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man o' the year

Just back from Church

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Fischer said:

Question for the religious types.

How do you decide which bits of your religious book are true and how to interpret them?

There's can hardly be any who believe exactly the same thing.

I know fundy Christians and they think catholics aren't Christians.

There are actually very few things you need to believe to be Catholic, its the difference between dogma (things you have to believe or you are not Catholic)  and doctrine (things you can believe or not and be Catholic). Dogma would be basic stuff like the Resurrection of Jesus, doctrine extends to things like Marian apparitions at Lourdes. All the theological heavy lifting has been done by better minds than me over 2,000 years, I'm not going to be squeezing new meaning out of Biblical interpretation at this stage

Edited by Panther

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5 hours ago, Fischer said:

How do you decide which bits of your religious book are true and how to interpret them?

People in the C of E used to tell me " If we all just say the bits of the Creed ( http://www.anglicansonline.org/basics/nicene.html ) that we personally believe, together they would have whole"

This was before the SJW Islam loving clergy took over though, recently it seems that many in the C of E are a lot less tolerant of different beliefs.

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5 hours ago, Fischer said:

Question for the religious types.

How do you decide which bits of your religious book are true and how to interpret them?

There's can hardly be any who believe exactly the same thing.

I know fundy Christians and they think catholics aren't Christians.

It used to be nice and easy.  You believed in what you were told, otherwise you were a heretic and would, at best, be shunned by your community and die alone.

These days you're free to interpret the scriptures all sorts of ways and get away with it, no matter if you're laity or clergy.  

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14 minutes ago, Lone Lurker said:

People in the C of E used to tell me " If we all just say the bits of the Creed ( http://www.anglicansonline.org/basics/nicene.html ) that we personally believe, together they would have whole"

This was before the SJW Islam loving clergy took over though, recently it seems that many in the C of E are a lot less tolerant of different beliefs.

That's very recent.   For most of Christianity that sort of talk would have ended up with a burning. 

The whole thing about the Nicaean creed is that you have to believe it all.  If you have problems with the Trinity then you're going to end up being an Arianist (and we all know what happened to him), a Modalist (not much better) or a polytheist (very bad, actually).

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10 minutes ago, dgul said:

That's very recent.   For most of Christianity that sort of talk would have ended up with a burning. 

The whole thing about the Nicaean creed is that you have to believe it all.  If you have problems with the Trinity then you're going to end up being an Arianist (and we all know what happened to him), a Modalist (not much better) or a polytheist (very bad, actually).

Now I really have no idea what you're going on about.

 

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Just now, dgul said:

It probably is for the best.

I think so too.
We did several years of RE at school.
A lot of it drawing maps showing where some bugger had been sending postcards from.

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1 hour ago, sarahbell said:

I think so too.
We did several years of RE at school.
A lot of it drawing maps showing where some bugger had been sending postcards from.

I'm doing my bit by watching Jesus of Nazareth on Sky Arts. Hats off to whoever cast Olivia Hussey as the Virgin Mary.

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21 minutes ago, sarahbell said:

I think so too.
We did several years of RE at school.
A lot of it drawing maps showing where some bugger had been sending postcards from.

Haha same here. Our scripture lessons were taught by our headmaster who was also a lay preacher. It was the sort of stuff that first year undergraduates in biblical history would study nowadays, rather than bored 11 year olds with little or no exposure to any Christian belief beforehand. 

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6 minutes ago, Austin Allegro said:

Haha same here. Our scripture lessons were taught by our headmaster who was also a lay preacher. It was the sort of stuff that first year undergraduates in biblical history would study nowadays, rather than bored 11 year olds with little or no exposure to any Christian belief beforehand. 

The Rev McCoy lessons were mostly bible cricket. He was however sufficiently kind to not tell you off too much when you were considerable late arriving for his class. 

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16 minutes ago, sarahbell said:

Now I really have no idea what you're going on about.

 

It's to do with different interpretations of the Doctrine of the Trinity.

Those nice JWs who used to come round knocking on your door will proudly tell you that the Bible doesn't contain the word Trinity. Which is true; neither does it contain the term "theocratic organisation". But I digress.

What the creeds try to do is distil the statements by all the different writers of the New Testament documents into a single, easy-to-remember statement of commonly held truth.

This is where the fun starts.

The claim is that there is only one God.

But, there are three different, distinct personalities who each independently possess the same uniquely divine attributes.

We call them the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. But the Father is not the Son, who in turn is not the Spirit. But there's one God, not three.

We often try to explain this via analogy. Three dimensions, three common states of matter, a person wearing three hats for three different roles; but the problem with analogies is that if you press the analogy too far, it breaks down and becomes nonsensical.

