Christians are Revolting - Sean Lauren

Debate specific books

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18568
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 211 times
Contact:

Christians are Revolting - Sean Lauren

Post #1

Post by otseng »

This thread will debate the book Christians are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress, by Sean Lauren.

We will go through the book one chapter at a time and discuss the contents of each chapter. I anticipate we'll spend several days on each chapter and then move on to the next one. Please avoid jumping ahead, but you're free to discuss previous chapters (for those that join late). We'll end the debate with each person giving a general overview of the book. The thread will then be closed.

If you'd like to participate, sign up here.

Elijah John
Savant
Posts: 12235
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:23 pm
Location: New England
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #131

Post by Elijah John »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: [Replying to post 128 by Elijah John]

Which leads to an interesting question: How good is good? If separating sheep and goats and caring more for behaviors than beliefs, then how good is good? Personally, I argue that it's not for us to know. We are to do our best with the hope that our best is good enough while knowing it's what God wants. To that end, I argue that an ethical atheist is quite possibly accepted into God's kingdom and much sooner than a less ethical Christian. Any atheist that is more ethical than the least ethical of acceptable Christians should clearly be just as acceptable if the behavior is more important than the belief. And if an atheist is not acceptable despite being more ethical than a Christian who is acceptable, then this negates action as being of any consequence. You can say "both" are necessary, but if the wrong belief is enough to kick one out, then belief itself is of extreme importance for some reason. But to what end? Why would a belief be as important as deeds?
I agree in that is up to the Wisdom and mercy of God. King David says YHVH knows we are "but dust" and is therefore merciful to us. It is up to us to do our best and trust. Or as Daniel Boone put it, "I try to do my best, and trust in God's mercy for the rest". Or words to that effect.

It is hard to imagine that an omniscient and all Wise God would care about us humans getting our beliefs "wrong". I think Jesus taught that it is much more important how we treat each other. (in all things do unto others as you would have them do unto you, THAT (my emphasis) is the Law and the Prophets.

And regarding ethics and behavior, I don't think anyone is arguing that surface observance is enough. Jesus taught it must come from the heart.

One thing Jesus didn't teach* is that right belief is what saves us. And his brother James echoes the notion: "you believe that God is One, you do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble".
---
* one could make the case that John's Jesus taught the importance of right belief, but that seems to have been a "different Jesus". And John simply said to believe in Jesus. Not that he died to "pay for" your sins. (That was Paul's baby)

And of course Paul, who taught that the reception of God's grace and mercy is entirely dependent upon getting one's beliefs "right".
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

User avatar
tam
Savant
Posts: 5562
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:59 pm
Has thanked: 244 times
Been thanked: 205 times
Contact:

Post #132

Post by tam »

Peace to you!

Hope no one minds if I jump in, even though I am going back a bit! No one has to backtrack with me if you just want to keep going forward.


From Chapter 3,
In the seventh chapter of Matthew, [Jesus] spoke words which I had not heard recited in any church that I had ever attended even up until today. The words burned in my memory and still remain there to this day. Starting at the twenty-first verse, [Jesus] had said that not everyone who calls him their Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven. That alone starkly contrasted anything I had ever heard regarding God and heaven. He continued to say that only those that do the will of God will enter. At this point, I became much more interested in learning what God actually wanted. He continued again and said that many will come to him and proclaim that they called him Lord, that they did miracles in his name, and even cast out demons, but that Jesus would respond that he never knew them because they continued on in sin.
The verses in question:


Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness!’



Please note the words, "I never knew you."

This means that these people were never Christian. They might be calling Him "Lord", and they might also believe that they are Christian; they might even have done things in His name. But Christians (anointed ones) are known by Christ. He is the One who anointed them (with holy spirit) to begin with. He is in them and they are in Him.

So if at some point He had known them, how can this verse be referring to them?



You also said:
Jesus is recorded in John 14:23-24 as saying that we know who truly loves him based upon whether or not they follow his teaching. But how are we supposed to know if someone is following the teaching to believe? If someone claims to love Jesus, are we at all capable of determining whether or not he really does love him by reading his mind? By which means can we determine if he truly believes and is not merely faking it? It makes no logical sense to believe that the will of God is to merely believe in Jesus and to use that as a means of filtering out false teachers who claim to follow Jesus but do not.

John 14:23-24 is not about determining who might be a false teacher (we have ONE Teacher: the Christ). My Lord is simply speaking the truth... that if we love Him, then we will obey His commands. By that truth, we can examine ourselves, making sure that it is Him we truly love (and so Him we are truly obeying).

This verse (along with the preceding verse) also tells us what will happen if we do love Him (and so keep His commandments; keep His word):


Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."





Peace to you,
your servant and a slave of Christ,
tammy

User avatar
tam
Savant
Posts: 5562
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:59 pm
Has thanked: 244 times
Been thanked: 205 times
Contact:

Post #133

Post by tam »

Peace again to you!

From Chapter 6


Another event had us washing everybody’s feet as a gesture of the servitude that Jesus wanted from us. I did not personally care for this servitude, however, as we obviously did not need our feet washed in our culture. I found it disgusting and it certainly had no benefit in and of itself. Still, one of my roommates asked to wash my feet and I allowed him despite feeling quite uncomfortable about the entire process.
A quick comment about this one (and there is no judgment from me; just an expounding upon the truth; I also did not understand at first that this is something that we who are in Christ should do):

I think the reason that some people insist this is no longer applicable is not because it truly is no longer applicable (how would they know that?), but because they do not want to do this (for whatever reason).


But Christ did it:

You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, because I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example so that you should do as I have done for you.


It is not about people needing their feet washed for physical cleanliness. It is about love for Christ, and so doing as He said we should do for one another.

As He said:

"Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me."



Even the least commandment.

He who is faithful in what is least, is faithful in what is much. (Luke 16:10)


Peace again to you and to your households,
your servant and a slave of Christ,
tammy

User avatar
tam
Savant
Posts: 5562
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:59 pm
Has thanked: 244 times
Been thanked: 205 times
Contact:

Post #134

Post by tam »

Peace again to you!


Also from chapter 6, just a comment on the imagery:
Some people tried to cheer me up every so often, but this proved about as useful as telling a drowning person to enjoy the sunshine while he or she struggled to stay afloat.

This was an excellent description. I had it marked, so as not to forget to comment on it. I loved it. (I am sorry for you pain of course, truly, but the description was great; I could feel it).

User avatar
ElCodeMonkey
Site Supporter
Posts: 1587
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:49 am
Contact:

Post #135

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

Hey tam, glad to see you jumping back in.
tam wrote:So if at some point He had known them, how can this verse be referring to them?
I'm really not sure what point you are trying to make here. I don't think you're disagreeing with anything I've said so perhaps you are mistaking something I said or else I'm mistaking what you are saying? The point was merely that those who do God's will are his people, not simply those who claim his name (which is all church ever seems to teach).
tam wrote:John 14:23-24 is not about determining who might be a false teacher (we have ONE Teacher: the Christ).
There are two separate ideas here. Jesus tells us that we will "follow his teaching" if we truly know him. The question, then, is that of what the teaching is. A lot of people believe the teaching is "belief" in Jesus. So how can you obey that? The second idea is in a different verse, Matthew 7:15-20, which talks about knowing people "by their fruit" (i.e. if they produce what God had commanded). If God commanded "belief" then the fruit is invisible and we have no way to judge anything. If the fruit is behavior, however, we can absolutely see that and thus judge if someone is really belonging to God or not.
I'm Published! Christians Are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress
My Blog: Friendly By Nurture
The Wisdom I've gleaned.
My Current Beliefs.

User avatar
tam
Savant
Posts: 5562
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:59 pm
Has thanked: 244 times
Been thanked: 205 times
Contact:

Post #136

Post by tam »

Peace to you!
ElCodeMonkey wrote: Hey tam, glad to see you jumping back in.
tam wrote:So if at some point He had known them, how can this verse be referring to them?
I'm really not sure what point you are trying to make here. I don't think you're disagreeing with anything I've said so perhaps you are mistaking something I said or else I'm mistaking what you are saying? The point was merely that those who do God's will are his people, not simply those who claim his name (which is all church ever seems to teach).

Yes, that is correct. I think we are in agreement on this. I was just stressing the point because in the same chapter you had also written this:
Nobody seemed to know that Jesus wanted us to be good and do rightly even though he spoke about it extensively. He said that few people would find the way and that many would not. He expressed that Christians would be denied heaven for their evil behavior. It only made sense, then, that many Christians were wrong since many would be denied and only few would gain entrance.

So I was just making sure it was understood that "I never knew you" could not be referring to Christians. (to those who call themselves Christians but who are not, sure...)

tam wrote:John 14:23-24 is not about determining who might be a false teacher (we have ONE Teacher: the Christ).
There are two separate ideas here. Jesus tells us that we will "follow his teaching" if we truly know him.


Yes. (I assume you meant to write "if we truly love Him").

The question, then, is that of what the teaching is. A lot of people believe the teaching is "belief" in Jesus. So how can you obey that?

I think you understand correctly that it is more than mere belief (more than simply calling someone "Lord"). In fact, how can you believe in someone and yet not do what they say?


"Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?" Luke 6:47


I think verse 21 (in John 14) clarifies:

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.


Even the least things (as in the example above about washing feet).

The second idea is in a different verse, Matthew 7:15-20, which talks about knowing people "by their fruit" (i.e. if they produce what God had commanded). If God commanded "belief" then the fruit is invisible and we have no way to judge anything. If the fruit is behavior, however, we can absolutely see that and thus judge if someone is really belonging to God or not.

It is not my understanding that the fruit is belief (or even behavior, per se, although different fruit will compel different behaviors).

But that fruit is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.


Fruits of the Spirit. Christ is the good tree bearing good fruit. And if we are in Him then we are in that tree, and we should be receiving the fruits of the Spirit that He produces.



**

On the other hand for example, some religions produce bad fruit, such as judgment, fear, anger, hatred, cruelty, an absence of natural love or compassion, etc. This will be reflected in those who belong to them as well.


Bad tree... bad fruit.

Good tree (Christ)... good fruit.




Peace again to you,
your servant and a slave of Christ,
tammy

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18568
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 211 times
Contact:

Ch. 9 - Faith of a child

Post #137

Post by otseng »

One thing I do appreciate about the book is the candor. On the forum, people are rarely completely open about themselves. In the book, it's almost like complete transparency.

"I looked forward to this seminar with great anticipation hoping for my own miraculous healing of a condition of pilonidal cysts. This is not a particular condition one wishes to share with others, however, as it has to do with a trail of cysts lining one’s butt crack."

I had mentioned that one drawback in the book was the sarcasm. Here's an example:

"God continued to fill my cup every day and I knew that I had made the right choice to quit college. God encouraged me every step of the way, I had a great fast-food job, I was comfortable in my one-bedroom leaky apartment with a 25-square-foot kitchen, and I had everything I needed including very well-used dishes, reject filthy couches, and my first roll of toilet paper."

User avatar
ElCodeMonkey
Site Supporter
Posts: 1587
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:49 am
Contact:

Re: Ch. 9 - Faith of a child

Post #138

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

otseng wrote:One thing I do appreciate about the book is the candor. On the forum, people are rarely completely open about themselves. In the book, it's almost like complete transparency.
I'm glad that comes across. I had hoped that complete transparency would help people believe me more when I say how much I tried and to comprehend the openness I have even with examining my own life. No itchy ears as best as I could manage.
otseng wrote:I had mentioned that one drawback in the book was the sarcasm. Here's an example:

"God continued to fill my cup every day and I knew that I had made the right choice to quit college. God encouraged me every step of the way, I had a great fast-food job, I was comfortable in my one-bedroom leaky apartment with a 25-square-foot kitchen, and I had everything I needed including very well-used dishes, reject filthy couches, and my first roll of toilet paper."
I'm kind of surprised that this would be an example for you. I was more juxtaposing my belief that God was filling my cup with the interesting nature of the fact that it wasn't particularly amazing things. I truly felt my cup was filled despite it, but it's easy to see from the outside that it's more a perspective than anything else.
I'm Published! Christians Are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress
My Blog: Friendly By Nurture
The Wisdom I've gleaned.
My Current Beliefs.

Elijah John
Savant
Posts: 12235
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:23 pm
Location: New England
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: Ch. 9 - Faith of a child

Post #139

Post by Elijah John »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:
otseng wrote:I had mentioned that one drawback in the book was the sarcasm. Here's an example:

"God continued to fill my cup every day and I knew that I had made the right choice to quit college. God encouraged me every step of the way, I had a great fast-food job, I was comfortable in my one-bedroom leaky apartment with a 25-square-foot kitchen, and I had everything I needed including very well-used dishes, reject filthy couches, and my first roll of toilet paper."
I'm kind of surprised that this would be an example for you. I was more juxtaposing my belief that God was filling my cup with the interesting nature of the fact that it wasn't particularly amazing things. I truly felt my cup was filled despite it, but it's easy to see from the outside that it's more a perspective than anything else.
That's how I read it. Not as sarcasm, but more of an attitude of humble gratitude and acceptance mixed with a little bit of aceticism (sp?) Also, isn't there a line from Job (or some other book) "shall we accept only the good from the LORD and not the evil"? Or words to that effect.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seemed content with humble circumstances because you had God in your life (even at that stage) and were convinced of his guidance and Providence.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

User avatar
otseng
Savant
Posts: 18568
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Has thanked: 146 times
Been thanked: 211 times
Contact:

Re: Ch. 9 - Faith of a child

Post #140

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:
otseng wrote:I had mentioned that one drawback in the book was the sarcasm. Here's an example:

"God continued to fill my cup every day and I knew that I had made the right choice to quit college. God encouraged me every step of the way, I had a great fast-food job, I was comfortable in my one-bedroom leaky apartment with a 25-square-foot kitchen, and I had everything I needed including very well-used dishes, reject filthy couches, and my first roll of toilet paper."
I'm kind of surprised that this would be an example for you. I was more juxtaposing my belief that God was filling my cup with the interesting nature of the fact that it wasn't particularly amazing things. I truly felt my cup was filled despite it, but it's easy to see from the outside that it's more a perspective than anything else.
Hmm, I then interpreted it incorrectly. One of the benefits of being able to debate a book directly with the author. Wrong interpretations can be clarified. O:)

Post Reply