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Offline Graybeard

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xianity and the west
« on: March 04, 2013, 12:32:43 PM »
since we see the world very differently.
I think we see it in exactly the same way but we interpret it differently. Your average atheist interprets the world via his experiences and the published experience of others where that is based upon a foundation of proof.

The Muslim, Hindu, Jew and Christian will do this for many areas of life (business, technology, science, etc.) but then they all divert off on their own way to call upon and interpretation of the world around them as understood by an extinct (and comparatively backward) civilisation.

Whereas the Muslim, Hindu, and Jew have "home-grown" religions, Christianity is an import to the West.  Why do you think that it enjoyed a success?





RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 12:53:12 PM »
I think we see it in exactly the same way but we interpret it differently. Your average atheist interprets the world via his experiences and the published experience of others where that is based upon a foundation of proof.

Great point.  With regard to interpretation, I completely agree.  In this case, my reference to "see things differently" probably encompasses more or less worldview and approach, which influences our interpretation.  Our experiences, combined with our worldview or philosophy lends itself to how we interpret those experiences.
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Whereas the Muslim, Hindu, and Jew have "home-grown" religions, Christianity is an import to the West.  Why do you think that it enjoyed a success?

Graybeard, that is a great question.  I personally believe that there are many reasons for this, but I would start with one that I think has played a major influence...equality.  Jesus, Paul, Peter...they open up salvation to the masses, to anyone who believes.  Jew/Greek/slave/free/man/woman/rich/poor, they all participate in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  At the heart, as humans, we desire freedom.  I haven't studied all of the other religions in depth to know how they have influenced their own cultures in such ways.  But, I will say, that in Western civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Christ, regardless of status.  In fact, in places where Christianity has been adopted as the primary religion, we usually find "free" or more democratic societies.  In contrast, most of the other major "home-grown" religions you name tend to thrive in societies that don't enjoy the freedoms of the West.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 01:27:42 PM »
Whereas the Muslim, Hindu, and Jew have "home-grown" religions, Christianity is an import to the West.  Why do you think that it enjoyed a success?

Graybeard, that is a great question.  I personally believe that there are many reasons for this, but I would start with one that I think has played a major influence...equality.  Jesus, Paul, Peter...they open up salvation to the masses, to anyone who believes.
Obviously all the other religions had a way to heaven, so this is not unique to Christianity, so I am not too sure what you mean by "salvation".

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Jew/Greek/slave/free/man/woman/rich/poor, they all participate in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Again, this is not unique to Christianity. Islam, even today, is very keen on the idea of "The Caliphate" - an empire of believers, who will include converts. So that can't be it.

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At the heart, as humans, we desire freedom.
I often find that the religious use terms like "freedom" (and 'salvation' above) with a different meaning to that found in normal conversation.

What do you mean by "freedom"? Seriously, an answer would help tremendously.

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I haven't studied all of the other religions in depth to know how they have influenced their own cultures in such ways.  But, I will say, that in Western civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Christ, regardless of status.

I assure you that the religions I mentioned also state the same thing.

Again you use the word "free" - could you define your term here? What distinguishes the ' "free" man or woman" ' from any other?

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In fact, in places where Christianity has been adopted as the primary religion, we usually find "free" or more democratic societies.  In contrast, most of the other major "home-grown" religions you name tend to thrive in societies that don't enjoy the freedoms of the West.

But, I suggest that your conclusions from your observations must be faulty. You seem to indicate that Christianity, that started around 40AD has aided society consistently and led it towards democracy. There is no democracy in the Bible and none in any Church I can think of.

Whereas what you write is, of course, true now, if we look at history, there was no society as democratic as we have today until, maybe the early 20th century. To cut an even more definite line, up until the late 18th century, there were no democratic societies (as we know them) at all. And yet all of these societies were ruled by a combination of Monarchs who were guided by their local church/mosque/temple.

We see from this that, in the West, "The Enlightenment" allowed for the development of ideas that, in their turn, created democracy - votes for all. The Enlightenment was the time when the power of the Church (or Mosque or Temple) started to be eroded.

It thus seems that Religion had been holding the people back for hundreds of years and, in the case of Islam, still does. Hinduism is somewhat different as it is postulated upon the caste system that is still alive today. Nevertheless, India has universal suffrage and, in terms of democracy alone is the equivalent of any Western nation - social issues however swamp the effect; social issues caused by religion.

So, again, I will ask you to define your terms (Salvation, freedom, free) and accept that the citizen being able to release himself from the influence of the church was what lead to democracy as we see it.

As it is, I am no nearer understanding how a religion started in Israel ended up in The West. It is rather as if a religion from the Amazon had ended up in Uganda.

So, why Christianity in the West?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 01:32:32 PM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 02:24:23 PM »
Obviously all the other religions had a way to heaven, so this is not unique to Christianity, so I am not too sure what you mean by "salvation".
Many religions offer "salvation", but very few freedom.  Salvation was available to certain people and not others.  Judaism, for example, was exclusive to those born to Abraham.  They despised those who were unclean.  Until Jesus came, the idea a non-Jew could go to heaven was unthinkable to the Jew.   Jesus Christ broke down those barriers and included the Gentiles into His Kingdom.  The Jews really struggled with this idea.

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Jew/Greek/slave/free/man/woman/rich/poor, they all participate in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Again, this is not unique to Christianity. Islam, even today, is very keen on the idea of "The Caliphate" - an empire of believers, who will include converts. So that can't be it.

Ah, yes, but the Muslim and the Christian have very different views in this area.  How many "free" Muslim nations do you know of?  How about the freedom of women in these, are they seen as partners?  Jesus promoted liberation, and greatly empowered those that the rest of society deemed as inferior, and I believe that difference in philosophy continues today.

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At the heart, as humans, we desire freedom.
I often find that the religious use terms like "freedom" (and 'salvation' above) with a different meaning to that found in normal conversation.

This may indeed be true, as I am sure my idea and understanding freedom, while similar, probably looks different than yours.

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I haven't studied all of the other religions in depth to know how they have influenced their own cultures in such ways.  But, I will say, that in Western civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Christ, regardless of status.

I assure you that the religions I mentioned also state the same thing.

We can say this, but, how does that work out in reality?  In India, do we see this?  In Iran?  In Syria?  How about Pakistan?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Egypt?  Does the rest of the world, dominated by other religions, enjoy such freedom...including those governments built upon these religions?

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Again you use the word "free" - could you define your term here? What distinguishes the ' "free" man or woman" ' from any other?

To some degree, as an American, I look at this through the lens of growing up in a society that has traditionally celebrated democracy, freedom of choice, of religion, etc. 

In contrast, my Brother, Saeed Abedini, is currently in Iran imprisoned for simply being a Christian and not renouncing his faith.  Is this freedom?  Does Islam really promote freedom and free society?  Jesus preached a message of liberation yet responsibility.  Paul also carried this message.  My understanding of freedom has come out of slavery.  Even in my own life, the greatest freedom I've ever known has come from, as Paul, being a willing servant (slave) of Christ.  That would take much more time to get into, not sure if that is something you want to dive into, but it is probably very relevant to this discussion of why I believe Christianity has flourished around the world, not just in the West.

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But, I suggest that your conclusions from your observations must be faulty. You seem to indicate that Christianity, that started around 40AD has aided society consistently and led it towards democracy. There is no democracy in the Bible and none in any Church I can think of.

I would say the conclusions *may* be faulty.  I'm simply making observations and drawing conclusions from what we see and what we see taught by Paul and Jesus.  Paul says all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable.  He calls love for your brother or sister as actually trumping your own freedom.  Jesus says the same thing.  All the law and the prophets hinder on 2 commands:  Love God, Love people.  When you love your brother, do you murder them?  You can ask someone to follow a "rule" or law.  But, if it isn't done out of love first and foremost, what eventually happens?

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Whereas what you write is, of course, true now, if we look at history, there was no society as democratic as we have today until, maybe the early 20th century. To cut an even more definite line, up until the late 18th century, there were no democratic societies (as we know them) at all. And yet all of these societies were ruled by a combination of Monarchs who were guided by their local church/mosque/temple.
This is very true.  Yet, we also see the greatest explosion of Christianity has also happened during this same stretch of time.  Since the time the Church was scattered and fell under severe persecution, it has been a slow climb.  Then, suddenly, and explosion of freedom and the spread of Christianity started about the same time as our very own country was founded.  I don't like to confuse patriotism/freedom/etc. with Christianity.  I just find it interesting that the places where we find freedom, are places we largely find Christianity as the dominant religion.  In America, we too often blur these lines, and thus ignore the responsibility that comes with the realization of freedom in Christ towards our brother and the rest of humanity.

