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Today at my church the sermon was a critique of what I call "the evangelical heresy" the idea that the purpose of faith is to get to heaven. Both believers and unbelievers assume this 'heresy' is at the centre of orthodox Christianity, but our preacher pointed out that this idea is entirely absent from the teachings of Jesus, who taught the point of salvation is to have abundant life and transform the world, and nowhere prayed 'may I go to heaven'.


You're talking about the Jesus that said these things right?

Quote:
Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness.
-Mark 3:29

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
-Matthew 12:31

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
-Matthew 12:36

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
-Matthew 12:37

Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father. . .
-Matthew 10:33


Wouldn't these remarks seem to indicate that heathens/heretics will not be allowed into haven?

Doesn't that mean that Jesus is teaching what to do and not to do to get into heaven?

This Idea is clearly not "entirely absent" from the teachings of Jesus... and I am just scratching the surface...

Later


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Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:55 am
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You say there are more sophisticated approaches than religion to community building on a global scale, but I say the story of Jesus speaks truth to power, and rekindling that story is the best strategy for global transformation.


You seem to have forgotten that the majority of the planet's population doesn't want anything to do with Christianity or the teachings of Jesus.

Any modification of said material will still run the same problems as any other religion... the fact that most of the other religious people will not even listen to what another religion is preaching.

Christianity has been manipulated time and time again but the answers to those tough questions still remain elusive. I submit that those answers are not contained within the message of Christianity and to seek those answers we must discard the fraudulent and look to fresh ideas for explanations.

Later


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Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:08 am
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Post Re: Plan Be
Thomas Hood wrote:
Didn't the Romans invent the arch?Tom

Hi Tom, I had a look on wikipedia and found that the Romans perfected earlier designs. I think Jesus was actually more sympathetic to Rome than he is sometimes depicted, in that rendering to Caesar, while less important than rendering to God, is an essential part of life.



Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:56 am
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Frank 013 wrote:
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RT Today at my church the sermon was a critique of what I call "the evangelical heresy" the idea that the purpose of faith is to get to heaven. Both believers and unbelievers assume this 'heresy' is at the centre of orthodox Christianity, but our preacher pointed out that this idea is entirely absent from the teachings of Jesus, who taught the point of salvation is to have abundant life and transform the world, and nowhere prayed 'may I go to heaven'.
You're talking about the Jesus that said these things right?
Quote:
Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness. -Mark 3:29 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. -Matthew 12:31 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. -Matthew 12:36 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. -Matthew 12:37 Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father. . . -Matthew 10:33
Wouldn't these remarks seem to indicate that heathens/heretics will not be allowed into heaven? Doesn't that mean that Jesus is teaching what to do and not to do to get into heaven? This Idea is clearly not "entirely absent" from the teachings of Jesus... and I am just scratching the surface... Later

Frank, you seem to suggest that interpretation of these texts in terms of a supernatural heaven is the only possibility, even though that is not explicitly stated by Jesus. An evolutionary materialist reading is equally possible, and I suggest more elegant. For example, we can interpret forgiveness at the day of judgement as an accounting of whether people have lived well, in a way conducive to human flourishing, ie whether they have lived in a way that does not actively diminish the ideal of how we should transform our planet into a place of love. This approach is compatible with science and supersedes magical theories of the soul.

On the blasphemy question, these texts say to me that if a person sincerely argues the holy spirit is evil then Jesus believes that claim is completely wrong and beyond redemption, not in a supernatural sense but as a matter of karmic causality. I can't understand the motive for any sincere and intelligent person to blaspheme the holy spirit, understood as a hypothetical cosmic principle, although criticising church interpretations is another matter entirely. It is likely that when people are bullied into accepting dogmas which are a front for secular power, as in the crusades and the missionary cultural genocides, that they adopt a view hostile to the Christian aggressors. I would ask in this context if their hostility is towards the holy spirit itself or towards the perverted and manipulative interpretation of the church.

You could similarly take the parable of Dives and Lazarus at Luke 16:19 as a claim that heaven is a real place, but this is a parable, an illustration of a message, presenting an image in a way that is accessible to popular views. Given that heaven does not exist, the question is whether such stories remain meaningful against a materialist interpretation. I think so.

