Discussion in 'Christianity' started by Dor, Nov 10, 2006.
Thanx... you might like this...
The Laughing Christ
I tore up the bible with great pleasure.
Literally? No, not too many people in any faith tradition actually tear up copies of their holy books, unless they are really angry. Figuratively? Reform Jews reject nearly everything that Orthodox Jews claim is essential to Jewish life. And there have been nearly as serious disagreements among Muslims. There's nothing uniquely ornery about Christians, as far as I can see.
No, they are clearly distinguishable. If I do it or agree with it, it's "discernment"; if I disagree with it, it's "picking and choosing."
As someone once said, "Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is anyone else's doxy."
Good God, this post is full of truth. The first council of Nicea was easily the worst moment of Christianity in all of its history.
You're welcome to, my friend. Google "early church history," "first council of Nicea." Jesus was literally VOTED to be God incarnate.
OP: I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'tear-up,' but I assume you mean that some people accept some parts of the Bible and not others. There's not much that can be said for those types of people. What there can be much said of is why there are so many different denominations. Too many verses in the Bible are vague, ambiguous, people see from different standpoints, interpretations...
I don't think I can accept that experience is more important in understanding than knowledge. Wisdom is important, sure, but raw knowledge is worth more than its weight in gold. When both are present, truly great things are learned.
After my previous posts it occurred to me that the complaint about people "tearing up" the scriptures might have been based on the simple fact that Protestants do not accept all the books of the Bible that Catholics and Orthodox do. If that is what was meant, well, this isn't something that anyone today is responsible for; it goes back to the very first century CE, when a council of Jewish leaders decided officially once and for all what books were part of their Scriptures. Ever since then every Jewish Bible has contained those books and only those; but earlier Greek translations like the Septuagint - which was what most diaspora Jews and thus also the first Christians were familiar with - included a few books that didn't make the final cut.
So when the Church decided to include the Jewish Bible in their own as the "Old Testament," they tended to include the whole Septuagint version, though not without an awareness that some of the books had a doubtful status. Jerome's Latin translation, the Vulgate, became authoritative in the Western Church; it was based on the Septuagint, and included almost the same selection of books.
With the Reformation, and its insistence on Scripture as the sole ultimate authority in the Church, it became more important to determine just which books really counted, so the 15-century-old question was revisited, with most Protestants deciding that only the books finally canonized by the Jews should count as the Old Testament. The Catholic church defended the Vulgate, and so ever since then there have been two Western Christian biblical canons.
Nothing has been torn out more recently, as far as I know.
they change Christianity maybe because of contradictions that they found in it
right - and nothing in islam has ever changed, has it? it's a bit rich to be lectured in this when muslims couldn't even agree for more than a few years who the correct "rightly-guided" caliph was supposed to be.
Sorry guys I haven't the endurance to read through the whole thread, so apologies if this has already been said.
This is the original Christianity. These are the words of Jesus. This is all you have to do. All the rest is change. Forget the rest. Anyone who does these things is a true follower of Jesus.
Remembering of course that Jesus Christ did not found Christianity.
Jesus didn't leave us Christianity. He left the world with a viable template to follow in order to reach atonement (at-onement) with God. His life story and teachings were later labeled "Christianity."
The interpretation of Jesus' life purpose has traveled through many hands/cultures, which caused various alterations--e.g., certain biblical translation changes/errors that creeped in by weary and/or shifty scribes.
Before there was a single "harmonized" version of Westernized Christianity--commonly known as Roman Catholicism--there were various sects fighting to be THE "true" form of Christianity (e.g., the Ebionites, Marcionites, and Gnostics). Of course, the Roman Catholic Church "won" that battle. But it's important to note that there was a battle between distinctly different Christian sects.
In short, no one can prove that there was ever one "true" form of Christianity; rather, historical documents indicate the opposite finding: Christianity has been a very diverse religion ever since mankind convinced itself that Jesus' teachings could/should be compartmentalized and labeled (e.g., "Catholic," "Orthodox," "Protestant," etc.).
I think the original Christianity was much more "democratic" and decentralised. There was more of a "live and let live" attitude. There was no centralised leadership. There was local and regional leadership. The church was multipolar, not unipolar. No single leadership dominated. The different groups shared their "truths."
It was not always a question of Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or even of Gnostic, Ebionite or Marcionite. It was also a question of whether you were Byzantine, Coptic, Alexandrian, Palestinian, Roman, Asian or North African.
Church leadership was more decentralised and more anarchistic. It was not like a "monarchy" like it is today. It was less authoritarian. Although many believed it was necessary to filter out threats to the church and anything that might be considered ideologically dangerous, leaders of churches only had local jurisdiction. There were factions, but no schisms. Different churches and different regions had different beliefs, but it was not so bad that people believed that Christians in a particular region were heretics.
I think it was when the heresy-hunting began that Christianity started having problems. The Council of Nicaea is what I think started it. The problems started when Christians tried to "fix" the system. But the system wasn't broken.
The leadership hierarchy would have been more like the decentralised Jewish ones throughout the last 2,000 years, rather than having a preacher who runs the show and controls everything.
The trouble with churches today is that they are either monarchy-like or pop-star like. It seems that you either have to be a slave/subject or a pop-star fan. Christianity has to be big. It can't be watered down. It has to be fancy. I suppose it has a lot to do with the way that the New Testament was written. The NT was written to make Christianity sound fancy. This is one of the major weaknesses in Christianity. It has to be "hyped up" or "inflated" in order to be adopted and followed. That's why there's so much singing and dancing in churches. There's almost always a jingle to go with it.
Why can't it be more natural and less superficial? Why can't we just be human? Why do we have to play games and pretend?
