War and Pieces

juantoo3

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War and Pieces
With apologies straight up to Tolstoy, or whoever it was that wrote that huge bound excuse for a doorstop.

I jest of course, I suspect there may actually be someone, somewhere, sometime, that actually read it through, cover to cover. I seriously wonder if they are a part of any living generation, but beyond being an anachronism for "wordy" and the Jeopardy answer for "the longest book ever written"…(what is War and Peace), the book really has no meaning to me. It isn't on my short list of must reads, it isn't even on my long list of must reads. But it's a classic, or so "they" tell me…*sigh*

Those that know me here know that I am not averse to war…but it is easy to forget that I insist on necessity for war. War is not supposed to be the first action. War is not supposed to be the first re-action. War is somewhere waaaaaaay on down the list somewhere, sometime after trying everything else and trying it all over again. In a perfect world, and as I see it. Of course, I say "I," yet I am reminded often of the teachings of my religion and my Messiah. So, in a roundabout way, I guess I could say that a lot of my thinking is influenced by the man we usually call by the name Jesus.

Now, typically, Jesus taught us to be peaceful. Blessed are the peacemakers, He told us, from the Sermon on the Mount. Indeed, it seems every time He or His charges were faced with confrontation, He deliberately chose a peaceful solution, even if that solution was avoidance or retreat. Only once, in my failing memory, do I recall Jesus getting "righteously indignant." Of course, I agree with why He did what He did. And I also wonder how many others fully grasp why He did what He did, not that I have any lock on understanding in this department. It's just that the episode in the Temple was so out of character…unless one looks deeper. Alas, I will leave the reader with the intrigue, for this too is a diversion from my real intent. As much a diversion for myself as for the reader.

You see, the topic I wish to tackle is one that must be entered gingerly. To plow straight in is to risk creating the very monster one wishes to vanquish. St. George had it easy, he could see his adversary. This dragon is much more subtle, much more insidious.

It is common knowledge that Christianity has had a rather, ummm, colorful past. Some of those outside of Christianity are only too happy to point out something the average Christian would rather not discuss, let alone dwell upon. If we could be truthful with ourselves for a moment as Christians, we have a rather, well, warlike attitude. I mean, history is full of wartime atrocities in the name of religion, and all too often the religion in question is Christianity. Onward, Christian soldiers!

I really don't care for generalizations and labels, but sometimes for discussion it is all we have to work with. Christians, by and large, are rather militant at proselytizing. I mean, we are, or most of us anyway, pretty well convinced that Christianity is the only way to heaven. If you don't know Jesus, you are going to hell, plain and simple. Of course, I suppose that means G-d created about three quarters of the humans that ever lived in historic times (give or take) just to be kindling for an everlasting bonfire. I mean, is G-d really that wrathful and vengeful? Ahem, doesn't that mean that maybe G-d made a mistake, in making so many people who are doomed by no more than an accident of birth? Is the devil really that powerful that he has control over what amounts to three fourths of the world? Hmmm, it's been awhile since I looked into it, but I don't think that is what the Good Book says, at all.

Looking back at Genesis, the first chapter or two, the sixth day creation (before Adam and Eve), G-d created man and woman, and it was very good. Now, let's not loose sight here; the nations, the gentiles, the goyim, were created before the Garden of Eden, and that creation was not just "good" like the preceding 5 days, *it was very good*. G-d created every race as He meant for them to be. Now, I have no problem seeing this related in the writings of Paul, especially Romans 10 and elsewhere.

But this is not typical Sunday school teaching. Too deep for some? Maybe, I dunno. And I am but a lowly human trying to make my way back to my Heavenly Father Creator, there is always the possibility I might be mistaken. Now, let's consider for a moment…how many Christians think the Jews are lost without Christ? Show of hands please…uh huh…how many of you stopped to think that Jesus was and will always be a Jew? Jesus was a Jew who was born to a Jewish mother and raised by a Jewish Father in an observant Jewish home properly observing Jewish traditions and Jewish laws, who taught Jewish followers from the Jewish Bible, healed Jewish sick, and died a Jewish criminals death. Nah, the Good Book says the Jews are G-d's chosen people, and G-d doesn't go back on His word. OK, so the Christian argument is that G-d divorced the Jews, be that as it may, the exact same reference that makes that comment also says G-d will keep His divorced bride and remarry her. The book of Revelations seems to strongly hint in this direction. So who are we, as Christians, to deny G-d who He will marry and who He will not? Christians are the bride of Christ, the Jews are the wife of G-d, even if estranged. Personally, I think their reconciliation is coming along nicely, since 1948…

Now, I can't speak directly of Islam, but I do understand there is a close historic connection regarding not only Ishmael, but also the wife of Moses, the daughter of Jethro. (OH, please forgive this humble servant, her name escapes me just now)

To look at other peoples, one must of necessity step out of the Bible and into regional history (except for that nagging little sixth day creation thing…). There are all kinds of stories and speculation, the truth is we don't know with certainty. There are things like genetics that tie us together. To a great extent, so does a study of language. And to another great extent, so do our morality myths.

