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NormATive
06-05-2014, 09:10 PM
One thing I was surprised to learn upon my conversion to Judaism was how they were quite open about the evolution of their faith over the millennia.

One Rabbi described it as abrogating bad religion.

As a Christian, I was always taught that Jesus (whom we believed was God) was the same yesterday, today and forever - unchanging, unyielding. Like a rock; unmovable and timeless.

The implication being that what the Bible teaches is also unchanging, unyielding and timeless. I would interpret this as meaning the basic tenets of the faith are (were) the same as they were 2,000 years ago.

I am currently reading How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, by Bart Ehrman. In this book, Mr. Ehrman illustrates how the idea of Jesus evolved over a specific time period between the middle of the second century CE up to the fourth. The issue in question was the exact nature of Jesus' divinity.

In the early years after Jesus' death, he was viewed as an exalted human who became God after his resurrection from the dead. Ehrman shows how this idea of exaltation changed over time from happening at the resurrection to happening at his baptism and finally at the advent of his birth.

By the time of the fourth Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus evolves into pre-existing deification; that is - Jesus was divine from the beginning of time, and not at his birth, baptism or resurrection as the earlier Gospels reveal.

Even this kind of divinity evolves into what we now know as the Trinitarian view.

All throughout these centuries, as the view of Jesus evolves; previous views of Jesus are deemed heresy - such as the earliest Christian community's view of an exalted human Jesus.

So, my question is; can the Christian faith evolve even further, or is the current orthodox view (trinitarianism, blood atonement salvation, original sin, etc.) set in stone?

NORM

Spartacus
06-05-2014, 09:25 PM
Cardinal Newman's "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine" (http://www.newmanreader.org/Works/development/index.html) may be helpful. Newman's thought-- or something like it-- was apparently influential in the Second Vatican Council.

Development (or, to use your term, evolution) of doctrine can't look like embracing an older heresy.

NormATive
06-09-2014, 06:48 PM
Cardinal Newman's "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine" (http://www.newmanreader.org/Works/development/index.html) may be helpful. Newman's thought-- or something like it-- was apparently influential in the Second Vatican Council.

Development (or, to use your term, evolution) of doctrine can't look like embracing an older heresy.

Interesting reading, Spartacus.

There is so much to the Christian story no one ever hears about. I am curious how more literalist Chrisitans handle this evolutionary aspect to Christianity.

NORM

grmorton
06-09-2014, 06:53 PM
One thing I was surprised to learn upon my conversion to Judaism was how they were quite open about the evolution of their faith over the millennia.

One Rabbi described it as abrogating bad religion.

As a Christian, I was always taught that Jesus (whom we believed was God) was the same yesterday, today and forever - unchanging, unyielding. Like a rock; unmovable and timeless.

The implication being that what the Bible teaches is also unchanging, unyielding and timeless. I would interpret this as meaning the basic tenets of the faith are (were) the same as they were 2,000 years ago.

I am currently reading How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, by Bart Ehrman. In this book, Mr. Ehrman illustrates how the idea of Jesus evolved over a specific time period between the middle of the second century CE up to the fourth. The issue in question was the exact nature of Jesus' divinity.

In the early years after Jesus' death, he was viewed as an exalted human who became God after his resurrection from the dead. Ehrman shows how this idea of exaltation changed over time from happening at the resurrection to happening at his baptism and finally at the advent of his birth.

By the time of the fourth Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus evolves into pre-existing deification; that is - Jesus was divine from the beginning of time, and not at his birth, baptism or resurrection as the earlier Gospels reveal.

Even this kind of divinity evolves into what we now know as the Trinitarian view.

All throughout these centuries, as the view of Jesus evolves; previous views of Jesus are deemed heresy - such as the earliest Christian community's view of an exalted human Jesus.

So, my question is; can the Christian faith evolve even further, or is the current orthodox view (trinitarianism, blood atonement salvation, original sin, etc.) set in stone?

NORM

What ancient documents does he use? I am curious about what evidence he lays out. If it is merely his hypothecation, then never mind.

robrecht
06-09-2014, 07:10 PM
... So, my question is; can the Christian faith evolve even further, or is the current orthodox view (trinitarianism, blood atonement salvation, original sin, etc.) set in stone?

NORM
I sometimes try to imagine not so much what Christianity will be like a few million years from now, but how they will look back upon our time. Will we be seen as part of the early church? Will Jesus Christ Superstar be seen as ancient and canonical? Will there be an early Christian heresy named after me? More seriously, the Trinity will not change but there has already been a decades long emphasis on 'Christology from Below', many differing views of atonement dating back long before Anselm. Likewise, original sin has always been understood very differently in the East. In general, I think there has been a general trend toward more dicerstiy and appreciation of diversity. One of the things I always loved about Judaism is the sense of humor about disagreements and the love of argument depicting very different perspectives which somehow merge together toward a multifaceted communal view of truth. I think as Christianity becomes as old as Judaism, it will mature into this kind of appreciation of various perspectives. If it does not, it will die out. Everything that is not evolving is becoming extinct. I am very optimistic about Christianity surviving, evolving, and flourishing, and hopefully healing the rift with Judaism.

NormATive
06-09-2014, 07:14 PM
What ancient documents does he use? I am curious about what evidence he lays out. If it is merely his hypothecation, then never mind.

He uses the Biblical text itself, and some historic church documents. He's had something like a 40 or 50 year career both within and outside of the Christian community as a biblical scholar.

It's rather a simplistic approach, really, which makes it probably seem less controversial than it probably is.

NORM

OingoBoingo
06-09-2014, 07:23 PM
For anyone that might be interested, Emeritus Professor Larry Hurtado reviewed How Jesus Became God

Here:
http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/how-jesus-became-god-per-ehrman/

And here:
http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/ehrman-on-jesus-amendments/

I haven't read it myself yet. Sounds interesting if you can look past a couple issues.

NormATive
06-09-2014, 07:37 PM
I sometimes try to imagine not so much what Christianity will be like a few million years from now, but how they will look back upon our time. Will we be seen as part of the early church? Will Jesus Christ Superstar be seen as ancient and canonical? Will there be an early Christian heresy named after me? More seriously, the Trinity will not change but there has already been a decades long emphasis on 'Christology from Below', many differing views of atonement dating back long before Anselm. Likewise, original sin has always been understood very differently in the East. In general, I think there has been a general trend toward more dicerstiy and appreciation of diversity. One of the things I always loved about Judaism is the sense of humor about disagreements and the love of argument depicting very different perspectives which somehow merge together toward a multifaceted communal view of truth. I think as Christianity becomes as old as Judaism, it will mature into this kind of appreciation of various perspectives. If it does not, it will die out. Everything that is not evolving is becoming extinct. I am very optimistic about Christianity surviving, evolving, and flourishing, and hopefully healing the rift with Judaism.

I agree with this sentiment, Robrecht. I think a good Purim celebration should be mandatory in every Christian church. For those who don't know about it, Purim is the only Jewish festival (except the Seder), where it is actually encouraged to get totally smashed on alcohol!!!

The festival includes a live, marathon reading of the entire book of Esther. Every time Haman (the bad guy in the story) is mentioned, noisemakers are rattled and everyone drinks a shot of vodka (or wine). Good times!!

I see Christianity in a kind of crucial moment. The hard and fast traditionalists, inerrantists and fundamentalists will cling to outdated ideas as long as society allows it (and I think it must if only to honor our commitment to freedom of religion). We, of course, must speak out for those groups (like our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters) who are singled out in their attempts to freeze-dry Christianity in the 19th century.

I was quite surprised to discover that Ehrman is no longer a confessing Christian, but is now an agnostic. I recall reading his Bible commentaries in small group meetings at one of the more fundamentalist churches I attended over the years.

I am hopeful that Ehrman's gentle, prodding explanation of how Christianity evolved over the first 200 or so years until the Council of Nicea finally nailed down the dogma on the divinity of Jesus. His inclusion of the anathemas to the now famous Nicean Creed is illustrative of how far we've come, and how very divided the earliest Christians were on what one would assume as essential dogma.

I think you may be wrong about the Trinity. I've had conversations with some of my Christian clergy friends on the subject, and they almost to a person do NOT emphasize it at all in their sermons. And, this is including the more conservative ilk.

There seems to be more of an emphasis on how we treat one another in society rather than practicing "right religion." I think this is an evolution long overdue.

NORM

OingoBoingo
06-09-2014, 07:38 PM
He's had something like a 40 or 50 year career both within and outside of the Christian community as a biblical scholar.

I don't think its been that long. He's only 58. He got his PhD in 1985.


It's rather a simplistic approach, really, which makes it probably seem less controversial than it probably is.

From the reviews I've read, its not that controversial, at least not in scholarly circles. The most controversial aspect of the book sounds like his early dating of a high Christology, which seems to be picking up supporters.

robrecht
06-09-2014, 07:41 PM
... I think you may be wrong about the Trinity. I've had conversations with some of my Christian clergy friends on the subject, and they almost to a person do NOT emphasize it at all in their sermons. And, this is including the more conservative ilk.

There seems to be more of an emphasis on how we treat one another in society rather than practicing "right religion." I think this is an evolution long overdue.

NORMYes, orthopraxis. Get back to me in a few million years and we'll compare notes.

Spartacus
06-09-2014, 07:43 PM
Interesting reading, Spartacus.

There is so much to the Christian story no one ever hears about. I am curious how more literalist Chrisitans handle this evolutionary aspect to Christianity.

NORM

As far as most of them are concerned, any legitimate development of doctrine ended somewhere around the time of the Council of Nicaea. It's not particularly consistent (Newman wrote a bit about this: one of his more famous quotes is "to be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant"), since they want the Nicene Creed as well as the Christian canon of Scripture, but also insist that it was around this same time-- the time of Constantine-- that the Church became corrupted with saint worship and mariolatry and Popery and the like. While the rest of the church was corrupted by Papistry, a faithful remnant survived until about the time of the Reformation, at which time "real, Scripture-based Christianity" re-emerged.

Most Christians (not just Protestant or evangelical denominations) don't think a lot about history or the history of theology (at least not rigorously or systematically), so they don't ever encounter these questions to begin with. To the extent that the average layman does think about church history, it probably sounds something like what I said above. It's not something they feel very obligated to think about.

Any posted from a Reformed denomination will probably be ready to tear me apart on this, but at worst, one or the other of us will learn something :grin:

robrecht
06-09-2014, 07:48 PM
I don't think its been that long. He's only 58. He got his PhD in 1985.

From the reviews I've read, its not that controversial, at least not in scholarly circles. The most controversial aspect of the book sounds like his early dating of a high Christology, which seems to be picking up supporters. I agree. It is not controversial among critical scholars. His change of position about early high christology was a movement of his toward a more conservative view of Paul and Christian origins in general. Some liberals might consider that controversial from their perspective but it is in fact a fairly traditional view. Some people thought Hurtado might have been one of the influences on Ehrman that led him to change his view but he said, no, he just realized it was the most obvious, undeniable meaning of the texts. It is very refreshing to watch a scholar change his view and admit to be being wrong.

OingoBoingo
06-09-2014, 07:51 PM
I was quite surprised to discover that Ehrman is no longer a confessing Christian, but is now an agnostic.

Ehrman has been an agnostic for 20 years now, and has been a popular critic of traditional Christianity at least since his 1996 book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. You're out of touch man! :)

Doug Shaver
06-09-2014, 08:24 PM
I am curious how more literalist Chrisitans handle this evolutionary aspect to Christianity.
Mostly by denial. As far as they're concerned, if it evolves, then it's not really Christianity.

NormATive
06-09-2014, 09:51 PM
As far as most of them are concerned, any legitimate development of doctrine ended somewhere around the time of the Council of Nicaea.

And to a certain extent, they would be correct. At least compared to some of the tumultuous doctrinal striving in the first two centuries.


It's not particularly consistent (Newman wrote a bit about this: one of his more famous quotes is "to be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant"), since they want the Nicene Creed as well as the Christian canon of Scripture, but also insist that it was around this same time-- the time of Constantine-- that the Church became corrupted with saint worship and mariolatry and Popery and the like. While the rest of the church was corrupted by Papistry, a faithful remnant survived until about the time of the Reformation, at which time "real, Scripture-based Christianity" re-emerged.

Yeah, I used to hear it all the time - I attended a Christian Reformed Church for many years!


Most Christians (not just Protestant or evangelical denominations) don't think a lot about history or the history of theology (at least not rigorously or systematically), so they don't ever encounter these questions to begin with. To the extent that the average layman does think about church history, it probably sounds something like what I said above. It's not something they feel very obligated to think about.

I understand the desire to put the past behind - there was a lot of bad stuff back there. But, it is important to know where that bad stuff came from.


Any posted from a Reformed denomination will probably be ready to tear me apart on this, but at worst, one or the other of us will learn something :grin:

LOL!

NORM

NormATive
06-09-2014, 09:54 PM
Ehrman has been an agnostic for 20 years now, and has been a popular critic of traditional Christianity at least since his 1996 book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. You're out of touch man! :)

Apparently. I was never really a very big fan of his commentaries. So, eventually, I stopped paying attention. Robrecht actually turned me on to this book. I did learn a few things about Judaism during this time period of which I was unaware.

NORM

Spartacus
06-09-2014, 10:04 PM
I understand the desire to put the past behind - there was a lot of bad stuff back there. But, it is important to know where that bad stuff came from.

NORM

Constantine. Popes. The devil. Doesn't much matter to them. They've excused themselves.

OingoBoingo
06-09-2014, 10:19 PM
Apparently. I was never really a very big fan of his commentaries. So, eventually, I stopped paying attention. Robrecht actually turned me on to this book. I did learn a few things about Judaism during this time period of which I was unaware.

NORM

Which commentaries? I didn't know he did any.

Scrawly
06-10-2014, 12:38 AM
I sometimes try to imagine not so much what Christianity will be like a few million years from now, but how they will look back upon our time. Will we be seen as part of the early church? Will Jesus Christ Superstar be seen as ancient and canonical? Will there be an early Christian heresy named after me? More seriously, the Trinity will not change but there has already been a decades long emphasis on 'Christology from Below', many differing views of atonement dating back long before Anselm. Likewise, original sin has always been understood very differently in the East. In general, I think there has been a general trend toward more dicerstiy and appreciation of diversity. One of the things I always loved about Judaism is the sense of humor about disagreements and the love of argument depicting very different perspectives which somehow merge together toward a multifaceted communal view of truth. I think as Christianity becomes as old as Judaism, it will mature into this kind of appreciation of various perspectives. If it does not, it will die out. Everything that is not evolving is becoming extinct. I am very optimistic about Christianity surviving, evolving, and flourishing, and hopefully healing the rift with Judaism.

I think the bolded would be true if the Scriptures were false. If we believe the Scriptures then we would acknowledge that Jesus built His church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. The invisible church, which constitutes regenerate, born-again believers, is being added to daily through the proclamation of the gospel and the working of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of God's children.

robrecht
06-10-2014, 01:41 AM
I think the bolded would be true if the Scriptures were false. If we believe the Scriptures then we would acknowledge that Jesus built His church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. The invisible church, which constitutes regenerate, born-again believers, is being added to daily through the proclamation of the gospel and the working of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of God's children.
Or both could be true and God intends for churches to grow, evolve, and mature.

