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Featured Syncretism.....Can Mixing Religious Ideas Lead to the Truth?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Deeje, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    I realize there may have been various letters circulated, but not the gospels being written as I said. In order to read Paul historically, you cannot cite something that appears only later in any of the gospels and assume Paul had that understanding at the time he wrote what he did. Therefore, it is proper scholarship to not assume that he did know any of that in weighing what he was writing prior to them. You have to read him in isolation, in other words.

    A theological read of scripture assumes the authors all knew and believed the same things, because God directed it. There is nothing historically that can be cited to support that view though. It's solely a matter of faith.

    The data we have exposes that early Christianity was not a monolithic thing, but rather many competing points of view, that were later on forced into a single "orthodox" view. Further, modern scholars even earlier that the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts which showed the reality of just how diverse early Christianity actually was, before "orthodoxy" was established, recognized this was true, and termed this idea how Christianity formed historically, the "master story", which claims Jesus came down from heaven with a single message to teach his disciples, who then taught their disciples, who then taught theirs, all the way to the bishops of Rome.

    That "apostolic succession", is a later idea that was imposed upon scripture as a sort of mythic-overlay through which to look at and approach scripture. Part of the myth is that it was only later that heresies crept in, but that is not what actual history shows us. That is not what the Nag Hammadi texts show, nor what internally even before them confirmed that showed. That divergence was there from the beginning, long before Ignatius came alone with his desire to be right and everyone else wrong in his works, "Against all Heresies".

    What I find truly fascinating is how churches who consider the Catholic church to be the Whore of Babylon, adopt so many of its theological creations like this Master Story, as Gospel Truth. It was the same thing with the church I was in. Everyone else was is the false church except us, yet 98% of our beliefs were derived from them! That never made sense to me. Does that make sense to you?

    I hear the theological rationalizing, but none of it make any sense in light of the fact that Paul says those don't matter, and only the sincerity of the person's faith matters, as he says in various places in Romans 14, and elsewhere. The whole notion that it matters to God, seems to violate the teachings of Jesus, such as saying the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. Are you really violating God's Divine Nature by putting something that has blood still in it in your bodies?

    "What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." Mt. 15:11​

    I'm sure Paul would not recommend something that culturally was taboo for him. But that does not mean that Paul did not also recognize that it was not taboo for others, and if they were fine with it before God, "Who am I to judge another man's servant?," would have been his response, spoken from a place of humility before God. That's what he was teaching in Romans 14, so one would hope Paul would have acted himself as he told other too, and impose his sensibilities on others as if he were the Ultimate Judge, or God.

    Abstaining from ingesting blood because you view it as a necessary requirement of obeying God, is still legalism. "What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them". Now, maybe spitting up blood is what should be considered the sin then? ;)

    Death penalty for eating a meat that still has some blood in it (which all meat does), is worthy of the death penalty under Christ? I don't recognize that as consistent with anything Jesus taught, nor what Paul taught. The legalists on the other hand, those who said getting circumcised is something God still cares about would think that though.

    I see you are speaking for God here. :) I disagree. All our ideas about God are ultimately false anyway. That's why the Law of Love is what is important, not the law of the law. "Love works no ill". I do not see God as the cosmic Quizmaster who require right ideas about him in order to be accepted by him. That's legalism.

    That is your theological interpretation, just as much as it is someone's theological interpretation that you need to only gather for church meetings on Saturday, the one true Sabbath day that God himself established, according to them.

    You are saying, just like that person in Romans 14, that your ideas of God are right and true, and the other person is wrong and deceived and will be judged by God. You are saying, they are wrong to think of God in different terms than you, and to have different practices than what you have decided is right for you.

    "Correct" theology, has never been a requirement of salvation that I am aware of. Do you believe we are saved by fealty to correct theological ideas about God? Or does God look at the heart of the person coming before him, even if it is through the Virgin Mary? Do you think God accepts you because you have what you see as the right doctrines? Is that the basis upon which you think you are accepted by God?

    No Trinitarian thinks of Jesus or the Spirit as "other gods". They see One God, with three distinctions within it. That's not the same thing as polytheism. But aside from that. But again, even so, even IF someone saw God as a "committee", or something or other, if they love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, God will not accept them according to you, because they have their theology wrong?

    I don't recognize a God who says the measure of faith is correct ideas about God. That would be absurd, since no human being can possibly truly understand what God actually is. Our minds simply cannot fathom the Infinite or the Absolute. Do you believe we can?

    Many disagree with you here, including myself. The Spirit of God, is not a separate being other than God. It is God. Now, Jesus as a human, was a human, but John for one, very clearly identifies his eternal nature as the Divine itself.

    But even so, regardless of what John thought or wrote, I honestly do not believe believing he was God or a created being really matters to God. We're all idiots when it comes to that. Isn't God big enough to understand our human limitations? Maybe the criteria for being a child of God, has nothing to do with correct theologies?
     
