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Other Gods

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by Tobias, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. ananda

    ananda Early Buddhist

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    Speaking from a Buddhist viewpoint, we would be considered to generally care more for the beings on our plane or those immediately adjacent to ours (e.g. larger animals), and generally have less immediate concern for beings on planes further away from ours (e.g. insects, bacterium, viruses, ghosts?, etc.). In the same way, if the Christian God was seen as a being within Buddhist cosmology in a high or mid level heaven (such as Brahma), he would still be considered too transcendent to directly interact with the level of mankind (even though he still cares and have love for us); he would employ both lower level gods/angels as intermediaries if he didn't manifest himself in a grosser material form.
     
  2. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Respectfully, Based on your response, I would question how much you truly understood the concepts of henotheism to begin with. The academic definition of the word has NEVER changed - thus meaning that all one needed to do would be to go to an Encylopedia to see what the concept is about - but it seems you may have gone around asking anyone what the term meant without doing the best research.

    And the definition really has not changed over the years at all. It has remained consistent for decades and longer - thus meaning that it's not really the case that a term is "useless" (if believing it doesn't mean the same to all others) as much as it is the case that it's useless not going with the term as it has been defined on its own terms. We don't say the term "God" is useless because so many have defined it differently and it means differing things to others. Rather, in maturity, we ask "What has God been defined as?" and then look at the original definition while also seeing where others defined it differently over time in differing circles.

    To be clear, I have never said that Henotheism is akin to what the Greek Gods had. They were ALL worshiped - for in a system like Henotheism, you worship one god above all while also not arguing that other beings are worthy of worship. More specifically, Henotheism is similar but less exclusive than monolatry because a monolator worships only one god (denying that other gods are worthy of worship), while the henotheist may worship any within the pantheon, depending on circumstances, although he or she will usually worship only one throughout their life....

    Henotheism itself is derived from the term kathenotheism (i.e. "one god at a time") - a form of polytheism characteristic of the Vedic religion, in which one god at a time is considered supreme," 1865, coined in German by Max Müller - and Michael Patton helps us understand henotheism this way:

    “Coined by Max Müller, henotheism is the belief in one primary god while also believing in the existence or possible existence of other gods. Normally the henotheist will have primary devotion for the ultimate deity, while leaving room for secondary allegiance to the lesser gods.

    Whoever occupies the role of a Primary God is not someone who remains there permanately. It is a role that can be taken away if the person proves to be unworthy - and yet when seeing Henotheism for what it is, there are variations of it that are directly in line with Monotheism. For monotheism should be understood as the worship of a single deity to the exclusion of all others. In that sense, Egypt was monotheistic during the Amarna period, and Israel was monotheistic from the reforms of Josiah and afterward.




    The complexities of seeing where Henotheism evolved and the differing strains of it (like branches on a tree) that interact with other strains of other systems (like examining differing forms of monotheistic thought) can be difficult enough.

    This is why I earlier suggested that you seriously take time to investigate the work of Dr. Michael Heisner. Mike Heiser is a very intelligent individual and has a lot of research on this topic at his web site - and He has a whole paper on the Psalms 82 passage.

    Dr. Heiser has also done excellent presentation on the subject of Christ and the Angel of the Lord when it came to the concept known as the "Two Powers in Heaven" - with the early Jews coming to accept belief in Christ because of their acceptance of the idea that there was always a Co-Regent in Heaven and Christ fulfilled the secondary-role.....thus making Him pre-existent and yet also subordinate to God. It was never a matter of polytheism for them, but on the same token there was understanding that Christ was always seen as being connected/equal and yet submissive to the one Higher than Him (more shared in #240 and #238).

    For more reference, I'd highly recommend the following:


    The series is by Dr. Michael Heisner ...with Dr. Michael Heiser arguing in agreement with rabbinical scholar Alan Segal's claim (from nearly 30 years ago) that up until the 2nd century C.E., it was permissible in Judaism to believe in the concept of there being "two powers" in heaven without being heretical or pagan or polytheistic.

