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anthropologist: I didnt read your full post, most of it tho.

 

 

This argument would be fine if not for the apparent consequences of choosing wrong. Look at this closely: God, as an act of love, gives us free will and the ability to choose, but if we choose not to follow him we are denied salvation. Now as far as I know the christian afterlife is merely dualistic, you get heaven or you get hell (does anyone believe in purgatory anymore?). So we exercise our love-granted free will, and receive eternal damnation? This is not a free choice, essentially its "Do as I say and you get heaven, don't and well...you know." We are bribed and blackmailed in the same damn sentence.

 

 

This is true for some christian churches, not all tho. But for Catholics this is not so in some ways. You get to heaven by being good (by good I mean we all have something in our head that lets us know when we do something wrong. Yes this can be missed up. But for most people they know stealling is wrong, killing is wrong, and so forth.) We believe that to go to hell you must deny christ by committing a mortal sin, a certian type of sin that kills your soul check on a CatholicAnswers.com I think it is for more info, but God gave us a way to redeem ourself. Jesus Christ. Jesus lent his power to forgive sins to the twelve, and they passed it on to others and so on, priests. They also have venial sins, smaller sins that just sicken our soul, this sins arent so bad as to send us to hell but they are still sins and only perfect people may enter the Kingdom of God. So we are sent to purgatory to pay for our sins until we are purged of them so we can enter heaven.

 

I tried to explain it, which Im not that good at I admit, but I could explain until Im blue in the face but it wouldnt make a difference, would it? Its better to learn them yourself. that website I gave will help, theres alot of good books out there. Alot of internet sites. But most of them try to throw there position onto you. try to take just the facts and see where it leads you.

 

 

 

P.S. you may say "perfect people?!" No one is perfect.

Only by the grace of God may someone enter heaven. Its hard to explain it, I dont know all the answers either, I just know what I believe. I hope you search for the truth, and I pray you find it. But dont be so bias as to not even think it could be true because then theres no reason to search at all because no matter what you find you'll still be in the same frame of mind.

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Hi Mora Here!! :)

 

Food for thought. God being who He is could have made everything rosey and bright. After all He is God and thus He can do anything He wants. However He chose to make us as we are to choose who we love or not. God is love and thus He made us to choose if we are to love Him or not. If He made robots that all loved Him how would that feel? Is that truly love freely given? No not really at all. He made us to have a personal relationship with Him as so as we could be truly gratefull, and truly return His love to Him ourselfs. So He also would receive our love in reality as well, not as some machine that is programed to function in a absolute. Wouldn't you want that as well also?

 

The other part about why everything is so messed up can go in so many directions that if you really are sincere about wanting to know if God is real or not. I suggest you start with Jesus. He said He is, God (John chapter 8, I Am, ) and all of the christian faith falls upon Him. So why bother with so many rabbit trails when all needs to be done is to see if Jesus is telling the truth or not. That is the begining of finding your own answers, and not believing what I say, or any others say, when you can come to your own conclusions if you yourself look for the answer yourself. I pray you would take the time to ernestly check it out for yourself and find your own truth not just something you hear and take up its call.

 

Y'all have a great day and Godbless

 

Mora out!! :bangwall:

Couldnt have said it better myself.

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Hi everyone

 

One thing ive allways wondered..........

 

Why isnt everyone who claims to follow jesus part of the jewish faith?

 

According to ''scripture'' Jesus ( greek rendition of the name jehoshuah , so one thing we do know is that he wasnt called jesus ) was jewish, undeniably so.

 

He wasnt Roman , he certainly wasnt Catholic and he certainly wasnt Church of England. I bet he wasnt Pentacostal or Five Squared.

 

I'm not liking myself to jesus at all here but let me put it this way.

 

If you started a club for people who liked Rock music, youd be pretty pi**ed off if you came back two thousand years later and everyone was listening to dance music.

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I believe that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th

I believe Jesus came to earth as alittle baby

I believe Jesus got crufixed on the cross and died

I believe none of his bones were broken

I believe that he rose from the dead on 3rd day

I believe that the Revelation is coming and Jesus will come again

 

 

It makes sense if you read the Bible

 

So I in my opinion I believe all the stuff I stated

It is your choice to follow a Religion

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Gah. Note to self: When thinking about whether to get involved in an ongoing discussion/debate over the Internet, make sure you actually have TIME to respond to people's responses to your post.

 

Okay, very quickly before I rush off to another project meeting:

 

@ anthropologist, RunTime (and ttlanhil, to some extent):

 

Some Biblical scholars have argued that the figure of 144,000 mentioned in the book of Revelations refers only to Jewish Christians, not to the rest of the world. As I'm not an expert on this particular area, I won't say much about it. Just pointing out the alternative explanation before I move on to another topic.

