Religiosity tangent from voter suppression thread

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Asyncritus, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    No.

    Fetuses and women's bodies can be verified by science.

    God cannot. The concept of religion began as a philosophy. How to be a better person, then why. But, all of it is personal and requires faith. And faith cannot be quantified by science.

    I know there isn't a scientific answer, reason, rabbit hole, that will ever define or prove my beliefs. But, then, that is exactly what makes them beliefs.
  2. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Yeah, all right, like I said, I'm not getting into it.
  3. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    That's fine. I'm not asking you to. I'm just saying that adamantly arguing that someone's beliefs are invalid because science is just as illogical as a fundamentalist arguing that their beliefs are real and everyone should embrace them.
  4. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    So what is that thing developing inside a pregnant woman? :mystery: A large mouth bass? An arctic fox? What will come out of that woman? Let's just kill it now, I doubt if it's anything important.
    Sorry, but my kids are pretty fucking important in my life. My grandkids are pretty damn important to me too, and especially to my daughter. Those kids started out as "electrical impulses".
    Our brains operate with "electrical impulses" as live & breath. Guess everyone deserves to die, right? Fuck that bullshit.
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  5. T.R

    T.R Don't Care

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    Not to mention that according to federal law, an unborn fetus or embryo is considered a legal victim if the mother is killed. Clearly it's not just a clump of cells.
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  6. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Don't be stupid. Yes, if continued on it's course, it will develop into a baby. But, until then, ask any woman who has ever had a miscarriage, it's not a baby until it can survive outside the mother.
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  7. Tererun

    Tererun Troll princess and Magical Girl

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    Nice derailment. I think this derailment might have been enough to kill bruce willis.

    I must admit it is a good analogy on how republican voter suppression works. Look, squirrel having an abortion. Quick while everyone is arguing about that let us make it harder for dems to vote.
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  8. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    Please, I'm very much interested in the bible discussion.
  9. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    Can you give an example of what you're talking about in the part I put in bold?
  10. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    I was brought up with fundamentalism. King James only, the world was created 6000 years ago in 6 days, the rapture of the church will happen any day now, no drinking or smoking, and "a woman's place is in the home, certainly not running churches". Typical American Evangelicalism. I didn't actually realize there was anything else, other than "cults" who, of course, are all Evil People.

    Then one day I had a chance to listen to a lecture by a Bible scholar who said that our interpretations of the passages that are used to show that women have no place in the church (other than preparing the food for the potlock dinners and cleaning up afterward, of course) were based more on "church tradition" than on what the texts actually say. Evangelicals like to believe that only Catholics have "church traditions", but it isn't so. He went over the texts one by one. "Here, where is says women should be silent, a better translation would be maintain a peaceful attitude. Here where is says women should learn in silence with all subjection, that would be better translated that men should stop hassling them and let them learn peacefully, as long as they do it with a humble attitude toward God. Here where it says women shouldn't speak in church, that would be better translated that they should stop disrupting services by chattering..." He went on like that in great detail, for quite a while. He also pointed out a lot of factors about the culture that give us an entirely different perspective on what is being said.

    I was young back then, and was very surprised by it. But I soon discovered that there were a fair number of scholars saying the same things, and a fair number of translations (not a majority, since "church traditions" plus a general "men are superior to women, who have nothing to teach us because we know just about everything" attitude still have a lot of sway) that reflected those interpretations. Then, as even more years went by and I became something of an expert myself on the cultural contexts in which the Bible was written, and learned Greek much better, and especially learned to stop just listening to Bible scholars on what the Greek terms mean (too many Greek dictionaries, made by Christians, are more telling you how you should interpret a given word in a given Bible passage than actually showing how the word was used in Greek culture) but to check out what non-Christian experts on Greek have to say, I discovered that there are extremely good reasons to accept those interpretations. (The Greek dictionary I use the most today is a huge thing that was written primarily for helping people who are learning to read Homer and Plato and other classic writers, though I also have several Greek dictionaries written from a Christian perspective.) And as I pointed out upthread, when you take into consideration that Paul is the person in the New Testament who speaks the most about his female co-workers, that "revised" reading of the so-called misogynistic passages is much more consistent with the man. Why would the same guy speak so often about women who work with him for the cause of the Gospel, and then turn around and say they shouldn't do that?

