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Burl

The Bible is not a book of answers

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44 minutes ago, Burl said:

Perhaps you can restate this with less personal attack and derision, Paul?

Hardly derision or attack Burl, but rather observations that are plain for all to see.

44 minutes ago, Burl said:

I offered to develop a complete explanation based on the extensive Mosaic law in Exodus but you rejected that.  You wanted quick, low information answers in a thread about the Bible is not an answer book.

When one promotes an article, they are promoting the whole article aren't they?  Or are you now saying you only think the bits about the bible not being an answer book are the parts of the article that are 'nice' and not the bulk of the article which is what the author proposes the bible actually is?

44 minutes ago, Burl said:

So I provide a quick response and you insult me for that!  There is nothing in your post that leads me to expect to think you might seriously consider anything I might say.

It seems to me that you like to direct a conversation to what you think you know and what you think others needs to hear.  If you care to address the examples I provided then do so - if not, no problems.

44 minutes ago, Burl said:

Jesus taught to not discuss spiritual matters with persons who showed no respect, so I will follow that instruction.

That's a convenient saying of Jesus' for sure.

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46 minutes ago, thormas said:

I am fine with Romans but it still speaks of the human observation (perspective) of creation. This gets a bit interesting in acknowledging both the 'active' presence of God and, as some theologians write, the epistemological distance between God and man, so that man is not overwhelmed by the Divine and can still make his own decision to enter into relationship with the Divine. God is the presence, that presence is active in and through creation, specifically the human, but it is for man to perceive the divine 'perspective.' 

Agreed.  The basis of Christianity is that now the lines between divine and human perspectives overlap.

However, one can discern the two and each has appropriate usages.

A divine perspective reveals greater complexity and variety.  It reveals new questions and only points in the general direction of answers.  It is heuristic.

The human perspective wants to limit and define everything down to Post-it notes.  It is didactic, logical and reductionistic.

 

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't think there is anything 'mere' about use of the word sin, although perhaps some consider it mere by not appreciating the connotations in using such language.  The use of the word sin suggest transgression of divine law.  More specifically, it is the offence of breaking, or the breaking of, a religious or moral law.  But whose moral law and by which gauge do we assess it?  At the more extreme end there are Christians who say sin is any lack of conformity to the moral character of God or the law of God.  Sin is associated with 'evil' thoughts, speaking evil, or omitting good - which is where they start to get into a pickle because all acts need to then be determined as sinful or not and we have all seen how that often ends!  And of course there are those who believe we are born sinners, we are born evil, and that we need saving.  So in that regard I say sin is a nonsense and is a figment of religious people's imagination.

Actions may be real, but it is what we assign to that action that makes it 'good' or 'bad'.  For instance, killing another person might be considered bad or it might be considered good, depending on the community's understanding at the time.  I don't think there is any set code of what is or what is not 'sin' and I would further say that how we consider these actions does change over time (which is why you and I aren't smashing babies heads against rocks or enslaving virgins from conquered communities outside of ours).  I do not expect Burl was using the word 'sin' the same way you or I might use it as a substitute for any other word that may better describe an action that harms one's community.

Well, then we remove the word mere. However, it remains that sin is the religious definition of wrong action. Someone might say X is wrong, whereas the religious person will say that X is a sinful (i.e. wrong) action. Again, if sin suggests a transgression against the law of God, that law, as captured in the 10 Commandments and summarized in the 2 great commandments, still points to those (wrong) actions that damage, harm or even destroy human relationships and, at the same time, breaks the relationship with God/Love. The two great commandments are actually one: if one does not love (1st commandment), one is doing wrong actions that harm human beings (2nd commandment).

If we are talking about Christianity it is evident that it grows out of Judaism and it is further evident that the 'law of God' is based our of their understanding (perception again) of community and relationship with each other in 'relationship' with God. The basic laws of these communities are no more nonsense than any other laws. Of course some people go a bit nuts with laws but that is very human - whether one is religious or not (although some religious crazies create a special hell for any who follow them). 

