Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

Faith forum: Are we, as humans, really worthy of God’s love?

August 19, 2006

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Remember who really gave you life

Charles Gruber, member of Oread Friends Meeting, 1146 Ore.:

From the human point of view, judgment and opinion rule our lives: "I like this, I don't like that. This is good, that is evil. This is desirable, that is unwanted."

It is said that the only block to our enlightenment is opinion. When I rise above aversion and grasping, I am able to see all of creation with unflinching acceptance.

I suspect that from the divine point of view, there is no worthiness or unworthiness. There is only the divine love for all God's children.

So the real test is, "How do I remember my divine inheritance?" As the Sufis say, "The only virtue is remembering and the only sin is forgetting."

So in the interest of virtue, find a way to remember. Choose the church bell that sounds on the quarter-hour or the whistle of every train that goes by or the sound of the your cell phone ringing to direct your attention to your breath. Breathe in and breathe out, and remember who really gave you life.

Paul Simon sings, "Who's gonna love you when your looks are gone? Who's gonna love you when your looks are gone? God will, just like he waters the flowers on your window sill. God will, just like he waters the flowers on your window sill."

You are one of the many worthy flowers on the window sill of life.

- Send e-mail to Charles Gruber at gruber@cgruber.com.

We, as sinners, deserve God's judgment

The Rev. Gary Meyer, Lawrence Baptist Temple, 3201 W. 31st St.:

First of all, let us define the term "we."

If we refers to all mankind as we are, then I would answer no. We are not worthy of God's love.

The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Then in Romans 3:19: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

What we, as sinners, are worthy of is the wrath and judgment of Almighty God. The Bible in many passages describes man as unlovable, no good, lost, hellbound and hell-deserving because the wages of sin are death.

The good news is that Jesus Christ took our guilt, our shame, our judgment and our hell when he died upon the cross, was buried in a tomb, and rose again for our justification.

When a person places his trust in Jesus Christ, and receives him into his heart, he then is saved and becomes worthy of God's love.

God loves the world, not because the people are worthy; but because he chooses to and he proved his love by sending his only begotten son into the world, that the world through him might be saved.

- Contact Gary Meyer at 841-1756

Comments

Richard Heckler 8 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Gruber seems to be in touch with reality....

mooseamoose 8 years, 11 months ago

and Mr. Meyer is trapped in a dualistic world of never ending violence to himself and others where "I'm forgiven, he's not. I'm righteous, he's a sinner. I heeded the Lord's call, they ignored it. I'm on god's side, they're evil." This is the same mindset as those who commit terroristic acts for Allah. If "in Him we live and have our being" is true then how could it only apply to only Christians? That would indicate we are all god's children. If God is all powerful then how can you really sin against him? Why would God need you to worship him if he has all the glory and power? And he has to punish you if you don't? This tired old concept of an angry God needs to be discarded.

Right on Charles Gruber...

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Agreed, moose.

"God's judgment"

"What we, as sinners, are worthy of is the wrath and judgment of Almighty God."

What is God's wrath and who is judging?

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

I think it is interesting how we like to pick and choose which parts of scriptures suit us and which ones don't. The ones about Heaven and Angels we accept... But, the ones about Hell and God's wrath and judgment we deny.

What we must realize is this... If there is, indeed a God who is perfect (which is, I believe the assumption made by both of these commentators), than to be in the presence of imperfection would be paradoxical. It isn't God who put a barrier between Himself and us... It is us! But, there is, indeed, a barrier.

I won't sit here and tell you about original sin... I don't think you're all that interested. But, I do know that all of us have sinned... And know that we've sinned. We can feel that barrier between our human selves and that which is divine. I know absolutely no one (believer or non-believer) who would make the bogus statement that they have never sinned. But, unless we have never sinned... We need a Savior.

But, what Gruber got right is this... God does, indeed, love His creation! And, although He has set the world up with rules and choices to be made... He has given us the ability to choose the eternal! He has given us, His creation, the ability to be saved from that which we have brought ourselves into. I forgot which author said it... But, it has been said that "In order to get to Hell one must trample over the cross to get there." We have been given the option to have a relationship with a God who would die for that relationship... And, did, in fact, die for that relationship.

We are only worthy when comparing ourselves to others... When we compare ourselves to that which is divine we find ourselves wanting.

--Danny Speicher

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

"But, the ones about Hell and God's wrath and judgment we deny."

I tend to agree with what you said except for that statement and what it implies. What is "Hell", "God's wrath", and "judgement"? Sure, they exist - but not in the way most paint them. I'm not sure what you intend by it, but then your next paragraph seems to indicate it's different than most.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

An angry wrathful God would just punish people for their sins and not give them a way out. God does give us a way out and that shows His love for us. He is not an angry wrathful person, because He took all of the wrath upon His Son so we didn't have to be punished. Some choose to ignore that.

agnostick, I am still wondering where purgatory came from. I have yet to find it. And to top that doctrine off I have yet to find where praying for the person while they are in "Purgatory" will help.

The thought of instant Karma (Gal 6:7) would be pretty funny. You flip somebody off in traffic, your tire goes flat. You have bad thoughts running through your mind about people on this forum and you get smacked in the back of the head. That would be pretty cool.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick, the way I see it is that we are created in God's image. We are a triune being. Spirit, soul, and body. God is the same. His spirit (Holy Spirit), His body(Jesus), His Soul (God Himself). I don't know if that helps you at all or not, but that has helped me tremendously.

holygrail, due to your constant bashing on Christianity I almost didn't want to converse with you but I thought I would point something out to you. Jesus was the Son of God so in your point you are saying that God crushed His Son for us. How odd is that? We think that to be a horrible thing and it is. However what you are missing is that God and the Son are one, so God punished himself on the cross for you and me and every other person on this earth. It isn't Him punishing His Son to prove a point but He put Himself (see explanation above) in our place to take the wrath of God. It would be just like me taking your place for a crime you committed. You would ask yourself why would I do that, but that would be because I would be willing to take your punishment so you can live scott free. That is pure love that we simple can't understand yet we should try to imitate whenever we can.

BrianR 8 years, 11 months ago

We created god in our own image so we can be as forgiven as we want to be.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 11 months ago

"I think it is interesting how we like to pick and choose which parts of scriptures suit us and which ones don't."

Also interesting is how Gary's short article gives us the "problem" side of the equation as well as the "solution" side of the equation, yet it appears that some who posted responses only read the "problem" part.

"Mr. Meyer is trapped in a dualistic world of never ending violence to himself"

REALLY? There must be something wrong with my version of MS Explorer, because what I see on my screen from Gary is a message of grace and mercy, not "violence". I've lived in emotional and spiritual "violence". It was something I experienced because of my separation from God. The message that Gary is communicating is how I ESCAPED my violence.

Moosamoose: your decision to reject the amazing message of the cross doesn't make it ugly. It's a beautiful message regardless of why you choose to reject it. "God loves the world, not because the people are worthy; but because he chooses to" I fail to see the violence in that statement! Don't kid yourself: this beautiful message of love doesn't give you a ligitimate reason to denegrate it. This is America, and you can follow whatever you wish to follow, but if you are going to make bold statements like the ones you made without providing a foundation for your statements, you will be called out. Your "flowers are ugly" perspective isn't going to fly unless you can back it up. For example: demonstrate to us where you see "violence" in Gary's message. Violence is a huge word: explain how it fits in the context of his statement.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

craigers: "so God punished himself on the cross for you and me and every other person on this earth. It isn't Him punishing His Son to prove a point but He put Himself (see explanation above) in our place to take the wrath of God."

I wouldn't use the word, "punish". When you speak of "God's wrath", I think you need to explain more of what that means. Otherwise, the reader will assume what "wrath" means, and miss out. True, Jesus suffered in our place. Not as punishment, but as an example of how sin cannot exist in God's presence. God never raised a hand towards Jesus. But, the thought He was left out and could never return, crushed Him. Exploring the first couple of chapters in Romans may be useful in understanding God's "wrath".

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

Holygrail, the wrath of God toward sin, sorry (keep twisting everything Christian to make fun since we could all do the same of athiests, Islam, etc). Sin warrants a punishment. And to your little sarcastic jab, no I don't expect to illicit any feelings out of you, but just so you would understand a little more than just your point of view.

gr, I see what you are saying. However, if people assume on the word wrath and twist what I said, then they will do that with even more explanation too. All I can do is post a response and let it be since I don't have time to add explanation of everything I say. Thanks for the suggestion for next time though.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

What I see here is a lot of questioning as to the "why" in this scenario. Why would God create a world... Leave it to man's free will (which He knew would mess it up) and then, after He left it to man's free will and it did get messed up... Why would He send His Son to take away the penalties of the divine justice He set up?

