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thormas last won the day on September 3

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About thormas

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  1. thormas

    Objective or Not?

    This is an interesting one. I take objective to either mean obvious and verifiable by evidence or 'a universal truth.' So, I don't think of moral and religious documents as objective that can be proven scientifically but I do allow that there might be or they might contain universal truths that are recognized as not merely created by the individual but having a 'reality' of their own and thus able to be discovered by men and women (as some have and 'documented'). Seemingly, on this site, we have discussed some things* that seem to be recognized across religions and even by non-religious (I won't go into detail because I lack the time to research the many posts). So too, even something as 'simple' as the 10 Commandments seem to have a reality that is discoverable and recognized by men and women (beyond Judaism and Christianity): that it is not right to steal, lie, kill, covet the possessions or spouse of another, etc. For one who says these things are perfectly okay and just a matter of opinion, many would state they are wrong and either don't recognize such truth or lack the ability to live it (a bit controversial, I know). A further elaboration would be that they simply have not (yet) or are unable to recognize such universal truths. Some of the things* we have discussed include oneness and love and, similarly, one could argue that these touch on universal (and objective - in that they are not merely the whim of the individual) truths, that are there to be recognized.
  2. If theism means or suggest a separate world in which God dwells and from which he intervenes in ours, then I am not a theist. If God is conceived of as a being, albeit a Supreme Being then I am not a theist. If theism is panentheism (the world in God, ala Paul) then I'm all in. In such a view God is not necessary for salvation, God is necessary for man to become Human (thus he becomes Whole or is Healed or ...........is 'Saved"). God is not 'a being' but Being in whom we live, move and have our being. For me, for many, traditional theism is too small, too limited to embrace the Reality that is God.
  3. thormas

    Trouble interpreting the second coming of Christ

    As a 'Progressive Christian' I don't take the idea of a 2nd coming literally, in part, because it suggests a world of God and a world of man and it is necessary for God to intervene or come (back) again in order to finish things. For me this signals that God is missing from this world; he is viewing things from his world until all hell breaks loose and then he returns. 'Jesus revealed where God always was:" here, now in the everyday, ordinary events of human existence (thus there is no need to return). Plus, in my understanding, Jesus doesn't come again because, it is now our turn: we come to Jesus (and God) when God is All is all - when we have opened ourselves to Him. We are called to be Christ, when we become Love then Christ will have 'come again.'
  4. thormas

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    However, abortion and infanticide are different. And, interesting that abortion was at one time permitted because the soul was not yet present.
  5. thormas

    Am I a biblical fundamentalist?

    Jack, Is this Exodus passage used as a defense against abortion by some Christians? When I first read your post, what came to mind was not a direct, intentional attack on the fetus but an attack/assault on a woman (whether the attacker knew or didn't know she was pregnant) that might result in a miscarriage. Thus they seem to be two different things. If so, it is not a direct statement on what we would call abortion (attack on the fetus not the mother). Just curious.
  6. Fair enough. I think Spong's is more than secular humanism but he does move aways from traditional theism. I like John Macquarie's idea of Dialectical Theism which he prefers to panentheism (but it is similar). I have always liked the idea that the traditional theistic concept of God is too small for the Reality (so to speak) of God. I have just found that some traditional theistic or fundamentalistic ideas are too static for me but I agree with an 'active' God although not understood in traditional supernatural terms.
  7. Actually, when I was asking about the alternates I was wondering about your take on PC as an alternative. I think there are a variety of beliefs on this site, so you should feel free to offer your perspective on PC
  8. thormas

    Who are you?