It must also be acknowledged that some expressions of Christianity and some who identify as Christian, down through the centuries, have been (and continue to be) wrong on a great deal. For example, the idea of humanity faiiing from a perfect state is a western concept as opposed to an eastern Christian understanding that speaks of the ongoing divinization of man who was born as immature being (the same reality that most of us recognize and accept today). It doesn't follow though that (all) Christian communities understanding of sin is nonsense. 

Actions are real as is the reality of the damage certain actions do to human relationships and community - and the admonition that certain actions should/must be avoided for human life and community to thrive. We do assign but that seems to be after we perceive or experience the destructiveness of certain actions; it is not arbitrary. Killing might indeed be good or bad (although probably never ideal) depending on circumstances but murder is (generally) considered wrong. So too lying, stealing, etc. It should be noted that, for example, the action of telling an untruth only rises to the level of lying if it is done in combination with selfishness. For example the nun who tells an untruth to Nazi soldiers about the whereabouts of Jewish kids is not lying because self-centeredness is not her motivation or at the core of her untruth. For an untruth to be a lie, there must be self-centeredness. So too all 'sins' or wrong actions. Perhaps the original and only sin is self-centeredness: there is one sin and it is expressed or lived out in different actions.

Edited by thormas

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29 minutes ago, thormas said:

Well, then we remove the word mere. However, it remains that sin is the religious definition of wrong action. Someone might say X is wrong, whereas the religious person will say that X is a sinful (i.e. wrong) action. Again, if sin suggests a transgression against the law of God, that law, as captured in the 10 Commandments and summarized in the 2 great commandments, still points to those (wrong) actions that damage, harm or even destroy human relationships and, at the same time, breaks the relationship with God/Love. The two great commandments are actually one: if one does not love (1st commandment), one is doing wrong actions that harm human beings (2nd commandment).

The connotation of sin goes a lot further than just doing a 'wrong' action.  One of the main premises of Christianity has been that one is born 'into' sin - they are stuffed from the very start and need saving from sin, even a newborn is considered a sinner by most Christian denominations (non-Progressive).  This is a lot more than simply saying somebody is doing 'wrong'.

Why do you restrict the law of God to the 10 Commandments only (version 1 I presume) and not the balance of the 613 commandments found in the OT?  Many of those commandments are just plain outdated and ridiculous in modern times (such as not eating shellfish) which I guess is why they just get overlooked as commandments from God any more.

Quote

If we are talking about Christianity it is evident that it grows out of Judaism and it is further evident that the 'law of God' is based our of their understanding (perception again) of community and relationship with each other in 'relationship' with God. The basic laws of these communities are no more nonsense than any other laws. Of course some people go a bit nuts with laws but that is very human - whether one is religious or not (although some religious crazies create a special hell for any who follow them). 

Actually, it is not evident that Christianity has grown our of Judaism, but rather Christianity later co-opted Judaism to make its points.  In fact, many early Christian groups wanted nothing to do with the Old Testament God but as we know, their views didn't win the day in the end.  But regardless, I do agree that as humans we create laws that we think benefit community.  And those laws change as our culture and society change.  

Quote

It must also be acknowledged that some expressions of Christianity and some who identify as Christian, down through the centuries, have been (and continue to be) wrong on a great deal. For example, the idea of humanity faiiing from a perfect state is a western concept as opposed to an eastern Christian understanding that speaks of the ongoing divinization of man who was born as immature being (the same reality that most of us recognize and accept today). It doesn't follow though that (all) Christian communities understanding of sin is nonsense. 

No, but they have to adapt what is traditionally meant by the term 'sin', I think to the point that it isn't actually 'sin' anymore as per religious definition, so why use it?

