If all you knew about Jesus

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Elijah John
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If all you knew about Jesus

Post #1

Post by Elijah John »

It is said that the apostle Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, only in a vision.

Yet he preached "Christ crucified".

Question for debate, if all you knew about Jesus was that he "died for your sins" would that be enough for salvation?

If you knew nothing of Jesus teachings, nothing of his vision of right and wrong, would it be enough just to believe that he died for you?

What does conventional, orthodox Christianity teach?
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.

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Post #11

Post by Willum »

I believe sinning is something ghastly that only Judeo-Christians do. The rest of us don't sin and:

Our souls are awesome!

But if I were to ascribe to the Judeo-Christian belief in sin, and that only Jesus could save me, I would reject him still more emphatically.

My sins are my own! They are a part of me and what makes me who I am. I consider them, and endeavor to make them right, and ensure that I don't commit them again.

I am stronger for having taken them on, and made redress, than relying on an imaginary crutch to forgive me, that essentially assures I commit the same ones again-because I am forgiven.

To remove them from me would be to destroy who and what I am, to remove my knowledge, wisdom and all good in myself I fought very hard to make.

So any being] desiring to save me by removing my sins, can take a long walk off a short plank.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #12

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to post 9 by Tired of the Nonsense]
Quote:

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time." -- 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
And yet Paul was present for none of this himself, was he! So how did he come by this story? Well, Paul's claim to fame in the Christian community was his assertion that he had been in contact with a dead man. Is that a reasonable claim, or could a reasonable person be forgiven for having reasonable doubts?
Of course a reasonable person should have doubts. It is an outrageous claim. The nature of the claim, and what it has produced for the 2,000 years since it was made, warrants a full investigation into its veracity.
Volbrigade wrote:

Without the Resurrection, the Crucifixion is just the execution of a radical Jewish rabbi.

And this I must say is hard to dispute. It does rather neatly explain why everyone who lived 2,000 years ago is still quite reliably and undeniably DEAD though. This despite Christians proclaiming that Jesus is about to return at any moment now. A claim that has an ongoing record of being right which is exactly ZERO for 2,000 years. Many would consider that conclusive. Christians of course declare that it is just about to happen NOW. Which is of course EXACTLY what they have been saying for the last 2,000 years.
"Every one" except One. The Resurrection of Christ is a truth claim. It is different from every other truth claim. There is no other claim that the Infinite Mind and Power and Love that expressed the cosmos into existence actually entered that existence in the form of a human being, who lived during a particular juncture in history, among both the greatest civilization up to that time (which is still in continuance, in many ways) and a people who have very stringent guidelines in regard to this Infinite Being (and who are definitely still in continuance in our present day) that He was executed for violating.

And that among the witnesses to His life and execution are figures who are undeniably historical -- e.g., Pilate, Herod, Joseph of Arimathea, et. al.

There is no other claim that is even remotely comparable.

But the question is: despite its radical nature, "is the claim true?"

Does the totality of the evidence support it? Can it be believed?

Every one has to come to their own conclusion. Doing so without a full examination and understanding of the facts and evidence would be what the Bible calls "foolish". ;)

A place to start might be, "if he died to save us from our sins -- do we need such salvation?"

The answer would entail whether there is something fundamentally flawed -- that is, depraved -- about human nature.

Evidence might include the daily newspaper and nightly news.

As Chesterton put it: "the Fall is the only Christian doctrine for which there is empirical proof".

Beyond that --

the original question was whether belief in the crucifixion was sufficient for salvation.

Again -- I say "no". Not by itself. Not unless there was a Resurrection.

I further submit that the belief in the Resurrection will be determined by whether one is searching for truth in regard to it --

or seeking to avoid and deny that truth.