    The change is coming much more slowly in America than it is here in Europe. Fundamentalism is alive and well and even prospering in the States. But Europe has the advantage of not having a huge Evangelical community or tradition. The Evangelicals have almost no political influence, and thus tend to stick to what the Bible says about how they should live their lives, instead of their ideas on how the rest of society should live. And one of the things that is changing here is the place of women in the church. Women who lead services, women who preach, even women pastors, are more and more widely accepted in Evangelical circles. The struggle against fundamentalism and "church traditions" has not been won completely (500 years after the Reformation, many of the anti-Scriptural teachings of the Catholic Church are still around, so what do you expect for a movement that didn't get started seriously until after the Second World War?), but attitudes are changing, slowly. There are enough people pointing out that the various "translations" are more biased interpretations than what the Greek actually says that it is getting harder and harder for everyone to ignore them.
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  11. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Sigh. We both can agree that absolutely nothing about the Star Wars movies/books/TV series is true, yes? We can also agree that fictional things can have a larger impact on society than things that actually happened.

    And yet that's not what's often printed in Bibles.
    Really? You think that the folks who led the services at temples dedicated to Athena and Aphrodite (to name only a couple of deities in Western traditions, not to mention those outside a very small sliver of the planet) were men?
    Did he? Which text is that? And do you agree with those scholars who say that some of Paul's epistles are forgeries? Why or why not?
    I'll bite: Why is this worse than men who try to take over everything?
    Da fuq? How is saying that women shouldn't go with their heads uncovered (whilst apparently mentioning nothing about men and covering their hair) indicative that men and women should be equal? For that matter, how is it that for a large portion of Christian history god was perfectly okay with men dominating religion?

    The fact that Christian tradition has usually translated that verse in a way that gives men flagrant preeminence over women says more about the mindset of "Christianity" for centuries than it does about what Paul thought. The text is still there for all to read, and the context of a man who speaks so often and so glowingly of his women co-workers certainly doesn't favour that interpretation. It is fun to take one very debateable verse out of the contexte of all of what Paul had to say on the subject of women and pretend that somehow proves something, but it is very shaky logic.

    Because you're unwilling to recognize what's printed in the very book you claim to venerate, nor in the religious traditions that followed. Jesus said nothing about if women should be allowed to lead, and at least a few apocryphal texts place women on par with some of the disciples. In the Gospel According to Thomas, Jesus makes the claim that
    There are some who say that what this means is that when women are considered equal to men, they will be admitted to heaven. There are others who say that this is a complete negation of women. In the same work we find this line
    One interpretation of this is that there's nothing but this mortal life and the failure to see it as a paradise is because men (AKA humanity) is unwilling to do so. Of course, this raises the question of why the Gospel of Thomas wasn't included in the Bible. Surely if it was an important work god would have put it there from the beginning. If he didn't, then that raises the question of why it was created and how we can trust the other works in the Bible. Have you read The Ark Before Noah by Irving Finkel? Dude's an absolute expert on things related to Mesopotamia. He found the oldest accounts of a flood myth in that part of the world (I should point out that across other parts of the planet we have ample evidence that there was no flood) and they pre-date the stuff in Genesis by a considerable amount. So, if we can't trust the Bible in what happened in ages past, and there's considerable debate about what happened in the Bible after 1 AD (show me the Roman records of the slaughter of the innocents by Herod, or the Census), then why should we trust what it says about Jesus and Paul?
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  12. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    O, kettle, thou art black! the pot exclaims. :lol:
  13. Fisherman's Worf

    Fisherman's Worf I am the Seaman, I am the Walrus, Qu-Qu-Qapla'!

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    I love Async, but thank you for quarantining his long-ass religion posts. It was bringing up a lot of suppressed memories of 12 years ago when I was also reading his long-ass religion posts.
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  14. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Have you studied the rituals at the temples dedicated to Athena and Aphrodite? Can you really claim that the role for the men was the same as the role for the women?

    Galatians 3:28.

    Irrelevant to the question of how he supposedly changed Christianity but no, for the simple reason that there is no evidence for it, other than "some people think maybe". Since the theology and thought processes are consistent in all of them, the default position is they were all from the same guy, who always identified himself.
  15. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    Hmmm. This assumes the existence of Christianity prior to Paul.

    All of the Christian writings (except Paul's himself obviously) were written after Paul and were subject to influence by him, so it's quite a job to reconstruct what things were like before him. That inevitably leads down the same rabbit-holes as to whether and to what extent these writings should be considered reliable in the first place.
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  16. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Which is a different question, but you are right: If you are going to doubt that Christianity even existed before Paul, you can't very well say he changed it.

