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matt67 last won the day on January 24 2012

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About matt67

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  • Birthday 07/29/1967

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    Secaucus, NJ
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    Being a father.

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  1. Jsawyer How do you define "Christian Atheist"? How do you define the God which you do not believe in? What do you mean by the "immanent spark" that exists in us "in the Buddhist sense"? You do know that there are Christians like the Quakers who believe in this spark and there are Christians like Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila as well as other mystics who believed in a notion of God that was not theistic if that is your rejection.
  2. Norm you asked a good question about what it was about the Jews that pissed people off. They weren't the most technogically advanced bunch in the region, they're not known for their philosophy and culture like the Greeks. I think that they got away from the tradition mode of religious belief - from a polytheist outlook to a monotheist outlook - thatdde them unique. Maybe that was the reason. They had no god whose image in stone could be broken so easily by an invading army. That seems to be what held them together even if they did not necessarily get along with other tribes of their group. Of course the reasons are way more complex.
  3. So, this is a list of definitions of the term "great". How do we define this term "greatest" if we want to ask if Jesus' sacrifice was the greatest? Can we say that it doesn't qualify in the minds and hearts of the world under say definition 5, or that people who do believe in a more conservation fashion don't apply Definition 8, 9, 10, and 11 to Jesus. I know we have our opinions, so if you don't believe, it wasn't the greatest and not significant. To those who believe there are various levels of what they accept or don't accept. Very large in size. 2. Larger in size than others of the same kind. 3. Large in quantity or number: A great throng awaited us. See Synonyms at large. 4. Extensive in time or distance: a great delay. 5. Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent: a great crisis. 6. Of outstanding significance or importance: a great work of art. 7. Chief or principal: the great house on the estate. 8. Superior in quality or character; noble: "For he was great, ere fortune made him so" (John Dryden). 9. Powerful; influential: one of the great nations of the West. 10. Eminent; distinguished: a great leader. 11. Grand; aristocratic. 12. Informal Enthusiastic: a great lover of music. 13. Informal Very skillful: great at algebra. 14. Informal Very good; first-rate: We had a great time at the dance. 15. Being one generation removed from the relative specified. Often used in combination: a great-granddaughter. 16. Archaic Pregnant. n. Also, my undertand of the meaning of the word "atonement" in (most) Christian theology is a the reconciliation of man with God through the life, sufferings, and sacrificial death of Jesus. Having studied New Thought, particularly the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Ernest Holmes, Raymond Charles Barker, Joel Goldsmith, and Emmet Fox, the word is used as the state in which the attributes of God (true human selfhood, divine thought, transcendent, perfect Wholeness that, in Its infinite inclusivity, harmoniously embraces all seeming opposites) and these are exemplified in man. According to these New Thought practices God is not "personal" and basically the"Infinite Intelligence" or the totality of real things - . We're a part of it and when we "align" our thought to it, we hook into it so to speak like in The Matrix movies. Holmes' Science of Mind is great read. He and those in Religious Science, which I actively practiced for years right after college, see the atonement of Jesus as the beginning of a new covenant of thought. Jesus was at a specific point in the history of man's evolution of thought. Religious Science at least the ones I knew, thought of themselves as Christians in this way, not in the traditional way. They don't believe in the literal resurrection. They don't worship Jesus and rarely used the Bible, they did refer to other texts, but mostly focused on The Science of Mind and other things Holmes wrote, as well as writings of other Religious Scientists. So, the atonement is significant for them in a certain interpretation. Even if it is seen differently, isn't it then significant and when compared to....what?...the greatest?
