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Old 01-30-2010, 11:03 AM   #16
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My perspective is that most of the human race don't even bother with the thinking and research, they are largely servile submissive gimps that accept unquestionably whatever 'massa' tells them. At this point, the Pope could be caught on live tv raping a kid and Irish Catholics would still be going to mass every Sunday, looking for blessings from massa. If a major world religion has been exposed as in large part a conspiracy to protect child abusers, and the majority of its followers continue to pledge allegiance to said church, then I'm afraid I'd have to conclude the majority of its followers are essentially servile, weak cowards.
A part of me would like to fully agree with this but I no longer believe that the real glue of (any) church is spiritual belief. And unlike Mortimer Adler, I don't believe science merely cures superstition.

Church is more about social acceptance and belonging.

I've completed 5 of 7 Roman Catholic sacraments. But I didn't and will not baptize my children into a church that would sooner protect its financial assets than its most vulnerable members (amongst many objectionable practices). Of course, one of the sacraments had me vow to God to do exactly that. I haven't figured out how to reconcile that yet.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:18 PM   #17
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Ali,
thanks for sharing that
it is a difficult and sad situation that you have to commit do defend an oganiztion regardless of their behavior.

I can see how a "person of faith" could fall into the trap of
'It is not my place to question, God has his reasons, perhaps this is just a test of my faith and commitment'


and at the root of this is the 'beautiful and glorious story' of Abraham

the father of all three Great Western Religions.

A person that would put a blade to his own child's throat and slaughter him.
He was not a great man. He was either delusional, or a complete moral failure. (most likely fictional)
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:23 PM   #18
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A person that would put a blade to his own child's throat and slaughter him,
is not a great man. He is either delusional, or a complete moral failure.
One of my aunts suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. She committed suicide about 14 months ago (her 4th attempt proved to be successful). I remember times when I was young and she was off her meds, she would say that she had to cook my cousin and me in a stew...and she was totally serious.

Anytime I read the Abraham story I thought that he was mentally ill and I'm not being facetious.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:38 PM   #19
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Isn't Abraham, the foundation of Christianity, Judaism and Islam?


If I was the guy, I would have said "no!!!" to God.

If I was devout and God-fearing I would have said "take my life if you want, just don't make me butcher an innocent child!"

The very sad thing is,
when I was wee child I was told this story in Sunday School, the teacher said it is a beautiful story, and we should love and respect Abraham for what he agreed to do.
That his actions made him a great man.

No joking, I wondered if I could love God so much that I could kill members of my family, if God asked me too.
I wanted to be 'loved and respected'. I wanted to be a 'great man' some day. The dreams of a child.
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #20
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but he didn't kill his son.. God stopped him besides Abraham believed in Gods promise that he would make a great nation out of his offspring, and the promised seed would come through him, so that is where his faith lay,

and unless you understand his relationship with God I don't see how you can judge him for his actions, when you don't even know God yourselves, and speak more in ignorance,

not your fault of course, as you said, mainstream religion isnt very good at representing God in fact they do more harm than good with their teachings of hellfire and the soul living on after death and that everyone goes to heaven and the trinity which are not what the bible teaches a5t all

But really the biggest lesson from that account in the bible was the fact God sacrificed his own son, Jesus, who was that promised seed, and whose family line could be traced back to Abraham, and Isaac So Abrahams faith was not in vain

what is more God allowed his innocent son to die, to save us from sin the death that was forced upon us by our first parents adam and eve and their disobedience even though he was quite aware the majority wouldnt give a damn, to the point they even deny his existence... sometimes I wonder why he thought we were worth it personally I would have left us to our miserable fate. but then I am not as merciful or as loving of mankind as God is, he obviously think there is something in us worth saving
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:50 PM   #21
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but he didn't kill his son.. God stopped him besides Abraham believed in Gods promise that he would make a great nation out of his offspring, and the promised seed would come through him, so that is where his faith lay,

all they were that day?
is a father and a son,

and he was a father that would have butchered his son.


you are saying there is a bribe or promise that you would accept to butcher your child?



you don't see what these 'so-called' holy stories do

they condition people to accept the most abhorrent, despicable human behavior as justified under 'special' or 'privileged' circumstances.


remove those 'special' or 'privileged' circumstances and tell me if the behavior or actions are moral or even justified.
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:00 PM   #22
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I think whatever viewpoint makes you happiest, you should believe in that. If you think Jesus Christ was our lord and savior, believe that. If you think that God doesn't exist, feel free to believe in that. Even if you believe a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe, and Spock played a hand in it, believe that.

