Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
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06-08-2011, 11:00 PM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
As you say it is very difficult to find anything consistent in Christian behaviour, even among Christians. I imagine a good many religious types believe,usually very lamely, subject to their behaviour, in a self contained Heaven of some type.
This, if anyone has perused the holy writ to any degree comes across as a very bizarre notion. It is even more bizarre for the true believer to wish against events happening that would bring them back to their maker.
There have been believers, of genuinely stupid disposition, who have sold up in order to be saved from a prophesised end time.Some S.D.A. cults have been involved in this; more recently David Koresh and the Waco tragedy. The Rapture idea is pretty popular these days.
In most instances I see petitionary prayer as a psychologically normal grasping at straws, relevant to a percieved tragic event of some sort.Dodgy
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07-08-2011, 10:31 AM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
Hey, cufflink.

Your condemnation of intercessory prayer is fine, but it is in no way absolute. It is based entirely on your interpretation of things. Alter that interpretation slightly and it all falls apart. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you sure as hell ain't right.

It's only illogical if Christians don't like living and see no value in it and that just ain't the case. There is no Christian theology that says that not only is heaven better than Earth, but Earth is shit and without value so get to heaven as fast as possible. It just plain doesn't exist. Because your theory only makes sense if life is inherently without value, or more to the point, if the “better” afterlife, by its very nature, devalues Earthly life, neither of which is the case, you have created a strawman.

Lastly, with Muslims, come on. The fraction of 1% of Muslims that suicide bomb is so infinitesimal that I have no reasonable method of calculating it. So minority indeed. Also, suicide bombers do not blow themselves up to get into paradise. That's ridiculous and really, born of a decade of propaganda. The 72 virgins that one receives in paradise (along with 80 000 servants, which are always conveniently overlooked [makes them look like your average white man and not a monstrous pedophile]) is a reward for, wait for it, what they do in life. Jihad does not mean holy war (another fear-inducing term of Western propaganda). Jihad means struggle and it is a religious duty of Muslims. It means many things:
-Striving in the way of God
-An internal struggle to maintain faith
-A struggle to improve Muslim society
-The struggle to defend Islam (violence being only one aspect of the meaning of defence)

If during this struggle, a Mujahid, one engages in Jihad, is slain, they are rewarded in paradise for the sacrifice they make in life in the cause of Allah.
Quote:Let those (believers) Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter fight in the cause of Allah and whoso fights in the cause of Allah, - and is slain or gets victory, We shall bestow on him a great reward.
Qur'an 4:74
They are rewarded because they have sacrificed something of tremendous value, wait for it, their earthly lives.

This of course is used as a way to convince suicide bombers to carry out their task. The Qur'an does not say kill yourself, it says if you are slain. But it is twisted to mean, simply, give up your life in any way and you're rewarded. Regardless, they are not doing it for the reward, they are rewarded for what they are doing in life, namely, laying down their lives in Jihad.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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07-08-2011, 03:54 PM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
Matt,

(07-08-2011 10:31 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Your condemnation of intercessory prayer is fine, but it is in no way absolute. It is based entirely on your interpretation of things. Alter that interpretation slightly and it all falls apart. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you sure as hell ain't right.

I'd be interested in seeing what kind of slight alteration of my interpretation would result in my analysis falling apart. Not being snide--I'm genuinely interested.

Quote:It's only illogical if Christians don't like living and see no value in it and that just ain't the case. There is no Christian theology that says that not only is heaven better than Earth, but Earth is shit and without value so get to heaven as fast as possible. It just plain doesn't exist. Because your theory only makes sense if life is inherently without value, or more to the point, if the “better” afterlife, by its very nature, devalues Earthly life, neither of which is the case, you have created a strawman.

Well, the phrase "vale of tears" comes to mind, which someone has plausibly explained as going back to "pious sentiments that consider life on earth to be a series of sorrows to be left behind when we go on to a better world in Heaven." More to the point, those Xians who are "Rapture-ready," who just can't wait to be lifted up to heaven and leave this earth behind, would seem to counter your claim about there not being any Xian theology that values getting to heaven as quickly as possible. I'm no expert in this field, however, so I welcome elucidation from those who are.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I still contend that if you think this earthly life, even if it isn't always shit, is far inferior to the heavenly one, then unless you have masochistic tendencies, the only rational position is to want to get to the heavenly one asap. Wanting to stick around here as long as you can while at the same time "knowing" that an infinitely more desirable world awaits you in the afterlife seems to me a fine example of Orwellian doublethink. I guess I'll just chalk that up to another facet of the unfathomable religious mind.

