How do Christians possibly rationalize these things?

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Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 05:38 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Didymos Thomas,

So who or what is one to address, I do not wish to blame any individuals, however if a deed is done in the name of Christianity, how is it wrong to address that entity calling itself Christianity? What's the alternative boys?


That's a good question, and it's hard to answer. I know every part of you just wants to drop further consideration and point the finger - it's the easy way out. And I'm not saying I'm above this, as I do it myself, too!

With the spread of this knowledge to others, I'd hope we could come to some kind of solution. That, in my opinion, is a step in the right direction. Instead of debating the cause of the problem, let's just work to find a solution to the acknowledged problem.

Any ideas from anyone would be welcomed.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 05:49 pm
@boagie,
Quote:
Didymos Thomas,

So who or what is one to address, I do not wish to blame any individuals, however if a deed is done in the name of Christianity, how is it wrong to address that entity calling itself Christianity? What's the alternative boys?


Fair question, boagie. It is misguided because the supposed entity, Christianity, did not act - the individual claiming to represent Christianity acted, and it is that individual who is responsible.

Someone claiming to act in the name of Christianity makes the same mistake found in your arguments - they assume Christianity to be a unified whole. They assume one person can speak or act for all. In reality, Christianity is no more a unified whole than coffee drinkers; no surprise that even coffee drinkers prefer different blends. If I take my coffee black, others might still prefer cream - and I certainly have no authority to claim that black coffee is best, much less the authority to make such a claim on behalf of all coffee drinkers.

The alternative is to actually address those responsible, instead of wasting time pointing fingers at abstract labels. We can take them head on instead of getting bogged down in senseless ideological battles.

Take, for example, the guy who wrote 'Darwin's Black Box'. Scientists criticized his work; they did not make protracted accusations against an entire faith tradition. In this way we do not alienate those in the faith tradition who are innocent (in the case of science, people like myself who promote scientific inquiry over any religious doctrine, including those doctrines I subscribe to), and we also educate by addressing the real problems, the specific erroneous claims of the author.
 
Martin Cothran
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 07:28 pm
@Zetherin,
Zetherin wrote:
Martin, I don't think he's hung by his own rope; he's simply considering. His feeling toward hypocrisy or murder as being intrinsically wrong is irrelevant. It's not wrong to consider, even if the one considering may appear hypocritical based on their set of morals, in my opinion. Hell, I consider things all the time and sometimes don't have a 'good' or reasonable basis - I consider just to consider.


I'm fine with that, as long as he isn't implying that there is something wrong with hypocrisy, which, again, would be a moral judgment you couldn't make from a nihilist perspective.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 08:18 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
I can't imagine that demanding such a thing from others is a necessary condition for being a Christian.
You are changing the argument here. You made a statement about the common denominator of what it means to be a Christian. And to simply regard Jesus' teachings as having some value is frankly an insufficient standard -- that is, if the word "Christian" is to have any specificity.
 
Zetetic11235
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 11:09 pm
@Aedes,
Honestly Boagie, it seems what really frustrates you is human ignorance and its consequences. And I share the sentiment, but also see that it is not a problem to be solved.

To answer the inquiry of who do we blame, we blame no one, but rather we allow the momentum of our ideas seep into the public conciousness and shape the world, so is the way of intellectual influence. New thoughts influence further up in the academic chain and then they become validated, and it is many years before they fully set in, and when it comes to such things as new world views and philosophies taking hold, why you look at many decades. I am convinced that it is simply impatience when taken in perspective. Governments are social experiments waitng for a reset after some overload point and once the smoke clears, a new better society is build from the ruins. Eventually logic may be the religion of the people, but it can only be so through time and perhaps a bit of tyrrany, as any religion, and as any religion, ignorance of the people might be exploited, although the nature of the religion might be contradicted in doing so, but such is true of all religions.

I am not so sure your problem can be adressed as such.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 11:10 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
You are changing the argument here. You made a statement about the common denominator of what it means to be a Christian. And to simply regard Jesus' teachings as having some value is frankly an insufficient standard -- that is, if the word "Christian" is to have any specificity.


Yes, this is what I was hinting at earlier. What then does the word, "Christianity" mean? Shouldn't it have some standards, which make the label what it is? Otherwise, it will just be so ambiguous it will make the usage pointless.

Didy, to tell you the truth, (even with the disclaimer that I don't even enjoy using these sticky labels) you don't sound like any Christian I've ever come across, ever. I mean, you support science, state that the Bible shouldn't be taken literally, and then only call yourself a Christian on the basis that you value some of Jesus' teachings. By no means is this a personal attack, I'm just curious as to how you've come to your conclusion. Ultimately, you can label, call yourself whatever you want, but know that it may cause confusion. And in this case, it most certainly is.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 11:17 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
Honestly Boagie, it seems what really frustrates you is human ignorance and its consequences. And I share the sentiment, but also see that it is not a problem to be solved.

