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Raincloud

When My Faith In Christianity Erodes

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I've been following this thread and I appreciate all the replies, even the ones I may clash with. Please understand that I am not Anti-Christians, Anti-Christ or anti-Christianity. Christianity was my first religion and faith. I used to pray a lot as a child, because I went through bad times. In truth I am more a Universalist these days. Somewhat agnostic about what is the correct way to be a spiritual being. But I think that state of ignorance we live in, is standard, and we are not expected to know which is the correct club to join. Although moral acts are a reflection of what we can see in this life. Hurting other people is wrong. I appreciate what lockjohnathon says about the BaHai faith. Personally these days, my path is more non-dogmatic Wiccan like neopagan. Reflecting my European roots, and my modern experience as an Australian living in Australia.

I don't hate political conservatives. In truth my parents and my wife's parents are political conservatives and I love and respect them. Even though, both are non-religious. So maybe this is why I can separate faith from political allegiance. I think there is a big danger is mixing your faith and religion. Could you imagine left wing people having their religion espoused through Obama, and what a disappointment he has been lately?

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That is the problem Dan. You mention that the word is preserved (if indeed the bible is the word of God which I doubt) but it has change many times and it took nearly four hundred years to decide what to put into it and even then there were versions that differed. There is no evidence that Paul's take on things had any connection to the views of the disciples and then there is all the edits put in by the scribes.

You can mock the liberal view from your perspective all you like but I do not believe you have any more of a firm basis to stand you view upon. You have to justify the horrific verses of the bible by saying that you see no wrong in them and I do not. You know I am happy to quote a few if you want.

Its not my intention to mock the liberal pov. Its normal for Christians to struggle with believing wholeheartedly, and its normal to have issues with certain parts of the bible. I also agree that there are incorrect translations, so I see nothing wrong with questioning accuracy. But when a person rejects the basic fundamental tenets of Christianity, such as salvation only coming through Christ, then I question the logic of professing to be a Christian.

My own pov is that if the bible has been repeatedly altered and no version is accurate, then we can't really believe anything it says, and Christianity can only be a farce or a sham based on a bunch of fabricated lies. I prefer to trust that an infallible God was capable of preserving His word, despite the errancy of man. That is what gives me a firm base to stand on.

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Hello Dan, you mentioned basic fundamental tenets of Christianity. Anyone that has read non-canical Christian texts and studied early Christianity knows many of the beliefs found in Christianity today were not universally excepted by all Christian groups in the earlist days of Christianity. Some of them are not accepted by certain groups today. Does someone have to accept all the traditional views to be considered Christian? That is a difficult question to answer considering scholars debate all the time on who the original Christians were and what they believed. As for salvation only coming from Christ, most excepted that idea. Some though did not believe it was his death, but his teachings that saved. †?†

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I would also go to the word Christ. It is the Greek equivalent to Messiah. Messiah means anointed one of God (perhaps not the one the Jews were expecting, but still Messiah). Now I can accept that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit but that still does not mean I have accept Paul's interpretation on things or that I should believe all so called scripture as God given. I believe God speaks to the heart of people as God did before any so called scripture was written and before anyone in the bible story was told about. I still think God's Spirit speaks to people today. I also believe that there is a spirit of Christianity found in Jesus' teaching. Yet, because I do not accept Paul's view on things or believe his teachings have anything to do with that of the man Jesus it does not mean I should throw all the teachings of the bible away just like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The bible in my opinion was written by people inspired by God but interpreted in the understandings of the men who wrote parts of it. I believe there is nothing wrong in interpreting things with today's understanding and I am sure tomorrow that may seem flawed as does many of the things said in the bible but there is no doubt in my mind that God inspires but mankind who cannot grasp the totality of God can only describe that understanding in terms that have meaning in mankind terms. I believe mankind will develop more understandings of God but just as that can be said to be inspired by the Glory of God it is also flawed by the understanding of mankind. This leads (IMO) to inconsistencies in scripture because people at differing times described God differently.

Hence we have parts of the bible describing God as love and other parts as anything other than love.

i.e. 1 John 4:7-8 "7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

Now compare that with God said to say:-

You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

I just do not see the love. I know you will as always try to justify things like this but I just do not see that this can be of God if indeed God is love as 1 John says.

Edited by Pete

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Raincloud -

I too have been following this topic and most here know my views are anything but "mainstream". I too have read the varied writings of the Essenes, most of the content of the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other religious texts. I can (and have) made a 20+ point list of things "taken" from early paganism and injected directly into the Empiric Religion of Constantine and later Popes.

Looking at religious leadership in much the same way I view our political leadership; "if they don't know what they're doing"....what are they doing leading? Throughout history we have the horror stories of the killing and torture of "non-Christians" by the Christians and "infidels" by the Muslims from Dark Ages witch hunts to the Inquisitions to contemporary ignorance and bloodshed....how can I be a part of any of that?

