Any christians here?

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 19, 2008 5:05 PM GMT
    First, this thread has had a high degree of reference and is (in my opinion) in need of some lightheartedness. Please give a warm welcome to Ceiling Cat:

    Cieling_cat_creates.jpg
    Ceiling Cat creates the Universe.

    funny-pictures-ceiling-cat-laptop-lolbib

    Second, I grew up in a Christian-identified society (Norway's state church is Norwegian Evangelical Lutheranism) and have been interested in exploring matters of faith for many years. Upon encountering Roman Catholicism in high school and questioning many RC practices, I had to be consistent and therefore questioned my Lutheranism and its practices.

    And here I am, a faithful and religious Atheist (I am Atheist because I believe in Atheism, not due to potentially misguided attempts at disproving divine existence by the inability to prove its existence).

    I grew up with a kind of pick-and-choose religious understanding, with a heavy (almost exclusionary) focus on the New Testament; I also read Jesus' new covenant as superceding the past covenants with the Abraham and Moses and believe that the Gospels are more important than Saul's / Paul's letters and the writings of the early Christian Church establishers.

    I agree that it is hard to accept that someone claims to be Christian when the person is unwilling to deal with the Bible as a whole text; however, I can accept that someone claims to be Christian while regarding the Bible as a human interpretation of divinity and therefore possibly subject to multiple interpretations (the mystery of YHWH may yet not be fully understood by its adherents).
  • irishkcguy

    Posts: 780

    Mar 19, 2008 5:11 PM GMT
    There are four passages in the Bible that refer to homosexuality and over 2,000 that refer to God's command that we help the poor and oppressed. Jesus never mentions homosexuality but he was very concerned about how we treat the poor and oppressed. So what are Christians concerned about today? Gay marriage and how it will destroy the "fabric of American society." Christians today are all but ignoring what Jesus said. Jesus seemed to have a real problem with the religious leaders of the day and not with the people who were outcasts from society. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes because those people were open to His message.

    There are 2 epiphanies I have had recently. Keep in mind I am not a theologian, my logic may be off. First, in the Old Testament it speaks of women who had daughters but did not have sons. It was believed at the time that a woman who did not bear sons was cursed by God, that she had displeased Him in some way. This emphasizes the culture of the time which devalued women. I think God clearly subverts that cultural norm throughout scripture by giving women prominent and important roles; Mary is a great example. At the same time, it shows how little ancient culture knew about science and how that shaped their beliefs. Today no reasonable person looks at a woman with 3 daughters and no sons and thinks she has been cursed by God, despite the fact that the Old Testament says she has been. We have a greater understanding of science than people had 3,000 years ago and that informs the way we read scripture. Today we have a much greater understanding of what "causes" people to be gay scientifically and sociologically and I that informs the way we read scripture.

    Second, Jesus came to nullify the old law, which is largely found in Leviticus. This is the book that calls being gay "abomination" but also says it's an abomination to eat shrimp. Do you see any Christians today abstaining from eating shrimp today?? They like to pick and choose which parts of the old law they think people should follow. Jesus openly defied the law. He put his hands on and touched lepers in order to heal them. That was a violation of the law. In Galatians, Paul writes that we are free from the law through Christ and that those who want to believe in some parts of it are subjecting themselves to follow all of it. The next time you hear a Christian bash gays, ask them if they like shrimp.

    I go to a gay Christian church in the Los Angeles area that has been a huge comfort to me. If anybody is interested in checking it out, the church is called Christ Chapel of the Valley. This is the website: www.christchapel.com


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    Mar 19, 2008 5:14 PM GMT
    All of you are wrong and it is my mission to save you. Throw out every belief you've held close all these years and follow me to my church, where we will begin the long road towards reprogramming you. Bring money.

    /sarcasm

    Yeah...too many people actually think like this.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:19 PM GMT
    NickoftheNorth said

    I grew up with a kind of pick-and-choose religious understanding, with a heavy (almost exclusionary) focus on the New Testament; I also read Jesus' new covenant as superceding the past covenants with the Abraham and Moses and believe that the Gospels are more important than Saul's / Paul's letters and the writings of the early Christian Church establishers.