    But then, with that level of doubt about the validity of all historical evidence for early Christianity, what evidence is there that Paul even existed?
  17. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    The letters are good evidence that Paul existed.
    That "Christianity" existed prior to Paul - as a seperate religion as opposed to a sect within Judaism - not so much.
  18. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Okay. I can accept that. I'm just kind of surprised that you do.

    But I don't think it did exist as a "separate religion as opposed to a sect within Judaism" before Paul. And I don't think that was widely recognized for a long time, perhaps not until about the time Paul died. Gallio's ruling in Acts 18:12-15 would seem to indicate that he didn't think so, and that apparently suited Paul as well.

    My opinion is that Christianity wasn't widely recognized as anything other than a new, strange (see Acts 25:19) and highly proselytizing form of Judaism until Nero decided that Christians did not benefit from the same religious protections as Jews.
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  19. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    In that case, we seem to agree on the general point I was making. Carry on.
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  20. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    You can say he changed the nature of Jesus message in the religion, and there's significant evidence of that which is a prominent part of the scholarly debate today, and whose origins go back to philosophers as diverse as Bertrand Russell, Leo Tolstoy and Frederich Nietzche. There's several notable differences, one of them being on the focus of faith vs works, another being on the focus of the Kingdom vs the Grace of God. For that matter, the concept the Jesus died for your sins isn't mentioned until Paul.

    I first encountered it nearly 20 years ago as a raging debate among Jesuit seminarians who were trying to understand what it meant for their religion.

    Of course, the scholarly take differs necessarily from the religious teachings, because that would fundamentally destroy the religion as it exists today.

    Christianity before Paul is disputed, but clearly after Paul but before the creation of the Bible there were many sects each with their own beliefs that they clearly also thought were valid in Christian doctrine. The Eibonites, Marconists, and Gnostics for example all would have created a significantly different church if they held sway. But the formalization of canon was certainly a political event.

    My personal belief - regardless of your take on Jesus, his primary prophecy about the end times coming in his life time failed, and Paul stepped into to organize the religion, changing it from blessed be the poor to if you don't work, you don't eat.

    He also changed the concept from Jesus being the Jewish Messiah who brought the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth, to one where the Messiah was here to die for our sins. After all, Jesus didn't bring Heaven to Earth.

    If Paul didn't do these things the religion wouldn't have survived.

    So yeah, it's pretty hard to extricate the two.

    Other than the fact they said dramatically different things about what the religion was supposed to be.
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  21. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    Ah, but it is. Jesus said so himself. All the synoptic Gospels relate how, the evening before the crucifixion, at the Passover meal, Jesus gave new meaning to one of the ceremonial cups that were drunk by saying, "This is the new covenant in my blood."

    The "new covenant" is clearly a reference to Jeremiah 31, a prophecy about a spiritual transformation that is radically different from "salvation by works" as taught in the law of Moses ("If you do these things, you will live"). Jeremiah's prophecy (like so many others) makes it clear that that doesn't work, because no one actually does everything they're supposed to do. But at the same time, he announces that God will transform people by means of a different covenant (i.e., "not the law of Moses") that will actually produce a spiritual change in people. Jesus words clearly show that that change comes about through his blood, that is, by him being killed. Thus, man is delivered from sin (that's what Jeremiah says, very clearly) by the death of Christ (that's what Jesus says, clearly).

    So your whole demonstration is actually just revisionism. If you accept the facts laid out in the New Testament, then it is clear that Jesus himself already taught that salvation from sin was "in his shed blood". And if you don't accept the facts laid out in the New Testament, then you can't say that Paul changed things because you have no basis for knowing what was going on. (References to the very early period of Christianity from outside the New Testament are extremely limited and not very explicit as to details.)
  22. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    This seems to me like a false choice - either "accept the facts laid out by the NT" or say nothing about any of it.

    But it's quite possible to use critical reasoning to accept some parts of it and reject others. In particular, speaking of "the NT" as a single entity is not a useful starting point.
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  23. RyanKCR

    RyanKCR TOF/PA survivor

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    Not accept that Christ in the Gospels said that his death was for the sins of the world? How convenient.
  24. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    The vast majority of Jeremiah 31 is about the creation of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah, and how it will be eternal in the eyes of their God. This is the traditional interpretation in Rabbinic lore of the coming of the Messiah - not a spiritual transformation, but of the manifestation of the Lord's will on Earth.