I trust that you can agree with that, if nothing else I've written. 8-)

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #13

Post by Tired of the Nonsense »

[Replying to Volbrigade]
Volbrigade wrote: Of course a reasonable person should have doubts. It is an outrageous claim. The nature of the claim, and what it has produced for the 2,000 years since it was made, warrants a full investigation into its veracity.
The only way to investigate the story for veracity, is to give careful consideration to the story that we have, such that it is. The story of Paul's conversion is contained in Acts 9. So let's make a careful evaluation of the story in Acts. According to Acts 9, while on the road to Damascus Paul became stricken. Blind and confused, Paul had to be taken into Damascus where he was left at the home of a christian man to be tended to. It's a significant point. Acts specifically indicates that Paul went three days without drinking. Whatever the cause, Paul was clearly severely dehydrated. Three days without water is a critical condition, and one that can lead to death. Severe dehydration commonly effects the eyesight, as the vitreous fluid in the eye thickens sight is diminished. Dehydration also causes the neurons in the brain to misfire from lack of fluid, resulting in hallucinations. Hallucinations in a man three days with out drinking aren't merely likely, they are inevitable.

So, sick and disoriented Paul had to be helped into the city by his traveling companions who then left him at the home of a CHRISTIAN MAN to be cared for. Sick and delirious, and while being tended to and prayed over by a CHRISTIAN MAN, Paul came to believe after his recovery that during his illness he had experienced a face to face visitation with the years dead Jesus. This experience proved to be life changing for Paul and after his recovery Paul became a confirmed Christian. Hardly a surprise, really, given what he fully believed that what he believed he experienced was real actual, and his feeling of gratitude for the Christian man that had probably saved his life. But we in the 21st century, in the light of reason and logic, are left to consider whether it is more reasonable to conclude that Paul, in his delirium, and while being tended to and prayed over by a Christian, hallucinated a vision of Jesus. Or, conversely, whether it is reasonable to conclude that Paul actually MET WITH AND CONVERSED WITH A DEAD MAN! I notice that which side of this question opinion tends to fall appears to have a direct correlation to whether or not a person has been programmed from an early age to uncritically accept stories of flying reanimated corpses, and the like, as undeniably true.
Volbrigade wrote: "Every one" except One. The Resurrection of Christ is a truth claim. It is different from every other truth claim. There is no other claim that the Infinite Mind and Power and Love that expressed the cosmos into existence actually entered that existence in the form of a human being, who lived during a particular juncture in history, among both the greatest civilization up to that time (which is still in continuance, in many ways) and a people who have very stringent guidelines in regard to this Infinite Being (and who are definitely still in continuance in our present day) that He was executed for violating.
The prophet Mohammad claimed to have been visited by the angel Gibril (Gabriel) on several occasions. During these visitations Mohammad was required to learn and recite what the angel told him. This would become the Qur'an. This is a "truth claim." It cannot be in any way be proven. It must be accepted on faith. Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by the angel Moroni. The angel directed him to discover some golden tablets which contained indecipherable writings on them. By placing the tablets into a hat and then also placing his face into the hat, the Holy Spirit allowed him to translate the plates. This is a "truth claim." It is not verifiable, but must be accepted on faith. In what way is the claim that a corpse came back to life and subsequently flew away any different from any other such "truth claim" which on the surface seems perfectly ridiculous, and which must be accepted entirely on faith?
Volbrigade wrote: As Chesterton put it: "the Fall is the only Christian doctrine for which there is empirical proof".
What "empirical proof" are you citing?
Volbrigade wrote: Again -- I say "no". Not by itself. Not unless there was a Resurrection.

I further submit that the belief in the Resurrection will be determined by whether one is searching for truth in regard to it --

or seeking to avoid and deny that truth.

