New Age Christianity

Discussion in 'New Age' started by soma, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Yes, the "lording it over" just doesn't do too well; that thing in our left hand may appear to be a sceptre, but a club is a club is a club. Lest we injure one another, I can only suggest using it for a candleholder - to raise the light of the right hand on high ...​

    You are certainly entitled to that opinion; of course, I disagree. Here is a point worth discussing, at last. If we are not capable to stewarding the lesser kingdoms, as God instructed us to do, then why the injunction to begin with? If our capacity to receive God's Love does not in fact, demand - as in, necessitate - that we also be able to PASS that Love on to our fellow man, and to our animal friends ... then truly, man IS a selfish creature, with no hope of improvement or progress.​

    I refuse to entertain such a bleak, hopeless outlook on my spiritual future, on Humanity's spiritual future, or on the intended relationship between God and all God's creatures. That is not a God of Love; that is no "god" at all. That is a tyrant.​

    If the question is one of just what a human being is capable of, then let us hear from those human beings Who have risen to the heights - and remained to Serve. Should no other voice speak to me in the silence, the words of Christ (however doctored) remain to inspire me.​

    I am still waiting for an interpretation of Ephesians 4:13 which will make me a liar, or a fool ...​

    You know Thomas, one of the last fetters an arhat must completely remove before adeptship is irritability. And an arhat does not have the luxury of thinking things like, "I wonder if he intentionally crafted that little jibe, or if it just came naturally." An arhat must remember - these arrows, these little darts - are his reward for service. :(

    But do you think he frowns? ;) :)

    He does not. And no, I didn't say ANYthing about being an arhat ... nor did I imply it. But my Buddhism does not clash with my Christianity. I do wish to be an arhat. And I guess since it's still a very difficult road, I need to TRY harder ...​

    Right. According to my doctrine ...


    {speaking of Purpose, and the New Age affirmation of things being "meant" to be thus and such a way ...}
    Nope. Didn't mean it that way at all. But God as some blundering old idiot ... never did cut it too well with me. These days, I'm working on TWO parts harmless for every one part wise - but the day the Almighty becomes that dolt [He] still gets made out to be, that would be a sad day ... :rolleyes:

    You can be quite rude, Thomas; you're giving me a good run for my money! Ah well, what goes around, comes around. If you say it's none but due karma, I cannot argue. If you remind me "an eye for eye," again - I know that law.​

    But you'd never believe Who built that Ivory Tower of yours ... :)

    If He told you you were getting the only one in existence - with a view to the likes of which NONE could compare ... ahhh, that would be the DEMI-urgos. And that God, you see, was just following orders ...

    Woops - did I step in there, friend? Did I obscure your Light? Did I play the "my god is bigger hand" back at ya? hmmmmph!​

    Your light, my light. Still don't get it, do you ...​

    ... wait wait wait, there's a Piper, I'm sure of it, and he's, he's ... he's at these Gates ...​

    ... been f'g mad for years.

    - designed with your mind in mind. No no no, that's not how radio works. All I have to do is -

    [{Click}]​

    I think what's hardest of all is the continued "BOTH - AND." :)

    To say that it's no use blaming "the system" because the system is really just made up of individuals, is a logical fallacy. Zeno would remind you that we can start removing individuals, say, Christians of the past 2000 years, one by one, until none remain ... and if Christianity does indeed have errors (of content/doctrine, practice/application, etc.), then where did they go?

    You can't just say, oh, well, they're "evenly dispersed," for - surely ... there are those who did commit more grievous errors along the way, while most of us probably fell somewhat short, but did not stab the master in the foot (even accidentally!). But then, who's to say?​

    Karma can be a bugger, but then, little kids get angry when they spit in the fan, too. Yeah, yeah, keep cursing that fan, brother. :p

    And yet, just about all you did, despite my effort to meet you somewhere - ANYWHERE - in the middle ... after my last post, was try to tear down everything I have said. You do offer some points of contention, but Thomas, all you are doing is pointing out to me where I do not express the views of a Roman Catholic, notably - your OWN.​

    Where is the common ground in all of that? If Christianity is changing, and evolving, and IF there are going to be acquiesences - a willingness, FIRST of all to listen, and HEAR, what the other person has to say - then to examine whether or not a proposed change, or new idea, is an improvement over the existing system/method/belief/etc. or not ... (I am radically overgeneralizing here, of course)​

    ... then it is unproductive to simply devote oneself by default to shooting down anything, and everything, that one doesn't already agree with. Nevermind the baby in this metaphor, we have here an insistence that NOT ONE DROP of water be relinquished, before first being strained to try and retain every microscopic quantum of fluid ...

    - and any new bath salts, perfumes, oils or fragrances being offered are warded away as if there already were a perfect system being approached - instead of an institution that even can stand a bit of touching up.

