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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by Anfauglir on Today at 03:19:59 AM »
It's not about how his followers are to treat one another.  In the parable his faithful followers are his "brothers".  It's about how outsiders treat them.

Well, this is a new one - after several pages of how Christ didn't mean what he said, now he's not even talking to Christians?  I have to say, this could look as if you were on a hiding to nothing and changed argument in mid-stream.....

So: your assertion now is that Christ's message "be nice, because you never know when it will be me" is not even targeted at Christians, but at those who don't believe him in the first place?  For an omnipotent being, that seems like a most peculiar thing to do.  After all, Jst, how much notice do you take of what the Hindu gods tell you?  When did you sit biting your nails over the things the Koran tells you are important?

The only reasons for saying such a thing are to try to influence non-believers (and assure free food for his wandering preachers) by appealing to fear.  "Do what I say, or you will burn"  Lovely message there for the people who may be wondering what this new preacher's message is - answer being, not so far from the Old Testament Yahweh as we might have supposed.

Or possibly something much more sinister?  As YCHTT indicated, there are severe risks in helping people.  Not every homeless person is violent or deranged, by any means, but the sad truth is that there is an increased likelihood that someone on the streets will have mental health problems.  So Christ is saying here to his NON-believers: "hey, take them in or else"......perhaps in the hope that by doing so he will thin the ranks on the non-believers?  That's dark - but coming from someone preaching fear rather than love, it does not surprise me.

After all, this isn't a god saying "help others, because its the right thing to do", or even just "help others, and you will get a reward".  No, this is "help others - or you will get an eternity of horrific punishment".  And that's not for the people who are hanging on his ever word, either.  No, this is for the billions who may never hear it, or not understand, or who have (quite valid) reasons for being afraid to do so.

This is a dark and disturbing Christ you are pushing here Jst - a Christ who appears to need to assert his will through fear, and threats of eternal horrific punishment (created by him, as all things are).  I guess Add Hom's quoted verses about coming with a sword, dividing the world in violence and discord, are spot on.

Is that really the god you want to offer to us?  More relevantly, perhaps - is this really the god that you choose to bow before?
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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by wheels5894 on Today at 03:07:03 AM »
I think, Jst, that some exegesis of the passage to support your view would be very helpful. On the face of it, the passage does not seem to be a parable but rather a description of judgement times. It is not the same sort of genre as a parable which is just a story with a lesson attached. This passage is not that.


 Now, your interpretation is not as clear as you might want it to be. Tome, it is not clear exactly to whom in the accouont you are referring to as Christians as distinct from non-Christians. Please explain this. A link to a website with the same view and with some exegesis would help.
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Chatter / Re: "What are you listening to now"... take three...
« Last post by Mr. Blackwell on Yesterday at 11:27:44 PM »
I'm going to point my high powered finger of perception at myself for a moment. You will see and hear a song, one of my favorites, from the 80's in just a few moments. It's called "New Song" by artist Howard Jones. It was released in 1984 on the album Human's Lib. In 1985 I was 10 years old. 5th grade. I used to listen to Howard Jones while huffing gas or petrol for those living across the pond. That was the same year that I discovered that gasoline instantly dissolves Styrofoam. Hooray for science!



Lyrics

Quote
I've been waiting for so long
To come here now and sing this song
Don't be fooled by what you see
Don't be fooled by what you hear

This is a song to all my friends
They take the challenge to their hearts
Challenging preconceived ideas
Saying goodbye to long standing fears

Don't crack up, bend your brain, see both sides
Throw off your mental chains

I don't want to be hip and cool
I don't want to play by the rules
Not under the thumb of the cynical few
Or laden down by the doom crew

Just imagine a 10 year old hallucinating while listening to those lyrics and you'll see me.
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Chatter / Re: "What are you listening to now"... take three...
« Last post by Mr. Blackwell on Yesterday at 10:43:09 PM »
From the most beautiful year, 1981. A truly great year, it was a tremendous year for music. That I can tell you. 



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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by Jstwebbrowsing on Yesterday at 04:04:03 PM »
There is no simpler way to put it and this does not conflict with the story of the good Samaritan.  In the parable of the sheep and goats, which to lead to this subject, it is specifically talking about Christ's "brothers", that is "True Christians".  It has actually nothing to do with treatment of the poor, as was implied.  Rather, it shows that people will be judged based on how they treat Christ's brothers, those that come in his name carrying his message.  Those are Christ's "brothers", those that have been adopted as sons (Eph 1:5; Mt 12:48-50).  Treating them badly is the same as treating Christ badly.  Treating them well is the same as treating Christ well.       