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We see from this that, in the West, "The Enlightenment" allowed for the development of ideas that, in their turn, created democracy - votes for all. The Enlightenment was the time when the power of the Church (or Mosque or Temple) started to be eroded.
Again, I don't necessarily credit free societies as being inherently Christian, just the correlation between these principles and the teaching of Christ, Paul, Peter, etc.

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It thus seems that Religion had been holding the people back for hundreds of years and, in the case of Islam, still does. Hinduism is somewhat different as it is postulated upon the caste system that is still alive today. Nevertheless, India has universal suffrage and, in terms of democracy alone is the equivalent of any Western nation - social issues however swamp the effect; social issues caused by religion.

"Religion" may hold people back, of that we probably both hold similar perspectives.

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So, again, I will ask you to define your terms (Salvation, freedom, free) and accept that the citizen being able to release himself from the influence of the church was what lead to democracy as we see it.

This seems fair so you can gain a better understanding of my viewpoints.  And, I don't disagree with your assessment, I think we might, however, "interpret" it differently, or see it through different perspectives and starting points.

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As it is, I am no nearer understanding how a religion started in Israel ended up in The West. It is rather as if a religion from the Amazon had ended up in Uganda.

We'll get there, because it is more than just "freedom", and it is more than just the West.  It has successfully penetrated societies on every continent on this earth, and continues to do so.

It's important not to pigeon hole it to one reason, as I think the reasons are many, freedom and liberation being just one of those reasons.

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 06:46:04 PM »
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So, again, I will ask you to define your terms (Salvation, freedom, free) and accept that the citizen being able to release himself from the influence of the church was what lead to democracy as we see it.

Without getting to detailed, here is how I see these things:

Salvation - Sure, I'm saved from death, but it is much deeper than that.  I am saved into something, not just out of something.  Jesus says we go from being under God's wrath to being "joint heirs with Christ" and sharing in the rights of sonship. Salvation, as many see it (from hell) is indeed true, but there is so much more for me, even in this life.  I'm not talking "prosperity", wealth, or other such theologies you'll be presented with from TV evangelists wanting your money, I'm talking about relationship.  And not just relationship with Jesus, but also with the Church, the global body of believers who I instantly have a connection with.  While Saeed is in prison, he is also my Brother, and his suffering becomes my suffering as does his rejoicing become my rejoicing and vice versa.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it gives you a small picture of some of the benefits of my salvation.  It is true, one can find some of these same benefits in other places, such as the brotherhood of mankind.  But, that said, I have never experienced it as I have in the context of the Church and under the Lordship of Christ.  It is different, at least for me.

Freedom - As an American, my idea of freedom is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, racial equality, the idea that all men are created equal, etc.  We enjoy the freedom to vote, to believe or not believe in whatever we want, free speech, and the list goes on.  Christ came as a liberator.  He set men free from many bondages and he championed the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the gentiles, the unclean and so much more.  In fact, the religious leaders of the day were extremely threatened by Him because they realized their own earthly kingdoms and oppression at the expense of the poor, for their own game, was directly challenged by Jesus.

For years, the "church", as you aptly point out, was an enemy of these very principles.  In fact, men in power often went through great pains to abuse and use religion to control people, to keep them "down".  They even went so far as to keep the Word of God out of the hands of the common man, that they would become their only means to salvation and forgiveness, ignoring that Jesus himself serves as our advocate and high priest.  Men do many things when corruption and power rule their hearts.  But, we've seen the Church, the bride of Christ, continue to overcome this.  So, if you're referring to the oppression of the Catholic church through much of the early centuries, I agree with you.  Shedding that control was very important to arriving at where we are today in the West.


Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 07:10:05 PM »
Ah, yes, but the Muslim and the Christian have very different views in this area.  How many "free" Muslim nations do you know of?  How about the freedom of women in these, are they seen as partners?
I am afraid that your statements above are inaccurate. (i) You are comparing apples with oranges. You must realise that a lot of the Middle East is living in what was our 17th century. In our 17th century, the Christians burned witches, executed heretics hung homosexuals and women were property. As we have already discussed, The West threw off the shackles of superstition, ignored the Churches and set about progressing to its present position. During all this time – 1700 years of Christianity, life was very much like what it is today in Fundamentalist Iran

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the  Jesus promoted liberation, and greatly empowered those that the rest of society deemed as inferior, and I believe that difference in philosophy continues today.

This is the second inaccuracy. In Judea at the time of Christ, women were possessions. You will be aware of various verses by both Jesus, Paul and others which order woman’s place in society.

In Northern Europe, prior to Christianity, women were free and held positions in society much as they do today. After the arrival of Christianity, this all changed. They again became possessions. The could not own property, they could not vote, the professions barred them. This lasted until the late 1950s.

Why was this? It is because of the power of the Christian Church that still influenced governments.

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This may indeed be true, as I am sure my idea and understanding freedom, while similar, probably looks different than yours.

I am quite aware of the differences but please: what meaning do you attach to “freedom”? What do you mean by “Freedom”

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YOUin Western civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Christ, regardless of status.

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MEI assure you that the religions I mentioned also state the same thing.

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We can say this, but, how does that work out in reality?  In India, do we see this?  In Iran?  In Syria?  How about Pakistan?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Egypt?  Does the rest of the world, dominated by other religions, enjoy such freedom...

Well, we can say it by quoting you: in Islamic civilization, this is appealing to the "free" man or woman, that they can come to God, through Mohammed, regardless of status.

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including those governments built upon these religions?

As we have seen from the history of the West at a time when religion dominated Europe, the governments were just like those in present-day Islamic states.

What we therefore are witnessing is the damage that a strong religion does to society and mankind.

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(my question = “what do you mean by “free”?) To some degree, as an American, I look at this through the lens of growing up in a society that has traditionally celebrated democracy, freedom of choice, of religion, etc.

All very interesting, but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with Christianity. Nothing. You will have read about the Christian institute of slavery? You will have read about racial segregation, you will have read about the McCarthy era. You will know about the attitudes that your fellow citizens have to Blacks and Hispanics. You will know how the richest country on earth still has a poor health care system compared with Europe.

These terrible injustices were all done in the name of Christianity – yes, even Jesus apparently hated the communists that McCarthy exposed (rather similar to a witch hunt.)

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In contrast, my Brother, Saeed Abedini, is currently in Iran imprisoned for simply being a Christian and not renouncing his faith.  Is this freedom?

No. It is religion.

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Does Islam really promote freedom and free society?

Does Christianity? Remember who said the following?   

Feminism encourages women to leave their husband, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians – Pat Robertson, Christian Coalition.

Atheistic, secular humanists should be removed from office and Christians should be elected; Government and True Christianity™ are inseparable – Robert Simonds Citizens for Excellence in Education.

When the Christian Majority take over this country there will be no satanic churches, no free distribution of pornography no more talk of rights for homosexuals – Gary Potter, Christians for Political Action

AIDS is a racial disease of Jews and Niggers, and fortunately it is wiping out the queers. I guess God hates queers for several reasons. J.B. Stoner

These people are Christians… and I have many more similar quotes I can give you. But this religious article will show you what an excess of Christianity does for you: http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/why-atheists-cant-be-real-americans/

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Jesus preached a message of liberation yet responsibility.  Paul also carried this message.  My understanding of freedom has come out of slavery.  Even in my own life, the greatest freedom I've ever known has come from, as Paul, being a willing servant (slave) of Christ.  That would take much more time to get into, not sure if that is something you want to dive into, but it is probably very relevant to this discussion of why I believe Christianity has flourished around the world, not just in the West.

Christianity has flourished around the world. Why, in Christian Africa are hundreds of thousands starving. Does Jesus love Americans more than Africans? And Have you heard of “The Lord’s Resistance Army”?

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This is very true.  Yet, we also see the greatest explosion of Christianity has also happened during this same stretch of time [Edit GB to add 18th century to the present day].