Quote

Actions are real as is the reality of the damage certain actions do to human relationships and community - and the admonition that certain actions should/must be avoided for human life and community to thrive. We do assign but that seems to be after we perceive or experience the destructiveness of certain actions; it is not arbitrary. Killing might indeed be good or bad (although probably never ideal) depending on circumstances but murder is (generally) considered wrong. So too lying, stealing, etc. It should be noted that, for example, the action of telling an untruth only rises to the level of lying if it is done in combination with selfishness. For example the nun who tells an untruth to Nazi soldiers about the whereabouts of Jewish kids is not lying because self-centeredness is not her motivation or at the core of her untruth. For an untruth to be a lie, there must be self-centeredness. So too all 'sins' or wrong actions. Perhaps the original and only sin is self-centeredness: there is one sin and it is expressed or lived out in different actions.

I know you use the word sin, but it has no connection to the religious definition of sin (that is, we are born into sin and we need saving from sin).  I agree with you what you say about actions having consequences etc, but they are actions, not sins, as per religious connotations.

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46 minutes ago, Burl said:

A divine perspective reveals greater complexity and variety.  It reveals new questions and only points in the general direction of answers.  It is heuristic.

The human perspective wants to limit and define everything down to Post-it notes.  It is didactic, logical and reductionistic.

Not sure I'm following this. However, as you mentioned, it is possible (i.e overlap) for the human to image the divine perspective and thus seek greater complexity, correct? 

Can you give an example of the greater complexity and variety you mentioned so I can see if I'm on the same page?

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7 minutes ago, PaulS said:

The connotation of sin goes a lot further than just doing a 'wrong' action.  One of the main premises of Christianity has been that one is born 'into' sin - they are stuffed from the very start and need saving from sin, even a newborn is considered a sinner by most Christian denominations (non-Progressive).  This is a lot more than simply saying somebody is doing 'wrong'.

Why do you restrict the law of God to the 10 Commandments only (version 1 I presume) and not the balance of the 613 commandments found in the OT?  Many of those commandments are just plain outdated and ridiculous in modern times (such as not eating shellfish) which I guess is why they just get overlooked as commandments from God any more.

I disagree, it depends on the community and the Christian. This is not the way it is understood by some Eastern Fathers who predate Augustine and it is certainly not the understanding of progressive Christians today. And again, I go back to my earlier statement that some communities and individual Christians are wrong. Sin is 'missing the mark' and the mark is right relationship with God, right relationship with man and certain 'wrong' actions, more than other actions, 'miss this mark.' To say someone is doing wrong is not 'simple'-  it is tied to relationship, at least in Judaism and Christianity.

The Commandments are understood as given by God and his law, this is the way the covenant is fulfilled. I'm not restricting anything, I am not an OT guy but am specifically talking about where the Mosaic law begins, the 10. More than that, I am speaking as a Christian where, in the NT, the 10 are summarized as the two and from modern theology where the two are flip sides of the 1 Commandment: love. As a Christian I am not bound by the many Jewish laws, so I really don't focus on them (at all, except for the 10). 

28 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Actually, it is not evident that Christianity has grown our of Judaism, but rather Christianity later co-opted Judaism to make its points.  In fact, many early Christian groups want nothing to do with the Old Testament God but as we know, their views didn't win the day in the end.  But regardless, I do agree that as humans we create laws that we think benefit community.  And those laws change as our culture and society change.  

This is a potato/patato kind of deal. Grew out of, co-opted it is all the same: Christians started with Jews, they looked to their scriptures to understand their experience of Jesus and adapted to accommodate the gentiles and there we have it. The earliest Christians, who were first, foremost and always Jews, had no intention to co-opt anything, they looked to 'their' scriptures to understand a Jew they believed was the Messiah; they began as a sect within Judaism.

34 minutes ago, PaulS said:

No, but that have to adapt what is traditionally meant by the term 'sin', I think to the point that it isn't actually 'sin' anymore as per religious definition, so why use it?