    And as said before, Some of his work on the issue was brought up elsewhere, as seen here:



     
  3. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    One key fact that many fail to remember (when it comes to looking to mystics) is that even they had rules for themselves - separate from what the Church did - and it was not a matter of throwing off the Church. That's what cults did - and growing up in the Charismatic movement myself, I've seen that dynamic plenty of times when others went down that road thinking they were the first to have an idea and did not need to actually STUDY the Bible (as their mindset was "Just follow what you hear!" and not realizing that even voices of what are heard can be influenced wrongly, even in the demonic sense). It was nowhere close to an "Agree with us or die!!" gig when it came to that concept - and one would be hard pressed to show otherwise in the history of the Church - even though there are examples of where debates occurred.

    For many coming out of a Charismatic background, having things based in experience is a big deal. I had the same thing when it came to things I grew up with within the WOF background (Faith Movement) with man being transformed/deemed divine - and as much as others said it was wrong, it shocked me seeing how the concept was not simply something I was trained to see in the Scriptures - but the Early Church had already discussed the concept in-depth with what's known as Theosis - the idea that God became a man so that through him men might become gods (more shared here and here/here). The reality of the matter - because I was seeking truth - was that I was aware of a concept and had no idea that the Church had already covered it....and when studying in-depth what the Church wrestled over, I realized how much I had to learn. The same dynamic also occurred with the subject of prayer when it came to the concept of Communion with the Saints - even though I never really saw that as opposite of Scripture at any point and it always made sense.


    There's wisdom in first studying what the Early Church has said on an issue - seeing how debates on issues we find as "new" aren't really that recent and it took thousands of years for others to wrestle through things :) - AND within the Charismatic world, there are others who've pointed out this reality as well

    As it concerns having what you learn line with Scripture, I definitely don't go for the mindset of "Scripture Alone" since Scripture developed within a context. If you don't know the historical background of the Word or how it was interpreted, you'll get anything and everything far from what the heart of Scripture was about. And any voice you hear which lines up with a bad view of how you see scripture will be taken as "right" even though you don't realize where you see through a filter. Others not understanding this have been the ones who ran with ideas like "Slavery is a GOOD THING!!!" because they saw rules for it in the OT - or claiming that waging genocide on other people they deemed to be "Cannanites" (as was the case with South African Dutch Calvinists) was justified. Scripture alone was never how the Church saw it in its formation and the Holy Spirit - even when giving further developments in what others were to see - always confirmed it with Scripture based on a proper interpretation.

    Be it with Isaiah walking around Naked - or Ezekiel eating over dung - or Elijah eating food from unclean ravens (even though that was based on a new precedent) or David and the TWO Tabernacles - the Lord will NEVER violate what He has said in His Word. He may give progressive revelation - but he will always explain based on previous precedent on what has happened.

    And likewise, in our times, it really isn't the smartest thing to just go with what we "hear" alone since we already have plenty to work with in the Scriptures alone.

    That said, as it concerns following the Work of the Holy SPirit (who was present throughout the Scriptures at many points - even at times when he was asking people to do something different than what had occurred before and he later clarified it in their own times on the basis of God's Express Word) and why we should keep that memory in line, you really cannot address what it is that you've said without really seeing the Holy Spirit's presence as the center. As said before, One thing to consider - if believing that there are other deities in existence other than God or Jesus Christ - is the reality that even religions built around them still can have it where the Holy Spirit is present working in that religion and using it as a bridge to bring others to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. - WITH THIS being no different than the Lord calling Himself "El Shaddai" or using other terms with "El" in them, even though there were other deities already in Cannanite culture/religion with the same name usage.....God came into a context where he could be easily understood. Even with the concept of CHrist, there was an idea of Christ already found in Cannanite culture - and it can be said that God took things further in later times... and likewise the Holy Spirit works with others in the same way:





    I'm reminded of Dr. Amos Young - who noted that the Lord works in all religions on some level. And where most Pentecostals see the devil's work, Yong sees the Spirit's. ..meaning that Christians should be open to learning from and being enriched by the Spirit's work in world religions - with this also meaning that dialogue must take place alongside evangelism so that all the religions—including Christianity—can learn from each other what the Spirit is doing.