I am afraid this is simply wrong. Church attendance and religion in general has actually been falling since that time. In Europe, ~35% of the population describe themselves as Christian. Had you asked the question in 1780, the answer would have been 100%.

I must emphasise that the thing you call freedom has been granted to us because we left the church and disregarded its dogma.

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Since the time the Church was scattered and fell under severe persecution, it has been a slow climb.  Then, suddenly, and explosion of freedom and the spread of Christianity started about the same time as our very own country was founded.
This is simply wrong. I do not know what else to say! I am afraid you have a very small understanding of history. “The Church” was never “persecuted”. One Church would persecute another, but that was just people fighting about which one of them God loved Best!

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I don't like to confuse patriotism/freedom/etc. with Christianity.  I just find it interesting that the places where we find freedom, are places we largely find Christianity as the dominant religion.

Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana? They have what you call “freedom”?

You must tell me what this “freedom is.”

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I don't necessarily credit free societies as being inherently Christian, just the correlation between these principles and the teaching of Christ, Paul, Peter, etc.

Again, historically, you are wrong. All those principles were there in the American Natives who were slaughtered in their thousands by “Good God-Fearing American Settlers”

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"Religion" may hold people back, of that we probably both hold similar perspectives.

Thank you – there may be help for you yet! : )

So, again, I will ask you to define your terms (Salvation, freedom, free) and accept that the citizen being able to release himself from the influence of the church was what lead to democracy as we see it.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 07:40:20 PM »
Additionally:

You mention your brother once or twice. I have no idea why he is in prison but it seems to me that, without intending to be too hard, that religion - his and Iran's - are in conflict both are saying that their invisible friend is best.

He seems to be so convinced of Christianity, that he has been imprisoned for it. Do you see what religion makes people do? Do you see that if he had simply said, "OK I'll be Muslim" he would not be there.

But no. He decides to become a martyr. This brainwashing and his suffering is whose fault? If the law says, "Don't do this!" If you do it, you must be prepared, without complaining to go to prison. I have never understood it, and I never will. The argument is over whether Jesus was a prophet or the Son of God... does it really matter?

I have also had time to consider you whole post. It seems to me that your entire post can be boiled down to "I like America." and you are desperately trying to link that with Christianity - you will find this impossible.

You also need to look at the religious beliefs of those who drafted the US constitution - you will be surprised.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 08:22:49 PM »
Additionally:

You mention your brother once or twice. I have no idea why he is in prison but it seems to me that, without intending to be too hard, that religion - his and Iran's - are in conflict both are saying that their invisible friend is best.

He seems to be so convinced of Christianity, that he has been imprisoned for it. Do you see what religion makes people do? Do you see that if he had simply said, "OK I'll be Muslim" he would not be there.

But no. He decides to become a martyr. This brainwashing and his suffering is whose fault? If the law says, "Don't do this!" If you do it, you must be prepared, without complaining to go to prison. I have never understood it, and I never will. The argument is over whether Jesus was a prophet or the Son of God... does it really matter?

I have also had time to consider you whole post. It seems to me that your entire post can be boiled down to "I like America." and you are desperately trying to link that with Christianity - you will find this impossible.

You also need to look at the religious beliefs of those who drafted the US constitution - you will be surprised.

Actually, there is a lot about America I don't like.  To some degree, with all the blessings afforded to us hear, it makes it extremely difficult to live out some of the most basic Biblical principles and faith, and I feel, perhaps, it may even be a disadvantage in this regard.  I am probably not much of a "patriot" as many who mix Christianity with politics and identity as Americans.  Though, I do see America as unique in the world, and inspired, but for very different reasons.  My point regarding Christianity and freedom, which has turned into a rather expansive thread on the topic, is much more simple.  It is that "free" societies tend to be largely Christian, and that Christianity appeals to men partially because Jesus advocated for the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, etc.  And through the last 200 years, many of the men and women who have brought about social change have done so with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and have drawn inspiration from their faith.  I am thinking of Wilberforce, William Booth, George Williams, Martin Luther King, and so many others. 

The fact that men (even religious men) abuse others should not surprise us, and men seeking power will often use whatever means necessary, including religion, to obtain control.  In fact, it's usually contradictory to what we find in the teachings of Jesus and the disciples.

So, we can continue to discuss the appeal of freedom, or we can move into other reasons why I feel Christianity has enjoyed much success as compared to so many other religions.  Do you disagree with the above? Do you find that Jesus sought to uphold the oppressors, champion the religious, and condemn those already condemned by their position in society?  Do you find him adding to the law and the burden men were already unable to bear in their own strength?  Do you find the teachings of Christ about love to actually be about dominating and power mongering over others?  Do you find him commanding men to steal, oppress, hold down, exalt themselves, behave corruptly, and, in general, maintain the status quo?  Do you find his inclusion of all mankind into the Kingdom of God to actually be contradictory to these ideas?

It's interesting you would consider Christianity and Islam to be so similar.  Christianity is entirely about relationship (with Jesus and with one another).  Islam is entirely about law and control.  The Muslim can't grasp the idea of active relationship with the creator.  He has no idea of his standing with God, in fact, most of the time, he is led to believe that God is displeased with him and that he must work constantly out of fear.  In another thread, someone talked about dangling the carrot of hell as the motivation for belief.  Perhaps that is true for some. In Islam, this is very true.  In Christianity, I have found it to be about so much more than just heaven and hell.  Heaven is certainly a blessed hope, but it is not the only motivation, nor necessarily the most important.  Grace, love, peace, and so many other motivators exist that I rarely think of heaven and hell in that way anymore (from a motivational standpoint).  Often, when things are "hard" in this life, I think to the hope we have in Jesus Christ, but that no longer serves as my primary motivational concern or driving force behind my faith.  Yet, to say it doesn't play a role would also be inaccurate.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:49:28 PM by muchlove »

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 08:41:37 PM »
Additionally:

You mention your brother once or twice. I have no idea why he is in prison but it seems to me that, without intending to be too hard, that religion - his and Iran's - are in conflict both are saying that their invisible friend is best.

He seems to be so convinced of Christianity, that he has been imprisoned for it. Do you see what religion makes people do? Do you see that if he had simply said, "OK I'll be Muslim" he would not be there.

But no. He decides to become a martyr. This brainwashing and his suffering is whose fault? If the law says, "Don't do this!" If you do it, you must be prepared, without complaining to go to prison. I have never understood it, and I never will. The argument is over whether Jesus was a prophet or the Son of God... does it really matter?

Yes it does really matter, to those who are in Christ.  I realize you don't understand, as you view all religion on equal footing...that it is false, and that there is no God.  Jesus says God will be that final judge, we don't need to be.  So while Saeed might likely be killed for his faith, those who go around killing in the name of Jesus are usurping the authority of the creator and taking it into their own hands, which is why we don't see Christian governments execute or imprison those of Islamic faith (or other religious ideology).  Please note this does not mean that men haven't abused the religion for their own gain, or done evil to others in the name of religion.

I believe you mentioned the Caliphate in our discussion regarding freedom.  Yet, the caliphate is about establishing Islamic law, without the freedom of choice.  Iran, for example, or Hezbollah would like to establish this by force and take on this mandate that every person would be a slave to Islamic law.  Christianity seeks no such thing, as seen in scripture.  Jesus still desires our obedience and to write His law upon our hearts, but he doesn't give us the authority to force it upon others.  In fact, he asks a disciple to turn the other cheek, love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you, walk two miles when you are forced to go one, love those who are difficult, fellowship with one another, carry each others burdens, etc.  It also lays out the principal that the manner in which you judge or treat others is the same manner and criteria that you will be judged.  This puts an extreme weight upon those who would do such evil in the name of their religion, including Christianity.  There is no doubt that men have done such things, but rest assured, they will be judged for such, just as Jesus himself states over and over.  It isn't forced, it's a free choice.  Just as it is free to reject it, and thus remain under the "law" for the purposes of judgment.

You also need to look at the religious beliefs of those who drafted the US constitution - you will be surprised.

Probably not, I am aware of some already.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 08:46:40 PM by muchlove »

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 09:00:01 PM »
Graybeard, I need to exit for the evening, but let me know if there are some more specifics you want to get into regarding the long thread you posted earlier.  The fact that you think I equate "I love America" with Christianity probably means we're not connecting on a few specifics.  I hold no such viewpoint, in fact I think many apsects of American culture are at direct odds with attempting to live as a disciple of Jesus.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 10:20:42 AM »
Jesus says God will be that final judge, we don't need to be.
Mohammed says Allah will be the final judge and we don’t need to be. 

