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Featured Are We Too Smart for Our Own Good?

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by TraceMalin, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    When I started college, I was a disgruntled 18 year-old who was unhappy that I wasn't in the US Army where I belonged. My mother was a college professor who had free tuition benefits for her kids. My dad, a former US Marine, said the only thing being a paratrooper would get me was 3 hots, a cot, and a broken ankle. My parents convinced me to go to college and then I could become an officer. So, there I was as a psychology major because the green berets were also a unit that employed psychological warfare.

    My first philosophy class dealt with Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. Wow! I loved philosophy. I loved history of the ancient world. Growing up in a Christian home, I also loved religious studies classes. I was a Protestant so it was almost culture shock to be taught by nuns and priests getting used to hearing, "the Blessed Mother," and other distinctly Catholic terminology. My father had been Roman Catholic, but we only attended my mother's Methodist then Presbyterian churches.

    I developed very close relationships with my professors in English, philosophy, and religious studies. I changed my major to English then stayed from 1986 to 1993 earning degrees in all three disciplines. My mind was hungry and on fire to learn from professors and challenge them back in an exciting academic environment.

    According to the Principle of Primacy, the things learned first are retained the most. I remember more about Plato's Apology than I do about Immanuel Kant. I remember more about Jesus from Sunday School than I do from a 400 level class in Jesus and the Early Church.

    I enjoyed the wisdom and simplicity of the Greek philosophers. These were the elite of their time. Yet, they were not at a Kantian level. The Greeks were the ones to whom Paul brought Christ. Paul was the Ph.D. of his time. Jesus, on the other hand, spoke to the poorly educated. His own disciples were often confused by his teachings and parables which seem obvious to us today. Yet, God chose these fishermen, tax collectors, and others to teach the message of salvation instead of the most learned temple priests, judges, or rabbis. Their words were easily understood by shepherds, laborers, craftsmen, soldiers, mothers, and others who didn't study the Tanakh in a formal way.

    The message of the "Good News" is meant for all -- even the little children, so that all who hear may choose to come to Jesus. Yet, 2000 years of Western civilization, Catholic political reign in Europe, Protestant reformers, pulpits of preachers, ratings of televangelists, and writings of scholars have found the great theological minds and the worst mega-church motivational speakers in disagreement. As the Bible is scoured and dissected to find a more truthful truth, modern intellectualism leaves Christians worried they may not be saved enough. Bible study is important, but so is the simplicity of salvation. How do we overcome our obfuscation of a message even a child can understand as we seek to grow in knowledge? Do we spend too much time looking for deeper meaning rather than reading simple stories in simple context? Christianity began as an oral tradition. Early Christians were unburdened by Bible study and rejoiced in a simple faith often learned by listening only once to Peter. A shepherd could return the fields or a soldier to his cohort forever changed and at peace in his heart.
     
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  2. mothcorrupteth

    mothcorrupteth Old Whig Monarchist, Classically Realpolitik

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    You wouldn't happen to be related to Brett Malin, would you?

    What you're asking is the reason I became Orthodox. I just got tired of overthinking my Christianity.
     
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  3. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    It takes a lot of doctrine to avoid what Christ said. We are to instead become like the little children and listen to Him.
     
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  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Part of the first greatest commandment is to Love the Lord, your God, with all of your... mind...! God's Word is accessible to the simple, but it also has depth for those of us who need it. Receiving too few details can be just as frustrating to one person as receiving too much is to another. Intellectuals aren't here to show off. We just have bigger appetites for such things.

    God and His Word can meet each of us right where we are.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
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  5. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    Jesus simply taught the difference between the world man made in our own image, and the Kingdom. Man institutionalized and politicized the message and before you know it it was back to man using God for our purposes rather than changing to suit the will of God.

    It is not an easy road in order to understand what the oppressed so easily understood when Jesus spoke before theology (religious philosophy) set in. To see beyond what the world has taught us since birth and see beyond the teachings of a religion that wrongly returned itself to that world having abandoning the separation between world and the Kingdom.
     
  6. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Though I can accept "Do this" and "Don't do that" from God's Word, "This is why we do this and not that" carries me a lot farther.
     
  7. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    That is what the church chose to leave out because it explained how returning to the world of man was contrary to the concept of the Kingdom.

    Yes man using the power of the knowledge of good and evil was now at will to redefine everything including good and evil to suit their personal agenda. How's that for too smart for our own good. The result was expulsion from the Garden. Real smart. But we've been self justifying it ever since, having of course redefined smart..
     