All I know is that Yeshua was a real person who was inspired by and through his God given love of others. Buddha and Mohamed both a change of heart and the many deities within the Gita's reflect the best and worst of mankind. I don't believe that today, 1500-2000 years after the fact, we can truthfully know 100% for sure what any of the "Prophets" said in person to others. I do however believe the concepts of what they taught live on.

There's a wealth of great info above, especially that of finding your own path and the heck what others think of it. Sometimes a person heart just knows what rings Truth to it and nothing else be said. The Christ spoke in parables for a reason but he also acknowledge when a person's heart simply knew what was right for it....follow your heart and let all else fall by the wayside.

Blessings of Peace,

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Lots of good stuff being said here, people.

"To thine own self be true".

Then, "follow your heart and let all else fall by the wayside".

Peace, Hex

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Hello Dan, you mentioned basic fundamental tenets of Christianity. Anyone that has read non-canical Christian texts and studied early Christianity knows many of the beliefs found in Christianity today were not universally excepted by all Christian groups in the earlist days of Christianity. Some of them are not accepted by certain groups today. Does someone have to accept all the traditional views to be considered Christian? That is a difficult question to answer considering scholars debate all the time on who the original Christians were and what they believed. As for salvation only coming from Christ, most excepted that idea. Some though did not believe it was his death, but his teachings that saved. †?†

Paul told Timothy to; "Guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge (gnostics), which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NIV). So yes, I believe a person must stick with what the new testament teaches about who Christ was, his teachings, his purpose, his sacrifice, his way of salvation, his return, etc. Those biblical absolutes are non-debatable.

So from the onset, the Truth was polluted and corrupted, interwoven with Jewish tradition & paganism which crept into churches. Then Gnosticism was the predominant source of heresy shortly after the New Testament was written, followed by organized religion (Roman church). Religious tradition has always infiltrated the simple gospel truth, but the inspired Word was preserved to define and solidify the truth, and thereby eliminate confusion. We don't need to invent our own views, write our own books, or developed our own traditions. Simply stated; Faith in Christ + God's grace = salvation.

I just do not see the love. I know you will as always try to justify things like this but I just do not see that this can be of God if indeed God is love as 1 John says.

Maybe your definition of love is different than God's? God's love is righteous love, ours is not. Love is not giving a child free license to kill, rape, etc. God cannot love a murderer without condemning his victim. Love is caring enough to try and correct evil-doing and even remove transgressions. Your idea of love seems to include accepting all forms of evil, which is tantamount to endorsing sin. JMO

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Dan, Universal Reconciliation, aka Universalism was the dominant view in the first five centuries of the church immediately following Christ's ascension. Considering what you've said about upholding the early dogmas of the church, shouldn't you accept that dogma?

Edited by RevRattlesnake

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I doubt any teenager would make it to adulthood if Lev 20:9 was strickly adhered to. I knew you would try and justify the qoute but somethings do not appear at all righteous or loving and I do not believe God would think so either. We continue to disagree sadly Dan.

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Dan, Universal Reconciliation, aka Universalism was the dominant view in the first five centuries of the church immediately following Christ's ascension. Considering what you've said about upholding the early dogmas of the church, shouldn't you accept that dogma?

No, I believe we are reconciled to God through Christ, not the church (Romans 5:10). While I accept the gospel message as being universally proclaimed, I don't uphold the Roman church dogma because I'm convinced its religious doctrine contradicts much of what the new testament teaches.

I doubt any teenager would make it to adulthood if Lev 20:9 was strickly adhered to. I knew you would try and justify the qoute but somethings do not appear at all righteous or loving and I do not believe God would think so either. We continue to disagree sadly Dan.

I never try to justify God's law, it is what it is. The verse in Leviticus 20:9 upholds the 5th commandment to "Honor thy parents", and Jesus reiterated it in Matthew 15:3-4. We may not like the strict way God kept order amongst the Hebrews, but I'm relatively certain that not many young people were sassing their parents back then. :) These laws were intended to show us God's standards, none of us would ever measure-up to them, but our hope was that God would show us mercy. God did, and through Christ we are not bound by the curse (punishment) of the law.

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Dan, do you fundamentally disagree with Kirby and the philosophy of the ULC? In that you have no respect for others expressions of faith, and other paths towards God, except outside 20th-21st Century American protestant viewpoint?

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I believe a person must stick with what the new testament teaches about who Christ was, his teachings, his purpose, his sacrifice, his way of salvation, his return, etc. Those biblical absolutes are non-debatable.

Dan, the problem with your statement is most of the things you mentioned are not biblical absolutes. They are interpretations made by the orthodox churches. That makes them orthodox absolutes, but not biblical absolutes. Many of the teachings found in traditional Christianity are not clearly described in the Bible. It is only when someone already believes the tradition views will they find them in scripture. Basically, we see what we want to see. It is called confirmation bias. It is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions. I can offer another explanation for almost every one of those so-called absolutes you mentioned and do so using the Bible. †?†

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No, I believe we are reconciled to God through Christ, not the church (Romans 5:10). While I accept the gospel message as being universally proclaimed, I don't uphold the Roman church dogma because I'm convinced its religious doctrine contradicts much of what the new testament teaches.

