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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Sunsilver wrote:
I think the Gospel makes it quite clear that those who reject Christ are going to be cast into the lake of fire"


So, Sunny, I must ask you - do you believe that all the devout Hindus and Jains and Sikhs and Buddhists and so on - people who have been totally faithful to the religion they were raised in, who follow the precepts of their faith, who strive to be as good as they can be within those parameters - do you believe they all get "cast into the lake of fire?"

I mean, surely they've heard of Christianity. The same way you've heard of Hinduism and Islam and etc. Do you believe in a God that would require them to reject their OWN heritage? What are the chances of YOU suddenly switching to Jainism, for instance?

If that's what God has planned, you know what? I'll go right into that lake with the rest of them. I'd rather burn up dead than spend eternity with a god like that.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:50 pm 
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axordil wrote:
Which is worse, to intend to do evil and fail, bringing about a good, or to intend to do good and fail, bringing about an evil?


By "worse" do you mean "least moral" or "least pleasant"? They're not necessarily the same. Actually bringing about an evil is obviously going to be less pleasant but I'd say the evil intent is what counts when judging morality.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:56 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Sunsilver wrote:
Jesus was a Jew, so when he says the Pharisees and Saducees won't escape Hell, obviously the concept of judgement for sins IS present in Judaism, even if it is not the same as in Christianity.


I don't think that can be said with that degree of certainty. Just because the Christian writers of the New Testament say that Jesus said that some years after his death, does not establish that that is an accurate representation of Judiasm. I'm not knowledgable enough to say with certainty that it is not an accurate statement, but to the best of my limited knowledge of Judiasm, it is not. Hopefully someone who knows better than I will comment.

Nel, I hope you feel better soon!


Ditto. To the whole thing.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:02 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
axordil wrote:
Which is worse, to intend to do evil and fail, bringing about a good, or to intend to do good and fail, bringing about an evil?


By "worse" do you mean "least moral" or "least pleasant"? They're not necessarily the same. Actually bringing about an evil is obviously going to be less pleasant but I'd say the evil intent is what counts when judging morality.



It's not really a dichotomy, either. I'm thinking about the person who intends to do an evil deed and fails, resulting in a greater evil... (Dr. Horrible, of course. In his attempt to kill Captain Hammer, his failure causes a worse evil.)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Some interesting points are being made...

I'll try to go in order of the posts above, ending with Sunsilver's post about "the way." Actually I will start there (bottom of page 3) and work back -- everyone after that I crossposted with :scratch: :D

Sunsilver wrote:
To go back to what Lali said about the judgement of non-believers:

My understanding is that those who are being judged are the ones who never had the chance to hear the Gospel of Jesus. How could they be judged by their belief if they were born many years before Christ?

I think the Gospel makes it quite clear that those who reject Christ are going to be cast into the lake of fire: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."


That is my reading of it as well. Though years ago, I was attending a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church and they had a different take on it, calling the straight reading a conspiracy specifically designed to turn people away from God. How could anyone worship such a God?

Through an elaborate assemblage of scriptures they demonstrated that the unquenchable fire of Revelation is the same fire as destroyed Jerusalem at one time. It was unquenchable in the sense that it burned until there was nothing left to burn. And then it went out, otherwise it would still be burning to this day.

The idea they promoted was pretty straight forward: have faith in God and choose everlasting life or reject God and after the resurrection described in Revelation you will be burned up and exist no more (as opposed to being tormented for eternity). Their reasoning seemed sound enough... if a person isn't really interested in living with God for eternity, they just cease to exist. Anyway I'm not sure about their take on it anymore. For me it is I will have to wait and see. But I don't believe anyone should take any chances if they feel convicted about it.

I agree with what you said about those who lived before Christ came.

To Ax, there is a passage that addresses that point. Actually it is covered in some of the verses I trimmed away from Romans 3 (posted above). Paul is referring to that particular philosophical question (that predated his ministry) here:

Quote:
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just! (Romans 3:5-8)


Okay then there's me, then Maria...

Quote:
If a god would design a world where people would be punished for thoughts they don't plan to act upon and never did while they had a body to do so ...... well, that's just not very nice.

