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Old March 8th, 2018, 08:01 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
That's absolutely against the grain of the Gospel.

The Gospel is simplicity itself. Love God. Don't let anything come between you and your love for God, and that includes friends and family.

Love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is less of a commandment as it is a statement of fact. You cannot truly love your neighbor more than you love yourself. You cannot truly love yourself more than you love your neighbor. The principle: You will love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Finally, no need exists for anyone to intercede on behalf of anyone. The line to God is direct. A disciple of Yeshua is free from attachment to ecclesiastical hierarchy. More, the Gospel makes clear Christians have no need for ecclesiastical hierarchy.

And ornate churches and cathedrals bedecked with precious stones and metals also run against the grain of the Gospel. For an irrefutable fact, Yeshua the Christ would say to sell all the adornments to ego and religious establishments and give the proceeds to the poor.

For a fact.
Consider that "new" atheists and militant secularists make no distinctions between religious worship, fellowship and organization hierarchies...it's all religion and religion has to end before the glorious new enlightenment can begin.

But, many atheists and agnostics don't buy the new dogma that all of our beliefs need to be scientifically tested for accuracy before we apply them in our lives. If I grew up with Catholic ritual like many people do, I might appreciate it also...but I don't! It all seems boring and pointless to me, but I'm okay with that as long as I don't get dragged off to Catholic or any other church!

But, when it comes to the Vatican still promoting exorcism and belief in demonic possession, this crosses the line and shows a wealthy, totally corrupt ruling hierarchy preying upon mostly 3rd world believers' superstitions and lack of understanding of how the mind functions. I have never read an example of one exorcism that benefited the subject/while many have caused great harm by keeping mentally ill people away from treatment that could benefit them, and has even caused death in at least a few subjected to the exorcism ritual. The Church hierarchy is staffed by educated men who know better and have all kinds of expert help on these and other issues! It's not like some crazy fundie holy roller railing on about satan and demons; these guys know the truth and have decided to ignore it and continue preying upon ignorance.
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Old March 8th, 2018, 09:03 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by hoosier88 View Post
In terms of human destiny? I think de Tocqueville (& Athena, here on DtT) have the right of it - people need associations, to be with other people. In the Brit colonies in N. America & eventually the US, the need is particularly acute. We cast off state religion, we were fairly serious about renouncing political parties, the usual Brit class system, we even entertained the notion of adopting Greek as the national language (to cut the ties with UK). Cooler heads prevailed, of course.

Christianity desacralized the World, & so we were free to rearrange it & plow & fell & hunt & domesticate - something new in the World. The Protestant ethic deemphasizes community, & sola Scriptura puts the responsibility for saving oneself squarely on the individual (@ the expense of leaving behind communitarian traditions, the ideas of art & architecture praising/embodying the World & the God behind it all).

Communitarian traditions are a kind of psychic shelter against a too literal existentialism. If God is silent, is He waiting for us to speak? Is He there @ all? As our society in the US speeds up - from beepers to car phones to sat phones to smart phones - I think the old common ties (church, school, town, neighborhood, family, friends, political parties, Elks & Moose & Boy Scouts & Masons, etc.) are dissolving - or @ least, being reformed & reformatted into something similar to, but possibly not as satisfying in terms of being with people physically. & acting towards a common goal, & all the activities that go with that - which again, used to entail talking to & with people, & acting in concert, planning, taking varying roles in the process - learning how to participate, & carrying some larger purpose through.

Protestantism perhaps frees people of hierarchical ties (certainly in religion). But it may liberate people too much - without other social systems to buffer the young personality (our young people in the West are prone to self-destructive behaviors, & I think the rate of incidence is accelerating), our young are left too often to fend for themselves. & the most weakly acculturated/socialized among them - whether by lack of caring family or substitutes, or genetic/hereditary reasons - are going under. The challenges to the personality in formation may be too much for some lost souls.

Sorry, you didn't ask for a sermon. But you did ask.
I'm not sure you responded to my point. You responded to this, and the bolds are yours:
Finally, no need exists for anyone to intercede on behalf of anyone. The line to God is direct. A disciple of Yeshua is free from attachment to ecclesiastical hierarchy. More, the Gospel makes clear Christians have no need for ecclesiastical hierarchy.

And ornate churches and cathedrals bedecked with precious stones and metals also run against the grain of the Gospel. For an irrefutable fact, Yeshua the Christ would say to sell all the adornments to ego and religious establishments and give the proceeds to the poor.
I'm confused over your bolds and your response. My point: The christian establishment has created non-biblical doctrines, has summarily ignored parts of the Gospel, and has imposed their invented doctrines of another Gospel and another Jesus upon the world in general.

The Gospel is liberating. Think of the environment in which it was preached. Think of the only group of people who were the object of Yeshua's anger and disdain: The Jewish religious establishment, with its pomp, its public displays of piety, its temples, and its judgmental and superior attitudes.

