Jump to content




Welcome to Unexplained Mysteries! Please sign in or create an account to start posting and to access a host of extra features.


* * * * * 1 votes

Troubling Doctrines For Christians


  • Please log in to reply
197 replies to this topic

#16    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:32 AM

Sundew, that indeed was very helpful. Most of your points tracked with my own understanding of those issues. One could start a new thread on whether or not Hell makes moral sense when good people ostensibly go there. Your explanation mirrored traditional Christian teachings on the subject, though. I liked what you said about the ancient Middle East in that certain events, that seem very bizarre in our era, make more sense in the context of those places and times. We often make the same kinds of mistakes when judging other chapters of the historical record through the lens of America in 2013. We may part company on slavery, as it's not severely criticized in the New Testament. I realize that much of that comes from the culture of that era, but the lack of criticism is still troubling.

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#17    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 01 March 2013 - 04:36 AM

View PostRlyeh, on 28 February 2013 - 05:16 AM, said:

God in the OT, some stories he appears counterproductive and even a bit dumb.

The various portrayals probably stem from the disparate interpretations of the chroniclers in the Old Testament. Some of these individuals were influenced by cultural considerations.

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#18    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:01 AM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 28 February 2013 - 07:57 AM, said:

Wasn't Predestination entirely invented by Augustine (who also entirely made up the notion of "Original Sin", which also has no biblical basis at all)  and eagerly taken up by that evil charlatan Calvin to blackmail people into following his teachings? One of the most evil men who have ever lived.
Actually, as usual, all the talk about Hell and so on has been very largely extrapolated by later commentators has it not, notably the abovementioned evil Calvin, and neither the OT nor he who is so often forgotten when discussing what the "Bible" teaches, Jesus, really had very much to say about it, did they, as with so much.

.The tone of the New Testament is much different than the tone of the Old Testament.
Well, naturally, since it wasn't a uniform set of writings but was a collection of many kinds of writing over a very long period of time that set out the basis for God's relationship with Humanity and set out rhe background for the yearning for a Messiah. The NT was much more focussed on a series of events concerning a single individual at a precise period, even if I do think it has been rather padded with, in particular, the Opinions of Paul, even if those aren't strictly relevant to the subject he is discussiing, i.e. Jesus. The OT, to be quite honest, I think, contains an awful lot of superfluous material that has nothing at all to do with the overall theme, and really the only possible purpose for retaining all those interminable Laws would be to highlight how different Jesus' view of how to approach a relationshiop with God was - that you didn't have to bother with all that stuff any more.

It may be fair to say that it comes from personal scriptural interpretations. I think that Calvin is the most influential figure in the latter growth and development of this doctrine, though. "Blame" him for the dissemination of the frightening acceptance and adoption of predestination in its contemporary doctrinaire and dogmatic form in various Protestant denominations. He popularized the belief in the Elect. It seems like it's inescapable, no matter how you word or phrase the concept. An omniscient God has to know who will accept Grace unless the same omnipotent God *chooses* to not know who will accept His gift. That makes some kind of sense to a flawed human like me. It's difficult to penetrate such a conundrum!

I must admit that I take the easy way out when it comes to contradictions and discrepancies in Christian and Jewish holy books. I go with the New Testament when it seemingly contradicts the Old Testament. It's not as exhausting as engaging in cognitive dissonance. It's also less aggravating than hearing nonsensical attempts to explain away some differences.

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#19    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:23 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 28 February 2013 - 06:17 AM, said:

Thanks for sharing that list.  For me, I've answered those questions to my own satisfaction (though not necessarily to someone else's satisfaction):

Eternal Hell is excessive, and why would souls be predestined to go there? - I think this is much better looked at with a preceding question - "what is hell"?  Once we can actually decide on what it is, perhaps it's not as bad as you think it is?  NB- I have found that in a theological sense, Hell is NOT eternal punishment in fiery torture.

As to why souls are predestined to go there, I'd take two roads in answering, and both answers complement each other:  1- Romans 9 hypothesises that people are destined to go there in order that those who make it to heaven can understand what it is that God has saved them from, or in other words, how can we understand God's salvation for us if we don't know what the alternative is?  And the other point, 2- "predestination" is a concept that has been argued in Christianity since its earliest days, and I am not adverse to the idea that free will and predestination can both exist in God's world (in this case, a person chose their path, and because they chose it, they are predestined for either heaven or hell [and as I said, what is "hell" even?]).