I agree! But I think that is one of the reasons he came in the flesh, to see what it must be like for us humans to be constantly at war with our fleshly desires that are not good for us (bread for you, opiates for me). ;)

This points at the question of "how you act after you are saved." If a lusty thought is akin to adultery, and if hatred is the same as murder in the eyes of God (I would show you scripture to that effect, but...) then many (including Christians) would be dead in the water before they even get out of bed in the morning.

Sooo while I understand such thoughts are sin in the eyes of God, I do believe, given the state of our minds and flesh, that even after salvation it is still a matter (for most, but not all) of trying to tough it out as best as you can. Why else would Jesus have prayed the famous line: "Lead us not into temptation"?

Alright, that leaves Jewel Song... Your concern here:
Quote:
The alternative is that a huge percentage of the world is going to hell, simply because they don't believe in the "right" god in the "right" way. And if THAT is how God functions...well...I'll pass.
would appear to be addressed by the SDA mentioned above. However, I am not sure that is how it works (in fact I'm leaning more towards it not working that way, still learning here).

ETA Sunsilver quote for context.


Last edited by SirDennis on Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:33 pm 
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Here's the thing. I know and love plenty of people who believe the "wrong thing" (for lack of a better term.) Or believe it in the "wrong way." Or don't believe in a god, but rather, who serve and love their fellow human beings selflessly.

Whether they are burned up forever in a lake of fire, or just cease to exist because of their beliefs (or lack of) is immaterial. I don't want to spend any kind of eternity with a Being who would so callously cast aside so many good, loving people, because they didn't "accept Jesus."

And I wouldn't be happy in eternity without my brothers, my father, my best friend, my children...

THAT god is simply the worst of humanity, writ large, in my very humble opinion.

I believe that the Divine is MUCH MUCH larger and more encompassing than that. Certainly way more than our puny minds can imagine or grasp.

(By the way, "salvation" is a peculiarly Christian concept. A Hindu has no concept of such a thing, nor does a Buddhist...nor do most other religions.)

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:52 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
Here's the thing. I know and love plenty of people who believe the "wrong thing" (for lack of a better term.) Or believe it in the "wrong way." Or don't believe in a god, but rather, who serve and love their fellow human beings selflessly.

Whether they are burned up forever in a lake of fire, or just cease to exist because of their beliefs (or lack of) is immaterial. I don't want to spend any kind of eternity with a Being who would so callously cast aside so many good, loving people, because they didn't "accept Jesus."

And I wouldn't be happy in eternity without my brothers, my father, my best friend, my children...

THAT god is simply the worst of humanity, writ large, in my very humble opinion.

I believe that the Divine is MUCH MUCH larger and more encompassing than that. Certainly way more than our puny minds can imagine or grasp.

(By the way, "salvation" is a peculiarly Christian concept. A Hindu has no concept of such a thing, nor does a Buddhist...nor do most other religions.)


Yeah, what you say here is a bitter pill for some... I take some solace in this (from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English: (2 Peter 3:9) "THE LORD JEHOVAH does not delay his promises as people consider delay, but he is patient for your sakes, and because he is not willing that any person would perish, but that every person would come to conversion." Apart from the conversion bit this, to me, appears to be a sentiment that goes back through the OT to the days of Adam.

God describes himself as a "jealous god," hence the command about "having no other god before [Him]." It is usually pointed out that as the creator of everything he is entitled to feel that way. However I understand how such reasoning usually falls flat with people who deny the existence of gods in the first place (which would include Buddhists I believe).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:19 am 
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SirDennis wrote:
I believe Jesus is right (obviously) when he says "love your neighbour as yourself" is a proper summary of the Commandments given to Moses.)


Oh, dear. I was really, really, really going to stay out of this thread. There is NO WAY I can stay in here without getting into trouble.

But I can't let this pass. I do NOT understand the thought process that led SirDennis to say that.

Although I am most emphatically not religious in any way, in any shape, in any form, I am nonetheless quite familiar with the 10 Commandments. I prefer them in the King James Version, simply because that book is sublimely poetic:

Quote:
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.

13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

17 Thou shalt not kill.

18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.

19 Neither shalt thou steal.

20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.

21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:36 am 
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vison wrote:
SirDennis wrote:
I believe Jesus is right (obviously) when he says "love your neighbour as yourself" is a proper summary of the Commandments given to Moses.)