    On where he has specifically spoken on the subject more in-depth:


    Again, the work of Dr. Amos Yong is perhaps the most scholarly within the Pentecostal world when it comes to noting the extensive range of how the Holy Spirit moves and operates...as seen in The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh and Who is the Holy Spirit: A Walk with the Apostles (more shared here). He has also been very instrumental in showing the ways that the Holy Spirit's work has been crucial - a work that neither the Father nor the Son were designated to do - when it comes to preparing the hearts of others around the world and already working within their cultures in bringing them to Christ....more shared here in Amos Yong’s Review of “Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other” | Grace Ji-Sun Kim ...or "Beyond the Impasse" by Amos Yong - Society of Vineyard Scholars : Society of Vineyard Scholars and Beyond the Impasse by Amos Yong - A Book Review - JR Woodward. More can be seen here as well - or here in the following:




    The Holy Spirit and the Middle Way: A Pentecostal Inquiry in a Pluralistic World - YouTube

    The thoughts of Yong have been a blessing to see when it comes to the ways he has challenged the Church in reconsidering the role of the Holy Spirit (and being Orthodox myself, it is cool to realize where his thoughts do line up much on the subject.. - especially in regards to the Word and the Spirit being the "Two Hands" of the Father.....and seeing how extensive the concept is with seeing the Holy Spirit as Wisdom).

    To see the work of the Holy SPIRIT as being present in the development of other religions on some level does show a level of stewardship when it comes to the Global work of the Lord in ensuring that religions promoting other gods/deities still allow for pointers to be developed that would bring people back to the Lord and acknowledge him at some point.

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  4. JackofSpades

    JackofSpades Väinämöinen

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    I really like what you're saying and mostly agree with it, but it brings obvious question in mind. If subjective experience, such as "sensing spirit" can bypass other authorities, how can this work for more than one person?

    I'm assuming (please correct if I'm assuming wrongly) based on your christian icon that you believe in some sort of objective truth. And now, if this truth can be reached by personal experience, what to do when people start to have hugely contradicting experiences?

    This is of course not a problem, if we think heavily subjectively, like everyone is free to worship whatever entity that reveals itself to them, or follow their own path etc. But I'm under impression that this kind of individualism/subjectivism has trouble fitting in christianity.

    Can't really put my words as clearly as I'd like to, but I hope you see my point. And I'm not saying this because I'm against what you think, quite opposite, it just makes me wonder.
     
  5. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Personal experience is quite limited. For instance, I often wonder about the doctrine of the Trinity, but have no way to verify it with spiritual experience.

    Considering I was raised Christian, and that many of my experiences with God have happened within a Christian context, I find it best to simply leave doctrines alone unless I have a very good reason to dismiss them.

    In fact, because spiritual experiences are so subjective, it often works out to leave traditional doctrines in place as long as humanly possible. Because it often seems to work out that someone else has also encountered something similar, and has found some odd scripture or there is an entire branch of Christianity that speaks directly to the issue!

    Not to mention, by accepting the fact that I am just one human being among billions, I can benefit from participating in the community. People have made tremendous sacrifices to build our religion, and I'd hate to see this generation abandon the entire project simply because it has become popular to criticize it on every level.
     
  6. dlamberth

    dlamberth Senior Contributor Supporter

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    Interesting. I say that because it's only by spiritual experience that I'm able to verify the Trinity concept. Otherwise, to me, the Trinity concept is nothing but mental gyrations.

    .
     
  7. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    It all depends upon the mileage we think we can get out of our spiritual experiences, imo. Some people have one or two experiences with Jesus, and from that they presume all of (their brand of) Christianity is true. Others feel God with them each and every morning as they read the scriptures, so the presume every single word of the Bible is "inerrant".