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  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    continued....

    The law of love applies always. Meat and drink are religious proscriptions, and do not fall under the law of love. We can disagree with what is "required" religiously, and still all be servants of the same Master, as Paul teaches clearly in Romans 14. That's the whole point of that chapter. You can't tag in there, but "blood still matters". Why? Who is it harming? God? It doesn't harm others, as far as I know.

    For instance, getting a blood transfusion can save your life. That to me says it's good, and the idea you should deny a life-saving practice because of a distorted theological, legalistic idea about God, is not following the law of love. It's the opposite of that. It does harm to others, for instance. "I will not break the letter of the law regarding taking help from a non-believer, or taking blood when scripture says I shouldn't "eat" it, even if it means I die from it and it causes significant pain and suffering to others." Talk about straining at gnats while swallowing camels whole! :) I consider that putting the law before love.

    Because the one side of the debate was legalists, saying the law was still necessary, and Paul on the other saying it was not. Paul did not win the day with them in debate, exactly. He told them off, but at the end of the day they made some "compromise" solution. That's political, not theological.

    As far as sexual morality, even the Gentiles practiced that within their own systems of social and cultural norms. Gentiles weren't just all willy-nilly having sex with everyone and anyone. That's just saying, "still have standards of moral conduct". I don't know anyone who would disagree that wild unbridled sex is healthy or good for anyone. Doing so would violate the law of love. Consuming meat with blood still in it? Who is that harming? That's straining at gnats legalistically.

    So therefore, not being a part of a church, may actually be the healthy and good thing to do, if being in a dysfunctional religious institution is like having bindweed wrapping itself around healthy crops. That's a case where, "come out from among them", really applies! We should applaud the atheist for saying no to the hypocrisies of various religious groups. They are taking a stand for the good against the bad.

    Salvation is not based upon group membership, but fruit. That can be a tare of wheat in any Christian church, from the Catholic church even all the way down to yours. It can also be a tare of wheat in Buddhism, in Hinduism, in Islam, in Pentecostalism, or even in atheism and agnosticism. Can you agree with this?

    What?? Doctrinally isolated? :) Jesus was doctrinally isolated too. Sometimes, seeing beyond the religion and it's ideas about God, is actually truly walking with God. Are you afraid to challenge what your church teaches you?

    False. We are not united by beliefs. That's fake love. We are united by love, with a diversity of beliefs. That's Christian.

    Being "people of the red flag", all rallying around a shared belief, is not genuine love. It's conditional love, based upon conformity of beliefs. There is a radical difference between uniformity and unity. Uniformity is a fake love. It's not real love. It's conditional upon matching others ideas. That's shallow, superficial, and not eternal love.

    Well, it's really not just like what happened to the Christians in the first century, as modern scholarship shows Christianity was a diverse playground of views in the early years. The group I was in viewed themselves as the restoration of the early church after the great Whore of Babylon destroyed the true faith. That unity I felt with them, felt great, until I realized it was superficial love based upon a common belief, not upon Grace.

    Yep, sounds identical to the things our group who that they were the only true Christians because they had the right doctrines from the original apostles they believed in. Yet, why is it that 98% of what they believed, such as accepting the current canon of scripture which was a creation of the RCC itself, was accepted as approved by God, but it came out of the system of the Antichrist and it's Whore of Babylon?

    That's was one of the reasons I eventually concluded they were missing the point.

    Not by trying to reason it away. You know, because you are attuned with the Spirit of God in your heart. It's an internal recognition, like knowing true love versus superficial love based upon commodity of beliefs. How do you know love is real? By reasoning it? "Sweetheart, I believe you when you say you love me, because logically it makes sense, and I read it in a letter once"? Where's your heart in all of that?

    Which is why we need to develop the heart. The mind can easily be convinced of the logic of why God cares about not eating blood, but not circumcision. But that's all in the head, and not the heart. It doesn't make any heart-sense, and that should be the first clue.
     
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  3. PearlSeeker

    PearlSeeker Well-Known Member

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    This is a vast topic. We can discuss it in another thread if you like.

    Quran for example. Maybe all we need to know is contained there... And many other books...
     
  4. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    If we believe that....“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB) then what it says will override any flawed human interpretation made to support an erroneous teaching....won't it?

    If we believe that Jesus promised to be “with” his true disciples (the wheat) in the commission that he gave them to preach his message of the Kingdom “in all the inhabited earth as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 28:19-20; Matthew 24:14) then the “wheat” will be found doing that in this “time of the end” when he was due to return. (Matthew 10:11-14) Where are the churches of Christendom in fulfilling this important work? If Christ was backing them, they would be doing what JW’s have been doing during this whole period.

    Proper scholarship? What is that exactly? Which scholars do you believe? They hardly agree, so do you just pick the ones whose views you accept?