So - let me be sure I understand.  Your reading of Matthew 25 is that Christ had to tell his best and faithful believers that they had to help his disciples when they encountered them, nothing more than that?

It strikes me as, firstly, extremely dismissive of the worth of his followers, that he felt the need to have to spell it out so clearly for them.  Is that really what Christ thinks about his true believers?  That he expects so many of them to turn a blind eye to the suffering of their fellow believers, that it was necessary for him to remind them to help out their fellows?  Does this really cast them in a good light?  Can I ask you - without this passage, would you be shrugging and walking past a fellow Witness fallen on hard times?

But the flipside is that, in effect, this passage is saying "and if you come across someone hungry or cold or homeless - and they are NOT a devout Christian - then screw 'em, walk on by.  It won't affect your salvation in the slightest".  What a frankly nasty message for the God of Love to be putting forward.  "Look after your own, and ignore the rest".  Is that the message you want to be pushing about what Christ wants you to do?

My interpretation is quite different - and, like you, I base it on the preceeding paragraphs.  Immediately before this part, Christ tells his listeners that "you never know when I will be around".  It therefore makes perfect sense to read the later passages as reading, quite simply, "treat everyone as if you thought they were me - because you never know, one day it may well be".

Admittedly, "you only need to look after your mates" does sound a lot more like the god of the Old Testament, who was very keen on picking sides and then smiting anyone who wasn't with him.  I'd been given the impression by many Christians before you that Christ was different, that he loved everyone, was an all-round nice guy who cared about the least of his children so much more than a sparrow.  Now you tell me that he couldn't give two hoots about the majority of people, would be happy to see them hungry and homeless and cold, with no desire for his followers to take care of them. 

Well, fair enough, if that's the Christ you want me to know.  Just makes me less likely to want anything to do with him, strikes me as the worst kind of old-boys-network, city-type "I'm all right Jack" selfishness.

"Look after your mates, and the people in your gang"?  Such an easy message, barely needs stating.
"Look after the people you have nothing in common with, the people you may not like"?  Ah, now there is a true challenge, a true test of your goodness and humanity.  A message worthy of respect.  Thank you for confirming that Witnesses don't subscribe to it.

It's not about how his followers are to treat one another.  In the parable his faithful followers are his "brothers".  It's about how outsiders treat them.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by YouCantHandleTheTruth on Yesterday at 03:34:55 PM »
So... God picked YOU, and GRACED YOU... and therefore, you can "help" the homeless man, but, there's this underlying thing that his or her own choices put them there, rather than, say, "Mental illness."  Or maybe they went bankrupt paying medical bills on their dying wife?   Who knows?

I think you touched on a really good point here.  Since believers are in an "us against the world" mental state, thinking that everyone is doomed that doesn't share their beliefs, they're going to see things, in general, in black and white.  Eternity in heaven or eternity burning in hell.  You're either a pure thinker sexually, and are married and have sex with no one else, or you're a sexual deviant.  There is no middle ground.  So in your example of the homeless guy, it fits the pattern.  Either you were picked by God and that's why you're doing well in life, or it's all your fault, and you lost everything.  You nailed it YRM_DM.  When it gets interesting is, like you say, when you're challenged in life and have your "Job" moment. 


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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by YRM_DM on Yesterday at 03:03:24 PM »
The really hurtful thing about magical thinking is that with these clear double standards... and being able to quote different scriptures to support literally any position...   if a person is getting help from the church, the church will literally support that person based on how well they appear to be blessed.

Let's say a woman has breast cancer.  She goes to the doctor, they diagnose her, and she's going for treatment.  Her entire church prays.  This woman was secretly having an affair, and she gets drunk on business trips and has flings.   Nobody finds out her dark secrets, and, she gets better.  She's blessed.  The church sees the successful cancer treatment as "answered prayer" and this adulterous partying woman actually gains respect and higher standing.  She's really nice to her fellow church goers and she has a great personality, and God healed her.   She truthfully DOES like to help people and is a nice person, she's just not monogamous.   Nobody at the church knows this, and, they think of her as a blessed sister.  People listen to her advice and seek her out for prayer groups.

Let's say there's a woman in the same situation, except... the church finds out that she's had an affair years ago, and, her treatments don't work.   Now, all of a sudden, people think that God purposely let her suffer from a regression or worse cancer because of her sin.   People give her the cold shoulder.   It's deemed that maybe she deserved what she got.   She is not only going through a tough time, but, she's also shunned at church to some degree.  People view her intent with suspicion.   She still likes to help people and she's still a nice person, but now everyone looks at her differently because they think God isn't answering her prayer.

