What exactly is Christianity
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15-06-2014, 01:03 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 12:57 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Actually the OP is in the exact right place for asking such questions.
Why?
Because there seems to be quite a few people here that deal in facts and actual reality. People here do not generally base their ideas in tradition or nonsensical tales. It seems people here usually follow where the evidence leads.
Whenever for example I ask a devout Muslim about why no pigs I get "because Allah said so." I never get a real explanation. Just as I always get a magical explanation when asking about the origins of Islam itself.
The same is true when dealing with Christians or any other group that believes in magic. Asking a question of one who's judgement is clouded by faith is a great way to gain misinformation

When someone says that early Christians did not believe Jesus was God in the flesh, it is they who are guilty of speaking with clouded judgement my friend. It is they who are conveying information which is demonstrably false.

So I would be careful in making sweeping and unjustified generalizations about groups of people whose judgment you claim is "clouded" by faith.

If an atheist can make such a demonstrably false statement as the one that has been made, I think you need to be asking them what their judgment is clouded by.

Don't you think?

Contrary to your belief, atheists do not hold the monopoly on truth, especially when their views clearly contradict what are considered to be established facts by those who study for a living, the history of Christianity.
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15-06-2014, 01:15 PM (This post was last modified: 15-06-2014 01:21 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 10:38 AM)smileXsmileXsmile Wrote:  I've run into a lot of people in my time who say they do not take the bible literally and it is more about the morals involved. i.e. they don't literally believe that Eve came from Adam's rib but it's more of a metaphor. Can this person successfully be labeled a Christian? Why or why not? If not what would you call them?

A better question might be, what is the neccessary criteria for being a Christian?

The answers to these questions should help spark some new thought processes for me. On a side note, I think it would be cool to eventially become knowledgable in many religions so I can make a tree diagram that shows where and why each religion parts ways.

Thanks!

There is no single, clearly-defined criteria. Rather, there exists a multitude of separate criteria, some clearly-defined, some not, and quite a few contradicting with others. By one set of criteria, ANYONE who believes that Jesus died, and rose again, and offers salvation to any who accept him, is a Christian, regardless of their behavior. By another set of criteria, only people who are members of Westboro Baptist Church are Christians. (That's the Westboro Baptist Church's criteria, naturally.) You won't find a coherent consensus amongst those who identify as Christians. Many individuals and sub-groups HAVE clearly-defined criteria, and boldly present them, but these will inevitably clash with the criteria of some other individuals and subgroups.

Short of arbitrarily choosing one criteria over the rest... that is, taking a particular (usually denominational) stance on dogma and doctrine... the word Christian has barely any meaning at all. Broadly speaking, I'd offer up two (edit: three) criteria as bare minimums.

1) Simply identifying as a Christian. This is the standard by which most surveys and censuses go by, and your neighbor simply saying that he's a Christian is usually enough to get you believing that he's a Christian. It's also the easiest one to check. This might be what you refer to as a successful labeling. Of course, most people will think that there's more to it than this, and it doesn't allow for secret Christians, but this is pretty much the standard by which people will or won't regard you as a Christian.

2) Believing that a significant portion of the teachings ascribed to Jesus are a basis for good action, and attempting to use these as a basis of your own life. (Note that this does not require actually believing that Jesus ever lived.)

3) Belieiving that God exists, at least loosely like depicted in the Bible, and that Jesus somehow provides or provided us with privileged access to that God's favor.

Of course, most Christians (by which I mean, identifying Christians) will offer much more narrow standards than this. They will say things like only Biblical literalists are true Christians, or you need to be part of a particular organization, or have to subscribe to certain doctrines or creeds, or that you're only a Christian if you have a personal relationship with God (though I don't know how to tell apart someone who really has such a personal relationship from someone who's just learned to fake it well enough to fool themselves), or that you need to be baptized first, or you need to be baptized first AND it has to be a dunking, not a sprinkle, or on and on and on.

