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Christianity [OT] The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

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New apologetic resources on various subjects:

Audio: If God Makes Us “Very Good,” Why Are There Birth Defects?

"The idea that we are “perfect just the way we are” is difficult to square, both from a biblical perspective and also in light of the lived experience of so many people. How can we talk about “perfection” when human suffering surrounds us and when we ourselves are confronted with our own imperfection?" (2/19/20)

Video: Epic Debate on Genesis & Evolution

"Michael Jones and Dr. Joe Boot met at Redeemer University to debate if the Bible is compatible with the theory of evolution." (2/19/20)

Article: How Can I Trust the Bible When It Was Used to Justify Slavery?

"The catalyst for both antebellum slavery and slavery throughout the Bible involved economics. The former initially concerned colonists wanting cheap labor to clear forests and cultivate tobacco crops. In order to validate the practice of enslaving Africans to fulfill this fiscal desire, the social construction of racism occurred. In addition, antebellum slavery included the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the grueling method by which slave traders would tightly cram Africans on board ships to transport them to the Americas. This forced migration was so loathsome and dehumanizing that former slave Olaudah Equiano gave the following stirring summation of its abhorrent details, “I now wished for the last friend, Death, to relieve me...” The kidnapping and subsequent enslavement, which was central to this slave trade, meant that pre-Civil War slavery was involuntary. Yet slavery in the Bible was vastly different. First, according to many scholars, the Hebrew word (ebed or eved) that is often translated as slave in the Old Testament is more reasonably rendered as servant. Furthermore, slavery among the Hebrews in the Old Testament often occurred when individuals sold themselves into servanthood to pay off debt. Therefore, it was voluntary."

Audio/Video: Unbelievable? God, Gay Christians and the Church - Brandan Robertson and David Bennett

"Two gay Christians on either side of the 'Side A and Side B’ view, join Justin to talk about their stories and why they take different views on sexuality and the gospel. Brandan Roberston is a progressive pastor of an LGBT affirming church who believes there is no barrier to Christians being in loving same-sex relationships. David Bennett was an anti-Christian gay activist who experienced a dramatic conversion and now believes that his commitment to Christ requires a path of celibacy." (2/21/20)

Audio: The Global Challenge of the Coronavirus

"Though Nathan and Cameron recorded this episode before the coronavirus received its official name (Covid-19), their discussion reflects the dynamic nature of this story—we still have way more questions than answers—and attempts to counter the growing anxiety and animosity with a Christian response." (2/14/20)

Video: Mission ConneXion Northwest 2020: Michael Ramsden

"Michael Ramsden is President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and one of the founders of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is passionate about engaging with people of all backgrounds and cultures about questions of faith, primarily speaking in business, academic, and political settings across the globe. He will be speaking about Sharing the Gospel in Post-Christian Culture - very relevant for us here in Portland." (1/23/20)
 
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Helscream

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The reason I have issue with the "if the God of the bible was who he said he is" explanation is the inconsistencies with the character of that God as described across the books. It's like there's multiple God personalities swapping out, or, as defined in these books, he's as human as the rest of us.

However, if the idea of it being 'perfect' (paraphrasing what I think you mean) is more about a point in time and a grander plan, assumed to be around humanity evolving toward loving wisdom... Then as-is, it can logically serve a purpose about what exists to compel ideas, wisdom, transformation and evolution to take place through discussion and argument (about the ideas that may or may not be the whole picture at the time)... with the possibility that some seemingly random, perfectly timed event leads to the OG texts being found at a point in time where that new data already has enough momentum in the thought-sphere to change enough minds to a more love-centric evolved space.

This I'm personally more inclined to believe, as it's more relatable with the flowings of what most of us have often shared or read in art as 'divine plan' style narratives, and in real life success stories and probably our own lives as well. I.E., perfection as a perfect-in-the-time-of, providing what is needed, rather than perfect to a final absolute.

Hope these last two paragraphs make sense. Edited a few times for clarity but they got a little fat there.
I would be curious to hear what you think are inconsistencies in terms of God's character in the Bible (Genuine question). I am aware of many events people like to bring up. However with the proper context you will discover that there is consistency in God's character. However I am more interested what you personally take issue with.

From the Biblical narrative humanity has been in a state of entropy since being expelled from the garden of Eden. This entropy applies to all facets of humanity (Morality, Biological, etc). Mankind cannot evolve into any superior state. Only God can restore humanity to its original intended state of being.

Now there is a process of "sanctification" that those of the Christian faith are constantly going through. Even though you have become a Christian you will still stumble, but are still striving towards a more pure and righteous lifestyle. It is not until that when the Millennial reign is established that Christians will enter their "perfect" state of being so to speak. However there is no doctrine or scripture about the individual evolving into a better person. Faith in Messiah redeems you of your sins, however you still exist in a entropic reality that will remain so until the Messiah returns to earth and restores all things.

I understand your approach and it will make sense given certain presuppositions. However it goes into direct conflict with the Biblical narrative.

(PSA - To put things into perspective I'm just a dude who lives in Texas. The Belt Buckle of the Bible belt. Not a professor/pastor. I just learned alot on my own. Dont want to give you the impression Im some old reverend waving his finger at you)
 

boutrosinit

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I would be curious to hear what you think are inconsistencies in terms of God's character in the Bible (Genuine question). I am aware of many events people like to bring up. However with the proper context you will discover that there is consistency in God's character. However I am more interested what you personally take issue with.

From the Biblical narrative humanity has been in a state of entropy since being expelled from the garden of Eden. This entropy applies to all facets of humanity (Morality, Biological, etc). Mankind cannot evolve into any superior state. Only God can restore humanity to its original intended state of being.

Now there is a process of "sanctification" that those of the Christian faith are constantly going through. Even though you have become a Christian you will still stumble, but are still striving towards a more pure and righteous lifestyle. It is not until that when the Millennial reign is established that Christians will enter their "perfect" state of being so to speak. However there is no doctrine or scripture about the individual evolving into a better person. Faith in Messiah redeems you of your sins, however you still exist in a entropic reality that will remain so until the Messiah returns to earth and restores all things.

I understand your approach and it will make sense given certain presuppositions. However it goes into direct conflict with the Biblical narrative.

(PSA - To put things into perspective I'm just a dude who lives in Texas. The Belt Buckle of the Bible belt. Not a professor/pastor. I just learned alot on my own. Dont want to give you the impression Im some old reverend waving his finger at you)

Ha. All good mate. Didn't think you were. You seem studious and like you're really deep in the material and having dissected it thoroughly, and then batting it back. If it read like a telling off, I'd probably have disengaged.

I'm an explorer. Looking at as many of the religions faiths and mystical things as possible. I was raised Catholic but it never aligned for me. Felt like what I was fed in school was severely edited / mis-interpreted, inconsistent, frustratingly creepy and flat mad. Is a large super-being really watching every teenage boy masturbate and then judging them for it? Why give them the option? Etc... These were the kinds of thought that bothered me growing up.

In my explorations across faiths, there's been a ton of crossover but in key areas. When I've dug deeper, the versions of the big three religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) seem to have smaller off-shoots that line up with older and broader faiths too, in the realm of key beliefs on cosmic / karmic law, afterlife (reincarnation), ties to supernatural / healing ability and self evolution.

My personal faith - kind of a mishmash of all sorts. Probably closer to pagan than anything else. The faith I follow is in line with the belief that love is the highest form of energy and transcends a simple feeling about a person, and is more about a state of being and interacting with the world. Easier said than done...

The God inconsistency stuff - in all frankness, this is from memory of how it was taught to me back in school. On the one hand, smiting people, locust swarms and all manner of vicious nastiness against humans that didn't do what he liked. It seemed to be driven from weak-minded, spiteful qualities of the most disliked kind of human... and dictatorial at best.

