Senate Understanding Christianity

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I never got the whole satan thing, It seems that Shitain(?) is Gods prosecutor.

    Disregarding the "Divine Comedy"/ Paradise lost, there seems to be a few prosecuting angels and tempters that get rolled into one force that is seeming blown way out of proportion by modern evangelicals that I don't find in the bible. I went to a catholic highschool and I am pretty sure (It was a while ago) there was no mention of the devil at all.
    Last edited by Likewater, Dec 30, 2012
  2. GenAntilles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 4
    Well other than Satan accusing Job and God letting Satan test Job there is the Devil tempting Christ. And of course the Devil entering Judas at the Last Supper. And Jesus always uses the devil as an insult, 'calling people servants of the devil, or child of the devil, or of the devil' so he certainly does not view him as just some angel doing accusations against man.

    Then in Jude it mentions Michael the archangel in a dispute with the devil over the body of Moses and not having the strength to overpower him but only able to say 'The Lord rebuke thee' So again if he is just God's prosecutor why is the Archangel quarreling with him?

    Then Revelation identifies the devil, satan, the great red dragon, and that old serpent as all being the same being.

    But looking at my Bible just doing a rough count I find over 30 references to the Devil, so he is definitely there.
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  3. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Are you sure? cause that is undoubtedly the modern interpritation, no arguments from me there. But Classicly none of thoes "devils" according to what I had to study were the same...'thing'.

    I have to admit I didn't do any translations from greek(?) as i was a mere highschool. But I got the gist of the study was the focus that mans relation to God was important, not some sinster boogeyman that gets blamed forr all the wongs in the world.
  4. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    What you are referring to is something separate. There is some argument that the Jewish understanding of Satan was quite different than the modern Christian interpretation, especially as reflected in the writings of Job. However, as quotes like the above show, the Christian understanding of Satan was always pretty well set, even if they distorted the initial Jewish understanding to establish that. Accepting the assertion that Jesus was the one true God proclaimed by Moses, though, that would seem largely impossible. But yeah, viewed outside the lens of the faith, that's the argument one would make, rather than talk about an evolution in Christian ideas about Satan.
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  5. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    fun fun. watch this thread ima chapter and verse yo azz later, pops.

    bout to get served, biblically
  6. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I am actually pretty interested to see how this will go. I must be frank here. I can see plenty of reason for someone to argue that the personal value they take out of a religion is some sort of "treat each other nice" philosophy. But "uphill climb" seems inadequate to address the impossibility of the claim that the text if the Bible doesn't frame the Christian religion as being primarily about the implications of Jesus's resurrection and divine nature.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Dec 30, 2012
  7. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Without the resurrection Jesus is just another marketplace prophet, the likes of which were legion in those days.
  8. Condition2SQ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    This statement encapsulates my entire frustration with our public discourse regarding religion perfectly. Stated simply, if the teachings of Jesus are so valuable, then what exactly is "Christian" about them? If they have utility to society--and I agree that they do--then they are simply valuable, in the same way that, say, fiat currency has value to society without regards to who has, historically, most beautifully espoused its value and utility.

    One of the most poignant quotes--probably the most poignant, in fact--that I have read of Ayyan Hirsi Ali's was when she realized during her quest to reform Islam that she had already realized what her desired destination was--classical liberalism--therefore, in having already designated her preferred destination, she had left Islam's injunctions behind. For me, the quixotic attempts to preserve "Christianity" as some sort of transcendent Truth are manifestations of the same desire. Yeshua of Nazareth was not the founder of "Christianity"; he was a Jewish rabbi who sublimely explicated the principles of individualism and spirituality and how they do(and do not) interact. Nothing more, and nothing less.
    Last edited by Condition2SQ, Dec 31, 2012
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  9. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I find it interesting that what I said can be so handily misconstrued. I never made the claim you're suggesting. Rogue's promise to "chapter and verse" me, ostensibly to point out where what I choose to believe is contradicted by the bible is a pointless endeavor. I already know what the bible says. And if I took the bible to be the indisputable word of god, there would be a point to that exercise. But I don't. I could just as readily pull out random references from the bible. I see no value in it. I feel no need to defend what I believe because, unlike many people who call themselves Christian, I recognize that faith is a choice. I don't "know" that what I believe is right any more than you or anyone else of faith does. I believe in a god. It suits my personal needs to do so and it "feels" right. There is a significant amount evidence to suggest that the universe doesn't need a god at all and one could easily reason that it is humanity that needs god and religion, not the universe. Despite that, I choose to believe anyway. I don't believe because of what the interpretation by some dogma tells me to believe. I came to these beliefs based on my individual study, my own reason, and my own choice.