    If Paul received his education from Jesus directly through Holy Spirit, then he would teach only what was taught to him by Christ himself. Paul did not contradict anything Jesus taught. The other apostles accepted him as a genuine apostle of Christ, which through the operation of God’s spirit upon them, they would not have tolerated a false apostle. He would have quickly been exposed as a fraud. His contribution to the Christian Scripture is thus an important one.

    Apart from the scriptures themselves, faith is the only thing we have......we cannot even come to Christ without it. Hebrews ch 11 is Paul’s definition of faith and he named all those men and women in pre-Christian times who exercised it fully, and followed the direction that God gave them. After God formed Abraham’s descendants into a nation, he thereafter directed his people by written laws and commands, the principles of which still apply to this day.

    I see this situation in a different way. I see a brief window in history whereby there was time to establish the Christian arrangement as a separate and distinct mode of worship, divorced from apostate Judaism. I see some difficulties ironed out and Christian teachings set, until the death of the last apostle John. God held back another apostasy that Jesus and the apostles foretold to take place once the restraining influence of the apostles was gone. Therefore, after the first century, nothing written was then accepted as part of canonical scripture. John ‘s Gospel, his Revelation and his three letters became the last of established Christian scripture. After that, the restraint was gone and the "weeds" took over very quickly.

    These “weeds” of Jesus’ parable were sown “while men were sleeping”.....which was either the death of the apostles, or the fact that those in the church thereafter fell asleep, spiritually. Nothing that was written after that window closed, can be offered as support for any doctrine. I believe that these ideas in opposition to the sound teachings of Christ and his apostles, would all be considered as part of apostate teachings...the Nag Hammadi texts included. It was said that these 52 texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt "include 'secret' gospels poems and myths attributing to Jesus sayings and beliefs which are very different from the New Testament."

    This is why I believe that they are not valid as scripture.
     
  5. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    “The whore of Babylon” I believe encompasses all religion that embraces Babylonian religious concepts, which makes them all part of “Babylon the great”. Those concepts include a multiplicity of gods (like trinities)....belief in a continuation of life after death (an immortal soul)....and a fiery hell of eternal torment for the wicked.
    All religions who teach these concepts are in opposition to the Bible and it’s God which do not teach any of these ideas.

    You keep referring to Romans 14 as if it somehow makes all of Paul’s other teachings invalid. Paul did not respond culturally to other people’s religious beliefs, he responded in a way that was not exerting pressure to conform to a strict code, the way he had previously done when he was a zealous Pharisee. He could see that fear and punishment was not the way to teach people without any knowledge of Christ to come to him. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

    As Jew, Paul would never depart from such a strict command from God, in the consumption of any blood. Just as God never wavered from his stand on sexual morality, so he never wavered in his command on blood, which predates the Mosaic Law, and was included in his “necessary” commands for Christians. (Acts 15:28-28) Holy Spirit was behind the decision.

    The law was quite clear on the method of slaughtering any animal whose flesh was for human consumption. As long as his people followed that standard, they were complying with his law. It demonstrated respect for the sanctity of life....even of an animal.

    There was no death penalty in Christianity. There was no military either, but there was a command to ‘love our enemies’ and to treat them with kindness, rather than to “return evil for evil”. (Matthew 5:43-44; Romans 12:17-21) Since Christians could now be found in all nations, they were encouraged to obey the Laws of the land in which they lived, since it is by God's sanction that these rulers even exist....but our obedience to them is relative.

    Yahweh is a God who has a legal agreement with humans.....that is what a covenant is.....the Jews were under the old covenant with its many laws, and Christians are also under a covenant, a new one that obligates all disciples to obey the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ. It’s not optional, nor can you pick and choose what you want to believe or follow.....God has the standards that he requires from all his worshippers and there is nothing in scripture that invalidates those standards. (2 John 10)

    There is no requirement for Christians to observe a Sabbath....like circumcision, that was for Jews only. Acts 15:28-29 confirms this.
    Gathering for worship with fellow believers was encouraged by Paul. (Hebrews 10:24-25) God’s people have always gathered for worship. Even Jesus attended the synagogue.
     
  6. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    It’s one thing to be different to others in our approach to worship, but another thing entirely to make up your own rules. One cannot be a church of one who has themselves as their teacher. The congregational arrangement was outlined clearly by Jesus (in his address to the congregations in Revelation) and also by the apostles who communicated with these congregations by letter.
    There were appointed leaders and teachers whom Paul said that the congregation were encouraged to obey. (Hebrews 13:17)
    Can you pick and choose Paul’s words to suit your own version of the truth?That seems to be what you are doing...

    I believe that God expects his worshippers to conform to his stated truths and standards. Mary was chosen, not only because she was a good person, but because she and her prospective husband were devout Jews.....they were to raise God’s son to be a devout worshipper of Israel’s God too. Jesus called Yahweh his God and Father.....but never did he call himself “God”.

