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Who Claims Authority?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by cardero, May 24, 2006.

  1. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    You must also agree that some religions are running the risk of dishonestly representing GOD unfairly (which is also an injustice). by claiming exclusive authority. So if all these religions that are claiming authority are promoting different teachings someone must be unfairly representing GOD. This is one of the purposes of this thread; either 1) to expose or incapacitate such authority or 2) remove the concept and constraints that authority is even necessary. Since GOD is available and accessible to everyone and we close each prayer with “Amen” instead of “shhhh, this is just between me and you” I would prefer a settlement of the second purpose.



    If the accumulative knowledge of a few books is all one has to offer to this discussion there may exist the possibility that their expertise will be limited which would not necessarily put them in a position of authority. I respect all beliefs but accepting and respecting are two different things. Both of us could share and exchange beliefs (which is what beliefs are used for) but I do not believe that any of us will accept them as truth or bring us any closer to exclusive authority. Also you presumption on how I believe has gone on record.

    Faith, you may discover, can also retreat a long distance away from the truth.


    That is a predetermined judgment pronounced without a proper analysis and examination of said material. No one has read everything written by every author who has claimed or felt inspired. Many religions discourage research from such writings or are cautioned to avoid people that claim such experiences. As unfair as this practice is, it does little to qualify a religion as experts, except when pronouncing their own teachings and this “expertise” usually fails them when confronted with a new perspective.


    Actually, I have learned that GOD is an equal opportunist when it comes to inspiring people and encouraging relationships, so I am sure you will understand my hesitation and skepticism why the God of some religions has not employed women to author His revelations.


    I believe there was a GOD before there was a Christ/church/humans and I have a tendency to believe that the messages that pronounce GOD’s attributes, traits, purposes, principals before these events would hold more authority with me. Unfortunately there are hardly any books like these available.


    Another discrepancy. This is called “killing the messenger” and this judgment and sentence is usually passed over as quickly as the messenger's inspired writings. Many people who devote faith in past primitive authors have never met these authors, do not know what kind of people they were or what purpose or agenda that they were proposing yet accept and trust them wholeheartedly. Though I agree it is very convenient not being able to follow up, extract or debate testimony from dead people this should raise suspicions not comfort them.
     
  2. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    It's possible to claim to be from God, and fail to get people to believe it.

    History has occasions where people claimed prophethood and nearly no one believed them. Or alternately, some did believe them, but it didn't last and didn't amount to much. In some religions, this is a proof in itself, i.e. "anything from God will last."

    Oh, I think anyone claiming Prophethood has to pass some tests in order for anyone to take him seriously.

    Lunamoth already mentioned one:

    This can mean several things, on an individual and larger level.

    1. The prophet's life should show an exemplary character.

    2. The religious community should, at least in early stages, show good behaviour.

    3. If the Message were put into effect totally, would the results advance humanity and provide a better life for people? If not -- it's not a true Message.

    I personally don't discount the possibility of inspiration. But when you get multiple groups all claiming inspiration, it does get to be a sticky wicket.

    Show me one founder of a major religion who was not opposed by the prevailing order. I suggest the reason the prevailing order might do so, even though the claimant fulfills criteria for prophethood, is fairly obvious.

    Hah! Maybe that's a criterion for prophethood in its own right: being opposed by the prevailing order.

    Like I said, it's pretty obvious. People in power don't like having their authority changed. They might have to go out and get a real job or something. :sarcastic
     
  3. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    OK, consider this:

    I believe that I want to know something about Physics, it will become known to me directly. There is no need to place another (notoriously biased, confused and self-centered) teacher between knowledge of Physics and my understanding. Even I would know better than to do something that dumb.

    Uh...does that work for you?

    Why are we willing to accept that in order to learn something about Physics, it is necessary to have a teacher (even if it's only a textbook), but when it comes to the far more important parts of life, we need no teachers?

    (For some reason, I now feel called to go listen to Led Zepplin :D)

    That's very true. But the dangers can at least be somewhat mitigated by spreading the authority around and by having a written text to refer to.

    And then, when the mere humans inevitably screw it all up, God can just send another teacher to tell us to stop putting gum under the desks.
     
