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BS: The flaw in Christian Theology

Pied Piper 01 Feb 05 - 09:23 AM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM
Pied Piper 01 Feb 05 - 09:28 AM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 09:30 AM
MaineDog 01 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM
Pied Piper 01 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,bright is right,but word 'bright' is shite 01 Feb 05 - 09:33 AM
wysiwyg 01 Feb 05 - 09:34 AM
Pied Piper 01 Feb 05 - 09:39 AM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 09:43 AM
Pied Piper 01 Feb 05 - 09:45 AM
wysiwyg 01 Feb 05 - 09:52 AM
Mooh 01 Feb 05 - 09:54 AM
Big Mick 01 Feb 05 - 09:56 AM
Bat Goddess 01 Feb 05 - 10:21 AM
mack/misophist 01 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 01 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM
Bill D 01 Feb 05 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Observer 01 Feb 05 - 11:16 AM
Sorcha 01 Feb 05 - 11:26 AM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Observer 01 Feb 05 - 11:31 AM
M.Ted 01 Feb 05 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Observer 01 Feb 05 - 11:57 AM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 12:05 PM
Peace 01 Feb 05 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,Observer 01 Feb 05 - 12:29 PM
wysiwyg 01 Feb 05 - 12:33 PM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 12:35 PM
Bill D 01 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 12:48 PM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 05 - 01:23 PM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM
annamill 01 Feb 05 - 02:32 PM
Sorcha 01 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Observer 01 Feb 05 - 02:37 PM
Don Firth 01 Feb 05 - 03:13 PM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM
robomatic 01 Feb 05 - 04:09 PM
Don Firth 01 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM
Justa Picker 01 Feb 05 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Frank 01 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM
Donuel 01 Feb 05 - 05:03 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Feb 05 - 05:14 PM
robomatic 01 Feb 05 - 05:20 PM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 05:50 PM
Jim Tailor 01 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 05 - 06:20 PM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 05 - 07:19 PM
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Bill D 01 Feb 05 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Paranoid Android 01 Feb 05 - 10:28 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 05 - 11:11 PM
GUEST,Mark Clark 01 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM
Little Hawk 02 Feb 05 - 12:04 AM
GUEST,Observer 02 Feb 05 - 12:35 AM
Joe Offer 02 Feb 05 - 12:56 AM
dianavan 02 Feb 05 - 01:12 AM
Don Firth 02 Feb 05 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,jim tailor 02 Feb 05 - 06:05 AM
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Bill D 02 Feb 05 - 05:35 PM
gnu 02 Feb 05 - 05:36 PM
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Don Firth 02 Feb 05 - 09:17 PM
Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 07:09 AM
Amos 03 Feb 05 - 07:23 AM
Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 07:45 AM
M.Ted 03 Feb 05 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Soma 03 Feb 05 - 11:30 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 05 - 12:14 PM
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gnu 03 Feb 05 - 01:00 PM
Amos 03 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 05 - 01:38 PM
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Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 06:18 PM
Don Firth 03 Feb 05 - 06:20 PM
Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 06:36 PM
Don Firth 03 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM
number 6 03 Feb 05 - 07:08 PM
Bill D 03 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM
Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 07:47 PM
Jim Tailor 03 Feb 05 - 07:59 PM
Bill D 04 Feb 05 - 12:10 AM
PoppaGator 04 Feb 05 - 01:50 AM
Jim Tailor 04 Feb 05 - 06:32 AM
Pied Piper 04 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM
Joe Offer 04 Feb 05 - 12:17 PM
dianavan 04 Feb 05 - 09:13 PM
M.Ted 04 Feb 05 - 10:11 PM
wysiwyg 04 Feb 05 - 10:36 PM
M.Ted 05 Feb 05 - 12:33 AM
dianavan 05 Feb 05 - 01:41 AM
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Joe Offer 05 Feb 05 - 03:23 AM
Amos 05 Feb 05 - 12:13 PM
dianavan 05 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM
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number 6 05 Feb 05 - 03:57 PM
number 6 05 Feb 05 - 03:58 PM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,wdyat12 05 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM
annamill 05 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM
akenaton 05 Feb 05 - 06:34 PM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Frank 05 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM
akenaton 05 Feb 05 - 07:03 PM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 05 - 08:05 PM
dianavan 05 Feb 05 - 08:08 PM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 05 - 08:14 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 05 - 12:11 PM
Little Hawk 06 Feb 05 - 04:28 PM
dianavan 06 Feb 05 - 06:03 PM
Joe Offer 06 Feb 05 - 10:23 PM
dianavan 06 Feb 05 - 11:08 PM
Big Mick 06 Feb 05 - 11:14 PM
dianavan 07 Feb 05 - 12:04 AM
Joe Offer 07 Feb 05 - 12:40 AM
Peg 08 Feb 05 - 12:03 AM
Amos 08 Feb 05 - 12:42 AM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 05 - 01:59 AM
Jim Tailor 08 Feb 05 - 06:55 AM
Ebbie 08 Feb 05 - 12:48 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 05 - 01:31 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 01:45 PM
Ebbie 08 Feb 05 - 02:10 PM
Amos 08 Feb 05 - 02:18 PM
Don Firth 08 Feb 05 - 02:19 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 05 - 02:47 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 05 - 03:17 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 03:42 PM
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Amos 08 Feb 05 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,winterbright 08 Feb 05 - 04:56 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM
Don Firth 08 Feb 05 - 06:13 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 06:44 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 06:56 PM
akenaton 08 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM
Big Mick 08 Feb 05 - 07:31 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 05 - 07:35 PM
Big Mick 08 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM
Amos 08 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 05 - 11:39 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 05 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,jim tailor 09 Feb 05 - 05:49 AM
GUEST 09 Feb 05 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Amos 09 Feb 05 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,~S~ 09 Feb 05 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,MMario 09 Feb 05 - 11:02 AM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM
akenaton 09 Feb 05 - 08:05 PM
Amos 09 Feb 05 - 10:44 PM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 06:21 AM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 08:04 AM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 08:09 AM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 09:59 AM
Amos 10 Feb 05 - 10:08 AM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 11:12 AM
akenaton 10 Feb 05 - 03:25 PM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 10 Feb 05 - 04:06 PM
wysiwyg 10 Feb 05 - 04:10 PM
beardedbruce 10 Feb 05 - 04:16 PM
gnu 10 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM
wysiwyg 10 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM
akenaton 10 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 05 - 07:55 PM
Joe Offer 10 Feb 05 - 07:57 PM
dianavan 10 Feb 05 - 08:09 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 05 - 08:28 PM
Jim Tailor 10 Feb 05 - 08:41 PM
Don Firth 10 Feb 05 - 08:56 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 11 Feb 05 - 10:33 AM
Amos 11 Feb 05 - 10:52 AM
wysiwyg 11 Feb 05 - 11:19 AM
Donuel 11 Feb 05 - 12:09 PM
Donuel 11 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM
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Joe Offer 12 Feb 05 - 02:53 PM
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Joe Offer 12 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM
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Little Hawk 12 Feb 05 - 06:58 PM
dianavan 12 Feb 05 - 10:57 PM
Peg 13 Feb 05 - 01:14 PM
Little Hawk 13 Feb 05 - 01:18 PM
Jim Tailor 13 Feb 05 - 01:20 PM
dianavan 13 Feb 05 - 11:50 PM
Peace 13 Feb 05 - 11:53 PM
Dave the Gnome 14 Feb 05 - 11:55 AM
Joe Offer 14 Feb 05 - 06:08 PM
akenaton 14 Feb 05 - 06:31 PM
Jim Tailor 14 Feb 05 - 07:13 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 07:20 AM
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Jim Tailor 15 Feb 05 - 12:34 PM
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Subject: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:23 AM

Ok it's like this.
Jesus a perfect man (born without original sin) and the Son of God, comes to earth to teach and to atone, one for one, for the original sin if Adam by taking on punishment due to Adam, death.
By doing this he cancels Adams debt and we can all go to heaven.
We'll ignore the fact that Eve's original sin doesn't count (after all she's only a woman)
To believe this scenario you have to believe the Biblical account of the Garden of Eden, and that we are all descended from this one real human being Adam.
Since we know that modern humans evolved from other animals in Africa and that the above story is incorrect, the whole basses of Christianity is flawed.
Or put another way you cannot be a Christian and accept the overwhelming evidence for Evolution.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:25 AM

Jesus Christ,

Do you REALLY want to clutter up another part of this zoo with more of this specious claptrap?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:27 AM

ah yes.. but who created evolution..?

see.. gotcha there... God, right !


....errrrrrrrrm.. but what did he evolve from..???


oh **** I'm confused again now


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:28 AM

As usual Amos, a well though out and cogent analysis of the issues involved.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:30 AM

actually, the premise of the thread, while I'm sure is well-meaning, is ignorant.

All man, by evolutionary means OR by creation, are decendants of a single set of parents. That's why we are of one race.

What you have presented are the "facts" of human origin as understood by such illuminated groups as the KKK and Arian Nation.

Have a zany day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: MaineDog
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM

When you play basketball, the rules of baseball do not apply


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:32 AM

PLEASE not Paley's Watch.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,bright is right,but word 'bright' is shite
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:33 AM

"Do you REALLY want to clutter up another part of this zoo with more of this specious claptrap?"

Happy clappertrap ??????


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:34 AM

Thanks, Pied Piper. You've convinced me. I'm giving it all up.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:39 AM

Not true Jim.
We are all descended from a very small number of people that lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago therefore we are all one "race".
My point is that we are not all descended from one man called Adam that committed original sin.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:43 AM

Sorry for the bit of bad temper, PP.

Trying to assess the issues of Christianity as a religion with the tools of logic is an endless, self-feeding and ultimately fruitless endeavour, something like a gerbil's treadmill.

Those who subscribe are not about to pay the rationale any mind, and those who don't aren't in the religion to begin with, and aren't about to be converted by logic, Aquinas notwithstanding.

Furthermore, there is a guaranteed element that will produce contention and divisive perspective in any discussion that is started with a logical attack on what some hold sacred.

So I don't see a lot of merit in the discussion, because the premises are ill-chosen.

Is that better, old pal? No hurt feelings, I hope?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:45 AM

Thanks Amos; I'll survive.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:52 AM

Arguing religion AND race in the same thread, now THAT will be fun. Let's put it ALL in, all the usual Mudcat squabble:

Abortion
The Irish Stuff
Guns
Guests
Censorship
Religion
Race
US Foreign Policy
Purism
And What IS Folk Anyway?????

Can someone please draft some diametrically-opposing paragraphs reducing all of these at once, to simple, sweeping statements that we can argue with? Hurry up, Mudcat may go back down at any moment. And to think I was about to explore some MUSIC threads! Thanks PP for saving me from THAT!

I'm saved!

Hm I thought I gave that up....

Oh well! No need for a brain around HERE!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:54 AM

No sir. I certainly can be a Christian and accept evolution. Most Christians probably doubt certain elements of their faith and their God. What makes me a Christian isn't the original sin/Adam beliefs but the teachings of Christ. That I can accept that other stuff metaphorically might be a personal test of faith, but not a test which hinders my faith.

Btw, what's with this and Georgiansilver's recent threads?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Big Mick
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:56 AM

Why are we even responding to this troll? Especially those among us who are "in the business"? You have just made this person's day. Congratulations.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:21 AM

Anybody ever read "We Are the Other People" by Oberon Zell?

Here's a quick quote -- "Cain left the presence of Yahweh and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.   We can assume that the phrase "left the presence of Yahweh" implies that Yahweh is a local deity, and not omnipresent. Now Eden, according to (Gen. 2:14-15), was situated at the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, apparently right where Lake Van is now, in Turkey. "East of Eden," therefore, would probably be along the shores of the Caspian Sea, right in the Indo-European heartland. Cain settled in there, among the people of Nod, and married one of the women of that country. Here, for the first time, is specifically mentioned the "other people" who are not of the lineage of Adam and Eve. i.e: the Pagans"

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM

Damn! Bat Goddess beat me to it. We preterite are the scions of Cain.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:34 AM

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwn, you bored brother John ......... Yep, me too


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:39 AM

ah, Pied Piper...it is awkward indeed when I sort of agree with your final conclusion, (that the theology involved doesn't convince me), but must disagree with your reasoning.

The simple point is, there are other possibilities than the ones you note. In fact, many Christians do not take the Adam & Eve story 'literally'...whereas, you still are. It is possible to reconcile, logically, evolution and religion by simply claiming that God designed evolution and set it in motion..etc..etc...

And beyond that, there is growing **scientific** evidence that the human race was reduced to a VERY small band about 55,000 years ago, due to a global catastrophe...and that we may indeed by all descended from one...or just a few, of those survivors. Beyond even that, it is seriously speculated that 5-6 million years ago, our 'line' that broke off from early primates started from just one female. Whether our early ancestors could 'sin' or not is another question...*wry grin*

I, personally, do not accept the concept of "original sin", or that it even makes sense that all generations must pay for the errors of one person..etc...but I'm sorry--your analysis has as many problems as what you are trying to disprove, since you don't allow for all the possibilities.

It just ain't that simple..........


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:16 AM

Where did those folks in the land of Nod come from? There was just Adam, and Eve, and their sons, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:26 AM

From Winkin' and Blinkin'.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:29 AM

"Where did those folks in the land of Nod come from? There was just Adam, and Eve, and their sons, no?"

...by Biblical accounts, Adam and Eve both lived to the ripe old age of 900+ years -- as did most of the people (alas, not Abel) that lived before the flood. As Adam and Eve reproduced at a reasonable rate through much of those 900+ years, the "sisters" from whom Cain had to draw were a small town's worth...

...but also, there is no mention in the account that Cain and Abel were the first-born -- just the first mentioned. As the rest of their siblings were also living to 900+ years of age, and reproducing at a reasonable rate in a world without birth control, Cain likely had great-great nieces his own age (as if THAT matters) from which to choose -- especially when the age of maturity probably still allowed for teen-age girls to bear children -- and that's likely to happen in a world without Television or Nintendo -- what else you gonna do but screw?

Implausible? Yes, but don't forget -- that "Eve" to whom both BillD and I refer above, also, of necessity, bred with VERY close relatives. It's not the inbreedin' portion of the culture that's implausible.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:31 AM

Well, ask a silly question.... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:45 AM

I thought you had found a flaw in St. Thomas Aquinas," Summa Theologica"--


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:57 AM

Another silly question. How did Noah get all the animals on the ark?
And six weeks' worth of food? And who did the cleaning?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:05 PM

answer as given to me...

most species of animals on the earth are aquatic (or insect). That takes care of them - they either don't need the safety of the ark or are VERY small.