Somewhere around here on this site is a wonderful collection somebody took a great deal of time and effort to put together. In it is contained the "Golden Rule," in various formats, across all of the major world faiths and a whole lot of the minor world faiths. In short, we all know what is right and what is wrong, that harming our neighbor is harming ourselves. OK, so maybe some of them don't quite get the Jesus / Messiah thing, and maybe they don't quite relate to the Creator as "G-d", but all of us, each and every one, knows. We all intuit an innate understanding, we all reach for what is right and well and good and beautiful. G-d made us all that way.

Then there are those Christians who take an even more severe tack, that of turning upon other Christians. Leaving aside for the moment the vagaries and subtleties of who is and who isn't a Christian, when we Christians are not attacking (yes, I used that warlike moniker for a reason) those "outside" of the faith, we redouble our efforts on ourselves. There is a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (as I recall). "A house divide against itself cannot stand." Of course, if my memory serves me correctly, Jesus used those same words. No small wonder, again if I recall correctly, I believe it was Solomon who said the same thing. Turning on other Christians in an effort to undermine their faith and somehow "make them wrong" is to miss the point of Christianity. Bickering and infighting is not the way to display grace, favor, peace, forgiveness, mercy, or love.

Now, I suppose someone hellbent on war, can quote chapter and verse proving me wrong. Lord knows, I heard it enough as a kid in Sunday school. Believe in Jesus, or burn in hell, end of discussion. Somehow, I don't think G-d works that way. I don't think that is the message Jesus wanted us to take away from his teachings.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe in hell. I just don't think a person who is doing the best they know how with what circumstances they have been given, by G-d, is automatically doomed by heritage, genetics, nationality and / or culture. Nah, hell is for those who defy and deny G-d His own. G-d don't make no junk, all is as He meant for it to be, in the end anyway. All we've got to do is place our focus, and our trust, in Him. This is true, no matter our station or location in life. I think Paul was quite keen to this, when he wrote Romans 10.

Enough for tonight…
 
the Christian argument is that G-d divorced the Jews.

Never heard that before, nor do i think that is true.
The christian argument is not even an argument, nor do christians own it.
it is simply a fact that christ has already come, and was to the jew first.
and the way to the father is now thru the son, and that is for everyone.
 
BlaznFattyz said:
the Christian argument is that G-d divorced the Jews.

Never heard that before, nor do i think that is true.
The christian argument is not even an argument, nor do christians own it.
it is simply a fact that christ has already come, and was to the jew first.
and the way to the father is now thru the son, and that is for everyone.
Kindest Regards, Blazn!

Thank you for your input.

I am going from memory here, I didn't want to lose the train of thought. This I stated about G-d divorcing the Jews is a fairly common teaching in a number of "accepted" denominations, and it is based on a passage in one of the Old Testament prophets. Book, chapter and verse escape me just now. I want to say Isaiah, it could just as easily be Jeremiah or Ezekiel, or one of the other prophets.
 
OK, so the Christian argument is that G-d divorced the Jews
Replacement Theology. Yuck.
Trying to be politically correct here. That theology is just wrong.
The church has not replaced Israel. God does not lie, if he does not keep his promise to Israel how can we expect him to keep his promise to us?
 
Dor said:
Replacement Theology. Yuck.
Trying to be politically correct here. That theology is just wrong.
The church has not replaced Israel. God does not lie, if he does not keep his promise to Israel how can we expect him to keep his promise to us?
I suppose we can't can we? :D

Anyway, how is replacement theology wrong? I wish there was a list of everything that was wrong in Christianity because it's really hard to remember it all.
 
moseslmpg said:
Anyway, how is replacement theology wrong?
God, Who cannot lie and Who never changes, has arbitrarily cancelled the “everlasting covenants” that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with “their descendants forever,” and has transferred those promises to the Gentile “church.” This is a lie that is particularly detestable to all Believers in Israel’s Messiah because it makes God a liar, and makes the Bible just another book of legends and fables.
 
what might be better to say is god has for a moment turned his attention to the gentiles because of the acceptance of the messiah and the church, but his promises to his people have not changed. the time of the gentiles comes about because christ came to the jew first but was generally rejected, subsequently the gentile accepted the messiah which gave birth to the church thru which the spirit is working. but god has not forgotten his people in anyway, as many are being saved thru christ thru the church, god will put his attention back on israel thru tribulation and the two witnesses so that they may know this christ is lord. prophecies of israel have come true and are still yet to come.
 
