Author Topic: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?  (Read 2295 times)

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Offline The Gawd

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What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:15:42 PM »
Ive never experienced death or suffering to a great extent. I do know of suffering and death that would appear to be worse than that jesus is said to have suffered. How does jesus' fear in that scenario provide any sort of solice for people facing worse that arent an all powerful god (and their own father).

starving toddlers in 3rd world countries
people being dragged to death behind pickup trucks in the bible belt
victims of the inquisition
possibly early AIDs victims (ive witnessed this 1st hand, it aint pretty)

Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 12:48:14 PM »
They have a fixation on the amount and kind of 'suffering' that supposedly jesus experienced.  I think its used as a means to reinforce the emotional attachment to his imagined 'selfless' act.  You can get a pretty big reaction by stating that there have been human beings that have suffered more than their jesus has.
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Offline Nick

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 01:08:29 PM »
Not a damn thing.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline The Gawd

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 01:22:32 PM »
They have a fixation on the amount and kind of 'suffering' that supposedly jesus experienced.  I think its used as a means to reinforce the emotional attachment to his imagined 'selfless' act.  You can get a pretty big reaction by stating that there have been human beings that have suffered more than their jesus has.
Yes. Indeed.

What I DO take from it, is biblical evidence that jesus was a normal human being. No deity in son. It just doesnt make sense to be scared of death when you know youre not going to die.

Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 01:27:31 PM »
Ive never experienced death or suffering to a great extent. I do know of suffering and death that would appear to be worse than that jesus is said to have suffered. How does jesus' fear in that scenario provide any sort of solice for people facing worse that arent an all powerful god (and their own father).

starving toddlers in 3rd world countries
people being dragged to death behind pickup trucks in the bible belt
victims of the inquisition
possibly early AIDs victims (ive witnessed this 1st hand, it aint pretty)

Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'm not convinced that you are qualified to make such a statement. But you are entitled to your own opinion. You have the freedom
to do that. You'd think that everything will eventually come to a boiling point. Things seem to be moving pretty fast now a days...



Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 01:31:04 PM »
They have a fixation on the amount and kind of 'suffering' that supposedly jesus experienced.  I think its used as a means to reinforce the emotional attachment to his imagined 'selfless' act.  You can get a pretty big reaction by stating that there have been human beings that have suffered more than their jesus has.
Yes. Indeed.

What I DO take from it, is biblical evidence that jesus was a normal human being. No deity in son. It just doesnt make sense to be scared of death when you know youre not going to die.
It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.

Offline changeling

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 03:12:12 PM »
^^^ Why would he want to delay getting back to his
heavenly throne, ruling the universe at the right hand of his father,
who is of course himself?":
The level of dumb they have to sell, is only made remotely possible by the level of flocking their sheep are willing to do in the name of rewards for no thought. quote: Kin Hell

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Offline BornAgainAtheist

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 03:59:23 PM »
They have a fixation on the amount and kind of 'suffering' that supposedly jesus experienced.  I think its used as a means to reinforce the emotional attachment to his imagined 'selfless' act.  You can get a pretty big reaction by stating that there have been human beings that have suffered more than their jesus has.
Yes. Indeed.

What I DO take from it, is biblical evidence that jesus was a normal human being. No deity in son. It just doesnt make sense to be scared of death when you know youre not going to die.
It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.

A classic application of Christianese, as if everyone in the world knows what the hell "remove the cup" means.   &)   
My hair is a bird.  Your argument is invalid.

Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 04:09:07 PM »
It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.

This is an a priori assumption your part to rationalize the response in a different way.  Why would we ever interpret it to mean anything except what it says at face value?
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Offline inveni0

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 04:12:03 PM »
I don't believe that the writers of the gospels recorded Jesus' fear of death.  I believe they were intending to record his fear of suffering.  You also have to remember that he was portrayed as loving all of mankind (that's the goal, anyway).  So another take would be that he had a fear of leaving the people he loved, if even for a moment.  (Remember, he also cried when Lazarus died, even though he was resurrected just minutes later...)  I'm not sure there's an intended contradiction here, though a contradiction can certainly be inferred.
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Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 04:17:04 PM »
I don't believe that the writers of the gospels recorded Jesus' fear of death.  I believe they were intending to record his fear of suffering.  You also have to remember that he was portrayed as loving all of mankind (that's the goal, anyway).  So another take would be that he had a fear of leaving the people he loved, if even for a moment.  (Remember, he also cried when Lazarus died, even though he was resurrected just minutes later...)  I'm not sure there's an intended contradiction here, though a contradiction can certainly be inferred.