  4. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    As I mentioned in another thread, that's why we keep getting new teachers. Someone inevitably misunderstands or misrepresents something, humans being what they are -- fallible.

    Ah, but without some form of authority (which should not be equated with despotism, btw), what you get is fragmentation, more disagreements, and a lessened ability of said religion to make a positive difference in the world.



    Very true. I accept virtually all beliefs, or at least the basis of them. And when it comes to details, I don't automatically think they are the result of nefarious tinkering, but rather honest attempts to solve problems at some time.

    Hm, yes, it is highly unlikely anyone will convince me there is any exclusive authorities. I do accept that there are multiple valid authorities, though. I submit to mine, others submit to theirs.

    Given I've known some very inspired atheists, I would have to agree.

    As for why the God of some religions has not employed women, from my pov, when the next Messenger of God comes along, She will fix that problem. :D

    How could there be *any* books that contained messages before the existence of humans? :confused:
     
  5. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    Except that I do not believe it ever stops. As long as GOD exists why should messengers no longer be available? When does GOD ever become unavailable? Why should inspiration be put on hold or held in check? When has everything under the sun ever been finally discussed?

    Nicely done.

    But do you not believe that everyone has the opportunity to become authorities (if they so desired)?


    By whose standards? God’s? As Pure X pointed out, if I started to murder in the name of God because God did it (or ordered it) in the Bible, am I an authority? Even Moses was killed by God for not showing exemplary character and His books remained in the Bible. This is not a fair and consistent classification.



    How many current religions do we know today that claim authority have passed this test?

    Actually I believe that the relationship between man and GOD is a personal one though that doesn’t mean that someone else cannot glean something from it. Everyone is unique and different and requires different needs and embraces different wants. To lump messages upon humanity you’re going to exclude someone and not please everyone. The paradise prophecy comes to mind. How can you provide paradise for everyone when everyone’s perception of paradise is different?
     
  6. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    I go to the Bible to see if the 'messenger' is of God or if they are a false prophet. Matt. 7:13 says to beware of false prophets which come in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves, and we shall know them by their fruits. We are to beware of them, and we will know them by their fruits, not know Christians, but will know false prophets, by their doctrines, by his teaching or 'prophesy'. II Cor. 11 says there are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ...Paul warned in Galatians 1 for us to watch out for them, saying, 'but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any OTHER gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Then he repeats it. So we are to watch out, and examine their teachings, and especially about salvation, or the gospel. I would say too, that the OT, (only) issued the death penalty (Deut. 1), for false prophets that lead ppl to other gods.

    There are 2 classes in professing Christendom today, (beware of false prophets that come in sheep clothing), sheep, and wolves in sheep clothing. They look like Christians, claim to be, even say they have prophesied in Gods name and done many marvelous works, etc, but Jesus says He never knew them. So what is the dividing line?

    Paul told the ppl at Corinth to 'examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." Not if u have saving faith in Christ, but if you are in a certain great bodyt of doctrine called 'the faith'. He also calls it the 'common faith'. That gospel which he said if any come preaching 'another' gospel let him be accursed. II John says that whoever abides not in the 'doctrine of Christ' hath not God. The doctrine of Christ, that He is God''s son, born of a Virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, died an atoning death, and rose physically from the dead. II John says if they don't bring this doctrine, dont receive them into your house or bid them God speed.

    We strive for the 'faith of the Gospel'. What is it? It is found in I Cor. 13:3,4, where Paul said , "I declare unto you the Gospel by which you WERE SAVED. I preached it to you and you were saved. He said, "I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures."

    Now here are the great essentials of the Christian faith, so called, 'the faith' or 'the faith of the gospel', or the 'doctrine of Christ'. And if you don't have that doctrine, that Gospel, you are a false prophet, unsaved, and you lead people to Hell. Not every little difference of opinion is important, but these essentials are absolutely important.

    How do we know false prophets or false cults? First we are to beware of them, as Jesus said in Mathew, and Paul warned of false apostles and angels which brought a false gospel.

    One: They are wrong on essential doctrines, like I Cor. 15:3,4, ...'how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day...' Do not all preachers believe that? No. Many do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, God in human form, nor that mankind is incurably wicked and must be born again to ever see Heaven.