    It's a rather unscientific approach, but hey, what can you do? :cool:


    Personally I've had many deep meaningful (and more often than not, Christian related) experiences with a God who I call "Father". For the most part, Christianity works for both my relationship with Him as well as my interaction with religion, family, and my culture. It bothers me though that I don't run into Jesus very often. Add to that the fact that I was raised in a very Christian family, so my salvation experience at the age 6 was nothing worth remembering. Not on a spiritual level, anyway. So I have no way of verifying from personal experience that Jesus is equal to/same as God the Father. ...Or that I *know* Jesus at all, for that matter!

    Simple solution: Just accept the doctrine of the Trinity, and don't worry about it!
     
  8. dlamberth

    dlamberth Senior Contributor Supporter

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    And if one desire more of a direct deeper spiritual experience of God? Just accepting a doctrine (any doctrine) with out testing it out to see where it leads, that seems to me like it would come up short when it comes to knowing God.

    .
     
  9. JackofSpades

    JackofSpades Väinämöinen

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    As eclectic individualist, I have found my role to be that of religious parasite who feeds on whatever tradition that has something to offer, so I'm mostly worried about my "hosts" capability of feeding me with inspiration. So, as long as christian teachings and experiences in some form (f.e. as text) aren't lost, its not big deal for me if that particular religion itself runs out of members.
     
  10. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Think of it this way:

    A scientist is funded to go into a village where the people believe they are regularly visited by Big Foot. He is to investigate, and see what the fuss is all about. And of course, discover what type of species leaves such big footprints!

    He has two choices. Either he can walk into the village and scoff at the people, telling them they are all twaddling idiots for believing in Big Foot. Because you know, "Everybody knows it's a myth!"

    Or, he can go in there and collect eyewitness reports, and be a sort of hero to the villagers. All by saying "I'm here to use science to help you find Big Foot and stop him from eating all your chickens!" Knowing in his mind of course, that "Big Foot" is the name the villagers gave to "Whatever it is that is eating the chickens." The fact being that SOMETHING is breaking in and eating chickens, so why does the name Big Foot have to only refer the "Big hairy mythological creature that does not exist"?

    It might turn out that Big Foot is an entirely new species we've never classified before. Or it might just be that "Big Foot" is the name of a wolf who happens to have a boot stuck on one of his legs!


    Many people try to understand who God is. Sometimes the name "God", means entirely different things to different people! All claiming that they are Christian. One person is thinking "Pantheism", the next "Jesus", while someone else is imagining an old guy on a throne who throws lightning at those who disappoint him!

    Considering I'm not getting paid to do my investigations, I see no reason to let my hypotheses alienate me from my culture and my community. There may be days when I have to allow myself to think: "What if everything I've been taught is wrong?" Just to stay objective, you know. But there is no reason to tell the people that while I'm working under the assumption that they are all a bunch of fools! Often enough, these theories pan out to be wrong, and I am once again confronted with the fact that there is something valuable to all this hard work people have invested into Christianity over the centuries.
     
  11. JackofSpades

    JackofSpades Väinämöinen

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    While I understand the point of your Big Foot - story, I'm having trouble connecting with it. Person at position of scientist is shown in somewhat missonary or superior position towards others. He is primarily giving something, but not receiving or if he receives, it's unnecessary byproduction of his job.

    What I personally want from community is inspiration, both ways, to be inspired by others (even if I don't agree with them) and offer my thoughts for possible inspiration for others, even if they don't agree with me. But I can't do that if I'm expected to shut up, so community that cannot tolerate differencies makes the whole idea of community pointless for me. Then I'm better off alone.

    When we talk about choosing to staying in or leaving particular religion, in the end, it all comes down to question: Can I fit in or not. I mean "fit in" as in covering all, social, intellectual, dogmatic, moral and spiritual sense. If bottom line to that is "no", then everything else around it becomes somewhat trivial and only way from there is to look elsewhere.

    It appears that we have made different conclusions on that one. But I don't see it as bad thing to have some variety in world of religious conclusions.
     
