Poll: What do you think Christianity is primarily about?
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Good News: Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins and raised for our justification 62.50% 5 62.50%
Good Advice: practical & moral guidance in order to live a good life here & now 37.50% 3 37.50%
Total 8 votes 100%
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Good News vs. Good Advice
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27-04-2012, 01:40 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 01:29 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  So what you're saying the OP is doing is...
[Image: tumblr_lt2rxw9rey1qmykrbo1_1280.jpg]

Haha, exactly. Big Grin

By the way, we have our answer as- A) to tell us all about #1.
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27-04-2012, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 27-04-2012 02:38 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 11:50 AM)THEOtalk Wrote:  As a theist (Christian pastor and seminary student), I pose the question of whether or not there is a common misperception about what Christianity actually is. My reasoning behind posing the question is due to Notre Dame Sociologist Christian Smith's recent case study of American teenagers' religion and finding that the over-whelming majority of them ascribed to what Smith coined "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" which basically carries the following tenets: (See Michael Horton's Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church)

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"Moralistic Therapetic Deism" is just another term for the "salvation paradigm", same ole, couched in modern vocabulary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel

Christianity has always been known as the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- "good", -angelion "message"), ever since Saul of Tarsus, (St. Paul), called it by that term. This subject has been debated ad nauseam here in the "Was There a Jesus" thread. http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-Educate-me-Was-there-a-Jesus?highlight=there+a+jesus Please contribute, as you see fit.

You are probably completely correct about American's concept of Christianity. I was thinking just this morning how much that idea, has changed, in the last 20 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years, and 500 years. It would be interesting to line up a "concordance" of the basic foundational aspects of Christianity, and how they have changed so radically from the death of the founder, to 10 years later, 20 years later, 50 years later, 200 years later, 1000 years later, and 1500 years later. One could almost not recognize it from inception to today. And once again, the need to "save a depraved" mankind, is NOT what Yeshua bar Josef preached, (if indeed there even WAS a Yeshua ... I tend to think there was), BUT he did not preach the "salvation paradigm". THAT was cooked up by Saul of Tarsus, stolen from the Greek Mystery cults, and after the fights with the James community in Jerusalem, it eventually won out.

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-04-2012, 01:41 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 01:36 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  
(27-04-2012 12:19 PM)germanyt Wrote:  Ah. I think todays Chrisitanity is viewed as a moral guide for living your life. Lots of non religious Christians think that if you life a good and honest life then you will go to heaven even if you don't follow the bible word for word. IMO this is just one step in the decline and ultimate end of Christianity.

So is it a rule book or story book? Intersting. I'm not quite sure.

Actually your statement "IMO this is just one step in the decline and ultimate end of Christianity" is nothing new, that's always been the outside criticism of Christianity and yet its larger today than at any point of history. Even the wake of the Enlightenment, Western Americans are more religious than ever, with 90+% believing in "God". But to answer your second question about "Is it a rule book or story book?" I would have to say that based on historic, creedal Christianity, the Bible IS a story book about the grand meganarrative that God has written culminating in the arrival of His Son on earth--who revealed what God is truly like--and then provided the way back to God through His death and resurrection for the sins of the world. Jesus said as much Himself:

"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled...Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations..." - Jesus in Luke 24:44-47
You do understand that the only source that says the bible's written by god is the one thing you yourself call a story book? (thanks for making it this easy ^^)
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27-04-2012, 01:42 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 12:41 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(27-04-2012 12:19 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  No actually that's not what I am asking. I am asking what is your understanding of Christianity: do you view in terms of morality or theology? Do you think it's centered around rules, regulations, laws and adherence to those stipulations or do you think its centered around what God has done in history in the person of Jesus Christ?

Then why didn't you just ask that?

Anyway, Christianity isn't centered around morality because morality isn't exclusive to Christianity. It's not centered around theology because you don't have to understand theology to be a Christian.

In terms of Christianity today - no to morality for the same aforementioned reason and no to theology because the majority of Christians don't know theology.

I think Christianity is centered around God's covenant with us.

However, Christianity today wrongfully focuses on Christ (like you said).

While Christ is an important part of God's covenant it is not its entirety and shouldn't be made the sole focus.
What is "God's covenant with us"?

Also I disagree that you don't have to understand theology to be a Christian because the basic gospel message is theological in nature (1 Cor 15:3-4).