To answer the inquiry of who do we blame, we blame no one, but rather we allow the momentum of our ideas seep into the public conciousness and shape the world, so is the way of intellectual influence. New thoughts influence further up in the academic chain and then they become validated, and it is many years before they fully set in, and when it comes to such things as new world views and philosophies taking hold, why you look at many decades. I am convinced that it is simply impatience when taken in perspective. Governments are social experiments waitng for a reset after some overload point and once the smoke clears, a new better society is build from the ruins. Eventually logic may be the religion of the people, but it can only be so through time and perhaps a bit of tyrrany, as any religion, and as any religion, ignorance of the people might be exploited, although the nature of the religion might be contradicted in doing so, but such is true of all religions.

I am not so sure your problem can be adressed as such.


You view the problem of human ignorance to be a problem that can't be solved, and perhaps shouldn't even be addressed? It'd be very disheartening if that were the case as that is what I ultimately strive for - that's what I was hoping to dedicate the rest of my life to. You're right, though, it's possible this problem is far beyond our comprehension. One solution may very well not be a solution at all, and may just bring pain to others, further increasing ignorance.

But I will try anyway.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 04:05 am
@Zetherin,
Quote:
You are changing the argument here. You made a statement about the common denominator of what it means to be a Christian.


Had to go back a few pages for this one. Smile

But I do not see why a Christian must demand that others consider his scripture to be 'the best' in order to be a Christian.

Quote:
And to simply regard Jesus' teachings as having some value is frankly an insufficient standard -- that is, if the word "Christian" is to have any specificity.


The problem is casting the net wide enough to encompass all Christians. You're right, 'some value' does seem insufficient.

You say:
"But they were not Christians if they didn't have some prioritized regard for the divinity of Jesus himself, of his story (at least allegorically) or at least the divinity of his teaching."

And I agree that a Christian would look to the teachings of Jesus, at least as their primary source of spiritual guidance. I'm cautious to use the word divine because Christians can have such different views on the nature of Jesus - I'm not even convinced that one must accept the historical existence of Jesus to be a Christian.

Quote:
Didy, to tell you the truth, (even with the disclaimer that I don't even enjoy using these sticky labels) you don't sound like any Christian I've ever come across, ever. I mean, you support science, state that the Bible shouldn't be taken literally, and then only call yourself a Christian on the basis that you value some of Jesus' teachings. By no means is this a personal attack, I'm just curious as to how you've come to your conclusion. Ultimately, you can label, call yourself whatever you want, but know that it may cause confusion. And in this case, it most certainly is.


Well, supporting science and being critical of the Bible is not entirely un-Christian. For some Christians, it's the work of the devil. For other Christians, it's a responsibility.

I consider myself a Christian because I find value in some of the material attributed to Jesus. I'm not so sure about all of the material attributed to him; the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas represent my canon, I suppose.

I understand the confusion. If your nation only raised golden retriever dogs, and I brought a shi-tzu you may wonder if the creature is a dog at all.
 
Zetetic11235
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 03:03 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
There will always be those who are behind the curve and those ahead of the curve, it is the heterogenous nature of humans. That being said, those who by nature or virtue stay ahdead of the curve deserve good information and good teachers to help put it in their heads. If you wish to provide this, zetherin, I applaud you, however, my applause comes with a caveat; do not fret over the insurmountable depth of any persons apathy nor their ignorance, for it is not your place to change them.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 03:39 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
I'm cautious to use the word divine because Christians can have such different views on the nature of Jesus - I'm not even convinced that one must accept the historical existence of Jesus to be a Christian.
Divinity is certainly applicable to allegorical figures. Most people don't accept the historical existence of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot, Job, etc. Sure, they could be mythologized amalgamations of what were once real people -- like Odysseus and Arjuna, for instance. But you can still be a Jew without believing in the literal Adam and Eve. And the historical Jesus is immaterial to Christian doctrine anyway.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 04:45 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
There will always be those who are behind the curve and those ahead of the curve, it is the heterogenous nature of humans. That being said, those who by nature or virtue stay ahdead of the curve deserve good information and good teachers to help put it in their heads. If you wish to provide this, zetherin, I applaud you, however, my applause comes with a caveat; do not fret over the insurmountable depth of any persons apathy nor their ignorance, for it is not your place to change them.


Why is it not my place to offer consideration? Even without my motive, being to benefit humanity, I will still inevitably change people. Hell, you're changing me right now; I've been changed having been on this forum, and yes, ignorance-wise. And I do fret over the insurmountable depth over people's ignorance, including my own. To not fret, would to not be me.