Proof-text analysis is not the final word here, given that the gospels are not completely reliable as historical texts and so need to be assessed against a conceptual view of the core message, and against their scientific possibility. For example the statement at Matt 16:28 "some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" may well have been an addition, as it is flatly contradicted at Matt 24:14 "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." This is an example where misinterpretation by hearers could have well found its way into the Bible, given the fervence with which people desired a new heaven and new earth in their lifetimes. Considering that "pie in the sky when you die" has been the mainstay of the church, the surprising thing is that the Biblical basis for it is so utterly absent.



Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:00 am
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Frank, you seem to suggest that interpretation of these texts in terms of a supernatural heaven is the only possibility, even though that is not explicitly stated by Jesus. An evolutionary materialist reading is equally possible


That may be so, but that is not what was believed at the time the biblical scripture was written. At the time of those writings the vast majority of people believed that heaven was a physical place that one could go to.

Also the idea of an actual heaven is the most literal reading, you are free to divert from that idea as much as you wish, I just do not think that many people are going to follow suite.

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RT
For example, we can interpret forgiveness at the Day of Judgment as an accounting of whether people have lived well, in a way conducive to human flourishing, ie whether they have lived in a way that does not actively diminish the ideal of how we should transform our planet into a place of love. This approach is compatible with science and supersedes magical theories of the soul.


OK, so that approach is more sensible but when has sensibility been a prerequisite for religious text? As I mentioned before other religions such as Islam which is not much more that war cult would never fall in line with such a translation. Furthermore Christian fundamentalists would not accept it either.

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RT
On the blasphemy question, these texts say to me that if a person sincerely argues the Holy Spirit is evil then Jesus believes that claim is completely wrong and beyond redemption, not in a supernatural sense but as a matter of karmic causality. I can't understand the motive for any sincere and intelligent person to blaspheme the Holy Spirit,


Well if a person does not believe in such a thing as the ridiculous, wife raping, Holy Spirit than blaspheming it is just a matter of taking an honest look at it.

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RT
Considering that "pie in the sky when you die" has been the mainstay of the church, the surprising thing is that the Biblical basis for it is so utterly absent.


Utterly absent? Maybe, unless you read the whole bible and take all the stories as face value, instead of cherry picking specific passages and claiming that the others that do not agree with your interpretation are false additions or meant to be interpreted in a different way. You say it yourself earlier in your response.

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RT
You could similarly take the parable of Dives and Lazarus at Luke 16:19 as a claim that heaven is a real place


This passage and others like it abound throughout the bible it is clear (at least to me) that the writers of the biblical text were ignorant to the extreme about earthly and heavenly reality. I see no reason to turn to such ignorance and try to add enlightenment to it, or gleam enlightenment from it.

In matters of enlightenment, spirituality and society I prefer to look forward not back.

Later


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Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:51 am
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Frank 013 wrote:
at the time the biblical scripture was written... the vast majority of people believed that heaven was a physical place that one could go to. Also the idea of an actual heaven is the most literal reading, you are free to divert from that idea as much as you wish, I just do not think that many people are going to follow suit. OK, so that approach is more sensible but when has sensibility been a prerequisite for religious text? As I mentioned before other religions such as Islam which is not much more that war cult would never fall in line with such a translation. Furthermore Christian fundamentalists would not accept it either.

Well, as Einstein said when 100 scientists criticised him, it would only take one who was right. My question here is about the essential meaning intended by Jesus, not how he was misinterpreted by an ignorant populace. There seems to me to be a deeper hidden meaning which actually makes sense, so even if it is unpopular the truth should out. The ideas in the gospels have a deep coherence which suggests a strong intuitive genius on Jesus' part. He could not have known for certain if the world was flat, or even if Mr Pitchfork was actually floating on his lava lake a mile below the ground tormenting evildoers. We now know these old myths are false, but that is no excuse to toss the baby out with the bathwater. Jesus said in the parable of the wheat and tares that divine judgement would eventually separate the inter-mixed good and evil. My view of this teaching is that when a popular error, such as belief in a physical heaven, has become a dogma, that is a perversion of the truth which needs to be discarded in the way Jesus predicted crops and weeds could be separated. It is hypocritical for the church to say "God is Truth" while clinging to a literal reading they know to be false. The afterlife is a comforting story, but it totally lacks any evidentiary or ethical basis. By contrast, there is a compelling ethical basis in the vision of a transformed world, so it is worth exploring how that may be what Jesus actually meant by sayings such as 'thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.'