Reptiles of all kinds that needed the safety of the ark were taken as young as possible -- that way they would be small.

Many animals, as we currently know them in their diverse states, still are the same animal after adaptation -- wolves to dogs, all horses, etc.

Clean-up and feeding was aided by the "fact" that God caused all to "sleep" throughout the time.

Some of this according to the account, other according to what I was told.


I'm not vouching for the plausibility, just answering the question as asked.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Peace
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:09 PM

For the facts on Noah's Ark, please see Bill Cosby.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:29 PM

Fascinating, Jim Tailor. Ingenuity is a wonderful thing.

Now I'll try to discover how all of the species of animals that did get on the ark got from the Arctic, Antarctic, the Cape of Good Hope, Japan and so forth so promptly. They didn't all live in the Holy Land because so many, penguins and polar bears, and dwellers in thick forests for example, can only survive in certain environments.

Of course, these species could have EVOLVED since then. What a puzzle!

How they all fit is still up for grabs, though - and the insects!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:33 PM

And who did the cleaning?

dingdingdingding WE HAVE A PRIZEWINNER!!!!!!!!!

Silliest question of all time. Obviously that would have been Mrs. Noah!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:35 PM

If God is running a "suspended animation" number I'm going back to Chariots of the Gods!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM

read the recent findings about the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the Black Sea and earthquake induced floods....here and at other sites.(a google search on bosphorus + dardanelles + noah will give you LOTS of ideas about how such a story could have gotten famous.

Archeology may yet solve many of the historical confusions about how a flood could seem "world wide"...if your world is small, and everything you see is under water, but YOU survived on a shed roof with a few animals...you might embroider the story a bit, too...


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 12:48 PM

again, the only difference between those animals that are now "arctic" and those that are from more temperate zones is simply adaptation. -- incidentally, that's not an arguement from the creationists. That's just the way it is.

If you want the more implausible "rest of the story" -- many of the creationists who hold to a literal flood story also postulate that the entire earth topography and atmosphere was different pre-flood. For that reason, less of the adaptation that we've witnessed in the thousands of years "after the flood" occurred before it.

Hold me closer Tony Danza
Count the headlice on the highway


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 01:23 PM

I think the logicians would call the first message in this thread argumentum ad absurdum. You take part of your opponent's position, redefine it to the point where it is absurd, and then argue against it and revel in your victory.

The first message is a misleading and simplistic definition of Christian belief. Many Christians and Jews see the creation story of Genesis as an allegory, not as scientific fact. It's wonderful folklore, told in two very colorful ways. It points to a deeper belief - that however this wonderful world came to be, it came about through the power and love of a supreme, loving power. While humans are wonderful creatures, they have flaws that cause them to tend to want to destroy one another. There is another Way, however, to live on the earth with love and justice, something that is beyond the nature of humans - super-natural, if you will.

Christians believe that through the love of that supreme power, there was one God-man who lived the Way, and is the Way - and that we can live the Way, too. Part of the story of the God-man is shrouded in myth - not untruth, but a myth that points to profound truth. Others define and live the Way differently, and Christians
need to accept and understand that, and to learn from those others.

Remember that this is belief, the way that one large group of people ponder this mystery that surrounds us - life, love, and all the rest of it. This is not a rational explanation - it is a perspective from which one develops an understanding.

The first message may define the faith of a smal number of extreme fundamentalists, but it certainly doesn't come close to describing what most Christians believe.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 01:59 PM

Now yer talking, Joe Offer.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: annamill
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:32 PM

or,

maybe Adam was a monkey!! That would explain him looking down at himself, seeing himself naked and running off to hide in shame. Monkeys are ugly naked!

Now, if it had been my husband looking down and seeing himself naked, all he would of done was say "Cool" and relaxed. (he's a surfer)

But, of course, we all know Man was made in God's image...hmmm...

Great answers Susan ;-) LOL

Love, Annamill (just havin' fun)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM

T shirt slogan:
I can't believe in evoloution. If it were true we'd all be smarter.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:37 PM

Sorcha, shouldn't that be "wuz"?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:13 PM

I don't know if the "Straw Man" argument is in Aristotle's official list of fallacies, but since his time, logicians have made carefully vetted additions to the list. The "Straw Man" argument is where someone makes a caricature of the what he wishes to attack, and then attacks it. Of course it falls apart. It was constructed to fall apart. Proves nothing.

I keep hearing that "Christians believe this," or Christians believe that" from people who proudly point out that they don't go to church. So where did they learn what Christians (or for that matter, Jews or Muslims) believe? They often tend to fasten on a piece of the Christian myth and assume that this is what Christians literally believe. True enough, some Christians, generally those of the fundamentalist or non-deep-thinking variety do often believe that the mythology is literally true. But it is building a straw man to assume that all, or even most Christians do not understand the difference between fact and metaphor, then attack all Christians on that basis.

Joseph Campbell pointed out that religion—all religions—are full of myth and metaphor, and that although the myths are not factually true, they contain truth in the form of a lesson or principle. Where a religion goes wrong is when its adherents confuse fact with metaphor. They miss the lesson, get tangled up in niggling detail, and go off the rails. The same is true of the critics of religion. They usually attack the mythology by saying "It's just not true!" Okay, sure. Not factually true, but that's not the point.

Example:   Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. In his teachings, Jesus said that you should "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Someone asked him, "And who is my neighbor?"
[For those who never went to Sunday school or who played hooky] In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise"
Jesus told this story as an example; a "for instance." The lesson he's trying to get across is abundantly clear. But if someone who reads this starts wondering about just who, exactly, was this Samaritan, what he was doing on the road, which way he was going, toward Jericho or toward Jerusalem, what his name was—and what he looked like—then argues endlessly over these details, it's damned pretty evident that the reader has totally missed the point of what Jesus was trying to say.

But you don't believe that Jesus even existed, you say? Okay, as far as Christian teaching about how one should live a moral, ethical live is concerned, it doesn't really matter. Let me give you another parable—from a popular television show:

Lieutenant Worf is bitterly disappointed when he learns that the man he thought was Kahless, the Klingon messiah, was not Kahless at all, but a clone of Kahless. When he expresses his disillusionment, the clone of Kahless says, "But if the words are true, what does it matter who says them"

Don Firth

P. S.:   Once again, my disclaimer:   do not assume from what I've posted here that you know what I believe or do not believe. I'm still working that out myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM

Don,

I agree with your post (above) SO much, that I really hate to point out (because it makes me feel like an ungracious bore) that, even within it is contained the very thing it so brilliantly warns against.

"True enough, some Christians, generally those of the fundamentalist or non-deep-thinking variety do often believe that the mythology is literally true."

Is written in just such a way as to assume fundamentalists are non-deep-thinking (to have the other interpretation the word "variety" would have to be duplicated before each class). Further, that other's characterization/definition of even the word "literal" has been made for, not by, the fundamentalist -- when it is that very definition which marks the difference between thoughtful and un.

I can assure you that I know MANY thoughtful, deep-thinking people who would still consider themselves "fundamentalists".


Have a fine day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: robomatic
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 04:09 PM

My religious upbringing does not include Original Sin. However, i've run into it again and again since I get into conversations a lot like this thread that I've tried to put my own cast on it. We want to be good, but we already contain some evil. (Like Yin and Yang, everything contains within itself a portion of the opposite). Most of us believe the foundation of the United States to be a wonderful thing, but it wouldn't have happened without a compromise that included slavery.

I know there is also a sexual component to Original Sin among Christians (maybe in light of Don's post I should properly say, I THINK I know...). I ignore that part.

There is a Jewish approach to evil inherent in the beginning. It comes straight from God:

Deuteronomy 30:15 states:

See, I [God] have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.

Followed by an admonition, therefore choose good that you may live.

I love the immediacy of 'this day'. From that day to this each human being has the capacity (necessity? burden?) of choice.

And like Don, I can't resist a Star Trek parable: The episode where the crew is captivated by a paradise planet, (the feel good spores). As they are leaving at the end of the episode Kirk observes "maybe we were not meant to live in Eden. We were meant to 'fight our way out'.

Which I fully subscribe to. I think if we'd stayed in Eden God wouldn't been disappointed and what is worse, bored.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM

Point taken, Jim. But note the word the word "or." ". . . fundamentalist or non-deep-thinking variety. . . ." I left that open. Perhaps that should have been "and/or."

I did not intend to imply that fundamentalists are necessarily ipso facto unintelligent or non-deep-thinking. I do know a few fundamentalists (e.g., an aeronautical engineer I worked with at Boeing) whom I consider deep-thinking in most areas of their lives, but it's my personal contention that they have selective blinders on when it comes to matters of religion. They are logical and evidence-oriented in everything. But they regard the Bible as literal history and, therefore, incontrovertible evidence for what they believe. Since it is The Bible, they disconnect their critical faculties in a way that they never would never with any other written and presumably factual work.

Re:   "Literal." I have had fundamentalists say to me specifically, "Yes, what the Bible says is literally true," emphasizing the word "literally." They have said to me that the Bible is the "literal Word of God." So I don't see that I have used a word that they don't use themselves, or used it in a way that they don't themselves.

Hang in there. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Justa Picker
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 04:52 PM

The only thing that makes any sense to me, is that EVERY SINGLE LIVING THING on this planet, are transplants [sic] extraterrestrials, placed here a long time ago.

The rest of it frankly makes no sense to me, since if there is only 1 God, why so many different ways to worship that Deity - with each faction thinking theirs is the only true path?

All this just so we can try and come to terms with our mortality?
Nah. Religion is the biggest hoax ever perpetuated on mankind, i.m.o.

Take God and Religion out of the equation and the vast history
of human suffering would have had to find another excuse for its cause.

Also if the "Messiah" has already come, then why is the world on the brink of Armageddon? Human beings by nature are the most violent animals on the planet. In many countries and instances, it's all we can do just to keep ourselves from killing each other.

I thought the Messiah was supposed to "elimate" all this? Weapons turned into plow shares and all that b.s.

Now back to your regularly scheduled brain-washing programming. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:00 PM

I think that true Christians follow the teachings of Jesus and don't get hung up in the details.

The King James Bible is an attempt to appease different and coflicting interprations of scripture at that time. Different interpretations are read into it now. Still conflicting.

The teachings of Jesus are illuminated by The Sermon on the Mount and very few Christians followor practice it.

Joe Campbell says that because of this, Christianity in accordance with Jesus' teachings is a pacifist religion.

Pacifism is incorrectly interpreted as a passivism. In fact, pacifism is a highly proactive way of life and encompasses non-violent resistance. That's what Jesus did. That's why they felt they had to get rid of him

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Donuel
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:03 PM

by Bill Moyers

http://www.rense.com/general62/MAINS.HTM


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:14 PM

the flaw in any organised religion is the people who buy into it...


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: robomatic
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:20 PM

My last line in my last post should have read:
I think if we'd stayed in Eden God would've been disappointed and what is worse, bored.


Meanwhile, a great book about the translation of Bible into English is: "Wide As The Waters" By Benson Bobrick.

You won't think so much of "A Man For All Seasons" after reading it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:50 PM

Original sin is a proposition that goes back lifetimes upon lifetimes.

Originally, not a sin, but a confusion which then became sinful, in my view.

FWIW.

And Justa Picker's ET explanation sure seems interesting to me.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM

Anyone who plays a guitar like Justa Picker just might be an ET. Understandable theory coming from him.

Ella and F. Scott. Who knew?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:20 PM

Pied Piper, ol' pal, there are SO many flaws in Christian theology that you could write a book the size of the Bible about them! :-)

And that goes for the Muslim and Jewish theologies too. And most other theologies.

It also goes for our common political and social and economic theories too...but that's a whole other subject. Or is it? :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 07:19 PM

I have to teach about original sin in many of the classes I've taught in the Catholic parishes where I've worked. I say that there's something wrong with this world, something that needs to be healed. As long as that wrongness hasn't been healed, we're all responsible for it, all bound to do what we can to make it better. We all could do a little better, so we all have to share responsibility for that wrong - poverty, war, oppression - whatever. And yes, it takes more than natural people to deal with that wrong - that's where super-natural help comes in. I hope (and I believe) that we all have a bit of the supernatural in us, because this world really needs it.

I understand a mayor of Hamburg described it this way: "to the extent that I take pride in being German, I have to take responsibility for the harm that Germany has done." I think that applies to all humankind.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pogo
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 09:51 PM

{OD

I ain't even gonna put my two cents in ;O) I've thought so much about theology my head hurts.

Hope you guys figure it all out.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:12 PM

The article by Bill Moyers that Donuel posted is one of the most frightening reads I've had in months. Go read it if you passed it by.....then ask yourself what we have come to.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Paranoid Android
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 10:28 PM

So this guy God creates the Heaven place and stocks it with angels who's apparant function is to pander to his vanity. Lucifer and his guys get fed up and are kicked out. Then the God guy (in order to replace the fallen angels) decides to create two "perfect" human beings with a built in flaw which which is guaranteed to cause them to commit sin. The "penalty" for their transgression is that every human being born thereafter will be "imperfect" and put up with life as we know. This God guy is a sicko, I'll stick with Lucifer.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:11 PM

Yes, well, that is clearly an infantile and totally ridiculous concept of God. I wouldn't worry further about it, if I were you. :-) It's not worth worrying about.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Mark Clark
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:49 PM

One of the reasons there is so much confusion and disagreement on these issues is that people keep going back to The Bible as their source of truth or fallacy instead of going back to the Church. The Bible was assembled from traditional writings by the Church in the fourth century. Prior to that, there was no Christian Bible. The Church didn't come about because someone read The Bible and said "Holy shit, do you see what it says here? We'd better start us a church pretty damn fast!"

The Bible is part of the Tradition (capital T) of the Church. It was assembled in faith by Ecumenical Councils of the Church and has no meaning outside of the Church. Like Alice's caterpillar, it means exactly what it is intended to mean, no more and no less.

The New Testament books known as The Gosples were composed to become part of Christian Liturgical practice just as Old Testament books were part of Jewish Liturgical practice. The followers of Christ weren't trying to change Judaism or break away from it, they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, not a condemnation of it.

Prior to Saul/Paul, it was necessary to be a Jew to become a follower of Jesus—the originally pejorative term Christian had not yet been coined. Followers of Jesus went to Temple on the Sabbath with everyone else but stayed after in order to offer additional prayers and services. The Orthodox and Roman Liturgies, at least, still follow that scheme—Old Testament readings and Psalms followed by the New Testament Liturgy of the Word followed by the Celebration of the Eucharist.