Scrawly
06-10-2014, 12:59 PM
Or both could be true and God intends for churches to grow, evolve, and mature.

Interesting view but it does seem to go against the admonishment in Jude 1:3 to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the Saints.

robrecht
06-10-2014, 01:11 PM
Interesting view but it does seem to go against the admonishment in Jude 1:3 to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the Saints.The churches and doctrine can evolve to better express the ancient faith in a new situation. This view of faith is not primarily propositional, like doctrinal tenets, but the life of trust and expression of faithful obedience to God. Traditionally, this is the distinction between the fides quae, that which we believe, and the fides qua, that by which we believe. Ultimately, the faith that was handed down to our predecessors and to us is the faith of Christ expressed in his obedient life and sacrificial death, a faithful trust in God.

One Bad Pig
06-10-2014, 01:15 PM
Or both could be true and God intends for churches to grow, evolve, and mature.

Grow and mature, yes. Evolve, not so much. The churches which have evolved the most lately (mainline Protestants) are dying, not growing.

robrecht
06-10-2014, 01:17 PM
Grow and mature, yes. Evolve, not so much. The churches which have evolved the most lately (mainline Protestants) are dying, not growing.
That sounds more like extinction, not evolution. I'm endorsing the latter, not the former!

KingsGambit
06-10-2014, 01:42 PM
The churches and doctrine can evolve to better express the ancient faith in a new situation. This view of faith is not primarily propositional, like doctrinal tenets, but the life of trust and expression of faithful obedience to God. Traditionally, this is the distinction between the fides quae, that which we believe, and the fides qua, that by which we believe. Ultimately, the faith that was handed down to our predecessors and to us is the faith of Christ expressed in his obedient life and sacrificial death, a faithful trust in God.

So does this last sentence summarize what the ancient faith/bedrock would be in your view?

robrecht
06-10-2014, 02:02 PM
So does this last sentence summarize what the ancient faith/bedrock would be in your view?
I was only trying to discuss two different aspects of the word faith so, no, I would have to think about that some more. I would probably add references to the Father and the Spirit, the importance of service, striving to live a moral life in community, repentance, prayer, etc.

One Bad Pig
06-10-2014, 02:22 PM
That sounds more like extinction, not evolution. I'm endorsing the latter, not the former!
But IMO evolution will tend toward extinction. The world evolves, yes. "Be not conformed to the pattern of this world. . ."

robrecht
06-10-2014, 03:57 PM
But IMO evolution will tend toward extinction. The world evolves, yes. "Be not conformed to the pattern of this world. . ."Two can play at this:

"So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things have gone by the wayside. Behold, the new things have come to be."

KingsGambit
06-10-2014, 04:02 PM
Two can play at this:

"So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things have gone by the wayside. Behold, the new things have come to be."

Wouldn't this refer to new in terms of new to the individual person, not new to society as a whole?

robrecht
06-10-2014, 04:18 PM
Wouldn't this refer to new in terms of new to the individual person, not new to society as a whole?Not just the individual Christian, and not necessarily society as a whole, but for the whole community of the Church, and even the whole world in some sense. Paul speaks here of God reconciling us (plural) and the world to himself, not keeping track of their (plural) offenses.

whag
06-10-2014, 05:38 PM
But IMO evolution will tend toward extinction. The world evolves, yes. "Be not conformed to the pattern of this world. . ."

Conformity to the world can mean anything. Anyone can look at the expression of one's Christianity and criticize it. Look at Licona and how his simply acknowledging Matthew 27 didn't literally happen became a controversy.

It could also be argued that owning an iPhone or playing video games is conformity to the world. There's huge room for interpretation here.

NormATive
06-10-2014, 08:04 PM
Which commentaries? I didn't know he did any.

Actually, I was confusing him with Karl Bath. They were a series of commentaries on every book in the Bible. I didn't care for them.

NORM

NormATive
06-10-2014, 08:55 PM
I think the bolded would be true if the Scriptures were false. If we believe the Scriptures then we would acknowledge that Jesus built His church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. The invisible church, which constitutes regenerate, born-again believers, is being added to daily through the proclamation of the gospel and the working of the Spirit in the hearts and minds of God's children.

I think that most of the problems religions foist on the world are a result of over-dependence on an ancient book or set of beliefs. Evolution means weaning ourselves away from idolatry of dogmas that are no longer relevant to the world as it evolves. I think this is what Jesus was up to in a way, although he incorporated it within an apocalyptic worldview - in other words, he didn't think the world would last past his generation.

A Rabbi I was studying under once told me that the Jewish people evolved after the Shoah. He said that the community prayed, offered sacrifices in secret, sought the face of G-d as prescribed in II Chronicles 7:14, and cried out in despair as in Psalm 130 - to no avail. It fell on the deaf ears of a G-d who no longer "hears" the cries of it's people.

In those days, we learned to remove ourselves from the bondage of our dogmas and proscriptions and endless supplications to a static deity and a stale book that was no longer relevant in the face of Fascism and Bigotry. We looked at the words of Hillel:


"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

It was painful, and there are those who dug their heels in (Ultra Orthodox / Hassidim) and clung to the old ways.

The rest moved on and evolved a more earth-bound faith, less concerned with "rightly dividing the word of truth." One that is centered on dealing with problems in the here and now, making the world a better place through social reform (Jews were prominent in the Civil Rights movement, for example) and activism.

I think that Christianity is heading in the same direction. I think that they are mostly coming from the more liberal, mainline churches. These people have evolved a more secular faith - one that embraces the greater community outside of the Church proper, which is why you see a drop in those populations. There just is no need for those expensive, gilded palaces to offer prayers and praises to a G-d that isn't listening to that self-righteous noise anyway.

NORM

OingoBoingo
06-10-2014, 09:06 PM
I think that most of the problems religions foist on the world are a result of over-dependence on an ancient book or set of beliefs. Evolution means weaning ourselves away from idolatry of dogmas that are no longer relevant to the world as it evolves. I think this is what Jesus was up to in a way, although he incorporated it within an apocalyptic worldview - in other words, he didn't think the world would last past his generation.

A Rabbi I was studying under once told me that the Jewish people evolved after the Shoah. He said that the community prayed, offered sacrifices in secret, sought the face of G-d as prescribed in II Chronicles 7:14, and cried out in despair as in Psalm 130 - to no avail. It fell on the deaf ears of a G-d who no longer "hears" the cries of it's people.

In those days, we learned to remove ourselves from the bondage of our dogmas and proscriptions and endless supplications to a static deity and a stale book that was no longer relevant in the face of Fascism and Bigotry. We looked at the words of Hillel:



It was painful, and there are those who dug their heels in (Ultra Orthodox / Hassidim) and clung to the old ways.

The rest moved on and evolved a more earth-bound faith, less concerned with "rightly dividing the word of truth." One that is centered on dealing with problems in the here and now, making the world a better place through social reform (Jews were prominent in the Civil Rights movement, for example) and activism.

I think that Christianity is heading in the same direction. I think that they are mostly coming from the more liberal, mainline churches. These people have evolved a more secular faith - one that embraces the greater community outside of the Church proper, which is why you see a drop in those populations. There just is no need for those expensive, gilded palaces to offer prayers and praises to a G-d that isn't listening to that self-righteous noise anyway.

NORM

You evolved yourself right out of believing in the God of Judaism altogether though. You still go to synagogue (a palace for prayers and praise), but no longer believe or worship him. In your case, One Bad Pig was right. Your evolution tended towards extinction.

NormATive
06-10-2014, 09:29 PM
You evolved yourself right out of believing in the God of Judaism altogether though. You still go to synagogue (a palace for prayers and praise), but no longer believe or worship him. In your case, One Bad Pig was right. Your evolution tended towards extinction.

That's one way of looking at it. A rather negative way, but I understand where you are coming from.

The synagogue is used more for social good than just for prayers and praise these days. We run a daycare for single moms, we have a social outreach program, a youth program (they come up with social welfare projects to do for Bar or Bat Mitzvah instead of / or including memorizing scripture in Hebrew), a food pantry, and many, many more such programs. In fact, synagogue worship is probably the minority use of the place!

We still celebrate the festivals, but they are infused with more relevance than in the olden days when they were just done for the sake of doing them.

I prefer to think of G-d as a ground of being within ourselves - a state of consciousness of the created world around us and embracing what we have the capacity to change. I think we honor the spirit of G-d in that way.

I think that the collective wisdom of all of the world's faith groups can best be put to use in this way.

NORM

One Bad Pig
06-11-2014, 06:34 AM
Two can play at this:

"So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things have gone by the wayside. Behold, the new things have come to be."
Which has what to do with the price of tea in China? That's dealing with pre/post-conversion.

One Bad Pig
06-11-2014, 06:56 AM
Conformity to the world can mean anything. Anyone can look at the expression of one's Christianity and criticize it. Look at Licona and how his simply acknowledging Matthew 27 didn't literally happen became a controversy.
You've mischaracterized Licona, as have most of his opponents. I'm referring more to change qua change, though.


It could also be argued that owning an iPhone or playing video games is conformity to the world.
Neither of those examples has much to do with the evolution (or lack thereof) of religion.

There's huge room for interpretation here.
Yes, there is.

robrecht
06-11-2014, 07:24 AM
Which has what to do with the price of tea in China? That's dealing with pre/post-conversion.
I see the need for continual repentance and conversion, and do not see this as merely an individual process, but rather for communities and the communion of churches. When we speak of the need for growth and greater maturity, I see that as sometimes requiring evolution that ensures survival of the faithful church, not just faithful to tradition but faithful to the Spirit that calls us anew each day as we embrace the mission to bring the gospel of repentance and redemption to the entire world. If you agree with the need for growth and greater maturity but just object to the use of the word 'evolution', we probably agree on much of the substance. Do you disagree that the church has evolved in the past? If not, can we not continue to evolve into the future?

whag
06-11-2014, 11:58 AM
You've mischaracterized Licona, as have most of his opponents. I'm referring more to change qua change, though.

He said it might not have literally happened. That's an even less controversial position to take. Imagine if he actually denied inerrancy. My point being the denial of inerrancy is a fairly reasonable conclusion to arrive at, yet many Christians would be quick to say that's conformity to the patterns of the world.


Neither of those examples has much to do with the evolution (or lack thereof) of religion.

Fair enough. One's position on inerrancy is a sufficient example of religious "evolution" that can be easily seen as "conformity."

Scrawly
06-11-2014, 09:56 PM
I think that most of the problems religions foist on the world are a result of over-dependence on an ancient book or set of beliefs. Evolution means weaning ourselves away from idolatry of dogmas that are no longer relevant to the world as it evolves.

I disagree. I think that sound doctrine is inherently healthy and earthy. For the mature believer with a robust Christian worldview, right doctrine will produce right living that leads to flourishing both spiritually and practically that ultimately yields much good in the here and now. I am reminded of C.S Lewis' words: "Aim for heaven and you'll get earth thrown in".


I think this is what Jesus was up to in a way, although he incorporated it within an apocalyptic worldview - in other words, he didn't think the world would last past his generation.

Of course we will be disagreeing here.


A Rabbi I was studying under once told me that the Jewish people evolved after the Shoah. He said that the community prayed, offered sacrifices in secret, sought the face of G-d as prescribed in II Chronicles 7:14, and cried out in despair as in Psalm 130 - to no avail. It fell on the deaf ears of a G-d who no longer "hears" the cries of it's people.

Yes the problem of evil causes many to fall away from the faith they profess.


In those days, we learned to remove ourselves from the bondage of our dogmas and proscriptions and endless supplications to a static deity and a stale book that was no longer relevant in the face of Fascism and Bigotry. We looked at the words of Hillel:

Often times when undergoing suffering many tend to lose sight of an eternal perspective. Others will go through the fire and come out the other side saying: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31).


It was painful, and there are those who dug their heels in (Ultra Orthodox / Hassidim) and clung to the old ways.

The rest moved on and evolved a more earth-bound faith, less concerned with "rightly dividing the word of truth." One that is centered on dealing with problems in the here and now, making the world a better place through social reform (Jews were prominent in the Civil Rights movement, for example) and activism.

As stated previously right doctrine leads to right living. If you find yourself cloistered in a self-righteous bubble, most likely you don't have right doctrine to begin with.


I think that Christianity is heading in the same direction. I think that they are mostly coming from the more liberal, mainline churches. These people have evolved a more secular faith - one that embraces the greater community outside of the Church proper, which is why you see a drop in those populations. There just is no need for those expensive, gilded palaces to offer prayers and praises to a G-d that isn't listening to that self-righteous noise anyway.

Well if God exists and is daily adding to the invisible church of born-again believers through the proclamation of the gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind of the elect, then what you say is simple apostasy. I will continue to believe the Scriptures and be a light to the world whilst loving and doing good - even to my enemies. :smile:

NormATive
06-12-2014, 06:47 PM
For the mature believer with a robust Christian worldview, right doctrine will produce right living that leads to flourishing both spiritually and practically that ultimately yields much good in the here and now. I am reminded of C.S Lewis' words: "Aim for heaven and you'll get earth thrown in"

That doesn't spare us from the immature believers following wrong doctrine, or the right doctrine for the wrong reasons. That's the problem with so-called "right doctrine" - no one really knows for sure exactly what it is. There has been too much harm done in the world for all the fools who think they own "right doctrine."


Yes the problem of evil causes many to fall away from the faith they profess.

In the case of the Shoah, it was the Faith that fell away from the faithful. There was no salvation; there was no comeuppance for evil. If it weren't for the Allies, Hitler would have surely wiped Jews from the face of the earth. That was not G-d - that was President Roosevelt.

Here's a moral dilemma for you: if there is a such thing as "right doctrine," and of course; you think Jews don't follow it because we reject Jesus, would it be morally correct for Hitler to have accomplished wiping us out? Perhaps the United States actually subverted G-d's correct doctrinal plan.




Often times when undergoing suffering many tend to lose sight of an eternal perspective. Others will go through the fire and come out the other side saying: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

I'll remember that when your people are ushered into gas chambers.




If you find yourself cloistered in a self-righteous bubble, most likely you don't have right doctrine to begin with.

That's what they all say.




Well if God exists and is daily adding to the invisible church of born-again believers through the proclamation of the gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind of the elect...

G-d help us all!


I will continue to believe the Scriptures and be a light to the world whilst loving and doing good - even to my enemies. :smile:

Who are your enemies?

NORM

Doug Shaver
06-13-2014, 07:13 PM
For the mature believer with a robust Christian worldview, right doctrine will produce right living that leads to flourishing both spiritually and practically that ultimately yields much good in the here and now.
So, as long as I know what right living looks like, all I need to do is find some Christians living that way and ask what they believe, if I want to know what the right doctrine is?

seanD
06-14-2014, 01:07 AM
One thing I was surprised to learn upon my conversion to Judaism was how they were quite open about the evolution of their faith over the millennia.

One Rabbi described it as abrogating bad religion.

