What is Christianity? How can we understand it better? What don't we understand?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by ObiWan506, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    Kimball,

    If its causing no problem, which it hasn't in this thread to date, then there is no need to try to force the debate in a way that it is not progressing. This thread hasn't "degenerated" in to a flame war and judging by a lot of the posts here hopefully it won't. The_Fireman and I were having an interesting discussion and through my questionning (not presumptions) I was discovering his views on Christianity. Views that were refreshing to me even if I don't agree with them.

    Precedent is all fine and good but there is no need to try to divert the natural course of the discussion that two members were having here. That, I'm afraid makes for a poor argument imo. I for one don't go for flame wars (I never have) but do like lively and challenging discourse. Two very different creatures and what The Senate was originally designed for.

    If you don't mind I would like to get back to discussing Christianty (and any wider thread related sub-discussions that naturally arise). If people don't wish to discuss what I am talking about then I expect that most will ignore me but while there are others like The_Fireman who do not shy away from tricky questions then I'll continue to post in the manner in which I have since May AD 2000.
  2. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Shfiting gears a bit, every Monday in USA Today they do an editorial on religion. This week's topic is Reggie "Minister of Defense" White.

    The article does pose a few interesting questions, like:

    At what point is someone genuinely evangelizing, and at what point is a professional doing little more than a "product endorsement?"

    Who are we to say that God favors one sports team over another, or any case of "X vs. Y?"

    Who are we to say that "God wants me to..." in regards to career path?
  3. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    If anyone is even willing to read my posts anymore ( ;)), then let it be known: I do not believe the Jews can do anything on their own. It was by God's grace and power that they reentered the Land; and by His might, through their military a lot of the time, they have kept their nation standing.

    Obviously there is a way to get rid of radical Islam (though I'd like the entire religion gone) without killing little children, and even innocent men and women. That is the route I would prefer.

    My point was that I would do whatever it takes to rid the threat to Israel's existence, and her innocent ones. My views on the Kingdom are both radical and scary from many people's point of view, but sadly we are not in the Kingdom yet, we're awaiting the return of our Messiah. In that sense, I do not condone the enforcing of the Torah on anyone who does not accept it by faith, nor do I condone the conquest of the Middle East, even the whole world, by Israel. I just want peace and security for those within her borders, no matter the cost. I think some people have lost their marbles on this issue, because if someone came bombing their home, stealing their children, etc., they'd do whatever it took to stop them, and chances are they'd be less than merciful in doing so. And yet with Israel, everyone expects them to end the violence.

    This is not going to end peacefully. That is CLEAR, and should have been made CLEAR from the past two decades. Wake up.
  4. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    My views on the Kingdom are both radical and scary from many people's point of view

    Probably because your views are radical and scary. And I'm fairly certain if you ever acted on your views that you'd be arrested.
  5. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    I am not confessed and i dont really believe in the matter of religion.surely one obviously has to belive in anything i think otherwise there werent religions and sectes.but what i dont like is . firstly the church. luther translated the bible so we dont have to belive anything what the church preist says, but who know if he and others cheated soemwhere. and secondly there are these who decided to have one book iin the bible and another not? and it was written down so often that they were major changes anywhere. and i especially dont like the attitude of fundamentalists who like to convert other people to christianity or religions like islam who also like to convert.
    I dont understand the way the american administration intrudes the lives of americas people with his religion.
    anyway i'd rather prefer to believe in some values of different religions but not in one at all.
  6. geo_gnosis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2006
    star 3
    In regards to the topic of (some) Christians being pro-Israeli, anti-Muslim, etc. etc., I have a question. Do the Christians who think this way not realize that there are also many Arab Christians (and some Jews!) as well as Muslims and people of other religions? Arab does not = Muslim; Muslim does not = Arab. There are a number of Christians (and some Jews) among the Palestinians, and Lebanon is host to many Christians and some Druze as well as Muslims. Jesus himself was a Jew from the Middle East, and the churches (Syriac Orthodox, Maronites, etc.) in the Middle East are among the oldest groups of Christians in the world.

