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PaulS last won the day on September 7 2017

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About PaulS

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    Alternate Administrator & Site Sponsor
  • Birthday 08/20/1968

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    Mandurah Western Australia

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  1. Shades of Grey

    Burl, Australian Churches of Christ are part of the International Churches of Christ with an excess of 2 million members (>1.3m in the US) and which was formed out of the Restoration Movement in the 1700s, but not recognized until 1906 (how many generations that is, I’m not sure). I also mentioned the Baptists - they formed in 1609 (obviously not their Australian branches) and have about 100 million members. Last (but not least) the Salvation Army - established in 1865 and membership over 1.5m. They are all Churches that sit in the Protestant camp. I think they pretty much qualify as traditional Christian Churches irrespective of your wishes. But that is Christianity for you - everyone else thinks everyone else has got the Bible wrong! I might just add to that by your criteria for 'traditional Christianity' , the leader of the pack would have to be the Roman Catholic Church. All those points I outlined are very much supported by that church. You might find some more progressive Catholics, but I know you will find many more who haven't moved to that end of the scale. I know several people who would say their Catholic upbringing was similar too, if not worse than my 'pathological' one, as you say (which at first you said was a good thing, so go figure).
  2. Shades of Grey

    As for pathological, whilst I’m not convinced yet that Burl isn’t being somewhat sarcastic, I don’t see my upbringing as pathological because it was facilitated by genuine, mentally-well people. Your mother included too probably for that matter. They just ascribed to a doctrine and set of beliefs passionately and couldn’t see an issue indoctrinating their children with the same. That doesn’t make it right and I believe such an approach to life creates much damage, but I’m not sure it fits the definition of pathological (hence why I think Burl is actually having a dig). Now pathological does certainly seem to apply to your President! It appears from the outside that ‘The Donald’ isn’t plagued with ‘grey’. His messages, even when perplexing or contradictory, usually have a tone of certainty which to many seem so pathetic. Yet others are encouraged and embrace him. I do see the US suffering strong division due to his presidency though. I hope for the U.S.’s sake (and others) some grey creeps into his thought processes and approaches to matters.
  3. Shades of Grey

    Thanks for clarifying (I think) Burl, but I wouldn’t credit anything of being relatively well-adjusted to traditional Christianity. By traditional Christianity I am referring to believing and indoctrinating or trying to convince others that: -people need to plead forgiveness to a God for basically, being born. If they don’t, their life will always be lacking. -the Bible is conveyed from God so God wants you to follow the Book. Varying degrees of calamity in ones life may result if not followed/interpreted usually in the way one’s Christianity community interprets it. -evil in the world is caused by a real-life, opposing power to God (Satan) -in short, your life cannot be good unless you are Christian -that doubt and investigation outside of what you’ve been taught is bad for you. These are pretty traditional teachings which do nothing to assist young adults when their eyes are opened to the world outside of that upbringing/community. My apparent well-adjusted state is more a result of the hard work put in to better understand just how wrong all those traditional teachings are and why. By the way, getting to that so called well-adjusted state meant years of agony, disconnect from family and friends, consideation of suicide to escape the pain of such, and generally plenty of time not being well-adjusted. Tradional Christianity - run far away from it!
  4. Shades of Grey

    Is that really what you took from what I was saying or are you being antagonistic? Maybe you are using sarcastic humor? I’m not sure. I couldn’t disagree more about such an upbringing and I think it’s a shame that adults can’t see the harm they cause when indoctrinating children with their own personal beliefs around God and their own personal ‘certainties’ concerning religion and biblical interpretation. If possibly by ‘traditional’ you mean some other sort of Christianity than what I was exposed to, I would disagree with your interpretation of traditional.
  5. Shades of Grey

    No, I am not talking about the variety of shades made famous by author EL James, but rather how I see life as countless shades of grey when it comes to virtues, values, knowledge, integrity, principles, ethics, morals, etc. Mostly these shades appear in the most basic activities in the ebb and flow of my life (work, parenting, friendships, etc) and sometimes they cross over into less serious territory such as politics, law and order, religion, atheism, and sport. Grey makes the matter sound drab, depressing, ‘bad’ - but I see it as simply being what it is – decisions and viewpoints made on specific circumstances based on my perceptions of the matter. And these positions move and change regularly as new data comes to me (or how I perceive that data). Often only by minute degrees (a tweak here or a twerk there) but sometimes it may be a major shift in my position - but still there is wriggle room and acknowledgement that nothing is ever a one-size-fits-all. Nothing. I see this in a positive light from the point of view that it is encouraging that we as humans continue to evolve into our capability to acknowledge our own shortcomings/misunderstandings/lack of knowledge (even when we think we know) , empathy (increasing on a world-wide scale with technology advances making us so more intimately aware of others), sympathy, compassion and better understandings of how people and things work. For most things in life I would have to say that I don’t have a rock-solid, unchangeable position. What I may think is an unchangeable value applied in one circumstance often requires amending when faced with a similar yet slightly different circumstance. For my first 18-19 years of my life this was not the idea sold to me by my family and Church community (for the record, the first 17 years of my life were strictly Churches of Christ - Australia, followed by a dabble with the Baptists and the Salvation Army, before abandoning the lot in my 19th year). In these environments, doubts about Christianity were discouraged and the answers were all there within the Church doctrines and of course the ‘correct’ interpretation/understanding of scripture. I have discussed before how as a young police officer my worldview was severely challenged, both religiously and non-religiously (e.g. how laws are made out to be immutable but really they apply to all sorts of situations where ‘wriggle room’ is appropriate IMO), so I won’t go into depth again, but suffice to say it’s about then I started to see the world as shades of grey. No doubt many people see the world like this and I see many like minds here. So I don’t know why I am writing this, but just thought I would.
  6. Newly reborn unto Christ.