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Well if a person does not believe in such a thing as the ridiculous, wife raping, Holy Spirit then blaspheming it is just a matter of taking an honest look at it.
When did the holy spirit commit rape? The way I interpret the trinity is that the father is the local area of the cosmos, the son is Jesus, the man most fully attuned to cosmic energies on our planet, and the spirit is the reverberation between the cosmos and human attunement to it. This is a purely natural pantheist view, which I suggest is compatible with the essential ideas of the Bible and with modern science. So blaspheming against the spirit is saying that humanity cannot be attuned to the cosmos. I can see why JC thought that would be unforgiveable, even though it is widespread now via the evangelicalist heresy.
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Utterly absent? Maybe, unless you read the whole bible and take all the stories as face value, instead of cherry picking specific passages and claiming that the others that do not agree with your interpretation are false additions or meant to be interpreted in a different way. [The parable of Dives and Lazarus at Luke 16:19] and others like it abound throughout the bible. It is clear (at least to me) that the writers of the biblical text were ignorant to the extreme about earthly and heavenly reality. I see no reason to turn to such ignorance and try to add enlightenment to it, or glean enlightenment from it. In matters of enlightenment, spirituality and society I prefer to look forward not back. Later


The true meaning of Dives and Lazarus is that Christ takes a preferential option for the poor, and that poverty attunes people to reality while wealth causes a selfish divorce from the real world through the ability to invent an imaginary lie. This is a big reason why the USA is so loathed around the world, that in Paul's terms in Romans 1, they worship the creature rather than the creator. Poor people are forced to rely on the creator because they have no choice, and this gives their lives more authenticity, even if bad education and religious dogma conspire to make them also believe many things that are not true. Jesus chose to give poor people the dream of heaven as an allegorical comfort and a vindication. That does not mean he literally believed it, any more than in his other parables he believed that stories such as the merchant finding the pearl of great price had actually happened. Parables are vignettes designed to convey a message, not scientific hypotheses.

Given that the Bible says the final prophetic analysis of the messianic message will involve discarding a vast quantity of dross to find the gold within (Malachi 3:2), I think it is necessary to re-assess this book to find what is useful for the modern world, and to trenchantly oppose those interpretations that are wrong and useless. It is all about finding an evolutionary path for humanity



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RT,

First and foremost I think you need to know something about me. I view Jesus as a mythical character. Any sayings of Jesus that you might use will have as much impact on me as if you said that Lex Luther from the Super man comics spoke them. I see both as intelligent fictional characters but I see neither as heroes.

Actually I do not view Jesus as particularly intelligent; he is clearly ignorant of all modern ethics and knowledge and does nothing of much worth with his divine prowess throughout the stories of his deeds.

Furthermore, the vast majority of Jesus' sayings have been shown to be regurgitated scripture from older Jewish writings, sometimes word for word. Only something like 9 quotes cannot be shown as direct copies or paraphrased material from those older works. And those 9 lines could have (realistically) been made up by anyone.

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RT
The ideas in the gospels have a deep coherence which suggests a strong intuitive genius on Jesus' part. He could not have known for certain if the world was flat, or even if Mr. Pitchfork was actually floating on his lava lake a mile below the ground tormenting evildoers. We now know these old myths are false, but that is no excuse to toss the baby out with the bathwater.


I see no special coherence in the gospels, I see an ancient text that has been altered and abused over time, which is rife with contradiction, bad ethics, inaccurate science, flawed historical accounts and mediocre story telling.

I suspect that the coherence you see is a combination of your modern knowledge and effort to conform the text to your current world view.

I also think you are searching through a tub of murky water for a baby that was never there to begin with.

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RT
It is hypocritical for the church to say "God is Truth" while clinging to a literal reading they know to be false.