Quote:Lastly, with Muslims, come on. The fraction of 1% of Muslims that suicide bomb is so infinitesimal that I have no reasonable method of calculating it. So minority indeed.

Yes, of course the percentage of actual suicide bombers among Muslims is infinitesimal, and I'll be happy to add "tiny" before "minority." But I'm not so sure the sentiments that lead to suicide bombing are as rare.

In this video from Palestinian TV, a couple of young girls talk about shahada (martyrdom). Yeah, I know it's from a site with an "agenda," and with my minimal Arabic I can't vouch for the accuracy of the translation, although I have no reason to doubt it. But when an 11-year-old girl says, "We don't want this world, we want the afterlife. We benefit not from this life but from the afterlife," I'm willing to bet she didn't arrive at those ideas herself. They're present in the society she lives in and she's been carefully taught.

Quote:Also, suicide bombers do not blow themselves up to get into paradise. That's ridiculous and really, born of a decade of propaganda. The 72 virgins that one receives in paradise (along with 80 000 servants, which are always conveniently overlooked [makes them look like your average white man and not a monstrous pedophile]) is a reward for, wait for it, what they do in life. Jihad does not mean holy war (another fear-inducing term of Western propaganda). Jihad means struggle and it is a religious duty of Muslims. It means many things:
-Striving in the way of God
-An internal struggle to maintain faith
-A struggle to improve Muslim society
-The struggle to defend Islam (violence being only one aspect of the meaning of defence)

If during this struggle, a Mujahid, one engages in Jihad, is slain, they are rewarded in paradise for the sacrifice they make in life in the cause of Allah.
Quote:Let those (believers) Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter fight in the cause of Allah and whoso fights in the cause of Allah, - and is slain or gets victory, We shall bestow on him a great reward.
Qur'an 4:74
They are rewarded because they have sacrificed something of tremendous value, wait for it, their earthly lives.

I'm well aware of the different varieties of jihad; it's only the violent kind I have a problem with.

I spent a total of 3 years living in two different Muslim-majority countries--not as a typical isolated ex-pat but as someone who plunged into the cultures and the languages and found much to admire in both places. I made friends with some very fine Muslims. But part of the reason I considered them fine was that they rejected, or ignored, or might even have been unaware of, the noxious parts of their religion.

Quote:This of course is used as a way to convince suicide bombers to carry out their task. The Qur'an does not say kill yourself, it says if you are slain. But it is twisted to mean, simply, give up your life in any way and you're rewarded. Regardless, they are not doing it for the reward, they are rewarded for what they are doing in life, namely, laying down their lives in Jihad.

C'mon, Matt. You accuse me of setting up a strawman? This one of yours--"[What the Qur'an says] is twisted to mean, simply, give up your life in any way and you're rewarded."--is a whopper. I never heard anyone make that simplistic reduction. It's clear that you'll go to Paradise only if you die in the service of Allah. It's what counts as service to Allah that I find troubling.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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07-08-2011, 06:58 PM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2011 09:22 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
Hi everyone.

Hi ghost...re "There is no Christian theology that says that not only is heaven better than Earth, but Earth is shit and without value so get to heaven as fast as possible. It just plain doesn't exist." Well...I don't entirely agree with that. I think part of the Christian agenda is to tell people to accept their miserable lives because one day everything will be "hunky dory" in heaven. Consider what "Jesus" has to say:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:3-5 NKJV)
“Happy you who weep now; you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:21 NJB)
“Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life.” (John 12:25 NJB)

Churches promote this drivel as one of the solutions to life's problems. It is repressive and fundamentally poor philosophy.
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08-08-2011, 08:08 AM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
Hey, cufflink.

Quote:I'd be interested in seeing what kind of slight alteration of my interpretation would result in my analysis falling apart.

Your presumption that asking Jesus means we know better.

Quote:More to the point, those Xians who are "Rapture-ready," who just can't wait to be lifted up to heaven and leave this earth behind, would seem to counter your claim about there not being any Xian theology that values getting to heaven as quickly as possible.

Even in that extreme case, they aren't doing anything to end their lives.

Quote:At the risk of beating a dead horse, I still contend that if you think this earthly life, even if it isn't always shit, is far inferior to the heavenly one, then unless you have masochistic tendencies, the only rational position is to want to get to the heavenly one asap.

That is 100% opinion though. More to the point, you are alone in your contention.

