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Old 01-21-2002, 06:17 PM   #21
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Originally posted by melon:


But here comes the potential contradiction: if faith is the sole means of salvation, as stated by Protestantism and slyly insinuated by the current Pope (implying a doctrine change), then what does it matter if we sin?

Would you be showing faith if you were deliberately and unrepentantly sinning?? I'm not sure I understand you here.

This thread definitely changed from its original topic

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Old 01-21-2002, 06:51 PM   #22
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Sula:

Yeah, maybe this is turning into a theological discussion. I have no problem with that myself, especially if one of the thread's questions is inherently theological. That is, is smoking immoral?

Anyway...


Melon:

Yeah, you're right. There's no reason to think a non-political discussion between the two of us will decay into chaos. Thus, I now return to the discussion at hand.

My response was tailored with the assumption that the person was already Christian. If a Christian acts truly and honestly in love, he cannot sin. As for non-Christians, I refuse to pass judgment.

I agree that if a person acts solely out of love, he will not sin. It just seems to me that your posts imply that a certain amount of deliberate rebellion is necessary to sin against God.

If you didn't imply that, all apolgies.

That said, I don't think deliberate rebellion is absolutely necessary, at least "in the moment." God may be the last thing on his mind when a man commits adultery, but it's no less sinful.

Also, I believe that most people know the basics of morality: that killing, lying, and stealing are wrong. To the degree that they know these moral truth (even outside of knowing about the Bible or believing in God), I believe an atheist or animalist can also sin.

As far as "passing judgment" goes, we certainly can't pass judgment on a personal level, because we don't know a man's heart. But we can still read about, think about, and discuss the nature of sin.

What I am going by is Catholic beliefs and tradition. Sin, by both definition and tradition in this school of thought, is the free and conscious choosing to go against God. Hence, one cannot sin by default or by ignorance.

Here, I agree in the generalities, but probably not in the specifics. Certainly, we were not created to sin "by default", but the idea of original sin lingers. We may not be born sinners, but the desire to have our own way seems to be part of our nature, and it invariably results in our rebellion against God - with, of course, the One Great Exception.

Also, we cannot sin in ignorance, which is why I think infants and the seriously mentally handicapped cannot sin. But I believe that right and wrong is more-or-less universally known; that people in an unkown corner of the world know that murder is wrong before the first missionary ever arrives - and thus can sin.

Whether these people are also held accountable for their sins or can be redeemed without Christian intervention is one of those questions I have no clue about. One can only trust that the Lord will be just and merciful in His dealings with them.

(And, melon, if you want to know more about the universal nature of morality, or why I believe in it, read Lewis' The Abolition of Man, which I recommended in another thread.)

Personally, I disagree with the contention that God is, or ever was, vengeful. It is simply a change in perception. When we look at September 11th, for instance, we don't see it as a sign of a vengeful God. If the same event happened to the Israelites, they would have seen it as a sign that God is somehow angry at them. And, if it were in the Bible, rather than stating that terrorists were to blame, they would have probably written that God struck down the towers in anger for the our sins. It's not that the Israelites were deceiving people. It is just that both education and theology is different than back then.

Regardless, assuming that God is angry, that is up to God, not us. While God has the power to judge and smite whomever He very well pleases, the same power is not reserved to us. Our challenge, as stated by Jesus and reaffirmed in Romans 13:8-10 is to live a life of love. Henceforth, if all of our actions are motivated out of love, a Christian cannot sin.


You're right, the Old Testament is full of instances in which God was angry at the Isrealites. Even if the Old Testament isn't entirely factually true (a suggestion that a Christian must find suspicious, particularly the further one gets past the Flood in Genesis), most Christians hold that the Bible contains Truth. In this case, it seems clear that one Old Testament truth is this: God gets angry.

To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence. Deueteronomy 32:35a

But if you question the Old Testament on the validity of this truth, you then question the New Testament, which is built upon its truths in three key ways:

1. The New Testament believes and quotes it; Romans 12:19 references and reaffirms the Old Testament verse above.

2. Christ himself quotes the Old Testament, confirming its authority.

3. Christ himself lived out the Biblical truths.

Let's return to the example of anger, acting on anger, and the special instance of vengeance to see an example of my third point.

In Matthew 21:12-13, we see Christ go to the temple, kick out the moneychangers and those selling sacrificial animals and overturned their tables, saying "ye have made [the temple] a den of thieves."

He was clearly pissed off, and He did act on it. If Christ was fully man and fully God (I believe He was), than we can draw three conclusions:

1. God can get angry and will act on it.

2. Man can get angry and act on it without sinning.

3. Acting on anger is not necessarily vengeance, which is Biblically the domain of God alone, as demonstrated by Romans 12:19 (mentioned above):

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I think the difference between acting in anger and vengeance is a tenuous one - one in which probably involves pride (which God can certainly have but we are foolish to feign) - but the difference is there.