 

You're right, the problem of free will versus damnation is one of the classic troubles that Christianity faces. RunTime managed to state the Roman Catholic perspective quite nicely, I thought. Of course, there is a major difference between the Roman Catholic dogma and Protestant dogma over the very issue he brought up - Protestants all believe that faith, not works, is what gets you into heaven. That's why there's no concept of purgatory, or working off one's sins, in Protestant theology. You don't have to be perfect to enter Heaven. (I'm not sure where the Orthodox church stands on this issue... it's been a long time since I read my History of Theology book.)

 

Hmmm... I've actually posted this before in another discussion over two years ago in this forum, but I actually view Hell/damnation as the ultimate concession to human free will that God made. If you want to spend eternity away from Him, then He lets you do so. The trouble is, of course, that God is the source of all love and goodness. (That's what Christians believe, anyway). Thus, an eternity away from the source of all love and goodness is essentially Hell, continually tormented by regret for the lost chance of ever being with Him. Some have argued that the descriptions of Hell as a fiery place, or outer darkness, are merely metaphors to describe the extreme anguish and despair that will grip the souls of those who realised they have lost everything. (I don't entirely subscribe to that, but since I haven't actually seen Hell myself, I'm not entirely prepared to decide one way or another whether we're talking about real flames or metaphorical anguish here.) In other words, Hell is the Eternal Absence of God, whereas Heaven is the Eternal Presence of God. And since God is Love, God is Light and God is Good, Heaven is paradise while Hell is suffering.

 

Nevertheless, the question arises: if God is Good, Love and Light, won't it be natural for humans to choose what is good over what is evil? Thus, aren't we still faced with a non-choice? No one has willingly embraced Evil when there has been Good available... or have they? It depends, doesn't it? Humanity's history is full of stories of people who have traded long-term good for temporary pleasure but eventual corruption. The rise of AIDS. The destruction of the environment. Nuclear waste disposal. Affairs, divorces, cheating, unethical business practices... you name it, we've probably done it. All the way back to eating that first bit of fruit in the Garden of Eden.

 

The question is why? Why do we do so? The answer? Pride, and sin. You see, I define sin as "choosing something other than God's purposes". Most of Christian theology has a similar definition (it varies a little in the wording and the nuance, and there are other connotations involved as well, but it is essentially that). When we think we have a better notion of what's good for us than the omniscient God does, and we value our own judgement over His, then we have sinned. That's basically what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden, that's what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven to become Satan, and that's what we're still doing today (and why this debate even exists). If you choose something other than God's way of doing things, then you have sinned, and thus you have two choices - either come back around to His point of view (salvation), or continue doing things your own way (damnation).

 

Yes, I realise that this means right and wrong, salvation and damnation can be seen to be arbitrary - decided on the whim of God. I don't deny that. That's what the Christian faith is - the belief and trust in God's person to do what He thinks is best and good for us, because He loves us. You don't have anything else to rely on but the nature of God. No hard and fast moral principles, no set-in-stone rules or regulations - just a Person to guide you through life. That's why Christians often call Christianity a relationship, not a religion.

 

Now of course, this may seem distinctly offensive/foolish/weird to non-Christians, especially the notion that right and wrong are decided by God. (i.e. "So if God were to say that killing innocent babies is morally-right, then it is?") It's not an easy answer to make, but the Christian answer is "Yes". There is no moral principle higher than the will and nature of God. Thus, whatever God thinks is right, is right, and whatever He deems to be wrong, is wrong. Sin is deviation from what He defines to be right and good.

 

This may put a lot of people off Christianity, until you look at the issue closer and realise the alternative. If not God, then who determines the issue of right and wrong? Humanity? Yourself? Are you morally-righteous (or at least, not morally-condemned) just because you say you are, or other people say you are? Is human wisdom that great and infallible? It'll basically be your word against God's, and that's equally arbitrary. If you're willing to accept arbitrary definitions of right and wrong from yourself, or from other people, why not from God or the church? (The standard answer will probably be "because I trust myself more", and the standard reply to that is "that's because you haven't met the Person you could trust better than yourself yet.")

 

Or, alternatively, you may believe that there is no such thing as morality - that "right" and "wrong" are merely social conventions that can be thrown away when necessary. Of course, if everyone does so, it would lead to absolute chaos, wouldn't it? In fact, it would very much resemble what I picture Hell to be like, don't you think? Everyone doing precisely what they want, without thought or concern for whether it would be right or fair to other people. The moment you bring in notions of justice or morality, you end up in the previous debate about who determines what is right, fair and moral.

 

The third question is, of course, where do we get this sense of right and wrong from? Is there such a thing as inner conscience, or is our conscience entirely shaped by society? When you accuse God of being "not fair" or "not right", you are inherently imposing a moral judgement on Him. What is the basis for that moral judgement and moral standards? Accusing the church is one thing - we freely admit to making mistakes and being sinners in need of salvation and moral guidance. Accusing God of "not being good"? Where did you get this idea of "good" from?