Later on, we have references of an all loving, super-forgiving God. Either this God was different beings (more in line with the Sumerian history stuff, where different God-considered beings disagreed about how their creations should be handled), or this was very poor editing - has been my personal conclusion.

No desire to upset or offend anyone. Purely my own exploration and nowt more.
 

Game Analyst

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The God inconsistency stuff - in all frankness, this is from memory of how it was taught to me back in school. On the one hand, smiting people, locust swarms and all manner of vicious nastiness against humans that didn't do what he liked. It seemed to be driven from weak-minded, spiteful qualities of the most disliked kind of human... and dictatorial at best.

Later on, we have references of an all loving, super-forgiving God. Either this God was different beings (more in line with the Sumerian history stuff, where different God-considered beings disagreed about how their creations should be handled), or this was very poor editing - has been my personal conclusion.

No desire to upset or offend anyone. Purely my own exploration and nowt more.
Boutrosinit, I think you will find the following discussion helpful:


Philosopher "Paul Copan addresses moral objections to the Old Testament, including charges of genocide in relation to the Canaanite conquest and what the Bible has to say about slavery. "
 
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boutrosinit

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Boutrosinit, I think you will find the following discussion helpful:


Philosopher "Paul Copan addresses moral objections to the Old Testament, including charges of genocide in relation to the Canaanite conquest and what the Bible has to say about slavery. "

Damnit. 1 hour+ long video :messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy:

Thanks for posting regardless. Doubt I'll get to it soon but I appreciate the share. Shall add it to my watch later list.
 

NecrosaroIII

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I'm getting more into Christian cosmology lately. Some truly great imagery here. What are your favorite artistic depictions of more obscure/out there mythological elements. The artwork in the OP was pretty sick btw.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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I'm getting more into Christian cosmology lately. Some truly great imagery here. What are your favorite artistic depictions of more obscure/out there mythological elements. The artwork in the OP was pretty sick btw.
the phantasmagorical floating head of John the Baptist as depicted in L'Apparition by Gustave Moreau (1876).



the master Ralphael with the spooky and dramatic Transfiguration (1560)


03 the golden-green hazy supernatural charge of Mystical Nativity by Filippo Lippi (1469)
 
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Karma Jawa

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It’s kind of weird that people in this day and age still believe in this stuff. Fair enough if you believe in some vague notion of spirituality and the soul, but The Bible is full of shit mixed in with some basic moral guidance and crowd control.

Probably one of the biggest differences between the US and the U.K. Very rare to encounter a Christian in this country. Britain is largely agnostic at best.
 
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Ornlu

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It’s kind of weird that people in this day and age still believe in this stuff. Fair enough if you believe in some vague notion of spirituality and the soul, but The Bible is full of shit mixed in with some basic moral guidance and crowd control.

Probably one of the biggest differences between the US and the U.K. Very rare to encounter a Christian in this country. Britain is largely agnostic at best.
Hi, do you have anything to contribute? This isn't the thread for drivebys.

thanks
 

Bolivar687

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It’s kind of weird that people in this day and age still believe in this stuff. Fair enough if you believe in some vague notion of spirituality and the soul, but The Bible is full of shit mixed in with some basic moral guidance and crowd control.

Probably one of the biggest differences between the US and the U.K. Very rare to encounter a Christian in this country. Britain is largely agnostic at best.
The Western religions have been heavily engineered over the last 150 years to remove all sense of the sacred, and this had been going on a lot longer in England. If I hadn't stumbled across reverent liturgy, eventually bringing me to the Latin Mass, I'd probably be a vaguely spiritual agnostic myself.

You should definitely afford more of the benefit of the doubt to the Bible, it's a really great work of world literature and history. I love epic fantasy, but I would put the First Book of Maccabees up against my all time favorites. As far as moral guidance, I found all the Wisdom literature, especially the Book of Proverbs, very challenging but rewarding to work through.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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there are many many beautiful Catholic altars and sublime works of holy architecture around the world. i really love the Iglesia de São Francisco.






The Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) in Porto, Portugal boasts fabulous Baroque features. It was founded by the Franciscan friars as part of their convent, one of the oldest in Portugal, and dates back to the 13th century.

Its interior is decorated with intricate carved panels, all covered with a layer of gold leaf. It’s a breathtaking work of art that took several decades to complete.

The magnificent building hasn’t always rocked these extravagant gold accessories. It received its precious metal makeover in the 1700s between centuries of turbulence.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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found this pretty spot on. Kevin Smith shared an ignorant take on religion = pop culture and thinks Captain America doing a thing will replace thousands of years of tradition.

in this video he discusses the modern corporate Pop Cult and the incorrect assumptions made by the filmmaker and other Consumer Cult followers. i've seen Kevin's incorrect statement that "Religions have been founded on the Bible" parroted a lot of places. David sets the record straight here:

 
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Thaedolus

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It’s kind of weird that people in this day and age still believe in this stuff. Fair enough if you believe in some vague notion of spirituality and the soul, but The Bible is full of shit mixed in with some basic moral guidance and crowd control.

Probably one of the biggest differences between the US and the U.K. Very rare to encounter a Christian in this country. Britain is largely agnostic at best.
I think it’s better for people who think like you and me to just steer clear of expressing this type of stuff in these kinds of threads. I do enjoy the art on display and don’t need to antagonize
 

Helscream

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Ha. All good mate. Didn't think you were. You seem studious and like you're really deep in the material and having dissected it thoroughly, and then batting it back. If it read like a telling off, I'd probably have disengaged.

I'm an explorer. Looking at as many of the religions faiths and mystical things as possible. I was raised Catholic but it never aligned for me. Felt like what I was fed in school was severely edited / mis-interpreted, inconsistent, frustratingly creepy and flat mad. Is a large super-being really watching every teenage boy masturbate and then judging them for it? Why give them the option? Etc... These were the kinds of thought that bothered me growing up.

In my explorations across faiths, there's been a ton of crossover but in key areas. When I've dug deeper, the versions of the big three religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) seem to have smaller off-shoots that line up with older and broader faiths too, in the realm of key beliefs on cosmic / karmic law, afterlife (reincarnation), ties to supernatural / healing ability and self evolution.
While I was not raised Catholic I can attest to the inconsistent and confusing environment that I feel most "average" Christians in today's world suffer. The feelings you express (and I am sure many can relate) are in part a result of the extreme Biblical illiteracy of Christianity at large. This applies to the community of people who are apart of their congregation was well as those who lead it. The other part is the religious practice/ceremony that different sects of Christianity have developed on their own and have been passed down from generation to generation. Practices and ceremony that have no foundation in scripture.

For example (and I am glad you just so happened to mention it) Masturbation is often interrupted as "wasting ones seed is a sin. However if you actually read scripture where this comes from the context of what actually happened is forgotten or ignored. In the Book of Genesis of the 38th Chapter you have a incident concerning a man named Onan and a woman named Tamar. In the Old Testament part of God's plan was to created a nation of Priest from the descendants of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This nation (which would be known as Israel) would spread the truth of The Creator to the whole world and to be his representatives upon the earth. Also from this nation of Israel would the Messiah come from to redeem the world. So logically it would make sense that the God of the Bible would have great desire to maintain this nation. Now in the times of ancient Israel if a man was to die and bare his wife no children his brother (if he had one) was to have sex with his deceased brothers wife that she may have alteast one child to help maintain their perspective Tribe and as a whole the nation of Israel. Onan went ahead and had sex with Tamar, but spilled his seed upon the ground instead of impregnating Tamar.

Now because of Onan's disobedience God struck him dead. The average person may see this and think it extreme and it would be without the proper context. Onan betrayed his duty to his deceased brother. He disobeyed God deliberately (And the Old Testament stresses several times that there is a difference between sin that is committed in ignorance and sin that is committed with absolute knowledge). God takes his preservation of Israel very seriously through all of the Bible. Anytime when the preservation of Israel is threatened whether it be small or large God takes serious action. Because if Israel ceased to exist, the Messiah would not be born and humanity would be lost. Now I speculate that Onan had perhaps done things to trespass against God, but scripture does not mention it. But you can see something as simple of the subject of masturbation is taken way out of its original context. Now things like masturbation as it pertains to adultery, lust in the heart, fornication etc is another subject that I will not delve into at this time.