As a Christian, I was always taught that Jesus (whom we believed was God) was the same yesterday, today and forever - unchanging, unyielding. Like a rock; unmovable and timeless.

The implication being that what the Bible teaches is also unchanging, unyielding and timeless. I would interpret this as meaning the basic tenets of the faith are (were) the same as they were 2,000 years ago.

I am currently reading How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, by Bart Ehrman. In this book, Mr. Ehrman illustrates how the idea of Jesus evolved over a specific time period between the middle of the second century CE up to the fourth. The issue in question was the exact nature of Jesus' divinity.

In the early years after Jesus' death, he was viewed as an exalted human who became God after his resurrection from the dead. Ehrman shows how this idea of exaltation changed over time from happening at the resurrection to happening at his baptism and finally at the advent of his birth.

By the time of the fourth Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus evolves into pre-existing deification; that is - Jesus was divine from the beginning of time, and not at his birth, baptism or resurrection as the earlier Gospels reveal.

Even this kind of divinity evolves into what we now know as the Trinitarian view.

All throughout these centuries, as the view of Jesus evolves; previous views of Jesus are deemed heresy - such as the earliest Christian community's view of an exalted human Jesus.

So, my question is; can the Christian faith evolve even further, or is the current orthodox view (trinitarianism, blood atonement salvation, original sin, etc.) set in stone?

NORM

Only there's a flaw in your chronology. Paul, who I'm certain Ehrman would vehemently insist came way before the gospels, was the first to establish some of the richest Christological tradition that even, in some cases, went beyond the theology expressed in the gospels. And Paul answered to the Jerusalem church when it came to the doctrine he preached (Galatians 2), where we can assume the movement first began, hence, Paul's Christology reflects the first remnants of what came out of Jerusalem. Strange that Ehrman doesn't know this (of course, I'm assuming he doesn't address this since I haven't read the book).

robrecht
06-14-2014, 04:02 AM
Only there's a flaw in your chronology. Paul, who I'm certain Ehrman would vehemently insist came way before the gospels, was the first to establish some of the richest Christological tradition that even, in some cases, went beyond the theology expressed in the gospels. And Paul answered to the Jerusalem church when it came to the doctrine he preached (Galatians 2), where we can assume the movement first began, hence, Paul's Christology reflects the first remnants of what came out of Jerusalem. Strange that Ehrman doesn't know this (of course, I'm assuming he doesn't address this since I haven't read the book).Ehrman has changed his mind and has joined the Early High Christology Club, asserting an early high christology as pre-Pauline, namely a divine, pre-existent Christ, but believes that for Paul this was more likely some kind of angel christology, with Christ being the principal or highest created divine being or principal agent of God, and he sees this as arising out of a Jewish matrix where there is various kinds of talk of a second divine being that deserves worship, eg, Wisdom as an agent of creation. He goes back and forth on just how high this very early divine angel christology might have been in theological terms. In his most recent book, he interprets 1 Cor 8,6 as indeed affirming that Christ was the instrument of all creation, which is about as divine as divine gets if you do not understand this as a kind of evil demiurge, and Ehrman does not see Paul as a gnostic.


Moreover, we saw that Wisdom could be seen as the Angel of the Lord. Jesus, for Paul, was the Angel of the Lord. And so he too was God’s Wisdom, before coming into this world. Thus Paul can speak of “the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God” (2 Cor. 4: 4). Even more striking, Christ can be described as the agent of creation:


For us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist,
and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor. 8: 6)

But, he also admits elsewhere that he goes back and forth on how to best interpret 1 Cor 8,6. At times, he will say 1 Cor 8,6 is best understood as 'all things exist now through Christ because he is the sovereign Lord who sustains the entire universe'.

shunyadragon
06-14-2014, 04:59 AM
One thing I was surprised to learn upon my conversion to Judaism was how they were quite open about the evolution of their faith over the millennia.

One Rabbi described it as abrogating bad religion.

As a Christian, I was always taught that Jesus (whom we believed was God) was the same yesterday, today and forever - unchanging, unyielding. Like a rock; unmovable and timeless.

The implication being that what the Bible teaches is also unchanging, unyielding and timeless. I would interpret this as meaning the basic tenets of the faith are (were) the same as they were 2,000 years ago.

I am currently reading How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, by Bart Ehrman. In this book, Mr. Ehrman illustrates how the idea of Jesus evolved over a specific time period between the middle of the second century CE up to the fourth. The issue in question was the exact nature of Jesus' divinity.

In the early years after Jesus' death, he was viewed as an exalted human who became God after his resurrection from the dead. Ehrman shows how this idea of exaltation changed over time from happening at the resurrection to happening at his baptism and finally at the advent of his birth.

By the time of the fourth Gospel, the exaltation of Jesus evolves into pre-existing deification; that is - Jesus was divine from the beginning of time, and not at his birth, baptism or resurrection as the earlier Gospels reveal.

Even this kind of divinity evolves into what we now know as the Trinitarian view.

All throughout these centuries, as the view of Jesus evolves; previous views of Jesus are deemed heresy - such as the earliest Christian community's view of an exalted human Jesus.

So, my question is; can the Christian faith evolve even further, or is the current orthodox view (trinitarianism, blood atonement salvation, original sin, etc.) set in stone?

NORM

Actually if Christianity would evolve beyond these original doctrines and dogmas, it would no longer be Christianity. It would be the Baha'i Faith, which believes in the natural cyclic evolving nature of human spirituality and human knowledge, which parallels our natural human physical evolution and the cyclic evolving nature of our physical existence.

Attempts to change and adapt to the changing world around us in Christianity ends up with more and more churches, some change some do not. Some reject the Trinity, like JW, and some try to shoehorn science into the mix creating more contradictions, but no if Christianity changed and evolved concerning the basic orthodoxy it would no longer be Christianity.

NormATive
06-14-2014, 08:13 AM
Only there's a flaw in your chronology. Paul, who I'm certain Ehrman would vehemently insist came way before the gospels, was the first to establish some of the richest Christological tradition that even, in some cases, went beyond the theology expressed in the gospels. And Paul answered to the Jerusalem church when it came to the doctrine he preached (Galatians 2), where we can assume the movement first began, hence, Paul's Christology reflects the first remnants of what came out of Jerusalem. Strange that Ehrman doesn't know this (of course, I'm assuming he doesn't address this since I haven't read the book).

It's pretty embarrassing making derogatory comments on a book you haven't read yet, isn't it!?

NORM

seanD
06-14-2014, 08:43 AM
It's pretty embarrassing making derogatory comments on a book you haven't read yet, isn't it!?

NORM

I don't see where I made any derogatory comment against Ehrman in the post you quoted. Nonetheless, going back to what I said, and in light of robrecht's post after that, it seems maybe you misunderstood what Ehrman was specifically arguing. So I think my mistake was commenting on your summary of the book without reading the book myself.

NormATive
06-14-2014, 08:31 PM
I don't see where I made any derogatory comment against Ehrman in the post you quoted. Nonetheless, going back to what I said, and in light of robrecht's post after that, it seems maybe you misunderstood what Ehrman was specifically arguing. So I think my mistake was commenting on your summary of the book without reading the book myself.

Regardless, this is beside the point of this thread. It's about how Christianity can evolve TODAY. Since it is quite evident basic, fundamental and foundational assumptions about the nature and person of Jesus evolved over time, what's keeping us from doing that now?

NORM

seanD
06-15-2014, 07:40 AM
Regardless, this is beside the point of this thread. It's about how Christianity can evolve TODAY. Since it is quite evident basic, fundamental and foundational assumptions about the nature and person of Jesus evolved over time, what's keeping us from doing that now?

NORM

It's always relevant here when someone gets Christian history incorrect, thus they should expect to be checked when they do. Whether it's relevant to your main point or not doesn't matter.

NormATive
06-15-2014, 06:12 PM
It's always relevant here when someone gets Christian history incorrect, thus they should expect to be checked when they do. Whether it's relevant to your main point or not doesn't matter.

No one got anything incorrect, Sean. How about answering the question?

NORM

seanD
06-15-2014, 08:43 PM
No one got anything incorrect, Sean. How about answering the question?

NORM

Evolution relative to what? Putting aside the evolution in the gospel premise you espoused in the OP, which was incorrect, it's been 2,000 years since Christian orthodox doctrine was established in the church. There's been conflicts between Christian sects about what constitutes orthodoxy since that time, but I'm unclear what evolution we would expect 2,000 years later.

NormATive
06-16-2014, 06:57 PM
Evolution relative to what? Putting aside the evolution in the gospel premise you espoused in the OP, which was incorrect, it's been 2,000 years since Christian orthodox doctrine was established in the church. There's been conflicts between Christian sects about what constitutes orthodoxy since that time, but I'm unclear what evolution we would expect 2,000 years later.

For example; doing away with superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity, etc. IOW, expunging from the story of Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity, which can be summarized as such: treat one another with love and respect. Don't allow dogma to rule your life. The Sabbath is made for man; not the other way around.

Simple.

NORM

seanD
06-17-2014, 11:42 AM
For example; doing away with superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity, etc. IOW, expunging from the story of Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity, which can be summarized as such: treat one another with love and respect. Don't allow dogma to rule your life. The Sabbath is made for man; not the other way around.

Simple.

NORM

But these were the original tenets of the Judeo-Christian movement from the first century. So you wouldn't have an evolution but a diversion from the roots of the faith. In some circles of what is classified as liberal Christianity today (and this identification is often self-proclaimed), they have indeed done away with many of these beliefs.

NormATive
06-17-2014, 05:39 PM
But these were the original tenets of the Judeo-Christian movement from the first century. So you wouldn't have an evolution but a diversion from the roots of the faith. In some circles of what is classified as liberal Christianity today (and this identification is often self-proclaimed), they have indeed done away with many of these beliefs.

Nevertheless, it is a necessary evolutionary process if you wish to remain relevant to the rest of society.

Reformed Jews realized that the superstitions and belief in miracles was an impediment to moving forward, thus reinterpreted these mystical things with altruism and symbolic meaning. We allow scientific knowledge to inform our system of belief, focusing on what is more important (how we treat each other, society and the world) rather than clinging to old superstitions.

Christianity faces a difficult challenge because there are many like you who wish to keep on believing in miracles and the supernatural. Do you think that your faith is meaningless without this belief in mysticism?

What is more important, loving your neighbor as yourself or believing that Jesus was born of a virgin?

NORM

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 05:43 PM
For example; doing away with superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity, etc. IOW, expunging from the story of Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity, which can be summarized as such: treat one another with love and respect. Don't allow dogma to rule your life. The Sabbath is made for man; not the other way around.

Simple.

NORM

In other words, turn Christianity into some wishy washy thing that Norm likes that isn't Christian at all. :thumb:

NormATive
06-17-2014, 06:26 PM
In other words, turn Christianity into some wishy washy thing that Norm likes that isn't Christian at all. :thumb:

Loving your neighbor as yourself is "wishy-washy?" So, who do we have to thank for that totally wishy-washy philosophy??

I would hardly call Hillel wishy-washy. In his day, he was a man's man!

NORM

Spartacus
06-17-2014, 06:30 PM
Loving your neighbor as yourself is "wishy-washy?" So, who do we have to thank for that totally wishy-washy philosophy??

I would hardly call Hillel wishy-washy. In his day, he was a man's man!

NORM

It's not about the ethics you propose, it's about turning history into meaningless myth.

NormATive
06-17-2014, 06:35 PM
It's not about the ethics you propose, it's about turning history into meaningless myth.

I disagree that the myths are meaningless. Six thousand years of Jewish history and philosophy back me up on that, I think!

NORM

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 06:36 PM
Loving your neighbor as yourself is "wishy-washy?" So, who do we have to thank for that totally wishy-washy philosophy??

Sweety, trying to separate the foundations of Christianity from the reason why you love your neighbor as you love yourself is wishy washy dear. Hey, look at that, I can be as condensing and talk down to you as you do to everybody else.


I would hardly call Hillel wishy-washy. In his day, he was a man's man!

What is the reason that you love your neighbor as you love yourself, as Jesus puts it Norm? How about I go and quote him on it:

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:34-40, NIV

Why do you want to pull out the 'love your neighbor as you love yourself' and totally ignore the first part of loving God with all of your heart, soul, and mind? It is because you want to turn Christianity from what it is all about and into some sort of wishy washy thing Norm. You can't pull out one part of it and totally ignore the parts you don't want to hear.

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 06:39 PM
I disagree that the myths are meaningless. Six thousand years of Jewish history and philosophy back me up on that, I think!

And what did God have to say about the Jews forgetting who God was, using the Jewish scriptures themselves?

NormATive
06-17-2014, 06:41 PM
And what did God have to say about the Jews forgetting who God was, using the Jewish scriptures themselves?

We have not forgotten. We have moved on. You should, too.

NORM

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 06:49 PM
We have not forgotten. We have moved on. You should, too.

As in 'forget all that stuff we disagree with, we'll just ignore it and pick out the parts we want to hear.'

I guess that is 'moving on' using Norm's definitions that is...

So I take it you don't want to hear that part of the Jewish scriptures so you just throw it out the window? Nice!

Spartacus
06-17-2014, 06:51 PM
I disagree that the myths are meaningless. Six thousand years of Jewish history and philosophy back me up on that, I think!

NORM

If they are all only nice stories, no resurrection, no Trinity-- then out with it all. Christianity isn't just "wouldn't it be nice if everyone were nice to each other"-- it's "loving your neighbor has been written into the very fabric of the universe, and the one who wrote it there also showed it to us through his Incarnation."

NormATive
06-17-2014, 06:52 PM
As in 'forget all that stuff we disagree with, we'll just ignore it and pick out the parts we want to hear."

I guess that is 'moving on' using Norm's definitions that is...

So I take it you don't want to hear that part of the Jewish scriptures so you just throw it out the window? Nice!

Why do you insist on trivializing everything? Can you not recognize that other people process their religious beliefs differently? Or are you just that shallow?

NORM

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 06:57 PM
Why do you insist on trivializing everything?

It's trivial to throw out the parts of a book or religion you don't want to hear and just pick up the parts you want to hear? Gosh Norm, I didn't know that is how the world operated, so can I just pick out the rules and regulations of the military that I like and throw out and/or ignore the ones I don't like? I also really don't like those nasty laws of physics when I end up smacking my toes against something. Can I throw them out too?


Can you not recognize that other people process their religious beliefs differently? Or are you just that shallow?

It's shallow to point out when somebody is ignoring things they don't want to hear and just picking and choosing what they want to hear? That's shallow to you? :rofl: So I take it that you didn't want to hear what God had to say about those who do that, so you just threw that part away, eh? What's the point of following any religion or view when you can just cut it up to mean whatever you want it to mean? Why do we need those nasty rules and philosophy things? They just get in the way. Sorry Norm, but I think I prefer to keep the rules and laws of all of Christianity and not just pick and choose ones I like and ignoring ones I don't like.

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:03 PM
If they are all only nice stories, no resurrection, no Trinity-- then out with it all.

I never quite understood this line of reasoning. Particularly when it is derived from a single, solitary verse in the Christian Testament. I strongly disagree that the Christian message is devoid of meaning without the supernatural parts. In fact, I find it quite powerful without them. Imagine: cruelty, selfishness, immorality and greed overcome with nothing but love.