This was not known to be false when the stories were written and I believe that those stories were written as face value readings for their time.

Any interpretive meanings are (again) only possible because of our modern knowledge, much of that knowledge comes from technology that no person on earth had back then, including the writers of the Jesus story.

To claim that the writers were alluding to some alternate, hidden, modern meaning that had not been conceived of in their time is the wildest speculation.

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RT
The afterlife is a comforting story, but it totally lacks any evidentiary or ethical basis.


I totally agree!

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RT
By contrast, there is a compelling ethical basis in the vision of a transformed world, so it is worth exploring how that may be what Jesus actually meant by sayings such as 'thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.'


But again the Idea of a transformed world is not the same as it was when the gospels were written. Back then it was totally acceptable to make the transformation through force of arms, which is why those events are so predominant in the Old Testament and an idea not directly challenged by the New Testament.

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RT
When did the Holy Spirit commit rape?


Well in this country anyway the impregnation of an unknowing person who has not given their consent is considered rape (Mary). If done by any means other than the sexual act it would be considered a grievous violation at the very least.

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RT
The true meaning of Dives and Lazarus is that Christ takes a preferential option for the poor, and that poverty attunes people to reality while wealth causes a selfish divorce from the real world through the ability to invent an imaginary lie.


This is not wisdom from my experience... Poverty breeds a miserable existence of resentment, envy, desperate hopelessness and criminal activity it is also accompanied by the most cases of reality escapism through use of alcohol, drugs, crime and religion.

Although if the writers of the gospels new this (and it is clear to me that they did) they would be inclined to seek out those types of people as good candidates for a religion that offered hope of everlasting joy, even if that joy was only attainable after death.

Of course their scripture and its intended hero would be sure to praise the very people that were the foundation of their movement.

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RT
Given that the Bible says the final prophetic analysis of the messianic message will involve discarding a vast quantity of dross to find the gold within (Malachi 3:2), I think it is necessary to re-assess this book to find what is useful for the modern world, and to trenchantly oppose those interpretations that are wrong and useless. It is all about finding an evolutionary path for humanity


What if the best and most efficient path of evolution for humanity is to discard outdated religious dogma completely and the books that accompany them as the mythical stories that they are?

Then we can try to find other motivations that do not have the inherent tribal divisions that most religions inherently carry.

If that was the best way could you embrace it?