In my explorations across faiths, there's been a ton of crossover but in key areas. When I've dug deeper, the versions of the big three religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) seem to have smaller off-shoots that line up with older and broader faiths too, in the realm of key beliefs on cosmic / karmic law, afterlife (reincarnation), ties to supernatural / healing ability and self evolution.
Crossover's in the exploration of other religions and the ancient world are a incredible conversation on its own. Especially when you compare the uniqueness of the Bible as well as Ancient Israel to other nations and their pantheons/culture etc. I would totally get into this, but if I did I'd be here all day. So I will save it for another day. (and I mean that in a good way).

My personal faith - kind of a mishmash of all sorts. Probably closer to pagan than anything else. The faith I follow is in line with the belief that love is the highest form of energy and transcends a simple feeling about a person, and is more about a state of being and interacting with the world. Easier said than done...
Paganism at its core is about the worship of nature or veneration there of. Whether it be nature itself or the deities that rule over/have domain. You may/may not mean this with your use of the word, but I think people forget its original meaning. Paganism is not (as it popularly touted) simply defined as heathens who are not Christians. The God of the Bible is described quite literally as love itself. Everyone has heard of "For God so loved the world" yet don't come to terms with its depth. Would any one person sacrifice their beloved child to spare a criminal from capital punishment? Who here among humanity would sacrifice something that hold so dear to themselves to absolve the sins of another? Love is an essential part of humanity of being human, but love is even more so for God. Whom better to understand love than the God who is and from where all love stems from?

The God inconsistency stuff - in all frankness, this is from memory of how it was taught to me back in school. On the one hand, smiting people, locust swarms and all manner of vicious nastiness against humans that didn't do what he liked. It seemed to be driven from weak-minded, spiteful qualities of the most disliked kind of human... and dictatorial at best.

Later on, we have references of an all loving, super-forgiving God. Either this God was different beings (more in line with the Sumerian history stuff, where different God-considered beings disagreed about how their creations should be handled), or this was very poor editing - has been my personal conclusion.

No desire to upset or offend anyone. Purely my own exploration and nowt more.
It is common for the God of the Old Testament to be thought as distant or altogether distant from the God of the New Testament, but in reality they are the same. Let us take an example of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a interesting conversation that Abraham has with God in Genesis of the 18th Chapter. God is about to passed judgement upon the two cities because "their sin is very grievous". However Abraham pleads with God.

[Genesis] 18:22-25
"And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

This conversation actually goes back and forth until Abraham gets the number down to five. That if there be five righteous the whole of the two cities shall be spared. Unfortunately the wickedness of these two cities is so absolute there is not even five righteous people among them. Those that were righteous were spared. And contrary to popular belief, the book of Ezekiel states that Sodom and Gomorrah greatest transgression was that in its pride and fullness of material wealth and food did not look after its widows, orphans, poor and needy. The God of the Bible is specially stated as being slow to anger and wrath. And in his judgement He takes time in His wisdom and appoints the judgement most appropriate. Commonly people would interpret God as passing harsh judgement on those that "disagree" with Him and how He thinks people should live. However I would argue He is judging people based on not just on deeds, but their hearts.

I think it is incredibly intellectually dishonest to create this false equivalency of "God smites people who disagree with Him" like He disagreed with someone over who was a better NBA player Lebron James or Michael Jordan? When in reality He is passing Judgement on people who are wicked, are doing wicked things, and have absolute knowledge of their wickedness. I am not accusing you in particular, but I see it a lot abroad when people try and broach these subjects.

To drive my point even further you mention the locust swarm. One of the main themes of the Book of Exodus is the God of the Hebrew's vs the God of the Egyptians. God sends Moses to plead with Pharaoh to free his people. Remember that it was Joseph who helped save the Egyptian civilization from utter catastrophe by preparing well in advanced for great famine that was to come. In honor of his actions the Hebrew people were gifted the land of Goshen. However the Pharoh during the book of Exodus did not remember what Joseph did for his ancestors and enslaved the Hebrew people. After Moses attempts to plead with Pharaoh then God sends the ten plagues. Each plague increasing in intensity and each plague challenging the corresponding god of the Egyptian pantheon. It is not until the very end that the death of firstborn comes through the angel of death.

Even the instructions to apply Lambs blood upon their doors is not restricted to just the Hebrews. It is very likely there were Egyptians who did this because we see that their were non-hebrews who joined them on their Exodus from Egypt. So not only does God provide a path to be absolved (or better yet Redeemed) from His Judgement, but this is available to those who are gentile. People accuse the God of the Bible of being this vegenful asshole when scripture clearly shows us that He ALWAYS PROVIDES A WAY out of His Judgement.

I know I have left you with a Giant wall of text, but I hope this grants you better clarity on some of the subjects you mentioned. From what you would described I think that on your personal journey when and if ever you decide to take another look at the Christian faith. You may be surprise what you find. Especially when you look at the scripture what it is on its own, and without the filter of any sect.

EDIT: Typos
 
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#Phonepunk#

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the problems mostly seem to come down to people's differences in their opinions of What God Is Or Does.

the Bible itself is full of people who argue about it and feel differently. thus the atheist opinion that it says "God is all good and should never do evil" seems bizarre to me. it says a great many things, it shows us many different experiences of God.

it is difficult to even respond to such a position, because it is a defending of my faith against one that the speaker usually does not even share. usually the people telling me God is only good and asking me why that is, they are coming from the position that "This is what people think". it mostly seems to be a strawman argument. i can't even argue with the person usually asking, because they are referring to someone else's argument, a person who is usually not even present! which is kind of a funny thing to bring into a discussion on whether or not things exist.

humans cannot fully conceive of Godly existence or being. it would rend our minds, Lovecraft style, and the Bible says this many times. we cannot do this as humans. this is why even Moses has to hide his face, and why God must arrive as a lowly burning bush. the "real" God is some undescribable abstract thing that exists beyond the comprehension of the human mind. so us saying "Ah, there is an inconsistency here" is a bit like the flatlander problem, of a 2 dimensional being unable to comprehend 3 dimensional phenomenon.

so the religious texts, when you talk about God, they are being allegorical. they say that God has a face. or he has a voice. or he rests upon the footstool of the world. yet the real God is not corporeal the way material beings are. God is not constrained by having a face, obvious he can take any form, since he is the source of all forms. so the Bible will say he spoke, but it does not man that a man named God with a face and a mouth used it to make a vocal sentence, it is speaking of some other kind of higher spiritual truth, perhaps a direct experience of the original writer. humans are restricted by their organs, we need lungs and a tongue and etc other organs in order to speak. we are materially dependent beings. God by definition is not dependent on anything. he is the source of all. he needs no organs. thus any descriptions of him are not be taken literally, as if talking about a human person. getting into what all of this means requires looking at the actual texts in context rather than responding to random misinformed generalizations.
 
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Helscream

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Can someone be an apostate if they believe?
Depends on what definition you mean. You have the Catholic definition of the word which could simply be described as someone who has left/abandoned the Catholic Institution. Now there is the Biblical interpretation that can be derived from 2 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy.

2 Thessalonians

2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

In verse 3 the greek word apostasia appears here which simply means defection, revolt, falling away.

2 Timothy

3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

I would like to draw attention to verse 5. Because I think it is the key to understand the true meaning of what a Apostate is.