    Two: Anyone teaching other ways of salvation is a false prophet:

    See Romans 10: 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
    10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
    10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
    10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
    (King James Bible, Romans)

    Here is a false gospel, people trying to establish their own righteousness. Anyone or group teaching you can be saved by being good is a false teacher or cult, false religionists going about to establish their own righteousness. A man is wrong on doctrine, on the plan of salvation if he thinks you can be saved by your good works, by your ceremonies, by your priesthood, on your church, your priest, etc. ' For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby ye must be saved,' and that is the name of Jesus. It is not Jesus, plus blah, blah, blah, its Jesus period. Jesus paid for our sins, He gives us His righteousness, unless one repents, turns away from dead works, baptisms, ceremonies, rituals, self-effort, confession, a specific 'church' organization, tradition, or anything else 'we' do to add to what Jesus did, they are not saved. It is Christ who died, It is He who paid for our sins, it is His righteousness imputed to us, nothing else. We trust alone in Christ alone. Period.

    There are many marks of a false teacher or cult, whether they substitute or hold other books or writing as high or higher than the Bible, any extra-biblical authority, any authority besides the Bible and adding it to the Bible. We trust in Jesus, not in a church or anything else.

    2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
    2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
    2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

    Note here, there WILL be wicked false doctrine, damnable heresies, with pernicious ways, covetousness, feigned words, and they will make merchandise of you. And we are to beware of it, to watch out for it, to examine the doctrines against the sole authority of the Bible, and to keep away from it.

    (some of this was gleaned from John R. Rice's booklet "Beware of False Prophets")
     
  7. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    Well, notwithstanding the rediculousness of the question, it got the info I needed. ;)
     
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  8. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    Yep. They're breaking one of the ten commandments, by using His name in vain (ie, by doing things in his name, without his permission).

    Indeed.

    I don't really udnerstand... You want me to prove that authority ISN'T necessary?

    So? Do you want me to just trot out my opinions, or do you want me to base them on something? Are you going to base your opinions on something, or just mention them and pass them off as more authoritative than mine? We have to work from something.

    Umm... So what are we talking aobut then?

    So you say... I, on the other, make the distinction between faith and strong misunderstanding.


    Indeed. But I thought you mentioned earlier that merely basing my opinions on books is pointless, so why even bother backing up my opinions? Why try to mask the fact that they ARE mere opinions, especially after you uncloaked them as such?

    You seem to be thinking that "inspiration" is the same as the authority to speak for God, which I wholeheartedly do not. You're going to have to define some things, like inspiration and authority, before this conversation goes any further.

    Interesting opinion. I'm still confused, though. Is this a mere discussion of opinions? If not, please present the evidence for your opinion.

    Another interesting opinion.
     
  9. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Hm, Mrs. C, you would be asking the wrong person, since Baha'is don't believe it ever stops either. As long as humanity exists, we will have Messengers. Will we ever know *everything*? No...so we will always need Teachers.


    Here's my quandary -- the Messenger I follow says that Messengers are a little bit more than just normal humans. They are preexistent -- we are not. They have one foot in the world of the Divine and one foot in the physical world, as it were.

    If that's true, then no, not just anyone can be an authority. At least, not on the level of a Messenger. And if it isn't true, then the Messenger I believe in isn't really a Messenger. Things that make you go hmmm!

    Taking even the briefest look at history, it does look like the phenomenon of revelation (assuming it exists) happens very infrequently. And it also seems that Messengers appear in the darkest times and places, where the guidance is needed most. When things are hunky-dory, we don't get Messengers.

    If Enlightenment on the level of a Messenger were available to everyone, then we should expect to see equally Enlightened persons in very Enlightened times, no? But I don't see them in those places.

    There does seem to be some basic universal sense of ethics, such as do not lie, steal, murder, rape, pillage, etc etc, that virtually everyone (except maybe sociopaths?) holds to be correct. The standard of "not harming others" would seem to apply, would it not?

    No...if you murder in the name of God, then you are not from God. Which of the Founders of major religions has done this? Even in Islam, the worst you can claim is that Muhammad went into battle only as a matter of self-defense.

    Uh...no. Moses was forbidden to enter the Holy Land because he was disobedient at one point (unless Chumash says something more I don't know about, which is possible). He died of old age, just not in Canaan. God didn't kill him.

