Fourth Thesis

Victor

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Those who know me will be aware that I have three theological thesis on this site. Thanks to Brian, one has become an EBook, and widely dispersed. At an advanced (?) age I have started my fourth which has taken on a life of its own. There are four major points taken up: Forgivness of sin, Repentance, Karma, and Predestination and Preexistence. How are they connected to Christianity? I am here to post the Prologue because it takes up one major topic that is a vast emptiness in the Christian ethic. I would like your thoughts...

Has it ever occurred to you that in our Christian doctrine it is always the victim who bears the weight of the sin and not the perpetrator?

It is the victim’s role to forgive every abuse heaped upon them. It is the victim’s role to suffer the hurt, the pain and injury, the anxiety, the fear, yes even the anger, caused by another. It is the victim who must ‘bear the weight’ of the damage while the one who has caused physical, emotional and spiritual upheaval in another’s life is relieved of their sin at once. This even when there is no contrition.

The culprits receive the blessing of the priesthood and turn their backs on those they have injured without a moment’s hesitation.

Repentance is a moment’s prayer, a quick word asking forgiveness, and they turn without remorse or concern from those they have injured. They are held blameless for the path of human debris they leave behind, and some have a trail that follows them a lifetime in length. And indeed, in all of this where is contrition? Where are the deep and genuine feelings of guilt and remorse? Where is the firm resolve not to sin again in the future?

Who tends for the weary? Who tends for the victims of our selfish endeavors? How do we seek comfort from a God who is supposed to take away the blame of the perpetrator while those outraged, hurt, in pain, are threatened, told that if they refuse to forgive their tormentor’s sins their sins will not be forgiven? We make the victim guilty of the crimes of the offender!

And if true of our religious union it carries over into our social order with a flurry. Man and God are separated from each other by an absence of the Spirit of the Law. Only the letter of the Law remains for mankind to stumble over.

It becomes apparent to some that the doctrine of the Christian Church is prejudiced in this matter. Why? We will attempt to discover why the Church has refused to repair this apparent error, leaving untold numbers of adherents to Christ’s order in physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. Many have had no choice but to leave the confines of God’s house to seek another means of confessing their faith in their Lord and Savior.

Serious consideration must be given to the subject if ever the scales of Christian justice are to be leveled. It would appear that there is an enormous void in the Christian ethic. It has gone untouched for almost two thousand years without consideration, an empty desert that is an open wound in our practiced doctrine.

It is for this purpose that this writer begins an examination of Forgiveness and Repentance in both the Old Testament and the New. Our beginning, even as Christians, has its roots in Judaism and the ancient history of Israel. Therefore, as in any valid search one must start at the beginning. It must be understood at the outset that these matters also concern themselves with contrition and confession. Though simplistic in design, almost boring to most studied believers, it is a necessary evil to this work.

One puzzle in our search will be in defining the difference in seeking forgiveness of our own sins or forgiving the sins of another, someone who has sinned against us. Finding peace when someone has sinned against us is well within the parameters of our search. We are expected to find some way to forgive another who has sinned against us; it is expected, it is harsh, but it is demanded from us even though we may be the victim!

And in the end there must be an answer found concerning the debts caused by sin. We must determine whether our own sins and those against others obligate us to pay a price, a debt, other than our repentance, confession.

That which is preached to the congregations of Christian denominations denies the religious rights and principles of those against whom sin is practiced. In addition, it obviates the strong possibility that we have incurred a debt by our actions, a debt that must be paid at some point in our existence.

Surely when the Priest announces after confession that, “Your sins are forgiven,” this is not the end of the matter. Contrition is not a moment’s thought or the reading of a Confessional Statement in the Mass or a Church Service. It is not the, Our Fathers or the Hail Marys that we recite. It cannot end with a line of the injured left unattended. And it cannot end with total absolution of the sinner no matter how many words or vows are spoken by, or for us.

The fact that Christ died for our sins is given. We believe that we receive absolution through His death on the cross, even when our confession and repentance are incomplete. We are forgiven for confessing our sins when we are contrite, even when those we have hurt by our sins are left unattended and suffering. But even at that are there scriptures that lean toward the inevitable conclusion that all is not as we would have it in our socially minded congregations?