Christian theology does not hold that non-Christians are bound to suffer damnation. Christian theology holds that no one can merit Salvation but recieves it by the Grace of God. And since no one knows how God bestows His Grace, no one living can say that another is rejected by God.

Christians were all pacifists until the time of Constantine and regularly declined to serve as soldiers. Even after the founding of Byzantium and the Eastern Roman Empire, Christians who served as soldiers and killed enemies in battle were required to confess those sins and seek forgivness for the killing before once again recieving Sacraments of the Church.

In recent times many people using the term Christian have departed so completely from what Jesus taught and what the Church believes that the term is often nothing more than a claim of divine right to do whatever pleases them today. It's often just a rationale for rejecting unwelcome knowledge.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:04 AM

EXCELLENT summation, Mark! Bravo! I wish every "Christian" would read that and wake up to what they are actually basing their faith upon: a story that someone told them because that someone was told the same story by someone else that was told by someone else that was told by someone else that was told by someone else that was told by....

All the way back to the 4rth Century! The early followers of Jesus were not Christians, they were Jews. Reform Jews.

And the early Christians were radically different from most of today's Christians. Today's Christians, whether they like it or not, are unwitting cultural descendants of the Churches of Rome and Byzantium which were self-serving, enormous, militant and military political/religious power structures that did not exemplify the teachings of Jesus very much at all. They acted contrary to the Spirit of those teachings in most cases. They, the bishops of those churches, put together the Bible as we know it today, from writings both ancient and more recent, they edited and altered the writings in many cases, and they did it to control people's thinking so that they would serve the CHURCH, not God or humanity, and would do it without question. Amazingly enough, people are still doing so today, and taking that Bible as the ultimate authority.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:35 AM

Bill D is right. The Moyers article is very disturbing. This is not the first time I have read about the phenomenon in the press. There is something quite inhuman in the desire to help God destroy the world and the (presumably non-Christian)people in it. Can't He do it at his own pace? Their eagerness to see us all go up in smoke so that they can get to Heaven faster (and I suppose gain additional favor there for "helping God out") is psychopathic narcissism pure and simple.

Which brings me back to Noah and the core of belief. I think that the liberal theology so well expounded by Joe Offer and some others in this thread is hard to support from the Bible. While liberal theologians agree that certain stories in the Bible are best understood as myth or symbol because they are clearly impossible, other key elements seem to be equally unbelievable, but are accepted because without them the entire structure seems to collapse.

God showed Noah the rainbow to assure him and other believers for centuries to come that He would never again destroy the world by water. But then Revelation tells us that He will indeed destroy the world once and for all by fire. This is logically consistent, of course, but is God such an equivocator? Surely He did not expect the Jews to think that since He specified "not by water" what He really meant was "destruction will come anyway, obviously by fire"!

And finally, before I bid farewell, how is it that God presides over mass slaughters of Israel's enemies in the Old Testament, demanding on some occasions that his people kill and burn even more than they did, yet in the New Testament becomes a God of Peace urging us always to turn the other cheek? Neither strategy is entirely appealing, but if God is eternally perfect and unchanging, how could He possibly change from being "a Man of war," as he is described in the Old Testament, into being the "Prince of Peace" in the New? And even as Prince of Peace, He offers "a sword."

I do not ask these questions to challenge or subvert anyone's benign and generous faith. They are simply additional reasons why after years of trying to believe in a present and benevolent deity, it has become quite impossible for me. Even without two World Wars and the Holocaust, and earthquakes and tidal waves, ghastly diseases such as cancer, botulism, and Ebola, which have nothing whatever to do with human free will, should be enough to discredit the understandably wishful thinking of the major religions.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:56 AM

I dunno, Little Hawk and Mark. I agree with much of wwhat you say, but I think that's a pretty cynical view of the formation of the New Testament. From what I've read, it seems that the canon (contents) of the New Testament was fairly well set by 150 AD, with minor revisions here and there over the next two or three hundred years. I've taught scripture for many years, so I think I have a pretty good background.

I really don't think the Hebrew or Christian scriptures were written to "control people's thinking." In many ways, they seem to be a perfect example of the "folk process" - oral tradition handed down from one generation to the next, refined as it was passed along, and finally written down.

I'd agree that the churches have been far too political and materialistic in many periods through the years, and that a great deal of harm and injustice has been done in the name of religious faith. On the other hand, faith has been a foundation for many good and holy people through the ages, and I think they have been able to keep the faith intact - despite the political structures of the churches.

And yes, I think the Scriptures have great value. You need to read them within context and with a little guidance, but they certainly are not beyond understanding. The Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, is a literary masterpiece and an extraordinary example of solid moral thinking and social justice. Paul's poetic piece on love in I Corinthians 13 is something that can speak to everyone, even those who have no religious belief. The psalms and the writings of Isaiah are wonderful, inspiring poetry.

Observer, I don't think I'd say that God changed from age to age - I think people's understanding of God has changed from time to time. By the way, there are many passages in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that speak of a God who loves and provides for his people. There's also talk of feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and loving one's neighbor. The God of the Hebrew Scriptures is not nearly so vengeful as people seem to think.

Now, if we look on the Scriptures as a statement of faith of believers, rather than a historical document, many of the inconsistencies become insignificant. The stories of Adam and Eve, of Noah, the Patriarchs, David, Jonah, and many more are legendary in their very tone - it's obvious that they must be allegorical. As I said before, they're not untrue - they are stories told to illustrate a profound truth. Throughout those stories, there's a thread that conveys the idea of a God who interacts in some way with humankind. I'd say the "liberal" interpretation of Scripture fits quite well with what we know in other fields of study. It's the "literal" interpretation that doesn't work. I think I can also say that there is little evidence to support the idea that the Bible is some sort of secret code, or that it was intentionally compiled as a tool for mind control. If you take the Scriptures and examine them with the tools of literary, linguistic, redaction, form, historical, and archaeological criticism, those other standpoints just don't hold up.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:12 AM

Donuel - Great link! Thanks. Its a must read if you want to know whats really happening in America.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:58 AM

I recently read an excellent book that explains a lot. It begins with the ancient Greeks and takes one through a well-researched and pretty detailed history of the evolution of the Christian church:   The Closing of the Western Mind;   The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason, by Charles Freeman. Although I'm sure there are many who can find fault with it, it is highly informative and, far from dry, it reads almost like a novel. Reader reviews HERE, but scroll down to the "Spotlight Reviews" and read Freeman's response to some of the reader reviews. It gives a good idea of the approach he takes in the book. I highly recommend it.

I posted the following on another thread and on another subject some months back, but I would like to present it again here for your consideration:

Regarding the concept of a "personal God" who interferes in human affairs, there is a passage from an extraordinary novel by Mary Doria Russell:   very literary, part science-fiction, and very much a novel of ideas.

After a long and harrowing inquest into the disaster that happened to an expedition, which included a number of Jesuit priests, to the newly discovered planet Rakhat orbiting Alpha Centauri, the Father General of the Society of Jesus and a couple of other priests are walking in a garden and trying to sort out what they have just learned.
          He sat back on the bench and stared at the ancient olive trees defining the edge of the garden.
          "There's an old Jewish story that says, in the beginning God was everything and everywhere, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides Himself could exist. So He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, creation exists."
          "So God just leaves?" John asked, angry. "Abandons creation? You're on your own, apes. Good luck!"
          "No. He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering."
          "Matthew ten, verse twenty-nine, " Vincenzo Giuliani said quietly. "'Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.'"
          "But the sparrow still falls," Filepe said.
         They sat for a while, wrapped in their private musings.
Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 06:05 AM

Moyer's article takes what is true in the extreme and extrapolates it out over the moderate holders of similar views to make his own apocolyptic scenario. Moyers is Rush Limbaugh in a cleric robe. Oh yeah, he gave up the God gig. Now he's a "journalist".

good morning!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:11 AM

I disagree, Jim.

He cites specifics:James Watt, case in point; T. La Haye, case in point.

"Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election - 231 legislators in total and more since the election - are backed by the religious right." Is th enumber wrong?

"Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th Congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Roy Blunt."

Some falsehood there?

"A 2002 Time-CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the book of Revelations are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks."

You think Moyers invented this statistic?

"One of their texts is a high school history book, "America's Providential History." You'll find there these words: "The secular or socialist has a limited-resource mentality and views the world as a pie ... that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece." However, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth ... while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people.""

He might have specified how widespread this text is.

Or perhaps you think he did not read in "the news" the statements he says he did?

This is all pretty far from the rantings of a Limbaugh, Jim; Moyers does go rhetorical, but he does it inside the lines.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 09:50 AM

Amos,

The difference between Moyers and Limbaugh is style -- not substance.

The notion that the statistics that you echo make Moyer's point doesn't have anything to do with the point I made -- that Moyers defines too broad a group with the narrow rhetoric of the few on one extreme end.

Nobody is arguing that some believe as Moyers claims. What is arguable is whether they are enough in number or infuence to paint the apocalyptic picture that Moyers so ironically paints of those whom he claims to be the "apocolyptic" ones (I can't wait to re-read that line! --it has to sound as convoluted as Moyer's logic! Ha ha!).

Mark Clark is as kind and good a gentleman as you'd ever want to meet. What he writes above is written as absolute dogma -- though, as illustrated by Joe Offer's mild disagreement, it is no more certain than any other inter-denominational disagreement. Just as those illustrate two views on the issue, I can assure you that, just because millions of "Bible thumpers" read the "Left Behind" series, FEW of them are in agreement on the series' veracity. IN fact MOST, even those who buy the notion of a returning Jesus, don't think of the series as anything but fiction/speculation. As a double "in fact" you ought to get to know a few of the really "deep-enders" (my brother is one of them) -- they cannot even agree with each other -- each playing their little games of interpretational one-upsmanship in very heated debate. The thought that they would agree enough to be united as a strong political force is laughable.

And I can assure you that, having grown up around people who firmly believed in an "end times" scenario -- and many of them even thinking that those end times are now -- I do not hear them drawing the conclusions that Moyers assumes they must draw. For the majority of them, the notion that the "end times" might be around the corner was just a daily admonishment to always be living a life they would not be ashamed of were Jesus to return tomorrow.

Have a happy day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 10:55 AM

Jim:

Thanks for a clear exposition. A pleasure talking to you!

Have a fine day too.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 02:10 PM

I have never taken anyone serious with a completely literal reading of the Bible, and yes, that includes Pied Piper (on this field).

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Mark Clark
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 03:09 PM

Yes, Joe, the writings that the Councils chose to form The Bible had been around, many since the first century. I didn't mean to imply that the Church created The Bible from whole cloth in the fourth century. But there were many writings of similar age that were rejected by the Councils even though they had enjoyed Liturgical use in some locales. Also things like the Apocalypse of John were highly controversial. The Apocalypse only made it in as a way of achieving final agreement. Seventeen hundred years later, in the Orthodox Church, it remains the only book in the New Testament that is never read in any public service. I've read that there were quite a few Apocalypses in circulation, many predating Jesus' birth. This was evidently a popular theme.

My point was merely to show that, historically, Christian theology comes to us through the Church, not from The Bible. And the writings of the New Testament were intended for liturgical use, not as history books or logic manuals.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 05:10 PM

Well, most of that I'd accept, Mark. Still, I think it's safe to say that the texts of the New Testament date from the first century, with almost certainly nothing written after 125 AD. The "canon" of the New Testament that we have today took shape beginning in about 150 AD, and was generally accepted by 200 AD. The Councils provided official recognition of the Canon as the Church took shape as an institution, but the Canon already had wide acceptance long before.

As for the writings that were not accepted - it seems to me that most just did not fit into the beliefs held by most of the Church. Some, like the Didache and the writings of the Fathers, are still in use but not considered to be Scripture. It does not appear to be a matter of bureaucratic or political suppression of unacceptable thinking - the canon of Scripture took shape before there was a bureaucratic and political structure within the Church.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 05:35 PM

".... historically, Christian theology comes to us through the Church, not from The Bible."

a pretty astute point, Mark. The very makeup of the Bible was done BY various church officials, based on what texts they had that were NOT hidden in caves, and what they approved of.. Scholars have other documents that 'perhaps' ought to be included, while others could be taken out without too many tears....but we know what debates ANY attempt at change would bring.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: gnu
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 05:36 PM

Heavy man. Heavy. Food for thought. I was just sitting here thinking, even though it's been as cold as a whore's heart (reference intended), in just a few months, there's gonna be enough black flies, skeeters, bite-em-no-seeums, deer flies, stouts, blue arses, Texas flies, well... you get the idea... to suck the life out of a bull moose on a dead run in the rain, for all the thought about "WHERE AM I AM FROM ?", I wonder, where is the FLY in Christian Theolgy ? If you've got the answer, please send it to : gnu, Black Spruce Bog, Three Miles in Back of Beyond, East Overshoe Parish, Kent County, New Brunswick, Canada, EIE IOA. A?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 06:01 PM

funny zip code, gnu, but my 27 chapter thesis will be on it's way as soon as I get the footnotes collated...(you DO read Sanskrit, don't you?)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 09:17 PM

Sorry, Jim, but I can't let that go by. To say that there is any comparison at all between Bill Moyers and Rush Limbaugh verges on the disingenuous. To give you the benefit of the doubt, I can only assume that you are unfamiliar with either one or the other, or have not really thought the matter through.

I have followed Bill Moyers for years, and although he is an unabashed liberal (and is the first to say so), I have never ever heard him distort the truth the way Limbaugh does. Limbaugh is an ignorant and angry blowhard who makes up his own "facts" (I can cite many instances if you wish), and a hypocrite on top of that. Bill Moyers, on the other hand, is knowledgeable and articulate, and respectful of the principle that, as Patrick Moynihan said, "You have a right to your own opinions, but not your own facts." I have never known Moyers to make up facts out of whole clothe that way Limbaugh does. And Limbaugh does it on practically every show.

Furthermore, I have never heard a conservative accuse Moyers of lying or distortion. What those who don't like him accuse him of is being "too liberal." Which, incidentally, is not and never has been a moral flaw. Where Moyers arouses the ire of the Right is when he runs stories, as he has done many times on his PBS program NOW with Bill Moyers, reporting things that the Right would rather the American public not know.