    But each can operate independently of the other. There is “God the Father”, “God the Son” and “God the Holy Spirit”.....How do three separate “gods” fit into one entity? How does one part of God pray to his equal self? How does one part of God have a will different to his equal self? (Matthew 26:39) And how does one part of God know things that his equal self does not know? (Matthew 24:36)
    How can Jesus on his return to heaven call his equal self “my God” in heaven? Does one part of God worship his equal self even there? (Revelation 3:12)

    Not polytheistic? Really? Sounds very polytheistic to me.

    The Jews never knew this god. Strangely, this three headed god did not exist in Christian teaching until the RCC put him into scripture by inference. They even admit that the trinity is not scriptural.

    God is the one who tells us how to worship him...we are not at liberty to decide that for ourselves.
    As part of the sign of his presence, Jesus said that he would appoint a “faithful slave” to take care of his interests on earth until his return.

    Matthew 24:42-47...
    42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you must be ready as well; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. 45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household slaves, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (NASB)

    So who is that "slave" appointed by the Master? He exists and unless we identify him and feed on the “food” that he provides, we have no hope. We are not free to feed ourselves. Its not a buffet.....

    I understand how pervasive the trinity doctrine is with many people....but Yahweh is “one”....not three. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
    If this is veiled polytheism, then all who have fallen for this travesty will not inherit the Kingdom...why? Because it is blasphemy to place another god(s) in equal standing with the Father. When Jesus comes as judge, he rejects those whom he calls “workers of lawlessness”....so whose laws are they breaking? I believe that they are breaking the first Commandment. (Matthew 7:21-23) They have worshipped Jesus to the point where hardly any mention is made of the God whom Jesus and his apostles worshipped. (John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6)

    Or maybe the history of Israel, recorded in a “warts and all” story of their inability to simply do as they were told, is proof that God requires obedience before all things. That obedience does not see God’s commands as burdensome or as something optional.

    “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and follow His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-3 NASB)
     
  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    After discussing the destruction due to come upon the city of Jerusalem, Jesus made the statement: “And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations [“times of the Gentiles,” KJ, RS] are fulfilled.” (Lu 21:24) The period indicated by the expression “appointed times of the nations [Gr., kai·roiʹ e·thnonʹ]” has occasioned considerable discussion as to its meaning and implication.

    Daniel foretold the march of world powers from Babylon all the way through to the present day. These kingdoms were represented by a large image made of various kinds of metals in descending order. (Daniel 2:36-45) God's Kingdom was pictured as a huge stone (not cut by human hands) which strikes the image on its feet (the rule of the present day "kings") and crushes every vestige of failed human rulership out of existence....and replaces them with the Kingdom that God will set up.....the one Jesus taught us to pray for..."thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".

    The light was just beginning to shine on our path back then (Proverbs 4:18).....there was so much more to learn and so much more to take place.....it was the beginning...not the end as they had anticipated. But getting the timing wrong was nothing new.....Jesus' disciples thought the Kingdom was coming back in the first century. (Acts 1:6) God reveals things gradually...not all at once. There was a 'sacred mystery' unfolding since the garden of Eden.(Colossians 1:26; Mark 4:11)

    Which is why Jesus said that "you will hear about wars and reports of wars...but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6) There was going to be unprecedented war that would mark the first sign of his "presence" (parousia). The world had never been involved in a war of this magnitude ever in its history.....especially when the prospects for peace had never seemed greater. What precipitated this war was a random act of violence that triggered the events that led all the nations into a war that nobody saw coming. Food shortages followed as well as pestilences and great earthquakes.....and the love among mankind becoming colder and colder. (Matthew 24; Luke 21)
    Like the days of Noah, Jesus said (Matthew 24:37-39).....violence and immorality everywhere. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

    Biblical. Cannot be disproven by science. The Big Bang happened....why not God?
    Science cannot prove that a Creator exists...but they can't prove that he doesn't either.

    Biblical. And why global warming will again flood the world.
    Perhaps the magnetic ice caps drew up the water and froze it, holding it in place?
    Ever wondered where all that ice came from? It had to be water originally....
    Does science know where it came from?

    Biblical. Blood represents life, and a life was paid for a life, under God's law.
    Atonement means "at-one-ment"....one for one. What Adam lost, Jesus gained back...a perfect sinless life paid for the perfect sinless life lost by Adam's children.

    Biblical.....employing the laws of redemption.

    Its not actually.....baptism is symbolic of dying to a former life and being raised up as a new person...a disciple of Christ. Its Biblical.
    Initiation has nothing to do with it.

    God chooses his servants and reveals his confidential matters to them......so?
    Do not Kings have Envoys and Ambassadors? Why can't the greatest King in the Universe have them?