The unforgivable sin reference terrified me when I was a kid, and it seems contradictory and out of place. - I wasn't a Christian as a kid, so I can't say the "unforgivable sin" terrified me very much during my life.  I would argue that the rejection of the Holy Spirit is akin to dying without the forgiveness of Jesus, by which we have not received the Holy Spirit and thus blasphemed its gift.  Ergo, we die without forgiveness and therefore are not forgiven.

The tone of the New Testament is much different than the tone of the Old Testament. - The through-line of God's message is the same going through both Testaments, so while there may be minor differences, I don't see the sweeping differences in tones that people (in my opinion, wrongly) attribute - ie, God doling out death and judgement vs God of Love.

Why was slavery not criticized? - Because as much as it is hard to believe now, slavery was a necessity within the society of the time.  Christianity was a grass-roots movement aimed more at the lowly in society than the high.  If Jesus began preaching to cast off the shackles of slavery and the slaves did so, society would grind to a halt and destroy itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That said, the questions and doctrines I find most troubling about my belief are:

The Trinity - while I fully believe it is what the Bible teaches, I cannot wrap my human mind around the concept of a 3-in-1 entity (no matter how many analogies there are, none of them fully capture the triune nature of the Christian God).

Love your enemy - easy to say, harder to do, especially if you're talking about "loving" a mass murderer of a paedophile (especially if one has affected you personally with your family or your child).  How can I look at a paedophile who molested my child and say "You have my love" (note, I haven't got any children, let alone a child who had been molested).  

Free will vs Predestination - The OP brushed briefly on this, which I addressed in part already.  Ultimately I'm led to trust that God knows best and that while God is sovereign and has predestined us, we are also individual beings with the ability to use our God-given free will (yes, in our physical world these concepts are mutually exclusive).

That will do as a start.

That's a great start! Thanks much for adding your own list. You and I have the same interpretation of the unpardonable sin, which is more like a condition or a state than a sin. Most theologians teach that.

I considered your interpretation of Christ's reluctance(?) to criticize slavery. Was He working within the system to change the system? He evidently took the legal and peaceful route to avoid bloody Spartacus-like revolts that would have caused many deaths, especially those that came from executions and torture. It's tragic that some took silence for an okay to engage in the practice.

As for Hell, it may be instructive to look at how various myths influenced Christianity. We can't really say what such a horrid place is or isn't, but our ideas of it often come from both past and present cultures and teachings. Some conceptions are more cartoonish than scriptural. You can say the same thing about a few linked subjects (devil, demons, evil, etc.).

Saint Patrick allegedly used a shamrock to answer your question when he preached to the pagan Irish. He showed that the Trinity came from the same Unity, the three personalities stemmed from the same origin, three essences of the same source. That story, true or not, made sense to me. I'm not sure that it made sense to Oneness Pentecostals.

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#20    Beany

Beany

    Government Agent

  • 3,344 posts
  • Joined:26 Jul 2011
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:California

  • If music is the most universal language just think of me as one whole note. Nikki Giovanni

Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:33 AM

View PostDetective Mystery 2013, on 01 March 2013 - 04:36 AM, said:

The various portrayals probably stem from the disparate interpretations of the chroniclers in the Old Testament. Some of these individuals were influenced by cultural considerations.

How could one possibly escape one's cultural considerations and context? Aren't we all products of our historic time & culture, inextricably bound however great or small? Is it possible to take one one cultural institution, like religion, and separate it from it's cultural context? Or an economic institution, such as slavery, and separate that from the the host culture?


#21    Valdemar the Great

Valdemar the Great

    Mainly Spherical in Shape

  • Member
  • 25,131 posts
  • Joined:09 May 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:there

  • Vampires are people too.

Posted 01 March 2013 - 08:37 AM

So apparently what we're asked to believe is that God, or Pauls' version of God, deliberately set out to make people "destined for destruction", just so that the "chosen few" could feel smug? Doesn't it sound rather as if this idea was devised just to justify the status of society- that some are innately superior to others? And was this not exactly what Jesus taught against?
It seems that the whole concept entirely depends on the fact that this was Paul's idea. Once again, I can only ask, did Jesus say anything about it? Why does Christianity seem to be based on Paul's views of things, more than Jesus'?