---

Everyone has some kind of "sin"... probably unconfessed, maybe the kind of thing you're not aware of right?   Maybe JST or Skeptic chose the wrong approach or wrong words in talking to someone and turned someone from faith on one of their bad days... maybe a minister has a fantasy football addiction... maybe a youth minister is overly competitive and violent in his hockey league...  who knows?

Prayer is powerless.

People pray.

Everyone has some kind of hidden "sin".

So people who manage to make their own luck, or get lucky, and have prayer answered, seem to be more blessed than other people who may or may not be better human beings.   But believers put value on the appearance of God's blessing.

A believer who says, "I am truly blessed."  Isn't really being humble, they're bragging in a falsely humble way that God chose them in some fashion.   He saved their child from a horrible disease... but he didn't save YOUR kid... hrm... they must have done something right then?

And it happens in churches all over the country that people who seem to be lucky in life, or, have had a pretty good string of opportunities, are viewed as more favored by God than those who have bad luck in health or family or jobs.

"There, but for the GRACE OF GOD, go I."  Says a believer when they see a homeless man.

So... God picked YOU, and GRACED YOU... and therefore, you can "help" the homeless man, but, there's this underlying thing that his or her own choices put them there, rather than, say, "Mental illness."  Or maybe they went bankrupt paying medical bills on their dying wife?   Who knows?

The prosperity gospel, which is justified by certain passages of scripture, is at least mildly accepted by many believers even if they don't buy into the hard-core version.

In other words... if a rich kid gets more presents from Santa, it means Santa likes the rich kid better!

In other words... if a person seems to get more blessings from God, it means that God likes the blessed person better!

Again, it means that when people are going through tough times, the church they thought they could count on during the bad times might turn out to be a lot less supportive than they'd expected.

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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by YouCantHandleTheTruth on Yesterday at 02:36:03 PM »
They have leaders that hold up that difference that they are right and the majority is wrong - it is how cults of all form start. It is, of course, for anyone to look at both and see which if any looks more likely.

No question that's true - and many do break out of the cult.  Leah Remini was a great example here in the states, as was Mike Rinder.  On this site, all we can do is explain to theists why we take the position we do.  On another site I was reviewing, they recommended that non-believers have believers read atheist literature, like Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris.  Are they capable of reading these things objectively? Probably not at first, but if they stick with it, maybe some points will start hitting home.  I think it's good advice - let the pros do the driving.  Of course if we suggest that, we'll have to go to a Sunday service or two in return. :)  Or read a book by D.A. Carson.  And that's ok.

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Quote
CAIRO — Just over a week after Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi Arabian, was dragged onto a plane from Manila to Riyadh with her mouth taped shut and her arms and legs bound, the United Nations voted to appoint Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on its Commission on the Status of Women. So much for the status of this Saudi woman.

On April 10, the authorities at the Manila airport — her stopover in the Philippines between Kuwait, from where she’d escaped a forced marriage, and Australia, where she’d planned on applying for asylum — confiscated Ms. Lasloom’s passport and boarding pass to Sydney and held her at an airport hotel until her uncles arrived. When they did, they beat her and forcibly repatriated her.

Saudi feminists believe Ms. Lasloom is being held at a women’s prison. She certainly was not present when Ivanka Trump told a group of Saudi women she met on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has made “encouraging” progress in empowering women. The round table discussion was led by Princess Reema Bint Bandar al-Saud, the vice president of Women’s Affairs at the General Sports Authority, a largely moot title in a country where girls and women are not allowed to participate in sports.

In response, a Saudi woman called Ghada tweeted: “Ivanka Trump only met and saw some of chosen puppets who are from the royal or high class, and they don’t represent the majority of us!”


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/opinion/why-saudi-women-are-literally-living-the-handmaids-tale.html?_r=0
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General Religious Discussion / Re: No True Scotsman
« Last post by wheels5894 on Yesterday at 02:04:08 PM »
Don't worry - I know what to expect from believers; rationalisation of their beliefs! No, I really intend these two joints for those with enough commitment to finding out the truth to consider. However one looks at the thing, the object of people's beliefs is too difficult to track down due to the distance in time. Heck, even for the people of the time Jesus was supposed to be around, the Moses stories were far to old to verify - they were more in the nature of traditions or myths, comparable with the. stories of the Nordic gods as mentioned in the poetic and prose Eddas.


The problem then, is that it means that people today cannot claim to know anything about their chosen or  his will for humans. We also have to consider how much whatever the bible writers put down has been changed by the religions that have grown up around the writings. After all, whilst there is a consensus amongst many of the main flavours of Christianity as to what the message and rule are about, we have smaller groups whose doctrine is radically different from the mainstream. They have leaders that hold up that difference that they are right and the majority is wrong - it is how cults of all form start. It is, of course, for anyone to look at both and see which if any looks more likely.


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