 

(For more reading on this, I highly recommend C.S. Lewis's books Mere Christianity and The Abolition of Man)

 

 

 

@ Ateh:

 

Actually, the name would be Yeshua (meaning, "Saviour"). Yehoshua is the Hebrew for Joshua (meaning, "God is Saviour").

 

I think it would be more accurate to say that the Jewish faith, or Judaism, is part of Christianity rather than the other way around. We view Christianity as the ultimate fulfillment and "evolved form", if you will, of Judaism. Or perhaps another way to look at: Christianity is a returning to the original relationship with man set out by Adam and God, while Judaism was the preparation of humanity to accept the idea, and showing what an ideal life might be like. Judaism differs from Christianity in one main point: the Messiah (i.e. the Saviour). Judaism believes that the Messiah has yet to come to save Israel from her physical suffering, and that it would be a physical salvation (meaning, a great leader and king will rise up to physically rule Israel). On the other hand, Christianity believes that Jesus was the Messiah, and already came to save Israel and the world. It's just that because His salvation was a spiritual one (forgiveness of sins and restoration of a relationship with God) instead of a physical one (gathering of the people and throwing off the Roman Empire's oppression), the Jewish leaders of that time did not accept Him. They were too bound up by their own pride, self-made rules and regulations as to what their idea of a Messiah was to recognise the real thing when they saw it. So instead of hailing Him as their Saviour, they crucified Him instead. Still, most of the first 10,000 or so converts to Christianity and Jesus was Jewish. Jesus himself said that He was sent to the Jews first, and the Gentiles afterwards.

 

(Incidentally, Islam also recognises Jesus as the Messiah and ultimate saviour and judge of the world. However, they believe that the message He preached was corrupted by his followers and thus God had to send the corrected message once again through the Prophet Muhammed. And the Prophet was the last messenger of God, thus Islam holds the true and final uncorrupted Word of God.)

 

To summarise: The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, the Christians already found the Messiah and listened to His Word, the Muslims said that the Christians corrupted the Word and thus preach the "true Word". Of course, we Christians think we got it right the first time, and it was the Muslims who twisted it later. And as for the different branches and denominations of both Christians and Muslims, they're all about how to interpret and apply the message correctly into human living.

 

That's your Judeo-Christian heritage for you. :)

 

 

 

Now I really have to rush off.

-Lyn-

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Havent you ever heard of the saying,"theres no athiests in fox holes." Study the world around you. Study the human body. After doing that, Tell me, we came out of some goo hundreds of years ago. Its not logical that there isnt a God. How can our bodys work so well, be so designed to do all the things it does, without us even knowing we're doing it? And if you believe we come from goo, and all the animals to. Then I just have 1 question for you. Why is our brain SO far advanced then other animals? Yes they have smart animals, but No animal comes close human. They cannot think, or make decisions like we can. I am a Catholic I believe what I believe. You want to prove me wrong? Go ahead and try.

and what if there was a God, does he/she come from goo too? and where does the goo come from..

more questions unanswered

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'' he's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy ! ''

 

 

Ok well i like your summary of judeo/christian religion. I think it shows you do have a good understanding of the background to your own faith which you deserve respect for as there are too many out there who just dont ever bother to find out about these things.

 

I wonder if youd be willing to look further back in time though? To the cultures that influenced even judiasm and therefore most definately the christianity given to us by the romans.

 

It cannot be argued with that Judaism was born out of many years of assimilating various other cultural ideas of gods etc.

 

Thats why you find that the story of the 'coming messiah'' ''saviour of mankind'' has all been written about looooong before big JC came on the scene.

 

 

One thing i do know is this. How little i do know is staggering.

 

To be honest, if there wasnt such thing as god man would need to invent the idea anyway :)

 

Ive been reading alot about the gnostic gospels. Theyre very interesting i'd recommend finding out about them.

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Before i begin the spouting argumentations a couple things

 

Run time...a good site is New Advent. I am not sure who the compliler is, but it seems quite comprehensive. It is quite philosophy heavy, however.

 

And for anyone interested, I found a very neat online project where a non-practicing jew has decided to finally read the torah, without any assistance from commentaries etc, and blog what he makes of it. Links start here: Blogging the bible

 

As usual lyanna, your post is well thought out and presented. A couple of things though.

 

1. What is the basis they are using regarding the 144000? And, erm....what exactly is a jewish christian? :) ...sorry that one made me chuckle.

 

2. The whole free will thing doesn't fit with the adam and eve story. Adam and eve have no knowledge of good and evil...hence neither existed for them to choose from. They would really have not had a conception that eating the apple was "evil" until they ate it...all they knew was god told them not to and a charming snake say "oh...its ok...g'head." If we understand this story as myth (myth in the anthropological sense, not in the debunking sense) then it stands as an explanation of the beginnings of free will, but this kind of sets the Augustine and Aquinas on their ear. Free will is granted by god, despite it allowing evil, because it is for the greater good. But the very action by which we get the ability to choose, to gain free will, is an act of evil. (You may argue that they had free will which is how they choose the apple, but a decision made is a decision made in ignorance really free will? This all begs the question of why did god put the damn apple there anyways).