And, to be honest, there are entire books (hundreds and hundreds of pages long) describing many different opinions on why. But, the long and the short of every one of those books that is truly rooted in scripture lies in this principle... God wanted us to be able to choose Him... He didn't want a race of robots.

God never once caused the sin of the world we now live in. He created and gave free will... A gift that is far more precious than most Christians give it credit for! He did this because true love could NEVER exist outside of a choice. He gave Lucifer the free will to rebel and fall and become the great tempter and Father of Lies. He gave Adam and Eve the free will to follow His commands or the temptation of Lucifer. God didn't tempt... Satan did. God didn't cause Adam or Eve to eat the apple... Satan did. Yet, God loved His creation enough to create a "Plan B" to give us the option to have that relationship He created us to have. That's a loving God, if you ask me!

But, I'm not kidding myself. I know that none of this here on this board is going to change anyone's mind. These are simply words from a person you've never met about a God that you have no desire of knowing. But, I encourage you to check it out for yourself... Just as I encourage Christians to look into other holy texts. If not to look into whether it's true, at least to see if something is said in the Scriptures that will ring more true to you than what I have put here. Alright... There's my two-cents... Or, I guess this would be the third and fourth cents. Either way... Good discussion!

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Oh, I forgot to respond to Agnostick. I would encourage you to look into those scriptures and find out exactly the context in which they are being said. Are they being said to us or directly and solely to the culture of that time? Are they meant to be the direct command or support of a direct command? Are they central to the Law or peripheral?

These are all contextual questions that require a bit of study. I would also encourage all readers to look at the Law of the Old Testament in the context of Romans 2:12-16 and all of Hebrews chapter 8. What is the "requirement of the law" versus the law itself in Romans 2:15? Is there a difference? What is sin? What is not sin?

These are all very theological questions and fun to discuss, in my opinion. But, they are somewhat different from the subject at hand. The subject at hand is this: Do we need a Savior? This is the central theme of the entire Bible (both Old and New Testaments)... What we need saving from is peripheral. Yet, it is still important to be discussed. So, let the games begin! ;)

--Danny Speicher

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick,

What I hear you saying is that some people (who believe in the Bible) believe / do certain things you think are not correct. Therefore you conclude (imply from your statements) that ALL people who believe in the Bible believe / do incorrectly.

Following the same line of thought / conclusion process, would you agree with the following conclusion?

Some people who believe in evolution will commit outright fraud because they cannot find the specimens they want. Therefore, we can conclude all evolutionists are a bunch of intentional lying fraudsters.

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Hear hear, BrianR.

I grew up going to FUMC and I have to say that they are some of the most compassionate, understanding, welcoming people I've ever met. Most Christians are. But like any neurotic, confusion-filled youth I began to raise my own doubts about Christianity and the existence of God. I'm torn between being agnostic or deist. Deism is the belief that a supreme being created everything but takes no part in everday events, just watches us like we watch a clock. Is that right? I think I got that right.

I haven't decided if there is a God or not. There's evidence that there is, there's plenty of evidence that there isn't. Find God wherever you want. I try not to ridicule people for their beliefs or proselytize my own. If someone finds pure happiness and peace believing in the existence of God, that's awesome. I'm genuinely happy for you. But don't use your beliefs to restrict other people's lives (separation of church and state).

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Oh Danny I forgot to ask, you seem like a well-rounded, moderate and objective person. What do you think of my beliefs? I've been dying to hear a pastor's point of view. What's your view on deism and agnosticism? I just want your opinion.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

My apologies, Agnostick.

Your, "Here's a good example of the ol' "Bible Buffet" from today's news" seemed to imply more. Guess you were just pointing out some specific problem areas.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

For better or worse, a very real dynamic of societies is that they evolve. Primitive societies cling to their creation myths and god-stories; as societies advance, they cast off the effluvia of religious nonsense and dry their ears in the clear, warm air of Reason and Truth.

Nothing can be done for, or to, those who choose to give their loyalty to a supernaturally-based religion, except perhaps to extend our sympathy for their credulity, and lament their loss to the ranks of the enlightened.

Human beings create religions. For a variety of reasons, but they create them nonetheless. Truth is all that matters, finally. When you are able to see that, realize it, you will no longer need religion, or religious drivel.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Heh, Tycho... I'm not a pastor yet. Still studying. However, I would be happy to throw out some thoughts on Deism and Agnosticism...

I think, for me, Deism is a bit shaky in the fact that it really isn't anything more than glorified Agnosticism. It, I suppose, is the logical next step in "finding God." As an Athiest you state there "is no god", as an Agnostic you state that there "might be a god" and as a Deist you say, that there "is a god" but that god is neither knowable nor does it really want to be known on a personal level.

Having said that, I respect, on some degree, your willing to seek out the truth. I honestly believe that anyone who truly seeks the truth will find it. But, my question to most Agnostics and Deists (and Theists and other beliefs in a god with no scriptural backing or experiential knowledge) would be "how open are you?" Meaning this... I have met a great deal of Agnostics who have told me that I am too closed-minded. And, to an extent I see their point. However, many of the Agnostics had not read as broadly as I have on world religions or texts by athiest, agnostic and religious writers.

Now, I see their point in the fact that I don't read the texts to seek out a new form of faith. I read the texts to understand their point of view. So, to that degree I am "close-minded." But, that is only because I have found true fulfillment, logic and hope in Jesus Christ. And, although I would, on some level, give some merit to the idea that people can find happiness away from Christ on earth, I have yet to find a holy text that logically and systematically gives a solution to the problem of sin like Christianity does... Thus, giving eternal happiness as opposed to temporal happiness (which, if you believe in the eternal, would come to see what is presently happening in the span of one's lifetime as nothing more than a fingersnap in the grand scheme of time.)

Either way, I digress. You wanted my opinion and not a sermon. Forgive my rabbit trail. As far as Deism... I find it hard to believe in a god who would set things in motion with no practical solutions for life here or life hereafter. I find it hard to believe or follow a god who has given me know way of knowing him/her/it through any divine revelation and has no desire for a connection with its creation. I find our lives to be fairly pointless (once again, in the grand scheme of things) if we are not put here by a Divine Creator (no matter what means He may have created us) with a divine purpose.

((More on next post))

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

((Continued from previous post))

As far as Agnosticism... If you are truly agnostic I don't bat an eyelash. I believe agnosticism is, at its root, a search for what is truly REAL and TRUE. And, I have found some of the most amazing Christian authors to have once been Agnostic... As they have read broadly and truly sought out Truth as opposed to having it spoon-fed to them by someone else. I guess the only thing I would put in as a "jab" is this... If there is a god and a form of heaven and figuring out how to remove barriers to that "heaven" is part of the plan... Be diligent in your searching because we do not live forever.

Tycho, I appreciate your voice here. Keep up the good work!

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

By the way, xeno, I wanted to let you know that we finally agree on at least one issue...

You stated, "Truth is all that matters, finally. When you are able to see that, realize it, you will no longer need religion, or religious drivel."

You are absolutely right... Religion or the drivel associated with it, at times, will never, EVER save you. However, it is a relationship with Christ that will. Religion is only a glorified support group for the Christian (albeit, in my opinion, an extremely crucial support group.)

And that, xeno... Is the truth.

--Danny Speicher

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Thanks. I realized that you are still studying but I used the accelerated term 'pastor' for time's sake because for some reason I, like everybody and their dog, am always in a hurry to get whatever menial task done as quick as possible. I really appreciate your feedback and give me a little bit to digest what you've told me.

In reading other holy texts from other religions to gain fulfillment and explanation for your own faith, I don't see why anyone would consider that closeminded. That seems among the most openminded things a person can do. Also, personally if I ever do find my faith (or if I have it and I just don't know it) the closest I've come is to believe that the best relationship with God is the most personal as possible. I don't believe that going to church or reciting incantations or prayers will redeem the several hundred million sins :) I've committed in my life. The most optimistic view I try and take is salvation through faith alone. Although most times I don't believe in a God. I guess I'm a flipflopper like that, but I'm not in a huge hurry to come to a single solid conclusion.