Even more to the point, what you're saying is that Christians CANNOT really believe what they believe BECAUSE the afterlife is better; meaning they should be ecstatic when someone goes there. Just like that cockamamie cartoon. The only problem is, Christians just plain don't devalue life. They believe, contrary to what you say must be their position, that something of tremendous value is being lost at the point of death. So they comfort themselves in the knowledge that the person is in a better place, but they mourn the loss of life because life has tremendous value. The afterlife does not devalue life. Your argument has nothing to stand on.

The Palestinian example is anecdotal.

Quote:C'mon, Matt. You accuse me of setting up a strawman? This one of yours--"[What the Qur'an says] is twisted to mean, simply, give up your life in any way and you're rewarded."--is a whopper. I never heard anyone make that simplistic reduction. It's clear that you'll go to Paradise only if you die in the service of Allah. It's what counts as service to Allah that I find troubling.

I have no idea what you mean.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-08-2011, 11:30 AM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
I am a Christian and believe in the existence of heaven but I am not in a hurry to end this life because salvation involves more than going to heaven after you die. This is a summary of what it means to be a Christian:
Quote:For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For fwe are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
After we are saved we are given work which God wants us to do here on earth. After we die we will be rewarded for what we have done. Salvation isn't part of this reward; salvation is a free gift that was given so we could do these works.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/1+corinthians+3%3A10-15/

I am looking forward to heaven but I want to finish all the work God has given to me before I go.

It does seem illogical for Christians to grieve over the death of someone if we know that person is now in heaven, but grief is simply a part of our psychological makeup. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though he knew he would raise him from the dead.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/john+11/

One other subject that has come up in this thread is the effectiveness of prayer. Asking God for something doesn't mean we are claiming to know more that he does about what we need. God wants us to ask for what we need and will sometimes change his actions in response to prayers.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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08-08-2011, 01:36 PM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
Hey Cufflink

In response to your opening question: Cognitive dissonance

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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09-08-2011, 02:21 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2011 02:36 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
(08-08-2011 11:30 AM)theophilus Wrote:  I am a Christian and believe in the existence of heaven but I am not in a hurry to end this life because salvation involves more than going to heaven after you die. This is a summary of what it means to be a Christian:
Quote:For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For fwe are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV
After we are saved we are given work which God wants us to do here on earth. After we die we will be rewarded for what we have done. Salvation isn't part of this reward; salvation is a free gift that was given so we could do these works.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/1+corinthians+3%3A10-15/

I am looking forward to heaven but I want to finish all the work God has given to me before I go.

It does seem illogical for Christians to grieve over the death of someone if we know that person is now in heaven, but grief is simply a part of our psychological makeup. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though he knew he would raise him from the dead.

http://www.esvbible.org/search/john+11/

One other subject that has come up in this thread is the effectiveness of prayer. Asking God for something doesn't mean we are claiming to know more that he does about what we need. God wants us to ask for what we need and will sometimes change his actions in response to prayers.

Hi Theophilus, you have quoted Ephesians and I assume you have done so because you believe it is authoritative. Who do you you think wrote it, and when, and why do you believe it is authoritative?

Re " God wants us to ask for what we need and will sometimes change his actions in response to prayers" . How do you know what God wants? Exactly what evidence do you have for "his actions?" What evidence do you have that he will "change his actions" in response to prayer?
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09-08-2011, 10:03 AM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
(09-08-2011 02:21 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re " God wants us to ask for what we need and will sometimes change his actions in response to prayers" . How do you know what God wants? Exactly what evidence do you have for "his actions?" What evidence do you have that he will "change his actions" in response to prayer?
There are two sources for my belief. One is the Bible, where he commands us to ask him for what we need. The other is personal experience. I have received answers to my prayers and people who I know have had the same experience.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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09-08-2011, 10:11 AM
RE: Do Christians REALLY believe what they say?
(09-08-2011 10:03 AM)theophilus Wrote:  
(09-08-2011 02:21 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re " God wants us to ask for what we need and will sometimes change his actions in response to prayers" . How do you know what God wants? Exactly what evidence do you have for "his actions?" What evidence do you have that he will "change his actions" in response to prayer?
There are two sources for my belief. One is the Bible, where he commands us to ask him for what we need. The other is personal experience. I have received answers to my prayers and people who I know have had the same experience.

Why would a loving god answer your prayers while ignoring the prayers of people who really need help? What makes your god think your prayers are more deserving of being answered than say a starving child?.

Behold the power of the force!
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