Many, me included, think the word sin speaks volumes but we know the Eastern tradition and the modern understanding and remain comfortable with the term sin - as long as it is explained in this old/new way to modern audiences. It can be said there is an original sin in that we are born into a world marked by, ruled by selfishness and this both influences us and, in turn, our selfish actions add to and reinforce this 'condition' for future generations. It is this original and only sin that finds multiple expressions. This is a religious definition.

41 minutes ago, PaulS said:

I know you use the word sin, but it has no connection to the religious definition of sin (that is, we are born into sin and we need saving from sin).  I agree with you what you say about actions having consequences etc, but they are actions, not sins, as per religious connotations.

It does, your definition or understanding of the' religious definition of sin' does not reflect all Christian traditions or a modern Progressive Christian understanding. It can be said (as I did above) that we are 'born into sin' and need to be saved from sin/selfishness - if understood and presented correctly. We have just been talking about different or changing perspectives, that's what this is.

 

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31 minutes ago, thormas said:

I disagree, it depends on the community and the Christian. This is not the way it is understood by some Eastern Fathers who predate Augustine and it is certainly not the understanding of progressive Christians today. And again, I go back to my earlier statement that some communities and individual Christians are wrong. Sin is 'missing the mark' and the mark is right relationship with God, right relationship with man and certain 'wrong' actions, more than other actions, 'miss this mark.' To say someone is doing wrong is not 'simple'-  it is tied to relationship, at least in Judaism and Christianity.

It is how the term is understood and  used by the majority of traditional Christianity.  I agree with changing it like you seem to, but I'm just saying the way you are using the term now is not how it is generally understood or presented across broader Christianity.  I am glad Progressive Christianity is bringing a new understanding of sin, but it is still the minority position for the word.

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This is a potato/patato kind of deal. Grew out of, co-opted it is all the same: Christians started with Jews, they looked to their scriptures to understand their experience of Jesus and adapted to accommodate the gentiles and there we have it. The earliest Christians, who were first, foremost and always Jews, had no intention to co-opt anything, they looked to 'their' scriptures to understand a Jew they believed was the Messiah; they began as a sect within Judaism.

There's a lot to be said for the driving force of Christianity actually being outside of Judaism primarily through the early conversion to Christianity of non-Jews through Paul initially kicking off Christianity in Rome.  This was probably the major schism of its day and we see some of it mentioned in the NT with Paul disagreeing with James initially.  Conveniently, the bible now reports James was all good with Paul's change in direction.  I think it is more likely that non-Jews were using the OT to 'prove' to Jews and Romans (Romans who liked all things 'old time') that their understanding of Jesus was correct.  This later morphed in further adaption of the OT into Christianity but I think there is a distinction between that and early Jewish Christians looking to Jewish scriptures to better understand Jesus.  Early Christians such as the Marcionites didn't even want anything to do with the OT.

Quote

Many, me included, think the word sin speaks volumes but we know the Eastern tradition and the modern understanding and remain comfortable with the term sin - as long as it is explained in this old/new way to modern audiences. It can be said there is an original sin in that we are born into a world marked by, ruled by selfishness and this both influences us and, in turn, our selfish actions add to and reinforce this 'condition' for future generations. It is this original and only sin that finds multiple expressions. This is a religious definition.

The fact that you have to explain the word sin to modern audiences should make it clear to you that you are not using the word sin as Christianity and religion in general has generally understood it up until now.  If you want to morph the word into a new understanding of its meaning then that is your prerogative, but I'm just pointing out that it is a moving away from what has been traditionally understood by the word.

Quote

It does, your definition or understanding of the' religious definition of sin' does not reflect all Christian traditions or a modern Progressive Christian understanding. It can be said (as I did above) that we are 'born into sin' and need to be saved from sin/selfishness - if understood and presented correctly. We have just been talking about different or changing perspectives, that's what this is.

No not all, just the majority to date.

