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Old 01-22-2002, 10:13 PM   #31
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Originally posted by The Wanderer:
is this a fucking joke??? (not you Bebe, just the ensuing debacle that has occured in this thread)
What do you mean?

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Old 01-22-2002, 10:32 PM   #32
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#3 is part of my issue with St. Paul. His writings are almost bi-polar. On one hand, he speaks of inclusionism and love, and the next, he speaks of vengeance, the required subordinance of women, the support of slavery, etc. As such, I believe that St. Paul must be taken cautiously and it takes great care to discern "truth" out of his writings and separate that from his own human prejudices and failings.
Melon!!! I never knew anyone else felt that way about Paul's letters. Thanks so much for giving voice to those reservations about everyone's favorite convert. Although all Scripture is (allegedly) divinely inspired, I would think that divine inspiration is slightly more coherent than some of what Paul has written.



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Old 01-23-2002, 01:39 AM   #33
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I don't think Paul is any more "bipolar" than Christ himself, who said the following:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9

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

(Note that both quotes are in the same Gospel.)

Jesus is a man who also preached love and turning the other cheek, and yet he overthrew the moneychangers' tables at the temple.

I believe one has to come to terms with all sides of Christian theology - the unity and trinity of God, His justice and mercy, the fact that Christ was/is both fully human and fully God.

To prune out the more difficult ideas is to do a disservice to the Bible as a whole, and to suggest that Paul is an oddly bipolar man is to ignore Christ's nature (not to mention Moses and David).
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Old 01-23-2002, 03:06 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung_Bebe:
He said "you are a diamond, do not tarnish the diamond... unique with intricate detail"

Is this the same guy who wanted women to cover their stomach's because it's the "window to the womb"?


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Old 01-23-2002, 11:02 AM   #35
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Pardon me for not carrying on, but I have no idea what that glib little comment means.

If you don't mind, please expound.

[This message has been edited by Achtung Bubba (edited 01-22-2002).]
Well, I think that morality is rejecting what appears to be "bad" and embracing what appears to be "good," while to me one who seeks to be a truly spiritual person looks for truth and beauty in all things, thus transcending the duality of good and bad, and recognizing that what is bad for one person might be good for another. To use the smoking example, while a moralist might say that smoking is bad, thus rejecting it and possibly judging others for it, one seeking to be a very spiritual person might notice, for example, how uptight and unpleasant that person is when they don't smoke and how much more relaxed they are when they have a cigarette, which might enable them to open up to God's love more (maybe a silly example, but since that's what we're talking about...). It's all about love, and I think that morality sometimes is more like pretending to be spiritual than actually being truly spiritual. I find moralism, in general, to be a somewhat limited viewpoint. One can be very "moral" while having a very cold and hard heart while one can be seemingly "immoral" (by the moralist's standards) yet exude real love and compassion. Just my opinion.

P.S. Oh, and sorry for having been glib, but these threads can be so cliquey that no one pays any attention to me anyway so I thought, why bother to even give a thoughtful response. No offense, but that's just my experience here. Then again, since I'm not a Christian, perhaps I don't even belong in here to begin with.


[This message has been edited by joyfulgirl (edited 01-23-2002).]
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Old 01-23-2002, 11:10 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
In defense of the guy at school:

Yes, there are hypocrits who act pious but really aren't. But just because P implies Q, it doesn't mean Q implies P. Just because hypocrits act pious, it doesn't mean that everyone who appears to be pious are all hypocrits.

(And it isn't ALWAYS the case that pious people are also arrogant. One can be pious in a good way. One has to judge these things on a case-by-case basis.)

Honestly, if there are genuinely pious people (Mother Teresa comes to mind), they too would appear pious. There's no sense suggesting that everyone who appears to be pious is deceitful.

In other words - and this is more a note against some replies and not Bebe's original post - one shouldn't let one's biases against Christians cloud one's judgment. You can't judge a book by its cover.

Yes, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15) But at the same time, "the tree is known by his fruit." (Matthew 12:33) If the person doesn't appear to be hypocritical, he might actually be on the level.


Now, on the question of the morality of smoking...

It appears, due to the current state of scientific knowledge, that smoking is probably harmful to the body. At the very least, it isn't beneficial in any known way.