If the basis for the story of the resurrection can be shown to have it's roots in the perfectly ordinary "natural" activities of mortal human being, should that not serve to mitigate the likely truth of such an unbelievable and unrealistic claim? If faith in the story necessarily requires first contriving to have faith that the story is true, does that not seem to serve to undermine the entire claim? Especially if a perfectly natural answer seems to be obvious and right at hand?
Volbrigade wrote: I trust that you can agree with that, if nothing else I've written.
Well... no not really. Much too much of what you said is entirely based on misconceptions and insupportable assumptions. But I'm still listening. Proceed to make your case.
Image "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." -- Albert Einstein -- Written in 1954 to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #14

Post by Tired of the Nonsense »

Tired of the Nonsense wrote: [Replying to Volbrigade]
Volbrigade wrote: Of course a reasonable person should have doubts. It is an outrageous claim. The nature of the claim, and what it has produced for the 2,000 years since it was made, warrants a full investigation into its veracity.
The only way to investigate the story for veracity, is to give careful consideration to the story that we have, such that it is. The story of Paul's conversion is contained in Acts 9. So let's make a careful evaluation of the story in Acts. According to Acts 9, while on the road to Damascus Paul became stricken. Blind and confused, Paul had to be taken into Damascus where he was left at the home of a christian man to be tended to. It's a significant point. Acts specifically indicates that Paul went three days without drinking. Whatever the cause, Paul was clearly severely dehydrated. Three days without water is a critical condition, and one that can lead to death. Severe dehydration commonly effects the eyesight, as the vitreous fluid in the eye thickens sight is diminished. Dehydration also causes the neurons in the brain to misfire from lack of fluid, resulting in hallucinations. Hallucinations in a man three days with out drinking aren't merely likely, they are inevitable.

So, blind and disoriented Paul had to be helped into the city by his traveling companions who then left him at the home of a CHRISTIAN MAN to be cared for. Sick and delirious, and while being tended to and prayed over by a CHRISTIAN MAN, Paul came to believe after his recovery that during his illness he had experienced a face to face visitation with the years dead Jesus. This experience proved to be life changing for Paul and after his recovery Paul became a confirmed Christian. Hardly a surprise, really, given what he fully was fully convinced that what he believed he experienced during his illness was real and actual, and his feelings of gratitude for the Christian man that had probably saved his life. But we in the 21st century, in the light of reason and logic, are left to consider whether it is more reasonable to conclude that Paul, in his delirium, and while being tended to and prayed over by a Christian, hallucinated a vision of Jesus. Or, conversely, whether it is reasonable to conclude that Paul actually MET WITH AND CONVERSED WITH A DEAD MAN! I notice that which side of this question opinion tends to fall appears to have a direct correlation to whether or not a person has been programmed from an early age to uncritically accept stories of flying reanimated corpses, and the like, as undeniably true.
Volbrigade wrote: "Every one" except One. The Resurrection of Christ is a truth claim. It is different from every other truth claim. There is no other claim that the Infinite Mind and Power and Love that expressed the cosmos into existence actually entered that existence in the form of a human being, who lived during a particular juncture in history, among both the greatest civilization up to that time (which is still in continuance, in many ways) and a people who have very stringent guidelines in regard to this Infinite Being (and who are definitely still in continuance in our present day) that He was executed for violating.
The prophet Mohammad claimed to have been visited by the angel Gibril (Gabriel) on several occasions. During these visitations Mohammad was required to learn and recite what the angel told him. This would become the Qur'an. This is a "truth claim." It cannot be in any way be proven. It must be accepted on faith. Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by the angel Moroni. The angel directed him to discover some golden tablets which contained indecipherable writings on them. By placing the tablets into a hat and then also placing his face into the hat, the Holy Spirit allowed him to translate the plates. This is a "truth claim." It is not verifiable, but must be accepted on faith. In what way is the claim that a corpse came back to life and subsequently flew away any different from any other such "truth claim" which on the surface seems perfectly ridiculous, and which must be accepted entirely on faith?
Volbrigade wrote: As Chesterton put it: "the Fall is the only Christian doctrine for which there is empirical proof".
What "empirical proof" are you citing?
Volbrigade wrote: Again -- I say "no". Not by itself. Not unless there was a Resurrection.

I further submit that the belief in the Resurrection will be determined by whether one is searching for truth in regard to it --

or seeking to avoid and deny that truth.