    It just seems odd, to me, when I read the various articles about how the evangelical Christian Right is so pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian (and, these days, perhaps anti-Lebanese as well). Because it seems to me that, by taking such a view, they are failing to have sympathy for their fellow Christians in those places. Also, with the exception of Messianic Jews and a few folks such as The_Fireman, most evangelicals (in my experience) have little knowledge of, or respect for, the Jewish faith and traditions. And in fact, there are big drives to convert Jews. So it all seems a bit off-kilter to me.

    FYI, Martin Luther was only one of many people who have translated the Bible. ;)
  7. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    I'd agree with the overall sentiment of your post. What really burns me up are the racist Christians I know (I live in Arkansas :rolleyes:). I know a guy who thinks he's a righteous good ol' boy, he's really involved with his church, and is intent on building it up. However, in the next breath he'll use slurs against black people and Mexicans, talk to them like they're animals, and just generally treat them like crap. He'll say the same things about Arabs.

    A couple of times I had to remind him that Yeshua is a Jew. ;)
  8. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Almost a third of Lebanon's population is indeed Christian.
  9. LemmingLord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    I agree with you, Fireman, that the people of Israel has good reason to believe they are defending themselves and if the people of the United States had good reason to believe that their neighbors were as imminent and deadly a threat, I believe it too would justify any violent actions.

    As far as how this relates to Christianity - I think it points out two distinct Christian points of view regarding violence - "turn the other cheek" pacifism the one hand; God's army on the other.

    I must say, unless God tells me to go killing people, I'm not going to assume that any war is anything but deadly sins come to fruition. I understand George Bush thinks God has told him it is ok to engage in war. I guess I can understand his Christian position. I understand the Pope thinks Israel and Lebanon should stop war immediately and come to a peaceful understanding.. I guess I can understand his Christian position.

    One conclusion I draw from this, and have drawn in the past, is that Christians can use their belief and interprit the bible to justify existing beliefs or come to new beliefs, but those beliefs and interpritations are not as perfect as God or His Word.
  10. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    LL, you bring up an interesting point, but I don't really think that it shows a contradiction at all when in the Old Testament you see the Israelites being commanded to kill everyone, and when Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.

    Right now I think it is needed for us to defend our lives, families, and freedoms, but war beyond that is not lawful. Christ will come again and he will destroy the wicked, so there is a good way to use violence and destruction, but in the meantime we should not pretend we are doing God's will, because even the ancient Jews had to wait for the people that inhabited the land to become so wicked that God had to destroy them. In the current situation, Israel has the right that every other government has to protect itself, but we can't side with them simply because of religious reasons or some "war on Islamo-facism."

    To be honest I would love for all Muslims to wake up one day and decide to be Christians, but I would rather them be Muslim than athiest. But just because they don't want to convert to my religion doesn't mean I think that a single one should be killed because they disagree with me. I have faith that sooner or later they will become more tolerant of other religions and allow missionaries to teach them, but killing them will do no good.
  11. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    I think it s a not forgiveable action was the israelis do there at the moment.. how mayn civilians have theykilled by now and for how many years are they occupying lands of the palestinians?
    and they are doing the same wicked mistake the forces of europe and america did in afghanistan. you cant wipe out an organisation just through bombing a country which is partly inncoent and just was at the way to get a good living again. this oganisation just flee in a another country and hides if they get the hisbollah there.

    and i think there shouldnt be hate between any religion but especially not between the most related religions. after all the religions say the same so i would not be minded anit musilimic because of the fundamentalists.the christian fundamentalitics are nearly as bad an d fanatic only that it is rarely shown in media.
  12. geo_gnosis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2006
    star 3
    morrison85 makes a good point. It baffles me that the Abrahamic faiths (not counting the Baha'is) are sometimes so hostile to one another. They worship the same god, and have many similarities in their beliefs. Yet some of the believers(not all of them!) choose to focus on the differences and even resort to violence, rather than joining together and using their shared beliefs and shared efforts to make a positive difference in the world. It's sad.