In the meantime it takes for me to digest what you told me, I went to CJHS and LHS too. What teachers did you have there? Were you ever lucky enough to get Mr. Holley?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Speicher:

Jesus is dead. Has been for two thousand years. And he was never god when he was alive - not ever.

Jesus was an illegitimate Galilean peasant whose illegitimacy proved to be his eventual undoing. Spurned by his nominal father, spurned by other children in his village, spurned by young girls and women who were forbidden to marry him, Jesus was forced to seek a life outside his village. He did the best he could with what he had to work with, but in the end he wound up like a failed businessman, a bankrupt.

Paul created Christianity. He fashioned it of bits and pieces of the old pagan religions that squatted around the Mediterranean. Jesus would perhaps be astounded if he could miraculously come back to life and see what has been created in his name.

No disrespect intended, but for a grown adult to proclaim some sort of special relationship with the dead Galilean is perhaps the equivalent of suggesting that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Tinkerbelle are also real.

And let's not forgot the Tooth Fairy.

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 11 months ago

Mr Speicher you are one of the better writers when it comes to explaining the basic teachings of the bible, I can really appreciate that. It is like a breath of fresh air. However, I am a reader that your sentence "These are simply words from a person you've never met about a God that you have no desire of knowing" is directed towards. I've no desire of knowing or worshiping anyone or anything that feels child abuse is okay - which is how I interpret sending your only begotten son to another planet to be ridiculed, tortured and crucified. The thing about being saved is a real stretch too. People are born good not bad. Still, I appreciate your honest dialogue and my intention is not to offend but only to offer a (reasonable) perspective.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

Eva, about your comment of children being born good not bad. I would say we are born bad, needing to be reborn(saved) to the good. I have never known a child that didn't need direction to do what is good. They always gravitate to doing what they aren't supposed to do. It is almost like an inherent desire to do wrong. Generally speaking, those in this world that haven't had any guidance or direction are the ones that end up criminals, but those that have loving parents usually are more productive citizens of society. Would you not agree?

Danny, I can't add to what you said. Very good thoughts. Have you ever read "Rightly Dividing the Word" by Clarence Larkin?

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 11 months ago

There is a belief system that we are born with original sin. Being born that way means babies are born bad because sin is an offense to that god. This is how I interpret being saved. I'm at the mercy of the media and it seems there aren't that many stories reported of persons attaining "normal", law-abiding tax-paying adulthood in spite of childhoods with no direction towards good. Generally, it's the criminals and their upbringing that is reported for sure. Perhaps a person who practices social work could shed some light on how many of his or her clients are not criminals in spite of evil childhoods. Still, environment does play an important part in a person choosing good or evil because I'm pretty sure children are not born racist.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick it is almost any age. Johnny don't hit your brother! You don't have to train a child to do wrong, it happens whether you want to or not. I know for me, I wasn't supposed to get in the cookie jar, but I climbed the drawers and got to the top of the fridge to get my cookie. You don't have to teach kids to hit, they just do. It is just a generality I have noticed. No scientific backing. Do you have kids agnostick? This isn't a dig, but a question because I bet any parent would say their kid doesn't just behave well on their own but it takes guidance for them to do good.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

agnostick, that's awesome with the tupperware. I understand where you are going and yes there is a difference between just making a mistake and choosing to do wrong, but do you think we all seem to have a preprogaming to do wrong until somebody brings us back into the right? Take teenagers for example. You can let them know what the right thing to do is and inevitably they want to do the wrong thing. I know some would just say this is all about normal teenage rebellion but I see it as a general notion to do wrong until we are shown differently.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

"Original sin"? Oh please.

Morality is relative. It was once considered right and proper to sacrifice children - actually burn them to death - to appease the prevailing deity.

To live - survive - in society, we must adhere to mores, customs, laws, etc., but keep in mind they are impermanent, and will someday pass away.

No disrespect, but it is just short of hilarious to hear supposedly grown adults discuss "original sin." What a foul, vile concept. No thinking person should accept this ridiculous credo. No thinking person should allow any religious entity or establishment to propagate such nonsense, and at such a terrible human expense.

"Original sin"? Original nonsense.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

xeno, could you, a convicted felon, please give us all a lesson on morality? We would appreciate an expert's advice.

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

I know. I shouldn't have said that. I know exactly why he posts some of the things he does just to get a rise out of me and it worked. I shouldn't have done that. However, he has admitted the convicted felon part. We all make those mistakes though.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

"admitted"? While it would have been wonderful - I guess - to have chosen a different path in life, the one I followed was certainly interesting.

Wouldn't hesitate to recommend that everyone spend a year or two in the joint; it would perhaps improve their recognition of reality.

Jesus is still dead.

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Grail you crack me up. I always look forward in the day to where we can talk haha.

I've never been a fan of original sin either. I think it's ludicrous. The most logical take (other than to not believe in a God at all) is that we're born neutral and it takes just a little bit of influence to go either way.

Cotton Mather was always too much for me. Or was it John Mather who wrote about it? Either way, the Indians should have sent the Puritans packing. LOL.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

.22 short:

You are still salvageable; I'm trying hard to bring you to the light of Reason and Truth.

Give up your disposition to supernatural credulity and superstition; use your common sense to determine what is real and what is not.

Jesus is still dead.

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Yes I was, Agnostick. I had to read it my junior year of high school. I didn't like it. Too negative.

jayhawks71 8 years, 11 months ago

.... Skipping entire article and all posts. ... Responding to the initial question. Should I care?

I can't go around wondering if a fairy tale character from one of the most violent stories ever told cares about. The bible was written by humans. The human being is a pattern seeking story teller. These were stories; and the god of the Old Testament was one mean SOB. Fires and floods and pestilence and turning people into salt pillars; testing people by telling them to kill their kids... then saying "just kidding!" Yeah, I sure care whether that thing loves me... hah!

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick:

I am a devotee of Will and Ariel Durant, and yes, I disapprove of all the old sky-god religions. Christianity is perhaps the least offensive of the three major sky-gods - Islam, Judaism, Christianity - but it has still contributed more to the negative side of the ledger of human civilization than the positive.

Societies evolve; we no longer need them. I'm willing to do all I can to eliminate them, to extinguish their power to bring perhaps unintended misery to billions of human beings.

I don't really hate Christianity. The ethics of Christianity are simply wonderful - the absolute crown jewels of Western civilization - but the dogma and theology drag the magic into the mire.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

((Another long one: Sorry, folks))

Hey all... I'd like to chime in with a bit of a perspective shift between the idea of "original sin" versus the idea of a "sin nature." Some denominations (interpretations of scripture) would state that original sin is what scripture points to. However, there are plenty of views (and valid ones, at that) that would argue that mankind is not born with original sin... But, instead, a "sin nature." Therefore, man is not born condemned... But, instead is born with the inclination to condemn himself.

Of course, this doesn't change the fact that, in the end... We all sin. I think one of the big stumbling blocks for people who see "original sin" is the question of whether or not children are condemned to Hell if they die before adulthood. In which case, I would (as almost any other person who has studied scriptures at all) say they are absolutely NOT condemned.

Even those who would follow the ideology of "original sin" would, most likely, tell you that there is an age of accountability. This is not one age for everyone... But, it is an age most people can remember. It is that moment in childhood when you realize that the actions you do don't just affect you... They affect others... And, moreover, affect your heart and how you feel about the world and others. Psychologists would call this conventional moral reasoning (if following Kohlberg's model), concrete operational reasoning (if following Piaget's model) or middle childhood and the development of personal competence of social realities (if we look at Erikson's model.) However, in Christianity, we would call this the age of accountability... And, basically, it means that you no longer follow rules to keep from getting punished... But, instead, you see the true value in following the rules... And, adversely, the consequences in breaking them.

Having said all of that... The long and the short of all of it is this... We all sin. And sin, in its very essence takes us away from God who is perfect. By the by, Christians who see salvation as a "reward" for doing what is "right" have a skewed view of their own saving faith. Salvation is, in its very essence, a gift (which can be neither earned or bought) which we do not deserve... But, God freely gives to those who will accept it. Nothing more... Nothing less... Christians are nothing more than sinners who have gratefully accepted a free gift.

((More posted on next post))

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

((Continued from previous post)) Eva... Your comments are much appreciated and respected. But, I would point you to the paradox that, although Jesus was, indeed, God's Son... He was also God, Himself. Jesus could have called down a legion of angels to remove Himself from the cross and the Father would not have kept Him from doing so... No one took Christ's life... He gave it willingly as a gift for all mankind. There is much about God and the Trinity that is paradoxical and unknowable. All we can do is attempt to know God better and better with each new day. And, honestly, be thankful that we cannot understand Him. For, if we understood Him completely who would be greater? Him or yourself? Just something to think on.

