My apologies LTS. Thanks for the reminder.Ok, where does that stop in Genesis? Were Adam and Eve literal persons, the first created folks?
2. What are the inherent hypocrisies and contradictions of organized religion?
LINK I enjoyed RavensR#1's follow-up response to that post.
I would like to read your persptective on this question.
I covered my perspective pretty thoroughly in that link. Take another look at it and if it's still not answering your question then maybe you can clarify what it is that you're asking for.
As to those who lived and died without knowledge of the Biblical God or of Christ whether before, during, or after His incarnation, do you not think it goes to the question of natural theology from Romans 1? That everyone inherently "recognizes" their Creator and then proceeds to either confirm or deny Him in their own minds?
Not to bring mythology back into this discussion, but what about those who were born into a culture where other deities were the fixture without any known or enculturated knowledge of a Biblical God? Is a child who is born into that society or culture condemned to eternal damnation as well? They saw lightning and thought it was a sign from Zeus, fire as a sign from Hephaestus, sea storms as a sign of Poseidon, etc without attributing those things to the God that we know from the Bible. Many of those cultures were just as committed to their own deities as some of the most devout Christians are to God, so how could they possibly recognize a lone omnipotent Creator?
For those Jews or other God-fearers who predated Christ, do you believe that faith in God has always been the requirement for salvation as it was for Abram?
All that I do know about other, older religious practices is that they involved some form of fear of or reverence towards their deity/deities. There were many ways to "honor the gods", whether it be through competitions and games, fasting, ritual, songs, monuments, tributes, or any number of activities in a given day, month, cycle, or year. Faith is a prerequisite to all of those so, naturally, all god-fearing civilizations had faith. Going back to Adam and Eve for a moment though, wouldn't they have passed eye witness confirmation and testimony of God's existence down through subsequent generations ad infinitum so that only one single worldwide religion existed?
If so, then the works a person performs have no relevence to salvation?
This is a sore spot with me as my exceedingly Christian uncle maintains, or rather insists, that our actions on earth bare no consequence to whether or not we are saved and that only God's grace through our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can. I have a real problem with the concept of a life long pedophile having a better chance of attaining salvation than Ghandi just because he asks for it the night before his execution.
How do you interpret Acts 4:12?
As a bit of a contradiction to a unitarian belief system. The Jews enslaved in Egypt were allegedly God's original people, so why free them from servitude only to later condemn them for adhering to their original belief system? If God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are truly one then why bring divisiveness with the introduction of a savior whom the majority (at the time) refuse to recognize as their Messiah? That's literally taking them out of the frying pan and throwing them into the fire.
We put our own restrictions on how we worship God, and we gather together in groups with common views. As more people come into the group those rules of worship usually change to reflect the larger group.
Exactly. The rules change to reflect the group, which is a man-made derivation, not a God-made one. Is it possible then that the Bible, as it exists today, was nothing more than a man-made contrivance or derivation of another work geared towards the values and beliefs of the masses at that particular point in history? Didn't the Catholic Church pretty scrupulously decide what was going to be in the Bible and what wasn't? How is their selectivity any different than mine?
All worship is supposed to be done in an orderly fashion, that is probably the big scriptural restriction. But many denominations exist because people have differing views on how to conduct a worship service and human nature is to separate ourselves into closed communities with common points of view. You seem to be, in some way, a church of one - unless you meet with other people that share your views. But if an outsider comes in trying to do something different you may be at the front of the line to say "we don't do it that way here". And the vicious circle continues...
If Christianity can eliminate, or at least minimize, some of its hypocritical actions and behaviors then it will have broader appeal and practicality. I can assert with full confidence that the hostile approach of people like STO who use scripture to make threats and render judgment is only counterproductive; however, in my experience, the nonbeliever has to at least have some willingness to believe or experience an actual act of God in order to accept the message. This often requires that they have at least a shadow of doubt in their current belief system or that they be at some transitional point in their lives where they are more capable of accepting God's grace. That's an interesting paradox in God's creation of free will, that he also gave us the free will to not believe.
If I ran my own church, I would give it the simplest rule of all: practice what you preach, and be mindful of both.
maybe we can talk about one thing at a time?
No sweat. It's easier for me that way too.
Overall my first impression of your view of scripture is that it is largely meaningless. It seems to boil down to nothing more that stories representative of human life in general, with guidelines for living that you can accept or reject with no consequence because they are all contrivances of man, including loose histories of Israel generously seeded with faked instances of God's intervention in their lives.
That's a pretty extreme exaggeration with undertones that aren't very subtle. Try to remember that we're on the same side here. I have never stated nor implied that scripture is meaningless. In fact, I've quoted the Bible multiple times throughout my participation in this thread. I've also maintained on more than one occasion that I believe it is a wonderful template on how to live a more righteous and fulfilling life. I do, however, choose to be a little more circumspect in my interpretation of certain chapters, events, and passages.
My general question would be - how can you take any single part of the Bible to heart when you discard 99% as man's attempt to define God (and, I assume, to control the masses)?
99%. I'm going to stop here and get back to this some other time.
Boy, does that ever sound famliar!
But the more I learned, the more disappointed I became; and the more I experienced in life, the more I saw cracks and faults and failings. The hypocrisy at all levels shattered my faith, and I now avoid all organized religious activity (though I can put on a smile and politely do the church thing now and then for things like weddings and funerals, etc.).
At first I separated God from the church; the flaws were in the Churches (which are of Man), but God was above those things. But then it became even clearer that God as a specific anthropomorphic entity was simply a construct or projection of the Church, and not something above or beyond it. The two cannot be separated by any rational process (faith, I suppose, is an entirely different process).Still with ya, 100%!
I believe moreover in the notion that the tendency to believe in a superior being is biologically engrained in the human species-- a matter of evolutionary selection.I don't know...
Oops...that was supposed to be a PM...please ignore that post unless you were the intended recipient!
Move along...nothing to see here...