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Old 10-07-2005, 08:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


That is an excellent point. I have no problem when God defines something for us. It is when people decide to take God's place that gives me heartburn.

An honest question: how do you deal with a passage of Scripture that you don't like?
Thanks.

How do I deal with a passage I don´t like? Well, an honest answer: I simply don´t believe in it. I do choose every single day what my religion stands for. You know, there are some principles that are like carved into stone; the ten commandments may be a good example, since this is an description of what God said, and apparently, it is such an important one, that He did not want it to be "translated" wrong. So there you go, Moses on the mountain, fire in the bush, and the commandments really carved into stone.

Now, take another story... the one when the father beats up his son, "educating" him. I think that´s wrong, and God would not appreaciate it, since He has given free will to the son, etc. Or take a passage where there are "slaves". Apparently, there was already some slavery at this time (like we also know of the Romans). One passage (don´t ask me now exactly which, I would have to go look for it) speaks about that and defines how the master treats his slaves. You seriously think that´s God´s word? That would be strange, given our so free and democratic and anti-slavery society. Still, it is written in the Bible.

So I differ. I make up my mind. I agree with many parts of the Bible, and I agree there is some Godliness in it, but also some "manliness".

I was asking that question to myself very strictly when I was 15 years old, you know. I was raised as a Catholic, but how could I love a God who lets his enemies drown? (when Moses flees from the Egyptians, you surely remember that) Instead of helping them, he lets them drown? Is this brotherly love that Jesus talks about? For me, there was a clear contradiction.

Now, what does a brave Catholic do when he´s in a conflict of beliefs? He goes to the Priest to ask So thats what I did, went into our famous big St StephensCathedral, they handed me over to some Youth Cardinal, and he was the one to explain me that this book was written thousands of years ago, and "people then wrote it in their words, today we interprete many things different". I guess with that diplomatic approach he wanted to make clear that the Bible isn´t infallible.

What makes up your belief?

Is it a book?

A book is nothing .

Believing comes from your inside. It is a thing of burning souls. People have died for their beliefs, and not only Jesus who hang on the Cross, it is many, many more. You think a book was enough to make them believe so much?

People have their God, their religion, right in their hearts and in their souls. And who can tell you what you believe in your heart and in your soul.

I have a personal relation to "my" God. He is a loving God, a forgiving God, see.

I hope I make myself clear in some way... I think thats the best reply I can give you.
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Old 10-07-2005, 08:45 PM   #17
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
I was raised as a Catholic, but how could I love a God who lets his enemies drown? (when Moses flees from the Egyptians, you surely remember that) Instead of helping them, he lets them drown? Is this brotherly love that Jesus talks about? For me, there was a clear contradiction.
It is a good contradiction that has a good explanation.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/y/yahweh.html

The most fascinating subtext of the Bible is that it is a chronicle of Judaism's transition from an exclusive, tribal polytheism to a (theoretically) inclusive monotheism of Christianity.

Melon
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Old 10-07-2005, 09:16 PM   #18
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Cool article.
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Old 10-07-2005, 10:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


How did people approach the passage where St. Paul instructs that women are not supposed to teach over men? They ignored it when they realized that it wasn't true. And the determination that it was "false" was based solely on life experience and maybe a good dose of "divine revelation" from the Holy Spirit. Most "good Christian men," after all, are either taught by women in institutional schools or by their mothers if homeschooled.

Melon


melon you brought up one of my favorite passages to point out to bible thumping conservatives...no evangelical i knows takes that passage to heart. someone explain that to me.
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Old 10-07-2005, 10:44 PM   #20
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When placed within its correct genres, the Bible makes a whole lot more sense. Trying to pull individual pieces of text as "true" or "untrue" will always be a problem.
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Old 10-07-2005, 11:05 PM   #21
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from an article in Christianity Today by Jimmy Carter (Sep 20 2005):
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I would never claim that the scriptures are in error, but it is necessary in some cases to assess the local circumstances and to study the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words. Most Christians ignore details of Paul's comments that are pertinent to his own era, such as these words (1 Cor. 11:5-6): "Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair." (This passage makes it clear, by the way, that it is acceptable for women to pray and prophesy if their heads are covered.) Paul also forbade certain women to braid their hair or to wear rings, jewelry or expensive clothing. It is obvious in those cases that Paul is not mandating generic theological policies.