Beginning with the Roman Church, all of the above was recreated.

The Gospel isn't a teaching of every person for himself or herself. It teaches that no middleman is required for a person's relationship to God. It teaches that all are equal in the sight of God. And, it teaches that a king is not above washing the feet of his subjects.
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Old March 9th, 2018, 06:38 AM   #33
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A more catholic viewpoint?

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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
I'm not sure you responded to my point. You responded to this, and the bolds are yours:
Finally, no need exists for anyone to intercede on behalf of anyone. The line to God is direct. A disciple of Yeshua is free from attachment to ecclesiastical hierarchy. More, the Gospel makes clear Christians have no need for ecclesiastical hierarchy.

And ornate churches and cathedrals bedecked with precious stones and metals also run against the grain of the Gospel. For an irrefutable fact, Yeshua the Christ would say to sell all the adornments to ego and religious establishments and give the proceeds to the poor.
I'm confused over your bolds and your response. My point: The christian establishment has created non-biblical doctrines, has summarily ignored parts of the Gospel, and has imposed their invented doctrines of another Gospel and another Jesus upon the world in general.

The Gospel is liberating. Think of the environment in which it was preached. Think of the only group of people who were the object of Yeshua's anger and disdain: The Jewish religious establishment, with its pomp, its public displays of piety, its temples, and its judgmental and superior attitudes.

Beginning with the Roman Church, all of the above was recreated.

The Gospel isn't a teaching of every person for himself or herself. It teaches that no middleman is required for a person's relationship to God. It teaches that all are equal in the sight of God. And, it teaches that a king is not above washing the feet of his subjects.
Well, let’s try this, then:

Intercession in prayer is an old concept. Believers before Christianity (including Judaism?) took animals to temples & had them sacrificed as appropriate, typically with some small monetary gift. The meat might help feed the temple staff, or other believers or even strangers. The money helped pay for temple supplies. Yes, it’s possible that a follower of Yeshua didn’t need an ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Nonetheless, there is a role for tradition in these transactions. Someone decided which animals were acceptable, & related rules/requirements – typically a priesthood. & organization beyond a certain point required someone to work out schedules, monitor income v. expenses, correspond with other temples, & so on. In other words, administration, however construed.

A pure communal approach to church may not work. It didn’t survive the church’s adoption by Emperor Constantine, in effect drafting the church to serve as an arm of government – organization, literate scribes, recordkeeping, discipline, food relief, hospitals, caring for orphans, & so on. If the church was essentially a flat organization before Constantine, it couldn’t remain one after Constantine. Constantine made state monies available to the church, if they took on some governmental responsibilities.

& if the believer doesn’t need ecclesiastical hierarchy, then how does he or she know the format & content of acceptable prayers? Even in Martin Luther’s day, the printing press was enabling progress in mass literacy, but widespread literacy in the vernacular was still lacking (Latin was the language of record, but it wasn’t in everyday use throughout the entire populations).

“And ornate churches and cathedrals bedecked with precious stones and metals also run against the grain of the Gospel. For an irrefutable fact, Yeshua the Christ would say to sell all the adornments to ego and religious establishments and give the proceeds to the poor.”

Yah, the rush – a competition to build churches & schools & hospitals & so on was a recent phenomenon for Christianity in Rome. Remember that Rome tried to crush Christianity - & so Christianity had only rotating private homes to meet in, or catacombs, or other shadowy places. So once the church came out into the open, it needed to build appropriate buildings. With the imperial adoption of Christianity, wealthy patrons vied for the privilege to erect Christian buildings.

“I'm confused over your bolds and your response. My point: The christian establishment has created non-biblical doctrines, has summarily ignored parts of the Gospel, and has imposed their invented doctrines of another Gospel and another Jesus upon the world in general.

The Gospel is liberating. Think of the environment in which it was preached. Think of the only group of people who were the object of Yeshua's anger and disdain: The Jewish religious establishment, with its pomp, its public displays of piety, its temples, and its judgmental and superior attitudes.

“Beginning with the Roman Church, all of the above was recreated.

“The Gospel isn't a teaching of every person for himself or herself. It teaches that no middleman is required for a person's relationship to God. It teaches that all are equal in the sight of God. And, it teaches that a king is not above washing the feet of his subjects.”

Yes. There’s an old military adage: No plan survives contact with the enemy. The Christian church emerging in Rome became part of Rome’s governance – with tax funding, Imperial favor (after Constantine), & generally a free hand from official Rome. The end of religious persecution was good, but Rome also attached strings to the tax income – the church had to function as an auxiliary to government. Secular power was an issue – but Western Christianity (Latin) was the weaker brother in the struggle for leadership of Christianity overall – Eastern Christianity had better documents, better translators & translations (Greek was still a live language, Aramaic, Hebrew). So as Constantine seized upon the church as a prop for the Empire, the Latin church seized upon Rome’s patronage as a lever for power in Christianity.