  4. Neon, if any Christian thinks that Anne Frank or anyone else for that matter, are going to hell, because they're not Christians. Well, people who believe that are not Christians. The I AM, Brahman, Tao (whatever you want to call it) is not limited to a first century, illiterate Jew who was inspired by the heart of his Hebrew scriptures. It's in every manifestation of the Divine Presence. It doesn't care of you're a Christian or not. Huston Smith, in his book The World Religions, does point out regardless of what "really" happened, the event of his crucifixion -- which most scholars accept happened, allowed people of that time and place in history to believe that the Divine was present in their lives and that it had power associated with it. I agree with Smith the bodily sacrifice strays from the central point of the meaning of the resurrection. I happen to believe with Marcus Borg too that the resurrection was a transformative experience and not bodily. Anne Frank, Gandhi, MLK, Malcolm X and a score of others did the same thing in their own way at their particular point in time. That said, it is a "great" sacrifice because of the significant power it had to allow a transformation of Western Civilization. Good or bad is not the issue because that's what you get when humans are involved. Both sides of the same coin. We would not even be having this conversation if the sacrifice was not "great". Gandhi, Malcolm X, and MLK did what they did to some extent because of Jesus' sacrifice as they admit. As a Muslim, Malcolm had his opinion: "They charged Jesus with sedition. Didn't they do that? They said he was against Caesar. They said he was discriminating because he told his disciples, "Go not the way of the gentiles, but rather go to the lost sheep." He discriminated. Don't go near the Gentiles, go to the lost sheep. Go to the oppressed. Go to the exploited. Go to the downtrodden. Go to the people who don't know who they are, who are lost from the knowledge of themselves and who are strangers in a land that is not theirs. Go to these people. Go to the slaves. Go to the second-class citizens. Go to the ones who are suffering the brunt of Caesar's brutality. And if Jesus were here in America today, he wouldn't be going to the white man. The white man is the oppressor. He would be going to the oppressed. He would be going to the humble. He would be going to the lowly. He would be going to the rejected and the despised. He would be going to the so-called American negro." from a speech in Los Angeles on May 5, 1962 MLK, well, I don't need to tell anyone about where he stood on Jesus. Gandhi: "What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.* Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so. To me, it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key of his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God. from "What Jesus Means to Me" published in The National Review in 1941. So in a sense, in terms of our story as Westerners, we should say that the sacrifice was great - even the greatest. It literally divided our sense of history - for good or bad. Even if we reject it we think in those terms. I think that Jesus IS "resurrected" in the fight against oppression today in this country and in the world. I think that's why so many in China are taking the experience so seriously. I think that that's why sensible and rational people in the church are standing up for the GLBT community and women's and children's rights. I think that power of what really it's all about it in action. Sure, you don't have to believe in God blah blah blah, you can't prove it blah blah blah but that's not the point I'm making at all. I'm not talking about close-minded, racist, bigoted, sexist religion. The point is the Spirit of Jesus is what matters and that is not about being theistic or atheistic or agnostic for me. The point is like Spong says is to be fully human. To me that means to put yourself out there for human dignity and respect and love and joy and compassion and justice. That is my I AM.
  5. No offense to anyone but God should be sued for negligence.
  6. That makes more sense than taking it as a serious treatise. The fact that is supposed to be placed chronologically during the time covered by Genesis and references to "sons of God" as if there is a band of them running to and from earth makes it seems it's an ancient myths.
  7. Jenell I like that analysis of Job. That suffering just is. God coming in the whirlwind doesn't provide him with an answer other that "You don't understand." This makes it seem almost like a cosmic joke especially since we the readers are the conversation between God Nd the Adversary. We are told that God restores Job's prosperity but maybe Job just accepted his lot and got on with his life.
  8. I think your opinion of Tillich is write on. He is dated to some extent and made an impact on religion as is evident from making the cover of Time. I've read some opinions from theologians critical of his work but I have to scratch my head at them and wonder if they read tge work of the same person they do. Theology is as much existential and about us as it claims to be a study of God, I think. He makes scripture valid to modern times whether it is spiriitual or philosophical. What I meant by saying that Jesus puts himself in the position he does has to do with how I see possible outcomes of a given situation. Your right in saying violence isn't a possibility. But I imagine this from the text. Here's Jesus at the home of a Pharisee. We're not told why he's there. Maybe the Pharisee is curious about him and his claims. Maybe he secretly thinks Jesus is who he says he is and doesnt want anyone to know this. Maybe since he is an outstanding member of the community that he will try and "talk sense" into him and tell him to stop all this nonsense about you being who you say you are. So here they are and there's a knock on the door. The Pharisee opens the door and here's a woman who might be known for being a prostitute. Embarrassing situation maybe. Maybe he's upset that she is there. Jesus accepts her as if it were his house she enters. All this is speculation I know but it does have to what they think of him because he's the focus of the story. It is what he thinks that matters to both of them. The woman is all ready saved and righteous. It's the Pharsisee that needs to see this. Right there is no rebuking like in other scenes. If I imagined this scene as a film I would have reaction shots of embarrassment, hesitancy, fear and even anger from the actor playing the Pharisee toward the woman. Jesus cuts to the chase like Tillich does and addresses both of them and shows how personally inbred he is with both of them. He educates both of them and even lifts them out of their old selves to some extent. That's just my reading and Tillich takes it to a higher level about how we can treat others as Jesus seems to.