Like I said, I have no problem with you changing the perspective of the word sin - I am just noting that it is a change from how most have understood the word (and that personally I think you could stop using it altogether because of its connotations, but that's just my view).

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7 hours ago, PaulS said:

t is how the term is understood and  used by the majority of traditional Christianity.  I agree with changing it like you seem to, but I'm just saying the way you are using the term now is not how it is generally understood or presented across broader Christianity.  I am glad Progressive Christianity is bringing a new understanding of sin, but it is still the minority position for the word.

Two different points: the traditional understanding of original sin (but is it actually in the bible?) vs. a a better and more reasonable understanding, that is compatible with our 21st C worldview.The second point is the understanding of sin itself and there is no significant difference: wrong action which harms human relationship and community.

8 hours ago, PaulS said:

There's a lot to be said for the driving force of Christianity actually being outside of Judaism primarily through the early conversion to Christianity of non-Jews through Paul initially kicking off Christianity in Rome.  This was probably the major schism of its day and we see some of it mentioned in the NT with Paul disagreeing with James initially.  Conveniently, the bible now reports James was all good with Paul's change in direction.  I think it is more likely that non-Jews were using the OT to 'prove' to Jews and Romans (Romans who liked all things 'old time') that their understanding of Jesus was correct.  This later morphed in further adaption of the OT into Christianity but I think there is a distinction between that and early Jewish Christians looking to Jewish scriptures to better understand Jesus.  Early Christians such as the Marcionites didn't even want anything to do with the OT.

It was historically a sect of Judaism, begun by Jews and expanded, in line with the OT, to all nations. I get the 'outside of Judaism' but Christianity is inseparable from both of its roots. The 'schism' was resolved in the Council.

The Jewish Christians used or referred to their scriptures (i.e. the OT) to first understand Jesus in light of their experience of his death and resurrection. The use of the OT by the first followers of Jesus was happening before Paul's outreach to the gentiles.

7 hours ago, PaulS said:

There's a lot to be said for the driving force of Christianity actually being outside of Judaism primarily through the early conversion to Christianity of non-Jews through Paul initially kicking off Christianity in Rome.  This was probably the major schism of its day and we see some of it mentioned in the NT with Paul disagreeing with James initially.  Conveniently, the bible now reports James was all good with Paul's change in direction.  I think it is more likely that non-Jews were using the OT to 'prove' to Jews and Romans (Romans who liked all things 'old time') that their understanding of Jesus was correct.  This later morphed in further adaption of the OT into Christianity but I think there is a distinction between that and early Jewish Christians looking to Jewish scriptures to better understand Jesus.  Early Christians such as the Marcionites didn't even want anything to do with the OT.

Again two points. With original sin, it is giving modern audiences an understanding that can make sense, is in tune with their understanding of the world and is older than Augustine's take. So it shows a valid different understanding and having done it for 12 years, my experience is that there is openness and a need - and it works; the typical response is, "well that makes sense, why didn't anyone ever tell us that before?" Another interesting fact is that people parrot the concept of original sin but don't live it anymore: do they really believe we were perfect in the beginning and fell, that each new child is stained with the original sin from our first literal parents, Adam & Eve, that the unbaptized will never be in the present of God, never become one in God? Hardly, so in spite of what the word meant or means, it is not lived. So people are already poised for a re-presentation of ......original sin.

As for sin, most Christians don't really give much time to really thinking about what it all means, what it is about. Their understanding is many times a surface repetition. The explanation above is not new, it is just peeling back and discussing what 'sin' is and taking time to explain that the 'laws of God' reflect right behavior in human relationships (which goes to the right relationship with Love or God). There is a difference between preaching and teaching. Most Christians get a lot of the former at the expense or the neglect of the latter.This is just giving time to the latter.