 

3. I need to ask what choice was given to the multitudes of people who did not have access to god's word or love. The egyptians in exodus for example. Now of course all the other peoples were supposed to be decended of Noah's son's and should have had knowledge of god to begin with, but I don't know of anything stating he paid much attention to any group other than those that lead to the hebrews. It seems at babel he picked the group he wanted and the rest were on their own. Even if this is not the case (you may know of something I don't), the word of jesus certainly did not immediately reach the ears of all. In fact, before the resurection, Jesus tells his apostles to not go to the genitles and the samaritans, but only to the children of israel. What happens to all these others who are not given the opportunity to choose?

 

This brings me to the a new question, what sort of morality are we offered? For example, the book of joshua is, to be blunt, one act of genocide after another. "Kill everything that breathes" if I remeber the quote correctly. A gentler, kinder God in the new testament does not just wipe this clean. And this is not a story about the misdeeds of fallable humans, these are the instructions of god himself. Some have claimed that this merely represents how the world was in that time, but isn't god beyond such human concerns? Should not the social world of the ancient hebrews reflect more closely the transcendant morality of an all loving god and not that of a set of racist and ethnocentric conquerors?

 

Once again I am being polemic about this to try to drive the point home. I have tried to stay within the bounds of the bible and my limited knowledge of formal theology, but i hope my point is made.

 

What do you do when you look at the word of God and find the script has been written by a monster?

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I'm agnostic. I do believe in the idea of religion, and personally want to have a minor in theology. Though I want to do some studying of each of them. My first large study project I guess I would consider is my English paper. It's a research paper from the narrative perspective. So I decided to do it on Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth was a very interesting person, and a pretty wise and short-tempered, mean kid.

 

I personally like the beliefs of Paganism but I'm not motivated enough to be religious enough to consider myself Paganism.

 

And then if I'm in the mood I'll consider myself Pastafarian. And with everything that the people of vanganza.org have established it's not too far-fetched of an idea anymore. If your very optimistic that is.

 

Taoism and Buddhism have also struck my fancy, but I don't like the customs.

 

Judaism doesn't sound bad, but once again customs.

 

The reason I stray away from Christianity is because there are too many scatter-brained people who "claim" to know the bible and "claim" they're Christian and they're always right, I'm always wrong, and the "You need to be converted" idealistic thoughts. The bible contradicts itself in many areas. Though, I might take up Christianity not too be saved, but because it's a pretty bad-ass religion. Jesus and well half of the bible is wicked hardcore. Most people read the things such as Genesis, and the important lesson teaching books, maybe Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John for Jesus's life and stuff. But have you taken a look at Revelations? Some of the works of Josephus? The Apocrypha? Banned from the Bible? Some pretty wicked things went on.

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1. What is the basis they are using regarding the 144000? And, erm....what exactly is a jewish christian? :) ...sorry that one made me chuckle.

A jewish Christian is a person of jewish heritage (either by nationality or by religious belief) who believes The messiah has come in the person of Jesus. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/

 

2. The whole free will thing doesn't fit with the adam and eve story. Adam and eve have no knowledge of good and evil...hence neither existed for them to choose from. They would really have not had a conception that eating the apple was "evil" until they ate it...all they knew was god told them not to and a charming snake say "oh...its ok...g'head." If we understand this story as myth (myth in the anthropological sense, not in the debunking sense) then it stands as an explanation of the beginnings of free will, but this kind of sets the Augustine and Aquinas on their ear. Free will is granted by god, despite it allowing evil, because it is for the greater good. But the very action by which we get the ability to choose, to gain free will, is an act of evil. (You may argue that they had free will which is how they choose the apple, but a decision made is a decision made in ignorance really free will? This all begs the question of why did god put the damn apple there anyways).

Having no knowledge of good and evil does not negate free will. You can have free will to choose the options of which you are aware without knowing all of them. After all in any given situation I seriously doubt I know all the options available to me, yet still I make my choices. So God gave one rule.. don't eat from this tree. They choose to do so. Doesnt matter if they "knew good and evil". They were free to choose their own path.

 

3. I need to ask what choice was given to the multitudes of people who did not have access to god's word or love. The egyptians in exodus for example. Now of course all the other peoples were supposed to be decended of Noah's son's and should have had knowledge of god to begin with, but I don't know of anything stating he paid much attention to any group other than those that lead to the hebrews. It seems at babel he picked the group he wanted and the rest were on their own. Even if this is not the case (you may know of something I don't), the word of jesus certainly did not immediately reach the ears of all. In fact, before the resurection, Jesus tells his apostles to not go to the genitles and the samaritans, but only to the children of israel. What happens to all these others who are not given the opportunity to choose?