If you knowingly put yourself in a great risk of physical harm for no good reason, I can see one of two things occuring: Either you believe you won't get harmed, which can be interpreted as tempting God (see Matthew 4:5-7). Or you simply don't care that you may bring yourself harm, which I think qualifies as damaging God's temple (see 1 Corinthians 6:19).

It then becomes a question of whether a long-term smoking habit is "too risky." It certainly isn't flinging oneself of a rooftop, but it does seem more risky than eating meat (which is occasionally contaminated by salmonella, etc.). The fact is that the risk of eating meat can be balanced by the nutritional benefits of protein, etc.; that smoking is not beneficial doesn't help its case.

As an aside, I think the fact that humans have a natural taste for meat and sugar indicates to me that we were born with a certain physical need for the nutritional benefits of both - at least in small doses. That one has to get used to smoking is a very bad sign, in my opinion.

Ultimately, I believe a certain level of self-indulgence (some dirty jokes, violent video games, and empty calories) is either acceptable or simply bad at the level of nit-picking. I believe God would prefer us to focus on loving Him and others.

Whether tobacco falls into that area of quasi-acceptable indulgences is, I think, ultimately something to be worked out between you and God. Outsiders can't tell you what to do, either way.

But if I may...

As one who is for greater personal freedom, I certainly think adults should be allowed to smoke, and private enterprises (restaurants and bars especially) should be allowed to set their own rules on smoking.

That said, I think people should be free to smoke but should also choose not to, mostly for reasons that are outside the scope of morality. It's the simpler case of common sense, not necessarily a moral mandate. It's an expensive habit that, in the BEST case, has no effect on a person. In the worst case, it leads to serious health problems. It strikes me as a bad decision.

And, personally, my mom smokes. When confronted with the risks, she replies that God will "take her" when He wants to. That strikes me as a SERIOUS violation of Matthew 4:7 and its reference, Deuteronomy 6:16: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

In her case, even if the smoking itself is morally ambivalent, her attitude about her habit worries me greatly.
Achtung, I agree completely, as usual.

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Old 01-23-2002, 11:13 AM   #37
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Originally posted by scatteroflight:
I actually believe that smoking is wrong, because not only are you harming yourself and the gift of life given to you, but more than likely you are also harming others because of the effects of second-hand smoke.
True!
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Old 01-23-2002, 04:09 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I don't think Paul is any more "bipolar" than Christ himself, who said the following:

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9

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

(Note that both quotes are in the same Gospel.)
And did you happen to read Matthew 10:35-36? "For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'" How very Jesus-like. It reeks either of ideological contamination or a quote taken greatly out of context. Prospect #1 is more likely. Read Matthew 10:5: "Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, 'Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.'" Hmm...if Jesus hated Samaritans, then why was there a parable about the good Samaritan in another gospel?

That is because the Gospel of Matthew is not the most reliable source, because it was written by the Jewish-minded sect, the Church of Jerusalem, which stated that all Christians must first be Jews to observe the Mosaic Law in its entirety, including so-called "ritual" law (e.g., circumcision). Hence, the revulsion against Gentiles and Samaritans in Matthew 10:5. The sect that modern Christianity is based on is the Church of Antioch, which rejected Mosaic Law in its entirety and opened the doors to all converts, Jewish and Gentile alike. Would you, as a Christian, use the Gnostic gospels to base your faith? Likewise, Matthew is to be taken critically. St. Paul, as the leader of the Church of Antioch, used much of his power to destroy that Church, and his followers did so successfully in the end.

My point for this is that you must take into account the source in which the gospel was written. As expected, Matthew reflected the Church of Jerusalem's ideology, Luke reflected the Church of Antioch (our ancestor), and the Gnostic gospels reflected Gnosticism. I severely doubt that Jesus stated the above words.