I'd say it's something to question, explore and experience. An insufficient understanding of the Trinity isn't going to affect your standing with the Big Man upstairs. Partly because we all have an insufficient understanding due to our finite brains. But it will affect your attitudes to the world, other people and the choices you make. But then, I'm just a random troll bot on the internet, ;) what would I know?

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10 hours ago, unregistered_guest said:

Not a 'religious type' - I just know the man upstairs reasonably well. ;)

Some things are obviously poetry and are not meant to be taken literally. For example, when Jesus says, "I am the door," He's not saying that He's a 6' x 4' plank of wood. My first rule of hermeneutics is to interpret the difficult passages in the light of the easy passages. Who is saying what to whom, and why are important questions you need to establish to work out what the text is actually saying to you, now.

Otherwise, you could go around saying that the Bible teaches there is no god; by ripping the first verse of Psalm 14 out of context. A contrived example I know - expounding Ecclesiastes ch.10 v.19 is much more subtle.

Telling people they all need to believe exactly the same thing in order to "achieve" salvation is a form of spiritual abuse in my book. It leaves no room for personal or cultural expression. There are timeless principles, which can be experienced in an infinite variety of ways in order to improve your own life and the life of those around you. I found that my spiritual experience matched what was outlined in the Bible and that it gave me a framework, a model to explore further. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. But I don't regret the choice I've made.

So is everyone's interpretation equally valid?

These "timeless principles" are presumably the ones you've decided are so.

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2 minutes ago, Fischer said:

So is everyone's interpretation equally valid?

These "timeless principles" are presumably the ones you've decided are so.

Pretty much. Much of the chaos surrounding the Reformation was about the spread of the concept of the 'priesthood of all believers' rather than the doctrine being decided on high by an elite class of theocrats. 

That said, I think most Christian thinkers would discount as invalid any theories which did not tally with the character of Christ in the gospels or directly contravened the Ten Commandments, so if they went around saying 'God is Hate' or 'Kill your neighbour rather than forgive him' etc. 

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While you lot are talking Christian stuff, please could you one of you tell me what a Holy Ghost is? Is it anything like Casper?

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3 minutes ago, blobloblob said:

While you lot are talking Christian stuff, please could you one of you tell me what a Holy Ghost is? Is it anything like Casper?

More like 'Spooky: the Tuff Little Ghost'. 

As I understand it, the Holy Ghost is Christ's moral and philosophical example here on earth.

People get a bit confused because in the olden days 'ghost' meant the same as 'spirit' eg like 'the spirit of Nelson' or the 'Blitz spirit' is the survival of those moral values in an intangible form. It's not some sort of Scooby Doo villain in a white sheet. 

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5 hours ago, unregistered_guest said:

We call them the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. But the Father is not the Son, who in turn is not the Spirit. But there's one God, not three.

We often try to explain this via analogy. Three dimensions, three common states of matter, a person wearing three hats for three different roles; but the problem with analogies is that if you press the analogy too far, it breaks down and becomes nonsensical.

Ah, theology, a subject of which I know nothing, and am totally bewildered by.

Thomas of Aquinas explains "it is impossible to arrive at knowledge of the Trinity of the Divine Persons by natural reason". It follows that anyone who offers a coherent explanation must be a heretic.

I lean towards the teachings of Hypatia who taught "All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be accepted by  self-respecting persons as final, Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all", and "to teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing"

Enough of these quotes from the book on an alternative Roman History I'm reading, I try to interpret any religion from a psychological perspective as fulfilling a need to provide a (rational?) explanation for why we are here and as a code of behaviour.  Interestingly the code of behaviour is not just how to get on with one another but also gives an excuse as to why anyone who does not share your beliefs does not deserve to be treated with respect. 

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20 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

Interestingly the code of behaviour is not just how to get on with one another but also gives an excuse as to why anyone who does not share your beliefs does not deserve to be treated with respect. 

As I understand things, this is mostly not true of Christianity.

A Christian is supposed to provide inspiration, leading by example, for non-Christians to choose to live a good honest life.

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31 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

 

 I try to interpret any religion from a psychological perspective as fulfilling a need to provide a (rational?) explanation for why we are here and as a code of behaviour. 

I think many, if not most, modern liberal Christians (and those of other religions) would agree with you on that. Although rather than them just saying 'we don't know why we're here so let's make up something that fulfills that need', it's more like 'out of all the possible explanations that civilization has come up with over the centuries, what are the common threads which seem to resonate and make sense about why we are here how we should live?'

 

31 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

Interestingly the code of behaviour is not just how to get on with one another but also gives an excuse as to why anyone who does not share your beliefs does not deserve to be treated with respect. 

Some non-religious people do that, especially the 'angry atheist' types who get upset on internet forums. I think it's a common human failing that is not restricted to religious people. 

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10 hours ago, dgul said:

That's very recent.   For most of Christianity that sort of talk would have ended up with a burning. 