The way I understand it, is that since all human life started with Adam and Eve every person from them forward should KNOW that there is God since they walked with him. It was their job then to pass the info on, and they did.. but just like a game of telephone, over the years the message got deluted and even discarded all together. The following scripture sheds a little light on why they do not know him, and why it's not God's fault but mans.

 

Romans 1:20-21

"20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

 

The bible contradicts itself in many areas.

I would disagree. The bible seems to contradict itself in some places, but those who have dedicated their lives to stutying those seemingly "contradictions" have been able to make a lot of sence from them. However, I am no expert on the matter, so I wont be spouting examples.

 

- Just my thoughts, full of imperfections no doubt. But thanks for humoring me anyway :w00t:

Edited by WizzKidd

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maximos Posted Feb 11 2007, 03:30 AM

QUOTE(Gandalf2 @ Jan 9 2007, 01:44 AM)

 

Havent you ever heard of the saying,"theres no athiests in fox holes." Study the world around you. Study the human body. After doing that, Tell me, we came out of some goo hundreds of years ago. Its not logical that there isnt a God. How can our bodys work so well, be so designed to do all the things it does, without us even knowing we're doing it? And if you believe we come from goo, and all the animals to. Then I just have 1 question for you. Why is our brain SO far advanced then other animals? Yes they have smart animals, but No animal comes close human. They cannot think, or make decisions like we can. I am a Catholic I believe what I believe. You want to prove me wrong? Go ahead and try.

 

 

and what if there was a God, does he/she come from goo too? and where does the goo come from..

more questions unanswered

 

I shouldnt have used the goo referance. I didnt know enough about it to fully explain myself. Over the past couple weeks Ive studied Dawins Theory. I was presented with both sides to the aurgument. I find that there is no evidance for evolution. If one thing would evolve the abunch of other things would have to happen at the same time for it to even work. Intelgent disigner lets call him (Im sorry for my spelling). All the evidance I see points to someone designing everything. The simplist thing looked at under a microscope is VERY complext. Now what if there is a God? and where did he come from? If you believe in God you believe he created everything am I right? That includes Time. We can only think in time. I believe God exists out side of time, thus he never had a beginning and will never have an end. Our human minds cant understand this, it doesnt make since because we always have in our mind Time even if we dont realise it. As an ending note Ive heard God put like this "The uncaused Cause".

 

Im truly sorry I couldnt read all yall posts and try and explain what I believe on them, but I'm very busy and just dont have the time. For those of you searching for something thats missing in your life I pray you seek out if there is truly a God or not. thats all I can say. Its late and I have to get up really early. I hope yalll find what yall are looking for

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At first I didn't believe in an reglion. But when I started to look more at the discovery and history channel exsorcism documentries. Thats when I started to believe that a god and a devil did exist...

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I find that there is no evidance for evolution.

 

I'm sorry but you really couldn't have read much then. Evolution, at its broadest, is simply a change in genetic frequencies in a population. In other words, it happens everytime a person or animal is born, a plant sprouts, or an ameoba replicates itself. Natural selection, Darwin's contribution to theory, simply points out that individuals in a population differ, some individuals leave more offspring, and so thiose traits will become more common in the next generation. This is commonly called "survival of the fittest" but that is somewhat of a misdescription; like my siggy says, its not who survives, its who reproduces. As to evidence of this all i have to say is "Antibiotic Resistant bacteria", and there you go...evolution.

 

I think people try to complicate the idea of evolution into imponderability. It is really a very simple set of ideas. A little variation between organisms and 4 simple mechanisms to work on that variation and there you go.

 

Now as to bigger questions such as the origin of life, well there are still some mind bogglers there. Once you have a working cellular organism (which is really just a bunch of nucleic acid surrounded by a greasy mebrane), evolution suffices for me to explain the rest, though I will admit that is does entail me taking a lot of things for granted.

 

But they haven't quite figured out that whole first cell thing yet.......

Edited by anthropologist

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It happened to me also when i first saw the Exorcist I, II, III, IV

 

It changed me, woke me to the reality of good and evil, of heaven and inferno, of sin and pleasure, dang i was awaken, this damn serious and im scared cuz if im a naughty boy i will burn in hell forever :( Maybe i shouldnt eat more apples :D but they tasty....

 

 

serious now, religion is stupidity in all its glory ! Its good for the weaks ones the ones that perish, the ones that arent strong enough to judge by themselves and need a bunch of crap theories to get out of bed every morning ...pity pity.... you can put all religions in one bag throw it at a vulcano and the world will be a much better place.

 

My advice is to enjoy life at most, be happy and to not waste time with bullshits like religion, politics and sports u guys will thank me ;)

 

 

 

 

But they haven't quite figured out that whole first cell thing yet.......