That's powerful stuff in my book!



"loving your neighbor has been written into the very fabric of the universe, and the one who wrote it there also showed it to us through his Incarnation."

What exactly does that mean to you in real terms, Spartacus? And how does believing in miracles make that any more meaningful?

NORM

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:06 PM
It's trivial to throw out the parts of a book or religion you don't want to hear and just pick up the parts you want to hear? Gosh Norm, I didn't know that is how the world operated, so can I just pick out the rules and regulations of the military that I like and throw out and/or ignore the ones I don't like? I also really don't like those nasty laws of physics when I end up smacking my toes against something. Can I throw them out too?

If I didn't already know that your entire MO on this forum is just to cause trouble and act all bad-ass, I would take the time to give you an answer. But, with you, it's a waste of time.

I started this thread, and it was going along quite nicely. Please leave so we can have a decent discussion.

Thanks,

NORM

Spartacus
06-17-2014, 07:13 PM
I never quite understood this line of reasoning. Particularly when it is derived from a single, solitary verse in the Christian Testament. I strongly disagree that the Christian message is devoid of meaning without the supernatural parts. In fact, I find it quite powerful without them. Imagine: cruelty, selfishness, immorality and greed overcome with nothing but love.

That's powerful stuff in my book!

I don't need to imagine-- it's already done. It was done 2000 years ago. Done. Fact. Not inspiring idea. Solid fact.



What exactly does that mean to you in real terms, Spartacus? And how does believing in miracles make that any more meaningful?

NORM

Miracles are only to be expected when we recognize that the laws of the universe are themselves subject to yet-higher laws.

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 07:14 PM
If I didn't already know that your entire MO on this forum is just to cause trouble and act all bad-ass, I would take the time to give you an answer. But, with you, it's a waste of time.

Of course my 'Mo' is to 'cause trouble' because you don't want to answer the question or arguments because you want to turn Christianity into some wishy washy thing where you throw out what you don't want to hear and only pick out the parts you want to hear. When it is pointed out to you that is just what you are doing, you get all defensive and angry instead of answering the charges. Showing me that my charges are dead accurate and you just can't face any sort of controversy against your arguments. Are you really so thin skinned that you can't stand any sort of challenges to your claims? Wow... I didn't know you were that sensitive and unable to stand up for what you believe. Guess that's why you instead choose the version of religion where you ignore the things that challenge you and points out when you are wrong?


I started this thread, and it was going along quite nicely. Please leave so we can have a decent discussion.

AKA "Please stop challenging my claims and arguments and let me turn your religion into something without a backbone that just is full of feel good stuff without that nasty sin and bad stuff that makes people feel bad!"

I take it you don't like it when your arguments are shown as being this bad? I take it you really don't want to hear what God has to say about those who just pick and choose what they want to hear and turn their backs on their Lord, eh? Ignore it at your own risk Norm, but I think I prefer to take the charges seriously and not just ignore what I don't want to hear for the 'feel good' stuff. I prefer a religion that challenges me and makes me face those bads as well as the goods instead of the one that just is about 'feel good' without anything else. If you don't want that, that's fine, but don't try to turn my religion into some wishy washy nonsense, where those bad 'sin' concepts are thrown to the wayside because they don't make you feel good.

BTW might want to pick a more honest title, perhaps "Creating Bad Religion" instead?

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:23 PM
Of course my 'Mo' is to 'cause trouble' ...blah, blah, blah....

Please leave.

Thanks,

NORM

lilpixieofterror
06-17-2014, 07:25 PM
Please leave.

Yep, Norm doesn't like to be challenged and prefers to just shut up everybody who points out the flaws of his arguments. Bye bye and don't worry, my points are still there and will not end up going way because you don't like them. :thumb:

Catholicity
06-17-2014, 07:31 PM
Umm Norm...this isn't exactly a blog spot. FYI. You can't start something in a known debate area and not anticipate not having it challenged.

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:38 PM
Umm Norm...this isn't exactly a blog spot. FYI. You can't start something in a known debate area and not anticipate not having it challenged.

Read through the thread, Catholicity. Plenty of people have been arguing against me all the way. LPOT has a track record, and I think you know it. I just don't like the insult comedy routine.

Fire away! I'm not afraid of challenging ideas. I just like civil discourse.

NORM

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:39 PM
Yep, Norm doesn't like to be challenged and prefers to just shut up everybody who points out the flaws of his arguments. Bye bye and don't worry, my points are still there and will not end up going way because you don't like them. :thumb:

Thanks for honoring my request.

NORM

NormATive
06-17-2014, 07:55 PM
I don't need to imagine-- it's already done. It was done 2000 years ago. Done. Fact. Not inspiring idea. Solid fact.

I'm not quite sure this answers my question. Why do you feel that the Gospel of Christ is dependent on belief in miracles? Why isn't the message of Christ enough?



Miracles are only to be expected when we recognize that the laws of the universe are themselves subject to yet-higher laws.

Or, perhaps it's how the authors of the Bible interpreted the Universe at the time. There are other cultures who had similar supernatural beliefs. Eventually, these fell away when science revealed the natural causes.

Again, I just don't see how belief in the supernatural is all or nothing in respect to the Gospel message.

NORM

Spartacus
06-18-2014, 09:04 AM
I'm not quite sure this answers my question. Why do you feel that the Gospel of Christ is dependent on belief in miracles? Why isn't the message of Christ enough?

Christ is not a message. Christ is a person. To reduce him to a poster in a kindergarten classroom, "It's cool to be kind!" and to treat all that stuff about him being God as some great, convenient, necessary misunderstanding, to spit on all the superstitious tomes of the saints and mystics and to call their living, loving relationship with the living, loving God as a silly delusion and psychological crutch-- now THAT is bad religion.


Or, perhaps it's how the authors of the Bible interpreted the Universe at the time. There are other cultures who had similar supernatural beliefs. Eventually, these fell away when science revealed the natural causes.

If the law of love is greater than the laws of physics, we should not be surprised if, from time to time, the former should demonstrate its mastery of the latter. Is the law of love greater-- more real and substantial-- than the law of physics?


Again, I just don't see how belief in the supernatural is all or nothing in respect to the Gospel message.

NORM

Are there some superstitions worked in here and there into traditional Christianity? Perhaps. We are certainly not obliged to put stock in those-- but the reality and relationality of the divine cannot lightly be cast aside because of some smug and mistaken faith in the unending explanatory power of SCIENCE

Carrikature
06-18-2014, 02:07 PM
If the law of love is greater than the laws of physics, we should not be surprised if, from time to time, the former should demonstrate its mastery of the latter. Is the law of love greater-- more real and substantial-- than the law of physics?

How does one go about making any sort of value judgment? How is one law ever greater than another? What on earth is a law of love?

Spartacus
06-18-2014, 02:17 PM
How does one go about making any sort of value judgment? How is one law ever greater than another?

What I mean is that the logic by which God operates sometimes leads him to break the logic of the laws of physics which He established.


What on earth is a law of love?

What on earth indeed :tongue:

NormATive
06-18-2014, 02:34 PM
Christ is not a message. Christ is a person. To reduce him to a poster in a kindergarten classroom, "It's cool to be kind!" and to treat all that stuff about him being God as some great, convenient, necessary misunderstanding, to spit on all the superstitious tomes of the saints and mystics and to call their living, loving relationship with the living, loving God as a silly delusion and psychological crutch-- now THAT is bad religion.

I'm surprised that you consider Jesus' message of love a "kindergarten classroom poster!" It is far more radical than it's "cool to be kind." No, the powerful message of Jesus' love is one that can tear down walls, oppressive powers, kings and tyrants.

Again, I ask you; isn't this AGAPE LOVE more important than what the mystics and saints believed to be true?


If the law of love is greater than the laws of physics, we should not be surprised if, from time to time, the former should demonstrate its mastery of the latter. Is the law of love greater-- more real and substantial-- than the law of physics?

What if it turns out that the laws of physics ARE the laws of love?


...but the reality and relationality of the divine cannot lightly be cast aside because of some smug and mistaken faith in the unending explanatory power of SCIENCE

What if it can?

NORM

Spartacus
06-18-2014, 02:53 PM
I'm surprised that you consider Jesus' message of love a "kindergarten classroom poster!" It is far more radical than it's "cool to be kind." No, the powerful message of Jesus' love is one that can tear down walls, oppressive powers, kings and tyrants.

Again, I ask you; isn't this AGAPE LOVE more important than what the mystics and saints believed to be true?

I think it's a lot easier to argue that the experiences and wisdom of the saints and mystics are integrally connected with divine love than it is to suggest the same of Planck's Constant, which seems to be your intention


What if it turns out that the laws of physics ARE the laws of love?

The golden rule and the second law of thermodynamics are not the same thing :doh: if you've developed the Grand Unifying Theory of morality and science, I'm sure there are a lot of people eager to hear it.

Carrikature
06-18-2014, 02:56 PM
What I mean is that the logic by which God operates sometimes leads him to break the logic of the laws of physics which He established.

At best, you could establish that the physical laws are special cases as opposed to general cases. The logic of the laws of physics still wouldn't be broken, though. If you want to actually establish anything of the sort, you'll need to actually specify what you're claiming as the 'law of love'.

NormATive
06-18-2014, 05:43 PM
I think it's a lot easier to argue that the experiences and wisdom of the saints and mystics are integrally connected with divine love than it is to suggest the same of Planck's Constant, which seems to be your intention

My intention is to simplify Jesus' message. It has nothing to do with Planck's Constant. What hat did you pull that from?




The golden rule and the second law of thermodynamics are not the same thing

Are you certain of this?


if you've developed the Grand Unifying Theory of morality and science, I'm sure there are a lot of people eager to hear it.

You seem to equate mysticism and following Jesus. Did Jesus say that you must do this? If so; where. And, why?

NORM

Spartacus
06-18-2014, 06:05 PM
My intention is to simplify Jesus' message. It has nothing to do with Planck's Constant. What hat did you pull that from?

Are you certain of this?

I'm quite certain that the laws which govern human relationships are not exactly the same as those that govern relationships between particles.


You seem to equate mysticism and following Jesus. Did Jesus say that you must do this? If so; where. And, why?

NORM

Christ can't just be reduced to a "message." Christ is a person. You encounter a person. You build a relationship with a person. Mysticism is one way in which people have experienced and built up a relationship with Jesus.

robrecht
06-18-2014, 07:11 PM
Christ is not a message. Christ is a person. To reduce him to a poster in a kindergarten classroom, "It's cool to be kind!" and to treat all that stuff about him being God as some great, convenient, necessary misunderstanding, to spit on all the superstitious tomes of the saints and mystics and to call their living, loving relationship with the living, loving God as a silly delusion and psychological crutch-- now THAT is bad religion.

I'm surprised that you consider Jesus' message of love a "kindergarten classroom poster!" It is far more radical than it's "cool to be kind." No, the powerful message of Jesus' love is one that can tear down walls, oppressive powers, kings and tyrants.

Again, I ask you; isn't this AGAPE LOVE more important than what the mystics and saints believed to be true? I think you're both right and, in some sense, saying the same thing at totally different levels or dimensions of reality. The love and respect of other persons here on earth is mirrored by our sense of the interpersonality and relational dimension of God. This is why I do not think that apophatic belief in the Trinity will ever disappear from Christianity. Not to preserve this or that formulation of Christology from above, not that we have any comprehension of the nature of God, but because we are called to a radical sense of community here on earth, and that potential for community is the very the image of God in which we are created.

Scrawly
06-18-2014, 08:26 PM
NORM:

..and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain..(1Cor. 15:14). Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Christ. If the bones of Christ were dug up I would cease to be a Christian.

The notion of a spiritual resurrection goes something like this:

a) The spiritual world does not actually exist.
b) Jesus was not bodily raised, but he was raised spiritually.

No thanks.

NormATive
06-18-2014, 09:01 PM
..and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain..(1Cor. 15:14). Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Christ. If the bones of Christ were dug up I would cease to be a Christian.

Sounds like a pretty weak foundation for a worldview in my estimation.


The notion of a spiritual resurrection goes something like this:

a) The spiritual world does not actually exist.
b) Jesus was not bodily raised, but he was raised spiritually.

No thanks.

A resurrection is not necessary in any case. Why not just do what Jesus said without all the mumbo-jumbo? He was quite straight forward, from what one can see written in the Christian Testament.

NORM

NormATive
06-18-2014, 09:02 PM
not that we have any comprehension of the nature of God, but because we are called to a radical sense of community here on earth, and that potential for community is the very the image of God in which we are created.

I can actually wrap my head around that. Simple.

Why don't other Christians see this?

NORM

Chrawnus
06-18-2014, 09:15 PM
Sounds like a pretty weak foundation for a worldview in my estimation.

That all depends on whether or not it's actually true. :shrug:

Jedidiah
06-18-2014, 11:35 PM
Sounds like a pretty weak foundation for a worldview in my estimation.

A resurrection is not necessary in any case. Why not just do what Jesus said without all the mumbo-jumbo? He was quite straight forward, from what one can see written in the Christian Testament.

If Jesus is not who He said He is, why should we pay any attention to His message? We listen to Him because of who He is and, that is revealed in the resurrection.

robrecht
06-19-2014, 02:42 AM
I can actually wrap my head around that. Simple.

Why don't other Christians see this?

NORMVery many do indeed, but we should not expect that everyone has the time or inclination to pursue a theological course of thoguht, nor is the thought or elucidation of much importance, except for those who are so inclined. Praxis and communion, ideally but rarely communal praxis, are much more important. It is most sublime when loving respect is shared with others and with God. I don't think you can truly have one without the other. That does not mean that one must believe in God in order to love and respect others, but if one is loving and respectful of others, one is already loving and respecting God. This is what Jesus teaches in Matthew's gospel:


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’

Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Doug Shaver
06-19-2014, 03:58 AM
If Jesus is not who He said He is, why should we pay any attention to His message?
We know nothing of what he said about himself. We only know what orthodox Christianity has been saying about him for almost 2,000 years.

NormATive
06-19-2014, 01:35 PM
If Jesus is not who He said He is, why should we pay any attention to His message? We listen to Him because of who He is and, that is revealed in the resurrection.

That sounds backward to me.

I read quite a bit, and once in a while, a phrase or the telling of a story encapsulates in words a thought or idea that is meaningful - even powerful. It is then that I will seek out the person who said such a thing.

Even more so if one experiences the actions of someone, as those who wrote gospels attempted, each in his own way, to do. They were obviously impressed with the person of Jesus.

But, now you say that you only worship Jesus because of "who he is?" That just sounds so, so...what's the word?....contrived?

Who exactly was Jesus? No one really knows for sure. Hell, the Bible even argues with itself over the place of his birth! Even when the theologians thought they understood who he was in a theistic sense, it took them 300 years to come to an agreement and codify it!!

No, we remember him because of what others said that he did and because of what he said.

NORM

Jedidiah
06-19-2014, 01:43 PM
That sounds backward to me.

