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Bling

Do atheists get a hard time?

309 posts in this topic

Where in the New Testament does it not make it perfectly clear that God impregnated Mary?

The issue is only mentioned twice in the Gospels, in Matthew and Luke. Matthew says in omniscient-narrator mode that Joseph didn't have sex with Mary until Jesus was born. Apart from that keeping the Islamic view open (that Jesus simply had no father at all), I was discussing the meaning of the phrase "Son of God" as being in play during the Second Century. Matthew wasn't canonical in the Second Century, since there was no canon then.

Luke's account doesn't corroborate Matthew's. All Mary says about virginity is that she hasn't had sex as of the time of the conversation. Gabriel could just as easily be telling Mary that God wouldn't mind, just this once, if an engaged couple behaved like a married one. Or, he could be telling her to get married and cut short the engagement. Or, God will provide. It's all very vague.

Luke had a source that said Jesus was born before Mary had had sex, and he didn't use it. That may be because Luke knew what an almah is, or maybe just understood that Isaiah wasn't talking about any birth in his remote future, and so Luke realized that Matthew was simply wrong on its motivation of why a virgin birth.

I didn't scour the Epistles for speculations on Mary's sex life, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing at all about it in authentic Paul. I will happily accept correction if I'm wrong about that. I see no reason, then, why a passably regular Second Century Christian led by someone in apostolic succession mighn't have believed that Jesus was a Son of God in some non-literal sense. We know there were "adoptionists," for example.

Why couldn't Jesus do this? Why did Jesus need to steal the phrasing from Micah almost verbatim?

Maybe it's just that I hang out too much with those scholarly types you mentioned, but I simply don't share your displeasure with one authority quoting other authorities. Nor, if someone is going to quote, would I fault them for quoting accurately. Part of Jesus' mission statement was that he came to fulfill the Law. I don't see what that could mean if not that Jesus believed he could square his ideas with exisitng scripture. I don't see how he could back that up without quoting some.

Anyway, if you want to pursue that angle, you probably need to do it with a Christian apologist, which I'm not. I'm happy to talk about what Jesus did, according to whatever writing we might be discussing, but as to whether or not what he did was a good idea, it's all the same to me.

Bibles with footnotes is a recent invention. Do Bibles point out the Jesus misquoted Deuteronomy 6:13 for example?

Mine usually just give the reader the reference. Then you can compare.

Wow, where are these Christian scholars? I had no idea that 75% of all Christians are Biblical scholars!

That isn't what I wrote.

Where did you get this number anyway?

Nicene Christians who either aren't Protestants, or if they are, then they are Anglicans or others who share with the Anglicans an officially recognized role for Reason and Tradition (mostly non-canonical early literature) alongside Scripture. Roman Catholics alone are about 50% of Nicene Christians worldwide. Protestants minus Anglicans and minus arguably similar churches is roughly equal to Anglicans plus arguably similar Protestants plus the various Eastern churches. So, round numbers, about 75%.

Thank you for Matthew 19: 16 ff. If I were the pious sort, then I'd wonder whether the man interrupted Jesus at 19: 20. Jesus is patronizing him, after all, even if the man provoked it by the "which ones?" comment. I certainly wouldn't put much weight on this pericope as being Matthew's record of some tradition that Jesus didn't know all the Commandments. The text simply doesn't say that.

That seems like an incredible stretch to me. The Old Testament predicts a Messiah but not Jesus or anything like him. In fact the idea that a human can forgive sins is just plain incompatible with Jewish beliefs -- God alone can forgive sin. Jesus completely breaks the rules of the Old Testament.

Well, this is something else you need to take up with a Christian apologist. Only God can forgive sins? Jesus is God. Next problem? Jesus didn't do the Messianic feats? He will when he returns. Next? ... and so on.

Are you saying that Jews have no church therefore they have no view?

I meant the Jewish Christians; they pretty much drop out of the picture around 70 or so, maybe with some elements surviving into the Second Century. They had a view when they existed, I think, but once they were gone...