Why don’t you find Islam to be credible?

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So while Saeed might likely be killed for his faith, those who go around killing in the name of Jesus are usurping the authority of the creator and taking it into their own hands,
But the Old Testament is filled with acts of genocide ordered by your God. Who is to say that Jesus has not spoken to those who go around killing folk in His Name?

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The Lord's Resistance ArmyWiki (LRA), also known as the Lord's Resistance Movement, is a militant movement, which is described by some as new religious movement or a cult which is operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. It has been accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery and forcing children to participate in hostilities... The group is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesman of God and a spirit medium.

Are you calling Joseph Kony a liar? You perhaps think that he does not hear the voice of God? Yet you think you are "guided by God"?

You and he share the same mindset, the same feelings. Who is to say that Joseph Kony is not right? Do you really know what God wants?

Eze:14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Ex:15:3: The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

Lu:19:27: But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.


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Please note this does not mean that men haven't abused the religion for their own gain, or done evil to others in the name of religion.

How can that possibly be an “abuse of religion” when the Bible explicitly tells us to kill non-Christians? OK, most of the time, we do not kill non-Christians, but that is only because we ignore God and defy him by operating our own morality instead of that of God.

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I believe you mentioned the Caliphate in our discussion regarding freedom.  Yet, the caliphate is about establishing Islamic law, without the freedom of choice.

And Christianity is about establishing God’s law, without the freedom of choice. 

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Iran, for example, or Hezbollah would like to establish this by force and take on this mandate that every person would be a slave to Islamic law.  Christianity seeks no such thing, as seen in scripture.

I have shown you scripture that clearly shows that you are wrong – very wrong.

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Jesus still desires our obedience and to write His law upon our hearts, but he doesn't give us the authority to force it upon others.

Please read what is in the Bible, not “what you think” is in the Bible.

The justification, Protestant and Catholic alike, for torture for worshipping God the wrong way is that torture gives you time to repent and accept the proper way. Those who will not accept the right way to worship, should be killed in accordance with the Bible and to prevent them from spreading their evil in the world.

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It also lays out the principal that the manner in which you judge or treat others is the same manner and criteria that you will be judged.  This puts an extreme weight upon those who would do such evil in the name of their religion, including Christianity.
No it does not! Those who do not follow Christ are damned for eternity, so it doesn’t matter much what they do.

Those who have killed in the name or Chrsitianity (and there have been many) always justify it by saying they are fighting evil.
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There is no doubt that men have done such things, but rest assured, they will be judged for such,

No. When you’re dead, you’re dead – that is it. There is no more, and you, who claim this, cannot show it to be otherwise. How many dead men have come back?

You also need to look at the religious beliefs of those who drafted the US constitution - you will be surprised.

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Probably not, I am aware of some already.
Then you will be aware, unlike your claim, that very few were Christians amongst those who drafted the Constitution, yet you said there were. They were deists at best.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 01:05:33 PM »
Jesus says God will be that final judge, we don't need to be.
Mohammed says Allah will be the final judge and we don’t need to be. 

Why don’t you find Islam to be credible?

Many things.  Chiefly, however, the denial that Jesus is the Christ (since, after all, I am a Christian).  Does that mean I hate my Muslim brothers, or want to force them into belief/submission?  No.  I have hope that, should Christ not return soon, that some would find a relationship with Jesus Christ, and many are.  However, I have a growing sense that Islam/Christianity will be at odds with one another to the very end.

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So while Saeed might likely be killed for his faith, those who go around killing in the name of Jesus are usurping the authority of the creator and taking it into their own hands,
But the Old Testament is filled with acts of genocide ordered by your God. Who is to say that Jesus has not spoken to those who go around killing folk in His Name?

Factually speaking, yes, there are times that God ordered Israel to kill others who he deemed wicked.  However, in this day and age, it would be inconsistent with every example laid out for us of mercy by Christ in the New Testament, so I would definitely question the validity of someone who claims this is ok to do.  In fact, Jesus lays out the command to love our enemy, turn the other cheek, walk two miles when forced to go one, offer your cloak when your tunic is stripped from you, pray for those that persecute you.  So, if God lays out the example through Jesus, then I'm to be obedient to it.  He (and Paul) lay the foundation that He will judge the world, in the end, or job is simply to preach the Gospel and live our lives in the best example of Christ that we can.

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The Lord's Resistance ArmyWiki (LRA), also known as the Lord's Resistance Movement, is a militant movement, which is described by some as new religious movement or a cult which is operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. It has been accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery and forcing children to participate in hostilities... The group is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesman of God and a spirit medium.

Are you calling Joseph Kony a liar? You perhaps think that he does not hear the voice of God? Yet you think you are "guided by God"?
Yes, I would say what Joseph Kony does is contrary to everything Jesus and his disciples lay out.  Including, the exhortation that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another.

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You and he share the same mindset, the same feelings. Who is to say that Joseph Kony is not right? Do you really know what God wants?
We don't share the same mindset in a general sense, other than we both claim to follow God (so does the Muslim).  I *believe* I know what God wants in as much as I try to follow the leadership of Jesus.  In addition, I rely on the Holy Spirit to testify to that, but Paul also tells us to "test" all things that we would not be deceived by a wicked heart and our own evil.  Everything I *think* I hear from God must pass through the person of Jesus Christ and his testimony and instructions.  If it conflicts with His teaching, I must reject it, even if I'm convinced by my own heart that I am right.  You and I both know people use religion for all kinds of abuses.  I believe Kony desires power above all else, and would use religion as the means by which to justify his own evil.  But, I can't *know* this for certain, but I believe it with full confidence and faith because the filter I use (Jesus, the fruit of the Holy Spirit) goes against most of the actions Kony employs.

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Eze:14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Ex:15:3: The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

Lu:19:27: But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.


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Please note this does not mean that men haven't abused the religion for their own gain, or done evil to others in the name of religion.

How can that possibly be an “abuse of religion” when the Bible explicitly tells us to kill non-Christians? OK, most of the time, we do not kill non-Christians, but that is only because we ignore God and defy him by operating our own morality instead of that of God.

It is an abuse of religion because Jesus says it is so.  I have many theories on this, but they are just that, theories.  I will not have knowledge of the mind of God for certain until we meet face to face at the time of judgment.  Yet, it is true and factual that God has, at times, ordered the deaths of many unrighteous, especially in the days of Israel in the Old Testament.  Sodom and Gomorrah is another example.

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I believe you mentioned the Caliphate in our discussion regarding freedom.  Yet, the caliphate is about establishing Islamic law, without the freedom of choice.

And Christianity is about establishing God’s law, without the freedom of choice. 
No, it's not.  It's about reconciliation.  God's law is already established.  We are all under it whether we choose it or not.  The choice we have is regarding reconciliation and the adoption as "sons" into His kingdom, as joint heirs with Christ.  It is about restoring relationship, which can't be done by force.  You can't force relationship, love, forgiveness.  These are matters of the heart.

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Iran, for example, or Hezbollah would like to establish this by force and take on this mandate that every person would be a slave to Islamic law.  Christianity seeks no such thing, as seen in scripture.

I have shown you scripture that clearly shows that you are wrong – very wrong.

You have shown me scripture that shows the righteous demands of God, not Christianity.  We know those demands still exist because God is the same.  However, we have a mediator and a command for reconciliation under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

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Jesus still desires our obedience and to write His law upon our hearts, but he doesn't give us the authority to force it upon others.

Please read what is in the Bible, not “what you think” is in the Bible.

I attempt to do this very thing, which is why I don't like "isms" (Calvinism, Arminianism, Patriotism, etc.).  I desire to know the will of Jesus, and to shed the influences of my culture and upbringing as well, in order that I would be able to do this particular task.  This is also where the role of the Holy Spirit and fellowship come into play.  In isolation, I am more prone to doing just this, reading it from my own perspective. 

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The justification, Protestant and Catholic alike, for torture for worshipping God the wrong way is that torture gives you time to repent and accept the proper way. Those who will not accept the right way to worship, should be killed in accordance with the Bible and to prevent them from spreading their evil in the world.