I read quite a bit, and once in a while, a phrase or the telling of a story encapsulates in words a thought or idea that is meaningful - even powerful. It is then that I will seek out the person who said such a thing. <snip>

That is simply a way of saying that you will judge the wisdom of those you read. Which is the really backwards approach. You are not smart enough to judge.

NormATive
06-19-2014, 01:46 PM
Very many do indeed, but we should not expect that everyone has the time or inclination to pursue a theological course of thoguht, nor is the thought or elucidation of much importance, except for those who are so inclined. Praxis and communion, ideally but rarely communal praxis, are much more important. It is most sublime when loving respect is shared with others and with God. I don't think you can truly have one without the other. That does not mean that one must believe in God in order to love and respect others, but if one is loving and respectful of others, one is already loving and respecting God. This is what Jesus teaches in Matthew's gospel:


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’

Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

My favorite section of Christian Testament! I once had the Sermon on the Mount, which is roughly chapters 5-7 of the same book, committed to memory.

I think it is very plain to see that it almost doesn't even matter who is saying those words - there is POWER in the words, and the ideas they convey. Simple. Timeless.

Why does it need to be complicated by elaborate theological theories and formulas?

I think it is more difficult to live up to these words than any 4 spiritual laws! Any day!

NORM

robrecht
06-19-2014, 02:12 PM
My favorite section of Christian Testament! I once had the Sermon on the Mount, which is roughly chapters 5-7 of the same book, committed to memory.

I think it is very plain to see that it almost doesn't even matter who is saying those words - there is POWER in the words, and the ideas they convey. Simple. Timeless.

Why does it need to be complicated by elaborate theological theories and formulas?

I think it is more difficult to live up to these words than any 4 spiritual laws! Any day!

NORMIt's not at all complicated. Jesus says that even a child could understand it:


In this hour he said:

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;
Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father;
and no one knows the Son except the Father,
or the Father except the Son,
and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Ἐν [αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ // ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ] εἶπεν·
ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι, πάτερ, κύριε τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῆς γῆς,
ὅτι κρυψας ταῦτα ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν καὶ ἀπεκάλυψας αὐτὰ νηπίοις·
ναὶ ὁ πατήρ, ὅτι οὕτως εὐδοκία ἐγένετο ἔμπροσθέν σου.

πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός μου,
καὶ οὐδεὶς γινώσκει [τίς ἐστιν] ὁ υἱὸς εἰ μὴ ὁ πατήρ,
[καὶ τίς ἐστιν] ὁ πατ[ὴ]ρ εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς
καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν βούληται ὁ υἱὸς ἀποκαλύψαι.

While this sounds like something out of the gospel of John, it is contained in both Matthew and Luke, which for those who accept the Q hypothesis, would be from the earliest known source of the gospel writers.

Doug Shaver
06-19-2014, 05:26 PM
That is simply a way of saying that you will judge the wisdom of those you read.
Exactly. When I read anything, I will be the judge of the author's wisdom.


You are not smart enough to judge.
Whose judgment should I rely on, if not my own?

NormATive
06-19-2014, 06:40 PM
That is simply a way of saying that you will judge the wisdom of those you read. Which is the really backwards approach. You are not smart enough to judge.

So, who tells you what to think? And, how is that better?

NORM

Jedidiah
06-19-2014, 11:01 PM
So, who tells you what to think? And, how is that better?

NORM
I am smart enough to go with the Creator. How is that better? He does not make mistakes, I do.

NormATive
06-20-2014, 07:08 AM
I am smart enough to go with the Creator. How is that better? He does not make mistakes, I do.

So, G-d speaks to you personally? Is your real name Moses? Elijah?

NORM

Doug Shaver
06-20-2014, 04:47 PM
I am smart enough to go with the Creator.
You go with what some people tell you about the Creator.

Jedidiah
06-20-2014, 08:19 PM
You go with what some people tell you about the Creator.

If you say so.

Doug Shaver
06-21-2014, 09:26 PM
You go with what some people tell you about the Creator.


If you say so.
Not, not at all. Just show me how you learned anything about the creator without learning it from another person.

Jedidiah
06-21-2014, 11:33 PM
Divine revelation.

Doug Shaver
06-22-2014, 12:32 AM
Just show me how you learned anything about the creator without learning it from another person.

Divine revelation.
You can say you've had one, but that doesn't show me anything.

And if your say-so is all the evidence you can offer, I'll take my chances that I'm making a mistake in not believing you.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 10:23 AM
And if your say-so is all the evidence you can offer, I'll take my chances that I'm making a mistake in not believing you.

Too bad, so sad.

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 10:57 AM
Divine revelation.

That is quite a claim!?!?!?!

NormATive
06-22-2014, 11:14 AM
While thoroughly fascinating, perhaps the discussion of "divine revelation" is best suited to another thread.

I'm interested in any Christians who are anticipating the next evolutionary step in the religion.

Or, is the consensus that the faith is complete as is - no need to adjust core beliefs to a scientifically and culturally aware 21st century pew muffin?

For example, the Bible quite clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Jewish Testament and the Christian Testament (although it is more clearly condemned in the Tanakh). Since modern society is abandoning this condemnation due to the realization that homosexuals are born that way and it is not a "lifestyle choice," - or; sin - should the dogma of Sola Scriptura be abandoned, since the book is clearly wrong in this instance?

Reformed Jews have altered their thinking on this issue, and accept homosexuals into the fullness of the faith without need of abstinence, rejection or forgiveness.

I see also, that more and more of the more liberal denominations are at least not condemning homosexuals - some are even performing wedding ceremonies, at the risk of losing their ordination.

And, what about the role of women in ministry? In many denominations of Protestant and all of Catholic churches, women assume a secondary role in the Church under the "headship" (Paul's word) of men. Is it not time for this to evolve? For cryin' out loud - which gender tends to drive the bus on the issue of which church to attend? I would think at the least, it would make economic sense to allow women to become full members of the Church.

NORM

Doug Shaver
06-22-2014, 11:50 AM
And if your say-so is all the evidence you can offer, I'll take my chances that I'm making a mistake in not believing you.


Too bad, so sad.
What is especially bad and sad is someone thinking that people who won't believe what he says just because he says it are so deserving of his pity.

Doug Shaver
06-22-2014, 11:53 AM
While thoroughly fascinating, perhaps the discussion of "divine revelation" is best suited to another thread.
I'll start one, but I couldn't resist one parting shot in this thread.

Spartacus
06-22-2014, 12:23 PM
While thoroughly fascinating, perhaps the discussion of "divine revelation" is best suited to another thread.

I'm interested in any Christians who are anticipating the next evolutionary step in the religion.

And in these two lines your perspective is perfectly encapsulated. You're only interested in conversations that promote your preconceived notions of what "evolved" religion looks like. You wouldn't recognize real aggiornamento ("bringing-up-to-date," a term St. John XXIII used to describe what he hoped Vatican II would accomplish) if it came up to you, introduced itself, and gave letters of introduction from every competent theologian of the past century.


For example, the Bible quite clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Jewish Testament and the Christian Testament (although it is more clearly condemned in the Tanakh). Since modern society is abandoning this condemnation due to the realization that homosexuals are born that way and it is not a "lifestyle choice," - or; sin - should the dogma of Sola Scriptura be abandoned, since the book is clearly wrong in this instance?

Your conclusion does not follow from your premises r.e. homosexuality. Even with that failure of logic aside, you have a failure of fact: sola scriptura is not and never has been dogma. It has been a belief of Protestants for about 500 years, but it's never been pronounced dogma-- to my knowledge-- in any denomination that actually uses the word.


And, what about the role of women in ministry? In many denominations of Protestant and all of Catholic churches, women assume a secondary role in the Church under the "headship" (Paul's word) of men. Is it not time for this to evolve? For cryin' out loud - which gender tends to drive the bus on the issue of which church to attend? I would think at the least, it would make economic sense to allow women to become full members of the Church.

NORM

Is a man who is not a priest a full member of the church? Don't be such a clericalist.

It would be nice if you actually understood the theologies of the groups you're criticizing. It might make your critiques... you know... interesting. Christianity, and even historical Judaism, is built up around an encounter-- a deep personal relationship with the divine, not just an ethical "message". The sort of religion you suggest will never do more than tread water and so it will get swept along with every passing cultural current.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 02:27 PM
That is quite a claim!?!?!?!

One made by every Christian.

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 02:56 PM
One made by every Christian.

I do not believe every Christian claims Divine Revelation. You are defining far differently then I. Looking forward to discussing it in the other thread.

Darth Executor
06-22-2014, 04:45 PM
While thoroughly fascinating, perhaps the discussion of "divine revelation" is best suited to another thread.

I'm interested in any Christians who are anticipating the next evolutionary step in the religion.

The next evolutionary step in the religion would be a descent into primitivism. A Kony type of muscular Christianity. People like you would almost certainly be beheaded on sight.


Or, is the consensus that the faith is complete as is - no need to adjust core beliefs to a scientifically and culturally aware 21st century pew muffin?

Scientifically and culturally aware 21st century individuals understand the wisdom earned through generations of bloodshed. The faith will not be complete until the end, but the things people like you demand are not completion, but unraveling.


For example, the Bible quite clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Jewish Testament and the Christian Testament (although it is more clearly condemned in the Tanakh). Since modern society is abandoning this condemnation due to the realization that homosexuals are born that way and it is not a "lifestyle choice," - or; sin - should the dogma of Sola Scriptura be abandoned, since the book is clearly wrong in this instance?

The condemnation of homosexuality never had anything to do with whether it was a "lifestyle choice" or whether you were "born that way".


Reformed Jews have altered their thinking on this issue, and accept homosexuals into the fullness of the faith without need of abstinence, rejection or forgiveness.

So what you're saying is that you won't be able to take a single step in hell without bumping into a Reformed Jew.


I see also, that more and more of the more liberal denominations are at least not condemning homosexuals - some are even performing wedding ceremonies, at the risk of losing their ordination.

Liberal denominations both have trouble retaining converts (why bother? Agnosticism has a better benefits package) and poor birth rates, so they tend to self-destruct in the long run. I'm not sure why following in their footsteps is such a big deal.


And, what about the role of women in ministry? In many denominations of Protestant and all of Catholic churches, women assume a secondary role in the Church under the "headship" (Paul's word) of men. Is it not time for this to evolve? For cryin' out loud - which gender tends to drive the bus on the issue of which church to attend? I would think at the least, it would make economic sense to allow women to become full members of the Church.

NORM

Indulgences also make economic sense.

On a more serious note though, the above statement is an implicit endorsement of status whoring, which has no place in a church. If you can't consider yourself a full member of a church unless you are eligible for priesthood then you are the one with the problem.

Darth Executor
06-22-2014, 04:45 PM
I do not believe every Christian claims Divine Revelation. You are defining far differently then I. Looking forward to discussing it in the other thread.

If you do not claim Divine Revelation then you are not a Christian.

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 05:27 PM
If you do not claim Divine Revelation then you are not a Christian.

It is abundantly clear I am not a Christian. I am a Baha'i. I do not believe that individuals can claim 'Divine Revelation.' I believe that Christians believe in the 'Divine Revelation' of Jesus Christ.

Darth Executor
06-22-2014, 05:39 PM
It is abundantly clear I am not a Christian.

Man you're narcissistic to the point of high comedy. What makes you think my comment was about you personally? You said "I do not believe every Christian claims Divine Revelation." That's what I was responding to. I never said I was talking about you personally.

NormATive
06-22-2014, 05:50 PM
And in these two lines your perspective is perfectly encapsulated. You're only interested in conversations that promote your preconceived notions of what "evolved" religion looks like.

Well, that's not true. I can't help it that only a few have bothered to describe how they think religion has evolved. I described the experience in Judaism, and I don't believe I've said that it is the only way. I am anxiously awaiting your response.


You wouldn't recognize real aggiornamento ("bringing-up-to-date," a term St. John XXIII used to describe what he hoped Vatican II would accomplish) if it came up to you, introduced itself, and gave letters of introduction from every competent theologian of the past century.

Yes, actually Vatican II is a perfectly good example of some evolutionary changes (consequential, I'm sure) to the sacrament of Mass. But, I don't believe Vatican II addressed much substantive theological change. I could be wrong, but I think it was much later that the Catholic Church accepted evolution as compatible with Catholic teaching on Creation.


Your conclusion does not follow from your premises r.e. homosexuality. Even with that failure of logic aside,

What failure? That the a Bible doesn't teach homosexuality is a sin, or that homosexuality is an orientation one is born with?


... you have a failure of fact: sola scriptura is not and never has been dogma. It has been a belief of Protestants for about 500 years, but it's never been pronounced dogma-- to my knowledge-- in any denomination that actually uses the word.

OK, let's not get hung up over semantics. Core beliefs. How's that? Would you not say that Sola Scriptura is a Core Belief of most Protestant denominations? Just as trinitarianism, virgin birth, etc.?




Is a man who is not a priest a full member of the church? Don't be such a clericalist.

I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean, here. What is a "clericalist?" I was talking about women in the Church. In Paul's letters, men are said to have "headship" over women. Many Protestant and Catholic (especially) have this core belief. Do you think this is something that is evolving?



It would be nice if you actually understood the theologies of the groups you're criticizing. It might make your critiques... you know... interesting. Christianity, and even historical Judaism, is built up around an encounter-- a deep personal relationship with the divine, not just an ethical "message". The sort of religion you suggest will never do more than tread water and so it will get swept along with every passing cultural current.

I think I understand the religions just fine. I think your bluster is a smoke screen because you are either uncomfortable with the question, or don't have a good answer. Or, perhaps you think Christianity is complete as is and is in no need of evolving. If so, just say so rather than trying to obfuscate the discussion.

But, if you think it should stay the same; why?

NORM

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 05:53 PM
I do not believe every Christian claims Divine Revelation. You are defining far differently then I. Looking forward to discussing it in the other thread.

I definitely define Christian differently than do you. As far as I am concerned every Christian recognizes the Bible as divine revelation. You do not have to be an inerrantist to know that the Bible is divinely inspired.

NormATive
06-22-2014, 05:53 PM
Sorry, Darth, if you are talking to me. You are the only T-Webber I have on ignore, so I can't see what you post.

NORM

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 06:06 PM
I'm interested in any Christians who are anticipating the next evolutionary step in the religion.

Or, is the consensus that the faith is complete as is - no need to adjust core beliefs to a scientifically and culturally aware 21st century pew muffin?Religion, as man's effort, certainly may evolve. Truth does not evolve.


For example, the Bible quite clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Jewish Testament and the Christian Testament (although it is more clearly condemned in the Tanakh). Since modern society is abandoning this condemnation due to the realization that homosexuals are born that way and it is not a "lifestyle choice," - or; sin - should the dogma of Sola Scriptura be abandoned, since the book is clearly wrong in this instance? It is a pity you have Darth on ignore. He handled this quite well.

I was born with a heterosexual bent. My early intent was to seek sexual pleasure with women. That was sin pure and simple. Just because I wanted something did not mean (and still does not mean) that it is acceptable. The same thing is true (equally true) for homosexuals. Sin plain and simple. The Bible has not been proved to be, nor is it, wrong in this instance. Since you are blind to Darth let me quote him.