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I think I also should step away. I've found that anyone who says their religion is a bunch of private ESP experiences with supernatural beings is not someone who responds to logic.

On the contrary I have found most ( not all) that have strong beliefs to the contrary don't follow logic at all. Fore example the "pipe" comment is completely a logical fallacy. Yet this person still thinks he is logical. Can't have it both ways.

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A church here in Portland put up a sign that caused tremendous controversy here. It's very wicked so Christians may wish to avert their eyes!

post-108987-0-12761100-1352310994_thumb.

The flak this pastor got was pretty bad. Some claimed it was another sign of the End of Days and many thought it was a literal endorsement of (yikes!) benevolent atheism. He had to defend the sign (scroll to the bottom) citing the parable of the Good Samaritan as proof that God likes kindness over hate. I don't get this. The Good Samaritan parable as I read it was just an example of kindness that Christians should follow, not a statement of like for all people who are kind. Also Samaritans were Jews that Judeans hated, not atheists.

Also (again as I read it), Jesus strongly endorsed hateful Christians in Luke 14:26:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple."

Some revisions have softened this stance to a large degree. Some have changed hate to "love less" and others have changed it to "abandon" or "willing to abandon". Others disregard these revisions showing that the original Greek certainly used the word "hate".

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A church here in Portland put up a sign that caused tremendous controversy here. It's very wicked so Christians may wish to avert their eyes!

post-108987-0-12761100-1352310994_thumb.

The flak this pastor got was pretty bad. Some claimed it was another sign of the End of Days and many thought it was a literal endorsement of (yikes!) benevolent atheism. He had to defend the sign (scroll to the bottom) citing the parable of the Good Samaritan as proof that God likes kindness over hate. I don't get this. The Good Samaritan parable as I read it was just an example of kindness that Christians should follow, not a statement of like for all people who are kind. Also Samaritans were Jews that Judeans hated, not atheists.

Also (again as I read it), Jesus strongly endorsed hateful Christians in Luke 14:26:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple."

Some revisions have softened this stance to a large degree. Some have changed hate to "love less" and others have changed it to "abandon" or "willing to abandon". Others disregard these revisions showing that the original Greek certainly used the word "hate".

Combine Luke 14:26 with Matthew 10:35

For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--

So much for "gods" commandment of thou shall honor thy mother and father.

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A church here in Portland put up a sign that caused tremendous controversy here. It's very wicked so Christians may wish to avert their eyes!

post-108987-0-12761100-1352310994_thumb.

You know something? I would bet that those words are bang on...

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scowl

A church here in Portland put up a sign that caused tremendous controversy here. It's very wicked so Christians may wish to avert their eyes!

I understand your having some fun with it, but I'm not sure that you appreciate how many people have been killed, some hideously, over the disagreement among Christians exemplified by that sign. In looking over the minister's statement (thank you for posting that), I think he must have known what he was doing.

He is not the first "liberal" Protestant to test these waters. Billy Graham and Robert Schuller (not often described as "liberal," although Billy Graham's meetings in the South were unsegregated by race when others' still had a section for the "colored") set off a fundie-firestorm with this,

>

I picked this version because it has the fundamentalist commentary first, in case you think I am making that up.

So what's "wrong" with what Billy Graham said? He's a Protestant, but it is the Roman Catholic view of salvation. That is, Jesus' sacrifice-resurrection was salvifically efficacious in itself, and that independent of someone's beliefs about that, God grants a conscience to all. Whoever follows their conscience (performs works according to Graham's "only light they have") is saved.

Non-Christians are often surprised that that's the Catholic view. Protestants, however, know it when they see it, and they saw it on that Methodist (that is, Protestant) billboard. They felt betrayed. Non-Christians look at the same thing and many think "Well, that's just common sense. Why don't they ever put anything except pious pablum on church billboards?"