    My only claims in this thread have been about my own personal choices. In fact, when speaking of the "Christian religion" in particular, I've made precisely the opposite claim you're suggesting.

    Well, as you suggested, Jesus--either directly or through historical revisionism by his disciples and manipulation by the church--most beautifully espoused the philosophy that I try to live my life by. I acknowledge freely that had I not been raised in a Christian environment, I most likely would not have latched on to the term Christianity. But I did, and I'm comfortable with it.

    The interesting question to me is why does it frustrate you what I chose to believe? Do my beliefs in some way negatively impact our ability to have reasoned discourse or does what I believe somehow negatively impact your life? It's not important to me that you believe what I believe. Why is it important you that I believe what you believe?
  10. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Care to explain how? Are you implying that science and religion are somehow the opposite of each other? Or that people with religious beliefs are ignorant and don't seek to learn how things work?

    The irony...
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  11. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    More along the lines of your second point.
  12. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Everyone winds up at different levels in their growth. The title really demonstrates the learning process that everyone goes through at some point.

    "Fear of Hell" is an example of the most primal reason to do something: to avoid punishment.
    "Greed for Heaven" is sort of the next level, where you do something not to avoid pain but to gain a reward.
    "Loving God" is essentially the highest level of growth, where you do what is right because you choose to, not because it will gain you a reward or avoid punishment.

    Christianity is meant to help you reach that highest level, and it is designed to help people at every level to do that. Because of that, it has elements of all three.

    Consider the Old Testament, when Moses and Aaron commanded Pharaoh to release the Israelites. It was all at the "Fear of Hell" level (hence the plagues).

    Later, you get promises of blessings for obeying commandments (such as Malachi's comments to "...prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." in Malachi 3:10). This continues in the Sermon on the Mount, with counsel like "Blessed are the (righteous group) for they shall (receive specific blessing)."

    However, the ultimate goal comes in the counsel "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).

    Because salvation is a personal journey, and everyone starts at a different place, the Gospel is designed to guide people on every level. Most people will tend to be best attracted to the level that they are at, because that is where they will find what they need at that time.
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  13. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
  14. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    Really? My parents were both agnostics at most when I was growing up, and my sister and I both ended up getting baptized as Catholics, as adults, separately, on our own initiative. Oh, and (once my thesis gets through the system), we will both have earned Master's degrees (her in Psychology, and I in English Lit.)

    It's obvious that you hold some strong, simple prejudices about who Christians are and why they believe what they do.

    Define: "worst". But more than that, tell me what gives you the right to define who is better, and who is worse? Tell me what gives you the right to define what "moral character" is? But I'm not just going after you personally here - what gives anyone the right to define those? And why anyone other than you should feel obliged to act in accordance with your beliefs - which, really, are just personal opinions -on what those are?

    It seems to me that you may not want so much to disbelieve God, as to try to replace Him.
    Last edited by Narutakikun, Dec 31, 2012
  15. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    I respect your beliefs and am glad you feel so confident in them!

    My counterpoint would be, if we have our own free will, why can our free will override others? When a neglectful or even outright abusive parent imprisons a child, that child's free will may not be to suffer these things, but because they aren't in a place of power, they're helpless. Their free will is being overridden by someone else. Why doesn't God intervene, if the free will he gave is being undone? Why should the person using their free will for the good of mankind have to suffer from the person who uses theirs for evil?

    Oh I'm not saying they're equal at all. They're opposite sides of the same coin however. One is a representative of Ultimate Good, the other Ultimate Evil. If God loves us and cares for us so much, and sees us not only suffering for our own evils and sins (which is how he made us/allowed us to become like) but also the evils and sins done unto us by the devil, why allow the devil to exist? It's within God's power to destroy the devil, yet the devil doesn't have nearly as much power than God.

    As for the God's plan thing....in your example, we can actually see the map. We can't see the supposed plan that God has for us though. We could try as much as we could to try to get out of what we think as his plan, but we'd never know. We could be inadvertently following it, which is the problem of destiny.