 

 

if this was HIM foruns i would answer the all truth about the first cell :devlish:

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We view Christianity as the ultimate fulfillment and "evolved form", if you will, of Judaism. Or perhaps another way to look at: Christianity is a returning to the original relationship with man set out by Adam and God, while Judaism was the preparation of humanity to accept the idea, and showing what an ideal life might be like.

 

 

I just re-read this !

 

Although i greatly apreciate your eloquence and insights into your faith Lyanna i have to say that this seems to be one of the more outrageous statements i have seen here.

 

To say that '' christianity'' is the ultimate and evolved form of judaism is pretty condescending of the heritage and belief systems that '' jeshuah'' himself would no doubt have been striving towards.

 

I find it really difficult to believe that christianity, which was, if you take the new testament literally, a drive by a man named Paul to spread the word of a group whom he had no contact with, is the evolved and pure form of anything. Nevertheless lets look at who actually gave you the book and story of the new testament and when. What i'm trying to say here ad have been for my last few posts is that not all is as it seems. It was not the twelve apostles ,St Paul or even big JC himself who gave you the new testament and therefore christianity as we understand it. It was an Emporor of Rome called Constantine I.

 

It was at the council of Nicea in 325a.d that Constantine first tried to determine ONE set of beliefs for the upcoming new religion. It wasnt until 382a.d that Pope Damascus then commisioned a man named Jerome to bring together one book which would refelct orthodox beliefs. This is all three hundred years after anything is supposed to have taken place. Alot can happen in three hundred years im sure you will agree.

 

Ok a little more about constantine, particularly his mother,Helena.

 

Constantine asked his mother to go and find the holy sites attributed to the story of jesus. This was 300 years after the events mind you. She was obviously alot better than sherlock holmes because she managed to find :

 

1.the exact location of the birth of jesus

2.the exact location of his crucifixion

3.his tomb

4.where he ascended into the sky

 

As nobody could have been alive to remember where these things happened, it was some group of findings!

Maybe she found what she wanted to? Because she also claimed to have found the three wooden crosses involved in the crucifixion !!! 300 years after it happened !!! Gratz Helena !!

 

It was on her say that Constantine built a Basilica on the spot where she says jesus died. Today thats now the Church of theHoly Sepulchre. It is a site which was built on the say so of pagans, and obviously very clever ones at that.

 

Now i'd like to get into what people think a pagan is. Today if you hear the word pagan you most likely think its someone who runs around with a goats head on, having orgies and being generally bad. Well your right. HAHA No of course your not right. Im sure there ARE some pagans who would wear a goats head and also some pagans that would have an orgy. But to be completely honest with you, i bet theres some Christians who do that to. Oh well, each to thier own !

 

Anyway, for some reason the idea of a pagan is linked to primitive, less evolved peoples than we are today. This is nonsense!! The philosophers of ancient greece were all pagans, today we get countless systems of mathematics used in complex building structures from these ''pagans''. Next time you look at a clock which has sixty seconds, sixty minutes on it, your looking at a time scale developed by ''pagans''.

 

If you have ever read works by Aristotle, Plato or Socrates, you are reading the works of a pagan.

 

If you ever stand before the great pyramids in Egypt and think ''holy soap on a rope''. You are looking at the work of ''pagans''.

 

The thing is, paganism exists in many forms, as does christianity. Ok heres a nice example for you. The official title of a Pope is Pontifex Maximus. This name was first given to, yes youve guessed it, a Pagan leader. It was the name given to Julius Ceasar as leader of the roman empire!!! Blimey almighty the deception is truly staggering my friends.

 

As a last note. Its important i re iterate that i say these things not because i dont like christians or i dont like the bible. Im saying them because i DO believe that sooner or later we are going to meet with a god who will look at us and tell us what weve done right or wrong. I for one will be able to stand and say i looked as far into these mysteries as i possibly could, never ending in the search for enlightenment.

 

And then hopefully i'll be able to put my bloody feet up for awhile and not have to serve a system of corruption on a planet that could be so beautiful.

 

peace

Edited by Ateh

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@ anthropologist:

 

I think Wizzkidd addressed the issues you brought up sufficiently well, and they were the same things I would have said anyway, so I'll just focus on the last point that he didn't cover.

 

This brings me to the a new question, what sort of morality are we offered? For example, the book of joshua is, to be blunt, one act of genocide after another. "Kill everything that breathes" if I remeber the quote correctly. A gentler, kinder God in the new testament does not just wipe this clean. And this is not a story about the misdeeds of fallable humans, these are the instructions of god himself. Some have claimed that this merely represents how the world was in that time, but isn't god beyond such human concerns? Should not the social world of the ancient hebrews reflect more closely the transcendant morality of an all loving god and not that of a set of racist and ethnocentric conquerors?