If the basis for the story of the resurrection can be shown to have it's roots in the perfectly ordinary "natural" activities of mortal human beings, should that not serve to mitigate the likely truth of such an unbelievable and unrealistic claim? If faith in the story necessarily requires first contriving to have faith that the story is true, does that not seem to serve to undermine the entire claim? Especially if a perfectly natural answer seems to be obvious and right at hand?
Volbrigade wrote: I trust that you can agree with that, if nothing else I've written.
Well... no not really. Much too much of what you said is entirely based on misconceptions and insupportable assumptions. But I'm still listening. Proceed to make your case.
Image "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." -- Albert Einstein -- Written in 1954 to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #15

Post by ttruscott »

anontheist wrote: [Replying to post 5 by ttruscott]

But you're same with any Muslim or Mormon would say as well.
Then why to they both beat me up all the time, eh? You might not notice the subtleties but they sure do...and so do I. If you care to say exactly where we overlap, I'm sure both sides would be glad to explain just which overlaps are bogus.

So, when do you think we learn spiritual truth, if not when GOD teaches it to us that is...? Or does being a non-theist disqualify your opinion?
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #16

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to Tired of the Nonsense]

You seem certain that Paul had some sort of epileptic fit or something, which involved an hallucination, either during the seizure, or brought on by dehydration afterwards.

That's plausible.

Or, he could've experienced an appearance of the resurrected Jesus; the power behind the universe, and its Cause; a manifestation of a hyperdimensionality, within our 4-dimensional subset of it.

That's plausible, as well.

One thing seems certain -- whatever happened, it is generally accepted that Paul had problems with his eyesight from that time on (the "thorn in the flesh"?). Whether from exposure to the divine glory, or subsequent dehydration, or both, is a matter of pure speculation.

I find your explanation lacking, based on Paul's writings and recorded actions following his experience on the road to Damascus. I see no hint of the delusional; nothing that suggests that those writings are based on an hallucination, coupled with indoctrination into a strange and nascent Jewish sub-cult.

What I encounter in Paul's writings are the most sublime arguments for faith ever recorded. I encounter the expression of what I believe to be the highest intelligence ever gifted by God to a human mind -- or, at least, that we have the recorded thoughts of.

And I see those writings dovetail perfectly with the writings of 39 other authors, spread across at least 17 millennia, the collection of which comprises an integrated message system which authenticates itself as having extra-terrestrial origins in a number of ways: symbolic and idiomatic consistency; thematic unity; macro- and micro coding elements that feature cryptological elements far outside the capabilities of our most sophisticated information technology, or any possibility of chance occurrence; and the foretelling of events centuries before their occurrence -- a quality reserved for an entity which is outside our time domain.

Incidentally --

the stories involving Mohammed and Joe Smith that you cite in no way compare to the account of God becoming a man named Jesus of Nazareth.

They do compare favorably with each other, however. Both involve the impartation of a new religion that is contradiction to the Gospel, delivered by an angelic being.

"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light", as Paul wrote.

And He should know; having encountered the genuine Light of the World -- "the Way, the Truth, and the Life".

But it was not a religion that Jesus imparted to Paul. It was the freedom from religion; of having to DO THINGS in order to appease the Deity -- it has all been done -- and the freedom to engage in communion with the eternal Power and Glory that hung the galaxies in space. To become, in effect, adopted sons of His; and co-heirs with His only begotten one.

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Post #17

Post by ttruscott »

Willum wrote: I believe sinning is something ghastly that only Judeo-Christians do. The rest of us don't sin and:

Our souls are awesome!

But if I were to ascribe to the Judeo-Christian belief in sin, and that only Jesus could save me, I would reject him still more emphatically.

My sins are my own! They are a part of me and what makes me who I am. I consider them, and endeavor to make them right, and ensure that I don't commit them again.