    We can climb our tower, we can lock our doors and slam shut the windows, or insist that only that magnificent Sunbeam, penetrating our stained glass window on yonder side of the building, is worth exposing ourself to.

    But the Sun/Son has others plans, and the New Temple - is not a tomb.

    Thomas, in the last analysis ... you are nothing but a test. A Teacher, and a test, and sometimes (ironic as it may seem), loving the Teacher can be the hardest test of all. Thus far, despite much editing and deletion, my Conscience tells me that - verbose as it may be - my posts (these last two, for certain) at least embody my best efforts to serve the Spirit.

    I hope yours do the same.

    ~+~+~+~+~

    I think is best to part company. We can save each other much headache, and heartache, that way. Perhaps you think it presumptuous; you'd be surprised. ;)

    We are both frequent posters at CR, so I'm sure that won't change. I'm just saying I'm going to make an effort to stay out of the way ... and let you have your show. That is, after all, what you've asked for. And it is precisely the trial I've been avoiding for so long. :eek:

    Now to make good ... :)

    Love and Light,

    NAMASKAR
     
  2. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    Thomas,

    For the past week I have questioned the shakespearean post made to you. Not as a thing of doubt, but in fairness, for they were indeed fair replies with respect you made in my direction.

    Truth is.... the one guidance throughout this life has been to find it's own way through many paths and truths of others, to always reach for the essence of divine encounter, and there have been many.As a child it was I who dreamed outside the classroom window of the religious knowledge lesson, looking upwards to and beyond the boundary of the clouds in the sky into vast exspanse and limitless worlds I could touch God and godliness in the very now of it all. Yet, they called me back to the word, and the words did not resonate, could not resonate to the simplicity of the inner truth, inner knowing, faith and love, felt in the inner domain in the absolute trust of something so mighty, so huge to be indescribable except through feeling.

    I am not a christian, yet touched by The Spirit, as are many, and it is this trust that I am not alone amongst many who never refer to the written words of centuries past, but live in the freedom of the love.

    Trust and love being as one inherent principle, as a two way projection between the higher and the lower. Can we trust each other enough to see the immeasurable variety of truth in the world in the faith of knowing there is an outstretched hand of God at play.

    peace - c -
     
  3. JosephM

    JosephM New Member

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    Yet Ciel,

    You have such a wonderful way with words anyway. Such a sincere and lovely message.

    Love
    JM
     
  4. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    JosephM,

    Thank you, brother Sun.

    love - c -
     
  5. soma

    soma New Member

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    The Word within a Word shapes our lives so we need to listen to what our own inner being is telling us and to what nature is bringing us. This is our truth, it may be Christian, New Age or New Age Christianity. The Word within shows us everything good and bad as clear water shows all the objects hidden on a lake’s bottom; broken glass, diamond rings, empty bottles, cans, nails, and other distasteful or beautiful objects. The clear water in the lake can also show what is above it. It reflects the sun off of the lake or in our case the mind, but when the mind or the water is polluted then the higher truths become hidden. They are not reflected and are forgotten so Adam falls one more time because the spiritual leg is shorter than the physical leg. Yes, Christianity can be one sided and make the mind unbalanced and so can New Age spirituality. It is difficult walking on this earthly plane with one leg shorter than the other so what is needed is a balanced approach where we learn from both sides instead of saying my leg is longer than my other leg so my longer leg is right. The long leg makes it just as difficult to walk as the shorter leg. Ciel I like your post too.
     
  6. soma

    soma New Member

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    Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.

    The Spirit is always there so we must transform and enlarge our personal consciousness and individual experience with the Holy Spirit. This is basic to every mode of spiritual discernment, and every quest.The more we are aware of Spirit working in and through everything, especially within ourselves, the more God’s presence can replace prior limitations and disharmonies with good. Our minds will act on the new ideas that are formed and form a new, more positive belief and attitude. This deep understanding sees the good of God everywhere and always present. This shift in attitude brings greater freedom; peace and joy so we need to give up the old worries, free ourselves and replace old ideas with the knowledge that everything we need is available. When we recognize Spirit and pull into life revelation, discernment and right choices are made.
     
  7. Christian von Lähr

    Christian von Lähr Messenger

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    I would think each individual finding his or her own approach to "the Absoluteness," the Divine, God, Universal Mind et'al [IS the Universal way.]

    The impulse, or direction, desire and perception that there is some Higher source or intelligent beginning is in itself, universal, too.

    So, maybe presumed position that there is no [one] way, is a matter of perspective? Hmmmm.
     
  8. soma

    soma New Member

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    Lahr, Thank you I can see how you can interpret Universal way to mean that. I meant that there is not one way that is for everyone. Christians seem to think so, but as a Christian I don't feel that.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think Christians would say that 'love' is the way, and love is universal.

    Love comes before language, and language is not universal.

    From that point on, as the Tower of Babel testifies, everyone tries to have it their own way, including some Christians.