The whole thing about the Nicaean creed is that you have to believe it all.  If you have problems with the Trinity then you're going to end up being an Arianist (and we all know what happened to him), a Modalist (not much better) or a polytheist (very bad, actually).

I thought polytheism was just repeating scriptures parrot-fashion.

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34 minutes ago, Happy Renting said:

I thought polytheism was just repeating scriptures parrot-fashion.

I might remember that next time I'm in conversation with a Benedictine monk and need to break the ice.

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1 hour ago, blobloblob said:

While you lot are talking Christian stuff, please could you one of you tell me what a Holy Ghost is? Is it anything like Casper?

My view:

He's God - the third person of the Trinity. Which means, in the Biblical text the attributes of God: creator, all-knowing, omnipresent, eternal etc are also ascribed to Him. We use the male gender to refer to Him because He is distinct from creation. He has a personality, can be grieved, experience joy etc.

The person and work of the Holy Spirit is a theme running throughout both the Old and New Testaments - not an afterthought bolted on by later redactors. He is present at creation; empowers the artisans who made the Tabernacle (the big tent where they kept the Ark of the Covenant - the box they made to store the 10 commandments). He inspires prophets - some of whom claimed that there would be a major difference in the way the Holy Spirit works with people after the Messiah came.

So, Jesus arrived on the scene 2000 years ago, talking about how the Holy Spirit will inspire, teach and empower his followers after he has ascended. Jesus is crucified, dies, is buried and then raised from death; spending 40 days with His followers before leaving them.  Then, 10 days after He ascended,  a group of 120 of His friends have a powerful spiritual experience together in Jerusalem. They speak in tongues, and go out preaching. That group of 120 rapidly becomes a group numbering in its thousands. That's Pentecost - the church's birthday. 

Christian denominations are specialists in different doctrinal areas. Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (the clue is in the name) are the pneumatology experts. If you want to know more about speaking in tongues, healing and miracles. Although, oddly enough, according to PEW, the number of Pentecostals who speak in tongues is often in a minority. Reformed churches take a dim view of such things.

It amuses me that the Holy Spirit doesn't seem to be bothered whether Christians have a fully formed doctrine of pneumatology or not. He just gets on with His job in the background; inspiring and empowering ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.

But then, I'm just a Holy Troll Bot who thinks that evangelical atheism is a form of mental illness; intent on afflicting others with a religious superstition dating back to the Bronze Age. Love you all to bits though.

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31 minutes ago, unregistered_guest said:

My view:

He's God - the third person of the Trinity. Which means, in the Biblical text the attributes of God: creator, all-knowing, omnipresent, eternal etc are also ascribed to Him. We use the male gender to refer to Him because He is distinct from creation. He has a personality, can be grieved, experience joy etc.

The person and work of the Holy Spirit is a theme running throughout both the Old and New Testaments - not an afterthought bolted on by later redactors. He is present at creation; empowers the artisans who made the Tabernacle (the big tent where they kept the Ark of the Covenant - the box they made to store the 10 commandments). He inspires prophets - some of whom claimed that there would be a major difference in the way the Holy Spirit works with people after the Messiah came.

So, Jesus arrived on the scene 2000 years ago, talking about how the Holy Spirit will inspire, teach and empower his followers after he has ascended. Jesus is crucified, dies, is buried and then raised from death; spending 40 days with His followers before leaving them.  Then, 10 days after He ascended,  a group of 120 of His friends have a powerful spiritual experience together in Jerusalem. They speak in tongues, and go out preaching. That group of 120 rapidly becomes a group numbering in its thousands. That's Pentecost - the church's birthday. 

Christian denominations are specialists in different doctrinal areas. Pentecostal and Charismatic churches (the clue is in the name) are the pneumatology experts. If you want to know more about speaking in tongues, healing and miracles. Although, oddly enough, according to PEW, the number of Pentecostals who speak in tongues is often in a minority. Reformed churches take a dim view of such things.

It amuses me that the Holy Spirit doesn't seem to be bothered whether Christians have a fully formed doctrine of pneumatology or not. He just gets on with His job in the background; inspiring and empowering ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.

But then, I'm just a Holy Troll Bot who thinks that evangelical atheism is a form of mental illness; intent on afflicting others with a religious superstition dating back to the Bronze Age. Love you all to bits though.

The resurrection is obviously poetic. 

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12 hours ago, Lone Lurker said:

As I understand things, this is mostly not true of Christianity.

A Christian is supposed to provide inspiration, leading by example, for non-Christians to choose to live a good honest life.

Even that's a bit smug and patronising, don't you think?

Why is any religious person never just content that I'm going to hell? It's what god would have wanted, after all.

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1 minute ago, Lone Lurker said:

No I don't, why do you?

Because it smacks of superiority and self-righteousness. We need to help "them" be more like "us". What if they're content being us?

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