This also brought problems – Constantine wasn’t interested in the ins & outs of doctrine; he wanted a uniform system of belief across the Empire, not a squabbling lot of preachers & theologians. & so the secular power & his advisers had a lot of input into church doctrine.

The Gospel is revolutionary content. However, it still has a form. In the West, once the vernaculars were established as written languages, the Gospel could be printed & run off in massive numbers. & once the believers learned to read – enough of them, @ least – they could rely directly upon their Bible (once that was established, & they are various) to give them God’s word. But printing is a process – someone has to choose which scrolls to incorporate, which to omit, sequence, grouping, translate – even the Bible in M. Luther’s day was the outcome of a long series of editing & writing & rewriting, with accompanying struggles & revisions on the doctrine side.

I don’t have a creedal statement to share here – I tend to think in history & systems anyway, rather than examine theology apart from its social & political & historical context. & in the case of Roman Catholicism within Christianity & the state in its various incarnations from the beginning of the Common Era – there’s a lot to consider.
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Old March 9th, 2018, 08:39 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by hoosier88 View Post
Well, let’s try this, then:

Intercession in prayer is an old concept. Believers before Christianity (including Judaism?) took animals to temples & had them sacrificed as appropriate, typically with some small monetary gift. The meat might help feed the temple staff, or other believers or even strangers. The money helped pay for temple supplies. Yes, it’s possible that a follower of Yeshua didn’t need an ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Nonetheless, there is a role for tradition in these transactions. Someone decided which animals were acceptable, & related rules/requirements – typically a priesthood. & organization beyond a certain point required someone to work out schedules, monitor income v. expenses, correspond with other temples, & so on. In other words, administration, however construed.

A pure communal approach to church may not work. It didn’t survive the church’s adoption by Emperor Constantine, in effect drafting the church to serve as an arm of government – organization, literate scribes, recordkeeping, discipline, food relief, hospitals, caring for orphans, & so on. If the church was essentially a flat organization before Constantine, it couldn’t remain one after Constantine. Constantine made state monies available to the church, if they took on some governmental responsibilities.

& if the believer doesn’t need ecclesiastical hierarchy, then how does he or she know the format & content of acceptable prayers? Even in Martin Luther’s day, the printing press was enabling progress in mass literacy, but widespread literacy in the vernacular was still lacking (Latin was the language of record, but it wasn’t in everyday use throughout the entire populations).

“And ornate churches and cathedrals bedecked with precious stones and metals also run against the grain of the Gospel. For an irrefutable fact, Yeshua the Christ would say to sell all the adornments to ego and religious establishments and give the proceeds to the poor.”

Yah, the rush – a competition to build churches & schools & hospitals & so on was a recent phenomenon for Christianity in Rome. Remember that Rome tried to crush Christianity - & so Christianity had only rotating private homes to meet in, or catacombs, or other shadowy places. So once the church came out into the open, it needed to build appropriate buildings. With the imperial adoption of Christianity, wealthy patrons vied for the privilege to erect Christian buildings.

“I'm confused over your bolds and your response. My point: The christian establishment has created non-biblical doctrines, has summarily ignored parts of the Gospel, and has imposed their invented doctrines of another Gospel and another Jesus upon the world in general.

The Gospel is liberating. Think of the environment in which it was preached. Think of the only group of people who were the object of Yeshua's anger and disdain: The Jewish religious establishment, with its pomp, its public displays of piety, its temples, and its judgmental and superior attitudes.

“Beginning with the Roman Church, all of the above was recreated.

“The Gospel isn't a teaching of every person for himself or herself. It teaches that no middleman is required for a person's relationship to God. It teaches that all are equal in the sight of God. And, it teaches that a king is not above washing the feet of his subjects.”

Yes. There’s an old military adage: No plan survives contact with the enemy. The Christian church emerging in Rome became part of Rome’s governance – with tax funding, Imperial favor (after Constantine), & generally a free hand from official Rome. The end of religious persecution was good, but Rome also attached strings to the tax income – the church had to function as an auxiliary to government. Secular power was an issue – but Western Christianity (Latin) was the weaker brother in the struggle for leadership of Christianity overall – Eastern Christianity had better documents, better translators & translations (Greek was still a live language, Aramaic, Hebrew). So as Constantine seized upon the church as a prop for the Empire, the Latin church seized upon Rome’s patronage as a lever for power in Christianity.

This also brought problems – Constantine wasn’t interested in the ins & outs of doctrine; he wanted a uniform system of belief across the Empire, not a squabbling lot of preachers & theologians. & so the secular power & his advisers had a lot of input into church doctrine.