And I disagree with your statement "Christianity today wrongfully focuses on Christ (like you said)" which I never said. If anything Christianity today DOESN'T focus on Christ as evident by Christian Smith's case study and the great number of professing Christians in America believing that there are multiple ways to God--which of course goes directly against the teaching of Jesus and the Bible as a whole.
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27-04-2012, 01:53 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 01:42 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  What is "God's covenant with us"?

Here

Quote:Also I disagree that you don't have to understand theology to be a Christian because the basic gospel messageis theological in nature (1 Cor 15:3-4).

Yeah, but this is obvious. You can't be a Christian without understanding basic theology (Christ = salvation). I'm referring to deeper theologies than your basic Bible stories and understanding of Jesus.

Quote:And I disagree with your statement "Christianity today wrongfully focuses on Christ (like you said)" which I never said. If anything Christianity today DOESN'T focus on Christ as evident by Christian Smith's case study and the great number of professing Christians in America believing that there are multiple ways to God--which of course goes directly against the teaching of Jesus and the Bible as a whole.

I mean that you said that Christianity focuses on Christ. Sorry. Bad wording.

Catholic and Protestants both focus hard on Christ. I believe this focus demeans and subjugates God to the image of Christ. God as a whole should be the focus; not a single way that He has revealed Himself to us.

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27-04-2012, 02:00 PM (This post was last modified: 27-04-2012 05:56 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 01:42 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  I think Christianity is centered around God's covenant with us. .... What is "God's covenant with us ?

Please forgive my presumptuous editing of your text.

The "covenant" is interesting. The actual development of that concept goes back to the cult of the "God of the Armies", whom you may know better as the "Lord of Hosts", or maybe even better as "Yahweh Sabaoth". The "Covenant" was originally, the agreement that the Hebrew people would stick to worshiping the one god, (among the many they believed in, and were available) to obtain his favor, (and there is some evidence they also worshiped Ashura, (his wife), and thus obtain his help in winning their battles.

Today, it has morphed into the salvation paradigm, which most Christians couldn't even give you a definition for. If 50 % of Lutherans don't know who Martin Luther was, and 50% of Catholics can't tell us what "transubstantiation" actullay means, is there any reason at all to expect that an accurate definition of the "salvation paradigm" be given, or an understanding of what a "covenant" either meant then, or after 3500 years of development, means today.






So I guess I didn't really answer the question did I ?
The answer to the question, "is it good news or good advice" ?
It's neither. It's an historical anachronism, fast dropping out of the collective consciousness.
There is no "Christianity". There are 33,000 sects of it. That alone says a lot.
The human ideas, that a.) morality springs from religion, is false, (see Anthro 101),
and b.) there is something "flawed" that needs to get "fixed", (by a "savior"), is no longer a supportable position.
And actually if you read Martin Buber, (Jewish historian/philosopher .... "Good and Evil"), the editors of Genesis were not talking about "sin", they were talking about "chaos", see also the ancient myth of "Marduk Slaying the Dragon of Chaos", so the entire enterprise is misguided, in that it probably misunderstood the intent of the writers, with a simplistic overlay.
There are lots of things that need to be improved, and worked on, but "salvation" is no longer seen as the cure.
The origins, of what religions call "sin" have been exposed, (by science), and require no "salvation".

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-04-2012, 02:21 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
What does Zeus mean to you? Good news or good advice?
What is your relationship to Apollo or Ra?
That's what I'm asking.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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27-04-2012, 02:46 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 02:00 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(27-04-2012 01:42 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  I think Christianity is centered around God's covenant with us. .... What is "God's covenant with us ?

Please forgive my presumptuous editing of you text. I just want to address the question.

The "covenant" is interesting. The actual development of that concept goes back to the cult of the "God of the Armies", whom you may know better as the "Lord of Hosts", or maybe even better as "Yahweh Sabaoth". The "Covenant" was originally, the agreement that the Hebrew people would stick to worshiping the one god, (among the many they believed in, and were available) to obtain his favor, (and there is some evidence they also worshiped Ashura, (his wife), and thus obtain his help in winning their battles.

Today, it has morphed into the salvation paradigm, which most Christians couldn't even give you a definition for. If 50 % of Lutherans don't know who Martin Luther was, and 50% of Catholics can't tell us what "transubstantiation" actullay means, is there any reason at all to expect that an accurate definition of the "salvation paradigm" be given, or an understanding of what a "covenant" either meant then, or after 3500 years of development, means today.