The bottom line is that the word means whatever people who use it think it means, and too many people are using it in too many ways for it to have a clear-cut, universally-accepted meaning. We can pick out some thematic similarities, but that's it.
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15-06-2014, 01:18 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 01:03 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(15-06-2014 12:57 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Actually the OP is in the exact right place for asking such questions.
Why?
Because there seems to be quite a few people here that deal in facts and actual reality. People here do not generally base their ideas in tradition or nonsensical tales. It seems people here usually follow where the evidence leads.
Whenever for example I ask a devout Muslim about why no pigs I get "because Allah said so." I never get a real explanation. Just as I always get a magical explanation when asking about the origins of Islam itself.
The same is true when dealing with Christians or any other group that believes in magic. Asking a question of one who's judgement is clouded by faith is a great way to gain misinformation

When someone says that early Christians did not believe Jesus was God in the flesh, it is they who are guilty of speaking with clouded judgement my friend. It is they who are conveying information which is demonstrably false.

So I would be careful in making sweeping and unjustified generalizations about groups of people whose judgment you claim is "clouded" by faith.

If an atheist can make such a demonstrably false statement as the one that has been made, I think you need to be asking them what their judgment is clouded by.

Don't you think?

Contrary to your belief, atheists do not hold the monopoly on truth, especially when their views clearly contradict what are considered to be established facts by those who study for a living, the history of Christianity.

What are those facts you are talking about ?
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15-06-2014, 01:26 PM (This post was last modified: 15-06-2014 01:31 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 12:26 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(15-06-2014 10:55 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The very early Christians didn't think that.
They fought about what that meant in the councils, as they worked on cooking up their new beligion.

Comments like this are exactly why the OP is in the wrong place for asking such questions.

The early Christians believed Christ was God incarnate and were willing to die for this belief.

Why was the threat of death something they had to be concerned about?

Because the first Christians WERE JEWISH. And the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was One with the Father was blasphemous in the eyes of the Jewish Religious establishment which is what these Christians were proclaiming.

Complete and utter CRAP.
Your assertions are worthless. Obviously Germey has never read the proceedings of the councils.
So, the Jews were the ones doing the martyring now ? OK. Now there's a new one. Are we getting high over at the Elevation Church, and rewriting history ?
Admit it, you just made that shit up.
Unlike the Wanker clown, I actually provide references.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Persecuti...0062104527
http://www.amazon.com/How-Jesus-Became-G...0061778184
Maybe some day the ignorant Presuppositionalist Germey Wanker will actually get an education about his cult.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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15-06-2014, 01:31 PM (This post was last modified: 15-06-2014 01:39 PM by Drunkin Druid.)
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 01:03 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(15-06-2014 12:57 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  Actually the OP is in the exact right place for asking such questions.
Why?
Because there seems to be quite a few people here that deal in facts and actual reality. People here do not generally base their ideas in tradition or nonsensical tales. It seems people here usually follow where the evidence leads.
Whenever for example I ask a devout Muslim about why no pigs I get "because Allah said so." I never get a real explanation. Just as I always get a magical explanation when asking about the origins of Islam itself.
The same is true when dealing with Christians or any other group that believes in magic. Asking a question of one who's judgement is clouded by faith is a great way to gain misinformation

When someone says that early Christians did not believe Jesus was God in the flesh, it is they who are guilty of speaking with clouded judgement my friend. It is they who are conveying information which is demonstrably false.

So I would be careful in making sweeping and unjustified generalizations about groups of people whose judgment you claim is "clouded" by faith.

If an atheist can make such a demonstrably false statement as the one that has been made, I think you need to be asking them what their judgment is clouded by.

Don't you think?

Contrary to your belief, atheists do not hold the monopoly on truth, especially when their views clearly contradict what are considered to be established facts by those who study for a living, the history of Christianity.
First. There certainly were early Christians that did not believe Jesus was god.
Second. I made no claim that atheists hold the monopoly on the truth. You are guilty of putting words in my mouth. Claiming I said or believe things that I do not. You sir are a liar.
Third. I would ask one who makes a living on studying religious history. I just wouldn't ask one who has presupposed that the religion in question was true. Just as I wouldn't ask a UFO hunter if UFOs are real. I'd ask an actual scientist who makes a conclusion after the evidence is considered.
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15-06-2014, 01:54 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 12:26 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  
(15-06-2014 10:55 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The very early Christians didn't think that.
They fought about what that meant in the councils, as they worked on cooking up their new beligion.

