Sin and Salvation

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Godmachine, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Godmachine

    Godmachine Active Member

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    Point taken. There are religions that can and do exist without the concept of 'sin'. Buddhism is a good example. But then there are those who say Buddhism is not really a religion and that Buddhists live in sin.

    I suppose I was talking about western religions when I started the thread. Perhaps I should have clarified that. My bad.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    There is sin in Buddhism — some of my favourite analogies about sin is drawn from the Buddhist tradition.

    The concept is there in all traditions, unless the tradition is utterly amoral. It's just not expressed in the sense of transgression against the will of a personal God, but rather as actions that create negative karma by violating moral and ethical codes, which is pretty much the same thing. It's an offence against heaven, or the Dharma ...
     
  3. Godmachine

    Godmachine Active Member

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    The concept of sin, as it exists in western religions (i.e. a deliberate act of disobedience against god) does not exist in Buddhism. Belief in a divine being is not a necessary part of being a Buddhist, it is optional. The are moral and ethical codes in Buddhism but there is no divine judgement, no heaven and hell, no elaborate system of reward and punishment in the afterlife. Buddhists have the law of 'dharma' which is essentially the law of cause and effect. So negative actions have negative consequences. This is not the same as the western idea of 'sin'.
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I really know of no spiritual or religious tradition (older than seven generations, to be a tradition) which is amoral. Sin is not limited to the concept that BACs preach on Sunday, liberal Christians, Jews, and non-Wahhabi or salafist Muslims define it way different; as a kind of straying from the right action.

    Daoist, Jain and Buddhist thinkers have the notion of "right action" as well; and a notion of "straying from the right action".

    The point is not all Western Monotheism (from Zoroastrians to the Bah'ais) define sin as some kind of willful disobedience. It is an ethical-metaethical concept (as originally formulated in Judaism) not a theistic concept.
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    And this is not necessarily true in Christian practice either, it might be according to the Christians you know but not all.
     
  6. Godmachine

    Godmachine Active Member

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    I am pretty sure the vast majority of Christians believe in heaven and hell and divine judgement. Every Christian I have ever encountered, be it in person or through some form of media, has believed in heaven and hell and divine judgement. Can you give me an example? Can you show me a Christian who does not believe in those things?
     
  7. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I don't think wil, radar or Thomas believe those things, you'll have to ask them yourself of course. They use the words sometimes, but it won't mean what you think it means.

    I think you and are very different, I will always see the individual first and the various groups they belong to secondly.
     
  8. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Look up Matthew Fox (as an individual) or Unitarian-Univerversalism. Similarly, look up the lesser known George Fox (founder of Religious Society of the Friends of Truth and Children of the Light) and the Society (see Quakers or Friends).

    God-machine you are way, way off-base here. Even Arian and Marcion were Christians (albeit unpopular and ultimately rejected ones). Read you church history or just pull up a few wiki articles and this will show your belief invalid (not wrong, it just does not apply to all Christians).

    You. of course can define "Christian" any way you want. But just realize most serious scholars and historians of Christianity differ from you. Go a U-U or Quaker and widen the group of people who are Christians.
     
  9. Godmachine

    Godmachine Active Member

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    Obviously I have just entered the twilight zone. What did I say that was "way off base"? The vast majority of Christians believe in divine judgement and heaven and hell. Is there something wrong with that statement? I'm not saying it applies to 'all' Christians. I'm not saying my idea of divine judgement or heaven and hell is anything close to the Christian idea (whatever that might be). I'm saying those ideas, in some form or another, are present in the vast majority of Christians.

    Who are Arian and Marcion? Arian sounds vaguely familiar. Don't just tell me I am 'off base' and make statements like "most serious scholars and historians of Christianity differ from you" and then just leave me hanging. WTF??? Who are these 'scholars' and why have I not heard of them? It's not like I am completely ignorant of Christian history. I'm no expert but I have done my share of research. So what did I say that was "way off base"?
     
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    You may have started the post with “vast majority”. However your next two sentences use the terms “every Christian” and “can you show me a Christian”… both strongl;y implying the firs sentence was a put-on. I bit. But the latter two sentences contradict “vast majority”, if that is what you meant. See “every” means all, and “show me a” implies such a creature (Christians do not believe in heaven and hell and divine judgment) does not exist.