In either case there is just an exploration of sin and also presenting an understanding of original sin that is dominant in the Eastern expression of Christianity and among many progressive western Christians as opposed to the Augustinian model in western Christianity. If we are moving away from the 'traditional' understanding of original sin, that is actually a good and necessary thing because such understanding are, in part, the reason for the decline of Christianity.

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Sin defined -   an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

The strength of sin is the law according to the NT. If one chooses to live under the law, there is sin. To live in Christ is to not live under the law but rather under grace. One could say as Paul in the NT is quoted saying  ... " For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:8-9)"

Without eating from the dichotomy of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law) sin was in the world but where there is no law, sin is not imputed Romans 5:13). To live in harmony with the whole is to be free of the law where sin is dead. (doesn't exist)

One doesn't have to believe or not believe in sin. One can deny it exists, however, its consequences that bring guilt and condemnation and judgement even if one is not conscious of what is happening is real. It happens when you either accept written law and then in some way violate it yourself or make your own which becomes an unwritten law in your heart. That is why Jesus advocated forgiveness and non judgement because as i have confirmed through personal experience.... with what measure you measure, you are measured .... as you judge, you will be judged ....as you forgive, you shall be forgiven. These are part of the built in justice system of the whole.

Just musing, Joseph

PS More detail on condemnation HERE 

 

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10 hours ago, thormas said:

Not sure I'm following this. However, as you mentioned, it is possible (i.e overlap) for the human to image the divine perspective and thus seek greater complexity, correct? 

Can you give an example of the greater complexity and variety you mentioned so I can see if I'm on the same page?

In the natural world compare a complex natural farm with free range chickens and whatnot to big ag monoculture.  Not a value judgment (both perspectives are valuable), but a the difference in the perspectives of the farmers is discernable.

Return to the theme of ‘The bible is not a book of answers’.  Proof texting and grabbing onto the first passage that resonates is a human perspective.

A more divine perspective is complex and varied.  Studying everything related to one’s question, trying to understand the author & his culture & the original auditors, how interpretations have varied through time and different theologians is only part of what is required to approach this divine perspective.

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2 hours ago, Burl said:

Return to the theme of ‘The bible is not a book of answers’.  Proof texting and grabbing onto the first passage that resonates is a human perspective.

A more divine perspective is complex and varied.  Studying everything related to one’s question, trying to understand the author & his culture & the original auditors, how interpretations have varied through time and different theologians is only part of what is required to approach this divine perspective.

However prior to any proof texting, the entire Bible is from the human perspective and insight 'into' God.

I believe that there can be and is indeed overlap here in that the human insight is not imaginary or nonsense but 'touches' the Reality that is God or the self revelation of God.

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2 hours ago, JosephM said:

Sin defined -   an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

The strength of sin is the law according to the NT. If one chooses to live under the law, there is sin. To live in Christ is to not live under the law but rather under grace. One could say as Paul in the NT is quoted saying  ... " For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:8-9)"

Without eating from the dichotomy of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law) sin was in the world but where there is no law, sin is not imputed Romans 5:13). To live in harmony with the whole is to be free of the law where sin is dead. (doesn't exist)

One doesn't have to believe or not believe in sin. One can deny it exists, however, its consequences that bring guilt and condemnation and judgement even if one is not conscious of what is happening is real. It happens when you either accept written law and then in some way violate it yourself or make your own which becomes an unwritten law in your heart. That is why Jesus advocated forgiveness and non judgement because as i have confirmed through personal experience.... with what measure you measure, you are measured .... as you judge, you will be judged ....as you forgive, you shall be forgiven. These are part of the built in justice system of the whole.

To live under Christ is in to live the Law, the commandment of Love. That is the (only) Way.

Love is grace and as Christ fulfilled the law, meaning he lived it fully or was fully obedient to God, so too, each of us must also be that same fulfillment. We are called to, as Christ, be the incarnation of Love (the Divine) in creation.