I'm a Christian, but I'm not offended by atheism. I used to be atheist, too, but I've changed my views. But I can understand where people are coming from, when they say they don't believe, and you know what, it's their lives. I don't have a right to tell them how to live their lives, any more than they have the right to tell me how to live mine.

I know there are some pretty crazy Christians out there who feel differently. I just feel sorry for them. It must be hard living with that much hate.
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Old 01-30-2010, 05:55 PM   #23
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The best answer for me is agnosticism precisely because I can't claim knowledge I don't have. There are billions of stars in the galaxy and billions of galaxies in the universe. To be an atheist requires as much belief as there is to be religious. As long as there is a blank in our knowledge somewhere people are going to fill it with their notions. If there is a God it's probably beyond our feeble understandings and no religious books could even encompass the totality of the universe. Therefore the best answer is "I don't know , I'm hungry, let's eat."
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:10 PM   #24
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and at the root of this is the 'beautiful and glorious story' of Abraham

the father of all three Great Western Religions.

A person that would put a blade to his own child's throat and slaughter him.
He was not a great man. He was either delusional, or a complete moral failure. (most likely fictional)
A book I'd suggest from here is Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God." I find myself unable to call it a "great book," primarily because it's written for mass audiences, and, as such, I think is a bit short on the kind of erudite detail and nuance that I like when reading about history. Nonetheless, what it does excel at is underlining how very different the Abrahamic faiths are, not only when comparing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to each other, but also outlining how different each religion has become over time. Where the book fails, in my view, is that it stops at early Christianity in discussing Judeo-Christianity and the early founding of Islam, ignoring the substantive changes in theology over the past two millennia just from a cultural perspective.

But I digress. My point, basically, is that Abraham is not a substantive aspect of the Christian faith, particularly since Abraham himself was a product of the Jewish preoccupation with "ethnic purity" related to the "Chosen People." The New Testament not only turns "Abraham's descendants" into a figurative, rather than genetic notion, but also makes it clear that merely being "a descendant of Abraham" doesn't guarantee salvation. Thus, "Abraham" was effectively made irrelevant from the start.

Building further on that--and taking from a page of Mortimer Adler, as before--is the idea of what constitutes the essence of faith. I'd say that, in the face of modern religion, very little of "Biblical myth" really matters all that much in modern Christianity, whether one believes it to be "mythic" or true. Medieval Christianity was really a continuation of Greco-Roman philosophy and traditions, with the old Semitic origins of Christianity--by way of Judaism--long passing into history. This legacy continues, more or less but not unchanged, in Roman Catholicism. Modern Protestant Christianity, up until recent decades, was the continuing legacy of Northern European (e.g., "Germanic") customs and the dominant philosophy of the late medieval/early modern era. This has quite largely eroded since the second half of the 20th century onward, I'd say due to the substantial cultural changes of the largely Protestant nations of the world. Leading into the present, some have said that "Christianity" of the United States is primarily about materialism (i.e., the "prosperity gospel"), reflecting a shift in culture.

As a result, I do think Christianity is presently at a crossroads. Either it is wholly irrelevant, in light of change, or--more likely in my view--it is more of a time of reflection to analyze what Christianity is or should be today. My main concern is that religion itself has become such a politicized and ideologically polarizing subject that it will instead devolve into an extremist theology largely devoid of logic and instead full of superstition and a desire to "return" to erroneous romanticist notions of what "early Christianity" was (itself based on a historicist fallacy that the "earliest" notions must, by default, be "purer" in contrast to modern theology).

If one is to accept or reject Christianity, ideally, I believe it should be for good reason one way or another. I think that the mythos of Abraham and similar preoccupations (such as Noah's Ark) are so completely and long inconsequential to modern Christianity that it is no longer "good reason."
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:28 PM   #25
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I just finished reading The Case for God by Karen Armstrong, who has written extensively about religion, particularly the three monotheistic faiths. Her latest book explores the evolution of religion and faith in the West and how we have come to where we are now, with fundamentalism and atheism dominating the religion stage.

As I said in the Reading is Sexy thread, the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. It was always seen from its earliest days as allegory. It's only been in the last 200 years that the Bible has been seen as the absolute word of God. Armstrong claims that theologians from the early days of Christianity and the medieval period would be shocked by what it being said about God, the Bible and faith these days. Basically, what I got from her book is that we all have it wrong. Whether you are a theist or atheist, everyone's view of God is completely wrong in this point in history.