    How do you prove that any of that is not the other way around? That pagans copied off the true religion. If there was only one God who created everything, and there was only one religion from the beginning, then it would have been the truth....what came later would have been the phony imitations. So who borrowed from whom?

    If that is what you believe, then far be it from me to rob you of that hope......mine is a better one IMO....
    I don't squabble about it, but rather inform people that everlasting life is possible, but never forced on anyone.
    Its a "take it or leave it" proposition.....
     
  8. CBM

    CBM Member

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    I don’t understand it either.
    If someone is looking for “truth” which I think is absolutely necessary when considering religions, it doesn’t make sense to pick and choose from various religions.
    Religions are not only different in ritual or practice; more often than not there are fundamental differences on how key religious concepts are defined, such as God and the soul for example.
     
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  9. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    It's generally regarded by scholars as a reference to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, with the author of Luke's Gospel putting these words in Jesus' mouth after the fact. It has nothing to do with the 20th century.

    None of this is specific or impressive as a prophecy whatsoever. Kingdoms exist. Mkay. Someday you think another one will be founded by Jesus. Mkay. Your organization already prophesied that and was wrong.

    Anything else?

    This is an excuse that any false prophet can make. "Oh, I was wrong before, but the Lord is making things clearer to me now..."

    Your organizations prophesies were false. They were wrong. Which means at least one of two things: 1) your organization's claims about itself are wrong, 2) your organization's claims about the God you believe in are wrong.

    Take your pick.

    For all of human history, there has always been a largest war in history up to that point in history. Since WWI, we've had WWII, which was even larger in scale. And some day in the future, I'm betting there will be an even bigger war that will be the biggest we've ever seen up to that point.

    So that prophecy could apply to any nunber of conflicts at any time. And many Christians before 1914 believed it applied to times before then. And have believed it applied to times after then.

    That's the trouble with vague prophesies. They can be made to fit any outcome.

    :facepalm:

    You completely missed the point. I'm aware all of the things I listed are in the Bible...that's why I listed them. My actual point flew right over your head.

    By looking back in history and seeing which came first.

    Hint: the pagan examples came first. ;)

    You borrowed from pagans. Like I told you already.

    Better how? Because it's more optimistic? More hopeful? Makes you feel good? I hope you understand that those aren't accurate measures for determining what's true or real.
     
  10. Earthtank

    Earthtank Active Member

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    Syncretism.....Can Mixing Religious Ideas Lead to the Truth?

    No
     
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  11. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    Why do you think God tore down the tower of Babble? Did not want everyone working together? Did not want the same beliefs, languages cultures? Perhaps there is no borrowed light, no leaning on arms of flesh, no faith in any organization - only personal faith.

    What was your own personal journey? How did you choose one group over another? What do you like most about your group? Do you agree 100% with your group? Do you allow yourself to think for yourself, do you have a personal testimony in something more than your group? How many divisions and different interpretations exist within your group? Who did you side with and why? If you were born in different cultures and country with different experiences, what would you believe? You have done nothing different than everyone else, follow your own understanding, choose your own group, based on your own understanding, with your own personal testimony and your own personal beliefs.

    The apostles themselves did not understand, could not walk on water, or heal everyone, or stay awake one hour... they all had their different beliefs too... are you better than them?
     
    #131 idea, Aug 8, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2021
  12. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    You see...no one can convince anyone against their will.
    If you are confident in your position then who am I to argue with your viewpoint? You are free to believe as you wish....as am I. It’s all about our choices...isn’t it?

    But just FYI, there is a “bigger war” coming...it’s called “Armageddon” which is God’s war with all those who oppose him, deny him and who think that there is no accounting for their behavior......it His means to cleanse the earth of all that He finds offensive.....that is what the Bible teaches.....like it or not.

    You don’t have to believe me....but you will never be able to say that no one told you....OK? It was always offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. Your choice is yours to make.
     
  13. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    The Bible answers all those questions for me, because I see nothing in isolation, but as part of one story....a small part of the big picture.

    Why did God confuse the language at Babel? To break up the first rebellion after the flood. The deluge was a necessary stop-gap measure to recalibrate and slow down man’s inevitable descent into wickedness...it never removed the sin of Adam. Allowing them to regroup collectively too early would have derailed God’s overall purpose. As they gathered together in their language groups and took their new religious beliefs with them into different parts of the earth, it took some time to form themselves into nations and to develop their own ideas about gods and religion. Interestingly, a common thread runs through all of them, all of which was formulated at Babel.....multiplicities of gods, an immortal human soul, a heaven of bliss for the good, contrasted with a hell of eternal torment for the wicked.....and various forms of mother goddess worship. All of which can be seen as adoptions in Christendom....but none of which are found in the Bible.

    What I have done or why I chose the path I did, was largely a matter of intense curiosity about why there was so many different beliefs in Christendom, whilst all claimed to be Christians.....so I needed to know what the first Christians believed and practised. That alone was a real eye opener.