  12. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    I hadn't seen you last post right before mine on Big Foot. lol I guess I forgot to refresh the page before typing. At any rate, it wasn't meant to be a reply directly to you. :)

    I was raised with the "All or nothing" approach to orthodox beliefs. Where if we couldn't believe all, then we needed to excuse ourselves from Christianity and find something else. But for heaven's sake, why should that be the case? :doh:

    Why should I enter another religion, while still thinking and acting like a Christian? And try to force my beliefs into their framework? If I'm still 80 or 90% Christian, then there is no shame in admitting so!

    Finding community isn't that difficult. There are Christians of all sorts of flavours. Even those who claim to have left it all behind, but still remember what it's like; and/or haven't removed every last aspect of the religion they learned at home out of their system.
     
  13. JackofSpades

    JackofSpades Väinämöinen

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    You are right in saying that many post-christians practise some sort of christian-related faith. I think that is natural, religion offers us language to use for our spirituality, and if someone has spent years/decades under christian influence, it would be rather surprising if they could just turn it off, even after officially resigning from it.

    I still see difference between being closet-christian under disguise, or simply being influenced (even heavily) by christianity.

    I think quest for removing every single christian trace from ones thinking is just as pointless as some fundamentalist christians attempt to remove every single bit of "world" from their life.

    I think ideally speaking, freedom from ones previous religion isn't on going as far away as possible, but rather finding emotional state where I can go very close to it if I want to, and feel free to not go any further if I so choose.
     
  14. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Perhaps seeing spirituality as the goal, and religion as just a tool to help you get there? :idea:




    Which of course, could sound like a really bad idea to many Christians who think that any variation from the proscribed method is wrong.

    Or oth it might be the essence of Christianity. Ever hear the phrase, "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion" ??
     
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    If I may say....

    I must say that we often use the phrase "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion" when it comes to trying to distance from anything in regards to boundaries. Nonetheless, there are lots of things which are really problematic with that if not remembering that Christ himself was not opposed to religion - nor felt that relationship was separate from that. There was a thread elsewhere which talked in-depth on the matter - as seen in "Why I Hate Religion, But I Love Jesus" video + Orthodox rebuttal"

    As another wisely noted:

    You’ve heard it before. It tops the list of “Stuff Christians Say”. I know I’ve said it.

    But it’s not true. The intention is honorable enough; we want to differentiate Christianity from other belief systems. We’re trying to express the fundamental difference between our faith and other faiths; that is, the unmerited offer of free Salvation offered through Jesus Christ. Perhaps we’re also trying to separate ourselves from some of the negative associations one may have with “religion” – narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, historical persecution of “heretics”, etc. However, the “relationship, not religion” phrase doesn’t really work. It either sets up a false expectation for the reality of following Jesus, or it is quickly discounted (for good reason) and we lose credibility.

    Yes, Christianity is a relationship. But there is more to it than that. Because no sooner does one begin that relationship than they are encouraged to get baptized, take communion, read their Bible daily, and attend church. These are not elements of any other relationship. They are unique. Yes, they are relational in nature, but there is also an element of tradition, of ritual, of spiritual discipline. If someone is told that Christianity is ONLY a relationship and is not at all a religion, they will find themselves sorely disillusioned when faced with the plethora of religious elements that are a part of expressing that relationship in a community of believers. It’s a bait-n-switch. If you say “It’s a relationship, not a religion”, then you should forfeit the right to use any of these phrases in the future: systematic theology, church attendance, spiritual growth, discipline, devotions, sound doctrine.

    We really should avoid the catchy “relationship not religion” phrase because we aren’t fooling anyone. We may think we are helping look God look good to “nonbelievers” by distancing Him from all the negative connotations of religion. ​

     
  16. gordRedeemed

    gordRedeemed Well-Known Member

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    good post Gxg. I was going to say something similar. The whole 'it's not a religion' thing is silly.
     
  17. Tobias

    Tobias Relationship over Religion

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    Well, there's no end to the number of people who will try to tell us that "You can't do that!" Or those who say "Your version of Christianity is not valid."