I gave the book to my parents to read. I'm going to get it back from them tomorrow, or maybe even tonight to directly quote from Armstrong.
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:51 PM   #26
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I am agnostic, or indifferent to the concept of God and/or an afterlife.

If people want to believe, fine,
my problem is how they let their choice to believe affect how they threat other people.

Quote:
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I just finished reading The Case for God by Karen Armstrong, who has written extensively about religion, particularly the three monotheistic faiths. Her latest book explores the evolution of religion and faith in the West and how we have come to where we are now, with fundamentalism and atheism dominating the religion stage.

As I said in the Reading is Sexy thread, the Bible was never meant to be taken literally. It was always seen from its earliest days as allegory. It's only been in the last 200 years that the Bible has been seen as the absolute word of God. Armstrong claims that theologians from the early days of Christianity and the medieval period would be shocked by what it being said about God, the Bible and faith these days. Basically, what I got from her book is that we all have it wrong. Whether you are a theist or atheist, everyone's view of God is completely wrong in this point in history.

I gave the book to my parents to read. I'm going to get it back from them tomorrow, or maybe even tonight to directly quote from Armstrong.
I try and listen to the public radio program "Speaking of Faith" every week.

They have had Armstrong on more than once. I think she did the program on Abraham, I listened to. She is good.



Melon,

thanks for taking time to write one of your usual thoughtful responses

I think you hit it on the head with this:

Quote:
My main concern is that religion itself has become such a politicized and ideologically polarizing subject that it will instead devolve into an extremist theology largely devoid of logic and instead full of superstition and a desire to "return" to erroneous romanticist notions of what "early Christianity" was (itself based on a historicist fallacy that the "earliest" notions must, by default, be "purer" in contrast to modern theology).
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:34 PM   #27
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all they were that day?
is a father and a son,

and he was a father that would have butchered his son.


you are saying there is a bribe or promise that you would accept to butcher your child?



you don't see what these 'so-called' holy stories do

they condition people to accept the most abhorrent, despicable human behavior as justified under 'special' or 'privileged' circumstances.


remove those 'special' or 'privileged' circumstances and tell me if the behavior or actions are moral or even justified.
you missed the point I was trying to make, the account wasnt about him butchering his son in the first place

if you put God in the place of Abraham and his son Isaac as Jesus. which is what it was really alluding to, when in the future, God did let his son Jesus die to save us, it puts a whole different persepective on it

Put it this way if you had the chance to save the human race from death and suffering, but the only way to do it was to sacrifice your son, would you do it?

It is not a nice situation to be in, just as you stating letting your son die is a terrible thing.. yet God willingly allowed his son to die and sacrifice his life to save us, even though he knew the majority wouldn't care

So I think it is far from it being despicable and abhorrant act, but one of unselfish love

having it written down in the bible about Abraham willing to sacrifice his son in an earthly setting, just helps us to be able to relate to God and how much he must have loved us, to willing sacrifice Jesus his son

that is the point the bible is trying to get across, not that its ok to butcher or kill your child
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:08 PM   #28
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So you believe the Abraham story is made up, not a true story about what happened to them?

just made up, for the reasons you stated.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:26 PM   #29
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no, I am not saying the abraham story is made up. It did happen. What I am saying the reason why the actual event was recorded in the bible about Abraham offering his son as a willing sacrifice would take on real meaning when Jesus died because God willingly sacrificed him for us. It was portraying what was going to take place, The only difference is Isaac didnt die, but Jesus did, so God took it that step further than Abraham, but he did it to save us, that is the main significance I am trying to get across to you.

Its just the same as when the Jews celebrated the passover and the had sacrificial lamb ect these are real events that happened, but they also represented and foreshadowed Jesus death, and the fact they needed a saviour, it was to imprint on peoples minds what God was doing for them by sacrificing his son,

that was why it is stated in John about God loving the world of mankind so much he gave his only begotten son, and they understood this because of what was written and recorded in the old testament.

I know people claim that it was God who came down and died for our sins which causes all this confusion, but where would the great sacrifice in that be? whereas, if it is his son. someone he cared and loved just like Abraham probably loved Isaac. we can relate to them, because they are real people, so how much more can we then understand the sacrifice that God was making on our behalf,

and does that not prove how much he cared about us, and how much Jesus cared for us too, that he willingly let himself be used for this purpose
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:12 AM   #30
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The only question is if Jesus were here today
would he be



or

neither
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