A Apostate is a person who has been exposed to the truth the Christian Faith, but resist that truth. Not only do they resist this truth, but they parade themselves as true Christians and deceive others with their false teachings. Spreading a false message, false doctrine, a false gospel. Even to go as far and to deny God of His works, blessings, miracles and attribute those things to themselves. In verse 13 it is stressed these evil seducers and deceivers of the faith will increase more and more with greater intensity. Even those who do not propagate this deception are consider Apostates because they themselves know what the truth is yet do not try and stop the spread of this deception. These people in fact go along with it, preferring their false doctrine of choice over the true gospel.

So with that context I would say you cannot be an Apostate and be a true believer, because to be a apostate is to betray the truth of the faith itself.

EDIT: More damn typos.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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I think the apostle Paul is a good example. Was locking up and killing christians and then flipped the script after a divine encounter.
the entire Holy Roman Church is something of this on a meta level. Rome was hunting and killing Christians for 300 years before Constantine converted. many of the earliest Catholic Saints killed until that point include martyrd members of Roman society.



for instance above we have Saint Apollonius, who was a Roman Senator in the 2nd century. he was outed as a Christian and defended his beliefs, earning him the crown of martyrdom under Emperor Commodus.


Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus as Hercules

During his solo reign, the Empire enjoyed a period of reduced military conflict compared with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but intrigues and conspiracies abounded, leading Commodus to an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership that culminated in a god-like personality cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodus
easy to forget that for hundreds of years Christianity survived as a literally underground cult (as in, people living in tombs and catacombs to escape death) and the heavily charged, violently revolutionary atmosphere under which those foundational texts were composed.
 
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Karma Jawa

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I think it’s better for people who think like you and me to just steer clear of expressing this type of stuff in these kinds of threads. I do enjoy the art on display and don’t need to antagonize
A very fair comment.

Apologies to anyone I’ve offended in this thread. Personally I think there are many mysteries to the universe, and God is the biggest of all. Whatever we believe or don’t believe, just be kind to each other.
 

Karma Jawa

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The Western religions have been heavily engineered over the last 150 years to remove all sense of the sacred, and this had been going on a lot longer in England. If I hadn't stumbled across reverent liturgy, eventually bringing me to the Latin Mass, I'd probably be a vaguely spiritual agnostic myself.

You should definitely afford more of the benefit of the doubt to the Bible, it's a really great work of world literature and history. I love epic fantasy, but I would put the First Book of Maccabees up against my all time favorites. As far as moral guidance, I found all the Wisdom literature, especially the Book of Proverbs, very challenging but rewarding to work through.
I’ve read the old and new testaments. They’re incredible texts.

Personally I don’t think Jesus was literally the son of God, or that God is a being who makes decisions. I’m a philosopher by trade, so why would I?

I waded in to this thread being an ass. I don’t agree with the literal interpretations, but I admire any philosophy that champions treating others with kindness.
 

Game Analyst

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I’ve read the old and new testaments. They’re incredible texts.

Personally I don’t think Jesus was literally the son of God, or that God is a being who makes decisions. I’m a philosopher by trade, so why would I?

I waded in to this thread being an ass. I don’t agree with the literal interpretations, but I admire any philosophy that champions treating others with kindness.
Nice to meet you, Jawa. ^_^

I believe you will find the following discussion between two academic giants about the moral and ethical implications of the New Testament teachings on the Western world to be quite fascinating.


"Justin Brierley is joined by leading New Testament scholar NT (Tom) Wright and popular historical writer Tom Holland to discuss how the apostle Paul changed the world as described in Wright’s recent book Paul: A Biography. An agnostic in terms of his religious commitments, Tom Holland has nevertheless described the way that the birth of Christianity has shaped much of what we value in Western society in terms of human rights, culture and rule of law. He engages with NT Wright on the way that Paul and the early Christian movement stood in stark contrast to the prevailing Roman culture of its day." (7/20/2018)
 
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Bolivar687

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I’ve read the old and new testaments. They’re incredible texts.

Personally I don’t think Jesus was literally the son of God, or that God is a being who makes decisions. I’m a philosopher by trade, so why would I?

I waded in to this thread being an ass. I don’t agree with the literal interpretations, but I admire any philosophy that champions treating others with kindness.
I don't follow your logic. God is naturally intuitable by philosophy via the prime cause. St. Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher by trade and his work is the bedrock of Catholic thought, especially in traditionalism. He revived Aristotle in the Western conscience, who is similarly venerated in Islam. Pope St. John Paul II was a philosopher by trade and is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
 
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Helscream

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I’m a philosopher by trade, so why would I

I don't follow your logic. God is naturally intuitable by philosophy via the prime cause. St. Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher by trade and his work is the bedrock of Catholic thought, especially in traditionalism. He revived Aristotle in the Western conscience, who is similarly venerated in Islam. Pope St. John Paul II was a philosopher by trade and is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
My comment is about the general perception of The Old Testament/New Testament that is common among (atleast in my personal encounters) Seculars/Atheist peoples. This is not my personal view nor am I declaring this a fact. I think I meant to type "distant or altogether different" but I didn't correct it apparently.

What I am saying is that there is no difference and the God of the Bible is the same of the Old and New Testament. Which is consistent with the Biblical narrative. Is it this you disagree with?
 

Bolivar687

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My comment is about the general perception of The Old Testament/New Testament that is common among (atleast in my personal encounters) Seculars/Atheist peoples. This is not my personal view nor am I declaring this a fact. I think I meant to type "distant or altogether different" but I didn't correct it apparently.

What I am saying is that there is no difference and the God of the Bible is the same of the Old and New Testament. Which is consistent with the Biblical narrative. Is it this you disagree with?
Sorry, wrong quote syntax.

I definitely agree. One thing that stands out coming back to Mark after finishing the Old Testament is how Jesus' concerns and the way they are expressed (the hard/stone heartedness of a hypocritical religious body) align with God in the Old Testament.
 
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Thurible

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Happy fat tuesday friends! Lent is coming so fast with ash wednesday tommorrow. Do you have any particular lenten resolutions to abstain for?
 
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mcz117chief

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Happy fat tuesday friends! Lent is coming so fast with ash wednesday tommorrow. Do you have any particular lenten resolutions to abstain for?
I abstain from being a lazy bum and finally start working on my body. I think I can manage a decent six pack by Easter and lose some pounds in the process. Our Lord Jesus Christ was/is a carpenter and considering how much punishment he endured without passing out means he must have been in Olympic tier shape and we are supposed to emulate him after all 😉.
 

Thurible

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I abstain from being a lazy bum and finally start working on my body. I think I can manage a decent six pack by Easter and lose some pounds in the process. Our Lord Jesus Christ was/is a carpenter and considering how much punishment he endured without passing out means he must have been in Olympic tier shape and we are supposed to emulate him after all 😉.
Noice! I like to buy a lot of snacks and gifts for friends and family, and I can be a tad too cavalier with my finances, so I'm going to stop doing that for a while. It also isn't really healthy (I'm not fat), but it doesn't help them or myself physically. I will also try to be a bit more active.
 
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boutrosinit

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Dude. That was an epic reply. Fuck. I'll do my best to answer in respect to its depth and my own time limits.

While I was not raised Catholic I can attest to the inconsistent and confusing environment that I feel most "average" Christians in today's world suffer. The feelings you express (and I am sure many can relate) are in part a result of the extreme Biblical illiteracy of Christianity at large. This applies to the community of people who are apart of their congregation was well as those who lead it. The other part is the religious practice/ceremony that different sects of Christianity have developed on their own and have been passed down from generation to generation. Practices and ceremony that have no foundation in scripture.

What is this idea based on? The Practices and Ceremony that have no foundation in scripture part? Is this your personal cross referencing with bible studies or something else? Do you consider scripture bible text or something else in addition to it?


