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Featured The idolatry of Christianity

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by AlonNaor, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    There is nothing in the Tanakh that necessitates a belief in a messianic figure in order to be "saved". Yes, messiahs are predicted but that's not the same.

    Nor do I interpret the Bible in a literalistic manner, because doing as such would make no sense, imo. Plus, if one took that perspective, Jesus could not be the messiah because all the prophecies haven't been fulfilled as even Aquinas noted.

    Also, it makes not one iota of sense to view the scriptures as being inerrant as the Church never believed as such. It was only a reaction to "modernism" that some Protestant denominations began to teach that the scriptures are as such, and that didn't occur until the 19th century.

    Finally, why would it take millions of years to pass before a messianic figure could emerge? Didn't God care for anyone before then? And what about people even today who couldn't even tell you who Jesus was? Are they somehow condemned for not even knowing?
     
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  2. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    All scripture was written by sinful men.
     
  3. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Look at the book of Acts, the history text of the early church. Did they not continue to meet on the porch of the Temple? Did they not study in the synagogues? Did they not keep the holy days? Etc. etc. etc. It is clear from the NT alone that the Jewish believers in particular were continuing to live very Jewish lives. “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for Torah." Acts 21:20 Gentile believeres were primarily converted from the God-fearers who studied in the synagogues on Shabbat. Paul had to work overtime to keep them from wanting to full on convert to Judaism in their new found zeal rather than simply remain God fearers which was all the Council of Jerusalem required of them. Acts 15. But the clincher is that we do have a historical record of them finally being kicked out of the synagogues in 85 AD. (Council of Jamnia).
     
  4. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Yes, as it was more of an evolution away from the Law as it appears that Jesus felt that the love of God and acting with compassion towards all pretty much covered essence of the Law. Obviously that didn't go over well within the Jewish community as a whole.

    To put it another way, Jesus went considerably further than did Hillel, which is why there were so many questions directed to him dealing with the Law.
     
  5. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    An "evolution" away from the Law???? Don't you think that if Jesus wanted Jewish believers to give up adherence of the 613 he would have simply taught them to do so?
     
  6. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I explained it in an earlier post, namely that Jesus appears to have taught that love of God and man is all encompassing of the 613 Commandments.

    Matthew 5:31-32: “everyone who divorces his wife… forces her to commit adultery.”

    5:38: “’an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth’… offer no resistance.”

    8:22: “Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.”

    21:43: “The kingdom of God taken away from you and given to another.”

    Luke 16:16: “The Law and the prophets were in force until John.”

    Romans 6:14: “Sin will no longer have power over you; you are under grace, not under the Law.”

    7:6: “Now we are released from the Law.”

    10:4: “Christ is the end of the Law.”

    11:20: They were cut off because of their unbelief and you are there because of faith.”

    14:20: “All foods are clean.”

    I Corinthians 7:19: “Circumcision counts for nothing.”

    Galatians 3:10: “All who depend on the observance of the Law… are under a curse.”

    5:2: “If you have yourself circumcised, Christ will be of no use to you.”

    5:4 “Any of you who seek your justification in the Law have severed yourself from Christ and fallen from God’s favor.”

    6:15: “It means nothing whether you are circumcised or not.”

    Ephesians 2:15: “In his own flesh he abolished the Law with its commands and precepts.”

    Hebrews 7:18: “The former Commandment (I.e. priests according to the order of Melchizedek) has been annulled because of its weakness and uselessness.”

    8:7: “If that first Covenant had been faultless, there would have been no place for a second one.”

    8:13: “When he says ‘a new covenant’, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.”

    10:9: “In other words, he takes away the first Covenant to establish the second.”
     
  7. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    1 Your quotations from Matthew do not contradict the Torah. Do you wish to discuss any of them in more depth? Over and again Jesus emphasizes obedience to the Torah. Shall I quote those verses for you or do you acknowledge this?

    2. Your quotes from the epistles are not the words of Jesus. Move on.
     
  8. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Whenever I have doubts about what position someone may take, I try to look at what happened afterward if possible. The Matthew and Luke citations rather make it clear that Jesus is taking a very liberal position on the Law, more so than even Hillel did. This is undoubtedly why the Jewish leaders frequently were asking him questions on his various takes of the Law. If he had only taken conventional positions on the Law, then these questions would not likely have been asked.

    Secondly, what did Jesus' followers do after he was gone? If we read the rest of the NT, we see a gradual walking away from the Law, and Peter's ending the observance of the various kosher Laws is just part of that.