Paul's close friend Priscilla is revered for having instructed Apollos, one of the great preachers of that day. To the church in Rome, Paul listed and thanked 28 outstanding leaders of the early churches, at least ten of whom were women. Listen to the apostle's words (in chapter 16 of Romans): "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae . . . greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus . . . greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Adronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was . . . greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them."
Quote:
Originally posted by melon
www.pantheon.org/articles/y/yahweh.html

The most fascinating subtext of the Bible is that it is a chronicle of Judaism's transition from an exclusive, tribal polytheism to a (theoretically) inclusive monotheism of Christianity.
The article describes the transition to postexilic rabbinic Judaism, not to Christianity. Or were you suggesting that the latter is really just an offshoot of the former? Not trying to lay a trap here; I'm genuinely confused.

BTW, while I'm familiar with Arbel's writing and admire its clarity and conciseness, she is a Wiccan with a PhD of doubtful pedigree (in mythology)--not a scholar of Judaism. That doesn't mean she doesn't know a great deal--clearly she does--but I can't imagine a scholar of Judaism saying something like this, at least not without a lot of contextual qualification:
Quote:
The Jews were still God's chosen people -- but only chosen to spread His word and suffer for the sake of the rest of the nations so that the world can be redeemed, an honor and a burden given to them by God.
Vicarious suffering, like original sin, is a Christian concept. Jewish tradition recognizes the idea of collective guilt, but not the notion that one person can actually atone for the sins of another. (I'm really not interested in opening up the old Deutero-Isaiah can of interpretive worms over this, though...been there, done that. )
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Old 10-07-2005, 11:13 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
How did people approach the passage where St. Paul instructs that women are not supposed to teach over men? They ignored it when they realized that it wasn't true. And the determination that it was "false" was based solely on life experience and maybe a good dose of "divine revelation" from the Holy Spirit. Most "good Christian men," after all, are either taught by women in institutional schools or by their mothers if homeschooled.

Melon
You have a couple of interesting thoughts here.

First, the passage speaks of women having authority over/teaching adult males, not all males. Both the Greek and the context of the time support this.

Life experience as a method of interpretation may not be the sound method you're seeking. In essense, collective straying from God's Word validates the human created standard over God's standard.

Divine revelation is probably a source of many of religious abuses, especially in the area of Christian cults - especially when the revelation does not match over portions of Scripture.
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Old 10-07-2005, 11:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars


Thanks.

How do I deal with a passage I don´t like? Well, an honest answer: I simply don´t believe in it. I do choose every single day what my religion stands for. You know, there are some principles that are like carved into stone; the ten commandments may be a good example, since this is an description of what God said, and apparently, it is such an important one, that He did not want it to be "translated" wrong. So there you go, Moses on the mountain, fire in the bush, and the commandments really carved into stone.

Now, take another story... the one when the father beats up his son, "educating" him. I think that´s wrong, and God would not appreaciate it, since He has given free will to the son, etc. Or take a passage where there are "slaves". Apparently, there was already some slavery at this time (like we also know of the Romans). One passage (don´t ask me now exactly which, I would have to go look for it) speaks about that and defines how the master treats his slaves. You seriously think that´s God´s word? That would be strange, given our so free and democratic and anti-slavery society. Still, it is written in the Bible.

So I differ. I make up my mind. I agree with many parts of the Bible, and I agree there is some Godliness in it, but also some "manliness".

I was asking that question to myself very strictly when I was 15 years old, you know. I was raised as a Catholic, but how could I love a God who lets his enemies drown? (when Moses flees from the Egyptians, you surely remember that) Instead of helping them, he lets them drown? Is this brotherly love that Jesus talks about? For me, there was a clear contradiction.