And, Xeno, I want you to know that I appreciate your flare on these religious messages. I haven't always... But, I have come around... Especially since these days you have started saying more than "all sky-god religions are dead." (With the exception of your most recent post... and, even then, you mixed it up a bit.) And, although it is hard to argue with points that are neither curious or interested in the other points of view being expressed... I will let you know that if you are going to state that man created Christianity instead of God, Himself, you ought to go with a figure earlier than Paul. The Gospel of Matthew was already written by the time Paul was evangelizing the Mediterranian. Not to mention the historical texts by Flavius Josephus which notes the widespread confusion on where Jesus' body was taken and how it could have been taken with it being heavily guarded by Roman presence. So, for your sake, pick one of them... Or, maybe one of the other disciples (Peter might be a good choice) if you going to blame the creation of Christianity on a man. Either way, I respect that you gave credit to the ethics of Christianity... And, I wouldn't entirely disagree if you were to say that "bad religion" drags the magic into the mire. ;)

--Danny Speicher

PS Tycho: Yeah, I had Mr. Holley. I thought he was AWESOME! Kind of grumpy, but had a great dry sense of humor. What year did you graduate?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Paul created Christianity, period. Human beings create religions, and Paul, moreso than any other single person, created Christianity.

It could have been worse, I guess. Mankind needed religions back then, so I suppose one is as good as another.

But we don't need them any more. Grow up. Get a life. Get over your childish affectation for biblical nonsense. Be an adult and realize that you can't "have a personal relationship with God" any more than you can have a personal relationship with gravity, or electromagnetism, or superstrings.

Jesus is dead.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe I have a skewed view on what "childish" is... But, one paradigm I would use to determine one's intellectual age would have something to do with a healthy curiosity for all philosophies and the ability to listen to another's point and respond in a civil and open-minded way. But, maybe I'm off-base. Either way, entertaining post, Xeno.

--Danny Speicher

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

"Are we, as humans, really worthy of God's love?"

Golly, gee. Let me think about that one. That's a poser, alright.

Who comes up with such drivel? The abstraction that is God could not possibly care less, or more, about the human race. The abstraction that is God "cares" just as much about the bacteria in a stray dog's stomach as it does the entire panoply - past, present, and future - of the human race.

The important point is that God "cares" just as much. The abstraction which is God makes its will known through the operation of natural physical laws throughout the universe. The operation of these laws gives us our best clue, our best opportunity, to glimpse the nature of God.

Many questions remain - so many it will require the lifetimes of generations of Einsteins - but we're relentlessly moving toward answers. Sad that we won't find more in my lifetime, but that's that.

God exists, but it is an abstraction - which is why it is eternal. It is an abstraction that controls natural physical laws, and if we could find the connection there, then we could all eat French vanilla ice cream and dance to John Lee Hooker.

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Speicher I left CJHS in 2001, apparently even after you graduated high school. Either I feel young or you feel old. Mr. Holley never came across as grumpy, although I never had him as a teacher, only as the director of whatever plays I had decided to help destroy by acting in. I have to say that I think his dry, cracked sense of humor rubbed off on me because my mom always says she can't tell whether I'm joking or not because I'm so deadpan....waits for laughter and applause. just kidding By far my favorite teacher was Mrs. Cox.

And excellent point about debating whether knowing and completely understanding God is a good idea. I mean, if God wanted us to understand and comprehend everything, we would have by now, right?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Nope. The hunt is a lot of the thrill. Hunting the truth about God in the universe is perhaps the best, the most noble, and the most edifying thing a human being can do.

That sounds pretty stuffy, but we're only here a while, and we need something of substance to fill our lives before Death smiles at us and we have to smile back. I wish I had time to learn more. There's a guy whose knocking the concepts of dark matter and dark energy, which means Einstein could have been wrong about gravity, which might open up huge, massive cans of worms. God is in there somewhere; we just have to be smart enough to know where to look.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Tycho... Old. I feel old. ;) Mrs. Cox is an AMAZING teacher! She was one of my favorites as well! Did you ever have Mrs. Souders? She was my favorite. She was the teacher that really sparked my interest in writing. She's also a really nice lady, which I appreciate!

And, yes... No matter what god one chooses to worship it should never be a "god" that can be fully comprehended. Knowledge is power (an overused phrase in education, but a very true phrase) and if we knew more than our "god" than we, in fact, have become the god and he/she/it has become the "human" (in essence.) Whether or not we believe in the "Christian God" or not... We will never fully understand all that He understands. A god that can be put in a box is no god at all.

This has been a really great conversation. And, to be honest... I have even gained a bit more respect for xeno for at least staying in the fray. One question I have for you, xeno, is this... Do you believe that we are, as humans, unique in any way from all other species? What about all the rest of you who are still reading this thread? Do you believe we are unique from other species? If so... What does that help us deduce in terms of our role and the possibility of a god? (If any at all.)

--Danny Speicher

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

I've heard nothing but praise for Mrs. Souders, but no I was "blessed" with Mrs. vonEnde and Mrs. Anderson :). I can't remember the other English teacher I had....did I even take an 8th-grade English class? Gosh now I feel old. Lol. Oh it was Mrs. Loomis! Yes! By far one of my favorite English teachers ever. She sparked our interest in Harry Potter hahaha. Good times.

In response to your thread question, we are unique. Animals don't reason or pursue logic or knowledge or technology (with of course the exception of those certain animals that use tools like sea otters, birds, etc). They appear to be more logical than us because that's how they are by nature, they don't actively think about their actions, they purely follow instinct. But we are pretty similar, too, in terms of our instincts. Like how the stepfather is most likely to be the abuser of a child because of the inherent genetic trait of being wary of another male's offspring.

I don't think humans stand out from the rest of the animal kingdom more than any other species. Besides that's not a very objective question, is it? How can we possibly tell every way that we're different from another species? At first glance we appear extremely, magnificently different. But try and study how the mind works and this task becomes impossible.

In terms of our role and the possibility of a god, my most consistent (and by consistent, I mean the one I habitually believe in more often than anything else) belief is that religions were created to help explain the supposedly unexplainable.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Danny:

That's a tough one.

On one hand, no . . . we're little better than the animals we are, than we have to be to survive.

But on the other, yes . . . a resounding YES. Our capacity for love is perhaps the single most wonderful nuance of existence anywhere in the universe.

But, even love can be broken down into bio-chemistry and sensory data. Our ability to reason, flawed as it is, and our ravenous hunger for Truth, to seek out the true nature of things, is perhaps more laudable than our capacity to love.

All I know for sure is that it's great to be alive.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Jayhawks: "testing people by telling them to kill their kids... then saying "just kidding!" "

I hate to butt in on such a pleasant conversation, but Jayhawks echoed something that many people seem to believe about God that really needs to be confronted. I'm assuming one example he is referring to is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Find in the Bible where God tells Abraham to kill his son. In case you are not familiar with the Bible, you'll find the story in Genesis, chapter 22. You may need to read a few chapters earlier to get the proper setting.

I cannot find where God tells Abraham to kill his son. Maybe someone else can find it.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Tycho, vonEnde and Loomis are legends as well! Have you ever heard of Dr. Boyd (former choir teacher)? I had the blessing of having her for the last two years of her teaching career in Lawrence (which spanned for around 30 years) She was absolutely amazing! Do you know the ladies in the lunchroom pretty well? Dixie and Debbie, especially, were two of my favorite people in the entire school!

Anyway... To the question at hand. Tycho and xeno, with both of you I agree. As humans we are "dualistic" (not, in this case, in the theological sense, but in the sense of having logic and understanding, but also being instinct-driven and survivalistic at the core.) We are animals, yes... But, we are humans (unique from all other creatures) as well.

Tycho, you state that the question is not objective. And, to that I do not disagree. There is, as you said, no way to step inside the mind of a gopher or a field mouse. However, I think, at times, in the age of information and this "modern enlightenment" period we are in... At times we cut off our nose to spite our face in trying to get everything understood in an objective manner. That isn't to say, of course, that I don't believe we should attempt as best we can to objectively understand all that this universe has to study... It is to say that common sense and observation, at times, can do a wondrous job of coming to a conclusion when no technology can allow us to observe any the more closer.