    Jack (if I understand correctly) was concerned that trying to stay orthodox, or meet the requirements of a particular group, was something that would stifle someone's spiritual growth. I think in most cases, it will.

    Unless of course, we can open our minds and dream of the impossible! Christians throughout history have pushed beyond the limits, and formed new denominations while being labeled as heretics. Heck, Jesus suffered a similar problem with the religious leaders in his day!


    If "it's a relationship, not a religion" is a "doctrine" that means I'm allowed to forgo religious requirements in favor of spirituality... Then do please excuse me while I continue to walk my path despite your protests. :D
     
  18. JackofSpades

    JackofSpades Väinämöinen

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    Actually, I meant it more like: being in somewhat constructive place in spiritual sense (at least in short term), can become emotionally destructive if in order to fit in there socially, I'm assumed to shoehorn myself somewhere I just don't fit.

    I don't question someones path who finds spiritual life in christianity and decides to stay there. I have my reasons for giving up with christianity as religion, but I know not everyone has as much problems with it as I do.

    Yup, I've heard it. I actually like more lighter forms of it, like one in your profile "relationship over religion", if it's put that way, it doesn't deny existence of religion-side, which (according to my personal terminology) is also present in christianity. I guess I like to think religion and spirituality as two different levels of christianity. My symphaties are generally with forms of more emphasis on personal level spirituality. I personally think I have no problem being religious up to some degree, along with being spiritual.

    To be honest, my puzzle of putting together what meanings religion and spirituality have for each other, I have no complete idea. Religion can be seen as production, birth ground, by-product or enemy of spirituality. So, is it actually one of those or can it be all of those or is it situationary or hmm... argh, its easy to get lost on this kind of stuff.
     
  19. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Wouldn't really matter, if seeking Christ based on who He is and what he was about, as to the number of people saying things. People often go for the "Look at all the people saying this or that version of Christianity isn't valid" and yet rarely will they actually focus directly on what Christ said in the context he lived in.
    When one assumes that being Orthodox (or in correct agreement with what Christ and the Apostles noted - the Church) is a matter of stifling spiritual growth, they actually go counter to what the Scriptures already noted when it comes to how growth was to occur. It's the dynamic of speaking on the subject of seeking Christ but ignoring what Christ spoke on and what he pointed to when it came to seeking Him. If not doing it the way he and the Apostles noted it, then in most cases one is doing it their way rather than God's.

    There can be a BIG tendency to over-exaggerate the dynamic of considering differing realities (consistent with what Christ has said) and opening the mind - as if seeking to be Bereans (Acts 17 ) who examine everything in accordance with Scripture means that one automatically must assume they have to dream of impossible things. Over-simplifcation is never a good thing and not all people labeled "herectic" were automatically in the category of heroes wrongly accused for thinking outside the box. Be it claims of Christ being a symbol rather than fully God - or that Christ was openly for sexual immorality of no consequence due to the body not mattering and a host of other things.

    Christians pushing "beyond limits" was never a matter of pushing past what Christ pointed to when he always pointed back to the Scriptures (John 5, John 7, Luke 24, etc.) - nor was it the case that all denominations were automatically good simply because they disagreed with whatever was different at the time. There were extensive deadly heresies that developed with people automatically assuming all things were "beneficial/a matter of pushing beyond the limits" because others never dealt with what Christ said the limits were to be. This is part of the battle found within the reality of the Protestant world with the extensive amount of differing denominations - many of which have actually gone counter to Jesus on many issues (be it Mormons or David Koresh's craziness), even as others have stayed faithful (more shared in Major theological differences of Reformation & Evangelicalism? or Church History)

    Even when people claim the oft-repeated phrase of "Even Christ wasn't accepted by the religious leaders of his day!!", there can be a grave lack of understanding that even Christ agreed on NUMEROUS things with the religious establisbments of his day.He was a Jew living within a Jewish world - and He was never about being against those in authority since He already pointed to them (Matthew 23, Matthew 5, etc.) as those others should listen to. ...although whenever he did disagree, he pointed people back to the heart of God and always had a basis for it that others in the rabbinical world had already noted. ...but whenever there's an over-simplification on how things went, we end up assuming things of Christ that simply were not there.