Oh, dear. I was really, really, really going to stay out of this thread. There is NO WAY I can stay in here without getting into trouble.

But I can't let this pass. I do NOT understand the thought process that led SirDennis to say that.


That makes two of us probably. Do you mean that it is not one of the original 10 commandments? If so, that is correct. It is a "new commandment" in which is contained most of the original 10. (see John 13:34,35) I say most because I don't see how the Sabbath commandment fits in with it.

About the entire blurb, I admit it is hard to follow even for me :blackeye: Here is the mess I am talking about:

Quote:
But as I said before I do believe that through God all things are possible. Either way I am not saying once you are saved anything goes... how does that work in any relationship? Not very well at all. (There is of course that one commandment about keeping the Sabbath Holy that remains a stumbling block or at least a question mark for some. I believe Jesus is right (obviously) when he says "love your neighbour as yourself" is a proper summary of the Commandments given to Moses.)


Basically I was trying to wrap up three discussions with Sunsilver in one shot:

-- There was the being saved by grace vs by grace and works debate.

-- There was the priviso that though I believe humans remain flawed for life even after being saved that I believe it is possible for people to attain holiness since "through God all things are possible."

-- And then finally I jumped back to the idea that the Law (commandments) Christians should want to keep, to be pleasing in God's eyes, are the ones given by Jesus: the one you quoted, and the "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." one.

Anyway you look at it, it's a lot of info to try to pack into a couple lines. The blame for any misunderstanding is entirely mine. Regardless of my intentions ;)

I'm glad you jumped in!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:08 am 
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No, I didn't mean that it wasn't one of the original 10 commandments. Not only is it not one of them, nothing in those commandments can be made to read as if it is - no matter how the words are shifted about and combined. IMHO.

The deity that issued those commandments is so far removed from Jesus and what he is supposed to have said that it boggles my mind. There is always a terrific amount of interpretation required of scripture, and that little problem right there explains why it's necessary.

That is, of course, merely my opinion and is not meant to offend. I can never say all I would like to say, and I will leave it at that.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:51 am 
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Apparently, rabbis spent a lot of time trying to sum up the teachings of the OT (which, of course, wasn't known as the OT to them, so I apologize). I've read that it was sort of a competition between them. (I'd have to research that to be any more specific than that, though.) Jesus did it very neatly with the Shema (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind) and the "Love your neighbor as yourself" part. He goes on to say, "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." And I think he's right.

If you love your neighbor as yourself, would you commit adultery with his wife? Would you be jealous of his good fortune? Would you disrespect your parents? Would you steal from your neighbor? Would you kill her? Would you lie to bring evil to him? No, because you wouldn't want any of those things to happen to you.

And if you Love God with every part of you, then that takes care of the commandments that have to do with God himself (no idols before him, keep the sabbath holy, take his name in vain, etc.).

vison, and others, I value what you all have to say, even if I disagree with it. There should be no "getting yourself into trouble" here. We manage to have these discussions reasonably, I think. :)



ETA: Fixed typo

EETA: Fixed the typo on the ETA. :roll:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:03 am 
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yovargas wrote:
axordil wrote:
Which is worse, to intend to do evil and fail, bringing about a good, or to intend to do good and fail, bringing about an evil?


By "worse" do you mean "least moral" or "least pleasant"? They're not necessarily the same. Actually bringing about an evil is obviously going to be less pleasant but I'd say the evil intent is what counts when judging morality.


Well, it comes down to the basis of morality. If morality is some measure of one's internal moral state, intent is everything, even if you end up eating babies. If morality is measured by facts on the ground, the results are different.

I prefer my good and evil on the empirical side, personally, but that's neither here nor there.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:08 am 
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vison wrote:
No, I didn't mean that it wasn't one of the original 10 commandments. Not only is it not one of them, nothing in those commandments can be made to read as if it is - no matter how the words are shifted about and combined. IMHO.

The deity that issued those commandments is so far removed from Jesus and what he is supposed to have said that it boggles my mind. There is always a terrific amount of interpretation required of scripture, and that little problem right there explains why it's necessary.

That is, of course, merely my opinion and is not meant to offend. I can never say all I would like to say, and I will leave it at that.