  9. If I come up with something to contribute I will. I have learned much from the insights offered and I think everyone is right.
  10. rivanna, I understand your feeling about Jesus rebuking smelling of evangelism. But not just in this case, but in most, if not all accounts, Jesus is always stuck in the middle of two type of followers, or between believer and non-believer, debating something that has to do with him, whether something they think he should do, or how they should act around him. Though taken as a rebuke, I see him essentially saying, "Dudes, chill out, stop fighting. Here's the way things can be without all the fuss." He draws both sides back to him and his take on it, which without getting too religious, is a more moderate, "middle way" to deal with situations. He never seems to let anyone all the way off the hook, but doesn't really get on their case unless they are hardheaded about not seeing the point he wants to make. He seems to already have sized up the situation and the people and could defuse the situation before it erupts into violence. I appreciate the way Tillich plays off the tension in each scenario and gets to the existential message of it.
  11. And in confessing my sins, I admit that if I slide in that direction of the "either/or" is because I want to get a better sense of where others are coming from, moreso that what we say about ourselves on our profiles. My desire to connect with others on these topics outweighs my patience to allow people to, as you say, Jenell, reveal themselves "over time."
  12. George I have failed in this and other posts to accurately articulat my belief. I don't believe in a theistic God the way someone in the Reformed or even conservative vein of the evangelical movement might. I don't see God as Christopher Hitchens saw it as these conservatives which is a ruler sitting on a literal throne wielding power. I am more of a process/existentialist. That said my considering God as a "person" involves my experience through the natural world, through my mind (meditation and prayer in the Benedictine tradition), through my direct experience with the shared "imago dei" in others and myself and through the depiction of Jesus in scripture (and I don't really get concerned about who thinks what is real or made up about Him). That is why the scriptures are as valid to me as the rigveda is to a Hindu or some other text is to any adherent to another tradition (and I think those works have a gold mine of truth in them). But I stick to the symbols and language I am most familiar with. I am also guided by reasonable inquiry and scholarship as well as apologetics. I do set some limits on my exposure to these though because it makes me feel like I have disconnected my heart from something vital to my experience in God. Despite doing that i try to take in as many opinions as I can whether I agree with them or not to see how much I can stomach those I might oppose and to test my own discernment. I don't know if that makes my views any clearer. I hope I never agree with anyone too much. Some scripture is crystal clear to me some completely baffles me but I don't say it's irrelevant. It may not be valid to me but valid to someone else or was to someone at the time it was written. I just try and decide what is or isn't applicable to me and leave it at that. I don't opine that it needs to be expunged from the canon. Thats why I like translations so I can dig deep into what it can maybe even should say. I also consider myself to be a universalist when it comes to salvation issues.
  13. After reading Mike's posts on the topics of Buddhism I am beginning to think that everyone is a Buddhism at heart, they just don't know it. The Dalai Lama called Buddhism the only honest religion. Makes sense. If I stay on this message board long enough I might decide to become one.
  14. http://bible.org/ser...trine-suffering Here is the link, which is on the prior post. My understanding is what links all Buddhists acknowledge the laws of karma and reincarnation. I don't think one can call oneself a Buddhist without that. Even Pure Land Buddhism focuses on it. "The Hebrew Bible is a conversation about why such horrible things had happened to the Israelites from the perspective of captivity. Ezra and Nehemiah had come to a conclusion. But the conversation is not over just because the church quit adding to the canon. There is more than one theodicy in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and their trajectory in this age, I think." I don't really understand your point.
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