Now, what does a brave Catholic do when he´s in a conflict of beliefs? He goes to the Priest to ask So thats what I did, went into our famous big St StephensCathedral, they handed me over to some Youth Cardinal, and he was the one to explain me that this book was written thousands of years ago, and "people then wrote it in their words, today we interprete many things different". I guess with that diplomatic approach he wanted to make clear that the Bible isn´t infallible.
Thank you for sharing your own testimony. I find it encouraging to hear how others find Christ.

It was not until I was in my early twenties that I asked myself these questions (this despite 4 years of Catholic High School). It was at this later time in life that I concluded that the Bible must be inerent, or it would be worth nothing.

When I consider things like "why did God let the Egyptians drown?" I realize that as the Sovereign, God does not answer to our standards. In my limited understanding of an infinite God, I trust that He has a better purpose in His actions than I could develop if I were to make the choices.

Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
What makes up your belief?

Is it a book?

A book is nothing .

Believing comes from your inside. It is a thing of burning souls. People have died for their beliefs, and not only Jesus who hang on the Cross, it is many, many more. You think a book was enough to make them believe so much?

People have their God, their religion, right in their hearts and in their souls. And who can tell you what you believe in your heart and in your soul.

I have a personal relation to "my" God. He is a loving God, a forgiving God, see.

I hope I make myself clear in some way... I think thats the best reply I can give you.
My faith is in Jesus Christ alone.

Now, when I ask myself, "Who is Jesus Christ?" I then rely on the Bible for such information.

I understand where you are coming from and see how we've taken different paths to Christ.
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Old 10-07-2005, 11:32 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en

melon you brought up one of my favorite passages to point out to bible thumping conservatives...no evangelical i knows takes that passage to heart. someone explain that to me.
There in lies a problem. We should take all the passages to heart. Wrestle with them. Deal with them. Ask God for wisdom (because He gives it freely to those who seek Him).
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Old 10-08-2005, 05:12 AM   #25
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There were a couple of books I read a few years ago in my search to make some kind of peace that were interesting: God, a Biography and Christ, a Crisis in the Life of God, both by Jack Miles. The books took the position that the Bible is as much about the education of God as it was a spiritual guide. Basically, that not only is the Bible not infallible, but neither is God and that history has been as much about his learning how to deal with these creatures he has created as it is about anything else. OK, this didn't work; let's try this. This rings psychologically true to me.

I think many Christians (and I would assume many other religion's practitioners--although I will defer since I know neither the practices nor the religious works other than soundbites) cherry pick the writings that either seem most true or compatible with their interpretation of the religion or at least give them the most weight. (or if I were being cynical, some choose based on those parts that most support their inclinations and status)

For example, having read the Gospels repeatedly, I can find no justification for any war in the words of Jesus. Nor can I find any justification for divorce (except for adultery, which seems tacked on later). Now being of the belief if I practiced it that the teachings of Jesus are the core basis of Christianity, I often find it disingenuous to ignore those specific teachings when justifying positions. Violence, retribution, the need to justify are all parts of human nature. You're right, Crusader. Not too many of us want to wrestle with those ideas that we are uncomfortable with--but that includes both sides. I've often been bemused by the prevalence of the teachings of Paul (who even the most fundamentalist of Christians has to admit is not divine) over the teachings of Jesus. It's almost like the message of Jesus is some quaint little pie in the sky idea that is not really practical in today's world--but Paul, yeah, he knew the score. But Paul gives rules you can sink your teeth into. Jesus's message is a little harder.