For example (and I am glad you just so happened to mention it) Masturbation is often interrupted as "wasting ones seed is a sin. However if you actually read scripture where this comes from the context of what actually happened is forgotten or ignored. In the Book of Genesis of the 38th Chapter you have a incident concerning a man named Onan and a woman named Tamar. In the Old Testament part of God's plan was to created a nation of Priest from the descendants of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This nation (which would be known as Israel) would spread the truth of The Creator to the whole world and to be his representatives upon the earth. Also from this nation of Israel would the Messiah come from to redeem the world. So logically it would make sense that the God of the Bible would have great desire to maintain this nation. Now in the times of ancient Israel if a man was to die and bare his wife no children his brother (if he had one) was to have sex with his deceased brothers wife that she may have at least one child to help maintain their perspective Tribe and as a whole the nation of Israel. Onan went ahead and had sex with Tamar, but spilled his seed upon the ground instead of impregnating Tamar.

Now because of Onan's disobedience God struck him dead. The average person may see this and think it extreme and it would be without the proper context. Onan betrayed his duty to his deceased brother. He disobeyed God deliberately (And the Old Testament stresses several times that there is a difference between sin that is committed in ignorance and sin that is committed with absolute knowledge). God takes his preservation of Israel very seriously through all of the Bible. Anytime when the preservation of Israel is threatened whether it be small or large God takes serious action. Because if Israel ceased to exist, the Messiah would not be born and humanity would be lost. Now I speculate that Onan had perhaps done things to trespass against God, but scripture does not mention it. But you can see something as simple of the subject of masturbation is taken way out of its original context. Now things like masturbation as it pertains to adultery, lust in the heart, fornication etc is another subject that I will not delve into at this time.

It's a clear way to understand the 'mechanics' of when punishment kicks in if indeed it is a story to merely illustrate that. The issue I see there is that it still seems harsh as a literal event and consequence, especially being as there were other people and impregnating someone is hardly challenging. Assuming a worse crime was performed would be logical, but then things get messy. It's possible the cultural bend around reproduction was significantly considered more sacred then, but I do not know...


Crossover's in the exploration of other religions and the ancient world are a incredible conversation on its own. Especially when you compare the uniqueness of the Bible as well as Ancient Israel to other nations and their pantheons/culture etc. I would totally get into this, but if I did I'd be here all day. So I will save it for another day. (and I mean that in a good way).

I feel you there...


Paganism at its core is about the worship of nature or veneration there of. Whether it be nature itself or the deities that rule over/have domain. You may/may not mean this with your use of the word, but I think people forget its original meaning. Paganism is not (as it popularly touted) simply defined as heathens who are not Christians. The God of the Bible is described quite literally as love itself. Everyone has heard of "For God so loved the world" yet don't come to terms with its depth. Would any one person sacrifice their beloved child to spare a criminal from capital punishment? Who here among humanity would sacrifice something that hold so dear to themselves to absolve the sins of another? Love is an essential part of humanity of being human, but love is even more so for God. Whom better to understand love than the God who is and from where all love stems from?

Yeah and that lines up with forms of Paganism I've experienced, though not so much with the earlier harsh (Onan, etc...) stuff. Other ideas too that 'God' is a form of universal energy in all things and more-so everything rather than a singular. And that universal energy being a manifestation of love / love thought of as an energetic element more than a human emotional reaction to things we like.


It is common for the God of the Old Testament to be thought as distant or altogether distant from the God of the New Testament, but in reality they are the same. Let us take an example of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a interesting conversation that Abraham has with God in Genesis of the 18th Chapter. God is about to passed judgement upon the two cities because "their sin is very grievous". However Abraham pleads with God.

[Genesis] 18:22-25
"And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

This conversation actually goes back and forth until Abraham gets the number down to five. That if there be five righteous the whole of the two cities shall be spared. Unfortunately the wickedness of these two cities is so absolute there is not even five righteous people among them. Those that were righteous were spared. And contrary to popular belief, the book of Ezekiel states that Sodom and Gomorrah greatest transgression was that in its pride and fullness of material wealth and food did not look after its widows, orphans, poor and needy. The God of the Bible is specially stated as being slow to anger and wrath. And in his judgement He takes time in His wisdom and appoints the judgement most appropriate. Commonly people would interpret God as passing harsh judgement on those that "disagree" with Him and how He thinks people should live. However I would argue He is judging people based on not just on deeds, but their hearts.

I think it is incredibly intellectually dishonest to create this false equivalency of "God smites people who disagree with Him" like He disagreed with someone over who was a better NBA player Lebron James or Michael Jordan? When in reality He is passing Judgement on people who are wicked, are doing wicked things, and have absolute knowledge of their wickedness. I am not accusing you in particular, but I see it a lot abroad when people try and broach these subjects.

Without enough data across the stories, I wouldn't be able to make credible comment about this. Though your translations sound a lot more compassionate and considered overall, while still somewhat human and less harsh than I recall.

In the story where he is being convinced to spare people... this would read to me like the God is having a part-human experience. There are conditions set, but there is no pure expression of the unconditional love there as it requires another to beg for them... Though that's my translation from your post and may be inaccurate.

Wouldn't it be more likely that a God of pure love would have these people sent to a place where they're taught to act more lovingly, rather than destroyed? Vedic texts tend to describe such Karmic systems (using reincarnation usually - if you murdered someone in the prior life, someone will murder you so that your soul learns and empathizes with what it's like).

It could also read as a loving dad who is desperately hoping his out of control kids wake TF up and is trying everything first. Tough to get a solid gauge on within our back n forth.


To drive my point even further you mention the locust swarm. One of the main themes of the Book of Exodus is the God of the Hebrew's vs the God of the Egyptians. God sends Moses to plead with Pharaoh to free his people. Remember that it was Joseph who helped save the Egyptian civilization from utter catastrophe by preparing well in advanced for great famine that was to come. In honor of his actions the Hebrew people were gifted the land of Goshen. However the Pharaoh during the book of Exodus did not remember what Joseph did for his ancestors and enslaved the Hebrew people. After Moses attempts to plead with Pharaoh then God sends the ten plagues. Each plague increasing in intensity and each plague challenging the corresponding god of the Egyptian pantheon. It is not until the very end that the death of firstborn comes through the angel of death.

Even the instructions to apply Lambs blood upon their doors is not restricted to just the Hebrews. It is very likely there were Egyptians who did this because we see that their were non-hebrews who joined them on their Exodus from Egypt. So not only does God provide a path to be absolved (or better yet Redeemed) from His Judgement, but this is available to those who are gentile. People accuse the God of the Bible of being this vengeful asshole when scripture clearly shows us that He ALWAYS PROVIDES A WAY out of His Judgement.

I think that's the source of the real struggle. There's these ways out, patience and what could be seen as reasonable behaviors to other humans. The challenge I have there, is that even with that, it reads like escalating punishment. It reads like someone who is upping the ante when disobeyed. It could also be metaphorical - and would line up with what we culturally would assume at that time. The dynamic is still "do as I say / guide or bad things will happen". That doesn't strike me as unconditionally loving, but again, I'm going off what's here and if I went back and read all the source material I might see different stuff.

Regardless, your in-depth understanding and breakdowns here are valuable and thoughtful and I appreciate them.


I know I have left you with a Giant wall of text, but I hope this grants you better clarity on some of the subjects you mentioned. From what you would described I think that on your personal journey when and if ever you decide to take another look at the Christian faith. You may be surprise what you find. Especially when you look at the scripture what it is on its own, and without the filter of any sect.
EDIT: Typos

Your posts have shed some new light and helped me shift some of my un-revisited ideas of past. At some point, I'll likely go read and re-read the holy books of the major religions. My near term goal is to solve the 'machine' that is the energetic body and the systems we have within for evolution, emotional healing and so on by looking at the old texts and systems as there are most certainly patterns connecting them all.

There's clues everywhere in the older books and the Christian depiction of Adam and Eve gets analyzed A LOT as a source of understanding the masculine and feminine polarities within us all (For those who are new to this, I don't mean male and female, which is rather gender than polarity of quality like 'ability to receive' and 'ability to give').