    If it's explicitly related to an afterlife, which is the 'new' tradition of Christianity at the time, then the phrasing is very odd:

    “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.34 They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.”

    Lumping forgiveness of sin in with the context of Heaven, while talking explicitly about terrestrial matters, is a particularly obtuse way of stating what would be the single most important bit of information in the bible, if you believed it on it's own merits as opposed to looking at it skeptically or historically. But maybe my expectations of a supreme being shouldn't include the ability to speak with clarity of thought. :D

    The next part goes back to the vast majority of the intent of that text, which states that Israel will be eternal, and then goes onto talk about the physical dimensions of the city. Not exactly similar in tone to the traditional Christian interpretation, is it?

    They always seem to leave out the part that everyone will know the Lord and there's no need for any further teaching under the new covenant. And it specifically says no man will die from wrongdoing other than their own - this seems to be a reference to this new Kingdom on Earth, it clearly can't be a reference to Heaven, as no one dies there, correct?

    And lastly there's nothing explicit in the Bible that relates Jesus' statement that his blood is the covenant with this particular prophecy, and there are at least 4 other major covenants listed in the Old Testament, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic.

    I certainly understand that you aren't going to reject your faith after a brief interaction with me, but surely you can see why other people could interpret these passages differently.
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  25. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    He may have "said it" in the gospels. The proposition here is as that the gospels may be unreliable on that point while being reliable on some others. That's standard source criticism that one might apply to any historical document.
  26. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    But if you start from the perspective that the gospels are unreliable on certain points, you essentially make the argument that Paul changed Christianity into an unprovable proposition.

    Because we really only have the Gospels to rely on as to what Christianity was before Paul, any daylight between what is in the Gospels and what Paul said could be the work of someone messing with the Gospels, as could any consistency.

    To approach the topic fairly, it seems we either need to have specific evidence of people messing with the Gospels to either line them up with Paul's teachings(or not), or accept as a premise that the Gospels represent a good-faith attempt to accurately record the events that they purport to record.
  27. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    I'm not saying that we shouldn't take them as good-faith representations of what their authors believed at the times that they were written. But we can still analyse them critically with a view to reconstructing the historical events behind them.
    And of course, none of this stuff is "provable". It's all based on balance of probabilities. We can say that some things are probably true, others possibly true or probably false.

    There are multiple criteria that one can use for that, including:
    • Multiple attestation: a claim made multiple times by independent sources is more likely to be true. e.g. that Jesus was from Nazareth.
    • Motivation: a claim made against interest is more likely to be true. e.g. the crucifiction, considered to be a humiliating death, reserved only for criminals.
    • Agreement with other historical sources: if claims don't agree with other sources then they are more likely to be false. e.g. Luke's claim of a census requiring everyone to travel to their "own town".
    • Embellishment of later sources: If later sources contain claims not contained in earlier sources that might be reasonably expected to mention them, then they are more likely to be false. e.g. the raising of Lazarus in John's gospel.
    Applying these criteria to Pauls writings, the gospels and other writings can give some insight to the question at hand.

    But I think it's clear enough from reading Paul by himself (the genuine letters, not the pseudo ones) that he was changing things and involved in controversies with others about that. The Epistle to the Galatians is basically an angry rant against the circumcision party within the church - which includes Peter and James, identified as Jesus' brother. Paul demands that his readers believe him (having been justified by faith in Christ who has furnished him with revelations) over those who actually knew the historical Jesus, and presumably were reflecting what he taught to a greater degree.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 9:01 AM
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  28. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    You are correct that it is not as simple as "A or B", as my post makes it appear (in order to keep long explanations from getting even longer).

    Nevertheless, given that there is so little reliable information about early Christianity outside of those writings collected together in the NT, any claims that contradict that information, though one can posit for the the sake of argument that they might be true (since it is obvious not everyone agrees with the NT), cannot be viewed as anything more than opinion. There are no historical documents that show some other kind of Christianity prior to Paul (which is what this whole discussion is about). The various gnostic writings that those who dispute the validity of the NT often put forward as "alternate sources" would be even more hotly contested than the NT, if one tried to build a religion on the basis of what they teach. Gnostic Christianity didn't really develop until the second and even the third centuries. But there are very good reasons for believing that many NT writings are first century, even to the most skeptical.