Have we, in fact, understood the totality of Christ’s teachings? Have we properly discerned His complete intent, or have we stopped short of His intended meaning?

Does Christ speak of debts created by sin? Does Christ speak of those who have been injured by the sins of others? Does Christ speak of reward and punishments even after our sin is forgiven? Do the Holy Scriptures of The Old Testament speak of these things? Does the New?

And in the most subtle fashion possible, if God’s word and intent presents us with a debt to be paid for the things we have done, when is it visited upon us? And if a debt indeed, why do we refrain from understanding it as the destiny of man to be responsible for the things he has done? Dare we even be so bold as to use the concept of, Karma?

Victor G
 

wil

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Namaste Victor....

Victim.... I can't speak to the attrocious behaviour of others, nor to those who have been harmed in monmumenal ways.

I have myself however over the years felt the victim at various stages....but now in my 'silver' years don't feel the victim in anything. I've been injured by others, lost jobs, homes, friends, marriages, been robbed, beaten, verbally and physically. And have done my share of damage to others...that portion, I have yet to release completely...but victim side....is gone.

Forgivness is never about the perpetrator or perceived perpetrator...it releases the 'victim' from whatevr chains are self inflicted about the incident...it is all about the 'victim', forgivness is.

And yes....I to, in my Christian learnings have let the perpetrators go....and yes find that portion lacking in my behaviour....as they are off to perpetrate somewhere else...or have they, like I, who have no right to cast any stone, first, middle or last....also awoken to their issues and moved on from their victimhood?

Karma....I got no issues with Karma and feel we Christians live with it every day...we are not punished for our sins but by them....we enfold karma into our belief of G!d as if G!d has to act....as the law of action and reaction doesn't occur on its own....in its own time.
 

iBrian

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Good to see you still about, Victor. :)

Are you epublishing via Amazon by any chance?
 

Victor

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HI, yourself.
No, in fact someone else did it from a site that used the Pauline thesis.
It seems to have gotten all over the place.
From the colonies...
Victor
 

Victor

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Just a quick note of interest for Brian. Since you allowed the Pauline Thesis on your site, I have extended it to some 299 pages. Got into the Greek along with the Vatican Text and found additions qute interesting. Also added medical notes to the Affair on Golgotha, and changed the third thesis to the politics involving Jesus and John. And in all of this, my youth vanished..... lol
From the Colonies!
 

Victor

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Finished the thesis, The Sacrament of Life. 126 pages, 402 footnotes and it puts Christian ethic in some very bad light. Also explores Karma (the cosquences of our actions; action and reaction, etc) sin, repentance, contrition, forgiveness, predestination, preexistence of the soul, reincarnation vs resurrection , and one chapter proving that we do not exist in the presence but in the past. Did that scientifically and spiritually. Wish there was a way to get the best parts on here... Brian noted Amazon EBooks, might give it a shot!
 

iBrian

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I think you should self-publish your theses on Amazon - would give you a wide readership and potentially a little income to cover your time.
 

Thomas

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Has it ever occurred to you that in our Christian doctrine it is always the victim who bears the weight of the sin and not the perpetrator?
Really? Who's Christian doctrine is that, precisely? Not mine.

You sound like you require retribution.

I'm sorry, that's not how Christ works.
 

juantoo3

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Greetings Victor!

I am limited in time, but you do have an interesting essay here. One in which I can see a great deal of reflection among many Christians of my experience, although I would not say all. I do think there are many Christians who believe, and are led to believe (the greater crime in my mind), that once confessed sins somehow magically disappear.

I know it doesn't work that way, from personal experience.