One of the key ideas I've learned is that mastering all aspects of the masculine and feminine polarities within ourselves, in the context of self love (not wanking, you lot giggling in the back), as a major part of our self development.

So my assumption is that in the older books, and the purest forms of those works, thar be gold for learnin'.

Mate - thanks again for the thoughtful back n forth. Much love n respect. (y):messenger_heart:
 

Game Analyst

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Many new resources to help equip and give confidence in the power of the gospel:

Ash Wednesday Challenges Our Secular Calendars
“Worthily lamenting our sins” and “acknowledging our wretchedness” are not items we usually add to our calendars, but, given the perpetual conflicts in our lives, most of us can readily see that they ought to be. Though such introspection runs counter to the incessant cultural mantras of narcissism and self-indulgence, the end result is an abiding sense of peace. It is the peace that comes from resting in Christ’s mercy. In this sense, the imposition of the ashes in the shape of a cross on one’s forehead functions as a simultaneous reminder of the frailty of the human condition (“For dust you are and to dust you will return.”), as well as a sign of Christ’s ownership. True, we are but dust, but for this very reason, our hope is in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
Does it matter who I sleep with?
To make sexual freedom our ultimate good is to think that sex and romance is simply an end in itself. But if we realise that our fascination with romance is actually a memory-trace of a deeper story – an echo of a greater tune, a signpost to the ultimate destination – then we will find the reality that can transcend even the most intimate of relationships we can experience. This is what God invites us to do. It’s why he cares who we sleep with. It’s why we care who we sleep with.
Audio: Why we defend our faith?
In an increasingly defensive and at times cynical culture how as Christians do we go about positively being salt and light in the workplace? What are the questions we need to be asking? What are the things we need to stand up for and how do we go about giving answers when our chances of failure seem to be at an all-time high?
The Buddha can’t make sense of suffering. Jesus does.
Erik Strandness’ work at an addiction treatment center showed him the difference between the path of Buddhism and Christianity.
Video: The Communal Aspect of Black History Month
African Americans have a complicated past in the United States. Although that past is riddled with pain and trauma, remembrance can help foster healing and hope. The final video of this series discusses how through collective lament and reflection, #BlackHistoryMonth can help unite and equip Christians toward better relationships.
God's Law, Natural Law, Positive Law -- by a Lawyer Theologian
David Opderbeck is both a lawyer and a theologian, a professor of law and a church theologian. He cares about a theology of public law, here defined often as “positive” (human discerned) law. His book is called Law and Theology, and it’s a good one.
The Supreme Court Nears the Moment of Truth on Religion
The majority’s view of the Constitution’s free-exercise clause poses a threat to civil society.
The paradox of an atheist soul
"What liberal humanists believe to be universal values are relics of particular religious traditions. Here Nietzsche was right. Human values are too changeable, & too divergent, for morality to be in any meaningful sense objective" (Atheist political philosopher John Gray, 2/26/2020)
Video: Jordan Peterson Animated Biblical Lecture: Introduction To God Part 1 - 2020
Jordan Peterson Lectures on the Psychological Significance of the Bible. We translate his lectures into various forms of art and animation. In this video you'll get to enjoy visualizations of the content he's discussion which will hopefully help you digest his ideas and remember them in the future.
When Atheism Is Intellectually Weak
Smith is careful to avoid the kind of overreach he critiques. He isn’t arguing that atheism is false, or that Judeo-Christian theism is true. He simply evaluates whether the claims made by atheist moralists today are intellectually defensible—and throws yellow flags when they aren’t.
ON WHAT JESUS HAS TO DO WITH AN AK47
I’m often asked, how is it possible to be a person who was born and lived in Northern Ireland and still remain committed to the Christian faith? Because my country has got that kind of reputation for sectarian violence, for Protestants and Catholics fighting one another.
A Beginner’s Guide to the Fine-Tuning Argument
In the past few decades a broad consensus has emerged among physicists that a number of aspects of the physical cosmos appear to be ‘fine-tuned’ for life, which is to say, various aspects of its basic structure and of the fundamental laws that govern it are balanced on a knife-edge. If any of them had differed by only a very tiny amount, the universe would not have been capable of supporting life at all. Some of these ‘fine-tuned’ features of the universe are such that had they differed only very slightly, the universe would not even have contained galaxies and stars, let alone complex conscious creatures like ourselves.
Review of Tom Holland’s Dominion, the mega-long version
‘The Church, by pledging itself to this conviction, and putting it into law, was treading on the toes of patriarchs. Here was a development pregnant with implications for the future. Opening up before the Christian people was the path to a radical new conception of marriage: one founded on mutual attraction, on love. Inexorably, the rights of the individual were coming to trump those of family. God’s authority was being identified, not with the venerable authority of a father to impose his will on his children, but with an altogether more subversive principle: freedom of choice.’
The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self
And How the Church Can Respond
Social Media and the Loss of ‘Serendipitous Learning’
The selfie culture is a culture of personalized micro-celebrity, in which we each act as our own paparazzi, relentlessly trading in our own privacy for attention and affirmation and turning every moment into a show.
It’s Lent – so, what does that mean exactly?
Lent is the period of 40 days before Easter where Christian believers prepare their hearts and minds for this occasion – often by fasting, praying, reading the Bible and, in some traditions, carrying out good works.
Did God Harden Pharaoh’s Heart?
God is Sovereign even over the hearts of human beings and can turn them and harden them in particular ways for the accomplishment of his Divine purposes. However, we would want to consult with a variety of other passages before landing on a particular understanding of the tension between God’s Sovereignty and human free will.
 

Cleared_Hot

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Can I make a special request to our atheist posters? I welcome you here to debate these supremely important ideas. But please don't deliberately fill this thread with needless mean-spirited blasphemy or sacrilege as a means to insult believers. I only politely ask, you are of course free to act as you wish according to the rules of the forum.
There's absolutely nothing supreme about these ideas but i do appreciate you mentioning that they are just that, ideas. Not real. Not facts. Just neat ideas. I like Jesus though. Good guy. Just wish christians were actually Christ-like.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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ideas are quite real. at the very least ideas make humans do things, which in turn affects the world. the ideas themselves may only exist in your head but they have immense impact.

honestly it's pretty silly to say that ideas aren't real, considering we live in a society with hierarchies and laws and such. even in a secular society ideas drive so much behavior. how can something drive behavior and make real world impacts if it never existed?

it's like saying "Words don't mean anything". lol, yes they do, otherwise your statement would be 100% incoherent.
 

Ornlu

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There's absolutely nothing supreme about these ideas but i do appreciate you mentioning that they are just that, ideas. Not real. Not facts. Just neat ideas. I like Jesus though. Good guy. Just wish christians were actually Christ-like.
At least make an effort to try and treat others like equals. If you don't like Christians, fine, got it. Move on. There's no need to try and throw out petty insults at people you've never met.
 

Helscream

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Dude. That was an epic reply. Fuck. I'll do my best to answer in respect to its depth and my own time limits.

What is this idea based on? The Practices and Ceremony that have no foundation in scripture part? Is this your personal cross referencing with bible studies or something else? Do you consider scripture bible text or something else in addition to it?
What am I speaking of are human traditions that have been added that are purely man-made inventions/gross misinterpretations of what the Bible actually says. Some of these man-made inventions are more grievous than others. People like Joseph Smith (Founder of Mormonism) and Charles Taze Russell (Founder of Jehovah's Witness) came up with idea's that were either outside of the Bible entirely or took what was in the Bible and grossly took those things out of context. These man-made inventions are (and I would argue this point) what ultimately drive people away from the Christian Faith because there is no foundation of truth behind those inventions. Regular people (reasonably so) grow tired and weary of all that bullshit (and it is bullshit).