If this were entirely true, then Jesus would have commanded this, and the world would look like a much different place.  In fact, we might not have even made it this far given man's capacity for evil AND the tools to carry it out.  It is nothing short, I believe, of a miracle that there has not been a nuclear holocaust to date.  It is only a matter of time, if man is left up to his own lust for power (or his insanity).  Also, if God is all powerful, and wanted all people who don't serve Him to be destroyed, then, all people not serving Him would have already be destroyed.  But, you do mention an important point.  At times, God has killed evil men that they would not spread their continued evil in the world.  I think, with Jesus, that changed drastically by His mercy.  He didn't destroy Sodom until the outcry against it had grown to be so great.  And, I think we forget the context of the battle is largely outside the scope of what we do not see.

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It also lays out the principal that the manner in which you judge or treat others is the same manner and criteria that you will be judged.  This puts an extreme weight upon those who would do such evil in the name of their religion, including Christianity.
No it does not! Those who do not follow Christ are damned for eternity, so it doesn’t matter much what they do.
Absolutely it does, especially when speaking to the "religious".  But you are right, in the greater context, those who reject Jesus, and thus reject God, are under judgment.

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Those who have killed in the name or Chrsitianity (and there have been many) always justify it by saying they are fighting evil.

Of course, we've already established that.  Men kill in the name of atheism, humanism, secularism, and we judge them just as insane.

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There is no doubt that men have done such things, but rest assured, they will be judged for such,

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No. When you’re dead, you’re dead – that is it. There is no more, and you, who claim this, cannot show it to be otherwise. How many dead men have come back?

In the Bible alone, we see many.  Even today, we see many who are clinically dead come back to life.  I know one such woman, her experience is incredible.  Is it still faith?  Of course.  It is not uncommon for medicine to have such cases they cannot explain.  But, the judgment to come, according to the bible, is when Christ returns and the entire earth is judged.

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You also need to look at the religious beliefs of those who drafted the US constitution - you will be surprised.

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Probably not, I am aware of some already.
Then you will be aware, unlike your claim, that very few were Christians amongst those who drafted the Constitution, yet you said there were. They were deists at best.

I don't recall making that claim, that the founders were all Christian.  Although, as I read through the threads, you indicated that church attendance in 1780 likely would have been 100% (although I recognize your number is meant as hyperbole).  Yet, the point being, you feel America has become less Christian over time, and with that, I agree with you 100%, and it continues to secularize much like Europe (who is now transitioning to Islam, thanks largely to migration).  These are interesting times.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 01:07:37 PM by muchlove »

Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 04:56:57 PM »
Why don’t you find Islam to be credible?

Many things.  Chiefly, however, the denial that Jesus is the Christ (since, after all, I am a Christian).

So, you wish the world to be like you? This is not unreasonable – from your point of view. You will not be surprised to learn that not everyone agrees with your interpretation of who God is and what He wants.

This is because religious belief is within us and not often susceptible to reason. There is a saying, “You and I are atheists, it just so happens that I believe in one fewer gods than you."

 
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However, I have a growing sense that Islam/Christianity will be at odds with one another to the very end.

Only if people argue about who has the best invisible friend.

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Factually speaking, yes, there are times that God ordered Israel to kill others who he deemed wicked.  However, in this day and age, it would be inconsistent with every example laid out for us of mercy by Christ in the New Testament,

I have shown you where the Bible disagrees with you. You seem to be choosing verses and meanings that suit your way of thinking. You pick and choose which parts you like and keep to them. This way, you can create a personal God – one that reflects your own beliefs – not Biblical beliefs.

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In fact, Jesus lays out the command to love our enemy,

But to hate His enemies and kill them. You know the verses…

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our job is simply to preach the Gospel and live our lives in the best example of Christ that we can.

There is no need for anyone to tell you that, is there? All it is saying is “Be reasonable” – we can all agree with that.

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Yes, I would say what Joseph Kony does is contrary to everything Jesus and his disciples lay out.  Including, the exhortation that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another.
But if God is speaking to Joseph Kony, what then? You have seen the quotes from the Old Testament.

Why did you not accept the reference to Luke:19:27? Does not the Book of Revelations of John The Divine not say that Jesus will come and slaughter 1/3rd of the earth’s population? What does, Love one’s enemies” mean?

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We don't share the same mindset in a general sense, other than we both claim to follow God (so does the Muslim).  I *believe* I know what God wants in as much as I try to follow the leadership of Jesus.

Does Joseph Kony not believe that also? Why are you right and he wrong?

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In addition, I rely on the Holy Spirit to testify to that,

There is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. It is a feeing within you. A feeling that others also get – others who are not Chrisitan and who have never heard of Jesus.

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but Paul also tells us to "test" all things that we would not be deceived by a wicked heart and our own evil.

And just how would anyone do that? 

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Everything I *think* I hear from God must pass through the person of Jesus Christ and his testimony and instructions.

And then you *think* what Jesus answers? All you are doing is asking yourself a question – everyone does that.

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If it conflicts with His teaching, I must reject it,

But his teaching often contradicts. “Love your enemies, kill mine.”

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even if I'm convinced by my own heart that I am right.

A survey was done in Canada by the Canadian institute of psychiatry. They asked believers what they believed about various social issues,  and then asked them what they thought God believed about the same issues – strangely all believers thought that God agreed with them, although there were many different answers.

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You and I both know people use religion for all kinds of abuses.  I believe Kony desires power above all else, and would use religion as the means by which to justify his own evil.

You are being very judgemental and I don’t know why you think that Kony is not right – after all, you, like him are informed by “The Holy Spirit”…

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But, I can't *know* this for certain, but I believe it with full confidence and faith because the filter I use (Jesus, the fruit of the Holy Spirit) goes against most of the actions Kony employs.

We’re back to Luke:19:27

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I will not have knowledge of the mind of God for certain until we meet face to face at the time of judgment.

So you could be very, very wrong and be condemned already to Hell? Worrying...

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ME: And Christianity is about establishing God’s law, without the freedom of choice. 
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No, it's not.  It's about reconciliation.  God's law is already established.  We are all under it whether we choose it or not.

You just said, “whether we choose it or not.”! Where was the “freedom of choice”? 
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Iran, for example, or Hezbollah would like to establish this by force and take on this mandate that every person would be a slave to Islamic law.  Christianity seeks no such thing, as seen in scripture.

I have shown you scripture that clearly shows that you are wrong – very wrong.

You have shown me scripture that shows the righteous demands of God, not Christianity.  We know those demands still exist because God is the same.  However, we have a mediator and a command for reconciliation under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

But we are Commanded to kill gays, witches, unbelievers, murderers, adulterers. Christ is not a mediator, if you believe in the Trinity (and you should not, the passage in the Bible is a forgery) then there is but one God who requires no mediator.

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In isolation, I am more prone to doing just this, reading it [the bible] from my own perspective.

This is what I said earlier. You read pieces and you make them fit your view of the world.

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The justification, Protestant and Catholic alike, for torture for worshipping God the wrong way is that torture gives you time to repent and accept the proper way. Those who will not accept the right way to worship, should be killed in accordance with the Bible and to prevent them from spreading their evil in the world.

If this were entirely true, then Jesus would have commanded this,

But He did and in Revelations He comes back to kill those who disobey.

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I believe, of a miracle that there has not been a nuclear holocaust to date.  It is only a matter of time, if man is left up to his own lust for power (or his insanity).

The world is bigger than that and we are just another species on the planet – we have no inalienable right to be here. Think of all the other species that have become extinct.

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Also, if God is all powerful, and wanted all people who don't serve Him to be destroyed, then, all people not serving Him would have already be destroyed.

So why did He tell mankind to kill unbelievers for Him as I quoted to you?

Deuteronomy 13:6-10
If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die.

2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

John 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"


Could it be that He is not there at all? Could it be that God is our imagination? God is our justification for committing evil?