His admonishments to love were only in the context of the inclusion of thy neighbor, your neighbor was your fellow believer rather than 'everyone'.  Loving thy 'enemy' was in comparison to the fact that that enemy will suffer a greater 'justice' in hell.  Also, the parable of the servant brought before the lord to be killed is specifically used to insist that the only value of human life is that in the context of belief vs non-belief.  The same parable is also traditionally interpreted by christian apologist to imply that the act of not believing in jesus is the act of persecuting jesus.  ( per Gills commentary )

If John 3:18 is true, then John 3:16 is false.
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Offline inveni0

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2012, 04:24:07 PM »
I don't believe that the writers of the gospels recorded Jesus' fear of death.  I believe they were intending to record his fear of suffering.  You also have to remember that he was portrayed as loving all of mankind (that's the goal, anyway).  So another take would be that he had a fear of leaving the people he loved, if even for a moment.  (Remember, he also cried when Lazarus died, even though he was resurrected just minutes later...)  I'm not sure there's an intended contradiction here, though a contradiction can certainly be inferred.

His admonishments to love were only in the context of the inclusion of thy neighbor, your neighbor was your fellow believer rather than 'everyone'.  Loving thy 'enemy' was in comparison to the fact that that enemy will suffer a greater 'justice' in hell.  Also, the parable of the servant brought before the lord to be killed is specifically used to insist that the only value of human life is that in the context of belief vs non-belief.  The same parable is also traditionally interpreted by christian apologist to imply that the act of not believing in jesus is the act of persecuting jesus.  ( per Gills commentary )

If John 3:18 is true, then John 3:16 is false.

Yes, you're right.  The strength of the bible is that it can be interpreted to mean whatever the reader wants it to mean.  That's how we know its fallible and flawed.  I was commenting more on the intent of the verses of topic than the reality of the verses of topic.
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Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2012, 04:31:56 PM »


Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'm not convinced that you are qualified to make such a statement. But you are entitled to your own opinion. You have the freedom
to do that. You'd think that everything will eventually come to a boiling point. Things seem to be moving pretty fast now a days...

True, Jesus allegedly endured terrible torture, but Jesus' followers have inflicted far worse on the alleged heretics and witches from the medieval period up until the 19th century.  Jesus' fan club, The Church, disembowelled people, drowned them, flayed them, stretched them on the rack, burnt them, slow or fast. It was called the Inquisition.  I just recently read of a torture they devised called 'breaking' a person, which involved binding them on a wheel or cross and then breaking their bones, one by one, until dead. 

And then there were the tortures imposed by the European colonists, in particular the Spanish, upon the natives of the Americas in their attempts to Christianize these natives. 

Of course, lots of Christians like to torture themselves, whipping themselves and whatnot.  Then again, God's chosen people are commanded to mutilate the penises of newborn baby boys, so there you go. 

You have to wonder why god is so into torture.  Unless god is imaginary, then you have wonder why god's believers are so into torture. 

Offline Turbo SS

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2012, 04:45:41 PM »

Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'm not convinced that you are qualified to make such a statement. But you are entitled to your own opinion. You have the freedom
to do that. You'd think that everything will eventually come to a boiling point. Things seem to be moving pretty fast now a days...

I think anyone with half a brain can imagine much worse ways to die.  For example I would choose that over being partially skinned alive, then slowly roasted while someone shoved sharp objects in my eyes, in my dong and under my fingernails

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 05:35:04 PM »
If Jesus was truly human when he was crucified, then the pain and suffering would become too much for him, as prolonged torture always does, and he would have eventually been unable to take anymore and would have used his god-powers (like turning h2o into wine, walking on h2o, etc.) to either detach himself from the body and the pain, or he would have ended the ordeal prematurely by dying sooner than expected. I believe at least one Gospel depicts Jesus dying sooner than one would expect.   