    Well first of all the existence of the devil. I don't understand why a being who wholly cared, loved, respected and identified with the human race would allow an evil being to exist and even take souls away from Eternal Bliss. Do you think Eve would have originally sinned if not for the interference of the devil? Why God would make humanity as flawed as we are and then expect us to not act on the basest part of our nature, curiosity, which is how we've even survived up to the year 2012 and tomorrow 2013, is beyond me.

  16. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    It's not about replacement, either. It's a simple fact of not believing in ANY God. Not the Christian god, not Zeus, not Xenu, not Krishna, and no, not even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I've often heard it said that atheism shouldn't even be a word, because if ridiculous people wouldn't invent imaginary gods, rational people wouldn't have to deny them.
    http://www.alternet.org/story/148555/is_atheism_a_belief
    Here is a great article about belief and how it pertains to various religions, as well as how it pertains to atheists. Note the particular passage regarding unicorns:

    "Your conclusion that there are no unicorns on this round Earth of ours is based on careful reasoning and the best available evidence you have. If you saw better evidence -- if there were a discovery of unicorns on a remote island of Madagascar, if you saw an article in the Times about an astonishing but well-substantiated archeological find of unicorn fossils -- you'd change your mind."

    That's where atheism comes in. I'm sure most rational atheists would gladly accept whatever god(s) are out there if they were shown sufficient evidence to make them conclude that one actually exists.

    Christianity does teach good morals for the most part, but I've always felt that you don't need an invisible man in the sky telling you how to behave.
  17. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Care to develop your point? Or will you simply rely on ad hominem? And again, it's ironic how you call others ignorants based on their beliefs, while making such ingorant remarks yourself...
  18. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    I see no proof of a god or of a heaven nor hell, therefore I don't believe they exist.
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  19. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    It's pretty simple, actually.

    A rational mind will make conclusions based on what can be seen and confirmed, and will alter that conclusion as necessary if more information is presented.

    An irrational mind will make its conclusion beforehand, and will ignore any evidence that contradicts its point of view.

    For these reasons, most theists fall under the irrational category. Sure, you'll get some rational theists, as well as some irrational atheists, but in general, atheists are rational and theists are irrational.
  20. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    But if God intervened and made the abusive parent change their mind and release the child, He would effectively take away the parent's free will. And besides, He already did give us rules how to live well and respect each other's free will (don't steal, don't kill, don't be envious...) - it's our problem that we don't follow them. :p But he will not actively force us to obey his rules, because he doesn't want us to be puppets without free will - even if it's puppets who only do good.

    The "opposite sides of the same coin" term is exactly the kind of false dualism I wrote about in my previous post. :) If we accept that God is the creator of everything, and that God is inherently good, and that evil only comes out of free will choosing to go against God, then no amount of evil can equal God's good. The creation can never surpass its Creator. The "Ultimate Evil" and "Ultimate Good" can't be two sides of the same coin, because "Ultimate Evil" will always be less than "Ultimate Good". And as to why God allows devil to exist - Christian faith teaches that in the end all enemies, including the devil and death itself, will be destroyed and will have no place in the New World.

    I believe God gives everyone signs to show them His plan with them - these signs may be less obvious or more obvious (and sometimes they can be downright glaring "in your face", as I've experienced myself several times :p), and often we must be actively trying to find the path God has set for us, but I believe it is possible (not saying it's always easy) for us to find it, if we're willing enough. And quite often it's pretty obvious in retrospect, when you look back at your life and see it. It has a lot to do with having faith in God, as opposed to "just" believing in God. :)
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  21. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    What I was responding to was the following exchange with Rogue.

    You just flatly called him incorrect, even though he was pretty clearly speaking about the religion as a whole and not your personal interpretation. If you just meant to reassert your personal take again, fine. But it sounded very much like you were just saying his take on the broader phenomenon was incorrect.



    Well, let's rephrase your first question, in light of what you already agreed to about the qualities of God. "How could I a God that allows beings to make their own decisions allow a being to make its own (bad) decision?" I should hope that answers it for you.