I agree. It's isn't a question of believing or not believing in sin, however its reality persists. The 'secular' man obviously doesn't use this term but he too is born into a world 'ruled' or dominated by selfishness and he too can and does act selfishly (at times) and is challenged, in Maslow's terminology, to actualize - and this is accomplished by 'overcoming' or moving away from selfishness to...being for the other (i.e. love) in his relationships. It matters not whether one uses religious terminology or 'believes' in God or has ever heard of Christ, or having heard, chooses the same path/way by a different name - the reality that is presented to us and within which we live is the same. 

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

However prior to any proof texting, the entire Bible is from the human perspective and insight 'into' God.

I believe that there can be and is indeed overlap here in that the human insight is not imaginary or nonsense but 'touches' the Reality that is God or the self revelation of God.

Generally agreed.  AFAIK only Q’uran and the Book of Mormon claim a divine authorship.

By perspective here I am speaking of how the reader connects with the Bible.  Simply reading the Bible with a divine perspective has brought thousands to Christ, including Augustine and his conversion from Manichaeism.

Reading the Bible from a purely human perspective (as if it was a simple book) regularly leads pagan and priest alike into error. 

Edited by Burl
Clarity

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35 minutes ago, Burl said:

By perspective here I am speaking of how the reader connects with the Bible.  Simply reading the Bible with a divine perspective has brought thousands to Christ, including Augustine and his conversion from Manichaeism.Reading the Bible from a purely human perspective (as if it was a simple book) regularly leads pagan and priest alike into error. 

I get what you're saying about reading with a divine perspective but this still needs some clarification. It was good that Augustine converted but his perspective on 'original sin' differed radically and wrongly from the insight of Irenaeus.

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17 minutes ago, thormas said:

I get what you're saying about reading with a divine perspective but this still needs some clarification. It was good that Augustine converted but his perspective on 'original sin' differed radically and wrongly from the insight of Irenaeus.

Variety and complexity is rather Augustinian compared to Iranaeus the heretic persecutor.

 

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4 hours ago, Burl said:

Variety and complexity is rather Augustinian compared to Iranaeus the heretic persecutor.

Well, it was nice that Augustine converted but his (divine) perspective was off concerning original sin.

However, declaring one a heretic depends on which way the wind is blowing and many are so named after their death. Seemingly the 'heretic' was in good company with the 'blasphemer' who died on the cross.

I'll go with Irenaeus, it might have spared western Christianity a lot of agony and spared some a self loathing. 

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The incident I spoke of was Augustine’s conversion.  He was distraught, prayed, opened to a random verse and it spoke to him.

 

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

The incident I spoke of was Augustine’s conversion.  He was distraught, prayed, opened to a random verse and it spoke to him.

Understood, I'm just looking out for Irenaeus.........

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15 hours ago, thormas said:
 

Two different points: the traditional understanding of original sin (but is it actually in the bible?) vs. a a better and more reasonable understanding, that is compatible with our 21st C worldview.The second point is the understanding of sin itself and there is no significant difference: wrong action which harms human relationship and community.

A better more reasonable understanding would be that there is no such thing as 'sin' but that there are such things as actions which can harm community.  The latter can be rectified/addressed by not doing those actions.  How, according to Christianity, does one stop being a sinner?  

15 hours ago, thormas said:

Again two points. With original sin, it is giving modern audiences an understanding that can make sense, is in tune with their understanding of the world and is older than Augustine's take. So it shows a valid different understanding and having done it for 12 years, my experience is that there is openness and a need - and it works; the typical response is, "well that makes sense, why didn't anyone ever tell us that before?" Another interesting fact is that people parrot the concept of original sin but don't live it anymore: do they really believe we were perfect in the beginning and fell, that each new child is stained with the original sin from our first literal parents, Adam & Eve, that the unbaptized will never be in the present of God, never become one in God? Hardly, so in spite of what the word meant or means, it is not lived. So people are already poised for a re-presentation of ......original sin.

