of a vengeful and jealous God of the OT, but a loving and gracious God in the NT as being among the primary differences; I might conclude that they are not giving much regard for the acts of love and grace in the OT or the expressions of anger and wrath in the NT. There are 66 books of Scripture illustrating all manner of God's expression to man encompassing all that God is, with the primary features we're perceiving as stark differences here riddled throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Such information is generally sought in earnest. After all, Jesus' ministry on earth was less than 40 years and consider the possibility that linear time is one limitation of our existence that shapes our perception.

We may say for example that God appears too much like man, but we're still applying our human logic to such a notion. While at the same time we are told that we were created to be like Him.
ebuddy
     
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Aug 7, 2014, 07:30 AM
 
73 books
     
subego
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Aug 7, 2014, 12:24 PM
 
I fully admit I'm far less informed about the NT than I am about the OT.

That said, is there something on par to drowning everybody on the planet minus five? I figured I would have heard of it.

I'm not counting Revelations because that hasn't happened yet.
     
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Aug 8, 2014, 06:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Chongo View Post
73 books
I protest. As you can understand.
ebuddy
     
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Aug 8, 2014, 07:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I fully admit I'm far less informed about the NT than I am about the OT.

That said, is there something on par to drowning everybody on the planet minus five? I figured I would have heard of it.

I'm not counting Revelations because that hasn't happened yet.
Why not count the Book of Revelation? It is NT authorship. If you can accept one account of God through man, why not the other? Have you not shown extreme altruism and extreme anger even in your short lifetime? While we do not have God's scope, we certainly have His nature. Again, Jesus' ministry was very short even by our standards, but it was a decidedly humbled, human ministry for a different age of man, and a God operating outside our concept of time.

Is it possible the draw of mistrust in Divinity has shaped your perspective?
ebuddy
     
subego
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Aug 8, 2014, 06:26 PM
 
Oh... there's no question my distrust shapes and informs my perspective.

Other than the reason I stated above for why I'm not counting Revelations, that it hasn't happened yet, thus being distinctly different from everything else in both testaments, one can't help but notice Revelations is way different in character than the rest of the NT.

Isn't that textbook "exception proving the rule"? That one example is the exception to an entire testament full of God not acting that way. Not slaughtering everyone is the rule of the NT.
     
unicast reversepath
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Aug 8, 2014, 11:59 PM
 
The Lord Reveals His Omnipotence to Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
9 When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
10 When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
11 When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’
12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
13 That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It takes on form like clay under a seal,
And stands out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the upraised arm is broken.
16 “Have you entered the springs of the sea?
Or have you walked in search of the depths?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18 Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
20 That you may take it to its territory,
That you may know the paths to its home?
21 Do you know it, because you were born then,
Or because the number of your days is great?
22 “Have you entered the treasury of snow,
Or have you seen the treasury of hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
For the day of battle and war?
24 By what way is light diffused,
Or the east wind scattered over the earth?
25 “Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,
Or a path for the thunderbolt,
26 To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,
A wilderness in which there is no man;
27 To satisfy the desolate waste,
And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?
28 Has the rain a father?
Or who has begotten the drops of dew?
29 From whose womb comes the ice?
And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?
30 The waters harden like stone,
And the surface of the deep is frozen.
31 “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the belt of Orion?
32 Can you bring out Mazzaroth[bf] in its season?
Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?
35 Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,
And say to you, ‘Here we are!’?
36 Who has put wisdom in the mind?[bg]
Or who has given understanding to the heart?
37 Who can number the clouds by wisdom?
Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,
38 When the dust hardens in clumps,
And the clods cling together?
39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40 When they crouch in their dens,
Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?
41 Who provides food for the raven,
When its young ones cry to God,
And wander about for lack of food?
39 “Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?
Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Or do you know the time when they bear young?
3 They bow down,
They bring forth their young,
They deliver their offspring.[bh]
4 Their young ones are healthy,
They grow strong with grain;
They depart and do not return to them.
5 “Who set the wild donkey free?
Who loosed the bonds of the onager,
6 Whose home I have made the wilderness,
And the barren land his dwelling?
7 He scorns the tumult of the city;
He does not heed the shouts of the driver.
8 The range of the mountains is his pasture,
And he searches after every green thing.
9 “Will the wild ox be willing to serve you?
Will he bed by your manger?
10 Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes?
Or will he plow the valleys behind you?
11 Will you trust him because his strength is great?
Or will you leave your labor to him?
12 Will you trust him to bring home your grain,
And gather it to your threshing floor?
13 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,
But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s?
14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground,
And warms them in the dust;
15 She forgets that a foot may crush them,
Or that a wild beast may break them.
16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers;
Her labor is in vain, without concern,
17 Because God deprived her of wisdom,
And did not endow her with understanding.
18 When she lifts herself on high,
She scorns the horse and its rider.
19 “Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?[bi]
20 Can you frighten him like a locust?
His majestic snorting strikes terror.
21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
He gallops into the clash of arms.
22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened;
Nor does he turn back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattles against him,
The glittering spear and javelin.
24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage;
Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.
25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
The thunder of captains and shouting.
26 “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?
28 On the rock it dwells and resides,
On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
29 From there it spies out the prey;
Its eyes observe from afar.
30 Its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there it is.”
40 Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said:

2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”

If you have Ghosts, you have Everything!
     
ebuddy
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Aug 9, 2014, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Oh... there's no question my distrust shapes and informs my perspective.

Other than the reason I stated above for why I'm not counting Revelations, that it hasn't happened yet, thus being distinctly different from everything else in both testaments, one can't help but notice Revelations is way different in character than the rest of the NT.