If Jesus was god or demigod or some other cosmic being, then we should not assume that he experienced crucifixion and the resultant pain in the exact same manner that an ordinary mortal would. Indeed, with the powers of the unverse at his disposal, the burden of proof is on Jesus to show that he did not utilize any of his cosmic superpowers to numb his own pain.  Hells bells, I would if I were on the cross. 

Either way, Jesus, being secretly god, would have known that he wasn't going to permanently die and certainly wouldn't go to eternal hell...whereas those persons tortured to death by various churches would have had the fear of death and perhaps hell to experience, in addition to the indescribable pain inflicted by Christ's servants in the torture chamber.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 05:43:16 PM »

It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.
We have access to the same EXACT information. You have no more info than me. I'm not exactly sure what jesus was teaching those 12 people, or intending to teach. But heres the thing: We learn things in different ways. My elementary school teachers never intended to teach me that the Indigenous people of America were essentially wiped out by the settlers. But I did learn that by them (teachers) teaching that the Natives WERE there, and my understanding that I VERY RARELY see one.

The bible wasnt intending to teach me that Abraham was a lunatic instead that he was a faithful moron. But I did learn that he was a lunatic by understanding that anyone who would kill their child is a lunatic.  I dont think (could be wrong though) that the bible intended me to think that yahweh was a genocidal monster, but thats exactly what i learned in the fabled stories of massacres.

So no, the bible wasnt intending on teaching me that jesus was afraid to die, but thats what I learned. And it is clear.

Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'm not convinced that you are qualified to make such a statement. But you are entitled to your own opinion. You have the freedom
to do that. You'd think that everything will eventually come to a boiling point. Things seem to be moving pretty fast now a days...
Nope, never been beaten to a pulp or any of that other stuff. Has jesus ever starved for 8 years before finally dying as an apparent skeleton with skin only managing to sustain life by finding whatever rotten "food" he could in piles of trash and drinking water that rivals sewege? No. He was turning water into wine at fancy dinner parties. If those are my options, pass the cross. Has jesus ever died slowly as AIDs and thus ANY other sickness or disease ravaged his body while he could do nothing but sit back and watch his body deteriorate until he was 25 but looked about 70 before finally dying of the flu?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 05:45:58 PM by The Gawd »

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 05:57:57 PM »
If crucifixion was a common torture/punishment in those days, then what Jesus suffered was also suffered by a lot of other people before and since. Including the thieves who were hanging on crosses with Jesus. That one always gets me. These guys were actual human beings who only stole something and they went through the same stuff as magical Jesus, and nobody wears them on chains around their necks.

There are women who are in labor for longer than the three days Jesus suffered. After all that pain, some die in childbirth. And that is just considered unfortunate. No decorations on the wall of the church for any of them.

If Jehovah had really wanted to show Jesus some human pain, he would have made him a teenaged girl in a poor, war-torn country who is raped repeatedly by soldiers, has a baby under unsanitary conditions, watches it die, then dies herself of starvation.

Now, that's suffering. But it happens a lot, so not a biggie for most of your loving Christians. &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2012, 06:18:14 PM »
They have a fixation on the amount and kind of 'suffering' that supposedly jesus experienced.  I think its used as a means to reinforce the emotional attachment to his imagined 'selfless' act.  You can get a pretty big reaction by stating that there have been human beings that have suffered more than their jesus has.
Yes. Indeed.

What I DO take from it, is biblical evidence that jesus was a normal human being. No deity in son. It just doesnt make sense to be scared of death when you know youre not going to die.
It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.

A classic application of Christianese, as if everyone in the world knows what the hell "remove the cup" means.   &)
The cup of GODS wrath that He drank.

Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2012, 06:19:52 PM »
It is interesting that you would say this. I believe Jesus Christ actually taught His followers not to fear death. Although Jesus did ask The Father to remove the cup. It wasn't that He feared death.