So I guess I didn't really answer the question did I ?
The answer to the question, "is it good news or good advice" ?
It's neither. It's an historical anachronism, fast dropping out of the collective consciousness.
There is no "Christianity". There are 33,000 sects of it. That alone says a lot.
The human ideas, that a.) morality springs from religion, is false, (see Anthro 101),
and b.) there is something "flawed" that needs to get "fixed", (by a "savior"), is no longer a supportable position.
There are lots of things that need to be improved, and worked on, but "salvation" is no longer seen as the cure.
The origins, of what religions call "sin" have been exposed, (by science), and require no "salvation".
But what about modern cosmology that points to a definite beginning ("Big Bang") and the first cause having to be immaterial? Even Stephen Hawking alluded to this in A Brief History of Time (page 210).

What about the blatant teleology in the world, verified both by human experience and reason? Ontology is dependent on teleology otherwise we couldn't detect anything definitive or anything objective (like "science")...

And what about the first century world in which the Church was born into and its completely counter view of religion, morality, life, death, salvation, etc??? Everything that the New Testament says about who Jesus Christ was and the universal implication of His death and subsequent resurrection was absolutely folly to the ancient world just like it is to the modern world (1 Cor 1:18-31).


I mean the New Testament books say things like "that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--the life was made manifest and we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life..." - 1 John 1:1-2

Or "For we do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty..." - 2 Peter 1:16-21


I mean the Bible itself is testifying to its mult-eyewitness account and prima facie does not come across as something that was manipulated and forged by a bunch of monks in a cave somewhere, which is VERIFIABLE my latter first century historians, both secular and Christian.
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27-04-2012, 03:47 PM (This post was last modified: 27-04-2012 11:47 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 02:46 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  But what about modern cosmology that points to a definite beginning ("Big Bang") and the first cause having to be immaterial? Even Stephen Hawking alluded to this in A Brief History of Time (page 210).

What about the blatant teleology in the world, verified both by human experience and reason? Ontology is dependent on teleology otherwise we couldn't detect anything definitive or anything objective (like "science")...

And what about the first century world in which the Church was born into and its completely counter view of religion, morality, life, death, salvation, etc??? Everything that the New Testament says about who Jesus Christ was and the universal implication of His death and subsequent resurrection was absolutely folly to the ancient world just like it is to the modern world (1 Cor 1:18-31).


I mean the New Testament books say things like "that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life--the life was made manifest and we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life..." - 1 John 1:1-2

Or "For we do not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty..." - 2 Peter 1:16-21


I mean the Bible itself is testifying to its mult-eyewitness account and prima facie does not come across as something that was manipulated and forged by a bunch of monks in a cave somewhere, which is VERIFIABLE my latter first century historians, both secular and Christian.


Excellent questions.

Cosmology no longer requires a "First Cause". (see Laurence Krauss', "A Universe from Nothing")... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo
Quantum fluctuations can explain the origins. If the Big Bang was a "Singularity", a "cause" is meaningless, because there were no dimensions of space-time "before" time existed, in which the Cause could have "acted", (the dimensions of space-time began at the Big Bang). The "act" (of creation) itself pre-requires "time" to "happen" in, thus is specious. (BTW, god's existence also has the "prerequisite" of time, (thus meaning god could not have created it)), if he has to "exist" in it. If you can come up with any definition of "existence" that does not require time, you'll be the first. The main problem with "salvation" is that it implies, an "eternal" deity somehow "changed" it's position, (was "appeased") AFTER, the death of it's son. There could be a no more temporally dependant concept than that. It means god changed, and HAS to exist in time. BTW you DO know about Relativity, right ? Space-time is unifed. If there is time, there is space, (in this universe anyway).

I think the early church knew there was a disconnect, somewhere here, about the irrationality of gods, and time, but they didn't have the tools to deal with their questions, regarding their ideas about god and the trinity. There were huge continuing fights at the Councils, (Nicaea, 325, Constantinople, 381), and even the "filioque, (procedit)" fight, later, in Ephesus, 481, (The Third Ecumenical Council), concerning the wording of the Nicene Creed, and especially the line, "god from god, light from light, very god of very god, begotten not made...bla bla bla'. They KNEW something was screwy, and could NOT agree what to say.

I'd need a specific example of what you're talking about, with regards to the ontology/teleology argument, and why exactly the view is not culturally based. Don't expect much. I'm a bad philosopher. There are many WAY better at that, than I am , here.