The condemnation of homosexuality never had anything to do with whether it was a "lifestyle choice" or whether you were "born that way".

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 06:45 PM
I definitely define Christian differently than do you. As far as I am concerned every Christian recognizes the Bible as divine revelation. You do not have to be an inerrantist to know that the Bible is divinely inspired.

I never said that one needs to an inerrantist to 'believe' the Bible is divinely inspired.

NormATive
06-22-2014, 06:49 PM
Religion, as man's effort, certainly may evolve. Truth does not evolve.

Are you claiming you know absolute truth? To the exclusion of all other "truth claims," like Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, etc.?


It is a pity you have Darth on ignore. He handled this quite well.

I seriously doubt it. He's quite a bore, only interested in the sound of his own voice.


I was born with a heterosexual bent. My early intent was to seek sexual pleasure with women. That was sin pure and simple.

Are you celibate, then? That is an extreme position, even for a Christian. How does it feel to be in love with a woman, and not be able to have a relationship with her? Do you condemn all other heterosexual Christians who are married?



Just because I wanted something did not mean (and still does not mean) that it is acceptable. The same thing is true (equally true) for homosexuals. Sin plain and simple. The Bible has not been proved to be, nor is it, wrong in this instance.

Is being human not acceptable to you, then? The Bible believes that if you are born as a homosexual, you are in sin. That is clearly wrong. The ancient authors of the Bible were incorrect in their judgment of homosexuality.


Since you are blind to Darth let me quote him.

No, thanks.

NORM

shunyadragon
06-22-2014, 06:56 PM
Man you're narcissistic to the point of high comedy. What makes you think my comment was about you personally? You said "I do not believe every Christian claims Divine Revelation." That's what I was responding to. I never said I was talking about you personally.

You said 'If you do not claim Divine Revelation then you are not a Christian.' in a post to me. It would have been best to say: 'If [someone does] not claim Divine Revelation then ;[that person is] not a Christian.' or something like that.

NormATive
06-22-2014, 07:10 PM
I definitely define Christian differently than do you. As far as I am concerned every Christian recognizes the Bible as divine revelation. You do not have to be an inerrantist to know that the Bible is divinely inspired.

Wait. Are you equating Divine Revelation to Divine Inspiration? Are they not different things? I think that they are. Divine Inspiration is like "the gods whispering in your ear" kind of thing, while Divine Revelation is a god / gods speaking directly to someone.

The Apostle, Paul, claims to have had a Divine Revelation from Jesus on the road to Damascus. It changed fundamental Christian doctrine. The Gospels, some claim, were Divinely Inspired. I think there are others, who claim it is Divine Revelation - i.e.; every word, punctuation mark and letter is literally God's word.

The Orthodox Jewish Rabbis tell us that the Torah is Divine Revelation: G-d dictated, word for word, the Word of G-d. In HEBREW. IOW, you are not reading G-d's words if you are reading an English translation.

NORM

Darth Executor
06-22-2014, 08:51 PM
It is a pity you have Darth on ignore. He handled this quite well.


It's hard to tell because I don't really pay attention to him all that much but I think he's butthurt I mocked him when he tried to cow me into submission with his Jewish persecution syndrome.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 08:57 PM
I never said that one needs to an inerrantist to 'believe' the Bible is divinely inspired.

Simply adding to the statement that every Christian recognizes the Bible as divine revelation. I would have expected some more weasel words from you on the subject. You will have to go one step further if you want to argue my statement.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 09:07 PM
Are you claiming you know absolute truth? To the exclusion of all other "truth claims," like Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Atheism, etc.? Yep. Jesus Christ is the Way, The Truth, and the Light. No one comes to the Father but through Him.


Are you celibate, then? That is an extreme position, even for a Christian. How does it feel to be in love with a woman, and not be able to have a relationship with her? Do you condemn all other heterosexual Christians who are married? How about you address what I wrote instead of some strawman. What I labeled sin was the putting sexual pleasure above right behavior.


Is being human not acceptable to you, then? The Bible believes that if you are born as a homosexual, you are in sin. That is clearly wrong. The ancient authors of the Bible were incorrect in their judgment of homosexuality. Nope. Sin is sin. Just as heterosexual sex outside of marriage is sin, all homosexual sex is sin. That was my claim and you made up a straw man to shoot down. Was I not clear enough for you. Sorry about that.

It is still true that the condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible never had anything to do with whether it was a "lifestyle choice" or whether you were "born that way". Men are all born sinful. ("men" means human beings not male human beings)

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 09:08 PM
You said 'If you do not claim Divine Revelation then you are not a Christian.' in a post to me. It would have been best to say: 'If [someone does] not claim Divine Revelation then ;[that person is] not a Christian.' or something like that.

You are not that thick are you?

KingsGambit
06-22-2014, 09:13 PM
I do not personally feel as comfortable setting the Bible as a parameter for faith because there have been cases where Christians have had to go without knowledge. Obviously, the gospel existed before all of the NT books were even written (much less compiled into canonical form); their faith was based on what the apostles taught. More recently, in Communist countries, there probably have been some converts who had no access to the Bible and had little to go on beyond what missionaries taught them and perhaps a few verses written down.

Now, this is not to minimize the role of Scripture in shaping faith at all, simply that I do not think we can mark any one view of the Bible as an inherent prerequisite for faith.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 09:18 PM
Wait. Are you equating Divine Revelation to Divine Inspiration? Are they not different things? I think that they are. Divine Inspiration is like "the gods whispering in your ear" kind of thing, while Divine Revelation is a god / gods speaking directly to someone.So many things wrong here. There are not gods, only one God, creator of everything. If He whispers in my ear that is revelation. If I write it down for others it remains revelation, that is it has been revealed. The whole "every word, punctuation mark and letter is literally God's word" is sort of silly. I read the Bible as translated into English. The words, punctuation marks, and letters are all different. We clearly see divine revelation differently. Some people seem to almost worship the Bible, that does not mean they are correct.



The Orthodox Jewish Rabbis tell us that the Torah is Divine Revelation: G-d dictated, word for word, the Word of G-d. In HEBREW. IOW, you are not reading G-d's words if you are reading an English translation.First of all I do not really care what Orthodox Jewish Rabbis have to say. Let us say you want to get to my house. We do not speak or write the same language. I send directions in my tongue and you have someone translate into your tongue. Will you be able to find my house if you are of normal intelligence? That is my revelation to you.

Jedidiah
06-22-2014, 09:21 PM
I do not personally feel as comfortable setting the Bible as a parameter for faith because there have been cases where Christians have had to go without knowledge. Obviously, the gospel existed before all of the NT books were even written (much less compiled into canonical form); their faith was based on what the apostles taught. More recently, in Communist countries, there probably have been some converts who had no access to the Bible and had little to go on beyond what missionaries taught them and perhaps a few verses written down.

Now, this is not to minimize the role of Scripture in shaping faith at all, simply that I do not think we can mark any one view of the Bible as an inherent prerequisite for faith.I have no argument with you KG. But you are speaking of, what today, are unusual circumstances. I am not intending to set the Bible as the entire parameter, as you say, of faith. It is true, I believe, that every Christian who has access to the Bible accepts it, or comes to accept it as divine revelation. Does that make you less uneasy?

KingsGambit
06-22-2014, 09:32 PM
I have no argument with you KG. But you are speaking of, what today, are unusual circumstances. I am not intending to set the Bible as the entire parameter, as you say, of faith. It is true, I believe, that every Christian who has access to the Bible accepts it, or comes to accept it as divine revelation. Does that make you less uneasy?

I'm on board with this. Especially any of us who are technologically/educationally advanced to be in such a place as a website such as this would have no excuse.

Spartacus
06-22-2014, 11:42 PM
Well, that's not true. I can't help it that only a few have bothered to describe how they think religion has evolved. I described the experience in Judaism, and I don't believe I've said that it is the only way. I am anxiously awaiting your response.

I was the first reply to this thread. :eh:

Have you looked any more into Newman since then?


Yes, actually Vatican II is a perfectly good example of some evolutionary changes (consequential, I'm sure) to the sacrament of Mass. But, I don't believe Vatican II addressed much substantive theological change. I could be wrong, but I think it was much later that the Catholic Church accepted evolution as compatible with Catholic teaching on Creation.

But there's so much more to Vatican II than going from Latin to the vernacular in the Mass (which isn't actually in the council documents, iirc). The Council Fathers constructed an impressive ecclesiology, clearly rejecting the Eusebian narrative of treating the boundaries of the visible church as exactly coincident with the boundaries of the Saved and further illustrating the connections and tensions between the eschatological (perfect) and historical (not so much) Church.

There are, in my mind, three key terms that define how we should understand Vatican II:
1. aggiornamento-- "bringing-up-to-date," engaging the Church in conversation with the world around it. Paragraph 1 of Gaudium et Spes, in my opinion, can give us a very good idea of what that means in the abstract.
2. Ressourcement-- "returning to the sources," theological engagement with the historical sources of Christian doctrine. Not simply taking the conclusions of great theologians as settled fact, but actively trying to understand them and their theology.
3. Hermeneutic of Continuity-- in contrast with a hermeneutic of "rupture"- the Church after the Council is still in its essence the same as it was beforehand. There was no radical change in doctrine or break with the past; the council was the occasion for the Church coming to a better understanding of her essence and mission in the world.


What failure? That the a Bible doesn't teach homosexuality is a sin, or that homosexuality is an orientation one is born with?

The failure of logic is the non sequitur. You proceed from the premise that homosexual attractions are natural to the conclusion that homosexual intercourse can be morally praiseworthy (or, at least, acceptable). The conclusion does not follow from the premises, so you can affirm (as even I do) that same-sex attractions are natural without affirming that sex between two men or two women is acceptable.

Just for the sake of clarity, the Bible condemns homosexual intercourse. Nowhere does it say that a person who is sexually attracted to people of the same sex is going to be sent to Hell or in any way held morally responsible for those attractions.


OK, let's not get hung up over semantics. Core beliefs. How's that? Would you not say that Sola Scriptura is a Core Belief of most Protestant denominations? Just as trinitarianism, virgin birth, etc.?




I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean, here. What is a "clericalist?" I was talking about women in the Church. In Paul's letters, men are said to have "headship" over women. Many Protestant and Catholic (especially) have this core belief. Do you think this is something that is evolving?

Women are allowed to take on leadership roles in the church and in church organizations. The head of Catholic Relief Services, for example, is a woman, and many parish administrators are women. Women are entirely allowed to exercise authority over men, and have been doing so legitimately since, oh... Biblical times, more or less. This is not, in Catholicism at least, something in need of a radical evolution (though, as ever, a practical one is in order), and in no Christian denomination that I know of is it actually a "core belief."


I think I understand the religions just fine. I think your bluster is a smoke screen because you are either uncomfortable with the question, or don't have a good answer. Or, perhaps you think Christianity is complete as is and is in no need of evolving. If so, just say so rather than trying to obfuscate the discussion.

But, if you think it should stay the same; why?

NORM

I apologize for my impatience. My only excuse is, well, the flaws in my character.

One of the subjects that interests me most is what theologians call inculturation: the interaction of the Gospel with given historical and cultural circumstances. The questions surrounding Jesuit missionaries in China in the 17th century, for example, are immensely interesting to me (dealing with ancestor worship, Chinese philosophy, etc). The degree to which Christian theology can or must make use of Hellenistic as opposed to Oriental philosophy is fascinating, but exploring these questions shouldn't threaten the fundamental integrity of the theology which the Church has already come to accept as rational conclusions with respect to what God has revealed to humanity, particularly through the historical experience of the Jewish people and most especially through the person of Jesus Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection.

... is that better?

robrecht
06-23-2014, 03:31 AM
One of the subjects that interests me most is what theologians call inculturation: the interaction of the Gospel with given historical and cultural circumstances. The questions surrounding Jesuit missionaries in China in the 17th century, for example, are immensely interesting to me (dealing with ancestor worship, Chinese philosophy, etc). The degree to which Christian theology can or must make use of Hellenistic as opposed to Oriental philosophy is fascinating, but exploring these questions shouldn't threaten the fundamental integrity of the theology which the Church has already come to accept as rational conclusions with respect to what God has revealed to humanity, particularly through the historical experience of the Jewish people and most especially through the person of Jesus Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection. This is a very central concern. To what extent was the historical experience of the Jewish people, and that of Jesus, an initial inculturation of the gospel? Saul of Tarsus insisted upon the universal character of the gospel. Some thought he was no longer 'Jewish', but I doubt that, for Judaism also had a impetus toward universalism, for lack of a better word, long before the time of Jesus and Paul. Apocalypticism has a strange mixture of the universal and particular, and I believe it is a phase of evolution that produces both progressive and conservative tendencies. Those who support or oppose evolution are both nonetheless caught up in it, whether they like it or not. Judaisms, christianities, and the church will all continue to evolve, or become extinct along the way. I remain highly optimistic, but I think the path of evolution should involve more profound reconciliation with Judaim, as even the most reactionary apocalyptic futurists seem to accept. Isn't it strage how 'reactionary' and 'futurist' can both be used to describe the same perspective?

NORM, I know in the past you have, for good reasons, considered both Hellenism and the apocalyptic to be foreign to Judaism. Is that still your view? What has been the more recent experience within Judaism of evolution? How accepting are the Othrodox, Hasidim, Conservative, and Reform Jews of each other as members of the same religion or same people? On the one hand, you have rejected the Hellenism of Philo of Alexandria, but on the other hand you embrace the assimilation of Reform Judaism? Maybe its time to cut Philo some slack?

RumTumTugger
06-23-2014, 01:34 PM
For example; doing away with superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity, etc. IOW, expunging from the story of Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity, which can be summarized as such: treat one another with love and respect. Don't allow dogma to rule your life. The Sabbath is made for man; not the other way around.

Simple.

NORM

in other words stop being a Christian is what you are saying NORM. what you are trying to get folks to do is to deny the fundementals of the Christian doctrine it won't happen. If you don't want to be a christian fine but don't tell us what our doctrine should be.

Jedidiah
06-23-2014, 03:11 PM
Nevertheless, it is a necessary evolutionary process if you wish to remain relevant to the rest of society.

The point is Christianity is only relevant to society as it presents the gospel. Including all the "superstions" you seem to object to. I am already in one secular club, I don't need another. Christianity call folks out of society into eternity.

seanD
06-23-2014, 06:00 PM
Nevertheless, it is a necessary evolutionary process if you wish to remain relevant to the rest of society.

Jesus taught that Christianity would never be relevant to society. In fact, not only did he teach the complete opposite (just one example: John 15:19), but the fact he was crucified exemplifies that fact.

NormATive
06-23-2014, 07:46 PM
There are not gods, only one God, creator of everything.

According to the Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, there are other gods. The Second Commandment (לא יהיה־לך אלהים אחרים על־פני - You shall have no other gods before me) says that G-d is the only god Jews shall worship. In fact, the Deity actually explains that "He is a jealous god." If there were no other gods, why would he say this? It is true that according to Judaism, G-d created everything, although some Hebrew scholars think there were other gods around - there is clearly a discussion among the "deities" in the Hebrew text. Even Christians acknowledge this. I've seen commentaries that claim these other gods present at creation are Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That makes 3, at least.