    Interesting questions. I experience and think of myself (and all others) as mind and body (at least for now, in this 'stage' of being). I am influenced by society but not a blank slate to be filled, so not a product of society. I am not merely what my mind believes as I believe my mind meets reality. I tell a story that encompasses some of my experiences to 'define' myself.
  9. Jack, Just out of curiosity: what do you mean by "the option that makes the most pragmatic sense" and in what way? what is your view of God that would go hand and hand with a practical fundamentalism? are you saying these (secular humanism and the others) are the only alternative to such fundamentalism? how about progressive Christianities?
  10. Let us move on to the larger texts of the NT if you are so inclined or even the idea of culpability. Or, simply let us drop this topic and move to a new topic now or a bit later - as this discussion has run its course.
  11. Of course people have different takes as do the gospel writers (previous post) - however you have been talking about an 'interpretation or a take' that posits a Jesus who approves the horrible actions of Christians in their history. This is an 'interpretation' that rationalizes or seeks blessings for bad acts; this Jesus is not found in the gospels. Even your areas of concern are easily answered by experts if one is serious and concerned enough to seek answers rather than excuses. However, now you admit it might indeed be a wrong interpretation (two steps forward)...........but it is irrelevant (four steps back). Of course it's not irrelevant: people have died because of these 'wrong interpretations' which have no basis in the text. We view things through our lens and if we want to talk culpability (a different subject) we can, but a Jesus who approves violence does not exist within the pages, regardless of the lens.
  12. Not vague yet 'open to reading into the gospels what is not there.' As mentioned, certain verses and stories might need scholarly interpretation/assistance. If there is confusion, even questions like, "what the hell are these about?" - we go to the scholars, the professionals: the Temple acting out a parable, a highly symbolic act done in a very small section of a 25 football field sized Temple grounds that didn't even rise to the level of Jesus being arrested; the closet actually being a comment on public praying for show (ala the hypocrites, which still takes place today) vs. private or simply sincere prayer preached and practiced by Jesus himself; and so on. The stories, listed above, go to the essence of Jesus that is consistent throughout the gospels. Many people might also know the other stories, even have question about them, but they don't leap to your conclusion: a Jesus whose words and actions give approval for the harm done throughout Christian history. Most don't conclude, "Hey, Jesus cursed a fig tree and turned tables over in the Temple so I have the green light to attack and bomb a building in which abortions take place and if anybody is hurt - burned, blown up or killed, I'm still right with Jesus." Rather, most Christians, even with much smaller 'sins' would say, "I have failed to act as my Christ in the world." Such is not merely mis-interpretation: this is an inability to read what is 'there' or, if confused, a refusal to seek assistance in understanding passages that might not be readily understandable or, sadly, reading into the gospels for the justification they so need and desire. So, no one is discounting anything; there is no problem with acknowledging confusion over certain passages and all the stories play a part and do get to the essence of Jesus (simply as in all lives, some stories speak more powerfully or are simply more familiar and remembered). What is discounted are 'interpretations' that, in spite of all the gospel stories presented, settle on 1 or 2 for justification for their own bad actions.
  13. Actually, the essence (i.e. gist) of Jesus is not vague at all for most Christians or many other human beings. The paragraphs would capture the essence of Jesus; what they wouldn't contain is the interpretations of a Jesus, that you suggest are valid, whose actions and teachings provide approval for the harms you listed many posts ago. The Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, The Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, the healings and the Cross - are much more familiar than your fig tree, praying in the closet or even the Temple cleansing and - reveal the gist/essence of Jesus. Of course there are contradictory elements, including what Sanders calls pericopes that are placed in different places by the writers for theological purposes and of course there are writings that need further explanation, including the aid of scholarly research (like the fig tree, the closet, the family and the cleansing) but ...........the essence of Jesus is consistent throughout. Whether he is portrayed as the Beloved Son at his Baptism or this is pushed back to the eternal Word present before creation; whether he is the secretive Messiah of Mark, the new Moses of Matthew or the exalted Lord of John - the essence remains.
  14. Exactly, it is the 'orthodox' version (for example differing from gnosticism or Marcionism versions on issues like secret knowledge or the Jews) but what is consistent in the versions of the 4 gospels is the gist (the essence of who Jesus is and what he does) and actually that same gist is present in some other gospels, for example, the sayings gospel of Thomas. There seem to be differences (again gnosticism) but there is also a consistency on the essence of Jesus. What I argue against is someone who 'sees' or creates a Jesus whose essence is so at odds with the NT gospel, that he supports, approves or justifies the 'sinful' actions of Christians. Merely because someone 'sees' this, it does not follow that ii is accurate. You seem to think it does and it is. and, as you have demonstrated, people have used their 'versions' to justify the harm they have done throughout the history of Christianity.
  15. I know one 'element' of Christianity 'won out' and presented their version. But I also recognize that we are not dealing with 'history' in any traditional sense of the word.