Perhaps I am not a good Christian...in fact, I loathe the term "good Christian" as so many evil things have been brought to pass on humanity by good Christians...probably more so than any other cause, historically speaking. Because I am not a good Christian, I have more leverage and leeway to apply the writings and teachings in my personal life, weighing wrongs done to me and by me. While some would hold that every sin has an equal weight, I disagree. I never got around to an exhaustive list, but surely cheating on taxes carries a lesser "karmic" penalty than murder, for example. And saying something inadvertantly untoward to an acquaintance carries a lesser penalty still than cheating on taxes. Each would necessarily create and carry their own karmic burden as it were, but to greater and lesser degree.

I also see the import of intent...something done absent mindedly without ill intent would necessarily be of lesser degree, while the same thing done with intent to cause harm, fraud or mayhem would necessarily be of a greater degree. No earthly shepherd no matter how well blessed would be able to determine forethought and intent.

Lastly, when it comes to forgiveness I am fairly quick to forgive minor offences (never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity), those matters clearly done with intent and forethought are not so easily forgiven. Yes, it does require effort and it is a great burden to bear, but it is one I carry willingly. I do not forgive the person who torturously murdered my step-father, the coward is still an anonymous face and my step-father is still an unsolved case. I hope that person rots in the hell he has created for himself. That is a sin that no shepherd can absolve with any number of "Hail Mary's" or coins in an offering plate.

I have made my own share of mistakes as well, the difference is that I see the teachings saying to make right that which I have made wrong. That may require no more than an apology, but it is a contrite acknowledgment of the wrong I have committed towards another. A sin committed to self alone is lesser still, though not without karmic burden.
 

Victor

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Thomas: "You sound like you require retribution." No, but Christ requires repentance! There is no unconditional forgiveness anywhere in G-d's Word. I require nothing but justice for those who are condemned falsley by others within the Church. Let the accuser prove his accusations and the guilty be treated as a "tax collector" and a gentile or let the sinner repent of their accusations, be forgiven and returned to the congregation. To refuse to follow Christ's admonition is to be, Apostate!
 

Victor

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Juantoo3: I always appreciate your logic because it comes from a source other than human. Those endowed with gifts of the Spirit are always special in His eyes. The basic principle of the thesis is that of required repentance before forgiveness can be offered. It is not so much the duty of mere humans to offer an, I do forgive you, but rather G-d who is the judge. Every action precipitates a reaction, equal and opposite in force. It is those consequences of our actions that create the path of karma that each of us must travel. I admire the understanding you present in your comments and will always treat them as a fellow traveler in this mortal veil. And I just love your last sentence: "A sin committed to self alone is lesser still, though not without karmic burden." Stay well my friend!
 

Thomas

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No, but Christ requires repentance!
Not of the victim, for being a victim, as your thesis implies. Or am I reading you wrong?

There is no unconditional forgiveness anywhere in G-d's Word.
There's unconditional love through and through.

Has it ever occurred to you that in our Christian doctrine it is always the victim who bears the weight of the sin and not the perpetrator?
Who's Christian doctrine are you talking about?

In mine, Jesus was very clear in who He condemned, and why, and they were not the 'victim' in any situation.

It is the victim’s role to forgive every abuse heaped upon them.
As opposed to what?

St Paul says it all:
"To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing good things, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men (evident then that this is a very hard doctrine to live). Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. For, doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head" (Romans 12:19).

And why? Simple: "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good" (v21).

... while the one who has caused ... upheaval in another’s life is relieved of their sin at once. This even when there is no contrition."
I can't speak for all denominations of course, but as far as I know, that's simply not true, in fact if there is no contrition, it's hypocrisy.

Repentance is a moment’s prayer, a quick word asking forgiveness, and they turn without remorse or concern from those they have injured...
I'm sorry Victor, but have you actually read the doctrinal documents of the churches on this point? Citations would be useful.

For my part, the Abrahamic Tradition has a very distinct theme on the point: "I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11). What Ezekiel is not concerned with is punishment, what he is concerned with is salvation.

Contrition infers a recognition of a wrong done, a regret of the evil wrought, and a desire to turn from evil to good (cf Psalm 50). This is evident in the Parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:13), moreso in the story of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32).

Contrition is defined by the Council of Trent (XIV, iv de Contritione): "a sorrow of soul and a hatred of sin committed, with a firm purpose of not sinning in the future". Etymologically it implies a breaking of something that has become hardened (the heart of the sinner).