Also (again as I read it), Jesus strongly endorsed hateful Christians in Luke 14:26:

As Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again." Haven't you and I done this pericope already?

Jesus never met a Christian during his entire ministry. What is being discussed is discipleship by Jews then and there, not membership in some later Gentile church. Yes, like soldiers, disciples might be called upon to make family and even self-preservation secondary to their vocation. Indeed, the rest of the speech alludes to secular commitments, including military ones.

And then there is the saying itself. I disagree that there is any "softening" in interpreting the figure of speech as meaning comparative valuation, and referring principally to behavior, not affect (contrary to the literal interpretation). Staying in Luke, verses 9: 59 ff have the application: discipleship trumps the religious obligation to bury the dead and the familial obligation to say farewell to the living. Compare also 5: 11, where some disciples made the cut.

Personally, I admire Navy SEALS. I imagine it'd be tough for them to have much of an ordinary family life, though. I'll bet some SEAL has heard a complaint from a disappointed family member which included the word "hate." On the other hand, there are plenty of folks who aren't SEALS, who don't behave like SEALS, and who are no less patriots for that. Admiration for the one does not entail contempt for the other.

Edited by eight bits

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Apparently Peter at least, in nature and physique, would have made a first rate navy seal.

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I understand you're having some fun with it, but I'm not sure that you appreciate how many people have been killed, some hideously, over the disagreement among Christians exemplified by that sign.

Christians know that killing is wrong.

In looking over the minister's statement (thank you for posting that), I think he must have known what he was doing.

So what did he know he was doing? All he did was p*** a bunch of people off by claiming to speak for God.

Jesus never met a Christian during his entire ministry. What is being discussed is discipleship by Jews then and there, not membership in some later Gentile church.

So it was OK for Jesus to encourage unconditional hate in his disciples, but it's not OK for the rest of us to hate unconditionally?

This religion gets more confusing every day. No wonder there are 1,600 sects.

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Christians know that killing is wrong.

I think it depends on what the killing is about, and, of course, which Christian. Often enough, "Jesus approves" is a mere pretext for a conflict, which is really about land, gold or sex partners. In this case, though, the matter defines the fundamental divide between typical Protestants and the older churches of which they protest. If what that sign says is true, then about half a billion people are barking up the wrong tree. Their predecessors killed and were killed for just this.

So, quite the pair of stones on that Methodist minister for putting it out there.

So what did he know he was doing? All he did was p*** a bunch of people off by claiming to speak for God.

No, "speaking for God" is his job. The objection here is to what the minister said, not that he said something on his own authority about God's preferences.

For example, "God dislikes hateful Christians more than he dislikes kind atheists" might have passed. Works are duly disparaged. and those who should know better harboring hatred despite their supposed acceptance of Jesus' gift is worse than the ignorant being faithless. What he actually said, however, was that God approves, to any extent at all, of faithless good works

Tyipcal Protestants believe that that contradicts what God has already said. The minister is not speaking for God, but rather against God, in this view. That's not my view, but we are trying to understand people who protsted the sign, not people like me who didn't.

So it was OK for Jesus to encourage unconditional hate in his disciples, but it's not OK for the rest of us to hate unconditionally?

It is your choice to read the figure of speech however you like. Jesus is not on the hook, however, for how you choose to misread him. It is perfectly clear what Jesus expected of his disciples, and that expectation simply was not unconditional hatred of anyone.

As an agnostic, I have no commitment to Jesus being correct to take the position he did. As a reader and discussant, however, I have a commitment to describing Jesus' position as it really was, and not confecting some caricature of it. That confection has a name, which is "straw man."

This religion gets more confusing every day. No wonder there are 1,600 sects.

No wonder indeed. It is unremarkable that there would be thousands of views of any widely known historical world figure. Abraham Lincoln hasn't even been gone 200 years, much less 2000, and is a continental-scale figure, not a global one. Look at all the interpretations of his words and deeds that are out there.

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