Comments like this are exactly why the OP is in the wrong place for asking such questions.

The early Christians believed Christ was God incarnate and were willing to die for this belief.

Why was the threat of death something they had to be concerned about?

Because the first Christians WERE JEWISH. And the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was One with the Father was blasphemous in the eyes of the Jewish Religious establishment which is what these Christians were proclaiming.
Why do you pretend to be knowledgeable about history when even I, who admittedly have a lot about history to learn, knows this is based on fable and not fact? Consider

Admit it. You start with Christianity being right and therefore what it teaches must be true rather than starting with actual fact.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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15-06-2014, 01:59 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 01:03 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  When someone says that early Christians did not believe Jesus was God in the flesh, it is they who are guilty of speaking with clouded judgement my friend. It is they who are conveying information which is demonstrably false.

So I would be careful in making sweeping and unjustified generalizations about groups of people whose judgment you claim is "clouded" by faith.

If an atheist can make such a demonstrably false statement as the one that has been made, I think you need to be asking them what their judgment is clouded by.
A lie, no matter how strongly asserted, is still a lie. Drinking Beverage

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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15-06-2014, 02:01 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
The subject of "divinity" in Hebrew culture, and what that actually meant, (as it CERTAINLY did not mean "equal status" with Yahweh .. which was unthinkable for a Jew, as it threatened monothism, and there certainly also was no concept in the early church of "trinity" until the councils cooked that up) ... is a very interesting topic.

Of course Germey, with no academic background of any sort on the subject has nothing to add to an intelligent discussion of the matter.

One, (well perhaps THE few intelligent theists we've had here), and one of our rare visitors (Dan McClellan) wrote one of his dissertations on the subject.
http://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/20...nt-israel/
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62595...ronomy.pdf

There is also Dr. Michael Heiser's work on the subject, (from a Christian viewpoint).
http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/
http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/vi...s_fac_pubs
(Never thought I'd reference something from that place, but there it is).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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15-06-2014, 02:33 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
Ok, I found an old file with some of my research somewhat briefly summarized. Background: at the time, I was looking into natural man worshiping sun, earth, fire, etc., transitioning to the worship of these things as gods/goddesses/spirits, and how that evolved. This research further lead me to inquire about the transition from polytheism to monotheism in different cultures. The following contains very brief bits of my findings and thoughts concerning the basic circumstances of the Abrahamic religions.
Anything in () is what I just now wrote to edit a lengthy citation or to make a snide comment.
----
The earliest of "holy" writings, some of which may only be a few scant fragments extant, depict a pantheon of god/goddesses managing the universe, each somewhat equal but many often squabbling for superiority over all. They often fight not only amongst themselves but even with humans and other creatures for status. Editorial decisions of these stories were often parallel to real life squabbles of political control, concerning tribal/cultural populations and regions. One of the major squabbles was pinning down a definitive controlling factor for the sake of unity: one god, many equal gods, or one superior god with a hierarchy of lesser gods, etc.,.

There is extensive evidence that near eastern cultures believed that dozens or hundreds of deities existed, but cultures or tribes often chose one to be their special patron. For example, when one culture defeated another in battle, it was suggested that the victor's patron deity was better than the loser's deity. (not much seems to have changed) Yahweh was the special patron deity of the Israelites. They thought he was their favorite, but for a long time, they didn't think he was the only god. This would be henotheism.

At some point, possibly the Babylonian captivity (historically informed guess), the Israelites demoted or denied all deities other than Yahweh, thus becoming predominantly monotheistic. However early on, monotheism was not an easy fit. Tanakh the OT Bible and even the NT Bible both contain references to god not really being the "only" god. The transition from polytheism to this new "one god" idea of monotheism was not entirely a done deal so, the OT and NT reflect this in it's language.

Monotheism came about as an attempt at unity which eased control of populations. Though the idea of "one god" eventually dominated, it then became a question of "which god" would be the one? The Abrahamic religions seem to have splintered at various points for various reasons but most confusion came about as a result of tribal-cultural differences.