Fair enough. For me, for some reason, the last 5 seem to fall under that umbrella. For instance, not murdering, stealing, coveting, etc can be thought of as expressions of love towards others, especially if you want to do those things but don't. The other side of it is if you do those things, you cannot also say that you love your neighbour.

Regardless, I hope it is understood that all my comments here are prefaced with, "This is my understanding based on my relatively limited experience trying to learn what the Bible says, and what it means." Which is another way of saying, "what you choose to believe is no concern of mine, as long as you are okay with me believing what I believe."

That isn't to say I believe there is more than one truth in these matters. Just that it is up to you to believe what you want to. Sometimes the best way to discern truth, especially in cases of seeming contradiction, is to study, and then discuss what you studied with others. :)

Personally I think of reading the scriptures as a process similar to sharpening a knife. Or perhaps chipping away at a block of stone. At various stages one might say, "I've done enough chiseling, this is the heart of the rock." Then, in doing a little more, they realize they were only closing in on the heart all along. It's a process of discovery more than anything... and as I've said elsewhere, I did not always think the way I do now. I don't even think the way I did 3 years ago, let alone over the course of a lifetime.

I appreciate the Jewish approach to the scriptures, or at least what I believe to be the Jewish relationship to them: that they are searched (studied) and then debated as scholars would do. We see Jesus, whomever he is believed to be, engaging with others (ie Rabbis) in this way, even in one of the passages I cited. Certainly it is one of the ideas contained in the story Sunsilver shared about the time Joseph and Mary found him in the temple when he was 12.

One thing I am curious about because it's come up a few times in recent memory -- and it isn't strictly from Judaism or Islam (or any other religious tradition that I know of apart from some Hindus) but is from Bible believing people as well (whole Bible? I don't know) -- is the idea that Jesus was not also God; or as you put it, "the deity... so far removed from Jesus." I always want to ask where that idea comes from, but then I chicken out.

ETA dang, xposted with Lali and Ax


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:25 am 
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My issue with the scriptures is that I just don't believe they are The Word of God. I think they are interesting and sometimes moving, that they are sometimes history and sometimes fancy, that they are old and have been translated and messed around with many times. The notion of the sort of god who tricked Abraham - that's one I am saddened and disheartened by and morevoer I see nothing of Jesus in it at all. But - and here's the part that upsets people and always gets me into trouble - I don't admire Jesus and think much of what he supposedly taught is wrong and actually harmful. This distresses Christians, although I never say it to distress anyone and am quite willing to accept that others do believe in and admire Jesus. I will never ever try to talk anyone out of their beliefs. I would never take that upon myself!!! Who am I to do that?

As for Jesus being or not being God? I have no clue. Since I don't believe in a god to start with it's sort of a moot point with me. Or is it moot? Am I using that word properly? :)

It seems that at some point he is said to have said he was god. But then - who knows what he said or if he even existed? It's not something anyone can know for certain.

I don't know for certain, but I don't think there is much chance he was.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:29 am 
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It would be interesting (to me, anyway) for you to list out some of the teachings of Jesus that you find to be harmful.

I'm not exactly shocked by what you say, vison. You are an atheist, last time I checked. :D It would be odd for you to think any differently about God, the Bible, or Jesus.


ETA: You could always PM them to me if you didn't want to discuss it publicly. Or you could always, obviously, ignore me. :D Either works. And I understand.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:39 am 
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Well, I know atheists who do admire Jesus! They regard him as a great (if mistaken in some things) teacher - and think his teachings are great even if he never actually existed.

I don't know, Lalaith. I just don't believe in a god.

The other simple version is: I don't "believe" in original sin. That pretty well covers it as far as Christianity goes.

As for Judaism, well, it comes down to the god of the Old Testament. I think of poor Abraham. Assuming the story is accurate!

Still, I enjoy these threads. I feel like old Norman Douglas, who tried to stump the preacher with: Could God make a stone so heavy he couldn't lift it himself?

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axordil wrote:
I prefer my good and evil on the empirical side, personally, but that's neither here nor there.

With all due respect, what are the units on good and evil?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:46 am 
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SirDennis wrote:
One thing I am curious about because it's come up a few times in recent memory -- and it isn't strictly from Judaism or Islam (or any other religious tradition that I know of apart from some Hindus) but is from Bible believing people as well (whole Bible? I don't know) -- is the idea that Jesus was not also God; or as you put it, "the deity... so far removed from Jesus." I always want to ask where that idea comes from, but then I chicken out.