    Being raised in Christendom, it didn’t take long for me to question everything I was taught and to decide for myself that there was nothing there that resonated, except creation, the Creator and the Bible. I saw so much departure from the teachings of the Bible in church doctrines, that it made me want to know why they had to invent so many things that the scriptures do not teach. But reading the Bible cold, didn’t help me appreciate the big picture, so I knew I needed help to understand scripture by putting all the pieces I had collected, together. Christendom had no answers to my very difficult questions, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that JW’s could teach me anything. Yet when they called one day, I threw some of those hard questions at them (to stir them actually) but to my surprise, they opened their Bible and gave me the answers, straight up....and everything they showed me from the Bible made absolute sense.

    I then undertook a serious Bible study with them and I took two solid years to completely understand what the message of the Bible was all about....it resonated so completely that I was baptized and ready to share what I had learned with others. 50 odd years later my studies continue and more gems surface and other gems reveal new facets. It’s the most exciting thing I have ever done in my life.....and it continues to excite me even more as I see the Bible’s prophesies being fulfilled before my eyes.

    That is your opinion, but I have met so many who have had the same experience. Not just them finding God, but really experiencing God finding them, and opening their eyes to the truth that was there all along. Only God can do this. (John 6:44, 65)

    On the contrary, before Pentecost and the outpouring of Holy Spirit, the apostles and others could perform some miracles by the use of Jesus’ name, mostly healing the sick and expelling demons. Walking on water wasn’t really on the list of useful things.

    There was a lot that the apostles did not know....until Pentecost, when God’s spirit opened up to them the prospect of going to heaven to rule with Christ...and that the Kingdom was a heavenly government with earthly subjects. Before then, all Jews believed that the Kingdom was entirely earthly, with Messiah ruling on earth, with them as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. Due to their continued disobedience however, they lost their place and God chose a new nation to replace them....”the Israel of God” who were made up of both Jewish and Gentile Christians. (Galatians 6:16) This was spiritual ”Israel”, adopted as “sons of God” due to faith and obedience.

    A chosen “few” will have the privilege of going to heaven (the elect) as “kings and priests” (Revelation 20:6) but their subjects will be those who live on earth, where God intended humankind to live in the first place. (Revelation 21:2-4)

    That is how it was for me.......
     
  14. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    It really isn't. Beliefs aren't chosen. We believe what we're convinced is true. We can't choose to be or not be convinced, it's an automatic process.

    Yeah, and your organization already falsely prophesied that would happen, and it didn't...like it or not.

    Again, no, the choice isn't mine. If your God wants to convince me, she knows exactly what it would take. The ball is 100% in her court. So if she hasn't convinced me, it's because she doesn't want to. So that's a whole other question...why doesn't she want to? And why would she punish me for her decision not to convince me? Why would she punish me for a thought crime at all? Not the marks of a person I'd want to obey or emulate.
     
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  15. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    We all make our decisions for a reason....God sees the reason that drives the decision as much as he sees the decision itself. Sometimes we are not aware of what drives us to believe something....at other time it is very obvious as to why we accept or reject a belief. I have a feeling that God knows us better than we know ourselves. That makes his evaluation of us the more accurate one.

    No actually, its the same prophesy...we just got the timing wrong, like the apostles did after Jesus ascension. (Acts 1:6) When Jesus said "no one knows the day or the hour" (Matthew 24:36) we never tried to narrow it down like that, but suggested that maybe a certain year would see the coming of the Kingdom and the end of man's painful struggles. We are told to "keep on the watch"...and that is what we have done. (Matthew 24:43-44) Do you know what a watchtower is for? There is a reason why it is our logo.

    God offers the same evidence for his existence to everyone....if you require more, that is your problem, not God's.
    Creation speaks more to me about the person of God than anything else. I find that people basically walk around with their eyes shut....whining about what they haven't got, but never seeing what they already have.

    You think God punishes people because they are not convinced? I think its more a case of rewarding the ones who are convinced by the evidence that is right in front of them, than punishing those who are not moved at all by what they see in nature. God is testing us all out to see who qualifies for citizenship in the world that he will rule in the near future. If people don't want what he is offering, then what do they expect him to do if those people continue to deny him?

    According to the Bible, there will be no other place to live....where does that leave the unbelievers? There are only two choices....obey God and live or disobey him and face eviction.....that's it...there is nothing more. No heaven or hell.....just life or death....so we can accept life on God's terms....or die hanging onto our own terms.

    As the Creator and rightful Sovereign, God has full authority to tell us how to live the life he gave us on his earth.....those who do not wish to comply, like the first rebels, have no place in the "Kingdom of God". It sounds like you have made up your mind. So be it....
     