(Briefly)
Abraham story, part one: Abraham had two wives: Sarah and Hagar. (Long story short), it is thought that the Jews are the descendant of Sara while Arabs are the descendants of Hagar.  Islam believes that it is actually the descendants of Hagar who are the chosen by god, not the descendants of Sara.

Abraham story, part two: Abraham had 2 sons, Isaac and Ishmael.
Jews trace themselves back to Isaac and Jewish teachings come from the Torah, which was given to the major prophet Moses.
Muhammed was an Arab and Arabs trace themselves back to Ishmael. Muslims consider Muhammed the major prophet and follow his teachings.

Christianity often alleges to follow Jesus' teachings... or as they like to interpret them.  Jesus himself was a Jew and there is *controversy as to whether the Gospels reflect Jesus' actual teachings or Paul's inaccurate version of Jesus' teachings. Frankly, looking at the chronology of the writings, it's nearly impossible to not consider that Paul's versions are what has come down through history. *Controversy: back in the OT, god explicitly advised that there was to be no further editing of his words. (Oops.)

Islam will often allege that Abraham himself was actually a Muslim and that the Jews got it all wrong of course, and what Mohammed set out what was really supposed to be the one religion.

Christianity tends to allege: either the Jews got it all wrong or … Jesus died for everyone's sins making traditional Judaism unnecessary, that only the Gospels are necessary now and the Torah is now obsolete .... or they argue both things are true. Blink
----
Back to now...
Reading through this again reminds me just how much crap there is to slog through! I think that many people don't want to do so much research for themselves but would just rather have someone tell them what history says. It becomes quite clear how easily people can be lead to think congruent to a particular agenda.

For instance, from what I wrote above, some people might actually lay blame for historical misfortune: the Jews started it! Dodgy Uh huh.

I suppose it's not enough to say I really couldn't give a rats ass about any of it. I do, but I don't; if you know what I mean. I just like history. Shy

It might be interesting to note that one of the earliest mentions of something "non-god", with spiritual philosophies which do not include any deities is recorded in several writings around 600 BCE. Diagoras of Melos was probably tired of all the above mentioned crap… he was widely regarded as an atheist.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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15-06-2014, 02:44 PM
RE: What exactly is Christianity
(15-06-2014 12:57 PM)Drunkin Druid Wrote:  
(15-06-2014 12:26 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  Comments like this are exactly why the OP is in the wrong place for asking such questions.

The early Christians believed Christ was God incarnate and were willing to die for this belief.

Why was the threat of death something they had to be concerned about?

Because the first Christians WERE JEWISH. And the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was One with the Father was blasphemous in the eyes of the Jewish Religious establishment which is what these Christians were proclaiming.

Actually the OP is in the exact right place for asking such questions.
Why?
Because there seems to be quite a few people here that deal in facts and actual reality. People here do not generally base their ideas in tradition or nonsensical tales. It seems people here usually follow where the evidence leads.
Whenever for example I ask a devout Muslim about why no pigs I get "because Allah said so." I never get a real explanation. Just as I always get a magical explanation when asking about the origins of Islam itself.
The same is true when dealing with Christians or any other group that believes in magic. Asking a question of one who's judgement is clouded by faith is a great way to gain misinformation

From what I know, they say Muslims shouldn't eat pig because it wallows in its own filth and sometimes eat it too so thats that. And regarding origins of islam, its quite complicated, but it goes something like Islam started with Adam and Eve, and Abraham and Moses and Jesus were all prophets of Allah spreading the religion. I've heard that the bible mentions the coming of a last prophet and even mentions his name (but I am not sure about this) so then came Mohammed and he was the final prophet and Koran was the last of scriptures. But those who didn't accept him as a prophet and continued to follow Jesus are now called Christians. Otherwise its said that all the previous prophets were spreading the religion of Allah but some people chose to believe only Moses or Jesus and thus they are not labelled as Muslims, but they are called Ehl-e-Kitaab, meaning 'of the book'.

All great truths begin as blasphemy - George Bernard Shaw
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