So, for the time being... Using observation, you both came up with the conclusion I have come up with... We are animals (with bone and flesh, blood and marrow, hearts and brains) but unique animals at that (with the ability to love and reason, explore and communicate, preserve and plan.) xeno, I absolutely love what you said about our capacity to love! You stated, "Our capacity for love is perhaps the single most wonderful nuance of existence anywhere in the universe." You are correct!

((Continued on next post))

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

((Continued from previous post))

In the Bible it says this about love, "...let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God--for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8) God is love! And, the kicker is this... Every time you feel love, what you don't know is you're experiencing God! I was talking to a friend the other day about his faith in God. He had spent the majority of his life a non-believer. When he finally accepted Christ, he started to realize that he had known Him all along. He had loved and been loved. He knew a portion of the blessing already! God's love permeates this earth... And, any Christian who gets this strives to show God's love tangibly! This verse is a stumbling block for the crusaders of centuries past... It is a stumbling block for the conquistadors of the Inquisition and it is a stumbling block for the religious right of today who insist that war is doing "God's will." God's love has NEVER been about violence or hate for ANYONE... It has always been about tangible, knowable love that is shown by the believer and non-believer alike as a prevenient given to all mankind!

Yes, xeno (and Tycho, I assume, as well) I know that you think love is just a series of nerves in the CNS firing neurons from synapse to synapse and, if we're lucky, love is formed through the correct firing of these synaptic neurotransmitters. But, you have both felt love, have you not? Does it seem like merely a chemical/mechanical process? Looking at it from personal experience... Is there not something more than that? Something unexplainably great?

Tycho, I know you have said that you believe religions were created to explain away that very area of unexplainability... But, what if that is reversed? What if the unexplainable created that which is explainable. Just something to throw out there.

Indeed, xeno, it is great to be alive!

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

gr, the exact verse is Genesis 22:2... It says this, "Then God said, 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'"

Quite obviously God was telling Abraham to kill Isaac (not a lot of burnt offerings lived to talk about the experience.) ;) But, we must look at this verse in the context of Abraham's life and the significance of the covenants he made with God. He was, in essence, the founder of the organized faith of Judaism (and, in turn, Christianity.) Keep in mind that God knew two things about this scenario before He asked Abraham to do it. First, He knew He wouldn't actually let Abraham kill Isaac... But, secondly (and the more important point to remember), he knew Abraham's heart and how his mind worked. He knew that Isaac was the most precious thing (on Earth) to Abraham... But, He also knew that if Abraham was to become the father of His people... He needed to be able to sacrifice the things he wanted most for the good of many. I have a feeling (and this is speculation, nothing overtly scriptural) that if Abraham valued his land the most he would have asked him to take a torch to the field... If he valued his livestock the most He would have asked him to slaughter the herd. But, he valued Isaac most... His own son.

Paul, later on in the book of Hebrews even eludes to Abraham's faith in a previous prophecy God had made in Genesis 21:12 that it was through Isaac that Abraham's offspring would be born. Paul says it this way, "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.'"

Anyway, just food for thought.

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

Well said, graile... And, surprisingly I don't disagree. I especially agree with your last sentence, "A limited God is not God at all, but a character with no more validity than the dieties of Ancient Rome or Norse Mythology."

I don't disagree, either, that God is in everything and is everywhere. However, the difference between that and Pantheism is that they don't just believe God is in everything... They believe everything IS God. That's the difference. If I fill a glass with water I do not, then, call the glass water... But, instead, say that the water is in the glass.

As for your points in the first post... They actually go perfectly along with your point that a "limited" god is no god at all. Because God is an infinite, eternal God... He progressively reveals Himself to us... And, furthermore, gives us the ability to progressively discover bits of Him and the universe He created.

To specifically address your points... 1. Although the church didn't argue and were one of the last to cling to the idea, it was the scientific community of the time that most heavily propogated the idea that the geocentric mentality (granted, science and religion were pretty linked at the time.) 2. When the canon of scripture was analyzed there were criteria set (those same criteria exist today.) If you want to read about those requirements (which are logically based laws) Wikipedia has a pretty good article on it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon. 3. The other religions question is a good one... If we were to use the Bible as a source, you will see that there are, indeed, supernatural forces that can be perceived as gods. And, at times, can even do a good job of disguising themselves as God (I think, primarily, back to the magicians in Pharaoh's court when Moses was sent to persuade Pharaoh to "set [his] people free!"

Keep in mind, also, that humans who have accepted Christ are... Still humans. We still make mistakes and all of Christian history has not been a spotless one. But, there has always been a remnant (even during the darkest periods of Christianity) that desired to see the Truth propogated above the mis-statements being put out by the religious majority.

Good points, though, graile. Very good conversation.

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

I think the question there is does God have a "soul" like you and I have a soul? What is the difference between a "spirit" and a "soul" within a human?

Furthermore, in answer to your question, I am not entirely sure that animals (those species which are animate and have personalities, minds, preferences, etc.) don't have souls. There is, once again using the Bible as reference, supporting scripture that points to the possibility of earthly creatures (non-human) in heaven after death... And, those scripture that point to humans being unique in having an eternal soul. I, personally, lean towards animals having a soul. But, that is one of those theological talking points that is about as useful as "how many angels can fit on the head of a needle" until you lose a close pet... Then, it becomes closer to home.

--Danny Speicher

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Speicher,

I found some versions don't contain the word, "burnt". Even so, the "sacrifice" could very well involve burning something in the typical sense. The question would be, did God intend that something to be Abraham's son? The God, who said, "You shall not murder." Doesn't something seem odd here that God asks Abraham to do something which is against His Law? Or is it the suggestion, "Don't do this unless there's special circumstances that require it"?

The NIV version says God told Abraham to "Sacrifice" his son. Other versions say to offer him as a burnt offering, and others to offer as a sacrifice. Immediately, Abraham, like others, knew what "sacrifice" means. It saddened him. But, 'God said it, he believed it, and that was all there was to it'. So, without questioning whether what he thought he heard was what really was said, he got out his knife and started sharpening it.

God must have thought to Himself, "What! Abraham, you are an old man. But, sometimes your mind is like that of a baby. You have walked with me for many years and my commands are written on your heart. You know I don't want people to kill each other. So, why would you even think of killing your son? It really saddens me that you would believe I would want you to kill your own son - or anyone for that matter. That is not my way. You have a long ways to go in understanding me. Very well, I will try to work with you and maybe can turn this bad situation into something that will help you learn better about my character."

A sacrifice or offering didn't always involve killing. There are grain offerings, drink offerings, offerings of precious metals, oil, and spices to name a few. There are also living sacrifices as found in Romans 12:1. A related example is Hannah giving her son Samuel to the Lord.

Is it possible God was only asking Abraham to dedicate his son to Him?

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

gr... I think that is a stretch. Especially when you look at the original Hebrew. But, anything's possible, I suppose and it really isn't worth arguing over as it doesn't really change the point of the story or how it applies to our lives. Abraham was willing to do whatever it takes to obey God and, whether or not he heard God correctly, God took the appropriate measures to ensure Isaac's safety and blessed Abraham for his devotion.

Das, I think I see it as irrelevant in this sense... If animals do have souls they either: a) All go to heaven or, b) Are evangelized to in a different way than we are. (i.e. Humans can't spread the good news of Jesus to their dog... Although, they can, indeed, show Fido God's love... And should, as a matter of fact.)

So, therefore, it is irrelevant whether or not they have souls in a practical sense. If they do we can neither encourage or discourage them from making a choice... We cannot educate them on the possibilities of eternal life. We can just enjoy them while they are here and treat them with the respect that God expects us to (as well as the environment in which we all share.)

Having said that... I would be inclined to say that if they do, indeed, have a soul, there may very well be differences between ours and theirs. In the Bible it describes angels as longing to be able to have the relationship that humans have with God (through Christ.) So, perhaps it is the same with animals? I really don't know and there really aren't any conclusive scriptures (that I've found) that support theories one way or another on how animal's souls (if they do exist) are viewed and what kind of relationship they are able to have with God.

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

graile, I have only one piece of advise for you... Don't get high on weed... Get high on Jesus! HALLELUJAH! A:LFKJD:LFJD:SFKE:LWIJKRHDLKFNE:LRKJ: <== Sorry, I had to speak in my secret prayer language for a second. ;)

--Danny Speicher

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

Hilarious, Agnostick. George Carlin is a god. BAhaha get it? I kid, I kid.