    I have no problem with using critical reasoning, as long as it is not simply presuppositional. Otherwise, it is just a fancy circular argument. For example, if you start with the opinion that supernaturalism (miracles, predictions of future events, the existence of God, angels, etc) is false, you will necessarily reject the validity of any parts of the NT that refer to those can be true, or at least can be anything more than the misguided opinion of whoever made some claim about them. But all you are really doing is affirming your starting point: "If A, then A" (or, in this case, "If not-A, then not-A"). That doesn't get you very far.
  29. Asyncritus

    Asyncritus Expert on everything

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    I'm not going to try to respond to every point in your post, but I would like to start out by saying that it is well thought out and well presented, even though (as you can well expect) I don't agree with many parts of it. Thank you.
    I am very much aware that the traditional Jewish interpretation of Messianic prophecies has to do with a physical kingdom on Earth. I do not even disagree with that entirely, since I believe (and the New Testament teaches) that Christ will set up a kingdom on Earth. But at the point we think of as "the time of Christ", that was not the form that he was interested in, or promoted. Jesus often referred to "the kingdom" as some future state, at some indeterminate time (see for example Matthew 7:21-22, or the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:24-30). And though he very often said something along the lines of "the kingdom of God is very near to you" (see for example Luke 10:8-11), he explicitly said that at present (his present, that is), it was not to be thought of as a physical, terrestrial kingdom. Luke 17:20-21 is very clear on this point: "And having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them and said, `The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, "Look, here it is!" or "There is is!", for behold, the kingdom of God is inside of you."

    Any serious examination of the overall teaching of Jesus shows that his primary message is one of holy living, in the heart and not just superficially, in accordance with the law of God. Since "the kingdom of God" by definition (whatever the form it takes at a given time) means "where God reigns", it is thus clear that Jesus' insistence on "the kingdom of God" is to be taken in the context of his overall message of letting God actually reign in your life. He took the Pharisees to task on that point many times.

    As I'm sure you've noticed, I do not consider myself as bound by "the traditional Christian interpretation". I am not and have never been Catholic. I grew up with Christianity, and it didn't do much for me other than fill me with guilt and fear. But when I came to a personal relationship with God, based on loving and trusting him and, especially, being loved by him, that transformed my life. The whole point of much of the New Testament, including much of Jesus' own teaching, is: "The traditional Jewish interpretations of the Scriptures are wrong, and do not take sufficiently into account what they actually say." (That pretty well sums up most of Matthew 5, for example.) The whole point of the Reformation was a bunch of radical Catholics daring to say: "The traditional Christian interpretations of the Scriptures are wrong, and do not take sufficiently into account what they actually say." So I prefer to study the Scriptures in detail, from one end to the other, without caring much at all about "traditional Christian interpretations".

    Yes and no. It is true that when one takes the teaching of the Bible as a whole, it is clear that the final result of the New Covenant is perfect holiness, people who all want God to actually be God in their lives. When that happens, there obviously won't be any more need of teaching and preaching. But that does not mean that everyone will be part of that, because God gives us a choice. He gives us as much information as possible, and attempts to persuade us to accept "his kingdom" (that is, that we let him reign in our lives), but he isn't forcing anyone to accept that. Which means that even when the kingdom takes that form where "everyone knows God fully and lives perfectly according to his law", there will still be those who will "die" in the sense of being rejected from that kingdom (what various passages in the Bible refer to as "spiritual death"). So I personally don't see any difficulty whatsoever in saying that the New Covenant, put in place by the death of Christ, is at present an ongoing process and that it's final manifestation will be on a new Earth "where righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3.13).

    Not sure what you mean by this. Jeremiah very clearly says that the covenant that is replaced by "the new covenant" is "the covenant which [God] made with their fathers in the day when [he] took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt". That's a pretty explicit reference to the law of Moses, isn't it? And the covenant that actually changes people's hearts, and which Jesus says is brought about by "his blood", is the only one ever called a "new covenant". That's pretty explicit, too, isn't it?'

    No problem. Since a strong majority of posters here on WF agree on most political issues, there has to be some subjects we can actually talk about and bring up different viewpoints on. :D
    • Agree Agree x 1
  30. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    I must say, this is one of the most fascinating threads we've had here. Well done. :techman: