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Thread: Christians Who Deny the Veracity of the Old Testament

  1. Top | #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    How does the Matthew 22 quote explicitly allow Jesus' hearers to abandon the 600+ laws of the Torah? If he meant that, why didn't he say that? (Not that one should be sure that any Jesus quote is accurately reported in the Bible.) The gospels seem to show us that followers of Jesus should embrace Judaism -- he was celebrating a Jewish high holy day the night before he was executed, wasn't he? What Christians do that? He (allegedly) had a ministry that had a commission to his disciples to preach only to Jews -- he apparently wore Jewish holy garb -- was interested in reinstituting the 12 tribes of Israel (what Christian cares about that?) -- but, oh yeah, at the very end, his followers have a vision of him going up to heaven and hollering down a commandment to preach the word to all people. Fake news.
    There are Gods laws and covenants and then there are local governing laws. Surely you wouldn't include the US constitution or similar laws as a believer. (or would you? by the looks of your quote)

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    I note that data doesn't exactly back up your specific point though. I mean, are we still talking about the Hebrew Scriptures here? Because much of the Western Christian church has liberalized, and the Muslim world considers the HS inspired but adulterated by later forces, hence the need for the Holy Qur'an. Literalism was never a "pillar" of my tradition as I learned it, even as a child, but if it were, I would have discarded it. Thoughtless faith is meaningless faith in my opinion.
    I meant the written word of scripture in general, whichever happens to be your scripture. For Christianity, that includes the Hebrew Scriptures. For Islam, it does not. And I accept that belief that scripture is divine does not necessarily equal that it must be literal. To unmoor faith from scripture seems to be a catastrophic break for religion as an institution. Tell me, while you may have rejected it in your life, can't you at least acknowledge the importance of the belief among the general population? And speculate on what might happen to religion if EVERYONE were to do as you have done?

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Tell me, while you may have rejected it in your life, can't you at least acknowledge the importance of the belief among the general population?
    You're the one pretending I am unaware of this, not me.... And that seems like a change of subject to me anyhow. The OP is explicitly about the Hebrew Scriptures and the awkward relationship Christians have with it.

    And speculate on what might happen to religion if EVERYONE were to do as you have done?
    The world would be a much, much better place. More peaceful, certainly. You have a very self-contradicting position, both for and against the virtue of independent thought.

  4. Top | #54
    Contributor repoman's Avatar
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    Is any of this related to the Christian Identity cultish movement?

  5. Top | #55
    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    You are imposing the worldview of your imagining on me. I am very much in favor of independent thought. I am not arguing in favor of religious institutions in any way. I agree that the world would be a better place if everyone did as you did...BUT I think that in that world, Christianity wouldn't exist.

    You see, you are far from the first christian with these non conforming views to come on this site, and I have to say that I have become accustomed to their modes of thought, as I have been here and talking to them for 17 years. What I see is that there is an institution called Christianity (more properly, a bunch of related institutions) which is in a continual state of producing and shedding members, like a big, shaggy dog. (or perhaps a spider plant would be a better analogy, as occasionally, the shed members take root and grow) Just as you can find hairs when the dog is nowhere around, that doesn't mean that the hairs exist independently of the dog.

    I think that if every christian did as you did, then the institution of Christianity would collapse in short order. Even though you and people like you would try to raise up children to still be christians, without the social pressures created by the institution, numbers would quickly dwindle and the religion would become extinct, within a few generations. You recognize that the institution is wrong and oppressive, yet you fail to discard the beliefs it imposed upon you even after rejecting it. In short, the difference between you and me is that you think that faith is independent of a religious institution, while I think that religious institutions produce faith through acculturation. If you are right, Christianity can indeed survive after the institutions are gone. If I am right, in a world without religious institutions, the concept of 'faith' will seem primitive and harmful, and over the course of a few generations will die out or become marginalized. I believe that what is happening in the world now supports my view more than yours.

    So, you see that I am NOT changing the subject. I am addressing the subject from my point of view, different from yours. You don't see the rejection of scripture as problematic, as you have done so and are still faithful. I see it as problematic for Christianity in a broader sense, as widespread rejection of scripture will damage the institution, on a macro scale. As an atheist on a personal level, of course, I don't see this as a negative outcome.

  6. Top | #56
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    You are imposing the worldview of your imagining on me. I am very much in favor of independent thought. I am not arguing in favor of religious institutions in any way. I agree that the world would be a better place if everyone did as you did...BUT I think that in that world, Christianity wouldn't exist.

    You see, you are far from the first christian with these non conforming views to come on this site, and I have to say that I have become accustomed to their modes of thought, as I have been here and talking to them for 17 years. What I see is that there is an institution called Christianity (more properly, a bunch of related institutions) which is in a continual state of producing and shedding members, like a big, shaggy dog. (or perhaps a spider plant would be a better analogy, as occasionally, the shed members take root and grow) Just as you can find hairs when the dog is nowhere around, that doesn't mean that the hairs exist independently of the dog.

    I think that if every christian did as you did, then the institution of Christianity would collapse in short order. Even though you and people like you would try to raise up children to still be christians, without the social pressures created by the institution, numbers would quickly dwindle and the religion would become extinct, within a few generations. You recognize that the institution is wrong and oppressive, yet you fail to discard the beliefs it imposed upon you even after rejecting it. In short, the difference between you and me is that you think that faith is independent of a religious institution, while I think that religious institutions produce faith through acculturation. If you are right, Christianity can indeed survive after the institutions are gone. If I am right, in a world without religious institutions, the concept of 'faith' will seem primitive and harmful, and over the course of a few generations will die out or become marginalized. I believe that what is happening in the world now supports my view more than yours.

    So, you see that I am NOT changing the subject. I am addressing the subject from my point of view, different from yours. You don't see the rejection of scripture as problematic, as you have done so and are still faithful. I see it as problematic for Christianity in a broader sense, as widespread rejection of scripture will damage the institution, on a macro scale. As an atheist on a personal level, of course, I don't see this as a negative outcome.
    If a rise of informed, independent thought would crush Christianity, then it obviously deserves to be crushed.

    I don't have any children, but if I did, I hope I would raise them to keep their own counsel on things as well.

    Your railing against faith is a bit ironic considering the utter... conviction? you have in your own views. Obviously, faith does not require a religious institution to exist. Society requires institutions, but I disagree that they must be oppressive in character.

    I don't see how your description of Christianity as continually losing and gaining members distinguishes it in any way from any other institution, religious or secular, that has ever existed.

    I don't "reject" Scripture, I just don't fetishize it either. Even after more than a decade participating in secularist fora, it is still humorous to me when I hear Baptist dogma word-for-word from atheist lips.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    And I am eternally amused at the parade of theists who come in here, all the same, who cherry pick which beliefs that suit them, and pretend that what we atheists believe is somehow the same as their self serving grab bag of religious beliefs. You discard the bits that are inconvenient and pretend this makes you a freethinker, rather than taking it to the logical conclusion.

    I desperately wanted to keep believing, and played every trick on myself that I could think of to do so. Only when I changed my point of view, which is now my go-to strategy to understand something that doesn't seem to make sense, could I cut through my own lies to see the truth that I so wanted not to see.

    The primary difference between your beliefs and mine are that you pick what you believe to suit yourself. I had to reinvent myself to fit what I came, against my will, to believe. I was a christian, because I was made a christian. That is all. And yet it was sincere on my part. I really believed. Again, your point of view is different. You don't think the only reason you are a christian was because you were raised as such. What makes you feel uncomfortable is that I understand your point of view, because mine was once very similar, but you don't understand mine, which is why you misinterpret my emphasis on the importance of scripture to monotheism as it exists as me being somehow as closeminded as a Baptist. My position is that an institutional adherence to scripture produces a robust and consistent culture that aids in perpetuating the religion over time. That non-conforming christians would not exist if there weren't an institution made up of conforming christians to produce them. That is all. But you want to make it into something else, because you so desperately need to dismiss my point of view as you have already done so with the Baptists.

    And why can't I agree with the Baptists on this point? I'm a freethinker after all. No one is wrong all the time, not even them. In this case, both I and the Baptists have the evidence on our side; Religious institutions are collapsing, and non-religion is rising. Correlation does not equal causation, but if I'm right about the mechanisms, it is a cause and effect relationship. If I'm wrong about the mechanisms, please explain how.

    And of course, I didn't mean to say that Christianity was different from any other institution...but, of course, isn't it YOU who are a christian, who should be saying that Christianity is different from other, false religions? You have Jesus, don't you? Shouldn't Christianity be different? It is the very similarity of Christianity to other systems that caused me to start doubting it in the first place!

    If you want me to say something I have faith in, here it is: The world makes sense. If you can't see how, change your point of view!

  8. Top | #58
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    And I am eternally amused at the parade of theists who come in here, all the same, who cherry pick which beliefs that suit them, and pretend that what we atheists believe is somehow the same as their self serving grab bag of religious beliefs.
    Whom else should I serve? There are principles that I would happily serve, but never for a man. I was not born to that kind of life, and was quite lucky to have been born in such a time and place that men like me are allowed to persist. And yes, that attitude is also a product of my time and culture, and unlikely to arise in another.


    You discard the bits that are inconvenient and pretend this makes you a freethinker, rather than taking it to the logical conclusion.
    I discard things that I see as wrong, foolish, or immoral. And yes, that does make me a freethinker by any reasonable definition.


    The primary difference between your beliefs and mine are that you pick what you believe to suit yourself. I had to reinvent myself to fit what I came, against my will, to believe. I was a christian, because I was made a christian. That is all. And yet it was sincere on my part. I really believed. Again, your point of view is different. You don't think the only reason you are a christian was because you were raised as such.
    No, it stands to reason that my faith would resemble that of my parents to some degree. Christian faith is no more or less an accident of history than any other philosophical position. I think you are projecting your younger self onto me, as nothing you are writing here is a position I hold.


    And of course, I didn't mean to say that Christianity was different from any other institution...but, of course, isn't it YOU who are a christian, who should be saying that Christianity is different from other, false religions?
    I never said anything of the sort, nor believe it. Again with the projection. I do not think our youths were in many ways similar, if you did believe such things at one time. You're the only one in this conversation who insists that rational consideration must lead to your own viewpoint.


    If you want me to say something I have faith in, here it is: The world makes sense. If you can't see how, change your point of view!
    Ah! And to what institution do you owe this faith? I cannot say I agree, personally. The world is under no compulsion to make sense to anyone, and it strikes me as rather arrogant to imagine that reality itself will bend its knee to make itself more easily comprehensible to a tiny subset of the living beings that inhabit it. If I awoke one morning with an over-riding feeling that "everything makes sense now", my second assumption (once I had calmed down a bit) would be that I am probably missing something and have experienced a false epiphany, and try to remember whether I had consumed any LSD the previous night.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    I think that since we are both doing little but accusing each other of misinterpreting and projecting, we had better do a little cooling off before continuing.

  10. Top | #60
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    For my two bob contribution today I'll say the word "faith" is often conflated with justified belief or trust, which unlike faith, are based on evidence.

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