Kodiac 8 years, 11 months ago

Hey Danny,

I suggest that you try to going to a Sufi meeting. If anything it would only give you a broader perspective on what Grail is referring to when he/she talks about mysticsm. I feel exactly the same way as HGA when he/she says "Quite frankly, I'm much more interested in what they are experiencing than I am in any theological hairsplitting." Sufis are always referring to drunkedness and wine etc from a metaphorical sense. I think they would certainly agree with your comment of being high on Jesus but would not limit it to specifically Him.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

"as it doesn't really change the point of the story or how it applies to our lives."

Well, I suppose not for someone like George Carlin and his view of God.

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

graile... I was just joking. Breathe... Laugh... It's ok to do that from time to time. I wasn't implying anyone you had mentioned used weed... It was merely a joke.

--Danny Speicher

Daniel Speicher 8 years, 11 months ago

grail... It was just a joke. I'm sorry you didn't catch my inflection through written word (also a joke). ;) I never meant to say you were on weed. No offense intended.

Extending the Olive Branch...

--Danny Speicher

jayhawks71 8 years, 11 months ago

gr,

OK, so this "god" didn't say to kill, rather he said to torture his son. Offer HIM for a BURNT offering. It is pretty simple; he is being told to burn his son in place of the usual animal.

Genesis 22:2 "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

Then what follows clarifies that he wanted his son Isaac burned. (I recollect no other sacrifices in the Bible where the "sacrificial lamb" was not meant to be dead!)

Genesis 22:9-12 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here [am]

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son] from me.

If this isn't this "god" telling him to BURN his son, then what is it?

And, as I said previously, he sent this angel to stop him; basically a "just kidding!"

jayhawks71 8 years, 11 months ago

The deity experessed in the Bible exhibits such strange behavior. It knows everything, yet still tests people. Why? To see if they will or will not do something that it already knows they will or will not do? So which is it, either this deity is omniscient or not so smart.

Then, this deity loves to tear things up that it has created. Why? Why such wrath? Why such destruction and violence. If this deity created everything, then it created "nature" and the concept of "justice." If nature and justice REQUIRE pain and destruction, there is only one to blame in this fairy tale and that is the creator. It speaks to the nature of this deity as a violent entity.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 11 months ago

"Are we, as humans, really worthy of God's love?"

What a load of crap. I'm glad the LJW is wasting good paper and ink to print this drivel. A question to all you precious little x-tians out there: if not humans, then who or what would god love? This article just proves that most x-tians view their god as an ass, who would deny his love to the only beings able to recognize and appreciate it. What a prick.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

yourworstnightmare & jayjawks 71:

Excellent posts! Jesus is dead. He was never god when he was alive, not ever, and he's never coming back.

The jewish and xtian nonsense had their place and time; but no longer. To paraphrase the great Roberta Flack: "We're killing them softly."

craigers 8 years, 11 months ago

Like a wise Pharisee once said, "For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:38,39) You will never kill Christianity because it is of God.

Jesus is alive, and He is coming back.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

xeno,

'So, no Jesus and no indians. The american indian is a fake and never existed. They were frauds set up to extort the people. Certain classes of people only perpetrated such a mythical nonsense.'

===============================================

Jayhawks,

You did an excellent job of describing what Abraham believed. If you read my post, you'll see that wasn't a point of argument. I said Abraham believed as many people do today - and that is that God wanted him to slaughter his son. It's important to notice that Isaac believed it too, or how else could an old man bind a young man. Speicher pointed out it may be true, and I don't want to be dogmatic in God only wanting him to dedicate his son, but likewise, knowing God's character outlined elsewhere in the Bible doesn't fully support such an idea.

If you also noticed, I said different versions are worded differently. Other than basing your beliefs on one version and one text you pick, it may be wise to compare several and do word searches of what "sacrifice" and "offering" means.

For example, one place stated "A whole burnt offering signified the complete surrender of the worshiper and complete acceptance by God." Could that not compare with offering Samuel as a sacrifice?

While I'm not going to say absolutely this is what it means, it would be a rare case where God asks someone to go against his character without that someone's choice leading up to such a result. Though, one could argue that Abraham had failed to trust in God and trying to do things his own way and Abraham's actions had kept raising the stakes so this was the final opportunity for him to make a choice for God.

And, no matter which view you take, there is also the background parallel of another Son being offered.

But personally, I question if God was saying to kill (burn, torture) his son. Only to give his son totally and completely to God. The sacrifice portion was to make it official. For I see that if one believes that God really said to kill his son, then it would be very easy to believe that God may ask us to kill someone. And if He didn't really mean it, He would stop us at the last minute. Unfortunately, that is how many cultures and individuals believe and act.

moxxie_mama 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm sorry but some of you people are nuttier than a snicker's bar. Suffering...God put his son on the earth for some 30 years, in perfect health, and died a painfully slow death for some 8 hours, right? The same fate that was given many others during that time. And this 'sacrifice' was so he could go to a place where there is no pain, no suffering, and perfection. Sign me up!

uh-huh. How about giving Jesus something that made him suffer for years? Like that disease where your skin falls off from birth? That's true suffering now.

I believe in God, but I surely don't believe in the God of the bible. There has never been such a strong piece for hatred and condoning of killing humans, animals, and for what? To amuse a angry God? To be his entertainment?

I don't think so. I'm with the first writer of this piece. That's my God.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Human beings create religions. Human beings created xtiany. As religions go, it's not so bad, I guess, but it is nothing more than another creation of men.

Jesus was a man, period. He was not God, not ever. The process of how he came to announce himself as the Son of God is as sad as it is amusing. Poor, pathetic, illegitimate wretch.

Those of you who believe the xtian fairy tale are deserving of pity. Please go find some.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

moxxie,

Suffering? What's with the "suffering" bit? Sure, that's what man did to Him. But, do you really think that's what Jesus was "supposed to do" - His purpose was to "suffer"?

What a twisted notion.

===========

xeno,

Where's the body?

Klickhammer 8 years, 11 months ago

To all those who believe in God, please submit some direct evidentiary support for that belief.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

gr:

The body rotted. It was buried somewhere, and rotted, like all human carcasses rot when they are dead.

This fantasy you entertain about the Romans being so worried about Jesus's last remains is just that - a fantasy. The Romans couldn't have cared less. They killed him. They saw his dead carcass on the cross. A soldier got tired of waiting for him to die, so he ran a spear through him to help the process along.

Jesus was a nobody. The Romans, not even the Sanhedrin, cared about his remains once he was dead and what little threat he posed alive was removed with his death.

Jesus was a man, period. He urinated, defecated, spit, and had bad breath. He probably fornicated with prostitutes, but that's something I don't hold against him.

Grow up, and leave your childish fantasies behind while you seek the truth about life.

Tychoman 8 years, 11 months ago

"Jesus was a man, period. He urinated, defecated, spit, and had bad breath. He probably fornicated with prostitutes, but that's something I don't hold against him." --xeno

Hey Hey HEY HEY HEY! THAT IS VILE AND DISGUSTING! We ALL know that Jesus didn't have bad breath! Shame!

Klickhammer 8 years, 11 months ago

To all those who believe Jesus was the Son of God, please submit some direct evidentiary support for that belief, establishing first the existence of God.

This perfectly reasonable request ought to presuppose any argument about the particulars of his life, if you take your faith seriously.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

xeno: "This fantasy you entertain......"

So you would agree with my comment about the indians?

====================

Klick: "To all those who believe Jesus was the Son of God, please submit some direct evidentiary support for that belief, establishing first the existence of God."

To parrot a similar "proof": We're here aren't we?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

gr:

Reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your strong point, and logic - indicated by your non sequitur inre American Indians - is equally sadly deficient.

Jesus is still dead.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

The logic involved me accusing you not believing history.

Do you believe in history? Is there a certain point where you no longer believe in history? Does it matter whether someone writes about the history of America or whether someone writes about the history of Jerusalem? Why?

Kodiac 8 years, 11 months ago

gr,

Don't you get it. You claimed that not finding a body of a man is the same thing as saying that the American Indian never existed. That is what we call a straw man.

From the wikipedia:

A straw man argument is a logical fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw-man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent. A straw-man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact misleading, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.

A straw man "argument" is a bogus, distorted or deliberately flawed interpretation of an otherwise valid position that has been altered so it can be more easily attacked, delegitimized and disassembled (hence the straw man metaphor) before the eyes and ears of an otherwise impartial audience unfamiliar with the facts and history of an issue or case.