  16. Left Coast

    Left Coast Peanut Butter Enthusiast
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    Even if it were true, none of that changes what I said. Beliefs aren't chosen. I can't wake up tomorrow and decide to be convinced that the JWs are right any more than you can wake up and just decide that they're wrong. We've both been convinced. There's no deciding to change our minds for either of us until something comes along that either shows us our reasoning is incorrect or new evidence is presented.

    Acts 1:6 is a question, not a prophecy. Stop making excuses, Deeje. Your organization prophesied falsely.

    Again, no, your organization and its leaders didn't say "maybe" it'd be this year or that. They were completely convinced of their Bible math. Stop making excuses. Your organization made false prophecies. You continue believing them despite your own holy book's warnings against false prophets. It's that simple.

    Actually no, again, it is 100% God's problem. If your God is omniscient and omnipotent, she holds literally all the cards. She knows exactly what it would take to convince the non-believers of the world of her existence, and the power to carry it out. But she doesn't. So think it through...if she wants us to believe in her, but won't do what she knows it would take to convince us...then either a) she doesn't want us to believe in her, or b) she doesn't have the power to do what it would take to convince us, and thus is not omnipotent.

    You claim God doesn't punish us for not being convinced, but then say if we're not convinced we'll be "evicted." You're playing word games Deeje, like with your organization's false prophesies. Again, why should we be punished for something we cannot control?

    This whole "God created us so she can do anything she wants to us" line is not something I buy, even if God exists. If God can do literally anything she wants to us, no matter how cruel or unjust, and you still call her moral, you've made morality meaningless. I explored that here:

    Is Creating Life a Moral Carte Blanche?
     
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  17. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Flawed human interpretation is what every single person has to do when reading scripture. We all have to interpret everything we read on the pages of any book. It's just a simple matter of the way the mind works. No exceptions.

    You cannot cite that verse about prophets not speaking from their own egoically based ideas, but rather speaking through Spirit in inspired states, and then claim that means you don't need to interpret those words they say. Of course you do. Everyone has to interpret scripture, otherwise it has no meaning to them.

    Furthermore, that verse you cite, cannot be referring to any of the books of the NT. If Paul actually wrote 1 Tim. (which critical scholars dispute is an authentic Pauline text), then "he" was referring to what was in existence at his time. Unless you think you can apply that to a future text not yet written that eventually the Roman Catholic Church decided should be included in scripture (which you'd later accept as Divine based upon their ideas of God, which you ironically consider to be demonically inspired). But that would be faith, and not scholarship. You have to read Paul in isolation, if you are applying critical scholarship rules to interpretation.

    Proper troubleshooting skills with technology for instance, means isolating the cause of the problem. You don't just look at the whole and assume some "magic" is going on you can't understand or explain. That's what an end user without technical skills thinks. But a skilled engineer will actually examine the root causes behind the symptoms.

    Same thing in modern scholarship. It is critical scholarship. Which means it applies the rules of critical analysis. Just looking at the Bible and saying "God wrote it", and ignore the humans and history, is like the unskilled end user who thinks a demon got into their computer and caused it to crash. If believing in demons is part of your faith system, and you don't understand computer technology, then demons causing computer malfunctions is part of your faith system. But a proper engineer would approach the problem critically though isolating root causes, and set aside magical causation as a factor.

    Same thing with modern scholarship. It's a critical approach, as opposed to a faith-based approach. Hence why I make the distinctions between the historical/critical perspective, and the theological or faith-based perspective. Conservative scholarship includes faith-based perspectives in analysis. It is mainly theological in nature. Critical scholarship not so much. But that does not therefore mean that a critical view of scripture, negates faith. Not at all. It informs faith, IMO. It just includes a broader, fuller perspective informed by critical analysis. But faith is still of the heart, not a matter of reason.

    What we know of what Jesus taught, comes through the gospels. Those were written by authors much later than Paul lived, so you have to consider that from a critical perspective. If you want to assume there cannot be errors, because God saw to it there were none, that is based solely on faith and disregards things like regions, cultures, times, individualities, disputes, and such. I personally could not disregard those things, hence I am no longer a conservative fundamentalist believer.

    You do realize that they hotly disagreed with Paul in certain matters of faith? I don't see uniformity of beliefs with Paul back then. That they eventually accepted him, doesn't mean anything supernatural. They had a common cause, and differences were worked with. Paul was actually rather radical compared with the traditionalists. He had to fight against the current to get his ideas accepted, or at least tolerated by them. I do not see uniformity of beliefs there.

    I have faith in God. But that faith does not mean it is necessary for me to ignore modern scholarship in order to preserve ideas about God I may have adopted as part of that faith. There is a difference between faith, which is of the heart, and beliefs which are ideas of the mind.

    Do you understand there is a difference between faith and beliefs? Even when you believed differently before than you do now, you still had faith. Else what was it that compelled you to search for things to believe in to support that faith? We aren't saved by "the right beliefs". We are saved by a true, genuine, heartfelt faith. Focusing on the "right theology", is a distraction of the mind. Romans 14 affirms that.