The Kabbalists have all kinds of wild theories! Oy Vey! It's enough to scramble your brains.

I know, I know - the Trinity makes everything Kosher! Ha! Nevertheless, the Jewish Testament, at least, says there are many gods. So, I am not "wrong." It's just a different interpretation from you. Your trinity rolls these extra gods into one.


If He whispers in my ear that is revelation. If I write it down for others it remains revelation, that is it has been revealed. The whole "every word, punctuation mark and letter is literally God's word" is sort of silly. I read the Bible as translated into English. The words, punctuation marks, and letters are all different. We clearly see divine revelation differently. Some people seem to almost worship the Bible, that does not mean they are correct.

So, you are saying that the Bible is flawed? How do you know which parts are the flawed parts?



Let us say you want to get to my house. We do not speak or write the same language. I send directions in my tongue and you have someone translate into your tongue. Will you be able to find my house if you are of normal intelligence? That is my revelation to you.

If I want correct directions, I should learn your language. Your example illustrates the point. I've been in many foreign countries. The number one mistake made in travel involves mistranslation of directions! I wound up at Versaille when I asked for directions to the Louvre.

NORM

NormATive
06-23-2014, 08:20 PM
Yep. Jesus Christ is the Way, The Truth, and the Light. No one comes to the Father but through Him.

How about you address what I wrote instead of some strawman. What I labeled sin was the putting sexual pleasure above right behavior.

Nope. Sin is sin. Just as heterosexual sex outside of marriage is sin, all homosexual sex is sin. That was my claim and you made up a straw man to shoot down. Was I not clear enough for you. Sorry about that.

It is still true that the condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible never had anything to do with whether it was a "lifestyle choice" or whether you were "born that way". Men are all born sinful. ("men" means human beings not male human beings)

Okay, I guess your are content to remain in the Middle Ages. 'Nuff said.

NORM

Spartacus
06-23-2014, 08:25 PM
Okay, I guess your are content to remain in the Middle Ages. 'Nuff said.

NORM

Could someone open a window? I'm practically choking on this guy's smug.

Jedidiah
06-23-2014, 11:46 PM
So, you are saying that the Bible is flawed? How do you know which parts are the flawed parts?

No I am not saying the Bible is flawed. What did I say that made you think that I thought such a thing.

Jedidiah
06-23-2014, 11:47 PM
Okay, I guess your are content to remain in the Middle Ages. 'Nuff said. If those things are living in the Middle Ages, I'll stay there thanks.

NormATive
06-24-2014, 02:02 PM
No I am not saying the Bible is flawed. What did I say that made you think that I thought such a thing.

This:


The whole "every word, punctuation mark and letter is literally God's word" is sort of silly. I read the Bible as translated into English. The words, punctuation marks, and letters are all different. We clearly see divine revelation differently. Some people seem to almost worship the Bible, that does not mean they are correct.

Either the Bible is "G-d's Word," or it is man's words about G-d. It can't be both. By your comment above, I would put you in the second camp. Therefore, if it is written by human hands, there would necessarily have to be flaws. Which parts of the Bible do you consider correct, and which do you view with suspicion?

NORM

NormATive
06-24-2014, 02:04 PM
If those things are living in the Middle Ages, I'll stay there thanks.

Yes, believing that homosexuality is a "sin" is Middle Ages thinking. You may as well say it is demon possession.

NORM

Spartacus
06-24-2014, 02:14 PM
Yes, believing that homosexuality is a "sin" is Middle Ages thinking. You may as well say it is demon possession.

NORM

Gotta say, I really feel as though you understand and value my input on this topic.

Jedidiah
06-24-2014, 11:03 PM
Either the Bible is "G-d's Word," or it is man's words about G-d. It can't be both. By your comment above, I would put you in the second camp. Therefore, if it is written by human hands, there would necessarily have to be flaws. Which parts of the Bible do you consider correct, and which do you view with suspicion?

This is just ignorant. Because it is translated does not mean it is flawed.

Jedidiah
06-24-2014, 11:12 PM
Norm, you suggest that all the "superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity," and so forth, is a bad thing. On the other hand I see the desire to eliminate "Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity," Is a sign of the wickedness of modern society. The call to "treat one another with love and respect" is not the gospel. The gospel is literally the "good news" that Christ can save us from slavery to sin. Some of you like being enslaved to sin so it seems like a negative message. That is why you want to eliminate the essence of the gospel.

shunyadragon
06-25-2014, 04:40 AM
Simply adding to the statement that every Christian recognizes the Bible as divine revelation. I would have expected some more weasel words from you on the subject. You will have to go one step further if you want to argue my statement.

No need to add more. You simply attributed a statement to me that I never made.

Jedidiah
06-25-2014, 01:48 PM
No need to add more. You simply attributed a statement to me that I never made.

It was however a thought that I anticipated from you - weasel words I expected. If you accept my statement as it stood I apologize. That apology does not apply if there are in fact more such weasel words on the topic.

NormATive
06-25-2014, 06:38 PM
Norm, you suggest that all the "superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity," and so forth, is a bad thing. On the other hand I see the desire to eliminate "Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity," Is a sign of the wickedness of modern society. The call to "treat one another with love and respect" is not the gospel. The gospel is literally the "good news" that Christ can save us from slavery to sin. Some of you like being enslaved to sin so it seems like a negative message. That is why you want to eliminate the essence of the gospel.

We disagree as to what Jesus' message was. I am probably no more "sinful" than you are, so that canard is a load of crap. When I read the totality of Jesus' words, the what you call "mammy-pamby" love and kindness shines through more than the apocalyptic.

NORM

NormATive
06-25-2014, 06:41 PM
This is just ignorant. Because it is translated does not mean it is flawed.

So, it's perfect? No flaws whatsoever? How, then, do you not consider yourself a literalist like the Hasidim?

NORM

Jedidiah
06-25-2014, 07:02 PM
So, it's perfect? No flaws whatsoever? How, then, do you not consider yourself a literalist like the Hasidim?

The message is true. Is it all literal? I don't understand it all, but all I can understand is true. You need to do a study on the translation of scripture. But, you won't I suppose, unless it is done by someone who already sees things the way you do. Enough of your distortion.

NormATive
06-25-2014, 07:15 PM
The message is true. Is it all literal? I don't understand it all, but all I can understand is true. You need to do a study on the translation of scripture. But, you won't I suppose, unless it is done by someone who already sees things the way you do. Enough of your distortion.

I know all about how scripture is translated. That's why I don't think it is reliable - it's been stepped on too many times. You claim Divine Revelation, but you won't explain HOW you know it's Divine Revelation. "Because you say so" seems to be the dominant reason so far.

NORM

Spartacus
06-25-2014, 07:18 PM
Do you plan to respond to my post from two days ago, Norm, or should I go find a more productive way to spend my time?

NormATive
06-25-2014, 07:25 PM
Do you plan to respond to my post from two days ago, Norm, or should I go find a more productive way to spend my time?

Yes, I began a response yesterday, but had some issues with a client that needed attention and couldn't finish in time. Of course, the "auto-save" on this forum isn't that sophisticated to keep my response for that long, so I have to start over again.

I'll get to it eventually.

NORM

NormATive
06-25-2014, 07:35 PM
in other words stop being a Christian is what you are saying NORM. what you are trying to get folks to do is to deny the fundementals of the Christian doctrine it won't happen. If you don't want to be a christian fine but don't tell us what our doctrine should be.

Nope. I'm not saying that at all. Most faith expressions have evolved tremendously from their founding - my own; Judaism, has. Islam certainly has (if you ignore the radical fundamentalists). Mormons consider themselves Christians that have received a special revelation (just like Paul did). They too have evolved.

You can do what you want. No one is telling you to do anything. However, you should realize that you are becoming more and more out of step with the rest of society. If you think that gives you brownie points with your deity, then more power to ya!

NORM

robrecht
06-25-2014, 07:46 PM
Yes, I began a response yesterday, but had some issues with a client that needed attention and couldn't finish in time. Of course, the "auto-save" on this forum isn't that sophisticated to keep my response for that long, so I have to start over again.

I'll get to it eventually.

NORMThis gives me hope that maybe you will eventually cut Philo of Alexandria some slack too! That conversation goes back more than a couple of moths at least.

NormATive
06-25-2014, 08:22 PM
Have you looked any more into Newman since then?

Yes. It pretty much reaffirms the basic fundamentals, so I don't see this as an "evolutionary" document.


But there's so much more to Vatican II than going from Latin to the vernacular in the Mass (which isn't actually in the council documents, iirc). The Council Fathers constructed an impressive ecclesiology, clearly rejecting the Eusebian narrative of treating the boundaries of the visible church as exactly coincident with the boundaries of the Saved and further illustrating the connections and tensions between the eschatological (perfect) and historical (not so much) Church.

There are, in my mind, three key terms that define how we should understand Vatican II:
1. aggiornamento-- "bringing-up-to-date," engaging the Church in conversation with the world around it. Paragraph 1 of Gaudium et Spes, in my opinion, can give us a very good idea of what that means in the abstract.
2. Ressourcement-- "returning to the sources," theological engagement with the historical sources of Christian doctrine. Not simply taking the conclusions of great theologians as settled fact, but actively trying to understand them and their theology.
3. Hermeneutic of Continuity-- in contrast with a hermeneutic of "rupture"- the Church after the Council is still in its essence the same as it was beforehand. There was no radical change in doctrine or break with the past; the council was the occasion for the Church coming to a better understanding of her essence and mission in the world.

I agree that Vatican II made the church more transparent and less "mystical." I can appreciate the outward focus of the Church that Pope John Paul II began during this time - particularly his harsh criticism of the Vietnam War. I recall a quote I heard back then that always stuck with me, and I think I found it on a quick search:


Humanity should question itself, once more, about the absurd and always unfair phenomenon of war, on whose stage of death and pain only remain standing the negotiating table that could and should have prevented it. - Pope John Paul II

I came the closest to joining the Catholic Church at this time. The Baptist Church I attended in my youth always taught that Catholics were not "real" Christians.


The failure of logic is the non sequitur. You proceed from the premise that homosexual attractions are natural to the conclusion that homosexual intercourse can be morally praiseworthy (or, at least, acceptable). The conclusion does not follow from the premises, so you can affirm (as even I do) that same-sex attractions are natural without affirming that sex between two men or two women is acceptable.

I don't see how it makes any sense to say that homosexual sex is any more or less "sinful" than heterosexual sex. If the Christian Church taught celibacy for all, then at least they would be consistent. The Church, in my estimation, is clearly wrong on this issue.


Just for the sake of clarity, the Bible condemns homosexual intercourse. Nowhere does it say that a person who is sexually attracted to people of the same sex is going to be sent to Hell or in any way held morally responsible for those attractions.

I think this is a splitting of hairs. The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality. In the Tanakh, the punishment for homosexuality is death by stoning (true; it uses the terminology of "a man laying with a man" - but, the Hebrew language (especially the ancient Hebrew found in the Tanakh) is full of idiomatic expressions such that there is no clear way of telling whether or not the prohibition is on the person for "being" a homosexual or "engaging in homosexual acts."

The point is that current medical and scientific knowledge tells us that sexual orientation is decided at birth, with the exception of ambiguous genitalia in which a person is born with both male and female genitalia. It's a coin toss as to which orientation will be revealed once they reach puberty. Homosexuals no more "choose" their sexual desires than you or I choose our heterosexual desires. We just one day have sexual desires based on our particular orientation.


Women are allowed to take on leadership roles in the church and in church organizations. The head of Catholic Relief Services, for example, is a woman, and many parish administrators are women. Women are entirely allowed to exercise authority over men, and have been doing so legitimately since, oh... Biblical times, more or less. This is not, in Catholicism at least, something in need of a radical evolution (though, as ever, a practical one is in order), and in no Christian denomination that I know of is it actually a "core belief."

Women are NOT equal in most Abrahamic faith groups. Can a woman become Pope? Cardinal? Bishop? Even Priest? NO!!! In the Christian denomination I grew up in, Baptist, women are not allowed to be Deacons, Elders or any other role where they would have authority over men. They can teach Sunday School and organize Church socials, but they cannot occupy any role of real authority. Same with many other evangelical Christian groups I know. I know of no Christian denomination that has a woman as the head. There are some progressive Christian denominations that will now allow women to become Deacons and Elders (Presbyterian USA, for one) and even Senior Pastors. But, the national leadership is mostly male. Orthodox Judaism still has issues with women in leadership roles. Reformed Judaism, however, allows women to become Rabbis, the highest level of leadership in Judaism. In fact, my Hebrew teacher and the person who oriented me to the faith was a female Rabbi.


One of the subjects that interests me most is what theologians call inculturation: the interaction of the Gospel with given historical and cultural circumstances. The questions surrounding Jesuit missionaries in China in the 17th century, for example, are immensely interesting to me (dealing with ancestor worship, Chinese philosophy, etc). The degree to which Christian theology can or must make use of Hellenistic as opposed to Oriental philosophy is fascinating, but exploring these questions shouldn't threaten the fundamental integrity of the theology which the Church has already come to accept as rational conclusions with respect to what God has revealed to humanity, particularly through the historical experience of the Jewish people and most especially through the person of Jesus Christ, through his life, death, and resurrection.

... is that better?

I guess questioning and discovery is the first step toward evolution.

NORM

Spartacus
06-25-2014, 08:42 PM
Yes. It pretty much reaffirms the basic fundamentals, so I don't see this as an "evolutionary" document.



I agree that Vatican II made the church more transparent and less "mystical." I can appreciate the outward focus of the Church that Pope John Paul II began during this time - particularly his harsh criticism of the Vietnam War. I recall a quote I heard back then that always stuck with me, and I think I found it on a quick search:

Less mystical? You've missed the point entirely!


I don't see how it makes any sense to say that homosexual sex is any more or less "sinful" than heterosexual sex. If the Christian Church taught celibacy for all, then at least they would be consistent. The Church, in my estimation, is clearly wrong on this issue.

Sex isn't just pleasurable, it's sacramental: when a man and a woman come together in marriage, knowing and accepting the possibility that their loving union may result in the creation of a new life, their sex becomes a unique kind of participation in imaging God's love.


I think this is a splitting of hairs. The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality. In the Tanakh, the punishment for homosexuality is death by stoning (true; it uses the terminology of "a man laying with a man" - but, the Hebrew language (especially the ancient Hebrew found in the Tanakh) is full of idiomatic expressions such that there is no clear way of telling whether or not the prohibition is on the person for "being" a homosexual or "engaging in homosexual acts."

The point is that current medical and scientific knowledge tells us that sexual orientation is decided at birth, with the exception of ambiguous genitalia in which a person is born with both male and female genitalia. It's a coin toss as to which orientation will be revealed once they reach puberty. Homosexuals no more "choose" their sexual desires than you or I choose our heterosexual desires. We just one day have sexual desires based on our particular orientation.

When in the Old Testament is a person held responsible-- to the point of execution-- for unexpressed thoughts and not for concrete actions? I'd say you're grasping at straws, but there aren't even any straws here to be had.