Quote:
To prune out the more difficult ideas is to do a disservice to the Bible as a whole, and to suggest that Paul is an oddly bipolar man is to ignore Christ's nature (not to mention Moses and David).
These three--Paul, Moses, and David--are men, not God. When a man or a woman speaks to us, do we simply agree with everything he/she states or just throw it all away? No. We look at what people say to us and we analyze what is given before us. And we have to face the fact that Jesus Himself didn't write the gospels. Even the most faithful modern biographies are riddled with personal bias, and these gospels are written 40 years after the fact.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-23-2002, 04:21 PM   #39
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Originally posted by paxetaurora:
Melon!!! I never knew anyone else felt that way about Paul's letters. Thanks so much for giving voice to those reservations about everyone's favorite convert. Although all Scripture is (allegedly) divinely inspired, I would think that divine inspiration is slightly more coherent than some of what Paul has written.
Don't get me wrong. I like St. Paul because of his more inclusionist nature regarding Christianity, but I don't remotely think of him as perfect.

Roman Catholicism, my denomination, states that the Bible is "divinely inspired," not "divinely written." The difference is that, with divine inspiration, the books of the Bible were written with God in mind; that they were written because the writers believed it to be God's will. This would be in contrast to deception, whereas the writer simply was trying to fool people. However, even though it is divinely inspired, it doesn't mean it is perfect. That is, human fallibility, bias, and mistake is still a factor. It doesn't mean that the Bible is just a bunch of crap; it just means that one has to read it critically to discern "truth." That is no different than reading any literature of any time period.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-23-2002, 04:57 PM   #40
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Melon, if the authors of Matthew were trying to foist their own Zionist propaganda upon the gospel, they goofed when they included Matthew 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (the Great Commission).

The verse you quote, Matthew 10:5, I do not think is a condemnation of goyim. Rather, it appears to be part of a set of instructions that Jesus gave to the Twelve for a training mission, as a reading of the text surrounding it and a comparison with Mark 6 and Luke 9 will indicate. It seems to fit with the general scheme of things outlined in Acts: the apostles spent considerable time preaching in Israel before heading out to the surrounding regions.

You're right in saying that Matthew is very Judeo-centric: it contains the most references to Mosaic law of any of the gospels. However, I think you might be a bit harsh in your criticism of the New Testament writers' points of view and biases.

[This message has been edited by speedracer (edited 01-23-2002).]
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Old 01-23-2002, 05:38 PM   #41
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And did you happen to read Matthew 10:35-36? "For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'" How very Jesus-like. It reeks either of ideological contamination or a quote taken greatly out of context. Prospect #1 is more likely
Really? Compare that verse to Luke 14:26.

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

The two verses are similarly frightening and - just as importantly - they come from two different Gospels. I believe these verses need not be explained away by contamination or bad context. They remind me of Matthew 5:29, in which Christ commands to pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin. In each case, I believe Christ is using extreme exaggeration to make His point: one must be willing to forsake EVERYTHING for Him. In most cases, one won't be expected to choose Him over your own family or life (and most theologians believe that "casting out your eye" was probably completely metaphorical), but you must be willing to make such sacrifices. You must be willing to hate everything else in comparison to your love for and loyalty to Him.

God must come first.

Quote:
Read Matthew 10:5: "Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, 'Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.'" Hmm...if Jesus hated Samaritans, then why was there a parable about the good Samaritan in another gospel?
It appears that the command was a strictly temporary command, one to be applied only while Christ was on Earth, and certainly not evidence that He hated Gentiles. (Some scholars believe this was so that the Jews, the chosen people, had the first opportunity to accept Christ - and to reject Him, as many did.)

I suggest that the commandment was temporary because of the Great Commission, Christ's final "standing orders", which also appear in the "Jewish-minded" Gospel of Matthew:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19 (emphasis mine)

Yes, Matthew is certainly the most Hebrew-centric Gospel, but even it includes the universal nature of the Great Commission. One reply would be that the verse was added later to make it fit the other gospels, but it would then appear that you're picking and choosing which verses to believe on the basis of presumed biases within each: "Matthew is Hebrew-centric; this one verse isn't, so it was added later."

Quote:
I severely doubt that Jesus stated the above words.
Then that begs an obvious question: what criterion does one use to pass judgment on verses in the Gospel? Do you simply discount passages that don't fit your conception of Christ's message?

That also brings up a serious concern for Christians: if verse X is not to be trusted, why not every verse in all four Gospels? And if the Gospels can be discarded, what good are they? As a Christian, I have to trust that the Gospels are more-or-less accurate, that the Holy Spirit guided the writers to give an accurate account and that the same Spirit to allow us to correctly understand its meaning.