Isn't that textbook "exception proving the rule"? That one example is the exception to an entire testament full of God not acting that way. Not slaughtering everyone is the rule of the NT.
You're bringing up very good points and I'm trying to express my perspective (to be clear, to be taken or not) in a way that at least makes some sense. Jesus' time on earth, His short ministry, and His teachings are from His 33 years among us as a manifestation of God to us in the NT for a very specific purpose. This would be a short span of time even from our human perspective, but perhaps a fleeting moment for a God that exists outside of our linear perception of time. Consider standing atop a tall building while looking down over a parade for example. A person somewhere within the parade likely cannot see the beginning of the parade nor the end. They slowly make their way along the parade until it is over. But you can see the entire scope of it at once -- the beginning, the middle, and the end. In other words, He is all of these natures essentially at once, not changing or evolving. In this context from my perspective, God does not seem different and the book of Revelation in the NT does not seem a diversion from a single nature perceived in the OT which is why you'll see elements of all of these natures riddled throughout both Testaments. He is simply, God.
ebuddy
     
subego
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Aug 9, 2014, 12:26 PM
 
That actually works for me. It doesn't deal directly with Revalations, but I think that's part of your point. Revalations isn't really about Jesus, so it being distinctive isn't particularly out there.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Aug 9, 2014, 01:17 PM
 
So are you saying that god is really the petty, jealous, spiteful dick from the OT but he had a 33 year hippy 'phase'?

Does that mean you think the OT is the more important one?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
subego
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Aug 9, 2014, 02:08 PM
 
You weren't asking me, but I always have thought the OT to be more important.
     
ebuddy
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Aug 9, 2014, 03:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
So are you saying that god is really the petty, jealous, spiteful dick from the OT but he had a 33 year hippy 'phase'?
I'm surprised you lasted this long.

No, I'm saying people who insist on being closed-minded, antagonistic, and disrespectful will see nothing of these principles other than whatever presuppositions they've fashioned from their limited exposure to them. Their curiosity is disingenuous and their contributions to such discussions are never more than entirely facetious.

Does that mean you think the OT is the more important one?
Why do you ask?
ebuddy
     
lpkmckenna
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Aug 9, 2014, 04:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by unicast reversepath View Post
The Lord Reveals His Omnipotence to Job
38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

... blah blah blah ...

2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”
The story of Job: God deliberately ruins Job's life in a silly wager with Satan, and when Job asks why he's being tormented, God gives a long, pompous, pointless rant about how fncking clever he is.


There's actually a really simple answer to why God in the NT appears more "peaceful" than God in the Hebrew Bible (or the Quran):

The NT was written by people without power and who were the victims of the abuse of power. Thoughtful people in that position will usually decry power and advocate for justice, fairness, and tolerance. (Less thoughtful people will turn to criminality, like the Zealots.)

The HB and Quran were written over periods of time when the writers sometimes had power, and sometimes didn't. If they didn't, they spoke very similarly to the authors of the NT. When they had power, they were quick to justify any abuses of power with demands for conformity, compliance, stoking fears of invaders and traitors, and so on.

Once Christianity became an organ of government in the post-NT era, the now-empowered officials of the religion had no trouble whatsoever justifying abuses of power and advocating for violence.

Summary: the Bible is written by people and reflects their life situations. (Either you realize that, or you chose to believe God actually does want adulterers and apostates to be stoned to death. Pick one.)

That said, God himself still does employ violence in the NT. The entire theme of the Gospel of Mark is that God will destroy the Jewish establishment with the Roman army for handing over the Messiah to the Romans. It's not a plague of frogs or a flood, but this is a deliberate mirror of the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians and Judah by the Babylonians in the Hebrew Bible.
( Last edited by lpkmckenna; Aug 9, 2014 at 04:34 PM. )
     
subego
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Aug 10, 2014, 02:59 PM
 
I read an article about a Jew who tried to go full-on, biblical orthodox for a year. He started carrying pebbles to help accommodate all the people who wanted to stone him. IIRC, while lots of people would ask if they could stone him, only one person throughout the whole year actually did it.

My favorite part of the article was how his wife, as soon as she started her period, would be sure to sit in every chair and couch in the house, so he wasn't allowed to sit anywhere until it was over for the month.
     
lpkmckenna
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Aug 10, 2014, 05:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I read an article about a Jew who tried to go full-on, biblical orthodox for a year. He started carrying pebbles to help accommodate all the people who wanted to stone him. IIRC, while lots of people would ask if they could stone him, only one person throughout the whole year actually did it.
Yeah he wrote a book about it: The Year of Living Biblically | AJ Jacobs - Official Website

I think you have something backwards: he was stoning people for their sins, they weren't stoning him.
     
subego
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Aug 10, 2014, 05:37 PM
 
That makes sense. I knew my memory was fuzzy.
     
And.reg
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Aug 13, 2014, 08:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
What does it mean to you to be Christian? Do you pray each day? Do you visit the service each week? What does it give back to you?
1. Christian means: "I have accepted Christ" - nothing more to it.

2. Do I pray each day? On many days yes, but not strictly every day. Prayer is talking with God. In prayer you willingly give God your time... "not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). I pray anywhere from once to a few times on most days. There's no schedule for prayer, just practice, a lot, and join prayer groups with people you can be comfortable around to get practice.

3. Do I visit the service each week? On many weeks, yes (I assume you mean a Church) I do because I am building a special social connection with friends there (and they give me back their time), so I keep going.
     
 
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