    I find this interesting as I'm a Lutheran also, however never close to an exclusionary view of the old testament. Although my teaching has been that the new covenant in Christ supersedes the law of the old testament, according to Paul it does not do away with the law. It simply places the law of Moses as a "curb" for your boundaries, a sort of yoke, if you will to keep you on the straight and narrow (hmm... might be hard here icon_smile.gif. I've been taught respect for the Gospels because they contain the words of Jesus (red letter) but the letters, especially from Paul serve as much of the core for the reform theology.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:22 PM GMT
    I'm a Christian and I usually don't even try to interpret the bible. I just go off of what I feel inside. We all know when we're doing right and when we're doing wrong. I think that's whats most important is that we are good people. GOD knows my heart.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:23 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX saidAll of you are wrong and it is my mission to save you. Throw out every belief you've held close all these years and follow me to my church, where we will begin the long road towards reprogramming you. Bring money.

    /sarcasm

    Yeah...too many people actually think like this.


    Hey Rugger, isn't that the Church of the Little Deformed Shepherd? Oh sorry, not good Just an attempt at a little humor.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 19, 2008 5:23 PM GMT
    The main detriment to Christianity in the USA today is the large number of authoritarian jackasses who wear their Christianity on their sleeve, as some identifying pin that grants them the right to self-righteousness in their utterly un-Christian and un-American condemnations of modern / progressive society.

    They take the diversity that is one of the United States' most significant strengths and relegate it as a cause for fear and discontent.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:26 PM GMT
    irishkcguy saidThere are four passages in the Bible that refer to homosexuality and over 2,000 that refer to God's command that we help the poor and oppressed. Jesus never mentions homosexuality but he was very concerned about how we treat the poor and oppressed. So what are Christians concerned about today? Gay marriage and how it will destroy the "fabric of American society." Christians today are all but ignoring what Jesus said. Jesus seemed to have a real problem with the religious leaders of the day and not with the people who were outcasts from society. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes because those people were open to His message.



    Nicely put Irish... my biggest complaint of many Christian "leaders" is that they do forget (in my opinion) what it was that Christ commanded us to do (serve God and love one another). To be Christ-like is to reach out to any and all who are in need, regardless of who, what or why. Thanks for sharing your thought on that.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:42 PM GMT
    BlackJock79 saidI'm a Christian and I usually don't even try to interpret the bible. I just go off of what I feel inside. We all know when we're doing right and when we're doing wrong. I think that's whats most important is that we are good people. GOD knows my heart.


    Although I understand what you're saying here Jock, I don't subscribe to this at all. The problem I have with "we are good people" is that it falls into what is referred to as theology of glory. Every thing is find, Jesus loves you, love everyone and you'll be happy. To me, that missed the entire point of Christianity. Jesus does love you and you should show love as He commanded however, the real message was bore out on the cross. The death and resurrection (appropriate timing for this) is what it is all about. This is theology of the cross. God loves you SO much that he gave his Son for our forgiveness. A show of grace that we can never understand and something that no parent could even fathom. So His Word in the form of scripture and community (worship) is very important in our growth of being able to understand His grace and our salvation. Your analogy would be like saying I don't need to go to school to learn, I'll just read the books at home because I know what it is I need to learn, well, that's true you could do that but think of all the interaction you would miss by not being in a class with others, teachers and students. The things discussed, shown and learned that are not in the book.


  • irishkcguy

    Posts: 780

    Mar 19, 2008 5:46 PM GMT
    The trick I think is letting God influence your beliefs instead of allowing your beliefs to affect your understanding of God. In the capitalist USA we have ministers and clergy who are preaching a God of individual wealth, that if God is blessing you He will give you a Mercedes and a big house in a gated community. Yeah, Jesus was all about the money. Clearly.