 

Once again I am being polemic about this to try to drive the point home. I have tried to stay within the bounds of the bible and my limited knowledge of formal theology, but i hope my point is made.

 

What do you do when you look at the word of God and find the script has been written by a monster?

 

You're right in that the conquest of canaan described in the book of Joshua is largely a huge ongoing war and genocide. I don't deny that. However, I dispute the claim that it was racist and ethnocentric. Instead, what I want to point out is that this act was still consistent with the transcendental moral nature of God. The assumption underlying your argument is that God is JUST a loving and kind God, missing the fact that God is also the ultimate moral and righteous Judge of the Universe. In view of God's righteous nature, though, the conquest of canaan is seen as God's punishment upon the canaanites for their sins, using the Israelites as His instrument of justice. That's why there was genocide. When an entire race becomes so corrupt that it has to be cleansed off the face of the earth, God sent Joshua and the Israelites in as exterminators. And that same God is still around today. His nature hasn't changed from the Old Testament or the New Testament. He has a Divine responsibility to punish sin and wrongdoing.

 

So He did.

 

The entire sins of all of humanity was imputed onto His Son, and He took it all out on Jesus, at the cross. That's the message of Christianity and salvation from sin. The punishment for sin is death. In the Old Testament, this death was borne by the sinners themselves - executed by the Israelites. In the New Testament, this death was borne by a completely innocent being, so that the sinners have a second chance. That was God's solution to the conflicting responsibilities of having to punish sin, and wanting to reconcile with humankind. Or to put it another way: Jesus bore the same effects that caused of genocide of the canaanites in His single Person. He took on Himself every sin, and every punishment, known to mankind during His death on the cross.

 

(Since you're an anthropologist, you should probably be familiar with the term "whipping boy". Jesus fulfilled that role for us. The sin was still punished. It's just that the punishment fell upon the innocent instead of the guilty.)

 

Of course, you could try arguing that the canaanites were, in fact, not sinners. That they were innocent beings who just got in the way of a vicious, bloodthirsty race who wanted their territory and used religion as an excuse for slaughtering all of them. If you can prove that link, then my argument falls apart, of course. That, by the way, is the argument used for the Crusades. While I accept that it is valid for the Crusades (and place the blame firmly upon the corrupt leaders of the church at that time), I do not accept that it is valid for the conquest of canaan by the Israelites. Study the cultural practices of the canaanites, and see for yourself whether they could be accused of offending God so much that He decided to exterminate them.

 

 

Oh, and nice explanation on the evolution issue. :) Yeah, the central problem isn't the phenomenon of evolution itself, nor about natural selection (although we would probably argue Divine selection instead of natural). The main issue is about the origin of life. Living matter to living matter is simple reproduction. Non-living matter to living matter is ridiculously hard to achieve, unless you assume primordial conditions which are very very different to what scientists say was the actual state of the Earth back then. (I'm very rusty on this, but if I recall correctly you needed massive lightning storms running through a heavy nitrogen-ammonia atmosphere... which would basically poison and kill the cell as soon as it was created. :devlish:) Science, by itself, can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. It's not qualified to answer the question, since it deals with the natural world, not the supernatural.

 

 

 

@ ateh:

 

Well, I have browsed through portions of the apocrypha... the book of Maccabeus and the Gospel of Thomas, if I remember correctly. It was a long time ago, and I wasn't really that interested in them at the time.

 

About the ultimate fulfillment thing... well, maybe the phrasing could have been better ("evolved" was just the first word to pop into my head when trying to explain the concept of progressive revelation in a non-theological sense. :)), but in essence, I do believe that Christianity IS the fulfillment of Judaism. I don't think it's condescending, exactly... or rather, it's condescending only if you wish to view it that way. You see, it all boils down to whether you believe in Absolutism or Relativism. If you believe that there is such a thing as Absolute Truth in the world around us / reality, then some things must be closer to the truth than others. Almost all belief systems are founded on the idea of Absolute Truth, including Christianity, Judaism, and even paganism and atheism. (They disagree on what that truth is, but they all believe that there is some form of truth out there...) In that sense, Christianity and Judaism are on the same "line" towards Absolute Truth, but we just believe that Christianity is further ahead in the line. That doesn't mean that Judaism is WRONG, or we shouldn't value it. It is just a less-complete understanding of the truth than Christianity is, because they lack knowledge of the Messiah.

 

An analogy would be thinking of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Newtonian physics of motion and gravity isn't WRONG, but Einsteinian physics comes closer to describing the real situation, because it takes into account the theory of relativity. If you believe in Einsteinian physics, you're not being condescending towards Newton or devaluing his contribution to science. :) You still accept Newton's laws of motion as being real and true for their situation. It's just that you have a deeper or more sophisticated understanding of the truth. If your physics teacher teaches you Newtonian physics first, he's not teaching you the wrong thing. He's just preparing the foundation for more advanced learning later, when you become aware of Einsteinian physics.