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


:cat:


#22    Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android

    ????????

  • 25,987 posts
  • Joined:17 Apr 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney

  • Paranoid Android... One Mippippi, two Mippippi, three Mippipi....

Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:48 PM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 01 March 2013 - 08:37 AM, said:

So apparently what we're asked to believe is that God, or Pauls' version of God, deliberately set out to make people "destined for destruction", just so that the "chosen few" could feel smug? Doesn't it sound rather as if this idea was devised just to justify the status of society- that some are innately superior to others? And was this not exactly what Jesus taught against?
It seems that the whole concept entirely depends on the fact that this was Paul's idea. Once again, I can only ask, did Jesus say anything about it? Why does Christianity seem to be based on Paul's views of things, more than Jesus'?
How does it suggest that some are innately superior to others?  That's not what I got from it at all, and it's a massive leap to believe this is what it was about.  Likewise it's not about "feeling smug", though at least on this I can see how you came to that opinion even if I don't agree.

This section of the board is not for arguing, so I won't address the Jesus/Paul issue except to say that Paul and Jesus complement each other in their teachings.  Paul's main goal was to glorify Christ, his teachings were with that purpose in mind.  At least you aren't arguing this to be a Calvinist invention anymore.

Edited by Paranoid Android, 01 March 2013 - 12:50 PM.

Posted Image

My blog is now taking a new direction.  Dedicated to my father who was a great inspiration in my life, I wish to honour his memory (RIP, dad) by sharing with the world what he had always kept to himself.  More details, http://www.unexplain...showentry=27811

#23    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:08 AM

View PostBeany, on 01 March 2013 - 05:33 AM, said:

How could one possibly escape one's cultural considerations and context? Aren't we all products of our historic time & culture, inextricably bound however great or small? Is it possible to take one one cultural institution, like religion, and separate it from it's cultural context? Or an economic institution, such as slavery, and separate that from the the host culture?

That was my point. We were born and raised in a certain place and a certain time that guided our views of reality. That made it impossible to fairly judge 1600s America, for instance. It also made it impossible for many of us to fairly judge Third World countries.

We relate to the here and the now, and it's hard for most of us to relate to other times and other places. We sometimes judge them as barbaric due to our more fortunate perspectives. It's likely that future humans will do the same to us. "Those savages in 2013 constantly waged war."

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#24    Detective Mystery 2014

Detective Mystery 2014

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,521 posts
  • Joined:31 Jan 2013
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:twilight zone's outer limits

  • Mysteries are tomorrow's histories.

Posted 02 March 2013 - 04:15 AM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 01 March 2013 - 08:37 AM, said:

So apparently what we're asked to believe is that God, or Pauls' version of God, deliberately set out to make people "destined for destruction", just so that the "chosen few" could feel smug? Doesn't it sound rather as if this idea was devised just to justify the status of society- that some are innately superior to others? And was this not exactly what Jesus taught against?
It seems that the whole concept entirely depends on the fact that this was Paul's idea. Once again, I can only ask, did Jesus say anything about it? Why does Christianity seem to be based on Paul's views of things, more than Jesus'?

How does one get around that? I'm not a fan of the frightening view of predestination, but it might not be possible to contradict or counteract it. How does God *not* know who will be saved? It's not a status symbol. We're not deserving of salvation. We shouldn't brag or boast about it. That said, God must have foreknowledge of the states of our souls in the afterlife. You don't need to be a Calvinist to see that.

There is one reality with billions of versions.

#25    Valdemar the Great

Valdemar the Great

    Mainly Spherical in Shape

  • Member
  • 25,131 posts
  • Joined:09 May 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:there

  • Vampires are people too.

Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

View PostDetective Mystery 2013, on 02 March 2013 - 04:15 AM, said:

How does one get around that? I'm not a fan of the frightening view of predestination, but it might not be possible to contradict or counteract it. How does God *not* know who will be saved? It's not a status symbol. We're not deserving of salvation. We shouldn't brag or boast about it. That said, God must have foreknowledge of the states of our souls in the afterlife. You don't need to be a Calvinist to see that.
Because the idea of being "saved" or "destined for Destruction" directly contradicts everything that Jesus taught about every single person being able to be "saved" if they would just understand what he was saying. Also, his meaning of being "saved" meant to understand the truth about God and to ultimately become part of God, not a crude, heads or tails choice between being Saved or Destructed. That's how one gets around it, because it was not how Jesus saw it.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


:cat:


#26    Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android

    ????????