He often arouses angry responses from the Right, but I have never heard a member of the Right cast aspersions on his integrity as a journalist or accuse him of distorting the truth or making up facts.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:09 AM

He deals in the "lie of ommission" in his "stories". As you agree with him, you are not aware of "the rest of the story".

And no, he's not "respectful of the principle that, as Patrick Moynihan said, "You have a right to your own opinions, but not your own facts.""...

...he demonstrates time and again that if another's "facts" don't agree with his set of "facts", the other's are automatically wrong -- and man of low character that he is, he doesn't address the difference -- he either ignores the other's "facts" (in his stories", or he charaterizes their beliefs for them (as in the story linked to above), thereby distorting their beliefs. That is the moral equivalent of a lie.

And his "facts" arrive to him pre-filtered. He hears what he wishes to hear -- "facts" that will reinforce what he already believes. That is why his self-appelation "journalist" is as laughable as calling Limbaugh a "journalist".

The difference (besides ideology) between Limbaugh and Moyers is style.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:23 AM

Clanging of loudly colliding opinions.

I am inclined to Firth's view, on a very small sample; Moyers espouses intelligent exposition, and Limbaugh espouses virulent arm-waving.

But I don't know enough case history on either of them to offer facts.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:45 AM

"Moyers espouses intelligent exposition, and Limbaugh espouses virulent arm-waving."

Again, style.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 10:47 AM

Not that it matters, in a world where every pig is equal, but Moyers used to be a White House press secretary, and Limbaugh used to be a DJ named Jeff Christy--as to character, Bill Moyers used to be a Sunday school teacher, Limbaugh used to be a drug addict--


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Soma
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 11:30 AM

"Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani"


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:14 PM

One quick, point... nothing much really.

Darwin's Theory of Evolution, well erm.. while taken as green now has *still* yet to be proven. As such while people widely accept this believe to what has happened, it is still only something on a piece of paper and any scientist who believes enough in pure science to try and disprove something in such a way. Well right there would be the biggest flaw in your argument, using something unproven as the basis for your logic.

If you want to actually try to disprove the basis philosophy behind Christianity, then what you'll first have to do is actually backtrack what is the 'real' Christian religion.

Remember what we follow now in general (Catholism / Protestant) are both off-shoots of the original version of the regilion. Both of these new versions have changed when the Bible has been translated or in order to scare people senseless into joining the Church and casting about their penence.
A good example being how Catholism created 'Hell' as an extension to Purgatory, which was originally a case of where you would go for a number of years to make up for your Sins before being 'reborn' to the world, rather than going to heaven. Alot of things have been lost or altered over the years, to make the Church of your favoured Edition of Christianity seem like salvation.

So really your question should start with your research into the matter rather than some base knowlage probably learnt in Sunday School.

I'd be happy to have a well constructed argument about what is wrong with the Origin Theory, provided you actually take the time to construct one. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:56 PM

M.Ted,

That sure explains a lot. I had no idea.




...the man who shot Liberty's valence
(he shot Liberty's valence)
He replaced them with full-length curtains.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: gnu
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:00 PM

That there is a Canadian postal code. Letter - number - letter. Space. Number - letter - number. In this here case, it's meant to be read as all letters and sung to the tune of "The Farmer In the Dell" : E I E I O A. The A = "eh", eh. That's what makes it Canadian, eh.

Sandskrit ? You mean like on them Writch-o-skritches ? That's a lot of work, idnit ? Anyhow, I just don't see the need for all them nasty bitin bastards in any Garden, especially with what they only had fig leaves 'n all. Heck, if that's all they could come up with, it's a good thing they didn't land up in the Bog Country, with nothin but spruce needles and bog ferns. They'd a got their uglies bit so bad none of us would be here today.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:28 PM

Guest:

You are mistaken about the nature of Darwinian evolution. It has indeed been as proven as most well-established scientific structures.

The fact that it is called a theory does not mean that it is an unfounded opinion; it means it is an overarching data structure which aligns observed facts. This use of the word, a scientific theory, is different from the street-version meaning a half-baked idea.

Anyway there is an ever-growing body of evidence in widely various fields -- biochemistry, botany, biology, linguistics, and anthropology come to mind -- which support the theory.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 01:38 PM

Joe - You wrote "I really don't think the Hebrew or Christian scriptures were written to "control people's thinking." In many ways, they seem to be a perfect example of the "folk process"

Agreed. What I meant was that the powerful Church of Rome and the powerful Byzantine Church used them later to control people's thinking...for the benefit of the Church as a power structure.

Despite that, I'm sure there were some genuinely spiritual people in the main church structure at the time. But they may have been much in the minority.

Other than that...what Mark said. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 05:55 PM

The spherical earth is a scientific theory.
Gravity is a scientific theory.
Mendelian genetics is a scientific theory.
DNA is a scientific theory.
And Evolution is a scientific theory.

Here's the thing about scientific theories:

They all work. They can be proven.

Creationism, Intelligent Design, Adam and Eve and every other Biblical metaphor can't be tested or proven by scientific means.
They remain articles of "faith" or belief.

More to the point: The Bible is a metaphor and can't be taken literally. It was never meant to do that until it was used by political clegy to control the laity.

Remember that whenever you scratch a fundamentalist, or an evangelical, you find a politician.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM

PS: This is precisely why we need in this country:

Separation of Church and State.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:18 PM

wow.

Don't hold back now, Frank.

Did you consult your "WWJD" magic eightball before posting that?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:20 PM

I should probably just let this lay, because I don't think I'm going to change anybody's opinions here. Nevertheless, there a few matters of fact that need to be straightened out:

Yes, Jim, journalist. And if you'll take the time to read this link, you note that, not only his he an author of several fairly scholarly books and the producer and moderator of some of the best television programming to have ever been aired (HERE), he is highly respected by most members of his profession—which, I reiterate, is journalism.

Moyers states that one of the purposes of his most recent program, NOW with Bill Moyers is to present stories that are neglected or avoided by the main-stream media—stories he feels that the American public needs to know. This, of course, arouses the animosity of those who would rather not have these things pointed out.

Moyers reports a lot of positive stuff, too. Off the top of my head, I recall one story on NOW about a company (in one of the southern states, I believe) that was highly profitable and turned out top-quality products—and paid the best wages in the area, while giving its employees an exemplary benefit package, excellent medical coverage, a secure retirement program, a limitation on how much overtime they can be required to work, and a free on-site day care center. The negative aspect of this story was that it shows that it can be done! Not something that Wal-Mart and a lot of other companies want people to know.

Moyers is not just an attack dog like Rush Limbaugh.

Moyers retired a few weeks ago, leaving an extremely large pair of shoes to fill, but in turning NOW over to David Brancaccio, it would appear he has left it in capable hands. Brancaccio is young, but he his journalism credentials are excellent.

As far as "the rest of the story" is concerned, Moyers points it out, and I check it further. I don't just accept his say-so. But I've found that he's generally right on the money.

I have a great deal of respect for Bill Moyers. American journalism needs more like him.

Obviously you don't like Moyers. We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. But any comparison between Moyers and Limbaugh is ludicrous.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:36 PM

It's nice to have someone to believe in, eh?

Good evening!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM

In other words, you're saying that I believe what Moyers says uncritically?

You don't know me at all, Jim. But no matter. This conversation is over.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: number 6
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:08 PM

Below is a quote from Mohandas Gandhi. I find it very intriguing, if not true.

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM

Don...you note you are not getting an argument for, or defense of, the Rush Limbaughs of the world......you are getting mere sidestepping and shrugging claims that 'it's just a matter of style or opinion'.....
   Supporters OF Rush can never offer any more than the loud mouthed mud slinger himself....and usually a lot less, as Rush can at least glibly spout that stuff in clever patterns.

You can't win an argument when the opponent has made all his conclusions in advance, but it IS nice to see some rational points in print.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:47 PM

naw, you miss my point. I was merely deciding, as were you, that (and I quote), "We'll have to agree to disagree on that one. You like Moyers, I don't like either. As I said, it must be nice to....well.....

I'm really not a belligerant cuss. You stated your position well. I just think that sometimes repetition ought to go the way of the dodo. <<<<----ironic humor intended.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:59 PM

and Bill D,

I do find Limbaugh a fascinating subject to discuss -- though those discussions are usually fruitless in an open forum -- he gets what he gives. There's just so much hatred for the guy that it's hard to look past that and see the fascinating cultural change that "created" him.

If you're interested in my take, feel free to PM me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 12:10 AM

so much of what he is, is the 'entertainment' he provides....if he were a dry college professor who droned on with conservative theories, he'd get no air time...I'd love to know whether he believed all that BEFORE he got on the air, or whether needing to be noticed made him increase the volume and tone.

So very much of what he does consists of throwing out accusations and making others waste their time disproving it....like the Swift Boat ads against Kerry, onlt even more vague. It's a losing battle, and on the WWW, what Limbaugh does is called "trolling".


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 01:50 AM

At this advanced stage of the current discussions, does anyone agree with me that it was a mistake to use the word "flaw" (singular) rather than the plural "flaws" in the original subject line?

It's all been interesting, but I feel that it would be pointless for me to try to add anything more substantive than the foregoing quip. Nobody is changing anyone else's mind, which is too bad; we humans desperately need to arrive at some consensus that bears a closer relationship to reality than the truly insane paradigm behind the forces that currently control historical events.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 06:32 AM

As when watching a magician (which Limbaugh is not -- this is an analogy -- follow me on this. ha ha), if you want to know how he's doing something, you need to avoid being drawn into watching what seems to be happening, and focus on what's really happening.

It's easy to let your outrage and sense of justice cloud an objective sense of observation at why Limbaugh rose to popularity in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Pied Piper
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 08:31 AM

Good point PoppaGator, maybe I should have said "one of the flaws" or "a".
Getting back to the original point, what then was the purpose of the death of Jesus?

Something seems wrong here, but I'm going to have to agree with Amos. A very succinct explanation of the nature of a scientific theory.

Remember Newton's "Theory of Gravity", jump of the top of a tall building and tell me if it hearts when you hit the deck.

This is not an attempt at trolling, but an attempt to get at the truth.

This whole planet is at a point where all these disparate and mutually exclusive religious beliefs and the worldviews they engender threaten our survival as a species.

I don't go round bombing churches or disrupting religious services, and what people believe happens to them when they die doesn't matter to me as long as there decent people while there here.
Having said that I'm not going to sit around and do nothing if religious views threaten the human rights of my family and friends.

The point is that most of the world's big religions evolved in agricultural economic systems that have a basically controlling attitude to the natural world and an unavoidable tendency to intensify production to the point of ecological collapse if they cannot expand.
Agriculture can no longer expand significantly and if the intensification necessary to feed an increasing population is not reversed ecological collapse is inevitable.
The fact that some religious people near to positions of power see this as a good thing is very very dangerous for the religious and the sceptic alike.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 12:17 PM

The point of the death of Jesus? Well, I think there are very few Christians who believe Jesus died to appease the wrath of an angry God. "Jesus died for your sins" is a verbal shortcut that does the matter more harm than good - it's too simplistic.

The theology of the death of Jesus is not something that can be explained in an Internet forum. For his death to have the significance Christians give to it, one must be able to believe in the divinity of Jesus - or at least accept it for the sake of the discussion. If God became man and then was killed because of his stance against injustice, that has meaning. Many people have died opposing injustice, opposing what's wrong with this world; but if God did it, too, that has special significance and gives meaning to the deaths of all those others.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 09:13 PM

Oh dear, Joe, I am afraid your explanation justifies almost all acts of martyrdom (including Islamic terrorism) and may not sit well with most Christians.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 10:11 PM

Without meaning to offend, Dianavan, I think that that your idea is one of the one of the loopiest things I have ever heard and one say about the death of Christ--don't be so quick to find fault with Brother Joe, he is the only one here who is certified to propound in the matter at hand--


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 10:36 PM

No, actually he's not the only one certified. There are a number of ordained people around here. They just don't find the simplistic level of these discussions worth the time and effort, not to mention the closed minds.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: M.Ted
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 12:33 AM

"Here" meaning in this thread--


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 01:41 AM

M. Ted - no offense meant to Joe or to you. I was commenting on Joe's statement, "Many people have died opposing injustice, opposing what's wrong with this world..."

I can definitely see statements like this being used by any terrorist group. Isn't that what the so-called jihad is all about?

Don't get me wrong, that is exactly why I like Jesus. He was willing to die for his cause. I'm just saying that Christians do not have exclusive rights to that train of thought.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 02:21 AM

There are a couple of ways of dying for what you believe in. According to the story, Jesus told people to love one another and he protested against injustice. For this, he was arrested on Thursday evening, had about the speediest trial in history, was convicted of being "troublemaker," and was led to execution around noon on Friday. I don't think that's quite the same as wrapping explosives around your body and blowing yourself up on a crowded bus or hijacking a commercial airplane and flying it into a building.

Jesus harmed no one. He killed no one. Quite the contrary, if the story of Lazarus is indeed true.

Same sort of thing happened to Gandhi. Martin Luther King. Some other folks. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 03:23 AM

Diana, I think you're reading something that isn't there. Certainly, there are those who give their lives (or take the lives of others) for causes that are not just. And of course I don't have much good to say for them.

On the other hand, many people die as victims of injustice, or because of their opposition to injustice. I think that at the very least, the world owes them honor and gratitude.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 12:13 PM

Joe:

Thanks for as thoughtful and insightful description, much appreciated. Even if this IS an Internet forum!:)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM

"On the other hand, many people die as victims of injustice, or because of their opposition to injustice. I think that at the very least, the world owes them honor and gratitude."

Thanks Joe. You said that well.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 03:39 PM

For me, the point of the death of Jesus is...

#1 That in truth there IS no death. (That "death" is not the end. That a man is not his body.)

#2 That anything is forgivable when you fully realize #1 at the deepest level.

#3 That we would do well to follow his example, realize that there is no death, and forgive both ourselves and others for whatever painful things have occurred in the process of living Life here as we know it.

For me, Jesus is not to be worshipped...he is to be emulated in one's own outward conduct and one's own inner self, to the best of one's ability. He (among others) was the living demonstration of the Way, the Truth, and the Life, also called the Tao and various other words in other cultures.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 03:45 PM

Once again, Little Hawk scores a bingo! Well said.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: number 6
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 03:57 PM

Bravo Little Wing!!

So very well said .... "Jesus is not to be worshipped, he is to be emulated..."