Here is a great example. Do you know that in Mormonism there is this belief that one day a man will ascend to Godhood and become his own "Adam" and obtain his own planet to rule and have dominion over. Now once a man ascends he must choose himself a wife to become his "Eve" and she will ascend to Godhood and become a goddess that they may populate this new planet of theirs with their children and children's children. Due to the popularity of polygamy in the Mormon faith a man will typically have multiple wives. However when he ascends he must be selective as to which wife he will choose to rule over his celestial planet. Due to this belief system the SUICIDE RATE among Mormon women is high because they fear they will not be chosen to become their husbands celestial wife. This belief wrecks havoc on the lives of women within the Mormon faith. A belief that has absolutely zero foundation in the Bible.

Some groups like the Mennonites have issues with dancing (even though King David danced when he worshiped God for example). Minor compared to the previous example, but something that doesn't have a real foundation in scripture.

It's a clear way to understand the 'mechanics' of when punishment kicks in if indeed it is a story to merely illustrate that. The issue I see there is that it still seems harsh as a literal event and consequence, especially being as there were other people and impregnating someone is hardly challenging. Assuming a worse crime was performed would be logical, but then things get messy. It's possible the cultural bend around reproduction was significantly considered more sacred then, but I do not know...
The Old Testament has alot of passages that stress the difference between those who sin in ignorance, and those who sin with absolute knowledge. I personally suspect that Onan had perhaps committed other trespasses against God (once again this is an educated guess, as it does not explicitly say in the Bible) and his failure to fulfill his duty to help Tamar bear a child was perhaps the last straw. There is a concept of the "sin unto death" in the Bible. Meaning there threshold at which God will cease to be merciful and prescribe the appropriate judgement to the sinner.

The God of the Bible describes himself as a just judge. Those who break His laws will be judged and will be appointed the appropriate punishment. However the God of the Bible is also described as merciful and gracious. Mortal men will always wonder where one begins and the other ends. I can try and persuade you as best I can that the God of the Bible is a fair God, but ultimately you will have to make that discovery yourself one day.

Yeah and that lines up with forms of Paganism I've experienced, though not so much with the earlier harsh (Onan, etc...) stuff. Other ideas too that 'God' is a form of universal energy in all things and more-so everything rather than a singular. And that universal energy being a manifestation of love / love thought of as an energetic element more than a human emotional reaction to things we like.
The God of the Bible is omnipresent, but not necessary present in the composition of what the universe is. He existed outside of space-time because He created it all. When mankind was created in His image. Mankind was inherently created with the attributes that God has as part of His being. The term I have heard used before is "imagers". To being a Imager of God we would have to express those attributes. Such as sovereign free-will. The ability to love another and to be loved as well as the entire spectrum of emotion. Even having the power of creation (obviously not on magnitude of God). In a nutshell what allows humanity to be "human" is in part what makes God who He is. These concepts can be potentially hours of conversation, but I hope I made some sense here.

Without enough data across the stories, I wouldn't be able to make credible comment about this. Though your translations sound a lot more compassionate and considered overall, while still somewhat human and less harsh than I recall.

In the story where he is being convinced to spare people... this would read to me like the God is having a part-human experience. There are conditions set, but there is no pure expression of the unconditional love there as it requires another to beg for them... Though that's my translation from your post and may be inaccurate.

Wouldn't it be more likely that a God of pure love would have these people sent to a place where they're taught to act more lovingly, rather than destroyed? Vedic texts tend to describe such Karmic systems (using reincarnation usually - if you murdered someone in the prior life, someone will murder you so that your soul learns and empathizes with what it's like).

It could also read as a loving dad who is desperately hoping his out of control kids wake TF up and is trying everything first. Tough to get a solid gauge on within our back n forth.
There is a similar event when Moses is pleading before God to be merciful to the people of Israel. In the 32nd Chapter of Exodus Aaron (the brother of Moses) ask of the people of Israel their gold. He takes this gold and smelts in down into a golden calf that the people of Israel may worship it. God becomes incredibly furious and is ready to smite them and He will instead create a nation out from the descendants of Moses. Moses of course pleads with God, and God withholds His judgement. What is the proper context here? Why would God get so angry with His own people? I won't repeat everything, but God performed all kinds of signs, miracles, and wonders before the people of Israel. From their captivity from Egypt all the way to Mount Sinai. And what do the people of Israel do? They decide to go ahead and worship a false Idol.

I bring up this event at Mount Sinai to help me add some substance to a thought experiment I like to share. Lets sum up some things we know about the God of Bible according to what the Bible says.

1.) He is merciful (Mercy is understood as NOT receiving what you deserve. Like punishment/judgement)
2.) He is graceful (Grace is understand as to receive that which you DO NOT deserve. Like a Blessing/Miracle)
3.) He is a Just Judge (Understood as He will judge those who break His laws and Commandments. Those who are wicked and evil/have committed evil/wickedness will be dealt with.)
4.) He has a unconditional love for Mankind (For God so Loved the world etc etc)
5.) He is NOT a man that He should lie, neither a son of man that He should change his mind. (Understand as there is only truth in Him and can only interact with mankind in absolute truth. He is consistent in is interactions with mankind. He doesn't flip-flop so to speak)
6.) He is NOT a respecter of persons. (Understood as What He says He means, and there is no exception, no special treatment)

So here is the thought experiment. If God is just then will He not judge those who break his laws and commandments? But If God is merciful will He not spare us from such judgement? Is not God gracious that He would bless us even if we didn't do anything to deserves such blessings? God loves mankind eternally and unconditionally, surely He will only do good things towards mankind. But how can God be just if He does not judge those who broke His laws and commandments? How can a Just Judge allow wicked and evil deeds to go unpunished?

As you can see you can go in circles all day trying to figure out "If God does X, then He wont do Y, but if He doesn't do Y then He cannot be Z" so on and so forth. What I think makes this a conundrum for people is that all these things are attributed to one being. In other belief systems you may have a pantheon which in different gods/goddess's represents different portfolios. So mankind would naturally have the idea that there is a balance when different deities have their own sphere of influence. In Dungeons and Dragons terminology the God of the Bible has a monopoly on all the Good Alignment Portfolios. And I think this is the stumbling stone.

This can be a conundrum for people, but when you insert the person of Jesus Christ that is when everything makes sense. Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice that bared the ultimate judgement of all past, present, and future sins of humanity. The God of the Bible in His unconditional love/mercy/grace provides humanity with a way out. A path to be redeemed from our sins. God still must judge mankind, but those who have accepted Jesus as Messiah have their sins atoned for. Jesus is the sacrifice that was put in our place. Meaning that mankind is still judged for their sins, but we have a Savior that took upon Himself the judgement that God must appoint for all sins.

I think that's the source of the real struggle. There's these ways out, patience and what could be seen as reasonable behaviors to other humans. The challenge I have there, is that even with that, it reads like escalating punishment. It reads like someone who is upping the ante when disobeyed. It could also be metaphorical - and would line up with what we culturally would assume at that time. The dynamic is still "do as I say / guide or bad things will happen". That doesn't strike me as unconditionally loving, but again, I'm going off what's here and if I went back and read all the source material I might see different stuff.

Regardless, your in-depth understanding and breakdowns here are valuable and thoughtful and I appreciate them.
Pharaoh had the option to do as Moses requested, but refused. Not only did he keep the Hebrew people in enslavement, he increased the cruelty of that enslavement after Moses' request to release them. The Pharaoh tried to prove that his gods were superior by using his priest in a demonstration. However when they cast down their staves that became serpents. It was the staff of Moses' that devoured the other two. Even after the Egyptian gods were brought low. Pharaoh still pursued the Hebrews and perished within the red sea. Pharaoh had many opportunities to do as asked, but was defiant against the God of the Hebrews till his death.