I never try to justify God's law, it is what it is. The verse in Leviticus 20:9 upholds the 5th commandment to "Honor thy parents", and Jesus reiterated it in Matthew 15:3-4. We may not like the strict way God kept order amongst the Hebrews, but I'm relatively certain that not many young people were sassing their parents back then. :)These laws were intended to show us God's standards, none of us would ever measure-up to them, but our hope was that God would show us mercy. God did, and through Christ we are not bound by the curse (punishment) of the law.

Pity no one then told the poor Jews who were expected to follow these laws for many years. Sorry Dan I think again this is just a Paulian interpretation but I do not think Jesus had the same view or even the Jews whose law it was. It also puts God in the position of making people follow laws just to trip them up. That makes no sense to me.

Edited by Pete

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Dan, it was the Roman Church that pushed the anti-Universalist theology that eventually eclipsed the early Universalist theology of Christianity. So, in a way, you are supporting Roman Dogma by rejecting Christian Universalism. It's funny how history makes strange bedfellows. ;)

I support your right to believe that your brand of Christianity is the true faith to the exclusion of all other paths. God bless and keep the faith!

Edited by RevRattlesnake

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Pity no one then told the poor Jews who were expected to follow these laws for many years. .

Wow...ha! I haven't thought about that. Those Mosaic Laws are pretty damn tough!

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Dan, it was the Roman Church that pushed the anti-Universalist theology that eventually eclipsed the early Universalist theology of Christianity. So, in a way, you are supporting Roman Dogma by rejecting Christian Universalism. It's funny how history makes strange bedfellows. ;)

I support your right to believe that your brand of Christianity is the true faith to the exclusion of all other paths. God bless and keep the faith!

I also support Dan's place on the forum. Dan has his beliefs and yes they are not mine but he has a right to them. He may not be universal in his viewpoint but I have never known Dan to ever say that someone who disagreed with him has no place on the forum. I have never known Dan say that people are not free to believe as they will even if they he disagrees with them. Dan just quotes things from his belief in how he sees the bible. People are then free to agree, ignore, or disagree as they will.

I for one would be sad if Dan left the forum.

Edited by Pete

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Wow...ha! I haven't thought about that. Those Mosaic Laws are pretty damn tough!

כי המצוה הזאת אשר אנכי מצוך היום לא נפלאת הוא ממך ולא רחקה הוא

לא בשמים הוא לאמר מי יעלה לנו השמימה ויקחה לנו וישמענו אתה ונעשנה

ולא מעבר לים הוא לאמר מי יעבר לנו אל עבר הים ויקחה לנו וישמענו אתה ונעשנה

כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשתו

With all due respect to Dan, and to Raincloud, theses verses from Deuteronomy (30th chapter, v. 11-14, for those who want to look it up) are emphatic that the performance of the mitzvot are not an unattainable standard.

Edited by RabbiO

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כי המצוה הזאת אשר אנכי מצוך היום לא נפלאת הוא ממך ולא רחקה הוא

לא בשמים הוא לאמר מי יעלה לנו השמימה ויקחה לנו וישמענו אתה ונעשנה

ולא מעבר לים הוא לאמר מי יעבר לנו אל עבר הים ויקחה לנו וישמענו אתה ונעשנה

כי קרוב אליך הדבר מאד בפיך ובלבבך לעשתו

With all due respect to Dan, and to Raincloud, theses verses from Deuteronomy (30th chapter, v. 11-14, for those who want to look it up) are emphatic that the performance of the mitzvot are not an unattainable standard.

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

Edited by Pete

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I also support Dan's place on the forum. Dan has his beliefs and yes they are not mine but he has a right to them. He may not be universal in his viewpoint but I have never known Dan to ever say that someone who disagreed with him has no place on the forum. I have never known Dan say that people are not free to believe as they will even if they he disagrees with them. Dan just quotes things from his belief in how he sees the bible. People are then free to agree, ignore, or disagree as they will.

I for one would be sad if Dan left the forum.

Well said!

I find I learn a lot from folks like yourself and Dan who look at these topics in detail.

I usually stick to (allegedly) humorous asides, since I usually don't have the depth of understanding to make a more serious contribution, but it is debates and debaters like this which make the forum a valuable resource for me. Thank you both, and all the others who regularly contribute in such a positive spirit.

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Look, guys, whether you are Jewish or Christian or Catholic....what people object to is not your religion existing or it's validity, rather being forced to follow it ourselves, and different paths being treated as heretical.

When I was criticising Christianity at the start, it was mainly it's integration into 21st century far right politics. There is nothing in the Bible that talks about 21st century politics, because it was written ages ago.

I was also writing from a place of disappointment and heartbreak that the religion is actually (to me) not about the spiritual teachings of the scriptures, but about grafting on to what whatever political sentiment is at the time, and being used a Mono-religion where no other interpretation is allowed.

Do you understand my position?

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