Dor said:
God, Who cannot lie and Who never changes, has arbitrarily cancelled the “everlasting covenants” that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with “their descendants forever,” and has transferred those promises to the Gentile “church.” This is a lie that is particularly detestable to all Believers in Israel’s Messiah because it makes God a liar, and makes the Bible just another book of legends and fables.
Well, I personally don't see the problem, but thanks for clarifying.
 
BlaznFattyz said:
what might be better to say is god has for a moment turned his attention to the gentiles because of the acceptance of the messiah and the church, but his promises to his people have not changed. the time of the gentiles comes about because christ came to the jew first but was generally rejected, subsequently the gentile accepted the messiah which gave birth to the church thru which the spirit is working. but god has not forgotten his people in anyway, as many are being saved thru christ thru the church, god will put his attention back on israel thru tribulation and the two witnesses so that they may know this christ is lord. prophecies of israel have come true and are still yet to come.

:):p:D:cool:CHEER:cool::D:p:)
 
Kindest Regards, Dor!
Dor said:
:eek::confused::( You do not see a problem with making God a liar, and the Bible a book of fables?
I agree with you, I see tremendous problem with making G-d seem a liar. But I find it equally amazing, and disturbing, that any of us would think that G-d would create billions of lives born innocent simply to be fuel for hell. None of us, I would guess, would dare to think that G-d created the natural world as an evil to be destroyed, that cats and dogs and birds and trees and all of nature's bounty including the Garden of Eden are an ugly mistake. Why should we dare think any less of our brothers and sisters who may not have even had the opportunity to hear the message of Christ, especially if they are created as G-d intended and placed where G-d intended?

I could go one step further...how arrogant is it of us to insist that others see the world through our eyes, especially if we are not willing to consider the world through their eyes? Good (works), as humans go, is not limited to Christianity, nor even to the Abrahamic faiths. If all one has is works, and is legitimately ignorant of the message of Christ, but tries in accord with their abilities and understanding to reach for what they know as "G-d," how can any of us deny anyone this and sit in self appointed judgement over them? In my opinion, this is the ultimate in rash judgement. G-d knows His own, whether they be of an Abrahamic faith, or any other. And G-d knows those who oppose Him, whether they be of an Abrahamic faith, or any other. I find myself wanting to let G-d be the judge of His creation. I can't help but think that is what Jesus was pointing to with "judge not, that you be not judged."

I know my opinion in this is not traditional, and I have held my tongue for a long time on it. But the intolerance displayed by some, (thankfully not including you, Faithful, Blazn and others here), raises my ire and compels me to speak out.

Tolerance is a skill. Perhaps some have a greater or lesser natural aptitude, but even so it is a skill that must be developed. Tolerance is not acceptance. I do *not* have to agree with those I tolerate. I must keep in mind that all of us are trying our best to reach towards that we intuit as G-d, but none of us are in the exact same place in our journey of discovery. Perhaps one day the Holy Spirit will make known to me that I am mistaken...but no human, or institution, can get me to heaven (no matter how big the bullhorn, or how hard the baseball bat is swung). That is a matter between me and G-d. Likewise, it is a matter between each and every individual and G-d. I might assist someone by sharing my discoveries, trials and tribulations. And I might be assisted by others sharing their discoveries, trials and tribulations. But we are all in the learning process, and G-d leads each of us as we are capable. This is true not only of Christians, but of all of G-d's human creation.
 
This post is not directed to anyone in particular.

A further unrelated thought I wanted to develop deals with the concept that our good works are as filthy (even menstruation!) rags. According to James, faith without works is dead. Works are the evidence of faith.