And anger itself can be good. It just comes down to the idea of "righteous anger", anger because an evil is being done and not because one's ego is being bruised.

I will of course grant that anger is a very dangerous thing - that it's very easy for anger to be selfishly motivated, and easy for justified acts of righteous anger to become revenge. But it's like fire: just because it's dangerous doesn't mean it's bad or not useful.

And, in regards to your mother, I do not know her obviously, but perhaps you should tell her what you told me. Maybe it will drive her to quit smoking? Good luck...

Thanks for the suggestion, but I already have, and she seemed unmoved. That's one of the main reasons I suspect that she's being merely stubborn and not just a woman of remarkable faith.

But here comes the potential contradiction: if faith is the sole means of salvation, as stated by Protestantism and slyly insinuated by the current Pope (implying a doctrine change), then what does it matter if we sin?

As I've been told repeatedly, we're all sinners and all sins are equal in the eyes of God. If, supposedly, a person is saved upon accepting Christ as your Savior, then why would one's sins condemn them? But if they do, then it is faith and good works for salvation...but I've been duly dismissed for mentioning this before. Any clarification?


Actually, your first question (what does it matter if we sin?) is a very important one. Fortunately, it was covered quite well in Romans 6, which begins thus (verses 1-2):

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Since the theology becomes occasionally lost in the King James Version, I will switch for a moment to the New Living Translation for the answer (verses 20-22):

In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren't concerned with doing what was right. And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.

As far as most Protestants believe, I think I am safe in saying, Christians are justified by faith alone, but good works are the natural result of genuine faith. You're saved by your faith, you judge your own faith by your works. If you're not striving to do God's will, you may need to re-examine your faith in Him.

Of course, that last issue is worth much more than a paragraph, but I should close this rambling exposition. I hope my thoughts at least helps.
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Old 01-21-2002, 07:03 PM   #23
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Bubba, I wasn't indicating that a discussion on theology was a bad thing...I guess I'm just waiting for it to turn into a typical bubba/melon back and forth thing. Debates in which most of us retreat to the sidelines while the discussion spins further and further away from the original topic/question.

But do carry on.
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Old 01-22-2002, 03:00 AM   #24
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aikarama! Is this going to turn into a theological debate? I think the original question has been answered quite succinctly with many different opinions and points of view.

As always the thin line between grace and law...it's a hard thing to call, no?

-sula
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Old 01-22-2002, 03:20 AM   #25
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I think that "sin" is supposed to mean "missing the mark"--I have heard that that is the actual definition of the word as used in the Bible.

I don't agree that you're not sinning if you don't do it consciously. I think we frequently sin without knowing it. I would agree that it's more seriously to do it deliberately and wilfully.



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Old 01-22-2002, 08:25 AM   #26
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Originally posted by melon:
Quit smoking because it is bad for your health, but don't think that smoking somehow makes you a lesser Christian.

I totally agree. Aren't we all supposed to be God's children and EQUAL in his eyes? He loves all his children and isn't going to think any less of any of us for smoking
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Old 01-22-2002, 01:20 PM   #27
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Okay...because I don't want to drive everyone to the sidelines, I want to try and make this the last reply I make to this. And it isn't a reflection on this conversation, because it has been very well behaved. I think our religion discussions are far more productive than our political ones.

Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
I agree that if a person acts solely out of love, he will not sin. It just seems to me that your posts imply that a certain amount of deliberate rebellion is necessary to sin against God.
A lot of my problems lately are semantical ones, as in trying to find the right words for the right implications. "Rebellion" wasn't what I meant, although, by what I wrote, that's likely what it implied. Romans 13:8-10 pretty much sums up what I meant; that when a Christian acts out of love, regardless of what "law" states, he/she cannot sin. Obviously, why we sin is that not all of our actions are motivated out of love. It could be hate. It could be greed. It could be power. In a way, I almost think that Romans 13:8-10 gives us *more* of a burden than previously, as the Old Testament preached revenge against one's enemies.

Quote:
That said, I don't think deliberate rebellion is absolutely necessary, at least "in the moment." God may be the last thing on his mind when a man commits adultery, but it's no less sinful.
Adultery is an offense against love. The act is hurtful to your spouse. Hence, it fails the Romans 13 test.

Quote:
Also, I believe that most people know the basics of morality: that killing, lying, and stealing are wrong. To the degree that they know these moral truth (even outside of knowing about the Bible or believing in God), I believe an atheist or animalist can also sin.
I don't disagree here.

Quote:
Here, I agree in the generalities, but probably not in the specifics. Certainly, we were not created to sin "by default", but the idea of original sin lingers. We may not be born sinners, but the desire to have our own way seems to be part of our nature, and it invariably results in our rebellion against God - with, of course, the One Great Exception.
Catholicism would agree with you on this aspect I'm sure, but I don't necessarily agree myself. Sin, to me, is more of a consequence of God's gift of free will. If we are given the gift to change the world, with that gift comes the ability to destroy it. If we only had the capability to change the world in goodness, not to destroy it, then we would not have free will. If God regularly interceded, smiting those who did evil, then we would not have free will.

Original sin simply takes our human nature, that same nature that God created us to be, and decides it to be evil. Since I believe that mankind is inherently good, not evil (not to mention that original sin hedges on Adam and Eve, which I don't believe in), I don't believe in original sin.

However, many Christian religions have taken your side over mine, and you are certainly free to believe as you wish.

Quote:
Also, we cannot sin in ignorance, which is why I think infants and the seriously mentally handicapped cannot sin. But I believe that right and wrong is more-or-less universally known; that people in an unkown corner of the world know that murder is wrong before the first missionary ever arrives - and thus can sin.
Well, once again, it depends on conscience. For these cultures, past and present, would human sacrifice have been sinful, since they did it with the belief that human sacrifice pleased their gods? Is polygamy sinful if it has, and always has been, culturally acceptable? Is the practice of "acceptable" adultery, whereas the tribe members, both male and female, regularly and knowingly have sex with multiple partners, while still having a concept of marriage, sinful (no objection, no rivalry, no jealousy, no deception, etc.)?

None of the above would violate Romans 13 for these cultures, since it is done out of love. Or, at least, it is done not out of selfishness, greed, hate, etc. So, while I do believe that there are certain values that all cultures share, there is a lot of gray area.

So what constitutes "sin"? A lot of it has to to with the motivation behind the action. Hence, that is why many of us would say that killing someone in cold blood is morally wrong, while killing someone in self-defense is not.

And why I bring up Romans 13 is because a lot of Christians think they can get away with a lot of spiteful and hateful activity, because the Bible might condone their activity or not specifically condemn it. That, to me, is still sinful, if only because their actions are not out of love.

Do I make sense at all? (I'm hoping so.)

Quote:
Whether these people are also held accountable for their sins or can be redeemed without Christian intervention is one of those questions I have no clue about. One can only trust that the Lord will be just and merciful in His dealings with them.
I do agree with this as well.

Quote:
(And, melon, if you want to know more about the universal nature of morality, or why I believe in it, read Lewis' The Abolition of Man, which I recommended in another thread.)
I will have to pick it up sometime. I really do enjoy pondering religion, even if I do end up disagreeing with what I've read.

Quote:
You're right, the Old Testament is full of instances in which God was angry at the Isrealites. Even if the Old Testament isn't entirely factually true (a suggestion that a Christian must find suspicious, particularly the further one gets past the Flood in Genesis), most Christians hold that the Bible contains Truth. In this case, it seems clear that one Old Testament truth is this: God gets angry.
"The Bible contains Truth." That I do agree with. My belief that the Bible is not 100% literally correct doesn't mean that I don't think it contains Truth. However, I do not think of it as an accurate history or science book, nor that it is 100% correct in all circumstances. Does that change the fundamental morality to be found within the Bible? Not at all.

Quote:
1. God can get angry and will act on it.

2. Man can get angry and act on it without sinning.

3. Acting on anger is not necessarily vengeance, which is Biblically the domain of God alone, as demonstrated by Romans 12:19 (mentioned above):

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
#1 I agree with. #2 depends on the intention, and, even at that, it treads a thin line. I believe that "pacified anger" is the best approach on this. If that makes any sense. Either way, I disagree that man should bring their anger to violence, especially in a modern context, considering we have the right to protest, the right to assembly, the right to petition courts, etc. Essentially, just because one may be angered at abortion doesn't mean they should feel free to blow up abortion clinics and kill the doctors.

#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.

Quote:
Thanks for the suggestion, but I already have, and she seemed unmoved. That's one of the main reasons I suspect that she's being merely stubborn and not just a woman of remarkable faith.
Well, smoking is certainly a hard habit to kick, especially if she still enjoys it. What will be, will be, I guess.

Quote:
As far as most Protestants believe, I think I am safe in saying, Christians are justified by faith alone, but good works are the natural result of genuine faith. You're saved by your faith, you judge your own faith by your works. If you're not striving to do God's will, you may need to re-examine your faith in Him.
That's what I thought. Essentially, Catholicism and Protestantism are on the same page now, aside from traditional semantics. The selling of indulgences that angered Martin Luther into making that "faith only" pronouncement doesn't exist anymore.

And, yes, your thoughts have helped me think. Much thanks...

Melon

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Old 01-22-2002, 02:53 PM   #28
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Yeah, maybe this is turning into a theological discussion. I have no problem with that myself, especially if one of the thread's questions is inherently theological. That is, is smoking immoral?

Morality is the poor man's spirituality. My two cents. Carry on.

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Old 01-22-2002, 09:07 PM   #29
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is this a fucking joke??? (not you Bebe, just the ensuing debacle that has occured in this thread)
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Old 01-22-2002, 10:10 PM   #30
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Originally posted by joyfulgirl:
Morality is the poor man's spirituality. My two cents. Carry on.
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).]
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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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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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Quote:
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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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.

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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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