  8. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    I don't understand this response.

    I am just saying (for me) buy-in is easier to maintain than rote obedience. I will do the latter, if that is all that I have.

    Sexual ethics, for instance, are a lot easier to grasp once we get a good idea of what marriage is supposed to be. (We don't need to keep asking is this okay? What about that??)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  9. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    That was covered in the Gospel of the Kingdom as simply anything involving self gain especially at the expense of another, was contrary to the Kingdom. So much for non-self gain when the church aligned with the Roman Empire. Again how smart is it to reject the Kingdom to return to the world of man that God had condemned?
     
  10. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    No. Not at all. It's part of my last name. A carry-over from the days when 10 digits was the most allowed in a screen name. Overthinking definitely risks going beyond the Biblical into supposition.
     
  11. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    I like it. I think God wants us free of the burden of trying to seek what we already found.
     
  12. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    I agree. The downside is that sometimes those in church authority provide interpretations that are not Biblical. Much of the Bible is "Thou shall," or "Thou shalt not," or "Verily, I say unto you ..."
     
  13. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

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    That is why Jesus simplified all those things by covering them with a simple two commandments that said the same thing more clearly and concisely.
     
  14. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    Good point. We often think of toiling the earth after being cast from the Garden of Eden and forget the toil of the mind.
     
  15. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    Though, I could do without the "Good & Evil" [down?]grade, Adam got to use his intelligence constructively when naming the animals and, with Eve, in managing the Garden. That kind of use* excites me.

    *building for/obeying/serving God.
     
  16. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    Jesus said narrow is the way that leads unto life and few be there that find it.
    This does not give me the impression that salvation is easy or simple.
    We are told work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
    Again, that doesn't sound simple to me. Most want the easy way to Heaven.
    If salvation was simple: One could just sit back and eat their Cheetos and not worry about anything because they got their guaranteed ticket in heaven because of a belief on Jesus. There is no need to help the poor guy suffering down the street who begs for money every week. One could say: We are saved by a belief alone on Jesus. So lets enjoy life. It's simple. So simple that we forget who we are supposed to be children of God who are supposed to truly love God and others.

    Imagine if a believer who does not think holiness is necessary as a part of the salvation process. Imagine what their life could be like (with that kind of thinking). In some cases, I imagine a believer who thinks this way could have a life that would be riddled with certain kinds of sins. But if they were to die and go to Heaven in their sinful state, they would find Heaven to be a foreign place that they could not stand. They would be in a place of holiness and they would not want to be there because of their sin filled life. In other words, living holy for the Lord does not begin when we die. It begins today. We have to choose this day in whom we will serve. Scripture says be holy as I am holy. For Jesus says if you love me, keep my commandments. This would not be the Law of Moses as a whole (i.e. the 613 laws in the Torah), but it would be the commands given to us by Jesus and His followers in New Testament. For we are under a New Covenant with New Commands. It may not be simple to always obey God, but where shall we go? Jesus has the words of eternal life.
     
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  17. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    Great post...

    I think intellectual humility is pretty rare.

    The temptation in the garden was to Know...

    Few seem to understand that we have to submit our enquiry to Him and He will direct us to what we need to know to fulfill His purpose.

    To many chase after 'christian knowledge' when knowing Him is the goal.

    I have always said that the gospel is simple for the sake of the foolish, who if they embrace it, will confound the wise.

    My son is on a similar path, loves Jesus, has a keen mind, wants to join the military and do psychology.

    Again great post and welcome.
     
  18. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    Given all the Christians that have lived and probably will live compared to all the non-Christians the gate would still be narrow. Philippians 2:12, KJV: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." It contradicts Christ's teachings when taken as an individual mandate. What it meant to the Church of Philippi at the time and in the original Greek would be more clear. Paul was writing from prison trying to address some internal squabbling among church leadership and perhaps an exterior threat to the church. How we understand and apply that verse to our lives when saved is less important than being saved in the first place. The verse is a perfect example of what I addressed in my OP. Are we saved enough?
     
  19. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

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    If we are born again - Yes.

    But because we love him we will want to be sanctified but that is not to be 'more saved' but rather more available.
     
  20. TraceMalin

    TraceMalin Member

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    Thank you, Carl. I ended up becoming a SCUBA and cave diving instructor, becoming the training director of two diver certification agencies and never joining the military. But, what I learned as a cave and deep technical diver, became techniques I taught to soldiers.
     
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