This is an a priori assumption your part to rationalize the response in a different way.  Why would we ever interpret it to mean anything except what it says at face value?
In order to do that then you have to know what it meant at face value first.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2012, 06:24:05 PM »
Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'll take what happened to Jesus over this any day...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaphism
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Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2012, 06:26:17 PM »
In order to do that then you have to know what it meant at face value first.

Which you don't and make no effort to demonstrate your own authority, you simply presume it and then rationalize towards an assumed conditional where you believe the text is provided in a concerted effort to form a larger coherent religious metaphor.  Still, even your attempts to rationalize at that point are necessarily subjective, since there is no intellectual or objective means to interpret it.  It is purely arbitrary.

Why should we care?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 06:28:09 PM by Omen »
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Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2012, 06:27:47 PM »


Ever be beaten to a pulp, speared, and nailed to a cross to suffer an excruciatingly  painful and humiliating slow death...?

I'm not convinced that you are qualified to make such a statement. But you are entitled to your own opinion. You have the freedom
to do that. You'd think that everything will eventually come to a boiling point. Things seem to be moving pretty fast now a days...

True, Jesus allegedly endured terrible torture, but Jesus' followers have inflicted far worse on the alleged heretics and witches from the medieval period up until the 19th century.  Jesus' fan club, The Church, disembowelled people, drowned them, flayed them, stretched them on the rack, burnt them, slow or fast. It was called the Inquisition.  I just recently read of a torture they devised called 'breaking' a person, which involved binding them on a wheel or cross and then breaking their bones, one by one, until dead. 

And then there were the tortures imposed by the European colonists, in particular the Spanish, upon the natives of the Americas in their attempts to Christianize these natives. 

Of course, lots of Christians like to torture themselves, whipping themselves and whatnot.  Then again, God's chosen people are commanded to mutilate the penises of newborn baby boys, so there you go. 

You have to wonder why god is so into torture.  Unless god is imaginary, then you have wonder why god's believers are so into torture.
And you assume that these were Jesus' followers...? Why...? Because they said so...? Even Hitler "claimed" to be a Christian but  just because someone says it, doesn't mean that it is true.

You guys already know this truth but somehow it always gets brought up as if you really believe they are Christian. Probably for debate to see if someone will bite. But I think we both know better don't ya think...?


Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2012, 06:31:12 PM »
And you assume that these were Jesus' followers...? Why...? Because they said so...? Even Hitler "claimed" to be a Christian

And he was.

Quote
but  just because someone says it, doesn't mean that it is true.

You don't get to define what a true christian is.  I allow anyone to call themselves a christian and justify their position as they see fit.  Hitler referenced biblical scripture that traditionally and historically had been used to justify acts of anti-semitic violence for centuries.  Hitler did nothing but appeal to what was stereotypical for christians to believe, that the jews were cursed and sub human.  He also included other disparate groups identified by race, political opposition, and their non-christian religious beliefs.

Quote
You guys already know this truth but somehow it always gets brought up as if you really believe they are Christian. Probably for debate to see if someone will bite. But I think we both know better don't ya think...?

Nope.  Hitler was a christian and if christianity is literally true, Hitler is forgiven of his sins and lounging in a fantasy land called heaven.
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Offline ILOVEYOU

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2012, 06:31:32 PM »
If Jesus was truly human when he was crucified, then the pain and suffering would become too much for him, as prolonged torture always does, and he would have eventually been unable to take anymore and would have used his god-powers (like turning h2o into wine, walking on h2o, etc.) to either detach himself from the body and the pain, or he would have ended the ordeal prematurely by dying sooner than expected. I believe at least one Gospel depicts Jesus dying sooner than one would expect.   

If Jesus was god or demigod or some other cosmic being, then we should not assume that he experienced crucifixion and the resultant pain in the exact same manner that an ordinary mortal would. Indeed, with the powers of the unverse at his disposal, the burden of proof is on Jesus to show that he did not utilize any of his cosmic superpowers to numb his own pain.  Hells bells, I would if I were on the cross. 