Aquinas in his Commentary on the Master of the Sentences thus explains its peculiar use: "Since it is requisite for the remission of sin that a man cast away entirely the liking for sin which implies a sort of continuity and solidity in his mind, the act which obtains forgiveness is termed by a figure of speech 'contrition'" (Lib. Sent. IV, dist. xvii).

This sorrow of soul is not merely speculative sorrow for wrong done, remorse of conscience, or a resolve to amend; it is a bitterness of soul for sin committed and the resolve to sin no more.

The early Christian writers in speaking of the nature of contrition sometimes insist on the feeling of sorrow, sometimes on the detestation of the wrong committed (Augustine, Chrysostom).

Nearly all the medieval theologians hold that contrition is based principally on the detestation of sin.

The Act of Contrition, that every Catholic child learns: "Oh my God, I am sorry for my sins, and detest them above all things ..."

They are held blameless for the path of human debris they leave behind...
They were not, but they are forgiven.

And indeed, in all of this where is contrition? Where are the deep and genuine feelings of guilt and remorse? Where is the firm resolve not to sin again in the future?
Only the heart knows.

Who tends for the weary? Who tends for the victims of our selfish endeavors? How do we seek comfort from a God who is supposed to take away the blame of the perpetrator while those outraged, hurt, in pain, are threatened, told that if they refuse to forgive their tormentor’s sins their sins will not be forgiven? We make the victim guilty of the crimes of the offender!
No, you've misunderstood.

What's happening here is breaking the cycle of repetition.

Surely when the Priest announces after confession that, “Your sins are forgiven,” this is not the end of the matter.
No, it's not. You seem to be unaware of that fact.

... even when those we have hurt by our sins are left unattended and suffering.
Read Matthew 23.

Unattended and suffering? Then it is the duty of everyone to alleviate their pain, not just the contrite sinner. It's not a matter of quantity, of doing community service ... where there is one victim, the whole community has failed.

Have we, in fact, understood the totality of Christ’s teachings? Have we properly discerned His complete intent, or have we stopped short of His intended meaning?
To be honest, I think you haven't understood the Church's teachings.

Note that when Christ forgave, the only obligation He put on the sinner was 'sin no more'. It is very much human nature to say that this is not enough, there must be recompense.

That's what makes Christianity such a hard religion ...

Does Christ speak of debts created by sin?
No.
Does Christ speak of those who have been injured by the sins of others?
Yes.
Does Christ speak of reward and punishments even after our sin is forgiven?
Yes. because he's talking to man, not to the moment.

And in the most subtle fashion possible, if God’s word and intent presents us with a debt to be paid for the things we have done, when is it visited upon us?
If we are forgiven, there is no debt. God is not conditional, as we are.

Dare we even be so bold as to use the concept of, Karma?
Not in the way it is commonly understood, no.

Victor, everyone is commanded to love his or her neighbour as they love themselves.

That covers it all.
 

AdvaitaZen

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Forgiveness must happen, else you are further harmed.

Law provides punishment, it is only revenge, in truth what has passed cannot change.

You must let go of what has passed.

This is really why we like revenge, we have felt wronged, so wronging the other evens the score, brings a conclusion.

It is not always the case though, most likely is that anger is created in the other family.

Man cannot live in close quarters with hatred for one another.

It is better to understand the problem with the criminal, learn why they have gotten to this point.

It is a symptom of society being sick, the criminal is ill.
 

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We recognize this illness in some cases, in many cases though we think the act isn't proof enough.
 

kiwimac

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Thomas: "You sound like you require retribution." No, but Christ requires repentance! There is no unconditional forgiveness anywhere in G-d's Word. I require nothing but justice for those who are condemned falsley by others within the Church. Let the accuser prove his accusations and the guilty be treated as a "tax collector" and a gentile or let the sinner repent of their accusations, be forgiven and returned to the congregation. To refuse to follow Christ's admonition is to be, Apostate!

John 3:16 sound pretty much like unconditional forgiveness to me.
 
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