God Hates
Hypocrites (Matthew 24:51), The Unforgiving (Mark 11:26), Homosexuals (Romans 1:26, 27), Fornicators (Romans 1:29), The Wicked (Romans 1:29), The Covetous (Romans 1:29), The Malicious (Romans 1:29), The Envious (Romans 1:29), Murderers (Romans 1:29), The Deceitful (Romans 1:29), Backbiters (Romans 1:30), Haters of God (Romans 1:30), The Despiteful (Romans 1:30), The Proud (Romans 1:30), Boasters (Romans 1:30), Inventors of evil (Romans 1:30), Disobedient to parents (Romans 1:30), Covenant breakers (Romans 1:31), The Unmerciful (Romans 1:31), The Implacable (Romans 1:31), The Unrighteous (1Corinthians 6:9), Idolaters (1Corinthians 6:9), Adulterers (1Corinthians 6:9), The Effeminate (1Corinthians 6:9), Thieves (1Corinthians 6:10), Drunkards (1Corinthians 6:10), Reviler (1Corinthians 6:10), Extortioners (1Corinthians 6:10), The Fearful (Revelation 21:8 ), The Unbelieving (Revelation 21:8 ), The Abominable (Revelation 21:8 ), Whoremongers (Revelation 21:8 ), Sorcerers (Revelation 21:8 ), All Liars (Revelation 21:8 )

Funnily enough, most other people don’t like that lot either – so it gives an excuse to punish them; it is not a cause to punish them.

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But, you do mention an important point.  At times, God has killed evil men that they would not spread their continued evil in the world.  I think, with Jesus, that changed drastically by His mercy.

You are wrong, look at the verses I have given you.

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He didn't destroy Sodom until the outcry against it had grown to be so great.

In my Bible He did. There was no large “outcry” The people seemed happy in their iniquity, it was God who got upset. Please read the passage again.

(As a point of interest, neither Sodom nor Gomorrah have ever been found and no record of a meteorite was made idependently.)

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Those who have killed in the name or Christianity (and there have been many) always justify it by saying they are fighting evil.

Of course, we've already established that.  Men kill in the name of atheism, humanism, secularism, and we judge them just as insane.
But as the Church controlled the world from ~500AD to 1750AD, we can say that, between those dates, the Church was behind it all.

Just some of the Christian groups that were persecuted by the Church

-The Montanists (2nd century)
-Novatianists (3rd century)
-Donatists (4th century)
-Tertullianists (4th century)
-Paulicians (7th century)
-Cathari (11th century)
-Paterines (11th century)
-Albigenses (11th century)
-Waldenses (12th century)
-Arnoldists (12th century)
-Henricians (12th century)
-Petro Brussians (12th century)
-Hussites (14th century)
-Anabaptists (16th century)

Then there were the Crusades, the genocide in Central America, Slavery, etc.
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There is no doubt that men have done such things, but rest assured, they will be judged for such,

Ha! Yeah, sure they will be judged – you’d like to think it was so, but it isn't.

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, the judgement to come, according to the bible, is when Christ returns and the entire earth is judged.

Ah yes, that is the part where Jesus does NOT “love his enemies.”

I am hoping here to make you look at your beliefs in a critical manner. I am asking you not to abandon them, but to place them lower down in importance.

It is clear that you are a reasonable person but not everything is to be seen through the Bible. Your claims for Christianity are not accurate. Your idea of why Islamic countries are where they are along the path of civilisation is not proof that Islam is worse than Christianity – I think we agree that Christianity did bad things and that it held back scientific development, and Islam is still doing it.

Religion is fine as long as it does not claim to be anything other than a philosophy that individuals can interpret as they want – just like you and every other Christian does.  The only thing that is excessive is that to do this, you don’t need a god. Like you, people can “just be reasonable.”

Does it really matter if there is no “Eternal life”? Does it really matter if someone “forgives your sins”? Isn’t it enough that you are sorry and promise, not God, but yourself, that you will be a better person?

All this stops one cause of much trouble in the world – religion.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 05:17:14 PM »
Graybeard,

I hope you can appreciate that it will take me some time to digest your expansive post.  I will try to get back to it by tomorrow.  I see some specifics we view very differently, and I would like to offer my viewpoint and to make sure I understand yours.  I think you're reading into some things I've said to shape the perspective you think I have regarding Christianity vs Islam and East vs West.  That is a little off topic of where I thought you originally wanted to go, and I think you may have made some assumptions regarding how I view Christianity and the development of culture rather than it's appeal to a specific culture.

Other than that, I definitely want to address the scriptures you've presented from my perspective vs. yours

Thanks for your post, however, lots to discuss!

Offline muchlove

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2013, 06:03:51 AM »
I have shown you where the Bible disagrees with you. You seem to be choosing verses and meanings that suit your way of thinking. You pick and choose which parts you like and keep to them. This way, you can create a personal God – one that reflects your own beliefs – not Biblical beliefs.

None of the verses you used are in direct conflict with the position I have taken regarding the commands of Jesus.  And the verses you took from Luke and John speak of the judgment of the world upon Christ's return and mankind that is under the wrath of God for it's rebellion and rejection of Christ and his sacrifice and grace.

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Yes, I would say what Joseph Kony does is contrary to everything Jesus and his disciples lay out.  Including, the exhortation that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for one another.
But if God is speaking to Joseph Kony, what then? You have seen the quotes from the Old Testament.

We know that Joseph Kony is not acting in love or in the example of Christ, so we can easily disqualify Joseph Kony from being a follower of Christ.  We see no example of Christ or the apostles advocating the evil that Mr. Kony perpetrates.

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Why did you not accept the reference to Luke:19:27? Does not the Book of Revelations of John The Divine not say that Jesus will come and slaughter 1/3rd of the earth’s population? What does, Love one’s enemies” mean?
I do accept it, just not in the context you were trying to use it.  It is clear that Christ will return, and there will be a day of judgment for the world. Our job is not to judge the world while Christ is away, but rather to share the Gospel and minister reconciliation.

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We don't share the same mindset in a general sense, other than we both claim to follow God (so does the Muslim).  I *believe* I know what God wants in as much as I try to follow the leadership of Jesus.

Does Joseph Kony not believe that also? Why are you right and he wrong?
I do not believe Joseph Kony cares anything about Jesus whatsoever.  He is wrong because he does not model Christ or follow the basic command to love his neighbor.  It's a pretty simple disqualification in this case.

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In addition, I rely on the Holy Spirit to testify to that,

There is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. It is a feeing within you. A feeling that others also get – others who are not Chrisitan and who have never heard of Jesus.

In my experience, I have found the Holy Spirit to be real.  But you're right in this respect, those who are not Christian or who have never heard of Jesus can be influenced by the work of the Holy Spirit testifying to Jesus Christ.

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but Paul also tells us to "test" all things that we would not be deceived by a wicked heart and our own evil.

And just how would anyone do that? 

Through the Bible, through the council of others, through prayer, and through the Holy Spirit.

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Everything I *think* I hear from God must pass through the person of Jesus Christ and his testimony and instructions.

And then you *think* what Jesus answers? All you are doing is asking yourself a question – everyone does that.

If I believe the Holy Spirit has spoken something directly to me (through thought, prayer, etc.), it must line up with scripture, or it must be rejected.

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If it conflicts with His teaching, I must reject it,

But his teaching often contradicts. “Love your enemies, kill mine.”
Actually, we love his enemies, until the day of judgment upon his return.  There is no contradiction, the instruction remains the same.

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even if I'm convinced by my own heart that I am right.

A survey was done in Canada by the Canadian institute of psychiatry. They asked believers what they believed about various social issues,  and then asked them what they thought God believed about the same issues – strangely all believers thought that God agreed with them, although there were many different answers.
This isn't strange at all, I would expect this, wouldn't you?  In our desire to be like God, we often get confused and make Him out to be like us.

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You and I both know people use religion for all kinds of abuses.  I believe Kony desires power above all else, and would use religion as the means by which to justify his own evil.

You are being very judgemental and I don’t know why you think that Kony is not right – after all, you, like him are informed by “The Holy Spirit”…

I have already explained to you why Kony is wrong.  If you'd like to discuss the Holy Spirit in more detail, we can do so in another thread since that could turn into a conversation of its own.

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I will not have knowledge of the mind of God for certain until we meet face to face at the time of judgment.

So you could be very, very wrong and be condemned already to Hell? Worrying...

There is always possibility.  But, I have confidence this is not the case.  I often rely on 1 John and other scripture that assures of our salvation.  I have faith that Jesus Christ both loves and keeps those who abide in Him.  So, I do not live in fear, much like you do not in your own confidence, as long as I hold steadfast to faith and my life continues to be marked by loving Christ and obeying his commands (one of which is loving others).