I'm going to go on a limb to use some RPG analogies here because I think it will illustrate my point. Think of God as a master programmer. Mankind (the PC) has the agency to make different choices at different times during our grand quest we call life. While we do have free will and agency, there is a boundary/limit as to how far we can take that free will. God being the master programmer has given us an exponentially great number of narrative choices we can make during our grand quest of life, but we will never be able to break out of the RPG program completely. We will always be confined to certain limitations. I think when Pharaoh refused to release the Hebrew people he smacked his face into one of those limitations.

"Do as I say / guide or bad things will happen" is a common sentiment I witness. As usual my choice of words are not a personal attack on you as a individual, but I really look at that sentimentality as a juvenile. "I don't want to do what I don't want to do" might as well be the temper tantrum catchphrase for militant atheism at large. My follow up question would be, "In where in your entire existence have you ever had to not do something you didn't want to do?". A counter argument could be made that if your not allowed to disobey God then you really don't have free will. Which I would argue you do and can, but there will be consequences.

I know its like kicking a dead horse, but context is king. At the Tower of Babel mankind clustered together after the flood. Mankind still refused to acknowledge or worship the Creator. And while God did divide them up into multiple nations and gave them all their own unique language, ultimately they were allowed to go and live their own lifes. However for God to REDEEM MANKIND He still needed a nation of people to fulfill this plan of redemption. At the moment God chose Abraham out of his seed would come the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel had to be preserved
to not only be God's priest upon the earth to spread the truth of The Creator, but through the lineage of this nation the Messiah would be born to redeem the world. Pharaoh's enslavement and treatment of the ancient Hebrews threatened God's plan and so God acted accordingly.

We can go back and forth on the method's God uses. But I would like to think within its proper context God has a good reason to ensure the plan to redeem mankind is completed.

Your posts have shed some new light and helped me shift some of my un-revisited ideas of past. At some point, I'll likely go read and re-read the holy books of the major religions. My near term goal is to solve the 'machine' that is the energetic body and the systems we have within for evolution, emotional healing and so on by looking at the old texts and systems as there are most certainly patterns connecting them all.

There's clues everywhere in the older books and the Christian depiction of Adam and Eve gets analyzed A LOT as a source of understanding the masculine and feminine polarities within us all (For those who are new to this, I don't mean male and female, which is rather gender than polarity of quality like 'ability to receive' and 'ability to give').

One of the key ideas I've learned is that mastering all aspects of the masculine and feminine polarities within ourselves, in the context of self love (not wanking, you lot giggling in the back), as a major part of our self development.

So my assumption is that in the older books, and the purest forms of those works, thar be gold for learnin'.

Mate - thanks again for the thoughtful back n forth. Much love n respect. (y):messenger_heart:
As long as I can bring greater clarity to these subjects (even if disagreed upon) then I have done my part. And that is what matters.
(If I made any major typo's I'll correct it later)
 

#Phonepunk#

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i love this art. this is from an Illuminated Manuscript, by Boucicaut Master and workshop called The Visitation. in this image, Saint Elizabeth is shown holding a book wrapped in green binding. it is from the Biblical story of the same name.

In Christianity, the Visitation is the visit of St. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, to St. Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56.
it is said that Jesus essentially saved John while he was still an unborn baby. or a fetus, if you are pro choice.
And she [Elizabeth] spoke out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb. And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed [is] she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." (Luke 1:42–45)
check out this detail.



it is interesting that Elizabeth is holding a green book in this image. i am not sure of it's significance. quite mysterious! Mary has a red purse quite near her stomach, sort of symbolizing the warm radiance of Christ in her womb, and the gift he would bestow to her and John. its the same red used to cloak Elizabeth. mores symbolism.

some of this guy's stuff is fucking badass. look at this Twin Peaks looking scenery going on.

 
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Game Analyst

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Article: The 21st Century Meaning Crisis | Henry George

"The spike in suicides of young people described above dates from the 1960’s. This is when Christianity in the Western world started to take a slide, especially in America. In the UK, the British Social Attitudes survey shows a consistent decline in those calling themselves Christian since 1983, with 2007 being the year when those with no religion outstripped Christianity. Now, 52% of Britons describe themselves as non-religious. A survey of religious affiliation by Stephen Bullivant of St. Mary’s University shows that in Britain 70% of young people (16-29) identify with no religion, 7% identifying as Anglican and 10% as Catholic. Further to this, 59% of young people never attend a religious service in Britain, and almost two-thirds of young Britons never pray." (2/26/2020)

I think it is quite saddening that as a society champions human autonomy, human flourishing is discarded and immense suffering is birthed. This is the consequence of society trading feelings over truth:

"In the majority of studies religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction.” (Psychiatrist Harold G. Koenig)

"We have now more than 3000 articles published on scientific journals (Moreira-Almeida, Neto & Koenig, 2006; Koenig et al., 2015). The available evidence underscores a generally positive effect between religion/spirituality (especially religious participation) and health variables, such as: minor depression, faster recovery from depressive episodes, lower rates of suicide, less use, abuse and substance dependence, lower rate of coronary heart disease or hypertension, better functioning of the immune system, better functioning of the endocrine system, lower rates of cancer, better prognosis in cases of cancer, longevity, greater well-being and self-reported happiness (meaning of life, hope, optimism, forgiveness). A great evidence exists on the effectiveness of positive religious coping for many people, both those affected by an illness, a disability or a disaster, and their caregivers. Religion and Spirituality has consistently been identified as a factor that can promote healing and facilitate recovery." (Role of Religion and Spirituality on Mental Health and Resilience: There is Enough Evidence)

Edit: added text/link
 
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Bolivar687

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Personally I don’t think Jesus was literally the son of God, or that God is a being who makes decisions. I’m a philosopher by trade, so why would I?
I know I already quoted this, but I thought of you while beginning St. Thomas Aquinas' masterwork, the Summa Theologica. This is actually happens to be the very first question addressed in the first Article of the first part of the work:

St. Thomas said:
Article 1. Whether, besides philosophy, any further doctrine is required?
Objection 1. It seems that, besides philosophical science, we have no need of any further knowledge. For man should not seek to know what is above reason: "Seek not the things that are too high for thee" (Sirach 3:22). But whatever is not above reason is fully treated of in philosophical science. Therefore any other knowledge besides philosophical science is superfluous.

Objection 2. Further, knowledge can be concerned only with being, for nothing can be known, save what is true; and all that is, is true. But everything that is, is treated of in philosophical science—even God Himself; so that there is a part of philosophy called theology, or the divine science, as Aristotle has proved (Metaph. vi). Therefore, besides philosophical science, there is no need of any further knowledge.

On the contrary, It is written (2 Timothy 3:16): "All Scripture, inspired of God is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice." Now Scripture, inspired of God, is no part of philosophical science, which has been built up by human reason. Therefore it is useful that besides philosophical science, there should be other knowledge, i.e. inspired of God.

I answer that, It was necessary for man's salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: "The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee" (Isaiah 64:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors. Whereas man's whole salvation, which is in God, depends upon the knowledge of this truth. Therefore, in order that the salvation of men might be brought about more fitly and more surely, it was necessary that they should be taught divine truths by divine revelation. It was therefore necessary that besides philosophical science built up by reason, there should be a sacred science learned through revelation.

Reply to Objection 1. Although those things which are beyond man's knowledge may not be sought for by man through his reason, nevertheless, once they are revealed by God, they must be accepted by faith. Hence the sacred text continues, "For many things are shown to thee above the understanding of man" (Sirach 3:25). And in this, the sacred science consists.

Reply to Objection 2. Sciences are differentiated according to the various means through which knowledge is obtained. For the astronomer and the physicist both may prove the same conclusion: that the earth, for instance, is round: the astronomer by means of mathematics (i.e. abstracting from matter), but the physicist by means of matter itself. Hence there is no reason why those things which may be learned from philosophical science, so far as they can be known by natural reason, may not also be taught us by another science so far as they fall within revelation. Hence theology included in sacred doctrine differs in kind from that theology which is part of philosophy.

It's really interesting to read and work through, although a little heavy.
 
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