    Espaldapalabras, I am curious about your comment, that you would rather Muslims remain Muslim than be atheists. Why is that?
  13. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    what i especially dont like is the idea of missionaring each other.
    This is a good point of other religions like buddhism that they havent the thought that only ones religions is right . i think its a totally ill thought. the fact that jews haven t been missionaring led to their outkast and partly to the situation like now and basically only because only the others were missionering christianity and islam.
  14. LemmingLord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    Bible says somewhere that only the fool says there is no God. Maybe Espaldapalabras feels a transition to atheism is a transition to foolishness.
  15. saber_death Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 4
    excellent point geo-gnosis... there are not just 2 groups living in Palestine... and it is my opinion (and i'm sure many of ya'll will agree) that all the other, smaller groups that are caught in the middle of the fight between Jewish Israelis and Muslim Arabs are the ones that suffer the most when things get nasty. my point (not sure about anyone else's) is that evangelical/fundimentalist Christians tend to side with followers of Judaism/ethnic Jews over Muslims/Arabs in terms of religious/political stuff when they collide, for a variety of reasons (theological, historical, and otherwise). we don't think either side is totally right religously or politically, and we'd like it if both came to know Christ and stopped fighting.

    and for the record, no, the Abrahamic faiths don't all worship the exact same God... very, very similar ones derived from shared truths about the real God (or shared myths if you think we're all crazy/wrong), but not the same one. for one rahter big example, Jews and Muslims generally can't stand the idea of the Christ being God (and the Trinity that's a part of that idea as well), which is an essential part of the Christian faith and God's attributes according to Christianity. the differences that seem small from outside the faiths are huge from within the faiths... though still not worthy of fighting over, that much is true.

    but there are many deep similarities, which (i'm betting) is why Espaldapalabras says Islam is a better choice than atheism... the Muslim faith is much closer Christianity than atheism, and at least they acknowldege a God, and one who shares many attributes with the one we believe is real. one of these being that there is only one known path to God... which is why all 3 faiths seek to convert others (though Judaism has more of a "others coming to us" view from what i've seen, while Christianity and Islam actively seek out non-believers). Christianity doesn't do this out of pride or arrogance, but out of sincere belief that the Creator and Lord of the world has told us about Himself and how He wants mankind to come to know Him... and from everything i know Judaism and Islam are the same way. "missionarying" is done to bring others joy, hope, and the love of God (and save people from eternity in hell) not out of any sense of being "better" than others.




    as for Christianity and war in general:

    in the OT, God's kingdom was at least partially an earthly one, the nation of Israel ruled by preists and annointed kings... so they had as much right as any nation to fight another. furthermore, if the accounts of Joshua and Judges and Samuel are to be taken as historical truth, in most of their bigger battles God intervened supernaturally, which is a pretty good sign that He approved of their actions.

    in the NT/modern era... "my kingdom is not of this world". Christianity isn't (or at least shouldn't be... i won't deny that is has become one in the past 1500 years) a political entity... though of course in a democracy we should vote based on our views. it is explicitly stated throughout the Gospels and Epistles that we no longer should fight for Him in physical ways (2 Corinthians 10:3). however, there is no statement anywhere in the New Testament (that i've ever seen) flat out stating war is wrong... so while war for God isn't supposed to happen, and we should want our enemies to stop fighting and come to know Christ... if the life/liberty of others is in danger, we may fight as needed. but killing people for just not being Christian is just dumb... we're called to help save them, not send them to God to be judged (which will happen sooner or later anyway)... if they are a threat to others' lives then yes, we might have to kill them, but never should Christians WANT to do so.
  16. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    that actually sound like ahard believe and to this
    i have hardly ever read or see something in a world were missinaring was fo joy.
    and the crusaders surely wasnt out for bringing joy to the peopke and secondly if they think they bring joy to others through theri own religions that means they must be very confident believing it is good for other foreign people which lingo they even do not know and culture to think of their own as joy bringin.in that way i think its arrogant.

    and to the ye different gods.. well the gods are the same and trinity is not something you have to belive in . in most parts its the only deviding thing form religion. but the god its self as being the same god is the same i think.

    ah yes if you dont belive in god you wont belive in any satan eiter. and the stan was actually only introducedby the churches in medieval time so the people had something to fear. the stan its self i hardly a part f the religion.
  17. geo_gnosis Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2006
    star 3
    LemmingLord, that is one possibility, although I can't recall the chapter and verse offhand. I believe it may be from a Psalm.

    saber_death, thank you for the thoughtful reply. Yes, the three faiths view God in different ways. But if you ask a Jew, Christian or Muslim "Is your god the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah)?"---as opposed to, say, Krishna, Eshu-Legbara, or Hanuman---each one of them will answer, "Yes." That's what I meant by saying "they worship the same god."

    we don't think either side is totally right religously or politically, and we'd like it if both came to know Christ and stopped fighting.