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ME: And Christianity is about establishing God’s law, without the freedom of choice. 
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No, it's not.  It's about reconciliation.  God's law is already established.  We are all under it whether we choose it or not.

You just said, “whether we choose it or not.”! Where was the “freedom of choice”? 
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You have freedom of choice to accept of reject Christ.  The fact that all mankind is under judgment from sin remains.  No one is forced to serve Him now, but when He returns to reign, those who have rejected his lordship and grace will be under God's judgment.

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But we are Commanded to kill gays, witches, unbelievers, murderers, adulterers. Christ is not a mediator, if you believe in the Trinity (and you should not, the passage in the Bible is a forgery) then there is but one God who requires no mediator.

That would not be Christianity because Christ is the mediator, sent by God, according to all of scripture.  That is the whole point of the cross.  That is one of the most basic, fundamental tenets of Christianity.  God so loved the world that He gave His only son...you know the rest. 

Christ did not come to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him. 

1 John also speaks directly of Christ as the mediator and propitiation for our sin.

In other scripture, we see that Jesus intercedes for us.  And that we are made righteous by His righteousness imparted to us, not our own.

You get the idea...

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In isolation, I am more prone to doing just this, reading it [the bible] from my own perspective.

This is what I said earlier. You read pieces and you make them fit your view of the world.

Which is why I live out my faith in community with other believers, every single day.

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Also, if God is all powerful, and wanted all people who don't serve Him to be destroyed, then, all people not serving Him would have already be destroyed.

So why did He tell mankind to kill unbelievers for Him as I quoted to you?
We don't always know.  All we can go on is what He reveals to us in his Word.

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But, you do mention an important point.  At times, God has killed evil men that they would not spread their continued evil in the world.  I think, with Jesus, that changed drastically by His mercy.

You are wrong, look at the verses I have given you.
The verses you gave do not seem to contradict this at all.  The ones you presented regarding judgment when Christ returns don't appear to have nothing to do with the example or the commands Jesus gives us to follow as we live out our faith.

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He didn't destroy Sodom until the outcry against it had grown to be so great.

In my Bible He did. There was no large “outcry” The people seemed happy in their iniquity, it was God who got upset. Please read the passage again.

Re-read Genesis 18:20

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, the judgement to come, according to the bible, is when Christ returns and the entire earth is judged.

Ah yes, that is the part where Jesus does NOT “love his enemies.”

That is correct, it will be judgment for those who remain enemies of Christ.

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Your claims for Christianity are not accurate. Your idea of why Islamic countries are where they are along the path of civilisation is not proof that Islam is worse than Christianity – I think we agree that Christianity did bad things and that it held back scientific development, and Islam is still doing it.

Here is where I think we diverge in our understanding.  I believe my claims for Christianity to be accurate, you do not because you disagree.  That is to be expected.  However, we started this conversation under the question of why Christianity has gained so much acceptance in the West.  Islam, at it's heart, is an oppressive religion, with little freedom.  Much attention is given to a God that is rarely involved personally in the lives of its followers.  They spend much of their time living in fear, and by a strict set of laws, which often govern the societies surrounding it.  This is not a pattern that is likely to adopted in a Western society based in the concept of personal freedom and a democratic society.

To the contrary, Christianity has been accepted largely because it promotes a concept of freedom from "law" based in love.  Paul gives the believer immense freedom provided he does not violate God's morality, and that he loves his neighbor, and thus the law is written on his heart.  The concept of "grace" is completely foreign to the Muslim, as Allah does not give grace.  There is not concept in Islam like there is in Christianity of a substitutional sacrifice or atonement.  So, Christians live in great freedom (sometimes too much perhaps?) because of this concept of grace.  Christianity is all about relationship, Islam is all about fear.  That is a huge difference with profound implications on life and society. 

In addition, throughout scripture, Jesus is a liberator.  He sets captives free, he eats with sinners, he rebukes the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and unbelief, he ministers to the poor and the oppressed.  He heals the sick and gives them food.  He spends time ministering to people one-on-one.  He calls on men to serve rather than to be served.  He was a radical, and the Jewish elite hated him for it.  But, this social and relational platform is part of the reason why Christianity is popular wherever it spreads. Even in areas that are "closed" to the Gospel, like Iran, people will die or willingly be martyred to tell others of the hope that exists for them in Christ as well.  And even under persecution, the Church has exploded in places like China, Russia, Columbia, and many other places where the freedom to worship was not allowed like it was in the West.

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Religion is fine as long as it does not claim to be anything other than a philosophy that individuals can interpret as they want – just like you and every other Christian does.  The only thing that is excessive is that to do this, you don’t need a god. Like you, people can “just be reasonable.”
I don't think you fully believe that, right?  Because, you don't want people interpreting the way they want if it is detrimental to others.  Also, without God, people can still force themselves into needed changes.  But, I have never experienced life in the same way as I have with God, and that is the consistent testimony I hear over and over again, almost daily from others who have discovered the same thing.

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Does it really matter if there is no “Eternal life”? Does it really matter if someone “forgives your sins”? Isn’t it enough that you are sorry and promise, not God, but yourself, that you will be a better person?
Enough for what?  For my relationship with my fellow man?  Sure.  For my relationship with God, no, it isn't enough.  But, promising God I would change didn't work either, it took something more.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: xianity and the west
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2013, 10:28:18 PM »
None of the verses you used are in direct conflict with the position I have taken regarding the commands of Jesus.  And the verses you took from Luke and John speak of the judgment of the world upon Christ's return and mankind that is under the wrath of God for it's rebellion and rejection of Christ and his sacrifice and grace.

Indeed, and this shows that violent hatred that God has for His Creation.

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We know that Joseph Kony is not acting in love or in the example of Christ, so we can easily disqualify Joseph Kony from being a follower of Christ.

You cannot know the Mind of God - That is standard Christian doctrine. The Old Testament is filled with Holy men who acted as Mr Kony - I suggest a reading of Numbers.

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We see no example of Christ or the apostles advocating the evil that Mr. Kony perpetrates.

It seems to me that you dislike the idea of the Trinity. It appears that you reject the idea that, contrary to the Bible's words, you do not accept that Jesus was present before the World began and therefore had His part in the genocides in the Old Testament.

I am pointing this out to show you that you are not a real Christian but someone who picks and chooses his verses and beliefs from the array that is in the Bible. Yet the Bible says it is entirely True and the Word of God.

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We don't share the same mindset in a general sense, other than we both claim to follow God (so does the Muslim).  I *believe* I know what God wants in as much as I try to follow the leadership of Jesus.

Does Joseph Kony not believe that also? Why are you right and he wrong?
I do not believe Joseph Kony cares anything about Jesus whatsoever.  He is wrong because he does not model Christ or follow the basic command to love his neighbor.  It's a pretty simple disqualification in this case.[/quote]

As I have shown above, it is far from simple - it is impossible. You and he both believe that you are guided by God.

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In my experience, I have found the Holy Spirit to be real.

The operative verb is "found" - you have no proof other than a "feeling" and that does not cut the mustard.

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But you're right in this respect, those who are not Christian or who have never heard of Jesus can be influenced by the work of the Holy Spirit testifying to Jesus Christ.

I never said that, and would not, mainly because it assumes that The Trinity exists but also because a devout Hindu would laugh at it and say you were guided by Vishnu or Hannuman. And Animist would say that the spirit of the leopard is guiding you, and you know as well as I do that they are as right and as wrong as you are.

Please - in the future do not credit me with things I never said.

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but Paul also tells us to "test" all things through the Bible, through the council of others, through prayer, and through the Holy Spirit that we would not be deceived by a wicked heart and our own evil.

The Bible is open to everyone's interpretation, therefore cannot offer objective guidance. We know people interpret it in different way because there are so many Christian sects.

We know that asking others is no use as we must not put our trust in Man but in God.

This leaves the Holy Spirit... but this Holy Spirit seems to tell everyone differnet things! So that does not work either.

However, if you make your own judgement, then that's fine - that's what most people do.

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Everything I *think* I hear from God must pass through the person of Jesus Christ and his testimony and instructions. If I believe the Holy Spirit has spoken something directly to me (through thought, prayer, etc.), it must line up with scripture, or it must be rejected.