    Therefore, it's impossible for me to envision Jesus' followers, who were more than willing to give up their lives, taking the positions they did if it defied what Jesus' taught.

    To me, the evidence suggests that Jesus believed that the love of God and man was what the Law was in its entirely about, thus there was no need to follow the letter of the Law. This would explain why he was constantly being asked questions about what he believed about the Law.
     
  9. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    In only one instance that I know of does Jesus take a position more liberal than that of bet Hillel (harvesting grain on the Shabbat). If you want to discuss any others, I welcome it.

    Jesus argued from the perspective of bet Hillel with those of bet Shammai. There is nothing unusual about this. We read plenty of examples of the same thing in the Talmud.

    You are wrong about Jesus' Jewish followers gradually leaving Torah observance after he died. There is nothing in your scriptures to support this. What you do read about is the growth of the Gentile portion of the church and how Gentiles were not required to become circumcised and take on Torah observance.

    For example, in the beginning you have the council of Jerusalem where it is determine that Gentiles do not need to take on Jewish law, but it never says that Jews need to give it up. This is called bilateral ecclesiology.

    Then towards the end, when Paul visits Jerusalem, just before he is arrested, you hear James dealing with the lies and false gossip that Jews were spreading about Paul teaching that Jews should give up the Law. After stating enthusiastically that many thousands of Jewish believers are "zealous for Torah," James goes so far as to quote verbatim from the Jerusalem Council's decision. So we really don't see any change at all in the bilateral ecclesiology.

    Finally, Jesus himself taught obedience of the Law. Had the apostles departed from this, it would have been wrong of them as his followers. (There is no obligation, however, for Gentiles to follow Jewish Law.)
     
  10. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    Jesus presented not the 'letter' but the 'spirit' of the Law, the 'heart' of the Torah.
     
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  11. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    You're ignoring the verses that I quoted that show the opposite was and is true.

    Basically, what is being said is that the Law itself is of lesser importance than believing in Jesus, thus the latter is viewed as being more important than the former. No prophet in the Tanakh ever considered himself to be more important than the Law, and yet Jesus' followers did just that. Nor any concept of a messiah did that as well, and yet Jesus' claim goes beyond any such concept within normative Judaism.

    The reality is that Christianity was built around a "Jesus cult", whereas he and his teachings are considered to be more important than the letter of the Law, whereas he is viewed as being the "fulfillment of the Law", which is basically the antithesis of normative Judaism, both then and now.

    Therefore, to view Jesus and his apostles as just teaching close adherence to the letter of the Law makes no sense, thus if you were to be correct he'd just be another person in traditional Jewish history of no special consequence. Somethings he said and taught logically must have been quite different or he never would have gotten that much attention, whether that attention be positive or negative. He clearly was a rather polarizing figure, which he even alludes to himself when he said he'd cause divisions even within families. Teaching conventional Judaism logically wouldn't have caused this.

    Jesus' take on the Law was and is clearly very liberal, which explains why he attracted so much attention from the Jewish leaders.

    Finally, if Jesus was just teaching and preaching basic Torah-observance, then that doesn't even get close to explaining why so many questions are being asked of him about the Law, nor does explain why Peter and the others walked away from the Law, such as we see in Acts with Peter's vision and in Paul's epistles. with the latter saying that observance of the letter of the Law is unimportant.
     
  12. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Yes, and the analogy that I have taught along this line is that the Law was important at the beginning to specify what was important in a large variety of areas. It's like when our kids were young we'd have to tell them exactly what to do in order for them to clean up their room. However, when they got to be teens, all we'd have to then do is to say "Clean up your room!" and they would do that. :rolleyes:

    Since Jews would have been familiar after centuries of observing the Law, the prophets saying "Clean up your act!" would be understood. This is essentially what John the Baptist said, and this is what Jesus said in terms of "Love one another as I have loved you", namely that these two commandments covered the entire Law in his opinion. But that certainly was not a uniform belief within normative Judaism, however defined.
     
  13. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Hmm. :football: Interesting thought.
     
  14. MikeDwight

    MikeDwight Well-Known Member

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    I know people hate to attack slightly serious sounding religious people. However! That post doesn't Quite, make a logical string of debate that I can detect. What is the sense of this? Western Idolatry tends to be like, African Christians come here and say we all worship the Car Dealership. I don't see how you decide you can attack basically the entire Christian religion, the entire word Christian.
     
  15. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Far from it. Paul's letters were written to GENTILE churches. Gentiles do not need to become Jews and observe the 613 commandments, which is what Judaism teaches, and is what the Council of Jerusalem taught.