To be a true Christian, is to forgive. That is very difficult, but one must strive for that. Jesus was crucified between 2 convicts. He forgave them.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: number 6
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 03:58 PM

Oooops ... Little Hawk .... my apologies


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM

No problem. Little Wing is a lovely name, and the title of a beautiful song by Jimmie Hendrix too.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,wdyat12
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 04:42 PM

Creation theories vary from culture to culture. I particularly like the American Native belief of the turtle.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: annamill
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 05:30 PM

Little Hawk,

I may be an atheist, without the belief in a higher power, but I am a believer in the teachings of Christ and totally agree with your statement "Jesus is not to be worshipped, he is to be emulated...".

I do believe he lived and was a great teacher to be emulated. I do try to include many of his ideas and concepts, as we know them, in living my life.

We have to take care of each other.

Love, Annamill


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 06:34 PM

Jesus was executed because he was becoming troublsome to the ruling elite of his day.
Then, as now,every action by man has to do with power.
In Christs day, if someone upset the authorities...Orthodox jews in his case,they convened a "kangaroo court" and executed them.
Nowadays they usually stop at character assasination on people who protest too much or rock the system.

The higher authority ,(the Romans) were quite happy to keep the religious /political status quo ,so didn't intervene in what they saw as a minor squabble.

The supporters of Christ expected some major event to take place, in which the forces of authority would be crushed and the "Messiah" triumph.

When of course this didn't happen, the Christians...just like the Democrats, tried to put the best possible spin on it.
This spin involved the promise of "everlasting life" if one put aside reason and swallowed the fable....an excellent tactic given mans egotistical desire to evade a natural death.

Its all very simple really...   Just read the bloody book!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM

That's true as far as it goes, Ake, it just doesn't go far enough.

What interests me about Jesus is not why he was condemned (which, as you suggest, is obvious)...no, what interests me about him is what he taught and demonstrated to people.

The Christians later made up all kinds of bizarre and convenient stuff in order to turn him into an idol, and they borrowed a whole bunch of old ideas from previous religions too...like the notion of a "virgin birth", for one. They did that because they thought it would work well to promote the new religion in the culture of that time, and it certainly did!

But I am not much interested in religion. I'm interested in ethics, and in the development of consciousness. Jesus taught and demonstrated a lot about that. The Christian churches have been trying their best to water down and subvert those teachings ever since, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 06:48 PM

The difference between Moyers and Limbaugh is that Moyers is a real journalist and not a propagandist. All anyone has to do is catch past episodes of his show "Now" to see that. He has had many guests on his show such as Grover Norquist that disagree with him but Moyers has managed to keep an open mind and a constructive flow of dialogue allowing for those that disagree with him uninhibited expression of their views. Limbaugh has never done that. He suppresses everyone who disagrees with him by out-shouting them.

The King James version of the Bible was written to appease the differing factions and sects of it's time. The scribes chose their language in translating from Aramaic and Greek carefully so as not to offend and retain the status quo. The Bible has always been used as an attempt to control the laity although it's original purpose may or may not have been for that reason.

It has and is being used as a propaganda tool for political purposes and maybe for religious ones as well.

This doesn't invalidate its lessons if taken as metaphors rather than facts.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 07:03 PM

I agree completely LH.
I see Christ as philosopher, far ahead of his time, whos ideas were used in a way which he never intended.

These ideas have made a lot of people very rich ,down through the centuries ; and helped in the massacre of many innocents.

The way forward? Forget organised religion, all the spirituality we need is right here on this planet.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 08:05 PM

Amen, bruthah! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 08:08 PM

The flaw in Christian theology is dogma.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 05 - 08:14 PM

Yeah. That's the flaw in most theology. It's petrified thinking, usually based on a holy book and a set of hallowed traditions.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 12:11 PM

Dianavan, I think maybe your anti-dogma statement is too dogmatic itself. I think I'd say, "The flaw in Christian theology is dogma, taken dogmatically."

Within any system of thought, you have to have some basic principles that people agree on, otherwise there's no basis for sharing ideas. Most organizations have some principles, myths, writings, or stories they hold in common. Christians have the Old and New Testaments and the Creed as their founding documents, and they've served well for nearly two millennia. These basic documents have been augmented by the teachings of wise people through the ages, and some of these teachings have been officially adopted by the institutional churches because they have a certain universality - these officially adopted teachings are dogma, and they deserve a level of respect from the members of the denominations that hold them.

Where you get into trouble is when you accept such teachings without question; or when you view the teachings from a very rigid perspective, whether that perspective be positive or negative. Many Mudcatters seem to be very dogmatic in their condemnations of ideas and belief systems and teachings that they know little about. If a group has held a teaching sacred over a number of centuries, most likely there's some wisdom to it. I wish Mudcatters could be a bit more open to considering ideas, and a bit slower to condemn - but I suppose Mudcatters are a reflection of the world and its prejudices. Heck, maybe if George Bush would be open to the writings of Rumi and Hafiz, the world wouldn't be in such trouble today. Maybe it wouldn't hurt a few Mudcatters to read the Sermon on the Mount with an open mind...

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 04:28 PM

The Sermon on the Mount is a marvelous example of spiritual teachings, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 06:03 PM

Joe - I agree with what you say except this part, "If a group has held a teaching sacred over a number of centuries, most likely there's some wisdom to it."

Not necessarity so. Who defines what is sacred? Is it wisdom that defines what is sacred or is it dogma?

At least scientists have the grace to say something is true only until it is proven otherwise.

I have no problem with what you choose to believe but please do not condescend to tell me that they are sacred or wise. I do not adhere to a set of beliefs dictated by a group of men that isolate themselves from the rest of the world, shrouding themselves in the cloak of Christianity.

If you want to give them more power, go right ahead. Its your choice. Just remember that you are one of the people that give them the power to dictate to women how their bodies should be used, the power to commit sexual abuse of children, the power to help conquer Native people and the power to convince common people that they are sinners.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 10:23 PM

Actually, Dianavan, I am one of the people who fights against those who wish to dictate to women and abuse children and conquer aboriginal people. Not all Christians, and not all Christian men do those awful things. In fact, Christians like that are and were a minority and don't really fit the usual definitions of "Christian." The things you describe are aberrations - they are not and never have been central aspects of Christian thinking. I am appalled by the fact that they certainly did exist within Christian churches - but I certainly have never approved of them, and a majority of modern-day Christians do not approve.

And yes, if a group has held something sacred, then it is sacred to them and should be respected as such - within reason. I respect Islam and Buddhism and Native American beliefs - why shouldn't they respect mine? As for who decides whether something is sacred - much of what decides is time. Beliefs that are truly sacred are not imposed. They are held by a people for their history, and generally deemed to be sacred. And yes, I think that many of those beliefs have the profound wisdom that comes from generations of reflection.

To compare on a smaller scale, we might look at how we value our ancestors, and how they are sacred to us. I'm sure my grandparents had faults, but I hold them sacred in my memory because of who they were to me when I was a child. To me, they were wise; and to me, they are sacred.

I do have a question about people of European ancestry who espouse Eastern or Native American or Sufi Islamic beliefs. I find wisdom and sacredness in all of those belief systems and traditions, and I look on those beliefs with awe and respect, and I try hard to learn from them - but I know that I will always be an outsider, that those beliefs and practices can never truly be part of me because they are not who I am. If I were to try to expouse those practices, I would forever be playing a masquerade, playing the wannabe eastern mystic, or whatever.

So, yeah, I don't think we should be so quick to condemn, to be so quick to see others as demons. There have been many wise people in this world, now and in the past, from all cultures and belief systems - and we need to learn from all of them while remaining true to ourselves and who we are. I'm a Catholic Christian, but I'm open to the beliefs and traditions of all. How about you?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 11:08 PM

If you think it is sacred and wise, Joe, it is sacred and wise to you. I hope you understand that my concerns and questions are not aimed at you or any other individual but are oferred as an explanation as to why I am not Christian.

From a non-Christian perspective, I would like to say that it is not easy growing up in a country where it is assumed that you are Christian. When people find out that you are not baptized or that you don't believe what they hold sacred, they make you feel like a heathen. Quite frankly, the arrogantly, self-righteous have become the norm in America and it is easy to see how Bush exploited that attitude. Anytime a group of people believe they have God on their side, you can be sure someone is being persecuted.

Anyway, Joe, whether or not someone is Christian, makes no difference to me. It seems to make a difference to Christians, however. Beyond that, I am sure there is a whole lot of other stuff we can agree on.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Feb 05 - 11:14 PM

dianavan, your post is an unfair generalization. You speak for whole groups of Christians as if they were monolithic. They are no more a monolith than any other group. You make the point that you feel judged by us, then you turn around and judge us.

In the circles I run in, you wouldn't be made to feel anything such as you have described. I wonder how much of these feelings are of your own making based on an encounter with a twit?

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 12:04 AM

Mick - As an adult I do not encounter what I encountered as a child because as a child I was defenseless. As an adult I can defend myself. Its taken a lifetime to arrive at my personal beliefs, it wasn't handed to me on a silver platter or shoved down my throat. I found Jesus as a friend not someone to be worshipped.

Christians have a history. Don't forget that. Christians have to bear the burden of attrocities committed in the name of Christ. It isn't quite as easy as sitting back and saying, 'It wasn't me, it was those other Christians!' Christians must hold other Christians to account before any positive change will happen.

It is Christian theology we are discussing. Not Christian individuals. The theology holds that you are a born sinner until you are baptised. I disagree completely. I can point out many flaws in Christian theology (which is the title of this thread) but many of you have been brainwashed since birth and immediately go on the defensive. I understand that Christians are individuals but when talking about theology, we are talking about a group of people who share a common belief system, not individuals.

Like I said before - If we stay away from the topic of religion, we would probably get along fine but don't ever try to tell me that Christianity is humble and innocent or that Christian theology is anything but another way to manipulate the masses.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Feb 05 - 12:40 AM

In another thread, Don Firth linked to this piece written by a Congregationalist (UCC) minister. Here's a quote:
    I'm tired of people thinking that because I'm a Christian, I must be a supporter of President Bush, or that because I favor civil rights and gay rights I must not be a person of faith. I'm tired of people saying that I can't support the troops but oppose the war ...
I've never had a fundamentalist thought in my life. Why do people keep insisting on lumping me with those damn fundamentalists? There are many, many Christians who are open-minded people who seek to learn for all traditions and schools of thought. It's an outright insult to class us progressives with the Fundamentalists; just as it's insulting for non-Americans to condemn
me, a life-long Democrat, for the actions of George Bush.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Peg
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 12:03 AM

Interesting thread.

I really liked the part where people were actually making a serious effort to elucidate the differences between Bill Moyers and Rush Limbaugh.


Rather like comparing apples, and ugli fruit.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 12:42 AM

Some wonderful, kind and thoughtful contributions to this thread, from all sides, and all much appreciated.

Joe, do you think there is a living entity or spiritual being who answers to the name Jesus, was the owner of the body crucified on Calvary, was the incarnate son of the Creator if the Universe, and who reaches into the affairs of men and women, answering prayers, sometimes appearing in visions and drafting an occasional miracle?

I am not trying to be arrogant, but I am curious about the nature of the doctrine which I have never quite come to terms with. Thanks.


Amos


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 01:59 AM

Hmmm. Fair question, Amos. I shy away from dogmas and definitions, and keep matters of faith to bare basics and lots of watching and pondering. The stories of Scripture, the life of Jesus, the faith experiences of people from many different ages and creeds and cultures - all of these have deep meaning to me - but more as poetry, rather than as a rule book or a behind-the-scenes exposé of the Lives of the Divine and Omnipotent. If you'll forgive me for getting flowery, it's poetry that gives music to the dance of life.

You talk of a God "who reaches into the affairs of men and women, answering prayers, sometimes appearing in visions and drafting an occasional miracle." I'm not so sure of all that; but I'm not ready to deny it, either. I think more of a God who is active in the essence of the universe, not one who drops in from time to time to intervene. The First Letter of John says God is Love. I Corinthians 13 has a poetic statement on love that ties beautifully with the passage from John and gives it deeper meaning. But while I think that is wonderful, I think the essence of God goes beyond even that, beyond all the ideals and dreams and good words you can imagine. And when all that wonderful God-stuff becomes incarnate, that's where Jesus fits in - somehow.

All the theology and doctrine and tradition and liturgy and sacred writings and moral codes and all that are important - if they are put in their proper place and not made into gods unto themselves. To experience the presence of the divine that surrounds us, we have to let go of everything, especially our preconceptions, and just watch and listen and ponder.

Like I've said, words don't work in all this very well - they tend to limit God to our notions, to build a God in our image and likeness. But yeah, there's a God I can touch, who touches me back. The best I can describe the experience of God is something most of us have known - the "click" that happens when we're singing together and we reach a point where we lock together and sing in harmony as one. I think there's a taste of the divine in that experience. There's something beyond all of us when we reach that point - and we wish it could go on forever.

So, that's my attempt to say what I feel about it. Others deny it or haven't experienced it, or define it in other terms - but that's what it is to me. It all sounds pretty foggy when I try to put it into words - but it works for me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 06:55 AM

You didn't ask me, Amos, but ...

yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 12:48 PM

If one changes what dianavan says just a bit, what is our take on it?

"Man has a history. Don't forget that. Men have to bear the burden of attrocities committed in the name of their ruler. It isn't quite as easy as sitting back and saying, 'It wasn't me, it was those other men!' Men must hold other men to account before any positive change will happen."


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 01:31 PM

I think that Ebbie was referring to mankind, without regard to gender - or was it just us male-men you were talking about, Ebbie?

Or you could say, "Humankind has a history. Don't forget that. We all have to bear the burden of atrocities committed in the name of our rulers. It isn't quite as easy as sitting back and saying, 'It wasn't me, it was those other people!' People must hold other people to account before any positive change will happen."

Or, taken to a ridiculous extreme: "And my dog has to take responsibility for all the misdeeds done by his master..."

I suppose you could also say that pagans should be responsible for previous pagans who did human sacrifice, and atheists should be responsible for the actions of those godless Communists.

But yet, it's true. To the extent that we take pride in being part of a community or group or family, we must also take reponsibility for the misdeeds of that group and do what we can to correct our group's misdeeds. We all need to take responsibility for what's wrong with the world, because we're all interconnected. It's not just Christians who share common bonds and common responsibilities - we're all in a tightly interwoven web.

But leave my dog off the hook, willya? He's really a very nice dog. The only bad thing he ever did was when he was a pup, stealing 14 shoes from the doorsteps of various neighbors. He never brought a mate for any of the shoes, and we never found where the shoes came from. He's an old dog now, and we have new puppies to make mischief.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 01:45 PM

Joe...I find it very hard to make sense of your posts.