    Arian and Marcion were early heresiarhs I thought you would know about or Google. That is beside the point, really I provided two individuals Matthew Fox and George Fox as individual examples and two groups, Friends and U-Us who do not believe in heaven and hell and divine judgment. Look those six up first, understand none believed in this, then we can go on to scholars.

    My apologies for assuming a level of background and your being curious enough to look up the references. If you want me to post statements by individuals and organizations that are contrary to your views, I shall defer. I do not like “tit for tat” dueling quotations. I am sorry if I incised you. I could however provide a list of fifty names of Christians and Scholars who disagree with your finding.

    If all you really wanted was to say “the vast majority”, I would have thought you would have left off all the subsequent sentences in post #66. If that is really all you wanted to state, yeah you are probably right (if you include Catholic and Orthodox Christians). But that simple claim is not what I responded to, as explained above.
     
  11. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    EDIT: A bit quicker there, Radar
    Lets start with 'the vast majority', a statement I don't know how anyone could make, shall we count them? Would they all describe 'hell' the same way? The way you would describe it? How about 'heaven' or 'divine judgement', you believe you have a handle on how every Christian feel about these things and cam make such broad statements about them? What is a Christian then? do you feel that there is a proper sett of guidelines that are generally accepted? Are everyone why call themselves Christian ones? Some who wouldn't are almost indistinguishable from some that do.

    These are rhetorical questions.

    I believe your statement is prejudice based on your own experiences, which are nearly insignificant in the great scheme of things. The reason I say this is because I personally don see a reason to make any such statement at all, what is the point, what good will it do? I believe it will only produce preconceptions about people that could very well be untrue.

    Also, if you don't want to be left hanging, I would recommend backing up your own statements and set a good standard. Second, if someone gives you a name I think the lest you could to is look them up before asking who they are. Finding your own sources is the first step to thinking on your own, yes?

    Arius laid the foundation for Arianism
    Arianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Marcion rejected the idea of 'divine judgement' among other things.
    Marcion of Sinope - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    ACOT, I do not quite understand. I was addressing how I misread GM. However, you are correct “vast majority of Christians” is something hard to define (not like “Every Christian” or “show me a Christian” which are pretty black and white and as I explained what I was reacting to). Same with “Heaven”, “Hell”, and “Divine Judgment”, same with the concept of “Sin” that begins all of this. Their definition depends on the eye of the observer (my bad). Furthermore, “Christian” falls into the same category.

    I do not share the normal definitions of each… for me Christianity is primarily a matter of self-identification with a more-or-less monotheistic religion that accepts the Gospels as the record of a very good man (or idealization of one). Jesus did not have to live, the Gospels can be wrong, the core is the concept of Chr!st (Christology gets very, very scholarly and esoteric).

    If this is my statement, please explain in PM.

    Ditto, if these are my statements, and standard, tell me which they are in a PM. I thought those links as well as those to Fox, Fox, Friends, and U-Us were all there.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    No, it exists as a deliberate act of disobedience against heaven, or the Dharma. Same thing in principle.

    In Pure Land (Eternal Bliss) Buddhism, the correspondences are very close indeed.
    St Paul says exactly the same thing: Pray constantly. In the Christian Tradition there is the Prayer of Simplicity and, to paraphrase the underscored above 'the repetition of the name of Jesus as a means to enter His realm through meditation'.

    I suppose most Christians would answer the question about heaven and hell in the same way as Augustine answered the question about time: 'when you'd don't ask, I know what it is; when you ask, I don't know'.

    I don't believe in an eternity playing the harp on a cloud, or being tickled by demons in some fiery pit. I tend to see it as being and non-being.

    But most people need a sensory focus for abstract concepts to become 'real'; the number who are satisfied with a pure idea, without form or description, are very rare.

    The big issue is divine judgement. Buddhists have karma.

    I have trouble with it as something purely mechanistic, and in that sense it stands in contrast the the Buddhist idea of compassion, and I can't see how a mechanism can be so unrepresentative of the highest expression of human nature – love, compassion, empathy, call it what you will – or conversely how compassion can redress 'karmic debt' when karma is blind to compassion?