Please note that Xeno isn't denying the existence of a man named Jesus or that any of those actions taken against him by the Romans or Pharisees or whoever you want to blame. You asked a question "where is the body" and Xeno gave you an answer based on reality and not fantasy. This of course has nothing to do with denying "history" as your little rhetorical tricks try to allude to.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Kodiac, I believe you just did a "straw man".

I was talking about history recorded of the Romans and the body. They failed to produce it. You are substituting in something else and then disproving it.

Kodiac 8 years, 11 months ago

Gr,

Please note that I never denied that the Romans did not find a body. Tell me exactly what I am "substituting" and using that to "disprove" something. I did no such thing. I merely pointed out to you that you are giving a straw man's argument by imlying that what Xeno is saying about a missing body is the same thing as saying that Xeno is denying the existence of the American Indian. Show me how I am giving a "straw man" in this analysis?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Bottom line: the Romans could not possibly have cared less about the body of the dead Galilean. He was a nobody. According to the xtian bible, a common thief - Barrabas - was chosen by popular acclaim to be more popular than the unknown provincial preacher.

Jesus was a man, period. His body rotted after he was killed; no matter if it was interred in a ditch, or a rich man's tomb - it rotted.

The more telling point is that you need to divest yourself of childish superstitious drivel surrounding xtianity and get on with living your life in the truth. Religions are created by human beings. They are not holy or sacred or some wonderful, mystical entity - they are created by human beings because human beings - at a stage in our development - needed the safety and comfort religions provide.

We don't need or require superstitious religions any more. We have the law, and public school, and TV . . . and lawyers. Lots and lots of lawyers.

That is the truth.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 11 months ago

Xenophonschild,

"you need to divest yourself of childish superstitious drivel surrounding xtianity and get on with living your life in the truth."

Please tell us this truth! This we must know.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Lepanto:

Reading comprehension must not be your strong point either.

We don't need or require superstitious religions any more. The morals xtianity seeks to inculcate are expounded quite effectively on Saturday morning cartoon shows programmed for children. The law, and public schools, and TV . . . and lawyers . . . have effectively replaced the dogma, theology, and ethics of your superstitious religion.

Read the truth . . . and join the 21st century.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 11 months ago

Xenophonschild,

Nice use of ridicule (immediately paint someone who may oppose you as stupid and unable to comprehend such lofty prose) and very profound analysis. I wish it answered the question.

What is this "truth?"

Hitler had his truth. So did Idi Amin, Mao and Pol Pot. St Francis had his. Rousseau, Voltaire, Nietzsche had theirs.

Of what truth do YOU speak?

You say: "...law, and public schools, and TV . . . and lawyers . . . have effectively replaced the dogma, theology, and ethics of your superstitious religion."

"Effectively?" Now there's an argument if I ever heard one!

justsomewench 8 years, 11 months ago

worthy, eh? why not. i'll buy it. whatever "god's love" may mean to any of us, anyhow.

everyone except my current boss and the guy that sold me the Chevy Nova in '95. those two, not so much.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

No argument necessary.

The "truth" is that tens of millions of children in this country are raised, with varying degrees of efficiency and effectiveness, without any - or very limited - exposure to formal religion, i.e. your superstitious nonsense.

The only nuance of your religion worth saving is xtian ethics, which has and continues to serve as a source of inspiration to teachers and public school administrators, as well as cartoonists, writers, and what can be loosely described as "the Hollywood crowd."

Your ethics have made their way - to a degree - into English common law, and into the body of jurisprudence in the United States, where they compete with the ancient truth that the rich always eat the poor - only in our society the rich must do so through due process.

Lawyers have effectively replaced priests as repositories of truth and wisdom. Have a problem with almost any facet of your life; no one runs to religious wretches anymore - they make a trip to a lawyer's office.

That is the truth.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

"no one runs to religious wretches anymore - they make a trip to a lawyer's office."

Would you then call lawyers, "public wretches"?

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Kodiac: "by imlying that what Xeno is saying about a missing body is the same thing as saying that Xeno is denying the existence of the American Indian."

Actually, I wasn't saying Xeno was denying the existence of the American Indian, but it was I who was denying their existence in parallel. By implication, it would be apparent I believed Xeno did NOT deny their existence. Maybe that's where you are getting confused.

========

Using your "straw man" definition, "is to create a position that is easy to refute"
Do you suggest denying the existence of the American Indian is "easy" to refute?

"You claimed that not finding a body of a man is the same thing as saying that the American Indian never existed."

That is where you are substituting in. I was saying that denying historical sources, besides the Bible, of not finding the body was the same as denying historical sources for the existence of the Indians. You substituted it with not finding a body as the same as Indians not existing. Unless you are saying I am being "overly literal" with your statements.... ;-)

Maybe, the "we", should pick something else besides "straw man".

=======

Xeno: "Bottom line: the Romans could not possibly have cared less about the body of the dead Galilean."

taken from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_Jesus,

"While the Easter holidays are the time of year that the death and resurrection are celebrated directly, Roman Emperor Constantine I, declared that weekly church gatherings would no longer occur on Saturdays (the Jewish Sabbath), but rather on the Sundays as to weekly commemorate the resurrection. Interestingly, his other motivation was to harmonise Christianity with the major religion of the time, worshiping the Mithraic deity Sol Invictus."

Sounds like some Romans did "care" and did believe Jesus rose from the dead - enough to make laws respecting such.

Kodiac 8 years, 11 months ago

Gr,

Sorry you are correct about the confusion regarding Xeno not saying anything about the existence of the American Indian and that it was you that said it. I saw that later but did not go back to correct it. Thank you for correcting me.

What was your implication of "where is the body?" Xeno never objected to the idea that a body was not found. In fact he said so what, the body rotted somewhere then. He never denied the existence of other historical sources saying that the body was missing. So what is your point here? You were talking about the idea that Xeno denied that the body was gone and based your whole argument about the America Indian on that misperception. Show me where Xeno objected to the idea that the body was missing. I do not believe he does. He is objecting to your "implication" that because the body was missing that it means Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. So I think your comparison isn't even a straw man at this point, I think it is irrelevant because Xeno never objects to a missing body. It would be a straw man though if you were comparing Jesus rising from the dead and ascending to heaven to the existence of the American Indian.

Certainly the bible can be regarded as an historical document but as you well know, just because something is recorded in an historical document doesn't make it actual history or reality. I can point to many historical documents and/or historical oral accounts that have different historical accounts about how the world started, where humans come from and many different "historical events" that do not correlate or agree with the historical document known as the Bible. So tell me which "historical document" do you suggest represents actual reality. What it boils down to Gr is that you are talking about faith. You have to have faith to believe in the idea that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. Faith is not needed to see that the American Indian existed. Their people and their culture are still here today. This has nothing to do with recorded history in a historical document.

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Xeno was saying Jesus is dead. I asked where's the body? He insisted he knew truth and I only asked how he was so sure of it when no body was ever produced. You are right that he doesn't object to it missing, but he makes an absolute statement. I'm only asking how he can be so sure. That alone, doesn't say Jesus did or did not rise from the dead - only that Xeno has no proof that He "rotted".

"So I think your comparison isn't even a straw man at this point, "

Thank you.

"Faith is not needed to see that the American Indian existed. Their people and their culture are still here today."

Sure, there are people who exist and claim to be American Indians. But the historical documents were forged. And there are many others with their culture who exist today, too. "but as you well know, just because something is recorded in an historical document doesn't make it actual history or reality. "

========

"So tell me which "historical document" do you suggest represents actual reality. "

Well, Josephus was one, but I see many claim his documents were tampered with which may be very likely. But, what do you make of a Roman Emperor making a law changing church gatherings to honor a resurrection of One if He supposedly is still dead? And, in line with that, why would all the people agree with such a command if they didn't really believe Jesus rose?

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

gr:

What? The Emperor Constantine, in the FOURTH CENTURY after your dead Galilean was crucified?

Who cares? At the time of Jesus' death, he was a nobody, an unknown provincial teacher/faith healer who did not enjoy any kind of celebrity or support among the masses in Jerusalem . . . or even in Galilee.

The Romans killed him for the Jewish religious hierarchy, who deemed him a heretic for preaching contrary to the dictates of Judiasm. They actually, routinely executed people then who trangressed their religious laws.

The Romans' only concern was the Jewish hierarchy's insistence that Jesus was a threat to public security, and deserved death accordingly. They more or less acquiesced in killing your poor wretch, but his death was not a major event - in any instance - but merely another person executed.