Whose interpretation will show that it is not in line with Scripture - I have quoted scripture to you, yet you wriggle out of it and say I am doing it wrongly. I say you are doing it wrongly - where is that guidance?

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If it conflicts with His teaching, I must reject it,

So basically you are for killing homosexuals by stoning them?

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Actually, we love his enemies, until the day of judgment upon his return.  There is no contradiction, the instruction remains the same.
That is a contradiction right there! You love your enemies but His enemies will be destroyed utterly. You do not get annoyed with your enemies, He kills His.

You have interested me, please supply the Scripture to support your contention that Jesus and/or Paul say we should love the enemies of God. I have quoted you from various Bible books that God's enemies should be slain and no mercy shown.

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A survey was done in Canada by the Canadian institute of psychiatry. They asked believers what they believed about various social issues, and then asked them what they thought God believed about the same issues – strangely all believers thought that God agreed with them, although there were many different answers.
This isn't strange at all, I would expect this, wouldn't you?  In our desire to be like God, we often get confused and make Him out to be like us.

I must credit you with the most inventive answer that I have so far heard. Of course, the essence of all religious faith of all sorts cannot rely upon man's opinion, yet there is not one religious person who does not create a God in his own image. Your beliefs are unique to you - everyone's belief is unique to them. Now, if we remove religion, beliefs will still differ, this demonstrates that religion does not affect personal beliefs.

You must always bear in mind this quote:

“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

? Penn Jillette

And this is how it works. We know this because there are something like 3000 "gods" worshipped on the planet today and not one has any more legitimacy than any other.

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There is always possibility [that I am wrong].  But, I have confidence this is not the case.  I often rely on 1 John and other scripture that assures of our salvation.  I have faith that Jesus Christ both loves and keeps those who abide in Him.  So, I do not live in fear, much like you do not in your own confidence, as long as I hold steadfast to faith and my life continues to be marked by loving Christ and obeying his commands (one of which is loving others).

I'll be frank. That attitude frightens me. It is what has landed your brother in prison. It is what has caused wars. It is what we see in your fellow Christian Joseph Kony and why Muslims are bombing Christians in Pakistan.

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You have freedom of choice to accept of reject Christ.  The fact that all mankind is under judgment from sin remains.  No one is forced to serve Him now, but when He returns to reign, those who have rejected his lordship and grace will be under God's judgment.

According to you we are. According to me, we live our lives and die. There is no judgement and there is no afterlife. You are assuming there is a God and that god happens to be the one you believe in.

We have already agreed that every religious person has his own (flawed) view of God. We already know that 3000 gods are worshipped on earth. ("In our desire to be like God, we often get confused and make Him out to be like us.")

Do you not feel some shame of arrogance to say that only you are correct? Other than a feeling, what evidence can you produce for those remarkable statements?

You do not say, "In my opinion," or "It is a possibility..." or "If you believe everything in the Bible..." You state all this as fact.

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But we are Commanded to kill gays, witches, unbelievers, murderers, adulterers. Christ is not a mediator, if you believe in the Trinity (and you should not, the passage in the Bible is a forgery) then there is but one God who requires no mediator.

That would not be Christianity because Christ is the mediator, sent by God, according to all of scripture.  That is the whole point of the cross.  That is one of the most basic, fundamental tenets of Christianity.  God so loved the world that He gave His only son...you know the rest.

That is Christianity. It is laid out in the Bible. It is clear. You see, you don't like those ideas, so you decide to ignore them. You also ignore the Biblical fact that Jesus was there when the World began and took His part in all those commandments and orders.

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Christ did not come to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him.

The reality is somewhat different.
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Those who believe the Scriptures are compelled to say that this Devil was created by God, and that God knew when he created him just what he would do -- the exact measure of his success; knew that he would be a successful rival; knew that he would deceive and corrupt the children of men; knew that, by reason of this Devil, countless millions of human beings would suffer eternal torment in the prison of pain. And this God also knew when he created the Devil, that he, God, would be compelled to leave his throne, to be born a babe in Palestine, and to suffer a cruel death. All this he knew when he created the Devil. Why did he create him?

Does any of that seem likely?

Does it seem likely that you would sacrifice your son to save everyone from Hell? Can you not think of an easier way of saving people from Hell? I can.

And what sort of a sacrifice is it where the sacrifice gets to live 3 days later? How do you kill a god?

And who said that "Christ did not come to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him."? And what proof did they offer? Words are cheap aren't they?

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In isolation, I am more prone to doing just this, reading it [the bible] from my own perspective.

This is what I said earlier. You read pieces and you make them fit your view of the world.
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Which is why I live out my faith in community with other believers, every single day.

What does that mean? Are you a monk?

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You: Re-read Genesis 18:20

I have done. You must have misunderstood Genesis 18:20. If you recall, all of Sodom and Gomorrah is destroyed because of the wickedness of all of the inhabitants. If there had been an "outcry" then the people crying out (to the Lord) would have been people who objected to the wickedness, in which case, they were good, yet the Lord killed them. However,

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

They weren't found so where were these objectors?

There could be an explanation, but I don't know of one.

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Ah yes, that is the part where Jesus does NOT “love his enemies.”

That is correct, it will be judgment for those who remain enemies of Christ.

So we love our enemies, Jesus kills his...

If you are in agreement, we will leave all the above and concentrate on the following.

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I believe my claims for Christianity to be accurate, you do not because you disagree.  That is to be expected.  However, we started this conversation under the question of why Christianity has gained so much acceptance in the West.  Islam, at it's heart, is an oppressive religion, with little freedom.  Much attention is given to a God that is rarely involved personally in the lives of its followers.  They spend much of their time living in fear, and by a strict set of laws, which often govern the societies surrounding it.  This is not a pattern that is likely to adopted in a Western society based in the concept of personal freedom and a democratic society.
You are again ignoring the fact that Western Christianity passed through the same stages. Back then Christianity had all the faults you attribute to Islam. Your claims are not functions of Christianity, but functions of a degree of civilisation.

Christianity has nothing to do with democracy - there is no democracy in the Bible: it requires total allegiance to an unelected god. There is only one sentence - Death. God has a Plan, so Prayer is asking Him to change all that just for you - so God never listens. He isn't going to change the future of the universe for you.

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To the contrary, Christianity has been accepted largely because it promotes a concept of freedom from "law" based in love.  Paul gives the believer immense freedom provided he does not violate God's morality, and that he loves his neighbor, and thus the law is written on his heart.

I would be obliged if you did not make unsubstantiated claims like "Paul gives the believer immense freedom" Paul does no such thing - Paul claims without evidence to give the believer immense freedom" is correct.

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The concept of "grace" is completely foreign to the Muslim,

It is foreign to me too, and I would bet that no two Christians agree on what it is.

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There is not concept in Islam like there is in Christianity of a substitutional sacrifice or atonement.

So what? To me all that is meaningless. The concept of Human Sacrifice in the Bible is most interesting. It occurs several times and is always seen as immensely shocking to the Jews. That is why the myth of Jesus ends up with an alleged "sacrifice." (Even if the sacrifice was temporary, lasting for three days (as long as you ignore Mark that does not mention the resurrection and is probably the most reliable Gospel.)

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So, Christians live in great freedom (sometimes too much perhaps?) because of this concept of grace.

No they don't, regardless of your religion, in the West you live in "great freedom"  You have added this nebulous concept to something that does not require anything added. 

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Christianity is all about relationship, Islam is all about fear.

This is ludicrous bias. How on earth do you explain the corrupt, yet Christian democracies in Africa? You will give the apologists' answer "Because they don't follow God's Law" I will tell you the truth - it is because their civilisations are behind ours and 700 years go, all Christian Europe was just like that.

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Me: Religion is fine as long as it does not claim to be anything other than a philosophy that individuals can interpret as they want – just like you and every other Christian does.  The only thing that is excessive is that to do this, you don’t need a god. Like you, people can “just be reasonable.”

I don't think you fully believe that, right?

Wrong. Very wrong. In fact, completely wrong.

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Because, you don't want people interpreting the way they want if it is detrimental to others.

What on earth are you saying? Did you see the part where I wrote, "you don’t need a god. Like you, people can just be reasonable.”

There is no need for a god in this world. We can explain a universe without gods and we can live our lives without gods and the world is a better place without an unelected priestly class whose job it is to scare people into goodness.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 10:43:43 PM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce