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Post-Christianity? (probably not the right title)


Bravus

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God pronouncing the death sentence on someone is quite different than man pronouncing the death sentence on someone. Many papal bulls sent men to their death and were wrong in so doing. Man cannot judge the heart nor see the future. God can. Thus God can sentence someone dead in sin to a physical death without compromising His mercy.

Notice how Jesus speaks of physical death along side of spiritual death (or being dead in sin). "leave the dead to bury their own dead." In God's eyes, those that are dead in sin and will never repent, are already eternally dead. The crucial point to understand is this: man does not have God's eyes. Man cannot judge the heart nor see the future. So man cannot justify killing off heretics or sinners by saying they were already dead or that they would have never repented.

Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. (1 Cor. 2:14)

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For the Holy Spirit to teach us through the written Word, we have to be teachable and willing to learn. That means we have to be willing to change our minds but also willing to change our lifestyle according to what the Word says. We need to pray before and during our study of the Bible that God will be teaching us and illuminating our minds.

If a person doesn't even believe in God and doesn't believe the Bible is anything but a man-made product-- despite years of reading it and the Spirit of prophecy-- there's not a lot that anyone can do, except pray that that person will open their mind and heart up to God and realize their desperate need of Him.

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When one characteristic of god is the ordered stoning of a man gathering sticks that's pretty much a deal killer no matter how nice that god is otherwise. I think that goes way beyond family discipline since that has three effects. One it destroys any chance the man gathering sticks has of reform since HE's DEAD and two it creates fear in everyone else and three it has everyone participate in violence which all pretty much destroys any chance of dialog for the purpose of having a relationship.

How do you have a relationship with a god who kills you for gathering sticks and at the same time orders you to kill every man, woman, and child in a village except for any virgin which you are free to rape and take for your wife?

Somehow you are able to worship a god who behaves in this way. If any human ruler behaved this way god would send a prophet telling him how evil he was. We don't respect human hypocrites, why should we worship one?

First off, are you ignoring the other texts that show other characteristics of God? Science demands that we look at all relavent facts bearing on a subject. I tend to agree with this, don't you?

2nd, you made the point of dealing with man made assumptions coming to the bible. I pointed to the book of Job and how there were extenuating circumstances to Jobs plight. I notice that there is no response in this area. Even Job's point of view verifys OUR assumptions, that we don't know all the facts that pertain to what goes on here on planet Earth.

Job's point of view regarding his life does not allow for the contention of God and Satan to help Job make good decisions. He made good decisions in spite of the contention. What is your assumptions in Job's situation? Do you allow for a devine test of your character?

3rd, your assumptions are that the text that is quoted above is to be plainly understood from what is written...without preconcieved ideas. Shane has pointed out that we have no idea of where this man's mind is at at the time of his going out to pick up wood on the Sabbath. We are making assumptions that this is just a necessity to keep warm. And Christians claim that God is a just Person, a kind Person, even compassionate...

Since we do not understand the circumstances of culture, nor the man's mind and since I have alluded to a father's discipline..I have a question for you...

What do you do when you tell your child not to do something, and he challenges your authority for NO reason other to challenge your authority?

Let's add to the mix of this text-Let's say that he had all the wood that he needed, and he picked it up on Friday before and that he had enough for not only friday, and saturday, but also sunday and monday as well. Let's say that maybe he was so impressed with God that he decided that God wasn't big enough to tell him how to behave and he would do as he pleased. Add to that mix that perhaps the person was someone of rank within the culture of Isreal, and that since he was someone of rank, the rules don't apply to him. [Let's make him small enough that he wasn't too well known among the people, but he was big in his mind.]

Let's also make some fair assumptions. This is a time when God is establishing himself as God among all the people of Isreal. To allow this flagrant disregard of God's expressed commands is to challenge God Himself to a duel. This man esentually said, I don't think you are big enough to rule me nor the people of Isreal. Since I am of some rank and stature here, the rules don't apply to me.

Sounds to me, like the man wanted to commit suicide. And it confirms along with other texts that God is a compassionate, just, and loving God. He took out the man's attitude before it infected a whole culture...at least for awhile...

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I don't know how this applies to me since I'm not waiting for god to save me. I would have easily seen the first boat as a way out. Its the people who are waiting for god to save them that have the problem. That really illustrates my point I think...:)

Like the man, seems that there are assumptions made. The man wanted God to work in a specific way . God choose to work thru conventional methods, ie a way that the man didn't expect, a miracle. The outcome would have been the same though...

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God pronouncing the death sentence on someone is quite different than man pronouncing the death sentence on someone.

Um...I am going to ask a totally different question here, Shane. I assume that you knew that there were guards at the temple doors in the temple. Do you know what they were there for?

Were they there to defend the all powerful God?

Were they there to prevent people from committing suicide by rushing into the Shekina Glory [sp]?

Ok, let God defend Himself....

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First off, are you ignoring the other texts that show other characteristics of God? Science demands that we look at all relavent facts bearing on a subject. I tend to agree with this, don't you?

So you are saying that my view of God lacks "balance" because I'm not looking at the "positive" aspects of God. One wonders if a critic of the Third Reich would be unacceptable if one failed to offer "balance" by mentioning that the Nazi's made the trains run on time.

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Job's point of view regarding his life does not allow for the contention of God and Satan to help Job make good decisions. He made good decisions in spite of the contention. What is your assumptions in Job's situation? Do you allow for a devine test of your character?

I find the story of Job a rather repulsive view of God since God treats Job's first family as expendable. Now it may be a technicality that Satan kills Job's family, but in your cosmology God knew this would happen. This story is a primitive apologetic that, while it works within the ethics of the time it was written, it miserably fails to provide an ethical solution to the problem of suffering.

Plus a God who knows the end for the beginning, doesn't need to test anything. And I certainly don't want to live my life as if I'm preparing for a test. This would be a hellish form of life.

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What do you do when you tell your child not to do something, and he challenges your authority for NO reason other to challenge your authority?

Oh I get it, the best solution is to stone him to death. That'll learn him. You have got to be kidding.

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Let's add to the mix of this text-Let's say that he had all the wood that he needed, and he picked it up on Friday before and that he had enough for not only friday, and saturday, but also sunday and monday as well. Let's say that maybe he was so impressed with God that he decided that God wasn't big enough to tell him how to behave and he would do as he pleased. Add to that mix that perhaps the person was someone of rank within the culture of Isreal, and that since he was someone of rank, the rules don't apply to him. [Let's make him small enough that he wasn't too well known among the people, but he was big in his mind.]

Let's also make some fair assumptions. This is a time when God is establishing himself as God among all the people of Isreal. To allow this flagrant disregard of God's expressed commands is to challenge God Himself to a duel. This man esentually said, I don't think you are big enough to rule me nor the people of Isreal. Since I am of some rank and stature here, the rules don't apply to me.

Even if all this were true, it doesn't warrant the death penalty. Its possible the man wasn't even part of the Jewish nation. He was just a guy out gathering wood. You really believe that stoning this man was the best solution an intelligent, loving God could come up with?

There's no death penalty for raping a virgin, but there is for gathering wood? To me its obvious this is man made since it defends the ethics of this Iron age culture. If God really wanted to impress people he would have killed the man himself. To have everyone participate in the stoning of this man is a form of brain washing. I have seen the effects of this on people. If you want to see the effect of this type of "religious" training go read this link about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

Addicted to Hate

And this interview with his daughter and grand daughters.

Interview with Shirley Roper and daughters

If after reading the first link and watching this video you still believe that violence is an effective tool to raise loving people then you are beyond reach.

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God pronouncing the death sentence on someone is quite different than man pronouncing the death sentence on someone. Many papal bulls sent men to their death and were wrong in so doing. Man cannot judge the heart nor see the future. God can. Thus God can sentence someone dead in sin to a physical death without compromising His mercy.

If this is true then then God can do anything with impunity. There is no way to determine if God is good or evil.

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I think that has happen in the New Testament, when Jesus came to this earth and lived among us, and showed us how to live together. He also showed us a loving God by being crucified and dying the second death for us. Not just for good people but for each and everyone of us sinners. I'm not always sure, when reading the Old Testament, how to take the goings on there. But I'm pretty sure that God will be justified in the end.

pkrause

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. . . .This is why religion needs to go as soon as possible. . . .

It don't think it is possible to eradicate religion. Man has a spiritual nature (not always a bad thing). Joseph Campbell probably had something to say about that (I did see a interview with Moyers).

In spite of the 12 theses of Spong, he remains a Christian, I assume, since he retains the title of Bishop. So, there must be some 'redeeming' qualities in religion :) that has caused it to last for so many years.

At its best religion frees a person from accumulations of guilt and the baggage of the shadow-side we drag around with us. If not through the gospel story then through a community of people who extend to an individual the same freedom and forgiveness that Jesus unconditionaly offered in his time. But too often esp. in fundamentalist churches, who love their doctrines, more guilt is loaded on to people every week. Everybody and his brother when they get a chance to stand behind the pulpit to make anouncements or collect the offering, etc. realizes they have a chance to give a little sermon, often accusing the congregation of not doing enough for the 'church.'

However, there are churches where this rarely happens, if at all. At one time I joined a church which accepted gays and lesbians into membership, even Adventist! :), Buddists, Hindus. - The church even invited Bishop Spong to speak and hold a week end seminar. That was a REAL Christian church and now I live too far away to attend. :(

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We still wind up back at the three options:

1. We trust someone else's perceptions of reality. For example: some form of organized religion, some kind of cult, or modern science.

2. We trust some form of inspired writing. For example: the Bible, the Koran, Book of Mormon, etc.

3. We trust in our own ability to decipher truth. For example, a mix of church tradition and the Bible, a mix of modern science and the Bible or agnosticism.

Within each of these, there are several sub-options. There are also Christians that fit into each category. Traditional Protestants fall into category two. Traditional Catholics fall into category one. Traditional Unitarians (if there is such a thing) fall into category three.

It can be difficult to be intellectually honest and decide which of these options to place ourselves in. I have chosen option two because I believe the Bible is God's Word and I don't trust neither my own nor others ability to reason.

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Richard has said #1 option is the same as #2 option, and I think there is something to that. So instead of trusting other individuals' perceptions that are written down why not be inspired ourselves? :) Its the only authentic way to go.

Sometimes we are inspired when we read other's writings. Just as others can be 'inspired' by hearing our experiences.

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It can be difficult to be intellectually honest and decide which of these options to place ourselves in. I have chosen option two because I believe the Bible is God's Word and I don't trust neither my own nor others ability to reason.

I like this Shane. And this is why most here are not changed or persuaded by the words spoken or written on CA. Most here feel they are obeying and accepting the Bible as the guide. But it is different for each person here.

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It can be difficult to be intellectually honest and decide which of these options to place ourselves in. I have chosen option two because I believe the Bible is God's Word and I don't trust neither my own or others ability to reason.

And yet you have just used YOUR reason to come to this conclusion.

There really is no such thing apart from our own ability to reason.

I think it is far more profitable to get all the information you can and have some type of self correcting mechanism in place to check if what you are doing is working.

Science does not claim that it is perfect. Because of its imperfection there is the scientific method to allow it to change. On the other hand religion makes the claim that it knows the truth and if it happens to be wrong often the only correction is some kind of violent overthrow or marginalization.

I think it is far more prudent to seek the truth, than to preserve it. When one seeks to preserve truth they have locked the mind into only one way of thinking and close themselves off from growth. The preservation of truth never looks for anything new and it implies an arrogant assumption that one has the truth.