    As to your questions about Eve, I think you make a number of errors in your analysis. First, in no case, neither in hers nor anyone else, has Christianity taught that the Devil "took" anyone away from God. He encouraged them to do so, yes. But they left, ultimately because they decided to leave. Similarly, blaming what happened on "curiosity" doesn't really hold water. People restrain their curiosity every day. I do it. You do. There is nothing that makes this an irresistible or overwhelming urge. You give insufficient credit to human decision-making. No one would call it reasonable to assume that humans have no capacity for impulse control.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You know, I've had a lot of atheists make this sort of claim, but they usually want to hem and haw about what constitutes evidence to support it.

    For example, I believe in God's existence because I have had personal experiences that, to me, prove that He exists. For me, those experiences constitute evidence and proof. However, if I share my account of those experiences with someone else, for that person they are merely hearsay and not proof.

    My conclusion is a rational one because it is based in the evidence of my own experience. However, I have atheists try to tell me that it is actually irrational because they don't accept my experience as evidence. In other words, it's irrational because they can't confirm it (or they disagree with the conclusions).

    No one can adequately judge someone else's basis for belief, especially when that belief is based in personal experience. Just because I can't prove something to you doesn't mean that I can't still prove it to myself.
  23. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Your agenda, for one thing - what you intend, through your political will, to see happen to others. Some people define morality not by adherence to dogma but by how one treats other human beings. ( And this message, by the way, happens to be presented in Christianity, though most choose to ignore it and are only too content to play the role of the villain in the parable of the Good Samaritan. ) But if you think I'm here to get you to admit that anyone else is right, or to "prove" anything to your satisfaction, you're getting the wrong idea. Continue to assume that you get a free pass due to the "no one can define anything" argument, if it makes you feel better.

    I guess if something doesn't seem to relate to your chances of keeping your spot in heaven, then you don't feel "obliged" to do it, right? That's the whole point. But I don't expect anyone to act in accordance with my beliefs. Why would they? I'm not offering any incentives, am I? Though it would be nice if the behavior of Christians matched their rhetoric.

    Your delusional fantasies have no resemblance to reality and seem to be nothing more than a cheap evasive tactic.

    Then I guess it's a good thing that the OP never said all Christians were motivated by "fear of hell" or "greed for heaven", just a subset. Thus emendations to the OP's theme would be expected to be similar in scope.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Dec 31, 2012
  24. Souderwan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    Oh, I see. I was responding to the part "the whole manifest point"--emphasis on "whole"--and "and its texts". While an argument can be made that the primary point is belief in the mythology, I flatly reject the notion that this is the whole manifest or only point. In fact, Jesus spends the majority of his ministry teaching and demonstrating how important it is to love one another and treat each other justly. In fact, I would argue that if you focus on Jesus' teachings primarily, you'll find that he doesn't make many of the wild claims that end up being made in his name later. There is a reason his divinity was still a subject of debate among early Christians up until the council of Nicaea, 300+ years after his resurrection.

    I stated in my first post that the focus of Christian religions is too much on the mythology, which I find unimportant, and not enough on the philosophy. I went on to explain what I valued in it. Rogue's post seemed to indicate the the mythology is the philosophy. I reject that claim outright. If I misinterpreted him, then so be it.
  25. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    This is a very elaborate non-answer. OK, so you have an agenda, a political will, and a way you think that human beings should be treated. Congratulations - you have an opinion. That and a dime will get you a cup of joe, as they say.

    Sorry, but you've done nothing here to establish what gives you the right to say what is right and wrong, good and bad, and better or worse in any way that anyone should take seriously or feel bound by other than yourself. Again, you have your own opinion, and you're entitled to it, but you know the old saying about opinions being like buttholes; everyone has one, and most of them stink.




    Nice try attempting to make this about everybody else, and not about you.

    And unless you are an Anarchist absolutist, then I'm quite sure you do expect, or at least want, people to act in accordance with your beliefs. Are there any laws you support? Or oppose? Are there politicians you vote for because you expect them to enact laws that match up with your beliefs? Then you do expect/want people to act in accordance with your beliefs, and you do believe in providing incentives and punishments for them to do so.



    I wasn't answering him. I was answering you.

    In general, I find that many for most atheists, especially of the Dawkinsesque New Atheist variety, the emotional apect of their atheism is tied up in a deep need to feel smugly superior to the vast majority of the people around them. Sure, you'll get some that aren't that way, but in general, they are.

    Most of which comes across in startling and improbable pronouncements about how much better they and people who agree with them are than everybody else.
    Last edited by Narutakikun, Dec 31, 2012