I think sometimes that modern Christianity cannot see the forest for the trees. They are so clinging to the details, that they no longer see the broad picture of it. (And to be fair, some nonChristians justify their position often by the details and not the original message.) Paul's words give justification. As far as I can tell, Jesus's give none.
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Old 10-08-2005, 07:25 AM   #26
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Perhaps I shouldn't even enter this debate. Maybe this is something for people who consider themselves Christians to wrestle with between themselves. I just believe that many of the teachings Christ provided offered such an incredible and revolutionary (in the nonpolitical sense) challenge in its utter simplicity. Two commandments. And it seems to me that too much writing and interpretation and rules are meant to find a way to wriggle out of those commandments.
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Old 10-08-2005, 09:27 AM   #27
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Wow, another great thread. If you al don't mind, quit being so civil, thoughtful and intesting. I have GOT to get to this paper I have due.

NBC, you reminded me of one of my very favorite passages of scripture (I think it's James 1:4 or 5) that god will give wisdom to all who ask "liberally and with out finding fault". That "without finding fault" part always gives me a lot of comfort. LOL. However, your stance here does give me pause in another sense, if I'm reading you right. How does distinguishing between which passages are literal (the Ten Commandments) and which are metaphor (the Garden of Eden) constitutue "throwing out pages you don't like?"

As for the passages dealing with women and authority, I know I've read Biblical/church historians point out that in the earliest church, women were priests and decons (I can try to dig this up if you all would like). Let's not forget the very political meetings which held (ie, the Council of Trent) which determined which books to keep in the Bible and which to leave out. This was around the same time that the Church Fathers held a council to determind whether or not women had a soul! The "manliness" of the Bible indeed!

Of course I believe God can guide and reveal himself through this process, and that his word is inspired, but I am also not really loving God with my mind if I ignore historical facts.
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Old 10-08-2005, 11:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
First, the passage speaks of women having authority over/teaching adult males, not all males. Both the Greek and the context of the time support this.
So I guess we should have a witch hunt and kill all the female college professors?

Quote:
Life experience as a method of interpretation may not be the sound method you're seeking. In essense, collective straying from God's Word validates the human created standard over God's standard.
St. Paul lived, breathed, sinned, and died. He's as human as it gets, so he's going to have human prejudices in his writings.

Quote:
Divine revelation is probably a source of many of religious abuses, especially in the area of Christian cults - especially when the revelation does not match over portions of Scripture.
Funny you say that, considering that Christian homophobia does not originate from the Bible. It originated from Augustinian "divine revelation." So I do agree with you, with the added mention that I think a lot of "Christian tradition" is merely taking medieval "divine revelation" and then looking for Biblical verses taken out of context to support that. The cult of tradition, tradition, tradition!

Melon
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Old 10-08-2005, 08:14 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
So I guess we should have a witch hunt and kill all the female college professors?
A playful suggestion, but hardly one supported by a passage of Scripture clearly giving guideline for behavior within the Church.


Quote:
Originally posted by melon
St. Paul lived, breathed, sinned, and died. He's as human as it gets, so he's going to have human prejudices in his writings.
I am not sure we can distinguish Scripture authored by Paul from other passages of Scripture. At one level, they are all recorded by humans. Even the passages to which we give "red letter" status.

Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Funny you say that, considering that Christian homophobia does not originate from the Bible. It originated from Augustinian "divine revelation." So I do agree with you, with the added mention that I think a lot of "Christian tradition" is merely taking medieval "divine revelation" and then looking for Biblical verses taken out of context to support that. The cult of tradition, tradition, tradition!

Melon
Tradition has value, provided we understand why we have the tradition and it does not subsequently take the place of following God's Word. This is one of the primary messages of Jesus to the Jewish Establishment.

Fortunately, we are not taught from St. Augustin's writings and stick to Scripture.
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Old 10-09-2005, 01:14 PM   #30
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Fortunately, we are not taught from St. Augustin's writings and stick to Scripture.
Ah, but you see, the beauty is that his Manicheanist-colored interpretation of the Bible has tainted Christianity for 1600 years. Conservative Christianity is extremely Augustinian in nature, even if it doesn't know it. "City of God" might as well have been a blueprint for the entire conservative Christian movement.

Melon
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