I am stronger for having taken them on, and made redress, than relying on an imaginary crutch to forgive me, that essentially assures I commit the same ones again-because I am forgiven.

To remove them from me would be to destroy who and what I am, to remove my knowledge, wisdom and all good in myself I fought very hard to make.

So any being] desiring to save me by removing my sins, can take a long walk off a short plank.

What a well said manifesto of independence in the face of an attack on your individuality!

But some of us do not have your confidence because when we were introduced to our real internal character, the character we can hardly admit to ourselves let alone anyone else, and in struggle after struggle against ourselves to stop hurting those we love, we failed to measure up to our own standards let alone to GOD's standards.

And at that point of suicidal despair instead ending it all we chose to ask for the help of another who has promised to indeed help us out of our dilemma of wanting to do/be good but not being able. When one is ready to dive into traffic to end their guilt, independance is the last thing you think about.

So, good luck with your fight to keep your sins - different strokes for different folks eh?
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #18

Post by Tired of the Nonsense »

[Replying to Volbrigade]
Volbrigade wrote: You seem certain that Paul had some sort of epileptic fit or something, which involved an hallucination, either during the seizure, or brought on by dehydration afterwards.

That's plausible.

Or, he could've experienced an appearance of the resurrected Jesus; the power behind the universe, and its Cause; a manifestation of a hyperdimensionality, within our 4-dimensional subset of it.

That's plausible, as well.
Given that you just imagined it to be true, there is no actual plausibility involved whatsoever. The best I can say here, is that since no human has the superpower of infinite knowledge, which is to say the ability to know with 100% accuracy what is and is not possible , I cannot discount your explanation entirely. You have nothing to support such a claim however, other than even greater appeals to the imagination. Imagined things are not necessarily plausible things however. Einstein first imagined the theory or relativity as thought experiments. His theory was then proved mathematically and experimentally. Today, string theory comes the closest to matching current observations on the structure of the universe. No one has figured out a way to prove string theory though, and so far it's just an idea. For Paul to have had an actual meeting with a man who had been dead for many years is just a claim, and an unrealistic one at that, based on all common experience. It doesn't even come close to matching any factual observations.

The information concerning Paul's condition is more than enough to conclude that Paul was deathly ill. Deathly ill people commonly undergo delusions. Having conversions with dead people is the antithesis of that which is common of course.
Volbrigade wrote: One thing seems certain -- whatever happened, it is generally accepted that Paul had problems with his eyesight from that time on (the "thorn in the flesh"?). Whether from exposure to the divine glory, or subsequent dehydration, or both, is a matter of pure speculation.
Paul seems to have had ongoing health issues. Epilepsy has been suggested. Paul doesn't really give enough information for a truly competent diagnosis though.
Volbrigade wrote: I find your explanation lacking, based on Paul's writings and recorded actions following his experience on the road to Damascus. I see no hint of the delusional; nothing that suggests that those writings are based on an hallucination, coupled with indoctrination into a strange and nascent Jewish sub-cult.
You find my explanation contradictory to the one you prefer. That in no way changes the fact that it is entirely consistent with the facts at hand.

I had a very high fever once as a child, and I experienced delirium. I was seeing things that were not real but seemed real to me at the time. And it was very disorienting. It was all in my head though. I remember it quite well. In my mind I was able to shrink my bedroom door to the size of a mouse hole, like in Alice and Wonderland. A tiny Alice came in and talked to me. She spoke in rhymes that made no sense to me. You would be unlikely to tell anything about any of this from my later writing however. The condition passed.
Volbrigade wrote: What I encounter in Paul's writings are the most sublime arguments for faith ever recorded. I encounter the expression of what I believe to be the highest intelligence ever gifted by God to a human mind -- or, at least, that we have the recorded thoughts of.
Paul's belief prior to his conversion was real and it was genuine. Paul's revised belief seems to have been quite genuine as well. He must have been wrong at least once. People of other religions genuinely believe in their faiths too.And jet. since they can't all be true, some genuinely held faiths must be false. Dead religions are examples of beliefs once held to the highest level of validity by very serious people. These beliefs are now dead and largely forgotten. In the second century BC the Greek mathematician Erastosthenes worked out the circumference of the Earth to a quite respectable degree of accuracy. That is still remembered because it has physical validity.
Volbrigade wrote: the stories involving Mohammed and Joe Smith that you cite in no way compare to the account of God becoming a man named Jesus of Nazareth.