Now, for one to whom any good works are a waste of time, it is inevitable that the end conclusion will be "why try?" I have watched this scenario before. It results in a huge backslide. And it clouds the mind to a crucial lesson: forgiveness. Such a person reaches a crisis of faith and throws his or her hands up in the air, and says something like, "what's the use? No matter what I do, it doesn't count for anything anyway, so I might as well just be a bad person. I can't win no matter how I play the game, so I might as well surrender myself to evil and commit myself to hell." This is a self-defeating attitude, and I have watched it play more than once. All the while, the person never remembers the lesson of forgiveness. We are asked to forgive that we may be forgiven. There is healing in forgiveness. When we learn to forgive others, we gain forgiveness for ourselves. And when we learn to forgive ourselves, we are better able to forgive others. It is a positive feedback loop, of the best kind! When we learn to forgive others and ourselves, we are better able to appreciate G-d's forgiveness. Along with mercy and love, what a powerful combination! A combination so powerful, that the doubts and insecurities about "works" disappear and become meaningless. If works are as rags, and forgiveness is a work, then something is amiss. What exactly, I cannot say, but there is a misinterpretation somewhere. On my part? Perhaps. I am only human. But if the end result of the alternate interpretation is a psychological disaster leading to a backsliding condition, then explain how I lose by preferring to forgive and tolerate? This is where the Holy Spirit has led me to, and until the Holy Spirit clues me otherwise, I think I'll keep this train of thought. I'm certainly not going to let any man, zealous or otherwise, steal it from me. That would be foolish on my part. :)
 
But I find it equally amazing, and disturbing, that any of us would think that G-d would create billions of lives born innocent simply to be fuel for hell. None of us, I would guess, would dare to think that G-d created the natural world as an evil to be destroyed, that cats and dogs and birds and trees and all of nature's bounty including the Garden of Eden are an ugly mistake.
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, itwas very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

God did not make the natural world or us as evil or to be destroyed. To him it was very good. All the bad came from man we chose to have death and illness and all the bad come into the world(well Eve did and Adam followed right behind her).

God did not want a bunch of robots who had to love and worship him. He wants us to want to be with him. Yes billions decide they don't need or want him. It is a choice each individual person makes. God will not send me to hell, I have to do that myself.


If all one has is works, and is legitimately ignorant of the message of Christ, but tries in accord with their abilities and understanding to reach for what they know as "G-d," how can any of us deny anyone this and sit in self appointed judgement over them?
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-14)

It is not up to men to decide if anyone that has honestly never heard the Gospel(getting harder to believe everyday) if they have done enough good works to make up for the sins everyone commits. The Bible actually says in it that it is not possible to do, that none of us can come to the Father through our actions.


I notice one thing from my reading the Bible. God does not talk much about the middle ground of things. It is extremes Life or Death..Hot or Cold...Heaven or Hell...God or Satan....
"... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days ..." (Deuteronomy 30:19)

No middle ground mentioned no barely getting by, no place where things are just ok, no lukewarm allowed!
 
Dor said:
God, Who cannot lie and Who never changes, has arbitrarily cancelled the “everlasting covenants” that He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with “their descendants forever,” and has transferred those promises to the Gentile “church.” This is a lie that is particularly detestable to all Believers in Israel’s Messiah because it makes God a liar, and makes the Bible just another book of legends and fables.
I agree here too, and I can because the last part of the quote has been omitted. G-d didn't forsake Judah, He set her aside, and in the same prophecy He also said He would take her back one day. I really need to look it up, but I'm strapped for time just now.

Even so, my agreement with you notwithstanding, how many faithful, observant, G-d fearing Christians are under the false impression that Jews are bound for hell? Short answer, a lot. Longer answer, a whole lot. BB could tell us about some of them, if we had a half day or so to hear it all. The Jews have frequently suffered under the hand of Christianity. The cooperation between the two faiths, if such can be truly said, is a very recent innovation, I'd say in the last 150-200 years. Prior to that there existed a whole lot of serious enmity between the two groups, and there is residual fallout even still.
 
juantoo3 said:
Even so, my agreement with you notwithstanding, how many faithful, observant, G-d fearing Christians are under the false impression that Jews are bound for hell? Short answer, a lot. Longer answer, a whole lot. BB could tell us about some of them, if we had a half day or so to hear it all. The Jews have frequently suffered under the hand of Christianity. The cooperation between the two faiths, if such can be truly said, is a very recent innovation, I'd say in the last 150-200 years. Prior to that there existed a whole lot of serious enmity between the two groups, and there is residual fallout even still.

I agree completely and I wonder how much of the suffering was a direct result of the teaching of replacement theology.
 
juantoo3 said:
I agree here too, and I can because the last part of the quote has been omitted. G-d didn't forsake Judah, He set her aside, and in the same prophecy He also said He would take her back one day. I really need to look it up, but I'm strapped for time just now.
I agree with this also in a way.
No offence to anyone but I belief he has plans for Israel soon. That is one reason I dont jive with Mee and his 144,000 JWs.
I belief the 2 witness and the 144,000 all have to do with literal Israel in times to come.
 