    For reference:



    Jesus was always one to speak within the context of the times/culture he lived in. And this is something that should not be surprising. Christ was not disconnected - and for historical reference, Jesus technically had a priestly connection (as did his cousin John the Baptist) due to how their mothers were within the line of Aaron (as I noted long ago in the thread entitled What tribe was Mary- Levite or Judah? )- thus giving them room to show the concept of the New Priesthood developing for all since Jesus was truly both Prophet, Priest and King - even though the reality of the matter is that he did not come in the Line of Aaron (as Hebrews 5-10 note with regards to the priesthood of Melchizeldek) since he was identified through the Line of Judah by his father Joseph - and Christ was still respectful of the priesthood even as the Chief Priest did not know nor respect him. This can easily be seen in why they had significant issue with him when he turned over tables in John 2 - as well as the division that came from him and many not knowing where Christ even came from in John 7 - and on the issue, more was discussed in thread such as Priests ( #72 ) and Is the Court of the Gentiles a bad place to be?
    Anyone can walk whatever path they wish. Nonetheless, the concept of "it's a relationship, not a religion" isn't something that Christ advocated when speaking within the religious world he lived in - nor is it something the disciples themselves spoke of either.

    As James 1:26-27 notes"
    James 1:22-27

    New International Version (NIV)



    22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Also, for another..
    1 Timothy 5:4
    But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
    1 Timothy 5:3-5
    There is the reality that certain forms of religion were beautiful to the Lord...one that loved justice and mercy and kept oneself from spiritual compromise with worldliness.



    There are other scriptures noting the reality of how false religion is worthless--especially when doing all of the outer aspects of what the Lord requires and yet completely missing the Spirit, such as when the Lord rebuked his people for doing as he commanded with sacrifices/temple worship and yet they couldn't care less for the Lord since they tolerated idolatry and injustice in the land...and to them, it was all good ( Jeremiah 7:1-3/ Jeremiah 7 , etc ).

    The book of Amos is rather blunt on that issue, if seeing how much the Lord spoke through that prophet to declare how he was tired of buisness as usual/making a mockery of the religion he instituted:
    Amos 5:21
    “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
    Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
    23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
    24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!
    Amos 5:20-22

    Amos 8:10
    Hear this, you who trample the needy
    and do away with the poor of the land,

    5 saying,
    “When will the New Moon be over
    that we may sell grain,
    and the Sabbath be ended
    that we may market wheat?”—
    skimping on the measure,
    boosting the price
    and cheating with dishonest scales,
    6 buying the poor with silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals,
    selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
    7 The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
    8 “Will not the land tremble for this,
    and all who live in it mourn?
    The whole land will rise like the Nile;
    it will be stirred up and then sink
    like the river of Egypt. 9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD,

    I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
    Amos 8:9-11
    Also, with religion, there's no escaping ( as Paul noted in Acts 26:4-6 / Acts 26, Hebrews 10:10-12 / Hebrews 10 ) that Christianity was connected to it. And not all forms of religion were bad


    Why I Love Religion, And Love Jesus || Spoken Word - YouTube

    Talking on how "it's relationship, not religion" would be akin to saying "it's about peace with each other, not seeking to avoid strife/work together" :)
     
  20. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

    +1,180
    Oriental Orthodox
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    Glad it was understood where I was coming from, gordRedeemed. I get the concept behind the phrase since I've used it before with others - but it really isn't accurate as to what Christ was about fully.

    And on the issue, it tends to ignore the fact (if speaking on the concept of other gods/goddesses in other religions) that one can't really speak to differing religions and seeing what God may feel about them if assuming that there's no basis for religion being central in the life of others. Ideas on gods/deities and how we're to relate to them are always formed within a religious context - and there's nothing separate from religion when it comes to theism or debating on what the Divine is about. It's like saying "I advocate no form of politics" - a comment which in itself is political since it's apolitical and making a stance regardless.
     
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