They do compare favorably with each other, however. Both involve the impartation of a new religion that is contradiction to the Gospel, delivered by an angelic being.
How is this anything but a statement of "I don't choose to believe that, but I choose to believe this?" Any Muslim will tell you that Jesus was never resurrected from the dead, with unqualified certainty.
Volbrigade wrote: "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light", as Paul wrote.
Notice that Paul is here regarded as the superior source of undeniable knowledge... because you have declared it to be so.
Volbrigade wrote: "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light", as Paul wrote.
There is no more reason to suppose that Satan exists then there to suppose that Loki or Polyphemus does.(Polyphemus was the man eating one-eyed giant called a cyclops.) The only real difference is that you choose to believe in one but do not choose to believe in the others. I on the other hand deny the truth of them all.
Volbrigade wrote: And He should know; having encountered the genuine Light of the World -- "the Way, the Truth, and the Life".
Or once suffered from delirium, which is VASTLY more likely given his dehydrated state.
Volbrigade wrote: But it was not a religion that Jesus imparted to Paul. It was the freedom from religion; of having to DO THINGS in order to appease the Deity -- it has all been done -- and the freedom to engage in communion with the eternal Power and Glory that hung the galaxies in space. To become, in effect, adopted sons of His; and co-heirs with His only begotten one.
Well this actually seems to be working quite well. I am completely free from religion and seem to be doing fine despite the fact that I never attempt to appease any deity one way or the other.
Image "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." -- Albert Einstein -- Written in 1954 to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #19

Post by anontheist »

ttruscott wrote:
If you care to say exactly where we overlap, I'm sure both sides would be glad to explain just which overlaps are bogus.

So, when do you think we learn spiritual truth, if not when GOD teaches it to us that is...? Or does being a non-theist disqualify your opinion?
Faith, how do we determine what to believe? Faith.
I only want to believe what is true.

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Re: If all you knew about Jesus

Post #20

Post by Volbrigade »

[Replying to post 18 by Tired of the Nonsense]

You have selected out out a key area of my last post.

I'll copy it here, in case you want to take a crack at it:

"And I see those (Paul's) writings dovetail perfectly with the writings of 39 other authors, spread across at least 17 millennia, the collection of which comprises an integrated message system which authenticates itself as having extra-terrestrial origins in a number of ways: symbolic and idiomatic consistency; thematic unity; macro- and micro coding elements that feature cryptological elements far outside the capabilities of our most sophisticated information technology, or any possibility of chance occurrence; and the foretelling of events centuries before their occurrence -- a quality reserved for an entity which is outside our time domain."



I, in turn, will take a crack at this: 8-)
Volbrigade wrote:

What I encounter in Paul's writings are the most sublime arguments for faith ever recorded. I encounter the expression of what I believe to be the highest intelligence ever gifted by God to a human mind -- or, at least, that we have the recorded thoughts of.
Paul's belief prior to his conversion was real and it was genuine. Paul's revised belief seems to have been quite genuine as well. He must have been wrong at least once. People of other religions genuinely believe in their faiths too.And jet. since they can't all be true, some genuinely held faiths must be false. Dead religions are examples of beliefs once held to the highest level of validity by very serious people. These beliefs are now dead and largely forgotten. In the second century BC the Greek mathematician Erastosthenes worked out the circumference of the Earth to a quite respectable degree of accuracy. That is still remembered because it has physical validity.
Paul was indeed wrong once. In persecuting the followers of Christ; and in so doing, persecuting Christ himself. He wrote copiously of his mistake in doing so; and elegantly of the reasons for faith in the risen Jesus.