    As you can see, my understanding is threadbare, and I've never really pushed it. But I do assume I've got it wrong, I do not believe that Buddhist philosophy or metaphysics is defective as my expression of karma would seem to imply.

    Buddhist cosmology contains not heaven and hell, but many heavens, and many hells, with some kind of judgement device which determines who goes where ... and spirits and demons in abundance!

    So basically what I'm saying is that outwardly, the Christian notion of heaven, hell and divine judgement has a unique expression, but if you take it back to principles, there's the same idea expressed in all traditions, just according to their own doctrine ... but many of the common expressions are as way off, and as sentimental, as any other.

    Yes there are ... there are plenty.

    OK. But then I would say my spiritual aspirations transcend a purely mechanical state of being?

    You miss the point. Why does one act in a negative manner when one knows better? It's not the act that is the sin, it's the reason behind the act. The same act can be a virtue or a vice, depending on the reason the act was performed.

    If karma can't see that, than it's a very superficial doctrine, and we're all bandjaxed!

    Example: Aquinas offers the analogy of a rich man giving alms to the poor. If he does it to share his wealth with those in need, it's a virtuous act. If he does it to make himself wealthier (in esteem) in the eyes of his fellows, and actually he doesn't give a fig for the suffering of others, its not virtuous at all.

    If all karma sees is the giving alms, then there's a whole dimension of morality and ethics that it's completely deficient in, as a measure of cause and effects towards, presumably, some ideal state.
     
  14. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    haha, good Radar, I'm sorry for the confusion! My entire post was directed at GM, when I posted it I saw that you got there first so I did a quick edit to acknowledged that at the top of the post. I'll do better next time!
     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Brava, Thomas. Yes, the point is our ethical behavior... what we do to ourselves and others, not limited to human beings. In the end, this was the pinnacle of Transcendental Idealism, from which later philosophy strayed. Except, IMHO, Rosenzweig and Whitehead.

    In the end they are all the same, we are all the same. We experience events and give rise to events (the basic Hindu and Buddhist chain of Karma as I read it). The trick is to make sure we do no harm and hold nothing in selfish attachment (that covers Jainism and Zoroastrianism and the other monotheisms).
     
  16. Godmachine

    Godmachine Active Member

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    I think a problem we run into when we discuss Christian theology and beliefs is that Christianity is such a fractured religion. Different Christians sects hold to different 'truths' and many claim to hold THE 'Truth'. There is a lot of disagreement among different Christians about what 'Christian' actually is. Is it possible for a person to not believe in such things as divine judgement, heaven and hell, the divinity of Christ or even the existence of Christ and still call him/herself 'Christian'? I guess it depends on who you ask....
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea Well-Known Member

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    I guess that could be true, but what major religion isn't that true about then? Or perhaps even political ideologies or any other group of people gathered around a set of agreements or understanding. Every person will see such abstract concepts slightly different from the next person. Well that is the fundamentals of what I believe and why I could be defined a agnostic. Too many nuances to be certain of anything.
     
  18. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Thousand of people have lived and died without ever believing that there would be something like the Internet, or that people would fly in airplanes. Such things could have been invented ten thousand years ago, but they weren't invented until one lucky recent day. The infinite potential was always there waiting for its time. The same can be said for the Christians as a group. Christians have infinite potential, and writing Christians off would be a mistake (though I am in favor of change). In this modern context the salvation may come from having patience. The original sin in this case is the infighting that Christians have to oppose and eventually destroy. I'm personally very sad about the state of things, because I'm personally involved and affected. I expect good things in the future.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    All the world's religions have their 'sub-sets'.

    If you're in the US you suffer a unique problem.

    It would be interesting exercise to count all the Christian denominations in the world, and determine what percentage were founded in America under the laws which allow religious freedom. As time went on, religion in the US seems to have become a commercial enterprise like any other. 'Truth' seems to have become 'the most attractive commercial proposition' once the message got to your side of the Atlantic.
     
  20. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Aside: An extremely high number here in the USA but not so many in Canada, Mexico and other countries. I don't think religious freedom is the problem however. If legal religious freedom is the source of so much fragmentation then that is an extremely important finding. That would be utterly disappointing to me.
     

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