  • 25,987 posts
  • Joined:17 Apr 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney

  • Paranoid Android... One Mippippi, two Mippippi, three Mippipi....

Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:01 AM

View PostLord Vetinari, on 02 March 2013 - 09:05 AM, said:


Because the idea of being "saved" or "destined for Destruction" directly contradicts everything that Jesus taught about every single person being able to be "saved" if they would just understand what he was saying. Also, his meaning of being "saved" meant to understand the truth about God and to ultimately become part of God, not a crude, heads or tails choice between being Saved or Destructed. That's how one gets around it, because it was not how Jesus saw it.
So why did Jesus speak in parables?

Posted Image

My blog is now taking a new direction.  Dedicated to my father who was a great inspiration in my life, I wish to honour his memory (RIP, dad) by sharing with the world what he had always kept to himself.  More details, http://www.unexplain...showentry=27811

#27    redhen

redhen

    Poltergeist

  • Member
  • 2,825 posts
  • Joined:14 Aug 2005
  • Gender:Not Selected
  • Location:Samsara

Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:32 PM

Troubling doctrines? I could make a list but the worst one for me is vicarious salvation, especially in the form of animal and human sacrifice. It's morally repugnant and illogical.

"By oneself alone is evil done,
By oneself alone is one defiled,
By oneself alone is evil avoided.
By oneself is one purified.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself,
None can purify another"


- Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha


#28    Sundew

Sundew

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,781 posts
  • Joined:12 Dec 2008
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:An island by the sea.

  • Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectos Nunc

Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:54 PM

View PostRlyeh, on 28 February 2013 - 05:29 AM, said:

How did this occur? Did God create us this way?

According to Scripture we were created "good". If you read the account of Creation in general and man in particular in Genesis, at the end God said it was "very good". We were also given free will and as such could either obey or disobey God's only restriction at that time. Though the Bible does not say when a portions of the angels rebelled and fell, many theologians believe it was after Creation and (obviously) prior to the fall of man, where Satan interjected himself into the account.

Man as a free moral agent was deceived and followed Satan rather than God. Our fallen nature seems after that point to be hereditary, that is two fallen individuals can only produce a fallen offspring. Perhaps that is why Jesus was not conceived using two human parents, had He been so he too would presumably had a fallen nature and therefore could not be a sacrifice of the sins of others.

So we were not created as fallen, any more that Satan or the other fallen angels were. Rather as free moral agents we (and the angels) made a very bad decision and its effects have reverberated throughout history. It's a bit like telling a child not to touch a glower burner on the stove and he does it anyway, there are and will be consequences.

Edited by Sundew, 02 March 2013 - 02:55 PM.


#29    Rlyeh

Rlyeh

    Omnipotent Entity

  • Member
  • 9,196 posts
  • Joined:01 Jan 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The sixth circle

  • Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchett

Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:07 PM

View PostSundew, on 02 March 2013 - 02:54 PM, said:

According to Scripture we were created "good". If you read the account of Creation in general and man in particular in Genesis, at the end God said it was "very good". We were also given free will and as such could either obey or disobey God's only restriction at that time. Though the Bible does not say when a portions of the angels rebelled and fell, many theologians believe it was after Creation and (obviously) prior to the fall of man, where Satan interjected himself into the account.
And many Christians will say the Creation account didn't literally occur. So I guess the question still remains.


#30    Valdemar the Great

Valdemar the Great

    Mainly Spherical in Shape

  • Member
  • 25,131 posts
  • Joined:09 May 2005
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:there

  • Vampires are people too.

Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 02 March 2013 - 10:01 AM, said:

So why did Jesus speak in parables?
Because his ideas were more subtle than the old black and white, "us" & "them" thinking that people had had for centuries. What he tried to do with his parables was to try to put his ideas in ways that his audience would be able to relate to. To simply boil down his teaching to simple black/white thinking that classifies people into "Saved" and "Others" does him rather a disservice, I feel, although people who claim to be "Christian" have been doing that for very many years, of course.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


:cat:





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users