    It would be more of a question as to why God would choose for a Messenger someone who comitted manslaughter. But then one could argue that it's a nearly universal principle that it's ethical to kill someone in defense of an innocent. One could also argue that it was one heck of a test of faith for those who were asked to follow Moses out of Egypt. And a stutterer too! Now there's a spiritual challenge, eh?

    All of the ones that I've read up on the history, anyway. With the ones with little history left, it can be harder to tell. Though after a Messenger comes, people are more unified to the point where a great civilization occurs, and you can look for that at least. We don't really know about the early history of Zoroastrianism (at least not translated into English, anyway), but we do know about the great civilization that was built on the foundation of that religion. Even other religions point to it -- witness Daniel's relationship with the Zoroastrian kings Cyrus and Darius.

    Hinduism is another interesting case, because like Judaism, there's more than one "dispensation" to it. Still, there was a great civilization built there as well.

     
  10. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    You know, the interesting thing is that, even though I was an atheist at the time, I did use the Bible to see if a Messenger is of God. I was raised a Christian, and if there really was a God, then I should expect a prophet not to start preaching something totally opposed to what was taught before. Some details might change, as they did with Jesus, but the core teachings should not.

    The Bible also says that if a prophet prophesies and it doesn't come true, you don't need to worry about him. That rules out the vast majority of "prophets." :yes:
     
  11. Aqualung

    Aqualung Tasty

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    Cardero, did you give me welcome frubals? I'm still Aqualung, you know.
     
  12. lunamoth

    lunamoth Will to love

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    bump to see next page

    edit: hmm, that's strange, I thought there was another post listed that I could not view. Nevermind. :confused:
     
  13. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    If God wanted you to understand physics, and God is omnipotent as we imagine, then yes, it's logical to presume that you would immediately and fully understand physics without the need for any human middlemen.
    Not only would there be no need, but to do so would invite unnecessary error.
    Do you believe that God is omnipotent?
    I believe that what is an omnipotent God's will, will already be my reality. If I don't already understand physics, then it's clearly not the will of an omnipotent God that I do so. If I'm able to learn about physics on my own, then I have to presume that it's not God's will that I be ignorant of physics, either. So it appears to me that God is not concerned one way or another about what I know of physics, or what I know of God.
    Most any time is a good time to listen to the Zep.
     
  14. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Being omnipotent doesn't imply the need to pull everyone's strings. Compared to a toddler, I am omnipotent, and yet I stood back and let my toddlers make mistakes while they were learning things. A parent who doesn't do that at times is called "overprotetive" and ends up with a kid who cannot function in the world on his own.

    Any God that is not omnipotent is not God. A non-omnipotent superior being would be no more than an advanced alien, no more worthy of our attention than our older siblings.

    This sounds rather like "If God had meant us to fly, we'd have wings." How does this not result in complacency?

    You didn't really address the point about the possibility of needing a "teacher" in areas of life other than exploring the physical side of our universe.

    On that we most certainly agree. :guitar1::drums:

    Hm, except I'm going away today for the weekend, to a place where I won't have access to much of anything electronic. :( Well, Monday afternoon when I get back, perhaps.
     
  15. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    I would agree that this is exactly what we have going on today. Even the people who believe that they have been given authority cannot maintain the many viewpoints from the many messengers who offer their reasoning on what exactly GOD expects from us. Many religions just write it off as false prophets or consulting with demons because they fear that these other messengers threaten their authority.

    And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession; and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people. [Deuteronomy 32:48-50]

    My apologies for the terminology, I should have written that God sentenced him to death instead of the word “killed”.



    You also bring up a very interesting point that some of the most unlikely people are chosen to carry authority. What I mean by unlikely is that a Supreme Being does not seem to employ prophets in the field of their expertise. Doctors are not consulted to deliver foolproof cures to terminal diseases. Scientists are not chosen to convey the secrets of scientific principals. Lawyers should be divinely informed whether their clients are innocent or guilty. It would seem logical that God would consult authority (or at least our conception of it), to carry authority.