Dead religions are not what's under discussion here. Both Judaism, and the belief in Jesus, are alive and kicking. Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism; He is the expression of God to us, and our Savior. But God is not done with Judaism yet -- or, at least, with the Jewish people, to whom He has made promises that have yet to be fulfilled.

And God always keeps His promises. Another topic, to be sure.

The reason Judaism and Christianity -- which is the subject of this site -- are so gloriously alive and "remembered" is because of their spiritual validity.

And spiritual trumps physical any day of the week. And, you might say, "twice on Sundays." ;)
Volbrigade wrote:

the stories involving Mohammed and Joe Smith that you cite in no way compare to the account of God becoming a man named Jesus of Nazareth.

They do compare favorably with each other, however. Both involve the impartation of a new religion that is contradiction to the Gospel, delivered by an angelic being.


How is this anything but a statement of "I don't choose to believe that, but I choose to believe this?"
We're not talking about what I believe, here. We're talking about the nature of the truth claim made by Jesus, and adhered to my His followers: the the God of Heaven and Earth became a man: not in a fable, or even during a fabled time; but was born as a specific infant who grew to be a specific man at a specific time and place in history. A man who attended feasts that are still part of the Jewish calendar; walked the dusty roads of Judea and Samaria, and went to Jerusalem, a Roman provincial outpost, at the "appointed times". And that man was Jesus, who died a substitutionary atoning death, and was resurrected 3 days later, during the tenures of Pilate, Herod, Annas, and Caiphas.

That claim is categorically different from any other claim. And certainly from the Muslim/Mormon ones, which are rather tame by comparison -- "an angel told me something" -- and similar to each other.
Any Muslim will tell you that Jesus was never resurrected from the dead, with unqualified certainty.
Maybe. Unless he comes to faith in Christ -- as many have -- for which he stands to pay a high cost.

But that's irrelevant to the point -- the singularity of the "truth claim" in regard to Jesus Christ.
Volbrigade wrote:

"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light", as Paul wrote.

Notice that Paul is here regarded as the superior source of undeniable knowledge... because you have declared it to be so.
Not I. But I do assent that it is so. After all -- a man who encounters the risen Christ, and has enough wherewithal to ask the question that we all should ask of Him: "who are you? And what do you what of me?" And is provided an answer to those questions --

that man should be listened to.
Volbrigade wrote:

"Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light", as Paul wrote.
There is no more reason to suppose that Satan exists then there to suppose that Loki or Polyphemus does.(Polyphemus was the man eating one-eyed giant called a cyclops.) The only real difference is that you choose to believe in one but do not choose to believe in the others. I on the other hand deny the truth of them all.
There is more correspondence between those entities than you know. Loki, Zeus, and all the other demigods that populate paganism are references to Nephilim, distorted by accreted fables; and have Satan -- the archangel in rebellion against God -- as their source.

There is no reason to deny the underlying truth of them.
Volbrigade wrote:

But it was not a religion that Jesus imparted to Paul. It was the freedom from religion; of having to DO THINGS in order to appease the Deity -- it has all been done -- and the freedom to engage in communion with the eternal Power and Glory that hung the galaxies in space. To become, in effect, adopted sons of His; and co-heirs with His only begotten one.
Well this actually seems to be working quite well. I am completely free from religion and seem to be doing fine despite the fact that I never attempt to appease any deity one way or the other.
I'm glad to hear that you're doing well.

But I have never encountered anyone who was "truly free from religion". Even as Christians, we have to be daily diligent not to fall into the traps of rite, ritual, "works", and legalism.

We are religious by nature. We will adhere to dogmas and creeds, even secular, atheistic, relativist ones. It is part of our fallen nature.

The prevailing religion of our time, in the post-Christian west, is what I refer to as Whateverism.

It is the vague, shallow, dimly-held belief in something, nothing, anything --

"Whatever".

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