What you seem to be saying is that you dont take any of the "supernatural" side of religion seriously.but that Christians are bonded together by a common faith.
It seem that it is the bonding which is important rather than the message, which could be any message no matter how bizarre.

So if you dont believe the magic, what makes Christianity any different from a folk "community",or any other type of club..Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 02:10 PM

Yes, I was, JoeO. I had written 'Man' but it got unwieldy so I changed it.

There's a thought I like, in regard to child raising: If I have to take blame for some failings of my child, I also get to take credit for some of his/her successes.

But my point remains. If "man" has and is wreaking havoc on our planet, for instance, it is up to man to take responsibility for it and to remedy it. If "man" is on a power trip, because s/he/it is the only entity that has that power, it is up to mankind to recognize the damage it has caused.

The religion(s) that mankind adheres to is only one of the methods and rationales used by man to harm. But the religion(s) that man adheres to is also one of the methods and rationales used to do good. Wisdom consists of knowing the difference.

Don't mind me. I've already said more than I know.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 02:18 PM

Joe:

Thanks for a kind, sensitive and thoughtful answer.

I am intrigued about your perspective on the nature of God, as I am sympathetic to it myself; but my question about Jesus, who seems to be addressed by most Christians as a separate enittiy, you did not answer, and I assume this is because you do not want to drift into dogma. I applaud this. I would be interested if you wish to answer, though.

Jim: thanks for also answering. Do you think His spiritual nature, which clearly transcends the life cycle of his body, is also shared by human 'souls', if I am using the word correctly?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 02:19 PM

Assigning collective responsibility to all members of a particular group because of the actions of a some of it's members, especially if other members of the group disapprove of those actions, is the foundation of prejudice and bigotry.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 02:47 PM

Hi, Ake -

Christianity is founded on a rich and wonderful tradition, amplified by the wisdom of many generations of believers and thinkers. If you look around you can find believers for whom the faith really makes a difference - you can see their wisdom and serenity - and humility. Too often, we look to the leaders of religious groups and define faith by the practices of the Ruling Class of Religion - but faith is often far away from the Ruling Class. The title of this thread is misleading, because it implies that there are flaws in Christian theology. Theology is an exploration, and it goes up many dead-end paths - but that is the process of theology, exploration, not answers. The flaw occur when the Ruling Class decides to take a theological exploration and codify it as Truth, defining it isn terms that are most often oversimplified and open to misunderstanding. Any time you try to put matters of faith into words, it gets really complicated - and then people try to simplify all that stuff and miss all the nuances.

Most people, including most people who call themselves religious, haven't gotten to that point yet. Some are honestly seeking, but many have found or constructed a plateau they find comfortable, and they stop looking. Oftentimes, instead of finding God, they tie themselves to a hodgepodge of half-understood religious verbiage and empty slogans. Then they use all their energy to try to prove themselves right and others wrong.

Faith is a relationship with God, not a pledge to buy into a bunch of words. Faith is profoundly simple the interaction between the human and the divine. It certainly is supernatural, and it is beyond the power of words to adequately describe it. We don't acquire faith by listening to words - we get it by seeing people of faith, and how their faith made sense to them. For me, it was my grandmother - the kindest person I have even known. God was part of every moment of her life, but she didn't make a big deal of it. It just made sense to her. She gave me a start, but many others have carried me along the way.

The beauty of the Scriptures is that they show how a people lived a life of faith. You see it in individuals in Scripture, and you see it in the community of those who called themselves the People of God. One most important thing to see is that their path was crooked - even for Jesus. There were no slogans and doctrines and easy answers. They lived life as a journey, as we all do - but people of faith make that journey is a (sometimes uneasy) relationship with God.

The doctrines and moral codes and traditions are all necessary to help us understand and explore that journey - but we have to remember that the faith lies in the relationship with God and all of God's creation. All that other stuff is only words. Useful words - but still only words. I have to say that in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and in many other sacred writings, the words have taken on a life of their own because they have been pondered for generations - so yeah, those words are more than mere words. For me, the words of Peter in Acts, the four Gospels, and the struggling and conflicting thinking of Paul have special meaning.

So, yeah, if you want faith, watch for people of faith. You'll find people of faith in all creeds - pagan, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist. You'll find they're all on a journey of exploration, and they won't have ready answers for you. But if you watch how they make their journey, you'll start to understand.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 03:17 PM

Amos -
I think that if people want to understand Jesus, they need to read the four Gospels. Each one should be read in its entirety, from beginning to end, without stopping - and it should be read as a story, not as some sort of defensive document that's meant to prove something. They need to be read without preconceptions - just as a story to be enjoyed. When they're read that way, a person comes through - a person, Jesus, who was somehow able to make sense of a journey of life in a constant, intimate relationship with God.

I'd suggest that Luke or Matthew might be the best story to read first, and John should be last because it is a reflection on the meaning of Christ. Probably, it would be good to read Acts before John, to see how early believers responded to their reflection on the life of Jesus. Peter's statements in the first half of Acts are particularly powerful.

Now, there are lots of basic beliefs that I hold, but they're not things that was I want to defend or to preach or to force upon an unreceptive audience. I think that the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are full of wisdom for all - believers or not - just as I seek to explore and understand the wisdom and sacred writings of creeds that are not my own. For me, the Hebrew and Christian writings and traditions have special meaning, and I do teach and preach to those who share that meaning. I do believe in the power and love of God, and I do believe that Jesus was and is somehow divine - but don't ask me to explain or defend that to somebody who doesn't share that belief (and don't expect me to condemn or refute or to fail to respect anybody who doesn't share that belief). I also believe that when Christians receive communion, they somehow receive Jesus in a particularly intimate way - but please don't ask me to explain or defend that, or to think less of anybody who does not hold that belief.

Does any of that make sense? Faith is something I live, not something I preach. If the way I live makes sense to others, then maybe they'll explore what makes sense to me.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 03:42 PM

Thanks for taking the time to compose that post Joe, it proves you are sincere in your belief,but Im sorry it doesn't convince me.

Were all on a voyage of discovery, from the moment we're born till the day we die, whether we have a religious faith or not.

I too have been inspired by others, who have for the most part been atheist or agnostic.   Goodness is not confined to practicing Christians.

Without the magic, religious faith seems to me meaningless, and the magic is what more and more Christians are finding harder and harder to explain or justify.
I read in the papers not long ago, that alarge number of the clergy no longer believe in heaven, hell, the virgin birth,or even a supreme being.
If the leaders of a religion have difficulty justifying its basic beliefs, why should anyone else be convinced.

I can understand why some people might need such a faith, and maybe someday I may need it myself, but at this time it all seems to fly in the face of reason ...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 04:14 PM

Ake, perhaps the "basic beliefs" of a religion are not things like a geographic heaven or hell to which one goes in an afterlife, nor the gynecological and obstetric details of the conception and birth of Jesus, mor even the concept of a personified "father figure" as God. Perhaps, by calling these things into question, some religious people, including some members of the clergy, are peeling away another layer of the onion and getting closer to the real basic beliefs.

Theology, contrary to popular belief, does not provide a lot of pat answers. It asks questions.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 04:39 PM

Thanks, very much, for another thoughtful reply, Joe. I understand. Actually, I think you are a fine example of faith personified.


Amos


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,winterbright
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 04:56 PM

Why don't y'all just go syng a hymn!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 05:29 PM

Don ..As far as I can see theology doesn't provide any answers,but asks a lot of questions about "religious" people, as opposed to "spiritual" people.

As I have said before, take away the magic and all you've got is a cosy little group of enthusiasts, which is very nice for them, but hardly earth-shattering. Surely its all just a way of making human existance seem more important that it really is.

I repeat,without humanity the world would be a much better healthier place.
Without the humble fungii the world would be a desert.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 06:13 PM

Rather grim outlook, Ake.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM

Joe is doing a good job of giving one man's answers to how it is for him, but the subject is usualy covered in several sub-subjects, such as Moral Theology, Ethical Theology, Christology, etc., within a framework of Systematic Theology that looks at the various facets of one's faith. HERE is an outline of what's involved in Systematic Theology. There are various texts that give one a more or less rigorous study.

A group Hardi and I lead takes another approach-- working with a group of people over time who study Scripture and other texts, and who then engage each week in refelcting together on what they have read, in light of culture, personal experience/position, and possible individual action. Without that process of theological reflection, whatever information is studied tends to swirl around one's pre-existing opinions. A little reflection with others who are honestly reflecting tends to let in a little more light.

Another discipline, APOLOGETICS, seeks to provide answers to the problems most folks have with Christianity. Another definition, from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church:

1. to show that it is more reasonable to have a religion than not;
2. to show that Christianity can give a more rational account of itself than any other religion;
3. to show that it is more reasonable to profess orthodox Christianity than any other form of Christianity.


CLASSIC APOLOGISTS:

Aristides (Air-iss-TYE-dees)
2nd Century writings discovered in 1891        
Defended the existence and eternity of God

Justin, Martyr
c.100—c.165        
First to address categories of faith and reason; before his conversion, he sought for truth in pagan philosophies

Tatian (TAY-shun)
c.160        
Student of Justin, Martyr; a rigorist

Athenagoras (Ath-en-AG-or-ess)
2nd Century        
Influence on Marcus Aurelius; philosophical defense of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the face of atheism (Socrates)

Theophilus (Thee-o-PHY-lus)
Late 2nd Century        
Bishop of Antioch, championed the doctrine of creation over pagan myths of creation; developed the concept of the Logos and emphasized the Trinity

Minucius Felix (Min-OO-shuss)
2nd or 3rd Century        
Author of Octavius, a discussion between Octavius and Caecilius (a pagan), in which pagan objections to Christianity are refuted. (from Africa)

Tertullian, Quintis Septimus (Ter-TOO-lee-un)
c.160-c.225        
Most prolific writer; tended to be a rigorist; attacks pagan superstition; argued against Marcionism; debated the practice of infant baptism

The collective challenge to classic apologetics was twofold:
(1) meet the pagan society and philosophy, and
(2) address Jewish objections to Christianity

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 06:44 PM

Don...I dont think its a grim outlook.
I feel if we as a species could finally get a grip on reality,and our true place in the zoo, maybe we could start to make ours and our childrens lives here on earth, happier and more meaningful.

I find the "crutch" of religion ,of any denomination a real distraction. All that energy could be used to more purpose,if we applied it to protecting the whole of our environment.

The grim outlook for humanity is continuous destruction of the planet for money,and wars between psuedo religious ideologies. Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 06:56 PM

I'm sorry susan ,but it just looks like a whole heap of excuses for why people need a psyshological soft landing.
There's nothing complicated or scary about life and death, we've been doing it for thousands of years. Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM

Saw a cartoon the other day in the paper.
It was a line of Christians waiting to be admitted to heaven,in the corner was a little devil with a pitchfork tossing all the atheists and agnostics down a hole into a fiery hell.
One Christian in the line turns to another and says "Dont look so bloody smug now ...do they"?

Says it all ....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM

Apologetics is very fashionable among conservative Roman Catholics. It has its place as a rational, systematic exploration of the concepts held by faith. Unfortunately, it often gets used as a tool that attempts to prove that one side is right and the other wrong.

A systematic approach to theology tends to be less defensive (and less aggressive). I have to say that I tended to fall asleep during my systematic theology classes. I earned the name "Total Turtle" because my head tended to bob during systematic theology classes. Studying the faith through scripture and ritual works for me. I can stay awake through that because there are stories involved, and stories never fail to fascinate me. The other approaches are far more abstract. I find abstraction very relaxing - so relaxing that I zonk out.

Ak, all I can say is for me, the stories and the people and the meaning are what's important - the magic is not. I think that God is intimately involved in the universe through the marvelous process called nature. I don't see God doing magic tricks. Maybe it happens, but not in my experience.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Big Mick
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:31 PM

Ake, I appreciate your input and your questions. I guess, for me, faith isn't about having answers. It is about having questions, always having questions.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:35 PM

ake, I think you see what you expect to see. My point is, in part, that it's a subject a bit broader than can be handled well in an internet dialog with a few people. It's easy to dismiss what one has reduced to a simple and inaccurate view of what someone else sees.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Big Mick
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 07:50 PM

I don't know, Susan. I think the discussion is going quite well, and is illuminating. It seems dismissive to me to say that intelligent folks can't handle the discussion well in an internet dialogue. If this shows one thing for certain, it is that faith is a very personal experience.

With respect,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 08:00 PM

AKe:

I admire the directness and clarity of your perspective.

I think the kind of faith Joe has described --in some measure -- is a discover prompted by the very large discovery that there are more things on heaven and earth than in one's philosophy.   It is true, we have been doing Life & Death for millennia, but that in no way reduces the torrents of force and feeling and cognitive chaos that descend on one while doing it.

And discovering, for example, whether we have been doing it over and over again, or just many of us once each, can be a stressful question.

And uncovering the layers of obfuscation that make it so hard to see the deeps of the universe with clarity, is another distressing task.

A little faith is a fine thing.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 05 - 11:39 PM

Mick, it isn't the intelligence of the discussors that is the problem, it's the breadth of the subject and the brevity of contact possible online. I certainly don't mean to be dismissive. But I would suggest that people honestly interested would need a great deal more information (and more processing time) than the present discussion appears to reflect. Both are possible without going to seminary, but a little homework would be in order.

Perhaps this is due to my Anglican world view in matters of faith, where we count on the balance between Scripture, Tradition, and Reason to guide our inquiry. We tend not to rush, and like to be in conversation with plenty of room to wonder and explore. Compared to that style of theological exploration, this discussion seems to me to be more like a mutual airing of entrenched positions. In a discussion such as we hold in our seminar, there'd be less attempt at persuasion and more willingness to not arrive at answers, than I see going on here.

That's fine if that's what people want to do, of course-- but it's not the actually same as learning about Theology, and I think if people want to know about it, there are sources well beyond Mudcat wisdom that might be considered.

A parallel of sorts exists in a current thread about the blues-- Mudcatter Azizi wants to catch up on blues culture she's missed. It won't happen overnight; and as one post described, it can't be done without actually experiencing some of it. The nature and the breadth of the subject are such that at a certain point, one has to jump in or one has not touched the subject at hand.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 03:06 AM

That's true, Susan. It takes a lot of systematic study and a lot of humility before you can talk halfway sensibly in the world of theology. It also helps to have a fairly good knowledge of philosophy, because much theological exploration is conducted in the language and methods of philosophy. Another essential element in the study of theology is an open mind and a willingness to leave no question unasked or unexplored.