To answer this in three sentences: To be straightforward, unless you accept the claims made by humans who wrote the Christian Bible as true, it is the idea that Jesus was God that seems rather unlikely. "[T]he idea that Jesus was not also God" can only seem strange to people who accept the truth of the Christian Bible. I - and billions of other people around the world - straightforwardly do not.

I think you're right that it's comparatively rare for people who accept the whole Christian Bible as true to believe that Jesus was not also God. I can't offhand think of anyone I know personally who falls into that category...and you were addressing vison, who is openly atheist. If you were only asking why people who accept the truth of the Christian Bible do not believe in Jesus, I'm wondering if you can say more about the contexts in which they have expressed this (lack of) belief.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:57 am 
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Vison, a quick footnote - Jesus was quoting from this:



Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:20 am 
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nerdanel wrote:
SirDennis wrote:
One thing I am curious about because it's come up a few times in recent memory -- and it isn't strictly from Judaism or Islam (or any other religious tradition that I know of apart from some Hindus) but is from Bible believing people as well (whole Bible? I don't know) -- is the idea that Jesus was not also God; or as you put it, "the deity... so far removed from Jesus." I always want to ask where that idea comes from, but then I chicken out.


To answer this in three sentences: To be straightforward, unless you accept the claims made by humans who wrote the Christian Bible as true, it is the idea that Jesus was God that seems rather unlikely. "[T]he idea that Jesus was not also God" can only seem strange to people who accept the truth of the Christian Bible. I - and billions of other people around the world - straightforwardly do not.

I think you're right that it's comparatively rare for people who accept the whole Christian Bible as true to believe that Jesus was not also God. I can't offhand think of anyone I know personally who falls into that category...and you were addressing vison, who is openly atheist. If you were only asking why people who accept the truth of the Christian Bible do not believe in Jesus, I'm wondering if you can say more about the contexts in which they have expressed this (lack of) belief.


Well at least you were able to understand what I wrote! :blackeye:

This thread is about sin and forgiveness so I don't want to stray too far into comparative religions; though how you can discuss such things in a group as varied as ours without doing so remains elusive.

However, I have met 3 people, two in RL and one online, that claim their spirituality is based on the whole Bible (ie King James Old and New Testaments) but do not believe Jesus is God. My understanding from my studies so far is that the NT is all about how Jesus is also God, and the OT is as much about the story of God's chosen people (aka Jews) as it is prophetic of the coming of Christ.

One of the people claimed some affinity with Methodists, and the other two I don't know how they would classify themselves because I didn't ask. One might have been Jehovah's Witness: their Bible is slightly different from the standard version in that scriptures that point to the deity of Christ have been changed to reflect their beliefs. The last one is home schooled and is in deep in some sort of Bible based faith community (maybe Mormonism?) Like I said, I really don't know.

I know that some Hindus worship Jesus as a (rather than the) deity, along with many other deities, but by and large reject the Bible in favour of their own texts. To me, this position is closest to Atheists who admire that guy called Jesus -- though they acknowledge his greatness, they do not believe what [that which is believed to be by many] his word says about him.

Catholics use a Bible that includes a number of books that, for whatever reason, didn't make the cut into the most widely accepted collection of books considered to be "The Bible" proper.

I have known some United Church ministers whose faith and desire for social justice is based on Biblical teachings, but who do not believe in God or that Jesus is God. They do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture either. But these three were not United Church members afaik.

So yes, my question assumes that they accept what the Bible says as truth, but that for some reason do not accept that Jesus is God. I wish I would have just asked them more about their seemingly contradictory perspective.

That aside, I'm really glad you gave me a chance to unpack what I was getting at. I would like to hear more about the Jewish faith here, and about the experience of apostasy that is lurking somewhere in the background. At least as far as such things relate to the topic of Sin and Forgiveness ;)

Frelga wrote:
Vison, a quick footnote - Jesus was quoting from this:

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Thank you for this! Leviticus is a book I have spent very little time in so far.

Incidentally, my Bible reading really took off when I was trying to understand various references I came across in literature.


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