    I think Bono has the right idea. James Dobson doesn't.
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    Mar 19, 2008 5:50 PM GMT
    irishkcguy saidThe trick I think is letting God influence your beliefs instead of allowing your beliefs to affect your understanding of God. In the capitalist USA we have ministers and clergy who are preaching a God of individual wealth, that if God is blessing you He will give you a Mercedes and a big house in a gated community. Yeah, Jesus was all about the money. Clearly.

    I think Bono has the right idea. James Dobson doesn't.


    Guess I should have been a minister Irish! LOL You're absolutely right though. It is easy to get wrapped up in that individual wealth, especially in this country. Another reason worship is important, we all need to continually hear that message in order to keep the yoke tight to prevent us from wandering so far off the path of Jesus that we become lost sheep. Hmm, enough religious analogies in that line! LOL
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    Mar 21, 2008 3:04 PM GMT
    Well like I said earlier, I have a conservative view of scripture, I take it all literally except for the prophecies and parables. Jewish law doesn't apply to Christianity, that's true, as far as the new testament verses that address homosexuality, it's extremely obvious (especially in the earlier translations) and the way in which they were applied for over 1,000 years of church history, that the literal interpretation was correct, that being gay and acting on it was okay, but that sleeping with gay prostitutes or with groups of people is wrong, and that "giving up what is natural" is wrong (IE being straight and being peer pressured into committing homosexual acts because it was culturally deemed more masculine in Roman and Greek times) However, it is equally wrong to try to be in a straight relationship if you're gay. That's what these verses mean IF you take them literally. If you don't take them literally, I suppose you MAY be able to come up with an antigay meaning to the text, but since there is an enormous amount of church documents and history to disprove this antigay interpretation of the text, I think this is a poor argument.
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    Mar 21, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    irishkcguy saidThe trick I think is letting God influence your beliefs instead of allowing your beliefs to affect your understanding of God. In the capitalist USA we have ministers and clergy who are preaching a God of individual wealth, that if God is blessing you He will give you a Mercedes and a big house in a gated community. Yeah, Jesus was all about the money. Clearly.

    I think Bono has the right idea. James Dobson doesn't.


    That's a good point. There is little talk about helping the poor or unfortunate. Or about the verses that tell us not to build up treasure on the Earth, but treasure in heaven.
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    Mar 21, 2008 3:10 PM GMT
    eb925guy said[quote][cite]BlackJock79 said[/cite]I'm a Christian and I usually don't even try to interpret the bible. I just go off of what I feel inside. We all know when we're doing right and when we're doing wrong. I think that's whats most important is that we are good people. GOD knows my heart.


    Although I understand what you're saying here Jock, I don't subscribe to this at all. The problem I have with "we are good people" is that it falls into what is referred to as theology of glory. Every thing is find, Jesus loves you, love everyone and you'll be happy. To me, that missed the entire point of Christianity. Jesus does love you and you should show love as He commanded however, the real message was bore out on the cross. The death and resurrection (appropriate timing for this) is what it is all about. This is theology of the cross. God loves you SO much that he gave his Son for our forgiveness. A show of grace that we can never understand and something that no parent could even fathom. So His Word in the form of scripture and community (worship) is very important in our growth of being able to understand His grace and our salvation. Your analogy would be like saying I don't need to go to school to learn, I'll just read the books at home because I know what it is I need to learn, well, that's true you could do that but think of all the interaction you would miss by not being in a class with others, teachers and students. The things discussed, shown and learned that are not in the book.
    [/quote]

    Good point! I think too often in these debates people miss the overarching point of the Bible and Christianity, which is forgiveness and eternal salvation. Sometimes we get too caught up in doctrinal differences.
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    Mar 21, 2008 3:44 PM GMT
    I absolutely believe humans are hardwired for a religious instinct, although 'religious' may be too specific a word. Wired with the capacity to experience "Oneness with the Universe" is the best I can come up with. Humans simply reinterpret this experience as 'Oneness with God' because it's the only thing our imaginations could devise to explain it... although not every religion does attribute it to a supernatural being.

    How the brain "creates" god:
    http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/magick/createsgod.htm

    Human's have evolved to the point where we can experience thoughts and emotions that lead to actions counter productive to vital survival tool. Human's can override instinct. It's no surprise with out vast intelligence (compared to a dog, etc) that we begin self reflection on existence. Only human's need a reason to exist so we invented religion as both a reason to live and a control method.

    Is it any surprise every major religion has similar core concepts for treating other people? It's simple evolution of the human mind:

    Bahá'í: -- "Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee,"

    Brahmanism: -- "This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you".

    Buddhism: -- "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."

    Christianity: -- "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

    Confucianism: -- "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you"

    Ancient Egyptian: -- "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do."

    Hinduism: -- "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you."

    Humanism -- "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you,"

    Islam: -- "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

    Jainism -- "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated."

    Judaism:-- "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man."

    Native American Spirituality: -- "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One."

    Roman Pagan Religion: -- "The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves."

    Shinto: -- "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form."

    Zoroastrianism: -- "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."

    Yoruba: (Nigeria): -- "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."



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    Mar 23, 2008 7:52 AM GMT
    Christianity is great.

    Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism...all fantastic things.

    If you find a particular religion that just completely makes sense to you and sets the tone for the rest of your life and makes everything clear and makes your existence validated, more power to ya, man.

    But what I have issues with is pushing your religion of choice onto others. I believe reaching some sort of spiritual place is a very personal journey and shouldn't be decided for you by parents or friends or the like.

    I don't condemn you for not buying into my beliefs, so what gives you the right to condemn me for not buying into yours?
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    Mar 23, 2008 8:34 AM GMT
    One's religion/spiritual path is a very personal thing. I grew up the son of a southern Baptist preacher, but in my early teens, I renounced Christianity because it was not the path that worked for me. After a bit of a journey down various paths (Wicca, Buddhism, Tao, and others), I came back to my Native American heritage/traditions. Traditional Native American beliefs vary from Nation to Nation, but the basics are: a belief in a creator (Great Spirit), a belief that "we are all related"... humans, animals, plants, trees, rocks... all on Earth is connected and is sacred, and a belief in living in harmony with nature... respecting and protecting nature... and taking only what is needed from nature and then giving something back. This, however, is not an organized religion and never has been.

    As for Christianity, I have no problem with the religion itself. I also have no problem with 99.9% of the followers of Christianity. I do have a problem with the concept of "faith by fear". I have issues with the .10% of Christians who try to force their beliefs and/or moral code on others, judge others, twist the words of their own Bible to justify their actions... You get the idea. I respect the beliefs of others, and I expect the same in return.
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    Mar 23, 2008 9:37 AM GMT
    NativeDude saidI came back to my Native American heritage/traditions.
    I like the idea of Native American traditions .. your descriptions of it remind me somewhat of Taoism and Shintoism. It also reminds me of a movie I saw based on a true story where a young native american man was taken from his family and put into a school in which the native american children were supposed to be "Reformed" and "civilized" so they could "fit" into the proper society. It was pretty tragic. I wish I could remember the name of it.
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    Mar 23, 2008 10:06 AM GMT
    Trance23 saidI absolutely believe humans are hardwired for a religious instinct,
    I believe this too, that is one reason I have a problem with atheist or scientific people or any one being hateful towards people's beliefs in general. I mean when it comes to humans hurting one another in the name of religion, I can understand being critical. I think it should be treated the same as any philosophy .. it should all be subject to debate, but ridicule can be a bit much.

    As far as those quotes, my wish is that people would just take what they say to heart.
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    Mar 23, 2008 10:13 AM GMT
    ActiveAndFit saidI like the idea of Native American traditions .. your descriptions of it remind me somewhat of Taoism and Shintoism. It also reminds me of a movie I saw based on a true story where a young native american man was taken from his family and put into a school in which the native american children were supposed to be "Reformed" and "civilized" so they could "fit" into the proper society. It was pretty tragic. I wish I could remember the name of it.

