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Is Christianity a religion of "No?"

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by seeking.IAM, Nov 1, 2020.

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  1. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

    +5,919
    New Zealand
    Christian
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    Nothing special...

    Background in electronics engineering, worked in Europe Scandanavia and Africa,
    Uni - three years at Otago - anthropology, psychology, phenomenology of religion, History and philosophy of science, four years sociological research at Ilam, more recently renewable energy and aerospace engineering.

    But,

    Sense of the reality of God by age of about 3.
    Face to face encounter with Jesus at 8.
    Born again at 13.
    Baptised at 16.
    Fell away from faith 11 years.
    Drawn into drugs and fringes of occult.
    Committed to mental institution - administered ECT - reduced to vegetable state.

    But,

    Folks prayed.
    Miraculously released and knew I must reconnect to Christian roots.
    Took off into the country to find Him again.
    Powerful encounter with Him triggered prodigals return.
    This began 7 years rebuilding and healing and 5+ years reading nothing but scripture.

    Then,

    Married with five children, gifted to pray for the struggling.
    Waited 40 years to share my testimony.

    and here I am.

    You can read more here...

    Jesus's Ministry
     
  2. Philip_B

    Philip_B grace upon grace Supporter

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    Tillich is quite insightful in this area. In the end I believe the Church, and many Christians, have spent too long arguing about or for the existence of God, when a proper understanding would suggest that God is before existence, and our true existence is only understood in the context of God.
     
  3. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +30,071
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    It's a good question, but after some thought I'm still inclined to say "no."

    To me, it seems that the two are about even in emphasis, but as I was trying to say, the "don'ts" are probably more often the subject of debate.

    That may appear to be another way of saying "emphasis," but I don't think it actually is. It's just that there is such agreement on the "do's" that there's less controversy surrounding them.

    Or, I could be completely wrong. ;)
     
  4. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    Depends what you mean by absolute. Infinite? We can conceive and manipulate mathematical entities to a point, that are infinite. If we define objects in ways like the infinite, perhaps we can think of absolutes beyond man. It may be asked, are these real? I don't believe we can ever tell, like questions about god. So I would say indeterminant because how would you know you understood or defined something absolutely if it was infinite? How can you know what you don't know without discovery. And you can't discover an infinite number of unknowns in a finite amount of time. Many would deny that you can go anywhere without reason and try to rely on faith. At prominent atheist George Smith makes this point very convincingly in his book The Case Against God. This provides the theist no end of logical problems.
     
  5. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    I would disagree about not being special. Everyone is special - whether viewed just biologically or by faith (god knows every hair on our head, we are fearfully and wonderfully made etc.). You sound like you have had good reason to have faith. I will pick this conversation up later...Got to go to bed. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
     
  6. d taylor

    d taylor Well-Known Member

    +2,240
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    If you want God's free gift of Eternal Life, then i would suggest yes instead of no.
     
  7. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +13,831
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    Not just a lack of critical thinking, but a great deal of religious traditions that are unquestioned (the implications are seldom drawn out that way). This specifically leads to moral and ethical errors. This is true of many religions, not just Christianity, but religions like Christianity potentially have a great deal to lose by engaging with modernism seriously.

    Were you addressing me? (I assume so as I was the last person you replied to before).

    My background: I was raised Methodist. I have practiced Buddhism in the past, then I reverted to Christianity as a young adult. Now I don't identify with any particular religion, though I do practice meditation.

    I have studied biblical scholarship, Christian theology and the sociology of religion in detail.
     
  8. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    So I suppose you have studied most of the theories/methods of Biblical Criticism and postmodern criticism. I have studied some of this stuff. I recently got some books from a friend that started taking seminary level courses and have been starting to go through them.

    It is hard to believe that today, there are many denominations where people know nothing of the modern understanding of the Bible and higher criticism.
     
  9. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, I have studied Biblical higher criticism, modern, and postmodern theologies. There are some intelligent and conscentious people involved in those fields, but I can't say the same about Evangelicalism on the whole.

    The main reason I am not a Christian is ethical. The awareness of the re-emergence of Christian nationalism in the US, along with widespread complicitly and complacency of even liberal institutions in enabling this dangerous and harmful ideology, made it untenable for me to remain one. The widespread presence of Christian nationalists among those storming the capitol did not shock me all that much as being unexpected (I'd been reading about the rise of "Positive Christianity" in Germany for years), and in my mind is just a salient feature of a more disturbing trend.
     
  10. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    Yes, those of us who have a certain type of brain definitely will or can have different experiences than the average person. Drugs and more extreme religions are a definite no no unless one wants to risk having to go into a mental institution and try to recalibrate their brain.
     
  11. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    I love history so I can relate to what you are saying. Just before the rise of Trump, I was reading about the development of propaganda in WWI to get America into the war. I found the strands of history from WWI interesting as they involved so much: intentional rise of the anti-communist sentiment leading to the development of the FBI and Hoover, Madison Avenue from the Propaganda of WWI that is directly connected to Bernay's and Freud's early psychology work, Goebbels appropriation of these techniques in Germany etc. At the same time, I started reading a lot of Chris Hedges stuff and books he would refer to. He blamed the liberal elite including the Christian liberal church for being complicit in not doing their duty to stand against some of the negative forces developing in USA society (Death of the Liberal Class). America has so many national myths that revolve around seeing themselves as very religious nation (which they tend to be compared to other modern western nations) even though the nation was founded on secular principles primarily. I find these myths interesting because my own first ancestors to North America came to Plymouth in 1635 and married into the Plymouth Compact. The first ancestor was Baptist before the Baptists formerly existed in the colonies! Other ancestors fought with George Washington when Washington was an British General and with the 20th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg.

    Have you read books on the American Empire by Chalmers Johnson? If you haven't, I would recommend them as he outlines the rise of the American Empire. You would think we had gone back in time to the Roman Empire.
     
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like Hedges alot, but sadly his voice is a minority in liberal churches. He is right to call out the liberal class in the US for being complicit in this nonsense. They care more about their narcissistic sense of decency than they do about the moral underpinnings that make liberal democracy possible.
     
  13. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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  14. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    What are some of the authors you like to read besides people like Hedges? I'm always on the lookout for authors who I have not read before. People that talk amount current history or issues like a person like Hedges would write on.
     
  15. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Noam Chomsky is the only other author as far as histories go that is comparable to Hedges that I am familiar with.

    I am familiar with Richard Carrier but I'm not a Jesus mythicist. My view of Jesus is more consonant with the Jesus' Seminar or Arthur Schweitzer's own quest. I do think Jesus existed but the factual events of his life we can know for sure don't fit with Evangelicalism's certainties.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2021
  16. Bertrand Russell White

    Bertrand Russell White Active Member

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    I'm aware of Chomsky and read a couple of things - not much. Carrier is interesting even if you don't agree with him. His proposal for better understanding who Jesus was seems to me to be an improvement on the existing methods. There seems to be very little that we know of the Jesus of history.
     
  17. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    What do you want from God? Justice or mercy?
     
  18. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Both. Justice means not allowing evil to continue. There are real advantages to living in a just world. There should be merciful ways of doing justice.
     
  19. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    There is no such thing as a "merciful way of doing justice." Mercy is justice deferred, by definition.

    In an absolutely just world, we'd all have been struck by lightning before we'd reached our teens.
     
  20. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    We have very different concepts of justice. Justice is not just punishing people for sin. It's restoring the right. Timothy Keller on Justice in the Bible

    We may also have different concepts of mercy. Mercy is not leaving someone in sin.
     
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