    Yes, but I guess my point was that, as you said, the Middle East is a multi-color patchwork tapestry, not just a binary, two-group thing. There are plenty of folks in the Middle East who already "know Christ," and it confuses me that sometimes Protestant American Christians don't seem to acknowledge or care about that. (Or, maybe, they simply don't know about it.) Christian Palestinians, for example, often have strong feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and land issues; whereas it seems many American evangelicals side with Israel, period, and thus ignore the suffering of their Palestinian Christian fellows. At least, that's how it sometimes looks to me. I also know there is a lot of Christian relief effort and interfaith work that goes on, too, so I'm not meaning to tar everyone with the same brush.

    As for being "only one known path to God," that seems to vary depending on whom you ask. I've read that, in much of Jewish thought, ethical people of any faith can be loved and rewarded by God, while in Islam, the Qur'an flatly states "The believers, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabians---all those who believe in God and the last day and do good---will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve." (2:62) And even among Christians, there is debate on what will happen to non-Christians in the afterlife, with many Christians saying simply "Only God truly knows." Of course, opinion on this has, and does, varied widely, in all three of the religions.

    And ideally, missionary work is undertaken out of love and compassion...but, unfortunately, history shows us that it has often been otherwise. :( Too often, Christian missionizing has been accompanied by, a front for, or identical with colonialism, jingoism, racism, and a desire to reform or even eradicate indigenous practices, not only their religion but their entire way of life. I truly hope that this is not the case in today's day and age.

    Edited for typos, etc.
  18. LemmingLord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    I'm going to have to go ahead and call this a very large assumption - I have met missionaries who do what they do seemingly exactly out of arrogance or pride... So can we agree that christians SHOULD see out non-believers because of sincere belief and not out of pride or arrogance?
  19. saber_death Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 4
    the crusades (the worst episode in the history of the church IMO) weren't even called missionary trips by anyone i've ever heard of... and as i stated in my post, fighting for God's name is not allowed in the Bible, no matter what some have (unfortuanately succesfully at times) tried to say.

    as yes, spreading God's truth is supposed to be all about joy:

    Acts 8:5-8 Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God's action, they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!


    we are confidant that Christ brings joy (and hope and love), since He has done so in our own lives, and in the lives of people all over the world. throughout history, and from every religous/cultural background from atheist to Muslim to pagan. yes, many who claim to be spreading His name haven't exactly done a great job at spreading joy/love/hope but have instead have spread hate and pain, either since they didn't really believe what they're preaching (especially a problem back when Christianity was the state religion of all of Europe) or since they just messed up (like we all do at times), but that doesn't change the fact that sincere Christians have joy through God and wish to spread it, and that's why we engage in missions.


    as for the same God/only path to God issue... it may be true in a way (as you said, we'd all say we worship the God of Abraham), but one can also find quotes from the Qur'an that seem less than open towards Christians and Jews:

    9:29-30
    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
    The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

    perhaps someone of the Muslim faith can better answer their view on things... but from most Christian's view Christ=God/son of God is pretty important, and seems to be pretty much denied by our Abrahamic brothers. it's not just details about God/theology, since Christians differ on details but (generally) acknowledge we're all Christians if we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior... Islam and Christianity and Judaism have all been rather clear that we don't agree on enough to all be as right as we each think we are (though we may all be right enough, or wrong enough if you wanna think of it that way, to recieve salvation)... i just go by what the Bible/Christ says on the matter:

    Matthew 10:22-23 Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
  20. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5

    I said I would rather have them remain Muslims than become athiests because I believe every religion contains a portion of God's truth, even religions like Hinduism that at face value don't have much in common with Christianity. I don't want to derail this into a thread about Islam, but as a Christian I can recognize that they worship the same God I do, alibeit in a different way, and follow many important correct principles like modest and no sex outside marriage.