    They were called "Indian schools", and most Native children were taken from their families around the age of 2, transported to another state, and forced to live at those schools until they graduated. They were denied contact with their families and their tribes, were forbidden to speak their Native languages, forced to learn English and take a "Christian" name, forbidden to practice their traditional spirituality and forced to adopt Christianity... and if they didn't, they were beaten, starved, put in solitary confinement, and sometimes killed. Several movies have touched on this to some degree, so I'm not sure which one you're thinking of. If you haven't seen it, you might be interested in "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". icon_wink.gif I think everyone should see that movie, or at least read the book.
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    Mar 23, 2008 5:45 PM GMT
    NativeDude said[quote][cite]ActiveAndFit said[/cite] If you haven't seen it, you might be interested in "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". icon_wink.gif I think everyone should see that movie, or at least read the book.
    I remember that movie and book from when I was younger but have never seen it. I will put it on my netflix list if I can find it.
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    Mar 24, 2008 10:36 AM GMT
    Trance 23I absolutely believe humans are hardwired for a religious instinct, although 'religious' may be too specific a word. Wired with the capacity to experience "Oneness with the Universe" is the best I can come up with. Humans simply reinterpret this experience as 'Oneness with God' because it's the only thing our imaginations could devise to explain it... although not every religion does attribute it to a supernatural being.


    I've mentioned the Numinous experience before. But yeah, humans will invent a religion whenever and wherever it is needed. It's just part of the human predilection.

    ActiveAndFitI think it should be treated the same as any philosophy .. it should all be subject to debate, but ridicule can be a bit much.


    Well... as an atheist, I'll say I'm sorry then. LOL

    As long as religion remains a tool for mass brainwashing and their followers allow it, you can't blame us for finding it ridiculous.

    I mean, as a Christian (example only, forgive me if this offends heh), don't you find Buddhism ridiculous?

    As atheists we find unfounded, divisive, and ultimately destructive beliefs as threatening. And yes, we have been proven again and again.

    When people start to grow up and regard spirituality as a personal thing, then that's when I can say it would get my respect. As long as it's followers + clergy + high priest + god formula... I'm sorry, but that's too much bull even for me. icon_confused.gif
  • MikePhilPerez

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    Mar 24, 2008 9:50 PM GMT
    Sedative14 said[quote][cite]

    I mean, as a Christian (example only, forgive me if this offends heh), don't you find Buddhism ridiculous?


    As a Christian, no I don't.

    Mike
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    Mar 31, 2008 3:02 AM GMT
    Sedative14 said
    Well... as an atheist, I'll say I'm sorry then. LOL

    I mean, as a Christian (example only, forgive me if this offends heh), don't you find Buddhism ridiculous?

    As atheists we find unfounded, divisive, and ultimately destructive beliefs as threatening. And yes, we have been proven again and again.

    When people start to grow up and regard spirituality as a personal thing, then that's when I can say it would get my respect. As long as it's followers + clergy + high priest + god formula... I'm sorry, but that's too much bull even for me. icon_confused.gif
    I did not see this until after our "religion kills" discourse, and I am not sure what made you think I was a Christian. But no, I love many things about various "religions" Like I said though, I see them more as philosophies. I love many things about Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, etc .. I include atheism too. Oh .. also I include other less organized belief systems like native dude mentioned. The Native Americans I think had a great deal of insight because they lived simply and close to the earth. I think there are many things to learn from many philosophies. However, I get the impression your point of views may be skewed from some of the (unfounded) assumptions you are making.icon_confused.gif
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    May 21, 2008 4:07 AM GMT
    Western religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have an 'esoteric' side that shares much in common with Hinduism and Buddhism, and all the world's major religions share ethical precepts that make dialogue possible.

    It is human nature to believe one's truth is the only truth, and to want to share it with others. This message and most of the messages on this thread are an example of that.

    I'm inclined to say that if there is a G*d, then He/She/It is most likely forever incomprehensible to human consciousness.

    But that doesn't stop people from trying, or blowing up the inkling of insight they may get into something really strange. Nor should it, in my opinion.

    Trying to understand each other better, and to respect everyone's journey is one thing we can do to broaden our perspective.