    Davy, I wish you well in your studies and hope you succeed in what you're working toward. There are many different views here about Christianity and lots of discussion around what it means for different people. We are all on our own journey and have all had our different experiences, which often makes for discussions that might not usually make it into many church prayer meetings. 🙂 I hope you enjoy participating here and perhaps even have a look at some of the previous discussions held. Cheers Paul
  7. Seeing in the dark

    The strength and resilience of children amazes me.
  8. Sounds like a pretty reasonable approach to me, Scott.
  9. Hello from Texas

    Welcome to the forum, Scott. Here there are lots of different views and takes on religion in general and Christianity in particular, and we love discussing them! I hope you enjoy it here. Cheers Paul
  10. I don't disagree that they're nice thoughts and that they work well for some, but I would suggest that they only work well for a minority, hence why Christianity (or this style of society) just hasn't caught on in the last 2000 years across the globe. There are elements of Christianity within most societies, but I don't think there is a single 'way' that works across the globe that would be very practical or easy to implement (and history would seem to support that). The communities you mention are by far a minority in the world - there is a reason for that - probably because it just doesn't work for the majority, for whatever reasons. That said, I do think capitalism has taken mankind down a path where not everything coming from it is beneficial to society's well being and communal growth. I just don't think 'Christianity' is the panacea, per se. But, there is much that society today can take from Christianity.
  11. Early Christianity's growth wasn't particularly outstanding prior to Constantine's conversion and making it the official religion of Rome. Perhaps it offered alternate structures but other reasons contributing to its development included being the only missionary religion in the area, it was an exclusivity religion (converting to Christianity meant abandoning your old religion which wasn't usually the case for pagans changing to other gods), equal status offered to women (in a hugely patriarchal society), and lack of competition (e.g. in Israel it was only up against Judaism). Constantine's conversion was THE game changer. There were also lots of different types of early Christianity, so it is hard to imagine them all lining up to provide a better society (i.e. they seemed to argue more on theological grounds) - Ebionite Christians, Gnostic Christians, Docetists, Arian Christians, Marcionites, Roman Christians, and the later Melitians, Donatists, and Monothelites, to name a few. I think there are commendable thoughts concerning Christianity proposing a way forward of fairness, but any detail of how to actually implement such seems to be fairly lacking for any real application which is where I see it falling down. That said, seeds being planted concerning better ways to do things are of benefit. The fact that 2000 years later we still lack an alternative social, economic and political order that all would call fair and just indicates to me the impractical application of Christianity as a 'system' of governance. But again, there are commendable aspirations in there that are of benefit I think.
  12. That damn mushroom!

    Welcome to the forum Timothy, Apologies, but I don't have much to offer in either area, but I hope you might find some assistance here. Cheers Paul
  13. Ignosticism

    Sorry, not my strong suite.
  14. Agnosticism

    I'm not trying to prove they exist, just saying that the thought is out there for some. Maybe given a few thousand years of alienology they'll have their own revelatory book from the King Alien which guides them in their thought processes. What I am saying here is that I'm sure monetheism sounded utterly ridiculous to many when they first heard of it, but look where we are thousands of years later.
  15. Agnosticism

    Indeed there are many Thormas and I know you are more aligned with this sort of Christianity. Agreed. Sorry, I wasn't trying to align you with Burl but rather explaining why I was arguing for what I was arguing for. Buddhism? Whilst they don't exactly spell out the afterlife, I think they allude to one that they acknowledge they cannot know anything about which follows a person's final rebirth and the attainment of Nirvana. Possibly also people who believe humans were created by aliens and maybe tribes who practised ancestor worship instead of theistic worship?. I'm yet to read his book, but I've recently learnt a little about Robert Lanza's Biocentrism which seems to explain death and continuation without God in a new way. Yes, or a new paradigm as Marcus Borg might say.