When you study the Ancient Near East, the "Jesus event" is NOT "completely counter" to anything in it's historical context. Precisely the opposite is true. It's devolpment process all fits perfectly into that cultural melieu. Again I'd need a specific example. I said above, the "salvation paradigm" was not unique, and it's origins are known. Yeshua was not unique. There were many many itinerant apocalyptic preachers. He fits in very neatly, and is not different in any way, than all the others. Maybe you should look further than the NT for some historical facts ? First of all, the gospels are not "history". They are "proclamational", "liturgical" faith documents, used and written only for worship, (liturgical) events, and each was addressed to a different demographic group, (which I hope they taught you in the Seminary), ie who those groups were. (unfortunately, there is no contemporary modern equivalent except "advertising", or "spin doctoring", both of which have negative, pejorative sounds, and I really don't see them as "badly intended", .... just used for "worship". No big deal. (Almost everyone here does not agree with me about that)....and each with a completely differing view on many important aspects, (for example, the "divinity" is not the same in any of the gospels..in Mark, Jesus was a human, who became divine. In Luke, he was Divine, "gave it up", (hey what'd ya know, I just discovered Paul agreed with Luke, suprise, surprise, Phillipians 2:6 ..."not considering being equal to god a thing to be clung to ...bla bla bla"). ((BTW it also means that Jesus "emptied himself" etc. (cf. Philippians 2:7)), implying that Christ ceased to either be God altogether or from having certain Divine attributes. (This is also known as the "Kenosis" theory, with the word Kenosis originating from the verb used by Paul in the text itself). In any case, this proves that Jesus cannot be God since God is immutable and cannot just get rid of his divine nature and attributes. Hmm. (Ya learn somthin' ever' day !) ....Anyway ..became human, then went back to being divine, ...and in John was (only) Divine -> [Human + Divine] -> (only) Divine, (...the "contaminated" Gnostic view). Me, I think he was "just divine". Weeping Have you read the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the Gospel of Thomas, or the Gospel of Judas ? If so, what do you think of them ? What do seminaries teach about them ?

Being called a "son of god" was a very common appelation, for generals, politicians, popular guys, and "righteus" ones).

Anyhow, it was not "folly" then. It may be folly now, but for completely different reasons. (And anyway...seriously, you can't be arguing that something is true, because it's folly?? )

A little hint...if I may. Using the Bible to prove (what you think are) "biblcal" anything(s), is circular argument. Tongue It doesn't matter what the bible says about bible events. You need EXTERNAL evidence. Of COURSE the texts that came to be included, (in a very well known historical process ... which of course raises the question ..."where along the process, did the "inspiration" pop in ?), in the canon, say what they do. Do you think they'd include something that contradicts themselves ? (Actually there are many contradictions, but they weren't that picky, I guess). The bible "testifying" means nothing. What did you THINK they were going to say ? How much did they teach you about how exactly the texts came to be, and when , and why ? Each one is very different.

Also there is no "prima facia" anything. How it "comes across" it TOTALLY personal opinion. There is no factual evidence for any of the "mythological' events in the NT. For example, the "virgin birth" Go read my note on that. Knowledge of the historical context "debunks' the whole thing. Accurate history, makes the "light go on". http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...rgin+birth

We need to know which EXACTLY, are the "First Century historians" you're talking about. Actually I was trying to argue the very same thing two weeks ago in the "Educate me, was there a Jesus" thread, and every external historical source I came up with was shot down. So I'd be very interested if you have some. The only one left standing was Josephus' comment about James, (the brother). All the others were shot down. And even IF, you can come up with some, it's irrelevant. It's still just your, (and their) developing "interpretation" of perfectly natural, everyday, explainable events.

http://archive.org/details/HistoricalJesus (Bart Ehrman's LONG series, audio)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/ (PBS, good, but with some historical errors)

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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27-04-2012, 04:05 PM
RE: Good News vs. Good Advice
(27-04-2012 02:46 PM)THEOtalk Wrote:  Everything that the New Testament says about who Jesus Christ was and the universal implication of His death and subsequent resurrection was absolutely folly to the ancient world just like it is to the modern world (1 Cor 1:18-31).
ConsiderI'm thinking; ancient world (just my opinion) is way the heck further back than a couple of thousand years ago.

So, exactly how do you mean, folly?

And, universal implication ... maybe it's universal in your neck of the woods. Oh, I know... I'm world famous in Kansas ...


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