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Religion/Spirituality Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Halt, May 26, 2017.

  1. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Invictus is exactly right. DR, you're treating Christianity as a monolithic movement and you really couldn't be more wrong.

    Going back to the New Testament, Christianity is about the OT law being completed in Jesus Christ. Thus, the Christian is free from the law. Paul calls it a harsh taskmaster. He also writes that for the Christian, "All things are permissable, but not all things are profitable." The Christian faith is not about obedience to a law, it's about acting out of love in a relationship.

    Let me explain that further by illustration. I am married. Because I love my wife there are several things I choose not to do. One of those things is to never get into a car with another woman, alone, and drive to a destination. Would it be morally wrong to do so? No. Absolutely not. I don't do it simply because I love my wife so much that I choose to never put myself in a situation where I am tempted to cheat on her, or where someone else could question my fidelity. And that is true, and even more so, with the reason I choose to keep fidelity with her. It isn't because it is immoral not to, but because I love her too much to do so.

    Applying that to Christianity, the heart of Christianity is a relationship with God based on love. I choose not to act in ways counter to my faith because of a loving relationship with God, not because I fear consequences or because of a set of moral laws that I must follow. In fact, the NT is very clear that any break of morality is forgivable, so there is no "You Must Do" laws within the faith.

    The problem is man's proclivity to black and white; to want hard and fast rules. As such, institutions have created moral laws and rules such as you have mentioned in the Catholic church. But a simply read of the NT would show you that is not the intention of Christianity.
     
  2. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    If that's true, then why do the Ten Commandments carry any weight? It certainly explains why they're always breaking 'Thou shalt not kill.'

    Or, for another, more relevant issue, why does Christianity widely view abortion or gay sex as cardinal sins, if 'everything is permitted'?
     
  3. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Only the catholic church views sins as "Cardinal" or "Venial" sins. I recognize absolutely no difference between the two. As for the ten commandments, the issue is that breaking them hurts our relationship with God. In fact, go back to my comment on adultery in my earlier post. I choose not to commit adultery because I love my wife too much and doing so breaks the marital bond. That fact, however, is a universal with in the Christian faith as it breaks our relationship with God as well as our spouse.

    By the way, there is no commandment against killing. The commandment is "Do not murder." And yes, there is a distinct difference in the OT between the Hebrew words for kill and murder.

    As for abortion, there's two elements there. The first element is that Christians believe in the Imago Dei; that is, every human being is made in the image of God. As such, abortion is destruction of God's image and doing so, therefore, hurts a Christian's relationship with God. It is literally like taking a picture of your wife or husband and stabbing a knife through it. How can that not hurt a relationship? The second element is that Christians believe life begins at conception, and choosing to destroy that life is exactly the same as choosing to murder (not kill) any other human being. Of course, the issue with "life of the mother" now becomes an issue of kill vs. murder based on my statement on the commandment not to kill.

    (Note to others: please let's not make this thread a dumpster-fire about abortion).
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  4. Arthellion

    Arthellion Groundskeeper

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    I'd throw in here as well, that the "average person" in the church misses the above points entirely. They revert legalism and judgement of other because they don't actually have that relationship. It's easier to teach/live a certain way than recognize our own incompetence and inability to live that way. It's easier to be "self sufficient" than be humble and recognize the desperate need we have for God and a relationship with Him.

    And it's sad. Because the relationship I have with Him is so wonderful and filled with love. All my needs are satisfied in Him and it is the most joyful thing ever to love Him.
     
  5. Marsupial

    Marsupial Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    It is and it isn't. There's nothing intrinsic to Christianity which might rely on laws or edicts from any earthly authority. But in reality I think Arthellion is closer to the right of it.

    Christianity as an organized faith (and I'll acknowledge the distinction between that and 'as a personal ethos') is all about laws and edicts. The Catholic Church has its Pope, its Councils, its Edicts and Papal Bulls. The size of the Catholic Church is reflected in the number and complexity of it's man-made laws governing the salvation of its flock.

    That tendency scales.

    The United Methodist Church has its General Conferences and its Council of Bishops who lay down rules for the Church to follow. The Southern Baptists have their Conventions and their Executive Council. The batshit crazy, unaffiliated Baptist church down the road where I grew up (which broke away from SBC when they found it too damned progressive) has their dick of a pastor and their (dicks of a) Lay Council, and woe betide you if you break their Church rules.

    I get that Christian philosophy is not a legal structure, that all you need is faith, forgiveness, repentence, etc. through Christ. And at this point, given the number of times I've poked you with a religiously-themed pointy stick, I accept and appreciate that you personally believe and follow that ethos. But that's not the experience I've typically had with Christians. That's not the way that most organized Christian communities function. Hell, it's not the way that any organized Christian community I've ever encountered has functioned. And it's almost the polar opposite of the way politically active Christianity seems to function.

    Weirdly I think you know too much about the history and philosophy of your faith to be representative of most of the people who profess to follow it.
     
  6. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think this talk of personal relationships is more representative of your sect of Christianity than it is of Christianity itself. Each denomination is different in how it approaches the faith. My experience of it was via my father, who is Catholic. And thus my experience of Christianity is vastly more about the laws and directives that followers are told to keep to in order to live out their lives as followers of Christ.
     
  7. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    You're both basically making the same point, and it's well taken. However, my argument concerns not how Christianity was later subjugated to laws and edicts, but what the original intent was as seen both in the NT and as seen in the earliest writings of the church fathers. The Apostolic creed, for instance, is not written as "You must believe this" but rather, "we confess this."

    Nevertheless, if we take this argument back to its original context of feminism and the definition of "religion", I must confess in that context, your arguments have a very valid point. Many Christians have turned what I have written above into a set of laws and rules (and I don't think I ever denied that) that must be followed. And, in the same way, if one were to say some adhere to feminism as a religion, they to set establish a set of laws and rules to be followed to be counted as a feminist.

    On the other hand, when focused on what Christians mean when they say Christianity "is not a religion," my arguments hold true. They may not be able to express it as I have, but the concept, nebulous though it is, still remains.
     
  8. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Which is one of the things that makes it rather hard to talk about Christians as any sort of monolithic bloc.

    Though I'd also say that some of the more legalistic traits of organized Christianity are really just the sort of thing that's likely to crop up in any large and organized group of people. It's hard to find any large organization that doesn't have their sects, orthodoxy, and dogma.