The Romans had no concern over the body of Jesus; what happened to it after he died is of, and should not be, no concern. Jesus was a human being - period - and his body rotted like all human carcasses do after death.

Jesus was not god, not ever. And he's never coming back. Human beings created your religion; your religion will eventually die like most religions do eventually.

Have a nice day.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 11 months ago

Xenophonschild,

"'Lawyers have effectively replaced priests as repositories of truth and wisdom. Have a problem with almost any facet of your life; no one runs to religious wretches anymore - they make a trip to a lawyer's office.

That is the truth."

So let me get this straight. Lawyers defending the likes of a Scott Peterson, Ted Bundy, OJ Simpson, and Saddam Hussien are concerned with this "truth" you speak of, huh?

Each man above unquestionably committed the atrocities of which they were accused. In all seriousness Xenophon you amuse me. Defense attorneys for each of these men, acting in his assigned role, (quite frankly only you have the nerve to suggest), as "...repository of truth..." would not serve long enough to collect his fee.

Of course if truth is a relative thing, then each man may determine what that truth is. If this is the case then there is no truth but "many truths" as Camus says. Relativistic truth is not truth at all, but license and expedience exposed to the shifting sands of public opinion. Is this what you contend? THE Truth impies something a bit more permanent than this.

Regarding the law, perhaps we should remember well here, Dred Scott. While overturned later, it would seem your notion of The Truth changes, and rather dramatically! Any "truth" that changes in diamteric opposition to itself within the span of a few years by your beloved new high priests cannot legitimately lay claim to being THE Truth, nor, by extension, can its interpreters necessarily be the "repositories of truth and wisdom" you claim, for that matter.

Your argument is interesting in one respect: one wonders if Roe v. Wade will have its day of reckoning with your new priests in their court of [changing] truths!

Kodiac 8 years, 11 months ago

Gr,

"So I think your comparison isn't even a straw man at this point, "

"Thank you."

That complete statement was "So I think your comparison isn't even a straw man at this point, I think it is irrelevant because Xeno never objects to a missing body."

So thank-you for agreeing with me that your argument was irrelevant to Xeno's post which renders anything else you talk about in regards to this issue a moot point.

Careful with those half-statements Gr...that is a road we have been down before and we know where that takes us.

"But, what do you make of a Roman Emperor making a law changing church gatherings to honor a resurrection of One if He supposedly is still dead? And, in line with that, why would all the people agree with such a command if they didn't really believe Jesus rose?"

And what do you make of Hitler telling Germans that the Jews were to blame for all of their troubles and that they were the enemy that needed to be rounded up and put into concentation camps. And in line with that, why would all the people agree with such a command if they didn't really believe that Jews were responsible for their troubles?

Irrelevant you say, ah maybe you should go back and study what many historical texts say about your "Emperor" and Roman Law. Many of those texts do not convery the idea that Constantine was actually a christian but rather used the christian movement for political strategic gain. Agree to Roman Law? I think your understanding of Roman Law should be reviewed as well. Last time I looked, Roman Law was decided on by the Emperor at the time of Constatine and strictly enforced. So I think that your choice of the word "agreed" might be somewhat suspect...

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe it's my fault.

Maybe I'm not being absolutely clear.

The law, and lawyers, have replaced religion - your accursed xtianity - in our modern society. Try to do anything substantive - add on to your home, make a will, contest an issue with city commissioners, enter into a business arrangement with clients - without input from a lawyer, and see how long it takes to learn your error.

I am, no doubt, simplifying here, but the central idea is clear. Societies evolve. They evolve to the point where they no longer need religion(s).

Please re-read my prior posts, and accept the reality - albeit bitter to you inclined to believe superstitious nonsense - that religions are created by human beings for specific reasons, and when those reasons no longer apply, the religion(s) die.

Oh, would that the three old sky-god religions expire in my lifetime!

gr 8 years, 11 months ago

Kodiac: "And what do you make of Hitler telling Germans that the Jews were to blame"

The difference was that the Roman Emperor honored the point in question whereas Hitler dishonered the Jews.

As far as "agreed", in Roman Law, as well as others, there have been history of the people uprising and revolting against laws out of line.

==========

Xeno,

"Who cares? At the time of Jesus' death, he was a nobody, an unknown provincial teacher/faith healer who did not enjoy any kind of celebrity or support among the masses in Jerusalem . . . or even in Galilee."

You must have read the Bible. But, what did his unpopularity have to do with reality?

4th century, (by the way, why are the centuries origin during that point in time?) and enough of the people believed in Jesus' resurrection that the Roman Emperor either believed or acquiensed to such an idea.

Unless you think 400 years pass and someone decides to create a myth AND there are numerous people who would believe that myth, one would assume that some believed in the resurrection during that 400 years. If it was not true, and the Romans killed him, and it would result in the guard's death if they let someone steal the body, and a number of people were promoting such a belief, would it not make sense to find lots of denying such an event and producing the body?

Surely you've read this. Why did Christians continue if their Savior died and rotted? There was a big movement to stop the Christians so why wouldn't it be a simple measure to produce the body and stop the movement in it's tracks? Why would people risk their lives for a rotted corpse - what benefit would it be for them?

"Not one historical record from the first or second century is written attacking the factuality of the empty tomb or claiming discovery of the corpse."

"Third, the Apostles began preaching the Resurrection in Jerusalem. This is significant since this is the very city in which Jesus was crucified. This was the most hostile city in which to preach. Furthermore, all the evidence was there for everyone to investigate. Legends take root in foreign lands or centuries after the event. Discrediting such legends is difficult since the facts are hard to verify. However, in this case the preaching occurs in the city of the event immediately after it occurred. Every possible fact could have been investigated thoroughly."

ksmoderate 8 years, 11 months ago

CSI: Jerusalem. 1st century C.E.

I'm riveted.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 11 months ago

Xenophonschild,

"Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I'm not being absolutely clear."

No no xenophonschild, you are being perfectly clear! You fail in being convincing.

"I am, no doubt, simplifying here, but the central idea is clear. Societies evolve. They evolve to the point where they no longer need religion(s)."

This is certainly true, and they certainly decline! Spengler, Dawson, Toynbee and numerous others offer warnings in "throwing off the yoke!"

You are merely substituting one belief system for a more monstrous one. If you wish to substitute wholesale allegience to the State in lieu of God, feel free.

Just don't state partisan conjecture as fact, when the 20th century is a veritable case study and warning against your alter diety.

Perhaps a vacation to Auschwitz would give you a better feel for secular rationality in all its glory. After all National Socialists believed in the rule of law.

God, in his numerous forms, has a much better track record in that, at least, the misguided who killed in his name were much less zealous and effective than the former.

Again, you are very clear. It not quite the brain teaser you wish it could be.

Lepanto1571 8 years, 11 months ago

Xenophonschild,

I realized I used some words that were a rough rendering of what George Weigel wrote on July 5th and could be, to those who play for blood, misconstrued as plagiarism. Let me repeat his entire quote to ensure proper credit is given:

"Worse, this caricature of a vibrant public Christianity as inherently dangerous for democracy is a caricature in service to the idea that secularism is the only possible "neutral" ground on which a democratic political community can conduct its life. But when, Burleigh asks, did those arguing this case 'last visit the Vendee, Auschwitz, or Vorkuta to see secular rationality in all its glory'?"

"What Christianity gave the West" Available at:
http://www.archden.org/dcr/news.php?e=373&s=3&a=7852

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm frankly appalled at the lack of cohesive thought indicated in these posts.

The dead body of the crucified Galilean has no bearing, on anything. Jesus was a man, period. He defecated, urinated, had bad breath, and flatulated as men are occasionally wont to. He was killed. His body decomposed, rotted, like all and every human carcass does.

Anyone who contends to the contrary needs to show empirical evidence that would abrograte natural physical laws that pertain to the decomposition of human bodies.

And to be perfectly blunt about it, you need to either put up or shut up.

Jesus is dead. Has been for two thousand years. He was not God when he was alive, not ever. Instead of "immersing" yourself in the xtian bible, you perhaps should review the process by which your Galilean eventually came to proclaim himself the "Son of Man."

Also, it might be worth your time to study why Jesus decided on a desperate, one-shot gamble foray into Jerusalem to resuscitate his failing ministry.

Free yourself of your credulity, and have a nice evening.

xenophonschild 8 years, 11 months ago

The triumph of Truth and Reason over ignorance and superstition is a quiet, serene beauty.

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