The Gospel is revolutionary content. However, it still has a form. In the West, once the vernaculars were established as written languages, the Gospel could be printed & run off in massive numbers. & once the believers learned to read – enough of them, @ least – they could rely directly upon their Bible (once that was established, & they are various) to give them God’s word. But printing is a process – someone has to choose which scrolls to incorporate, which to omit, sequence, grouping, translate – even the Bible in M. Luther’s day was the outcome of a long series of editing & writing & rewriting, with accompanying struggles & revisions on the doctrine side.

I don’t have a creedal statement to share here – I tend to think in history & systems anyway, rather than examine theology apart from its social & political & historical context. & in the case of Roman Catholicism within Christianity & the state in its various incarnations from the beginning of the Common Era – there’s a lot to consider.
I still think you're hitting all around the point I'm making which put as simply as possible is: All of the circumstances and the secular standards for a religion that you have quite well outlined, none of it, looking at recorded history, none of it would get a stamp of approval from the Christ.

I thought you were going there when you said the Gospel is revolutionary content. Indeed it is, and that is why all the temporal standards for a religion you correctly outlined do not apply to the church, the body of believers, that is true to Gospel principles.

Let's consider Constantine and the version of "christianity" adopted, promulgated, and protected by him. Constantine's "conversion" began, according to Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. Details of Constantine's vision vary somewhat, but bottom line: Constantine could expect the protection of the christian god in the upcoming battle.

He conclusively won the battle and attributed the success to God's favoring his troops over Maxentius' army. Thus began the process that resulted in "christianity" becoming adopted as the religion of Rome. And more, at the time of the adoption, as you noted, "christianity" had no "standards," and in fact a number of competing christian schools existed such as the Marians that you noted, and Gnostics, Nestorians, Donatists, and others, as well as competing protagonists such as Clement of Alexandra, Valentinius, Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Tertullian, Arius, and others. Rich debate characterized early christian theology over matters as central as whether Yeshua was God.

The lack of a standard drove Constantine to call the Council of Nicaea, and later councils which produced a "standardized" set of scriptures, the Bible we have today. However, views that competed or contradicted the new "standard" interpretation became victims. God IS a three-headed god. Damned souls DO suffer eternal torment. Mary IS the mother of God.

The Roman and Orthodox churches were absolute in their enforcement of official doctrine, in other words the "faith" was promoted and protected at the end of a sword wielded by the church-state establishment.

But let me go back to Constantine's vision of God's protection due to his favoring Constantine and the ensuing military victory over Maxentius. A side note: This principle of God taking sides in the clashes of temporal armies remains a principle of the "christian" church to this day. The concept is pure Old Testament, was and is completely discordant with the New Testament Gospel taught by Yeshua of Nazareth. To wit:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
No room there for God favoring one secular government over another. Yeshua made clear that his kingdom was not of this earth. Moreover, Gospel teachings leave no room for a person following them participate in secular war. In the long history of church-state alliances, this concept is so revolutionary that the "christian" churches have chosen to ignore it, and to ridicule at least but most commonly persecute those who true to the Gospel refuse to fight wars for secular kings and presidents.

Were Yeshua to walk the earth today his wrath would be directed at the "christian" church, just as it was directed at the Jewish establishment of the first century. You said it, but I'm not sure you realize the full implications of what you said. The Gospel is a revolutionary set of standards. Yes, it is. It's "the" most revolutionary statement of belief ever. However, this set of standards has been molded and reformed to fit the union of church and state initiated by Constantine, used to incite fear of death and damnation in the people, and to offer the church and the state as amelioraters of that fear ... for fee of course, whether tithes or taxes.

Now people may and do reject the Gospel message entirely, especially if it's part of a package that includes other biblical teachings. However, the Gospel itself, centered on loving others as one loves herself or himself, and of living in a direct relationship with God as a child of God, a member of the family of God, is the radical evolutionary and necessary step that humankind will either take, or destroy itself, and key to that step is a humankind of individuals living in a direct relationship with God, or the Force, or whatever a person is comfortable calling the Creator of all.

Whew, long-windedness got me there.........

Last edited by imaginethat; March 9th, 2018 at 08:49 AM.
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Old March 9th, 2018, 09:00 AM   #35
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Maybe next era in Jerusalem?

Yah, it's hard to be concise when discussing the history of Christianity in the West. We may be addressing the same topic from two different approaches here. I sympathize with the efforts to reinvent religion, or if you like, to resuscitate Christ's approach - love everyone. Yah, there were a lot of splinter groups & hermetic & communitarian approaches in the history of Christianity that were savagely repressed - the Huguenots, the Essenes, it's a long list.

Taking a long view, to improve the World - to bring about a spiritual & moral rebirth - it's probably going to be one soul @ a time. That means the timescale will be terribly long - but as opposed to quick schemes that always seem to fizzle, the long game seems to be the only one worth playing.

It may be a very long millennium.
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