    Yes, that's the Master Story created by the church establishing the authority of apostolic succession to the bishops of Rome. You accept that story as factual history. I do not, as the data does not affirm that as the actual history. The Nag Hammadi texts also confirm something quite different than what was traditionally believed, having only tradition to establish that history for believers, such as yourself.

    For me, it's kind of like being asked to deny evolution because it doesn't agree with how I read the story of Genesis back in Bible college days. I can't do that and still consider my faith to be genuine. I prefer modifying my beliefs, than denying knowledge to preserve those ideas from an earlier view.

    You agree with the Roman Catholic church then, that the theology of the "orthodoxy" they adopted as the standard belief for all Christians? Yet you reject other beliefs from them, but not that one?

    What modern critical scholarship shows is that the "proto-orthodox" view, was one of many competing views in early Christianity. When the church councils debated which texts to standardize, the proto-orthodox groups, which Ignatius represents, went after the competitors and won the day politically, for various reasons. They crafted which texts should belong and be thrown out based upon them supporting what they wanted others to believe.

    In other words, you are accepting what the Catholic church deemed acceptable beliefs, when it comes to your bible today, yet call them the Whore of Babylon? How could Truth come out of that, if that's what you believe?
     
  18. idea

    idea Question Everything

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    William Tyndale believed as soon as the Bible was translated, everyone would agree on how to interpret it, and there would be no more religious abuse of power or religious contention within Christianity. Poor Tyndale, he was wrong of course.

    Many feel they are "called" and many feel their understanding is correct - I think this is such a good video to illustrate the degree to which people feel they are the chosen one, and they have the correct understanding:

    Most people believe they are critical thinkers, most believe God loves and approves of their actions and beliefs. Most people believe they are special in some way, and we would all like to think other people that we disagree with are wrong.


    ↑↑ the belief that only a few are special is a very sad belief to me. It belittles God, belittles "died for all", it does not embrace "all tears wiped away", it is not a happy ending. I see those with limited versions of heaven like this as not really understanding other people, of not being forgiving, not being loving or concerned for others, as being insecure judgmental and isolated.

    Many religious groups use fear tactics to isolate their group from others, and maintain power hierarchies. I am sure you can easily recognize these techniques within other groups, but it is more difficult to recognize the same tactics within your own Bible Student group. I am someone who escaped being in a cult.... there are all different spectrums of cult groups, some much more dangerous than others, but now that I am out, I feel obligated to try and free others. The thing about religious groups - no one ever thinks they are in a cult.... you do not realize what you are in, until a cult leader abuses your children, or some other horrific event happens.... Look at the breaks in your group. Perhaps the 2nd coming was prophesied and then did not happen - or some other interpretation of the scriptures was not fulfilled as everyone believed so deeply it was supposed to have happened?

    The girl who believes so deeply that she is supposed to be a child polygamous bride, that this is what faith in God is, that her group is chosen and the few privileged to go to heaven - at around the 10 minute mark:
    ↑ all of these groups study and study and study the scriptures. They spend all their time preaching their understanding, and are so convinced they know the "truth".

    like I said... it is easy to recognize the scary cults others are in, and very difficult to realize yourself in exactly the same kind of group. Those in a cult never believe themselves to be in a cult.

    Do you study scriptural commentary from groups other than your own? Not to tear them down, but to actually embrace what is good in them?
    Do you study scriptures other than the Bible?
    Do you volunteer at food banks, homeless shelters, or give $ to organizations other than your own religious group?
    How many of your close friends and associates are in your religious group, vs. outside of it?

    If all your close friends are in the same religious group you are in. If the only charity you do is for your group. If the only "authority" you recognize is from your own group.... this is a cult.

    Not trying to attack you, but this belief of "I know better than everyone else", and "my small little group is the only one with the truth", and only a few people are going to heaven stuff? That is not such a healthy thing.... it is isolating, and scary. It is in line with belonging to a cult.
     
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  19. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Vascular residue left over in meat is Not the same as eating whole blood.
    1) Before the Constitution of the Mosaic Law the eating of blood forbidden - Genesis 9:4
    2) During the Mosaic Law for ancient Israel the eating of un-drained blood forbidden - Leviticus 17:10-14
    3) Consistent with what Jesus taught is found by what gospel writer Luke wrote at Acts of the Apostles 15:20, 29; 21:25
    Many hospitals today allow for non-blood management, and some have set-aside non-blood management units.
     
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  20. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    This whole post is full of your own excuses LC....choose your path and you choose your destination. It’s really that simple.
    The clay does not get to dictate to the potter.

    I have said all I need to say on this.

    Making your excuses for rejecting God and his requirements, alters nothing. Does your government alter its laws to suit their citizens or are the citizens under obligation to comply with the laws as written? Does the fact that they disagree with the laws alter the outcome or the penalty?
     
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