Quote:
These three--Paul, Moses, and David--are men, not God. When a man or a woman speaks to us, do we simply agree with everything he/she states or just throw it all away? No. We look at what people say to us and we analyze what is given before us. And we have to face the fact that Jesus Himself didn't write the gospels. Even the most faithful modern biographies are riddled with personal bias, and these gospels are written 40 years after the fact.
Truly, they are not God. Truly, they are men, but they are not just men. I believe they are men of God, individuals God "hand-picked" and guided by His Spirit to write His message for the rest of us. Moses suggests the uniqueness of his calling by claiming that God talked to him via a burning bush; Paul, by the personal encounter on the road to Damascus; John (the author of Revelation) by the Revelation itself.

These authors of the Bible claimed to be patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. The books demand a much more definitive response than the critical eye that looks over the latest presidential biography. Like Christ, they're either madmen or right and must be approached as such.

Quote:
Roman Catholicism, my denomination, states that the Bible is "divinely inspired," not "divinely written." The difference is that, with divine inspiration, the books of the Bible were written with God in mind; that they were written because the writers believed it to be God's will.
I personally think that "divine inspiration" means more than writing "with God in mind". I could write a book with God in mind, but that wouldn't make it divinely inspired the way the Bible claims it is inspired. In the case of the Bible, divine inspiration is closer to the idea that God specifically and purposefully moved the men to write certain things about Him.

Yes, the Bible isn't divinely written. God didn't write it. But I believe He was the ghost-writer. The Holy Ghost-writer.

True, there are probably errors in translation and transcription - and we should certainly search for the most accurate manuscripts. It's also not clear how we should interpret things like Genesis and Revelation: did God tell Moses and John what to write verbatim? did He give them visions and they wrote what they saw? were the visions literal and what they wrote metaphorically? or were the visions themselves metaphorical?

BUT, one can genuinely and thoughtfully believe in the flawlessness of the Bible in this respect: one can believe that when the writers finished the original manuscripts in the original language, they were precisely the words that God intended.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18.
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Old 01-27-2002, 11:25 PM   #42
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i know this is a late post on this, but a lot of people know my feelings on this...I'm uncomfortable with those who claim to be Christian, yet still smoke. But then, I drink wine and swear, so....I guess I still think about the "your body is God's temple" supposition, and that we shouldn't abuse our "temples."

anyway, we had a guest speaker at church this weekend who said something that reminded me of these 'Christianity and smoking' threads. He and his wife were both heavy smokers when they both had very powerful conversions to Chrisianity (from being scientific athiests) on the same night. When they got home that night, just out of habit, they both 'lit up' - when this gentleman said that he *very clearly* heard God speak to him, saying "You don't need those any more." He told his wife this, they both tossed out their cigs and have never had another one since.

The scripture I'm reminded of is "My grace is sufficient."

[This message has been edited by Discoteque (edited 01-27-2002).]
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Old 01-28-2002, 06:08 PM   #43
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Bebe-

I think the feelings about smoking being contradictory to Christianity are a result of American culture. We tend to be a health-concious people (at least in theory, in practice its another story.) I think that has been transferred over to the Church and its version of what is pure and what isn't.

Its interesting to note that Charles Spurgeon, one of the most influential English ministers of the 1800s was quite fond of smoking cigars. Even though it may not be a wise or healthy thing, surely this did not mean that the Spirit of God was unable to speak or work through the man's life. That attitude not only limits God but its also proved false when you look at the impact and influence that men like Spurgeon have long after their death.
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Old 01-28-2002, 08:36 PM   #44
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I've belonged to the United Methodist Church my entire life. Although I am personally opposed to tobacco products, I have never heard anything in its teachings of smoking being "a sin." Not even from my Baptist friends (many of whom smoke). In fact, most churches I know of have some back or side door where some of the men will go smoke in between Sunday School and the Worship Service. The Methodist Camp I attended growing up allowed campers to smoke in certain areas. Compare that to the alcohol policy on Methodist property (it is prohibited) and I think it is safe to say that Methodists don't consider smoking a sin. Come to think of it, neither do we consider "drinking" a sin.

But for this:

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung_Bebe:
He said "you are a diamond, do not tarnish the diamond... unique with intricate detail"
I shall now call you DiamondBebe9

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