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It don't think it is possible to eradicate religion. Man has a spiritual nature (not always a bad thing). Joseph Campbell probably had something to say about that (I did see a interview with Moyers).

I don't want to argue semantics, but when I use the word religion I am referring to a set of beliefs that claim to be definitive.

I would give the label spirituality or myth/story that serves as a connection to a transformative experience to what I believe you are talking about.

It sounds like what you want to connect to is an authentic community. I see a lot of benefit to that and I enjoy it when that happens for me as well. There are so few places to speak without editing, though I tend to edit less and less as I have less fear.

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First off, are you ignoring the other texts that show other characteristics of God? Science demands that we look at all relavent facts bearing on a subject. I tend to agree with this, don't you?

So you are saying that my view of God lacks "balance" because I'm not looking at the "positive" aspects of God. One wonders if a critic of the Third Reich would be unacceptable if one failed to offer "balance" by mentioning that the Nazi's made the trains run on time.

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Richard said

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The bottom line that almost every Christian believer retreats to is fear. The fear of the loss of my salvation. This is not what I want to build my life on.

'lo Richard.

There are two things more important than my salvation.

1) God's glory.

2) Other people's salvation.

If my primary purpose in life is to get myself to heaven, I am quite certin that I won't be there.

All the best,

oG

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I don't want to argue semantics, but when I use the word religion I am referring to a set of beliefs that claim to be definitive.

I would give the label spirituality or myth/story that serves as a connection to a transformative experience to what I believe you are talking about.

OK. Down with religion! Up with transformative experience!

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Nnooo...what I am saying is that you introduced the bible as evidence. If you are going to hold onto just specific pieces of evidence and reject any others, then your presumptions are no better than those you claim religionist/christians make....Trial lawyers will also argue this same thing...you introduce things into evidence and refuse to look at the rest of the evidence, then you will have a mistrial.

If you are claiming that the Bible is something put together by God and that God's actions in the whole book are considered reasonable you only have to prove one instance of wrong doing to undo this claim.

Its basic math. If one aspect of a statement is false the whole statement is false.

The problem with the Bible is that it is easy to provide a multitude of unethical behavior ordered by God. It makes no difference if God is nice and generous in other parts. The premise that God is a perfect God of love is blown. This allows us to be critical of Biblical claims.

It doesn't mean there aren't good things in there, but it also means that we need to apply some very critical thinking in regards to what we consider to be true within the Bible. And if we are going to consider anything to be true we will need external verification.

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Ok, so you agree that Satan does the evil deeds. And yet, you still put the blame on God for killing. Are you not being unreasonable? God is not doing the killing. God is not wanting the killing...

But Satan doesn't do all the killing and he does the killing under God's permission. This hardly frees God from responsibility. And you completely ignore the fact that God himself ordered the killing of the man gathering wood. This is clearly not the actions of a just God. You are like the great wizard of oz when he says, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

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Are you kidding me???? Any man who has the attitude that the Kings rules and procedures don't apply to him, and questions the authority of the King is at least put in jail..on the charge of treason if not sedetion...if the king is leniant...More often than not, the man loses his head. You have said that the devil is in the details...maybe you need to step back and see the forest and quit looking at the trees...

This might seem reasonable to a government based on authority where you have kings wielding the power of their rule. The stoning of a man for gathering wood is hardly the actions of an advanced being of intelligence, justice, and love. It becomes evident to me that it is Moses that is threatened because God doesn't kill the man because there is no God there. Moses makes it up and has the people kill this man and then blames God. This has been the nature of nation building for thousands of years. It is one of the main reasons that the philosophy of self government emerged to prevent the ignorance and cruelty of single human rules to wreck havoc over whole nations.

You have heard of the philosophy of self government? I think we are far enough along in the democracy experiment to see that it provides a superior form of government. Its not perfect, but it certainly provides a greater sense of freedom for more people than kings. And the whole Bible is written around the ethics of kings. This also shows that it is a man made document.