Women are NOT equal in most Abrahamic faith groups. Can a woman become Pope? Cardinal? Bishop? Even Priest? NO!!! In the Christian denomination I grew up in, Baptist, women are not allowed to be Deacons, Elders or any other role where they would have authority over men. They can teach Sunday School and organize Church socials, but they cannot occupy any role of real authority. Same with many other evangelical Christian groups I know. I know of no Christian denomination that has a woman as the head. There are some progressive Christian denominations that will now allow women to become Deacons and Elders (Presbyterian USA, for one) and even Senior Pastors. But, the national leadership is mostly male. Orthodox Judaism still has issues with women in leadership roles. Reformed Judaism, however, allows women to become Rabbis, the highest level of leadership in Judaism. In fact, my Hebrew teacher and the person who oriented me to the faith was a female Rabbi.

I'm pretty sure I already covered why that falls under clericalism.

Jedidiah
06-25-2014, 11:00 PM
You can do what you want. No one is telling you to do anything. However, you should realize that you are becoming more and more out of step with the rest of society.

In fact the rest of society (at least as you see it) is getting more and more out of step with the truth. They just want to hear what they want to hear.

NormATive
06-26-2014, 05:58 AM
Less mystical? You've missed the point entirely!

I don't think so. As a person outside of the Catholic faith who witnessed both pre-Vatican II and post Vatican II, my take is that it is less mystical. For example, pre-Vatican II, if you did not understand Latin, the entire Mass was a mystery. You just experienced it, proclaimed your memorized Threefold or Ninefold Kyrie and went home.

After Vatican II, the Priest would actually EXPLAIN why they used bells or cymbals as the Monstrance was making its way to the altar (symbolizes the Holy Spirit), why the censors (goes back to Jewish Temple worship), etc., etc...i.e.; less mysticism.


Sex isn't just pleasurable, it's sacramental: when a man and a woman come together in marriage, knowing and accepting the possibility that their loving union may result in the creation of a new life, their sex becomes a unique kind of participation in imaging God's love.

That's nice, but I doubt that you are shouting praises to G-d as you are climaxing with your mate. I suppose you don't believe in masturbation either. Do you still believe that the man's sperm holds the "seed" of new life - totally separate any involvement by the woman?




When in the Old Testament is a person held responsible-- to the point of execution-- for unexpressed thoughts and not for concrete actions? I'd say you're grasping at straws, but there aren't even any straws here to be had.

I'd say coveting your neighbor's spouse, property and worshipping other gods would be prime examples, two of which are punishable by death.




I'm pretty sure I already covered why that falls under clericalism.

And I'm pretty sure that that means Abrahamic faith expressions are bigoted toward women. Wow, women can become "clerical." Chuckle! You call that progress? Try telling that to your female CEO some day!!!

NORM

Spartacus
06-26-2014, 08:18 AM
I don't think so. As a person outside of the Catholic faith who witnessed both pre-Vatican II and post Vatican II, my take is that it is less mystical. For example, pre-Vatican II, if you did not understand Latin, the entire Mass was a mystery. You just experienced it, proclaimed your memorized Threefold or Ninefold Kyrie and went home.

After Vatican II, the Priest would actually EXPLAIN why they used bells or cymbals as the Monstrance was making its way to the altar (symbolizes the Holy Spirit), why the censors (goes back to Jewish Temple worship), etc., etc...i.e.; less mysticism.

You don't know the meaning of the word "mystical." Furthermore, you've ENTIRELY ignored the example I gave and gone right back to your own experiences: you're utterly unwilling to learn anything new or give weight to any perspective other than your own.


That's nice, but I doubt that you are shouting praises to G-d as you are climaxing with your mate. I suppose you don't believe in masturbation either. Do you still believe that the man's sperm holds the "seed" of new life - totally separate any involvement by the woman?

"Oh, God, yes!"

There. Now I feel dirty. Thanks, you contemptible old fart. The fact is, it needn't be something you meditate on during the act itself. It's something made available to us through reflection.

How crude and offensive do you plan to get? No, I don't think masturbation is healthy. And I'm well aware that genetic material comes from both sperm and egg and that the new life therefore begins at conception, thank you 7th grade biology.


I'd say coveting your neighbor's spouse, property and worshipping other gods would be prime examples, two of which are punishable by death.

In the OT, worship was not considered a private act. It was a public thing. You could tell if a person made a sacrifice to Baal or Ishtar or had an idol of them in their home. But when was anyone ever executed for coveting? Oh, right. Never. It's not a charge you can prove in an OT court.


And I'm pretty sure that that means Abrahamic faith expressions are bigoted toward women. Wow, women can become "clerical." Chuckle! You call that progress? Try telling that to your female CEO some day!!!

NORM

You condescending, closed-minded, unimaginative little twit. Clericalism refers to clerics (i.e. priests), not to "clerical work." Come back when you're ready to approach this conversation with even an iota of respect for people with legitimate differences of belief. Until then, you're on ignore. Good-bye.

seer
06-26-2014, 08:34 AM
You condescending, closed-minded, unimaginative little twit. Clericalism refers to clerics (i.e. priests), not to "clerical work." Come back when you're ready to approach this conversation with even an iota of respect for people with legitimate differences of belief. Until then, you're on ignore. Good-bye.

And here I thought it was just me! :wink:

RumTumTugger
06-26-2014, 10:40 AM
Norm, you suggest that all the "superstitious dogma such as belief in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection, the trinity," and so forth, is a bad thing. On the other hand I see the desire to eliminate "Jesus' gospel message all of the baggage that prevents normal people from considering the message of Christianity," Is a sign of the wickedness of modern society. The call to "treat one another with love and respect" is not the gospel. The gospel is literally the "good news" that Christ can save us from slavery to sin. Some of you like being enslaved to sin so it seems like a negative message. That is why you want to eliminate the essence of the gospel.
:thumb: amen button

NormATive
06-26-2014, 02:40 PM
You don't know the meaning of the word "mystical." Furthermore, you've ENTIRELY ignored the example I gave and gone right back to your own experiences: you're utterly unwilling to learn anything new or give weight to any perspective other than your own.

I read your information. I did NOT ignore it. It took me two hours to read through it. Obviously, you see something there that says "evolution" that I don't see. Maybe you should highlight what you feel is so profound. Anyone else read through that document and find something of import?

I'm willing to learn something new when presented with something new. So far, you have failed to show me something new.
I



"Oh, God, yes!" There. Now I feel dirty.

Why does sex make you feel dirty? Didn't G-d create it as something good? Oh, yeah. I forgot; you believe that one man acting naturally made everything good, dirty. Don't you see what a mind game that is? If I believed in the devil, I would be convinced he used your St. Augustine against you.


How crude and offensive do you plan to get?

Crudity is in the mind of the beholder. You see what you want to see.


No, I don't think masturbation is healthy.

Here again, you are out of step with a healthy view of sexuality. "Better to advise young men and women to masturbate than burn with desire" (a modern twist on St. Paul's instruction).


And I'm well aware that genetic material comes from both sperm and egg and that the new life therefore begins at conception, thank you 7th grade biology.

See, evolving isn't so bad! You've now corrected St. Matthew on how babies are made.




In the OT, worship was not considered a private act. It was a public thing. You could tell if a person made a sacrifice to Baal or Ishtar or had an idol of them in their home. But when was anyone ever executed for coveting? Oh, right. Never. It's not a charge you can prove in an OT court.

Again with the splitting of hairs. You would make a good Hasidim. So legalistic.




You condescending, closed-minded, unimaginative little twit.

Why is it always the conservative Christians who feel the need to use insults to pepper their discussions. It's really not necessary. I get your point without it,


Clericalism refers to clerics (i.e. priests), not to "clerical work."

No shit? Nice try at dodging the question. Can a woman become Pope? Cardinal? Priest?

I know I'm going out on a limb, but I'm guessing you dont see a need for the Christian Church and community to evolve any further than the beginning of the last century.

NORM

You don't need include profanities

Carrikature
06-27-2014, 08:59 PM
Sex isn't just pleasurable, it's sacramental: when a man and a woman come together in marriage, knowing and accepting the possibility that their loving union may result in the creation of a new life, their sex becomes a unique kind of participation in imaging God's love.

I suspect you're in for a rude awakening when and if the time comes.

Spartacus
06-27-2014, 09:07 PM
I suspect you're in for a rude awakening when and if the time comes.

I suspect a rude awakening or two is inevitable when you begin to share a bed with another person.

tabibito
06-27-2014, 11:14 PM
For example, the Bible quite clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Jewish Testament and the Christian Testament (although it is more clearly condemned in the Tanakh). Yep - and if a prophet with the requisite credentials arises and declares that homosexuality isn't a sin, I'll be among the first to cheer. Until then, I'm stuck with the fact that every prophet with the requisite bonafides who ever addressed the issue has declared homosexuality to be a sin.

Since modern society is abandoning this condemnation due to the realization that homosexuals are born that way and it is not a "lifestyle choice," - or; sin - should the dogma of Sola Scriptura be abandoned, since the book is clearly wrong in this instance?
Scientific evidence supporting this contention does not exist. Hellenistic society of 2000 years ago considered homosexuality to be acceptable. Man is not appointed to decide what God is allowed to find acceptable.

And, what about the role of women in ministry? In many denominations of Protestant and all of Catholic churches, women assume a secondary role in the Church under the "headship" (Paul's word) of men. Is it not time for this to evolve? The western churches consistently ignored Paul's pronouncements on this issue for the first 300+ years of their existence. Eastern churches for considerably longer. It can readily be demonstrated from scripture, both testaments, that God did not feel it necessary to submit to Paul's edicts on this matter. With that in mind, what you are calling evolution on this issue would be no more than restoration of the default settings.

shunyadragon
06-28-2014, 04:45 AM
Yep - and if a prophet with the requisite credentials arises and declares that homosexuality isn't a sin, I'll be among the first to cheer. Until then, I'm stuck with the fact that every prophet with the requisite bonafides who ever addressed the issue has declared homosexuality to be a sin.

You likely do not consider Baha'u'llah a prophet, but nonetheless, He has confirmed that homosexuality is forbidden by spiritual law.


Scientific evidence supporting this contention does not exist. Hellenistic society of 2000 years ago considered homosexuality to be acceptable. Man is not appointed to decide what God is allowed to find acceptable.

The view that if science has demonstrated that homosexuality maybe be a natural 'born that way and not a lifestyle choice,' does not justify that it is an acceptable moral behavior and lifestyle. Modern science has demonstrated many forms of immoral behavior as 'born that way and not a lifestyle choice,' that would not be considered moral by any acceptable standard in the modern world. As with Hellenist Greece and Rome, our modern world tends to justify immoral behavior by egocentric reasons.


The western churches consistently ignored Paul's pronouncements on this issue for the first 300+ years of their existence. Eastern churches for considerably longer. It can readily be demonstrated from scripture, both testaments, that God did not feel it necessary to submit to Paul's edicts on this matter. With that in mind, what you are calling evolution on this issue would be no more than restoration of the default settings.

The churches of the world represent a mixed problematic view of morality clinging to an ancient outdated world view to justify their existence. Paul's pronouncements cut many ways justifying both good and moral behavior, and unacceptable behavior in the modern context, such as the modern consequences of his pronouncements concerning Jews.

Evolution is a well documented scientific foundation for the physical nature of what it means to be human, but there is also the spiritual evolution of the nature of what it means to be human, which is a higher standard of what is moral and ethical.

tabibito
06-28-2014, 06:24 AM
Modern science has demonstrated many forms of immoral behavior as 'born that way and not a lifestyle choice,' that would not be considered moral by any acceptable standard in the modern world. True enough, but the claim that science has shown it to be an innate (whether hereditary or congenital) trait is simply false. Even the possibility of certain genes pre-disposing (as opposed to dictating) homosexuality is highly questionable.

As with Hellenist Greece and Rome, our modern world tends to justify immoral behavior by egocentric reasons. Agreed. I find the modern world's concepts of morality somewhat hypocritical, and at times thoroughly untenable.

Paul's pronouncements cut many ways justifying both good and moral behavior, and unacceptable behavior in the modern context, such as the modern consequences of his pronouncements concerning Jews. Unacceptable behaviour in the modern context has a lot of room for improvement. But - Paul's pronouncements concerning the Jews .... not sure what's happening there.

Spartacus
06-28-2014, 07:44 AM
I suspect you're in for a rude awakening when and if the time comes.

Just so that you have something more substantial to chew on:

it's not as though every time I go to Mass, I feel or expect to feel something profound. Sometimes I just sit, stand, and kneel for however long it goes. It's not as though I doubt the Real Presence, but I don't "feel" it every time or nearly every time.

NormATive
06-29-2014, 08:20 PM
Yep - and if a prophet with the requisite credentials arises and declares that homosexuality isn't a sin, I'll be among the first to cheer. Until then, I'm stuck with the fact that every prophet with the requisite bonafides who ever addressed the issue has declared homosexuality to be a sin.

OK, consider me your prophet! Gay is OKAY!


Scientific evidence supporting this contention does not exist.

Actually, it does: http://www.morganclaypool.com/doi/abs/10.4199/C00064ED1V01Y201208DBR008?journalCode=dbr&

But, that's really beside the point. We value our freedom in this country. Who we have relationships with should be nobody's business but our own. Most gay folks just want the same rights and equal protection under the law you and I enjoy. To be honest with you, I don't think the State should regulate marriage at all. The notion that just because you are married, you deserve a tax credit, or that we need the State to "sanction it" runs counter to the equal protection clause in our Constitution (14th Amendment). So, if heterosexual couples get tax benefits, special treatment concerning access to healthcare, visitation rights and rights to make medical decisions, and homosexual couples do not - well; that's un-American!


Hellenistic society of 2000 years ago considered homosexuality to be acceptable. Man is not appointed to decide what God is allowed to find acceptable.

Absolutely! The GOVERNED make the rules! We have evolved as a society to embrace homosexuals as equals. They are not sinners in our eyes. We should not allow ancient writings and prejudices dictate how we govern our society. Didn't Jesus say that the Sabbath is for man, not the other way around:


Then Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. - Mark 2:27


The western churches consistently ignored Paul's pronouncements on this issue for the first 300+ years of their existence. Eastern churches for considerably longer. It can readily be demonstrated from scripture, both testaments, that God did not feel it necessary to submit to Paul's edicts on this matter. With that in mind, what you are calling evolution on this issue would be no more than restoration of the default settings.

I've not heard that Western churches allowed homosexuality for the first 300+ years" as did Eastern churches "for considerably longer," but it makes some sense, since we know that Greek and Roman society was tolerant of homosexuality.

It also fits with the theory that Christianity itself evolved quite radically over the first two or three hundred years.

Societal evolution can mean returning again to a right conclusion. It doesn't always have to be a linear progression. The act of evolving is correcting for a discovered wrong. I think this is what is happening today with homosexuality. The question is, will the Church join the rest of us?

NORM

Jedidiah
06-29-2014, 10:49 PM
Norm, what are your " requisite credentials?"

NormATive
06-30-2014, 06:23 PM
Norm, what are your " requisite credentials?"

What do you mean?

NORM