    I would tend to agree. There are many people in the world who are more intelligent than I am. If I started receiving prophecies on medicine or physics I probably would not understand these messages. This leads me to believe that the only understanding GOD devotes to messengers can only be contained within their current understanding and interest. There are many religious people with many people practicing different professions. If a religion contained sole authority to speak for GOD I would assume these professional members would be consulted on improving methods in their given field. Now that would be impressive!
     
  16. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Earned how? By whose standards? If it's the Body of Christ we're talking about, and Christ is the head, then the ahtority to speak and act on his behalf must come from Christ. Like grace, authority is not earned, but given. Moses didn't ask for authority. Isaiah didn't ask for authority. David didn't ask for authority. Jesus didn't ask for authority. Authority was given to them. And, certainly, none of them had credentials to display.
     
  17. Booko

    Booko Deviled Hen

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    Oh, I wouldn't expect them to be able to do that or see it as their job. Every Messenger set up his own authority. There hasn't been anyone that set up one across the board. Before now, it wouldn't have even been possible.

    However, on the single religion level, you could look and see whether fragmentation is universal. I'd say it's nearly universal, but not universal.

    Or they don't have a concept like "progressive revelation" to understand why there might be multiple authorities, and why that's ok.

    While you could argue that at the time of Jesus the authorities in Judaism wrote him off as a false prophet, you gotta admit they have a good history of understanding it's ok for there to be multiple religions (just not for Jews).



    Oh, ok. Though I don't read that as being sentenced to death as much as being informed where he would die. (One wonders again what the oral Torah has to say about this. You so rarely get the full story in the Biblical texts alone.)

    Authority in what realm? Spiritual authority? By the time it's necessary to send another Messenger, it's because the existing spiritual authorities have it so messed up a house cleaning is in order.

    No, but if you went with the flow, you might find yourself doing some amazing things. I'd still consult a good shrink first, though, if it happened to me. :)

    Well, the Messengers themselves may have the full understanding possibly, but that doesn't mean they would convey it all to us. The New Testament says as much, when Jesus says there are many things we cannot bear now, but when the Spirit of Truth comes, we'll get to know more. I know that is often interpreted to have happened at Pentecost, but it seems to me there was still an awful lot we didn't know after that event, so it's an interpretation I don't hold to myself.

    My religion doesn't claim sole authority. At most it claims to be the most effective message for today's problems.

    And we are instructed to go out and increase humanity's knowledge and do work in the spirit of service to humanity, which counts as "worship" to Baha'is.

    That's one of the many reasons why Baha'is have been persecuted in Iran. Baha'is have an impetus to get an education, and an impetus to be fair in business dealings. What that means is, the Baha'is were more likely to be well-to-do than their neighbors. That's a source of jealously, which leads to some bad effects if the prevailing religious order decides you're a challenge to them.
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    OK ... which one? That's the whole point of this thread. I think you're WAY off base here. I made the comment that no one has sole access to the "red phone." Jesus just didn't operate that way. The gospel message is inclusive, not exclusive. It has been said (correctly) that the Church is "essentially, intentionally and constitutionally one."
    There is one Church, one Body, one People. None are closer, or more privy, or more special, or more anything else than anyone else. Even Jesus corrected the disciples for displaying this kind of faulty thinking when they rebuked the man for casting out demons, because he was not "one of them." There is no "them" and "us." We're all "us." And we all share authority, as Christ gives it to us.
     
  19. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

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    Both very good questions.
    And I would assume all the other perks that would go with it. Abilities and expertise in the fields of powers to accurately prophesy, ability to heal (physically and psychologically) and resurrect from the dead (minus the exorbitant medical fees or qualifications of medical insurance), effective speaking and teaching skills and miracle manipulation. These abilities were supposedly extended over to the humanity of the apostles. I would like to know where this knowledge has disappeared, where it exists today or why it has been forgotten. I have not encountered any religions who claim authority and have possessed and competently displayed all of these traits.
    And many people are still unconvinced and suspicious of their history, actions, existences and motives. I would conclude that if authority is claimed then these abilities, qualities listed above must go along with it, they haven’t.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    God calls who God calls -- regardless of the acts, beliefs, lifestyle, social status, or personal grooming habits of the individual -- and certainly not according to "which church" the individual belongs. God's call is up to God -- not up to human criteria.
     
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