 

Now, if you imagine God to be playing the same role for humanity as a physics teacher does for his students, I think you'll understand what I mean by "progressive revelation" - which was the concept I was trying to explain earlier. God is slowly teaching us things about the nature of Himself and reality as time goes by. That's why people study the Bible and theology even today. It's not a dead book. There's still more and deeper things to learn. Of course, we also have to be careful to weed out inaccuracies, because God isn't the only one speaking out there. The Devil's making a lot of noise, too, trying to confuse the issue or lead us down false trails (more commonly known as "heresy" ;)).

 

 

<Running out of time and getting very tired, so I'll quickly sketch out the rest...>

 

Your characterization of Paul is incorrect. He DID make contact with Christian groups - both in Jerusalem and outside. And it wasn't Paul alone. :) Further reading of the New Testament show plenty of other authors and missionaries.

 

The Council of Nicea really deserves a more in-depth treatment than what I'm going to say, so I'd be happy if someone else could take it. Before I nod off, though:

 

- Christians had a vested interest in preserving accurate copies of the books regarded as Scripture, even before they were compiled into the canon of the Bible. Don't assume that historical inaccuracies crept in during the space of 300 years. There were multiple copies of each letter and gospel circulated among the churches, and any inaccuracies in scribing could be easily spotted by cross-referencing. (Remember, these people were memorising the Scriptures by heart. They would definitely find any mis-scribed copies.)

 

- Admittedly, the development of many Christian rituals and sites had roots in paganism, including Easter and Christmas. The concept sometimes can overweigh the origin. And many rituals are merely symbolic, anyway. It's the relationship that counts in Christianity, not the place or procedure. Frankly, though, I'm skeptical of Helena's findings myself. Doesn't invalidate the story of the crucifixion, however. (Analogy: "A total nutcase claims to have seen Elvis at a hotel recently. Since it's been so long since Elvis was said to be dead, obviously this hotel and Elvis has never existed! Elvis must just be a fairy tale that this nutcase made up." You can see how the logic doesn't hold.)

 

 

That about wraps it up for me. Too sleepy to think now.

-Lyn-

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@ anthropologist:

 

 

You're right in that the conquest of canaan described in the book of Joshua is largely a huge ongoing war and genocide. I don't deny that. However, I dispute the claim that it was racist and ethnocentric. Instead, what I want to point out is that this act was still consistent with the transcendental moral nature of God. The assumption underlying your argument is that God is JUST a loving and kind God, missing the fact that God is also the ultimate moral and righteous Judge of the Universe. In view of God's righteous nature, though, the conquest of canaan is seen as God's punishment upon the canaanites for their sins, using the Israelites as His instrument of justice. That's why there was genocide. When an entire race becomes so corrupt that it has to be cleansed off the face of the earth, God sent Joshua and the Israelites in as exterminators. And that same God is still around today. His nature hasn't changed from the Old Testament or the New Testament. He has a Divine responsibility to punish sin and wrongdoing.

 

While i am sure that the priesthood and the aristocracy of the Canaanites was full of evil bastards, you will not convince me that every Kevin the common Canaanite was eyebrow deep in a moral cesspool, and that does not bring into consideration the children of Canaan. Further, if we look at just the story of jericho, there is no mention of Canaanite depravity as motivation: The destruction of the city is done as a devotion, i.e it is a sacrifice.

 

Oh yeah, they spare Rebah and her family, who betrayed their own city, not because it was a new Sodom, but because they had heard of Moses parting the red sea and were scared as hell. Truly worthy of mercy.

 

About the only redeeming feature of the story is that our current archaeological knowledge makes it unlikely that the events took place.

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It seems there are a lot of ways to find god, and a lot of reasons to approach god from different angles. All the major monotheistic religions seem to share the same creator. I've heard that the story of Abraham is shared by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. I have also heard that this creator has no name that can be spoken, so is just a god. For some reason, specifically a male god. This is all functional and has been so for at least whenever Moses and/or Noah got the ball rolling.

 

The above paragraph pins me to the wall as a heathen, which is okay by me. I prefer the term humanist if a label is important to anyone. My faith is directed toward you, and me, and everyone dead, alive, and unborn. People are what I have to deal with, not a concept or image. Shaking hands or bowing to a smile is very gratifying.... it may be so while praying to a thought, but I find the warmth of people to be my faith.

 

The rest is politics over religious concepts and is selfish, destructive, and I guess human. My faith is the hope and struggle to end such hatred. We are all the same, just look in your pants.

 

I love you, even if you listen to Britney. :D

 

Must add: All respect to devotees of all faiths, it's important to believe for everyone. Building pyramids and cathedrals were brought about by faith. There is no denying the force that helped create such things. Much was and is done in the name of god.

Edited by Mugwump

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