I feel like I have a responsibility to help others around me consider. No, I don't go the activist route and push people, condemning them for maybe not considering something, but I do try to spread knowledge, 'planting seeds' as I cited earlier. I do not put myself on a pedestal, for that would be a grave mistake. Many have the potential to look above the clouds, but don't for whatever reason. I'd like for myself and others to provide them this opportunity, if possible. New perspective.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 05:29 pm
@Zetherin,
Quote:
Divinity is certainly applicable to allegorical figures. Most people don't accept the historical existence of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Lot, Job, etc. Sure, they could be mythologized amalgamations of what were once real people -- like Odysseus and Arjuna, for instance. But you can still be a Jew without believing in the literal Adam and Eve. And the historical Jesus is immaterial to Christian doctrine anyway.


But I am cautious about the use of divine because it can mean a number of different things to Christians - there are varying understandings of Jesus' divinity.

So for the purposes of establishing necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian, we have to qualify our use of divine so as to not exclude certain understandings of Jesus' divinity, if we are going to use the measure at all.

I'm not so sure the historical Jesus is immaterial to Christian doctrine. Personally, I'm not worried about the matter, but some organizations seem to be attached to his historical existence. It is immaterial to me, but I'm not sure it's immaterial to all Christians. The fundamentalists are Christians, after all. They may seem more like Paulists sometimes, but they would claim otherwise.
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 06:51 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Smile
Christ divinity is very important to most Christians. I have never met a Christian, other than on line, that did not take the bible literally, Christs divinity is literally held. I would agree, that it is not the life which is important, but the significance of that life, which could be said of any spiritually influential figure.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:05 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
I have never met a Christian, other than on line, that did not take the bible literally, Christs divinity is literally held.


Neither have I. Which is why I'm still confused over this liberal labeling of "Christian". Hmph. :confused:
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:14 pm
@boagie,
Quote:
Christ divinity is very important to most Christians. I have never met a Christian, other than on line, that did not take the bible literally, Christs divinity is literally held.


But what do we mean by divinity? For Christians, the term can mean many different things. Granted, the depth and popularity of these disagreements is not as significant as in the time just after Jesus' death and before the larger centralized Churches became supremely powerful, but I think they are still worth considering if we are going to give the subject a fair treatment.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:17 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
But what do we mean by divinity? For Christians, the term can mean many different things. Granted, the depth and popularity of these disagreements is not as significant as in the time just after Jesus' death and before the larger centralized Churches became supremely powerful, but I think they are still worth considering if we are going to give the subject a fair treatment.


Shouldn't Christians have the same beliefs in terms of Jesus' divinity? If not, then what exactly is the common denominator between all Christians again (I know you spoke on this earlier, but someone called you out on it, still leaving me confused)? Or, is there no common denominator (which wouldn't even make sense)?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 07:52 pm
@Zetherin,
Quote:
Shouldn't Christians have the same beliefs in terms of Jesus' divinity? If not, then what exactly is the common denominator between all Christians again (I know you spoke on this earlier, but someone called you out on it, still leaving me confused)? Or, is there no common denominator (which wouldn't even make sense)?


I think that's the problem in front of us. Christians do not share all of the same beliefs about the nature of Jesus. So, now the problem is formulating necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 08:24 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
I think that's the problem in front of us. Christians do not share all of the same beliefs about the nature of Jesus. So, now the problem is formulating necessary and sufficient conditions for being a Christian.


Do you think there's a possibility you're just watering down the concept of being a Christian in order to fit your own ideals? In other words, maybe you're not really a Christian in the majority sense of the word, but still have some faith that you want to hold onto that's making you want to label yourself as such?
 
boagie
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 08:56 pm
@Zetherin,
Thomas, Come over to the dark side, we have candy!Very Happy
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 23 Jun, 2008 08:59 pm
@Zetherin,
Thomas has a significant (and VERY literate) interest in early Christians (hence his username), who were diverse in ways impossible to imagine in modern Christianity. And I think this is an invaluable source of understanding about where modern Christianity came from.

That said, the word Christian in the 100 AD context is NOT the same word as in the 2008 AD context. It's a historical belief system from a time with more diverse beliefs. But there are no more ebionites or gnostics. Someone can identify with the ebionites and call themselves that, but frankly that's a fringy solipsistic thing and it's not what Christianity contains anymore. Just as there are no more Jewish temple priests, no more sagisees and pharisees, etc.

Incidentally, I doubt that any early Christian belief system denied the divinity of Jesus whatever way you define that word.

Early Christianity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 

 
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