    Actually it really didn't. It questioned why the burden of the Law should be placed on Gentiles -- clearly it shouldn't. You'll noticed this exemption from the Law applied ONLY to the Gentiles. NO WHERE does it say that Jewish believers were free from Jewish Law. No where. Thus your argument doesn't hold water. Jewish believers were to continue in Judaism plus belief in Jesus as Messiah, and Gentiles were to be God-fearers plus belief in Messiah.

    You are almost correct. This makes the same mistake that I see most Christians making. The truth is that there were two schools of Pharisees: the school of Shammai (which was very strict and which controlled the Sanhedrin in Jesus' day, and the School of Hillel, which was more lenient and Jesus' teachings line up with it. The two schools constantly argued with each other, and Jesus was part of this great tradition. This is what the question and answer sessions were all about. These sorts of instances were common -- many are recorded in the Talmud.
     
  16. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The Church in the diasporah were not all Gentiles, maybe not even a majority of them until later in the century, as many Jews had already dispersed into cities in the Mediterranean region over time.

    On top of that, Paul met with Peter and the others three times in Acts, all of them being Jews, so one simply cannot in any way dismiss this as just an appeal to Gentiles.

    Also, as you should know, if a male Gentile were to convert into any Jewish branch, he was to be circumcised-- period! The fact that Paul said that doing this would actually be an affront to "the Way" says tons.

    You are misreading what I posted, so maybe go back and read my last two posts to you again. And what I did say in part is that Paul made it clear, and not just to Gentiles, that believing in and following Jesus' teachings were more important than the Law, and he doesn't include a disclaimer for Jews.

    And we know that Jews and Gentiles began to intermarry, whereas the Law mandates the Gentile spouse convert to Judaism. And yet Paul says that this is not to be done. I personally tend to believe that Paul recognizing that having the Church operating under two very different sets of rules simply wouldn't work in the long run, thus concluding that believe in Jesus was far more important.

    Also, if Jesus was just preaching conventional Law then why so many questions addressed to him that includes the hostility we read? You simply have not addressed this, and yet I believe it is part of the key to understanding that Jesus and his message was not normative to any branch of Judaism back then. This is well covered in the book "A Rabbi Talks With Jesus" by Rabbi Neusner.

    Actually most scholars I've read believe there were more than two schools.

    Also, Jesus did not line up with Hillel because Hillel still taught that the letter of the Law was still important to follow, although he did allow more flexibility than the Shammai school did. Obviously, there were other areas of disagreements between them as well.

    BTW, are you aware that there was actually at least one physical confrontation between those two schools according to historians? Probably a fist-fight, I would think.

    Finally, in order for Jesus to have even been a footnote in Jewish history, he would have had to do and/or teach some things that would been significant and at least somewhat controversial. However, Jesus was more than just a footnote as we've seen, even though his following at first was likely relatively minor in numbers even upon his death. The FACT that Acts has it that Peter and the others stopped keeping kosher and began eating in the homes of some Gentiles is quite telling, and this you're failing to address.

    Put simply, the Twelve gradually walked away from the Law, which clearly shows up in Acts and some of the epistles, and it is impossible for me to imagine them doing that without Jesus opening that door.

    Anyhow, between the holiday here and that I don't think going any further in this discussion is really needed or desirable, I'm moving on, so...

    Take care.
     
    #76 metis, Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  17. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Oh, a final note, namely that maybe it still hasn't sunk into your mind that just maybe I wasn't always a Christian?

    Finally, the kind of condescension I read above doesn't go over well with me because I consider it to be nothing more than self-congratulatory head-butting, and I've seen you do that quite a few times here at RF, which is why I was even reluctant to have this discussion to begin with. Maybe get over yourself and deal with the subject matter as part of a scholarly discussion. If not, then I have no interest in what you might post.
     
  18. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    This is an excellent, easy to read little book which according to Neusner is not a work of scholarship as he addresses only the portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew as it concerns the Torah.
     
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  19. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Yes, I liked the book but I had a problem with the fact that he so often just kept repeating himself to the point whereas it was getting quite boring. I stuck through it nevertheless.

    By chance did you read the book "The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600)" by Jaroslav Pelikan? It's 400+ pages of fine print and tedious reading, but what I really like about this book is that he heavily documents his points through the early writings, and the only book that I liked better dealing with the early Church is Dr. Hanson's (Anglican) "Tradition In the Early Church", which is worth it's weight in gold, imo, as it also is heavily documented. .
     
  20. Spartan

    Spartan Well-Known Member

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    Nice try, but John 3:16 is for all people, including Jews.
     
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