There is always an element of the insurance salesmen's convention. Each one wanting to meet or beat his target for new 'sales'. Those who haven't bought in are considered as suitable targets for the next sales drive. Everyone is terrified in case the customers take out a policy with another firm.
What a long way from the spirit of Jesus's teaching. It's sad. This is all it is: be kind, be generous, enjoy your life. Or this: be beautiful.
That's all it is.
Understood and agreed.
Doesn't it make you wonder how much more authentic it likely was way back in the day--before the hierarchical structure took hold?
When church leaders deluded themselves into believing that they were doing "God's will" by "fixing" the system, they, IMO, took the joy out of spiritual communion.
You've nicely summed up the very reason that I don't attend any church: I can't find one that sets itself apart from these two categories.
I second Virtual_Cliff's theory that there's "always an element of the insurance salesmen's convention." It's like Christianity has been turned into one big marketing strategy.
That is a way of looking at it, and while I can't agree that Nicea was the problem there is some problem to deal with. Someone made the point on another site (or here I can't remember) that Christianity changes slowly over time, and while that person was not Christian I think they have a made a valuable observation. Perhaps the problem began when Christians forgot that such change is part of Christianity, because I think originally it was understood that the church had/has a growing process to fulfill. These pop-stars and hierarchites (as you called them) usually thrive on the idea that the church should not change and are set up to prevent change or to return the church to a previous form, their idea being that it was previously better or somehow more pristine.
Both types are trying to change Christianity, because they imagine that it should be made into something unchangeable.
You really like contradicting yourself, don't you? If someone's Christianity is "big" and "fancy", then it has been severely watered down. Likewise, you are extremely, severely, and remarkably ignorant of Christians if you consign every single one of our "churches" to your two extremely narrowminded categories.
Really? Then explain how it is that the Koine Greek it was written in was very pedestrian, plain, ordinary, non-fancy, and non-literary. Go ahead. Explain that. One of the arguments that the rulers of the Empire had against it was that the book of the Christians was so low-brow and not at all fancy. It did not have the high flights of soaring prose and epic poetry that was expected of proper literary Greek of its day.
Tell me, upon what "research" and "evidence" do you base your claims?
Dancing? In how many churches is there dancing? What proportion of churches have dancing? I know of a tiny number of small sects in the USA and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but that's it. As for singing, why does religion have to be a dry, dusty, dead, purely intellectual exercise to have any value. The early Church adopted the principles of the old Jewish services, which had a lot of music. For many groups, the music simply changed form with the times. Music was also a normal part of any other religion's activities at the time of the founding of Christianity.
I realize that there is many a spiritless clod out there, for whom music is "unnatural". I realize that there is many a heartless cad out there, for whom emotion is all "superficial". Nevertheless, contrary to your apparent beliefs, there are people for whom music and emotion are quite natural and not in the least bit superficial. That you cannot imagine this only speaks to the shallowness of your own experience, not the depth of your intuition.
I realize that there are truly benighted individuals who honestly believe that music and beauty are all merely "games" and "pretend". Such people are pitiable creatures, indeed.
I don't think there was any contradiction in what I said there.
I didn't say anything about every single church belonging to those two extremes. The point was that it was a dominant phenomenon. I also can't be ignorant of Christians because I am one. I know for sure that I do not belong to the two categories I described.
I wouldn't be particularly concerned even if the original did sound like "Koine Greek." When it is translated into the various English translations we have had during the last 2,000 years, there are plenty of passages that can arouse excitement and sound fancy when you read them. If it sounds fancy in English, I couldn't be bothered reading the original Greek to see if it was fancy. I have to assume it was fancy-sounding in its original language.
Consider the following passages:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
I consider these passages to be very fancy and spectacular statements made in the written tradition.
Consider the passages I quoted above and have a read of this article on the influence of Hellenism on early Christianity and of the notion of messiahs and wonder workers. Again, I find it quite fancy and spectacular.
Christianity in Context - My Jewish Learning
Dancing? I didn't mean that literally, but figuratively. People may not be dancing in body, but they may still be dancing in spirit.
May I ask why it has to have singing and music to have any value?
I have no problem with emotion being a large part of the experience. I just can't connect with the music and don't want to have to feel that if I don't sing that I can't in some way contribute. This is why some people prefer politics, ideology, community, economics and the intellectual.
Thank you for sharing this article, Saltmeister. I anticipate it being a very interesting read.
I enjoy more reverent music during a service. When it gets to the point of people playing rock-type stuff on a stage, it starts to feel more like a concert--i.e., irreverent--to me. I'm not saying that some people can't glean value from it; but I cannot.
I think I'd make a decent Quaker.
Reverence is one thing, but putting people to sleep is another. There is a type of popular music called worship music that seems designed to lull the mind to a hypnotic stage. The English word 'Spell' is a better description for this than worship is. Its very scary that it is so widespread here, and ministers increasingly rely upon it to make their congregations more docile. Meanwhile, beautiful hymn books are covered in dust. The beauty of hymns is that everyone shares in the songs. I wish high school students in the USA were required by law to take public speaking so they could recognize audience control tactics for what they are. Right now they are being called worship. Somebody shoot me.
That's why I prefer American Country Music. I get alot of information about God's greatness, without getting put to sleep, or slammed over the head with the message.
But you used absolute language, without allowing for exceptions to your claims. The old "I didn't say 'every single'" play is nothing but a dishonest cop-out.
In other words, you are ignorant, you are thrilled with your ignorance, and you choose to continue to wallow in ignorance instead of actually learning anything.
In other words, you make up post-hoc nonsense to rationalize your extremist claims.
As soon as you quote where I stated that it must be so. You, on the other hand, have made it plain that it must LACK music to have any value.
Separate names with a comma.