Later


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Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:22 pm
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Frank 013 wrote:
RT,First and foremost I think you need to know something about me. I view Jesus as a mythical character. Any sayings of Jesus that you might use will have as much impact on me as if you said that Lex Luther from the Super man comics spoke them. I see both as intelligent fictional characters but I see neither as heroes. Actually I do not view Jesus as particularly intelligent; he is clearly ignorant of all modern ethics and knowledge and does nothing of much worth with his divine prowess throughout the stories of his deeds. Furthermore, the vast majority of Jesus' sayings have been shown to be regurgitated scripture from older Jewish writings, sometimes word for word. Only something like 9 quotes cannot be shown as direct copies or paraphrased material from those older works. And those 9 lines could have (realistically) been made up by anyone.
Hi Frank. Thanks for this interesting response - frank by name and nature. I get the impression your views about Jesus are distorted by the way he has been appropriated by the churches. Like you I have always been skeptical and highly dubious about mainstream Christianity, but we differ in that I believe the gospels contain a very useful story for the modern world. The context is the response to the Roman invasion, which I see as the antecedent of the modern west. To my reading, Jesus offers a courageous and nuanced path of integrity and conscience. The barbarity of the Romans is rather awesome, as shortly before Jesus' time they crucified 2000 rebels in Galilee and left the corpses to rot as a warning. The ethics of the Beatitudes are still very relevant, indicating that the mainstream of our world really has no idea and is set on a destructive path. 'Blessed are the meek' was a totally original line of genius from Jesus, and it has to be the most ecological statement ever.
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I see no special coherence in the gospels, I see an ancient text that has been altered and abused over time, which is rife with contradiction, bad ethics, inaccurate science, flawed historical accounts and mediocre story telling. I suspect that the coherence you see is a combination of your modern knowledge and effort to conform the text to your current world view. I also think you are searching through a tub of murky water for a baby that was never there to begin with.
This is a very complicated issue, picking up questions of cosmology and eschatology. My view is that Jesus could see that the world was not ready for his vision, but that the kernel of his theory of time, ie his claim in Matthew 24-25 that the gospel would be preached to the whole inhabited earth before people were ready to seriously implement his ideas, gives a solid critique for our current global predicament.
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... those stories were written as face value readings for their time. Any interpretive meanings are (again) only possible because of our modern knowledge, much of that knowledge comes from technology that no person on earth had back then, including the writers of the Jesus story. To claim that the writers were alluding to some alternate, hidden, modern meaning that had not been conceived of in their time is the wildest speculation.
No, finding a hidden meaning that our modern understanding accepts as possible is a necessary way of reclaiming this material from the liars and frauds who run the churches. The question is whether the concept of God can be reconciled with scientific knowledge. I argue it can be reconciled, by imagining God as the purposive context for human evolution, and further that this scientific theology presents a useful organising principle for a transformative politics and is compatible with the Biblical doctrine of love.
Quote:
But again the Idea of a transformed world is not the same as it was when the gospels were written. Back then it was totally acceptable to make the transformation through force of arms, which is why those events are so predominant in the Old Testament and an idea not directly challenged by the New Testament.
Come on Frank, Jesus entered Jerusalem as king of the jews riding on a donkey, although the messianic tradition said he would ride a warhorse. Judas Iscariot for one was incensed by Jesus' pacifism, and by his steadfast stance in support of the beatitudes. The way I see it, Jesus had a cosmic vision and could see that revolt against Rome would not deliver it, so he put up the big ritual ideas such as communion to institutionalise his basic message that humanity could be reconciled with the cosmos. He could see very well that Peter did not have a clue and would get it wrong big time, but that was okay because the world was simply not ready to comprehend what he was on about, so Peter's institution has been an interim step.
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the impregnation of an unknowing person who has not given their consent is considered rape (Mary). If done by any means other than the sexual act it would be considered a grievous violation at the very least.
The story of the virgin birth is a way the Constantinian Roman church used to suppress the message of Jesus. The virgin birth story is not true, so your potshot is somewhat irrelevant. I view the holy spirit as the sense of connection we have to cosmic grace, as a physical product of human spirituality
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... Poverty breeds a miserable existence of resentment, envy, desperate hopelessness and criminal activity. It is also accompanied by the most cases of reality escapism through use of alcohol, drugs, crime and religion. Although if the writers of the gospels knew this (and it is clear to me that they did) they would be inclined to seek out those types of people as good candidates for a religion that offered hope of everlasting joy, even if that joy was only attainable after death. Of course their scripture and its intended hero would be sure to praise the very people that were the foundation of their movement.
Fair comment up to a point, but remember the median world income is three dollars a day, so poverty in the USA (>$30/day) starts at over ten times the income level of half the world, giving a distorted picture if you consider the US as typical. The majority of poor people require a dignity and resilience to survive, whereas the underclass phenomenon in the rich world is only a tiny part of the overall picture. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit' is a way of saying that the idolatry of material possessions is no way to happiness, but don't get me wrong on this, I am a big fan of economic growth and capitalism.
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What if the best and most efficient path of evolution for humanity is to discard outdated religious dogma completely and the books that accompany them as the mythical stories that they are? Then we can try to find other motivations that do not have the inherent tribal divisions that most religions inherently carry. If that was the best way could you embrace it? Later
I see rekindling debate about the nature of faith as a much more productive strategy. Evolution builds on precedent, except in situations of crisis collapse. My reading of the meaning of the gospels suggests you are making a very big and very wrong call in saying Christ gives us nothing to build on. Many thanks again for these provocative and thoughtful responses.



Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:03 am
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I get the impression your views about Jesus are distorted by the way he has been appropriated by the churches.


Somewhat, but mostly from reading the bible, I give equal weight to all of Jesus, quotes; so when he does things like...

killing a fig tree from spite.

Cursing at the Jewish bankers.

Threatening to withhold his healing powers due to a person's race or sex.

Having his people steal a donkey for him to ride.

Telling people that they must leave their family members unburied if they want to follow him.