So, no, an Internet Forum is not a good place for amateur theological discussion, and I'm beginning to think that theological discussion is suitable only for those who are willing to take the time to dig deep. I have had limited success teaching theological concepts in church - although I have much better luck teaching scripture.

That's why it bugs me when people make sweeping condemnations of this or that theological concept or school of thought - when there is no chance that they have any understanding of what they're condemning. It happens here at Mudcat all the time. The Conventional Wisdom here is that all churches and all religious people are fundamentalist anti-abortion anti-intellectual fascists, that "morality" means hating homosexuals and Muslims, and that faith is buying a line of propaganda from some demagogue who wants to control minds. I suppose it's easy to draw that conclusion because the fundamentalists make so much noise and the media tend to report bad news about rather than good about churches and whatever. There are plenty of horrible things done in the name of faith, and these are the things that get noticed. But in my experience, those bad things are the exception, not the rule. People of faith in any creed are generally good people who do good things.

Faith is not theology. It's not an intellectual exercise - it's a relationship that is experienced, not conquered by intellectual endeavor. It is something that is part of one's being, usually handed down from ancestors or from other people we love. It involves a relationship with a community of believers, with other human beings in general, with the universe that surrounds us, and with that which is beyond us. It is our way of understanding what we cannot understand - but which we know by experience.

Faith is something that is shared, but it is also something that is very intimate and private. My faith on what is Beyond is in God, but I think that many faith-filled people have a faith that is non-theistic. For most people, what we see beyond us is some sort of ultimate good - but I supose that some faith can be seekig for whatever it is that is beyond us - good, bad, or indifferent.

But I don't think faith ever involves imposing beliefs upon other people, or seeking to sestroy the beliefs that have meaning to others. That's an aberration, I think. I believe that tolerance is part of the essence of faith. I think that true faith demands an openness to all that is around us, but also a willingness to embrace and enjoy the understandings that come to us through faith.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 05:49 AM

Well, Joe, I agree with what you say (for the most part) but I sure do feel as though you're painting a more "fundamental" Christianity with a very broad brush, condemning it, distancing yourself from it...

...in the very same manner in which you obviously feel your own Christian views are being condemned, painted with that same broad brush, and distanced from by those by whom you wish to be thought well of here.

ironic, ain't it?

It's not to say you're not a thoughtful guy. You seem to be exceedingly so. But you are really trampling and mischaracterizing a lot of good people that I know and love.

It's a tough thing to carry the baggage of the people who claim to be your brothers -- and walk beside them -- when you see everyone else bearing only their own (individual) baggage (are judged on their own merits).

I guess it would be too hard to explain/describe yourself without condemning others. The shortcut is too attractive.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 09:10 AM

But I don't think faith ever involves imposing beliefs upon other people, or seeking to destroy the beliefs that have meaning to others. That's an aberration, I think. I believe that tolerance is part of the essence of faith. I think that true faith demands an openness to all that is around us, but also a willingness to embrace and enjoy the understandings that come to us through faith.

Joe, I agree. I think what would really be interesting would be to discuss theology with felllow believers, in a setting where people who have been harmed by "religion" could be the flies on the wall. The depth of thought and the breadth of exploration, the personal experiences shared, the lack of condemnation-- all these might offer a different view of what had formerly been so painful. (I'm NOT suggesting that Mudcat is the place for this.)

Lest anyone think I do not understand or care about the harms that HAVE been done, CLICK HERE for a thread I started almost 5 years ago.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 10:12 AM

That clicky of Susan's, BTW, leads to one of the most interesting discussions I've seen around here ins quite a while.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,~S~
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 10:14 AM

I never did figure out how anyone could have seen it as proselytizing, when it was in essence an acknowledgement of how wrong it is to force beliefs on people. I think that reaction was part of another level of realizing how deep the wounds were-- and remain.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 11:02 AM

People of faith in any creed are generally good people who do good things.

Does anyone else remember the scene in the 'Narnia' series where the invaders enter the hut - the truly evil ones to be destroyed by their god - the young soldier who though devout in his worship of the "evil" god did good was met by Aslan?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 05:56 PM

Jim, I think there needs to be a distinction made between "conservative" Christians and "fundamentalist" Christians. Fundamentalists are aggessive, intolerant, and legalistic. They exist in almost every creed. Their aim is to destroy anyone who doesn't agree with them or doesn't exist their imposition of beliefs upon others. I think you could say there are fundamentalist liberals, too; and even fundamentalist atheists.
I have been inspired by many conservative Christians, even though my understanding may be different from theirs. If you take the Sermon on the Mount literally and live by it, the liberal-conservative differences mean little more than an intellectual disagreement. For the most part, it does not matter whether the Scriptures are understood literally or not - what does matter is whether the message is heard and understood.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 08:05 PM

Jim Tailor...Joe replied to my posts and questions in a good natured and informative way.   I respect him very much for that ,although I was not covinced by him or others who made the case for "religion".

The tone of your post to Joe was snide and arrogant in my opinion.
If you feel Joe is not representing your point of view, answer the queries yourself, and dont load your fundamentalist "baggage" onto someone who is obviously a decent man.

I dont "condemn" Joe or anyone else here for their views by the way,I was simply stating the reasons why I could not accept them personally


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 05 - 10:44 PM

I agree with you Joe, that if you take as your baseline approach those values espoused by Jesus in that Sermon, and seek to return to them in spite of all set-backs, that you are thereby practicing right living.

I can do without most of what the organization came up with after that date, but we certainly agree on those fundamentals. And in fact I think the problem with any religion is not even with its fundamentalists, but with those who constitute its fanatic sector.

Even a fanatic Buddhist (although I have never heard of such a thing) would leave more of a stain than a blessing on the world.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 06:21 AM

akenaton,

Though I'm sure he appreciates your protective words, I think if Joe thinks I am being "snide" he seems quite capable of pointing it out himself.

I am the anti-snide.

Hope your day is just the ginchiest!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:04 AM

....in fact, I am so the anti-snide that if they ever made a cartoon character of me, I would no doubt be named, "Snidely Neckbrace"


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:09 AM

I actually tried to be snide one time. It backfired so badly that I was besnide myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 09:59 AM

People like me have so little snide that they actually needed to invent a device that measured snide in such small increments. It's called a "snide-rule".   Of course, since Texas Instruments has made the pocket calculator so ubiquitous, the snide-rule is more or less obsolete. Few people are even old enough to remember how to use one.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 10:08 AM

Jim is the Anti-Snide!! Sussed at last.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 11:12 AM

That's me!!

Reminds me...

Know what 668 is?

The antichrist's nextdoor neighbor.

I gotta get me a number. Every Anti-something should have one.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 03:25 PM

000


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 03:41 PM

lol!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 04:06 PM

The flaw in Christian theology is a basic one, it is based on the religious beliefs and practices of an insignificant tribal people who at one time worshipped many gods and goddesses, but do to their captivity and enslavement were introduced to the idea of monotheism. They became monotheists and like all monotheist proclaimed themselves to be the chosen people of their god with all the special rights and obligations accorded thereto. They became practitioners of animal sacrifice as blood offerings to the wrathful god they worshipped. As part of the accumulation of myth over time they came up with the idea of an original sin and fall of man from grace with this wrathful god, and being a wrathful god he let them have it with both barrels. banishment, sickness, eventual mortality (even after 900 some years of life an end!), and a curse throughout all generations to come until a sacrifice big enough would satisfy his wrath. Even after thousands of years a blood sacrifice is required, even as the Romans were making their bloody offerings to their gods, the Jews were doing the same. SO, some rabble rousing, do-gooding, left wing commie freak gets arrested for sedition against the power of Rome and is given up by the Jewish authorities whose practises and livelihoods he was challenging. He is crucified, a common practice of ROman law, but not a particulary horrible way to die in this case, becausee they don't leave him hanging for weeks to be starved and picked at by birds and insects, they stick a spear in his side and it's over in three hours, as the story goes. Over the centuries that follow, and almost immediately his message or peace and love, turning the other cheek, social responsibility for one's neighbors, non-violence, etc. is completely subverted and co-opted by the powers that be into a religion of power and might, where there is the possibility of 'just war', etc., totally antithetical to the teachings of the poor schmuck they name their religion after. His death somehow is supposed to appease this wrathful god, and suddenly he is a god of mercy, not wrath, and if we behave ourselves, and follow the rules laid down by those who claim to act on his behalf, popes and kings and lords and the like, when we die, after a life of misery and pain we may be admitted into his presence in some valhalla for all eternity, or if we have offended him in some way, we will be purged of our offense in fire and brimstone agony, and in the harder cases that will last forever. ALL TOTAL BULLSHIT. there is no god, there never was a god, there never will be a god. we are here as an accident of this thing called life, and we should give up this notion of divine intervention and get right with ourselves. The message of Jesus of Nazareth, so called, is a good one, a way of living in peace on earth with our fellow humans and environment, but not another Lord to obey who will give us our reward for loyalty some day in heaven, and no killing in his name. just a nice way to get along with one another. treat everyone the way you would like to be treated, return injury with blessings, etc., a complete break and negation of the Judaic law that precedes him of an eye for an eye, etc. no circumcision is necessary or recommended. unless you study the religions of other cultures and see how commonly held some of these beliefs were and how foolish they are in reality, you can pray your whole life away while cursing the fates, your neighbors, the gays, the arabs, the government or whomever you don;t agree with and your life will one day wind down to it's end with you none the wiser or happier, your body to rot back into the earth and your spirit extinguished with the breath you last exhale. only your good works will live on in the memories of your family or friends, the more outrageous among you will live in infamy with your inglorious deeds an example for generations to come of what not to do. Life is precious, time is fleeting, now is all there is. Have a nice day!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 04:10 PM

Really?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: beardedbruce
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 04:16 PM

akenaton,

just as a point of interest, in military terms a string of all zeros is "all balls"


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: gnu
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 04:17 PM

Yes, Susan, have a nice day.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM

Oh, thanks. I am.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 07:11 PM

Bill Kennedy speaks the truth!!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 07:55 PM

He speaks partial truth. But there is a God for Bill Kennedy. Bill's God is his own ruggedly independent mind and individualized sense of identity. That is a very common God out there, and it demands its own bitter sacrifices from the faithful. It is a God that fears, struggles, suffers, and dies. Sometimes it has fun too, along the way to the eventual demise.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 07:57 PM

Well, that's one perspective, Bill. I agree with a fair amount of it. I especially like the part about no circumcision...except that I found out about it too late.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:09 PM

Thanks, Bill - That just about sums it up.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:28 PM

Any reasonable person would agree with a fair amount of it... :-)

To find flaws in Christian/Jewish/Muslim theology is as easy as finding ants on a summer lawn. It's as easy as hitting the broad side of a barn with a shotgun. It's as easy as falling to the temptation to post one more time on Mudcat.

And it feels so good too! :-) But what if Judeo/Christian/Muslim theology is only a teeny little vague archaic scratch on the surface of the enormous conundrum referred to by many people as "God" or Spirit or the Tao or Zen or whatever you choose to call it?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:41 PM

I don't think I could ever write that dogmatically.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 08:56 PM

Gee! I'm sure glad we got all that straightened out at last!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Feb 05 - 11:22 PM

Yes. I can sleep soundly tonight. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 10:33 AM

sorry about all the typos in that message, but I wanted to get it sent. Implicit in the rundown, but I think needing to be pointed out, is that this 'blood sacrifice' needed to be a human sacrifice, a barbarism from an even earlier period in Jewish tribal history.

Even more outrageous to me is that people have killed each other in the centuries following arguing over whether or not the wafer & wine are symbols of the body and blood or are the actual body and blood. And if they are the actual body and blood as the Roman Catholic church teaches then that means that every time a mass is said anywhere in the world Jesus suffers again the sacrifice of his life for our sins. My questions have always been how much does he suffer during the consecration of the host? 3 hours compressed into the 3 bell rings? the scourging through the spear in the side? just the last breath? and why would this be necessary?

Joe Offer above mentioned the 'Way' of Christianity. I would argue that there is no 'Way' of Christianity. A 'Way, a 'tao' is a philosophy of life. Christianity is a religion. A religion is a set of rules instituted by an all powerful dictator that must be obeyed. That's what all religions are. If you buy into them, you get the handbook of rules and regs and try to behave accordingly, with a final binding judgement at the end, and punishment & reward meted out impartially. I don't see the need for or the inherent truth of these systems.

The further theological questions are just as troubling. In the Christian system now that Jesus has ascended into heaven he is to come again as the judge. But he is not going to judge us on how well or badly we followed HIS teaching, but as a surrogate for his father he is going to judge us on the old testament commandments, did we honor our father and mother, covet our neighbors ass (or his wife's ass!) etc. That's what this whole crucifixion thing was for? That's why he suffers with each consecrated host, to intercede with his father for us who have strayed from the rulebook? does an all powerful god really need to go through these charades? I could go on but there are so many inconsistencies and absurdities that it seems unnecessary to go any further.

Let me say in general terms, it seems to me in studying religions that gods and goddesses have always been metaphors embodying natural forces that are beyond the control or understanding of humans. They are ultimately irrelevant to our lives, but perhaps reassuring to the more easily frightened among us. There is little difference in the teachings of modern science; we are asked to believe in muons, psions, quarks, etc. which can't actually be seen or experienced, but leave traces of their existence in relation to other particles. We see that some disturbance has occurred and we assume that some even smaller particle has been here and moved on. It may or may not be so, in a way that's a bit more believable than that there is a god whose eye is on the sparrow but who lets children suffer and die, but ultimately these scientific beliefs, and even if they are fact, are just as irrelevant and useless as the gods in regards to how we live our lives and interact with other people we come in contact with. The animal human heart wants what it wants. We can defer satisfaction of these desires for later. Does that make the fulfillment of these desires sweeter, more satisfying because gratification was delayed? Not necessarily. Or we can use our will power to suppress desire to severe restriction, live a life of complete self-denial. But why? For the ultimate satisfaction of these desires in a mythical Elysium? good luck to you.