Either way, Jesus, being secretly god, would have known that he wasn't going to permanently die and certainly wouldn't go to eternal hell...whereas those persons tortured to death by various churches would have had the fear of death and perhaps hell to experience, in addition to the indescribable pain inflicted by Christ's servants in the torture chamber.
This is just your opinion.

Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2012, 06:32:25 PM »
The bible is filled with dehumanizing language, there isn't a single reference to a non-believer that isn't first predicated upon pejoratives meant to devalue the existence of the person who doesn't believe.  It is necessarily xenophobic, yet you pretend that it isn't.
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Offline Omen

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2012, 06:36:29 PM »
Luke 19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

The parable makes it absolutely clear; those enemies ( who are non-believers, and specifically in this case jews ), which would not that I should reign over them ( not believe ), bring before me and slay them ( because their value as human beings is solely dependent on a belief in religious superstition. )

This is the definition of a psychotic xenophobic mentality.  This is EXACTLY how apologist interpret this parable.

http://bible.cc/luke/19-27.htm

Quote
Gill's Commentary:

But those mine enemies,.... Meaning particularly the Jews, who were enemies to the person of Christ, and hated and rejected him, as the King Messiah; and rebelled against him, and would not submit to his government; and were enemies to his people, and were exceeding mad against them, and persecuted them; and to his Gospel, and the distinguishing truths of it, and to his ordinances, which they rejected against themselves:

The act of not believing jesus is apparently persecuting jesus.  Which is a totally psychotic and pathological narcissistic belief, victimizing ones self based on others by an innocuous qualification of not believing your a living god.
"Religious faith is the antithesis to knowledge, it is the opposition to education, and it has to act in animosity against the free exchange of ideas.  Why? Because those things are what cause harm to a religions place in society most." - Me

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2012, 06:46:43 PM »
Soooo, if someone does something bad, that means they aren't a Christian, even if they say they are Christian, and are high mucky mucks in the church? I guess you can't keep saying that Christianity is the most popular religion, then, if most of the 2 billion people who say they are Christians aren't real Christians.

Does it follow, then, that a good person like Gandhi was secretly a real Christian, even though he was to all appearances a real Hindu? Can a person be good without being a Christian?  :?

What does that make us atheists who are not really bad or really good-- but not Christian or any other religion? Are we not real?[1]

And don't go telling us that we are evil sinners and deserve death no matter what we do, because we just got finished with that from magicmiles. And don't go re-defining "good" to mean "whatever god wants" instead of what most people agree is good. Some things (raping babies, committing genocide, voting Republican, eating pistachio ice cream) are evil no matter who wants you to do it.
 1. We are Devo. Old school ref.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2012, 06:48:12 PM »
Why do christians ALWAYS resort to the "...he wasnt a christian..." excuse? Literally, I'd say nearly 100% of the time. Now, ILY, you werent intending on teaching me this, but what I learned is that no christian considers anyone else a christian.

The FACT is there is no way to determine "who is a christian" or who isnt. There is no set verifiable criteria. What we CAN verify is what people claim and their given reasoning for doing things. If they claim to be a christian AND give biblical/christian reasoning for doing something then I'll take their word that theyre a christian.

But this is no different than christians claiming we arent really atheists and that we really believe in this non-sense but we're just mad a "god". So this is a trend, maybe even a characteristic of christianity. You dont believe anyone is what they claim to be, instead they are what you want them to be, which is no surprise considering your ideas on god which also fit that very description. God isnt really bad (despite the genocide and rape) we're just evil and cant understand his goodness.

@nogodsforme

Actually there is a guy here on the boards claiming Gandhi was really a christian.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 06:50:10 PM by The Gawd »

Offline flapdoodle64

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Re: What am I to take from Jesus' fear of death in Matt 26:39?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2012, 07:37:49 PM »
And you assume that these were Jesus' followers...? Why...? Because they said so...? Even Hitler "claimed" to be a Christian but  just because someone says it, doesn't mean that it is true.

Hitler's airplanes and tanks all had Christian crosses painted on them.  The majority of the nation thought they were a Christian nation.  Face it, you want someone to do really horrible things, the best way is to promise them a reward in paradise for doing those horrible things.