Telling people that they were wrong because they did not kill their disobedient child as written in the Jewish laws.

When Jesus does these things I get a different view of the character.

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RT
Like you I have always been skeptical and highly dubious about mainstream Christianity, but we differ in that I believe the gospels contain a very useful story for the modern world.


Some of the stories have useful messages in the modern world, but so do other myths and stories. Just because a story might have some important message is no reason to build a "religion" from it.

This is the way I see it.

If you want to believe that Jesus was a real guy and preached in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, despite the total lack of evidence, that's fine.

In my opinion though, you might as well worship Hercules, because both have identical evidence to prove their existence.

If you want to preach that the bible has important lessons in it and that it should be preserved for that reason, I will not argue the point; but like I wrote earlier, other stories have those same messages, and many are better written and more inspiring.

It's when you insist that this material must be maintained as a religion that I get all icky and prickly.

Religions breed conflict because not everyone has the same worldview, ethics or future goals. Once someone claims to have all the answers and they do not coincide with another's answers conflict is inevitable.

You insist that the bible holds important lessons and information for the modern world; well, they were never important for me, so they can't be that important, certainly not worth creating another faction of Christianity over.

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RT
This is a very complicated issue, picking up questions of cosmology and eschatology. My view is that Jesus could see that the world was not ready for his vision, but that the kernel of his theory of time, ie his claim in Matthew 24-25 that the gospel would be preached to the whole inhabited earth before people were ready to seriously implement his ideas, gives a solid critique for our current global predicament.


And I think that Jesus as a fictional character did not see anything, and that the meaning you derive from those passages is only possible because of the modern knowledge you possess. I seriously doubt that the message you see was the intent of the original writing.

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RT
The question is whether the concept of God can be reconciled with scientific knowledge. I argue it can be reconciled, by imagining God as the purposive context for human evolution, and further that this scientific theology presents a useful organizing principle for a transformative politics and is compatible with the Biblical doctrine of love.


If you want to redefine god, you are free to do so, but I do not think that many people are going to accept that version of their supreme sky wizard.

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Come on Frank, Jesus entered Jerusalem as king of the Jews riding on a donkey, although the messianic tradition said he would ride a warhorse. Judas Iscariot for one was incensed by Jesus' pacifism, and by his steadfast stance in support of the beatitudes.


The Jesus character said several things that fly in the face of a pacifistic ideal.

Quote:
For I am come to SET A MAN AT VARIANCE AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND THE DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND THE DAUGHTER IN LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER IN LAW. And a MAN'S FOES SHALL BE THEY OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.
-Matthew 10:35-36

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
-Luke 14:26

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.
-Matthew 10:34

But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
-Luke 22:36

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
-Matthew. 24:6-7

And I will kill her children with death...
-The red letter edition of the King James Bible -Revelation 2:23


Finally Jesus says this in regard to the Old Testament...

Quote:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
-Matthew: 5:17-18


It seems to me that wars and killing are perfectly acceptable to Jesus.

Quote:
RT
The story of the virgin birth is a way the Constantinian Roman church used to suppress the message of Jesus. The virgin birth story is not true, so your potshot is somewhat irrelevant. I view the Holy Spirit as the sense of connection we have to cosmic grace, as a physical product of human spirituality


Well I never heard of that version of the Holy Spirit... Again you are free to redefine these terms as you see fit, but that does not change the definition for the average believer, or the actions of that entity in the story.

Quote:
RT
'Blessed are the poor in spirit' is a way of saying that the idolatry of material possessions is no way to happiness


Or it could simply be the writer's attempt to smooth talk the crowd. Or it could simply be wrong.

I have been to many poor countries (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras), and seen the poverty you speak of first hand. I saw no examples of a "blessed spirit", I did see a desperate and defeated people living a miserable existence. The only reason they do not resort to crime is because their neighbors are their close relatives and have no more than they do.

Quote:
RT
My reading of the meaning of the gospels suggests you are making a very big and very wrong call in saying Christ gives us nothing to build on.


And I think that by attempting to maintain a historically destructive religion you are doing our species a disservice.

Later


_________________
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Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:16 am
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