    Comparing missionaries to crusaders is just as fair as comparing athiests to the baby killing Stalinists.

    I honestly don't know where this comes from, and I was glad as a missionary to not have encountered. Any real missionary isn't going to try to convert someone to make themselves look cool, they MUST do it out of love and concern for their fellow man. Any religion that says that it is the only way to happyness would have to be the most heartless, cold blooded, selfish psychopaths to not want to share that everyone possible. You might think missionaries are misguided, in fact I think a lot of them are, but even if you think what they are preaching is wrong, you should still respect them for practicing what they preach. In my missionary experience, if you are not doing it out of concern for your fellow man, you are going to hate life because your pride would quickly be destroyed.

    I don't understand why people always have to bring up the sortid history of Christianity when it has no bearing on any current discussion of it, unless you are discussing the historical validity of the Catholic church. You don't see me bringing up the problems of ancient Greece as a condemnation of democracy, do you?

    Being against a "missionarying" church that believes it has the Truth is no different than being against a scientist with a theory. While I might not agree with all scientific theories, that doesn't mean I am against them trying to spread them. I chose this example knowing that some Christians do not do this, and the same people who dislike missionaries are all to eager to promote their own scientific theories. In my book, both are against the spread of knowledge. I have trust that in the open market of ideas, the truth will be accepted. If you despise missionary work, you don't trust that people can find the truth for themselves, and that is what makes you no better than the 13th century Crusaders.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    What about "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?" I learned about that from Mel Gibson's dad.
  22. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    what should that mean?

    and btw.. i havent read the entire bible and i m glad ;P so i surely would as a not confessed quote aything out of it.
    ah well and i am sorry for you being a "good missinar" but i have seen a documentary of nowaadays missionars who go inot iraq to missionar people.. . from islam to christianity. and that was also abut the thousands of missionares in the us who try to convert the not believing.. and i cant think of that its good to convert anyone. to me it sounds like the funny witnnes of jehova who ring the door at 8 am to convert you. but poor guys they are always being ridiculed by comedians for their weird manner.
  23. saber_death Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 4
    in what sense??

    in the strict Catholic sense of acknowleding the Pope's authority and all that, it's neither Biblical (it was stated by a Pope in the 1300's) nor true IMO.

    in the general, Christians should belong to a congregation of faithful believers if at all possible sense, yeah, i'd say there's some truth to it, but it is not a must. as Paul puts it:

    Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another?and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    from this and other verses one can see that Christians are called to fellowship and worship together, and learn from each other in congregations of believers as well as use those meetings to reach out to nonbelievers who have come to investigate our faith. but nowhere does it say not attending a church regularly is a even a sin, much less a sign one isn't saved.
  24. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Wow, buddy. I think you should think a bit before you go posting like this. I don't exactly agree with mainstream Christianity either, but you should give them credit for trying to spread what they believe to be saving knowledge, no matter the ridicule they receive in return. You don't sound very caring at all. At least they aren't going about it like the bin Ladens of the world by killing innocent women and children to spread fear into the heart of all those who don't believe. These "evil missionaries", as you seem to view them, are some of the major players in spreading education, healthcare, and material goods to third world countries. You might try and show a little respect. At least they care.
  25. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    While perhaps not an issue of salvation, it is certainly part of fulfilling the Sabbath to congregate on the appointed times of God with other believers. We don't agree on the Law, true enough, but it is my opinion that the Scriptures of the New Testament clearly teach that the gathering of believers in Yeshua are subject to the same Law as Israelites, including feast days, including Sabbath, and that these gatherings of which we speak are merely the early "Christian" form of that. I say early because they gathered on the 7th day Sabbath, just like God commanded Israel, and I put "Christian" in quotation because I don't believe they were referred to as such until some time later, during the influx of Greek believers.

    It was only later that the Roman Catholics instituted a Sunday sabbath, attempting to change the appointed times and seasons of God to satisfy the Sun worship prevalant throughout the empire.

    Point is, whether pivotal to salvation or not, congregating is definitely something that should be done (on the true Sabbath, I believe).