As we now know that the concept of original sin is nonsense, so why not make the break and stop using this nonsense word 'sin' with all of it's history and connotations?  Why hang onto it and try to make it fit better within Christianity?  Let's acknowledge that doing things that harm community are not in the interest of community so that's why we don't do them.  Making out that sin is some sort of 'eternal drive' or natural state of being that needs changing, perpetuates these myths that we need 'fixing'.

15 hours ago, thormas said:

In either case there is just an exploration of sin and also presenting an understanding of original sin that is dominant in the Eastern expression of Christianity and among many progressive western Christians as opposed to the Augustinian model in western Christianity. If we are moving away from the 'traditional' understanding of original sin, that is actually a good and necessary thing because such understanding are, in part, the reason for the decline of Christianity.

Personally I think the best way to move away from this poor understanding of sin would be to stop using the word and all the baggage that comes with it.

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Thanks for sharing, Joseph.

How does not judging others fit for you when it comes to our criminal justice system?  Do you see that as a different sort of judgement and if so, can you maybe explain.

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9 hours ago, PaulS said:

A better more reasonable understanding would be that there is no such thing as 'sin' but that there are such things as actions which can harm community.  The latter can be rectified/addressed by not doing those actions.  How, according to Christianity, does one stop being a sinner?  

 

It might be for some but it is useful religious language and speaks to human reality. As for how one stops sinning or doing actions that can harm another or the larger community, simple: love, do unto others. This is the opposite of sin or self-centered actions and attitudes; once one loves, there is no sin, no selfishness (relatively speaking).

9 hours ago, PaulS said:

As we now know that the concept of original sin is nonsense, so why not make the break and stop using this nonsense word 'sin' with all of it's history and connotations?  Why hang onto it and try to make it fit better within Christianity?  Let's acknowledge that doing things that harm community are not in the interest of community so that's why we don't do them.  Making out that sin is some sort of 'eternal drive' or natural state of being that needs changing, perpetuates these myths that we need 'fixing'.

 

Actually I never think in terms of original sin and only use it as 'common language' in discussion like this. I agree the traditional concept, understood literally, is nonsense and, instead, without ever using the term, I speak of evolution and the obvious dawn and development of man over the ages and then the continuing attempt to actualize our potential as human beings. I am also comfortable speaking simply of wrong or selfish actions and use religious terms when speaking about issues that typically fall under religion - like sin.

However, I have no real problem with such words, including the word God (as do others) because I long ago redefined them and found it relatively easy to present the new understandings to others. I value Christianity, recognize that it must be presented anew to each new generation and find it valuable to simply replace the wine while using the traditional wineskins. I already acknowledge that certain actions harm others and the community but I also believe 'in God' and therefore belief that those same wrong actions prohibit our actualization (secular take) or our divinization (Eastern Christian take) or the fulfillment of the one and only commandment (traditional religious take): to love. If one believes 'in' God, then one also believes that selfishness or sin needs to be overcome to achieve our natural or, better, ideal state. Isn't it obvious that we, some of us more than others, need fixing? Many of us wouldn't or don't use that (fixing) pejorative but do acknowledge that there is something 'off' in many relationships and human communities and what is off we need to change if we are to thrive as a community and as healthy individuals.  This is what the religious person calls sin and redemption - which can be understood and explained without reference to theism. 

9 hours ago, PaulS said:

Personally I think the best way to move away from this poor understanding of sin would be to stop using the word and all the baggage that comes with it.

The other option is to use the word and change out the contents of the bag. It depends what you're after. 

Edited by thormas

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The article seemed like a half hearted attempt at apologetics to me.

Ultimately the answers that are not in the Bible come from the complexity of our nature and the society(ies) that has shaped us. We could equally argue there are no answers in the Books of Harry Potter;  rather these books "hold up a mirror", "they ask questions of ourselves". "They transform us". "They bring change". "They are a story of redemption". The books are more of a journey than a destination".

 

Not a great article, I thought..

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