And real social questions arise out of these beliefs. Why are our jails full of people whose only crime is self medication, except that the religious among us belief that drugs are proscribed on the list of rules that must be obeyed? Says who? Plants that grow are not to be used for medicines? only pharmaceutical companies are to be trusted to handle these substances ethically? these and many more questions are left unasked and unanswered, and actual peoples lives are sacrificed because they may not agree with someone's religious beliefs in these matters. That coouldn't in a secular democracy, one might say, but it's our reality just the same. Our lives are not much different from that of Iranians under the Mullahs, maybe just a matter of degrees. (and I rarely take anything but aspirin now and again, BTW, I'm not an advocate for drug taking, but it is a personal choice, not a moral one)

There is only one reason that we don't still live in the Eden of our myths, and that is because we choose not to accept the responsibility to do so, we will not share our resources with our neighbors, we allow people no more capable or infallible than ourselves the powers to lead us in directions contrary to our own self interests and happiness. I don't make the claim, as some have inferred from my earlier posting, and my statements here may imply to some, that the individual is supreme. On the contrary, the individual only exists within a society of other individuals who all contribute to his or her support in various ways. The philosophies, the ways, of the Tao, the Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tze, etc. all allow for a full and happy life enriched by each individual to the extent that they work to know themselves and develop their capacity for compassion and love, and with no rules to follow that if broken can't be mended by more mindfullness and self discovery. The reward for knowing oneself and living with others in caring ways is a happy, fulfilled life, where one is cared for as well by others in turn. That does not mean life isn't hard, even cruel sometimes, but we can work with one another to make it more pleasant, (like creating and maintaining Mudcat for example!), more just, more equitable. Does man's unalienable right to life mean only the right to the merest existence, sucking air in some hovel with nothing to eat, no clean water to drink, an accident of birth determining their circumstances and only gods to be petitioned for help? I don't think so, and each of us, in their own way, does what he or she can to make life more bearable for someone they know. That's all that's necessary, but it wouldn't hurt to extend our sphere of caring just a bit more. That's all I have to say on the matter (at least for now, I'm not shy about expressing my opinions! but I keep an open mind and look forward to more discussion)

Work for peace, and my wishes for peace and health and love to you all, but not prayers. This could be better expressed, I know, and I offer my apologies for rambling on.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Amos
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 10:52 AM

"Be off -- these are not the droids you are looking for."

"Oh....ok, let's go. These are not the droids we are looking for." (They leave).


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 11:19 AM

Bill, you say you look forward to continued discussion. I feel so much hatred and bitterness coming from your posts in this thread that I would not enter into a discussion with you about ANYthing, least of which my most personal thoughts and experiences.

And I am outraged that when Joe mentions (the obvious and frank) bigotry, people have the nerve to suggest how he should or should not feel-- while dramatic displays of ill feeling run rampantly through this and many other threads. Feelings are feelings. If one wants one's most treasured and hoarded upsets to be honored as feelings, how about tolerating the feelings one generates in response, as well?

What I see in this thread is proselytization against religion, much more than any for it. While many Christians are restraining themseves from posting what they really think and feel, the negative message and witness rolls on in abundance. It feels very political, very much intended as intimidation.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 12:09 PM

Brucie
the Noah's ark story wasn't even about Noah.
It was Jonah. Somehow the letters got mixed up.




Over the years half the story got lost
It was told but they called him a liar.
A story of labor, savior and cost.
Its the story of Jonah and his flier...

Jonah you are to build an ark.
Coat the timbers with nautilus shell.
It will act as an ageless bark.
You will save all of us from hell.

With a papyrus blueprint and ambition
Jonah set to work.
Toiling from midnight to the noon day sun.
But there was a quirk.

The goat ate the instructions.
Lord, I am done said Jonah.
No you are not, where is the engine?
You need it to save flower and fauna.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no.jpg


Oh God, damit can't you do a miracle?
I'm not saying its your fault but comon.
An object then appeared flat and spherical.
On the beach were parts most uncommon.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no3da.jpg



The storm was gathering and clouds loomed dark
The wind of the engine made a peculiar song
Over the years half the story got lost
It was told but they called him a liar.
A story of labor, savior and cost.
Its the story of Jonah and his flier...

Jonah you are to build an ark.
Coat the timbers with nautilus shell.
It will act as an ageless bark.
You will save all of us from hell.

With a papyrus blueprint and ambition
Jonah set to work.
Toiling from midnight to the noon day sun.
But there was a quirk.

The goat ate the instructions.
Lord, I am done said Jonah.
No you are not, where the the engines?
You need it to save flower and fauna.



Oh God, damit can't you do a miracle?
I'm not saying its your fault but comon.
An object then appeared flat and spherical.
On the beach were parts most uncommon.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no3da.jpg



The storm was gathering and clouds loomed dark
The wind of the engine made a peculiar song
Jonah waited for the tortoise before they embark
Could he have waited too long.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no6b.jpg


Before the door could close a wave swamped the deck.
They glided to the bottom of a shallow sea
By morning Jonah left the air pocket
and began the story we now see.






http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/noahsark.jpg


All the nautilus were lost building the boat.
Jonah was saved by the whale.
The tortoise swam and learned to float.
The ark did not age or grow pale.

Then one day the sea gave up its secrets
the shallow sea was now deeper.
The age is clear from carbon 14 wood cuts.
The story is now for the seeker.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/ark.jpg



by DH


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM

Sorry I screwed up that post...it got complicated - screw the clickies

edit

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no3da.jpg

Over the years half the story got lost
It was told but they called him a liar.
A story of labor, savior and cost.
Its the story of Jonah and his flier...

Jonah you are to build an ark.
Coat the timbers with nautilus shell.
It will act as an ageless bark.
You will save us all from hell.

With a papyrus blueprint and ambition
Jonah set to work.
Toiling from midnight to the noon day sun.
But there was a quirk.

The goat ate the instructions.
Lord, I am done said Jonah.
No you are not, where is the engine?
You need it to save flower and fauna

Oh God, damn it can't you do a miracle?
I'm not saying its your fault but comon.
An object then appeared flat and spherical.
and there appeared an engine most uncommon.

The storm was gathering and clouds loomed dark
The wind of the engine droned a solitary song
Jonah waited for the tortoise before they embark
But he waited far too long.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/no6b.jpg

Before the door could close a wave swamped the deck.
They glided to the bottom of a shallow sea
By morning Jonah left the air pocket
and began the story we now see.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/noahsark.jpg

All the nautilus were lost building the boat.
Jonah was saved by the whale.
The tortoise swam and learned to float.
The ark did not rot or grow pale.

Then one day the sea gave up its secrets
the shallow sea is now deeper.
10,000 years old, told the carbon 14 wood cuts.
You see, belief in any story, like faith, is for the leaper.

Learning the truth is for the seeker.

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/ark.jpg


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 01:07 AM

WYSIWYG - I don't read any hatred or bitterness in Bill Kenedy's post. What I hear from you is intolerance, defensiveness and self-righteous indignation. Seems you can't question Christian Theology without raising the shackles of the Christians. To non-Christians, your response is just another method of intimidation.

Are you so high and mighty that you think we have no right to question in a thread called the 'flaw in Christian Theology?' When honest inquiry is considered an insult, communication ends.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 02:53 PM

Bill Kennedy sez:
    Christianity is a religion. A religion is a set of rules instituted by an all powerful dictator that must be obeyed. That's what all religions are.
So, Bill, who's the dictator?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 02:58 PM

Joe -

I think he is referring to a temporarily appointed leader who has absolute authority.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 03:35 PM

OK, diana, so who is this "temporarily appointed leader who has absolute authority"?

The Pope?

He doesn't have absolute authority over me a Catholic. I do and think pretty much as I please. I don't live my life in obedience to the Pope, and I don't know any Catholics who do. The Pope certainly doesn't have authority over non-Catholic Christians. There are Catholics who believe the Pope has absolute authority, but usually what they hold as "absolute" is a confused misunderstanding of Catholic belief - just as Bill has posted a confused misunderstanding of Christian belief above.

I can't refute what Bill has posted. If that's what Christians believe, then they're wrong, and I join with Bill in opposing them. But even the fundamentalists don't believe what Bill says they believe.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 06:47 PM

Joe - The pope doesn't have absolute authority over you, personally, but he does have absolute authority in regard to the theological matters of the Roman Catholic church.

I would also like to say that at the time of the Cathar genocide, the centralized authority of the Vatican was a relatively new concept. It was because the Cathars questioned that ultimate authority and continued to practice a form of Christianity that was much older, that they were branded as heretics and killed. They were, in fact, Christians who threatened the existence of a centralized, Roman authority.

The idea of holy communion administered by a priest was a ritual introduced long after the beginning of Christianity. Have you ever wondered why holy communion was started in the first place? In fact, have you ever wondered why you have to confess your sins to a priest or why you accept without question any of the ritualized behaviours you take for granted?

You're right about not having much history on the Cathars. The only thing that remains are the Inquisitors records. This, of course, is highly biased but by reading those accounts, you begin to understand how ruthless the Catholic church was in their quest for power and how innocent the earlier Christians were.

I wish you would stop taking this personally.

I have said what I have said as reasons for not becoming a Christian. I do not want to be accused of guilt by association. That does not mean that I am Godless or that I deny Christ. I may not fit into your idea of Christianity but then Jesus didn't fit into Judaism either. My guess is that he would not think much of todays version of Christianity.

I have many friends and family members who are Catholic. We get along just fine but we don't discuss religion. Mudcat is a forum for discussion (I thought). Its a place where, for the first time, I thought I could state my opinions about Christianity, in general, without insulting someone or having a guilt trip laid on me. I guess I was wrong.

Talk about intimidation!


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 06:58 PM

Well, it's common enough for people to quote the very worst examples of excess by a religion when pointing out the flaws in that religion, and all organized religions have flaws...but that does not constitute a personal attack on a member of that religion in the present day...nor does it sum up all that is to be said about that religion.

The Catholic Church did some horrible things in the past and also some very good things. I do not judge present day Catholics on the basis of what their ancestors did, nor on the basis of what the Pope might have to say about this or that issue.

One can grow up with a sincere spiritual faith within the community of any organized religion. Or not. It's up to the individual, not the religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Feb 05 - 10:57 PM

Thank you, Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Peg
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 01:14 PM

It seems to me that one could easily find, as has been pointed out, flaws in pretty much any ideology or theology.

The important questions to ponder, it seems to me, have to do with whether any of this is working for anyone.

Are people happy? Fulfilled? Do they have their basic needs met? Do they strive to help others, from a sense of basic human compassion rather than some institionalized sense of guilt? Do they maintain an open mind and heart with regard to the opinions, lifestyles, actions, looks, or beliefs of others? Do they find beauty and wonder in their daily lives? Do they try each day to make the world a better place? Do they try to better themselves? Do they confront life's pain and difficulty with strength and hope, and try not to stay bitter and fearful when bad things happen? Do they appreciate what they have? Do they forgive others, and themselves, for wrongdoing?

I know a whole lot of people of all different religious beliefs and practices, including myself, who could certainly be doing more to be good people.

We're all here. I am constantly perplexed by the vast numbers of people I encounter who aren't trying to make the best of things in the time they have. We are not promised tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 01:18 PM

Very well said, Peg.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 01:20 PM

Nice post, Peg.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: dianavan
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 11:50 PM

Exactly, Peg. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Peace
Date: 13 Feb 05 - 11:53 PM

The flaw in Christian theology is that non-Christians look for flaws in it. The Christians are happy. Let 'em be.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 11:55 AM

THE flaw in Christian Theology PP?

Just the one?

What happened to the others?

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 06:08 PM

Well, I think we all agree that Christianity is flawed. Is there anything or anyone who is NOT flawed?

I suppose there are those here who blieve that Christianity is evil. But then we have people here who call themselves Christians, and they're pretty good folks.

We have people here who complain about Christians claiming to be perfect - but we haven't found a single Christian here who claims that Christianity is perfect, have we?

So, after all this, I guess we're at the point where we started.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 06:31 PM

Cant agree there Joe .....Awhile back we had Jim Tailor complaining that you were being "disrespectful" to fundamentalist christians.

I think your views are reasonably benign, but obviously other christians have different ideas.

In other words, they're not all pinkos' like you ....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 07:13 PM

No, akenaton, I was not. I was merely pointing out that in Joe's haste to distance himself from fundementalists, he was painting them as monolithically as he was wishing not to be painted.


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 07:20 AM

I thought this table was interesting and asks some of the questions discussed in this thread. Sorry I'm not good at HTML so can't make it look right

I would like to say this I have enjoyed reading this thread.

My personal beliefs are along the lines of "do as you would be done by" and "acknowledge my higher self" and "all you need is love"

Critical Questions About Christian Doctrines Which Need to be Answered

(1), Is God a being of:, unconditional love?, or, unending wrath?

(2), Did Jesus teach:, universal salvation?, or, eternal damnation?

(3), Are we saved by:, emulating Jesus?, or, idolizing Jesus?
, taking up our own cross?, or, relying on Jesus' cross?
, having the faith of Jesus?, or, having faith in Jesus?
, our works of faith?, or, faith without works?
, doing acts of love?, or, believing in his name?

(4), Is physical rebirth:, the reincarnation of the spirit?, or, the resurrection of the body?

(5), Is spiritual rebirth:, the resurrection of the spirit?, or, the resurrection of the body?

(6), Does God dwell:, within all humanity?, or, only within Jesus?

(7), Is the devil:, an ego-self to be crucified?, or, a formidable threat to God?

(8), Are we born:, in ignorance making mistakes?, or, in sin with an evil nature?
, with wills that are free?, or, with wills in slavery to evil?
, with our own debts to pay?, or, in Adam's original sin?

(9), Is the Bible:, the fallible work of humans?, or, the infallible words of God?


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,jim tailor
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 08:49 AM

Guest,

As most of those questions don't have an accurate answer within the multiple choices, I assume these are supposed to be answered according to how far along toward either extreme you might find your beliefs? (that's the HTML part you couldn't figure out to how post here?)


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: GUEST,Partridge
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:15 AM

Sorry I was the guest - I keep loosing my cookie and forgot to put my name on.

I think the table says what a lot of other post have said that "Christians" come in different guises. Those that worship Christ and those that emulate his life. Each question has an answer that agrees with what sort of Christian one is.

I don't know what the right answers are but suspect that the ones on the left are for those who emulate Christs living example and the ones ones the right are those who have more fundamentalist views.

It would have made a lot more sense if I had been able to keep the format.......or may be not.

Perhaps I'm out of my depth
I'll get me coat........

Pat x


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Subject: RE: BS: The flaw in Christian Theology
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:34 PM

"Each question has an answer that agrees with what sort of Christian one is."

Except that it is either written by a Christian of only one of types being analyzed, or it is written by somebody who thinks they understand Christianity, but does not.

The answers that the questioner seems to think a more fundamental"ist" Christian would answer in the affirmative are not accurate for that POV.


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