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if you want to be fair, and scientific, you need to examine for yourself why there is a death penalty for gathering wood on the Sabbath and thier isn't one for raping a virgin.

This has nothing to do with science. This has to do with ethics and human compassion. I don't need to give this much thought because even most children would see the injustice of this. This deserves to be mocked.

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If a people want to be led, and they want fairness, and not oppression, then why not allow all to participate in the Law? Especially if the laws seem reasonable?

It is not reasonable to prevent someone from gathering wood on the Sabbath. And it certainly is not reasonable to apply the death penalty for this offense. If laws like this existed today it would be considered a moral imperative to rebel against any ruler who would impose this type of irrational restriction and apply this type of "justice."

If anybody needed to be put to death, it would be the ruler who executed these types of policies. If the president of the United States found someone chopping down trees in front of the White House, captured him, tried him, and ordered the White House staff to stone him on the front lawn we would clearly impeach the president and put him in prison. Is this not clear to you?

This is the nature of the problem of holding this book as some sort of inside track to the mind of god. It creates ethical situations that are simply unsustainable by reasonable people. This has to stop.

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I don't want to argue semantics, but when I use the word religion I am referring to a set of beliefs that claim to be definitive.

I would give the label spirituality or myth/story that serves as a connection to a transformative experience to what I believe you are talking about.

OK. Down with religion! Up with transformative experience!

Jim Morrison was all for it :).

oG

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The problem with the Bible is that it is easy to provide a multitude of unethical behavior ordered by God. It makes no difference if God is nice and generous in other parts. The premise that God is a perfect God of love is blown. This allows us to be critical of Biblical claims.

It doesn't mean there aren't good things in there, but it also means that we need to apply some very critical thinking in regards to what we consider to be true within the Bible. And if we are going to consider anything to be true we will need external verification.

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Richard has said #1 option is the same as #2 option

But they are no the same at all.

Option #1 means I place my faith in another person's understanding of reality. A devout Catholic accepting church doctrine is one example. A TV viewer accepting evolutionary doctrine taught on the Discovery Channel is another example. Both of these people are placing their faith in another person's understanding of reality.

Option #2 is placing faith in Sacred Writings of a religious order. In the case of the Bible, this means sola scripura - letting the Scriptures interpret themselves. This is done by prayerfully studying the Scriptures with a willing heart to obey all light given.

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Originally Posted By: Shane
It can be difficult to be intellectually honest and decide which of these options to place ourselves in. I have chosen option two because I believe the Bible is God's Word and I don't trust neither my own or others ability to reason.

And yet you have just used YOUR reason to come to this conclusion.

Tricky, isn't it? I have been wrong so many times I no longer trust myself to make decisions. So I place my trust in the Bible. Now, I am asked, if I have been wrong so many times, how do I know I am not wrong about being wrong? How do I know I am not wrong in trusting the Bible? If I have been wrong about so many things, how can I be sure about anything... like trusting the Bible?

Good question. This is why I say, "It can be difficult to be intellectually honest and decide which of these options to place ourselves in." Fact is, maybe I am wrong about placing so much trust in the Bible. But, I ask myself, 'at the end of my life, what regrets will I have for following and obeying the Bible should I discover it all a lie?'

I need to grab hold of something. I don't want to go through life being blown about by various ideologies, philosophies and ever changing "science". I have studied various world religions, philosophies and continue to do so. If there is a God and the Bible isn't His Word, I trust He will guide me into His truth. However, the more I study comparative religions and philosophy, the more convicted I become that the Bible is indeed God's Word.

I don't want to get into the item by item list of why I believe the Bible is God's Word - especially with someone that has an ax to grind. Doing so would get away from the topic. God has not removed all doubt regarding His Word. Ultimately, It must be accepted by faith.

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So, you are going to allow the bible as evidence that it talks about God's character.

This is not about adding up the good things and the bad things and seeing which is greater. As soon as you have unethical behavior by a god who claims he is perfect you have a liar and a hypocrite. Its that simple.

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