Kindest Regards, Dor!
Dor said:
He wants us to want to be with him. Yes billions decide they don't need or want him. It is a choice each individual person makes. God will not send me to hell, I have to do that myself.
I couldn't agree with you more, up until the part here about billions deciding they don't need or want G-d. I disagree. No mother wants evil for her child. Nor does any father worth the title. G-d placed it in and on our hearts to seek Him and all things good.

The example that comes quickly to mind is the Good Samaritan. Now, if one looks closely at the story, the Samaritans were considered doomed. The Jews had nothing to do with them. Jesus, in accord with tradition, should have had nothing to do with them. They were an outcast remnant of the Northern tribes. They believed in the Jewish G-d, and worshipped Him as best they could under the circumstances. They had no Temple, and they were not permitted to enter the Temple complex. All the more amazing, that Christ should call out the works of such a lowly and forlorn, and traditionally judged as doomed, people.

So, what difference is there between a Christian helping a person in dire need of assistance, and a Muslim helping a person in dire need of assistance? Indeed, what difference with anybody helping a person in dire need of assistance? Brownie points? I don't think it works quite like that. But that a person is willing to go out of their way to assist another person in dire need, is evidence of the Spirit of G-d moving in that person's life! Why would G-d move in the life of a damned person? Short answer, He won't. But He moves in the lives of non-Christians every day and in every way just as He does with Christians.

And the dead were *judged according to their works*, by the things which were written in the books...And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-14)

It is not up to men to decide if anyone that has honestly never heard the Gospel(getting harder to believe everyday) if they have done enough good works to make up for the sins everyone commits. The Bible actually says in it that it is not possible to do, that none of us can come to the Father through our actions.
It is not about doing good to overcome evil, that is a red-herring I see thrown out there all the time. It is about doing good of the pure reason of doing good. We all fall short, we all sin. This is not an excuse, or a permission. It is however, a fact. Solomon in Ecclesiastes tells us to keep our sins to a minimum, and not to commit gross sins at all. And to enjoy the fruit of our labor (works!), for that is our portion in this life. Doing good because the pure Spirit of G-d moves in us is enough in itself.

I notice one thing from my reading the Bible. God does not talk much about the middle ground of things. It is extremes Life or Death..Hot or Cold...Heaven or Hell...God or Satan....
"... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days ..." (Deuteronomy 30:19)

No middle ground mentioned no barely getting by, no place where things are just ok, no lukewarm allowed!
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I can see where one gets this impression. I've always seen the teachings of Christ as walking a middle ground, avoiding extremes. Not too pious, not too sinful. Not too gluttonous, not anorexic. Not to be overly wise, and not to be foolish. I always viewed the underlying theme of the Bible as common sense. Not too extreme either way. This is not fence sitting, this is peacemaking. This is not bruising a blade of grass where you tread (a lesson I have yet to learn).

Lukewarm, is indifferent, is apathetic, is "could care less." Peacemaking is a very active choice. Sometimes it involves knocking upside a head or two...thankfully not often. :)
 
Namaste all and 123 for your thoughts and comments.

As you all are aware I am not one to 'hold my tongue' and have caused enough consternation with it.

Your point is entirely valid in my book, and I believe anyone who takes a moment to put down what they've been indoctrinated with and either think for themselves or commune with spirit on this subject would agree it just doesn't make sense. Your 3/4 number is way low in my book...if we are speaking of Christians v. the world for all time I would think the number is around 90%. And to carry it out further as you indicated if we were to calculate this by the denominations that feel only they have the true answer we must look at between 98-99.999% are toast as it were.

I think this is exactly the exploration that leads to a higher understanding of the scriptures, of all holy books, of G-d, of Jesus, and oneself. And I think it extemely valuable.
 
wil said:
Your point is entirely valid in my book, and I believe anyone who takes a moment to put down what they've been indoctrinated with and either think for themselves or commune with spirit on this subject would agree it just doesn't make sense.
Wow if I said something like that it would earn me the intolerant fundamentalist label.....wait it has already.:D
 
juantoo3 said:
I can see where one gets this impression. I've always seen the teachings of Christ as walking a middle ground, avoiding extremes. Not too pious, not too sinful. Not too gluttonous, not anorexic. Not to be overly wise, and not to be foolish. I always viewed the underlying theme of the Bible as common sense. Not too extreme either way. This is not fence sitting, this is peacemaking. This is not bruising a blade of grass where you tread (a lesson I have yet to learn).

Lukewarm, is indifferent, is apathetic, is "could care less." Peacemaking is a very active choice. Sometimes it involves knocking upside a head or two...thankfully not often. :)

Good points Juan. I consider myself passionate in my moderation. :)

luna
 
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