    There is 'the way', which implies a love of God before self, and there is 'my way', which implies a love of self before God.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  10. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    But sometimes, it's the other way round. Some people don't love themselves enough. They are not selfish enough. I think some of the people who dedicate themselves to religion, particularly Christianity are like that. They make themselves slaves of ideology and lose their individuality. I don't think that is good either and this is perhaps where I disagree with you.

    I don't believe people should become slaves of ideology to the point that they lose their individuality and where the ideology becomes more important than the person. I actually consider that to be a form of idolatry, where you start giving power to an ideology. It is no longer the worship of God, but the worship of an ideology.

    Many Christians are like this, particularly fundamentalist, evangelical and charismatic Christians. The pomp and arrogance that goes into their expression of faith, the way they judge people, point fingers at those who don't conform or "believe" as they do and demonise those who don't conform gives me the impression that the individual, the human, isn't really that important. I find that really dehumanising, degrading and sometimes legalistic. I consider that to be a form of persecution and oppression.

    There is no place for the individual. Love of the individual according to them is selfish and sinful. But according to me, love of ideology is idolatry.

    God said we should love our neighbour. When you tell people they're selfish and ungodly when they're just trying to do the right thing, that isn't love of one's neighbour. The God of the Bible is prepared to "let people go," as demonstrated in the stories of Hosea and the Prodigal Son.

    Our individuality is important. It makes us who we are. If we destroy that, we turn our backs on what makes us human. God made us all to be different. By embracing our individuality, we celebrate what makes us unique.

    Must we all assimilate to some equivalent of a Borg collective?

    You assert these people choose to be small, maybe they just choose to be unique.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK ... but then both are probably wrong?

    Well, that is a bad thing in the sense of what Christianity teaches ... but we have to be careful about setting the mark for self-love, especially in today's western culture, in which people have never loved themselves so much!

    It seems to me that 'therapy' and 'cosmetics' are two huge industries dedicated to fooling people into thinking they can re-invent themselves and be happy ... the pursuit of happiness is not the problem, it's who and where the aspiration to happiness is set.

    I think contemporary Western culture shows significant symptoms of an unhealthy 'self-love'.

    I don' think selfishness is ever a good thing.

    Then again, people dedicate themselves to all sorts of things, for all sorts of reasons. The dedication required of a professional sportsperson today is phenomenal. D'you think they are slaves, and have lost their identity and individuality? Yet their every living moment is governed by their sport.

    I think most people are slaves to an ideology that's so pervasive they don't question it. They see difference as another ideology, but fail to recognise their own?

    Someone once said 'Freedom is slavery to a path of one's own choosing.'

    I watched a discourse on TV media culture last night, tracing a 30-odd years development ... it was shocking, highlighting just how the TV media shapes peoples' hopes and aspirations for a paradigm they can never realistically attain.

    OK. But that assumes a whole lot of things. Today the cult of the person (ego) is paramount, and I think unhealthily so. I think most people are slaves to 'the ideology of the individual', which is a culture sham.

    Society, for example, is more important than the person, is it not?

    That's always a risk, in religion, as in everything.

    Actually, I think with American Christian denominations I've been made aware of, there's a cultural idea that underpins and actually subverts the Christian idea — fundamentalism, evangelicism and charismaticism is often a US export to Europe (we have them here), and it seems to me that these traits say more about the cultural ideology than the religious idea.

    Well OK, but this is aside from the point under discussion, I think. What you're pointing to is a lack of charity (in the sense of caritas, or love) and I quite agree.

    But more love of self is not the answer ... a little less would not hurt ... more love of neighbour would make all the difference, and less love of an idea.

    My Daoist friend has made the same criticism of Buddhism in the West, a tendency to look after oneself, and 'compassion' takes a very poor second place. In some cases 'compassion' is a veneer for what is actually something like contempt.

    I'm not blaming religion here, but consumer culture and materialism.

    I agree. A dangerous ideology, or rather, ideologies become dangerous when they are detached from the personal ... it's a lack of empathy.

    But I do think the current love of the individual is just the reverse of the coin — it's the love of self at the expense of one's neighbour.

    And, in defence of religion, Christianity, globally, is in the forefront of working with those suffering in the world, so whilst you can point at ideological Christians, you're actually pointing at the frailties of human nature ... I can point at those who's empathy and altruism, because of their religious belief, is the total opposite of what you're saying.

    OK. But I still flag the risk of the idea of 'individuality' is just another ideology, and its the major ideology in the west today.

    People often point to the past and say how religion was responsible for the death of so many, yet in a few years we will see individualism as possibly responsible for the extinction, or nearly so, of human life on the planet. It's certainly responsible for the extinction of many species that could otherwise flourish.

    Individualism is responsible for the ongoing rape and profligate waste of natural resources, for slavery across much of the third world ... it's a primary cause of poverty, and a primary cause of maintaining poverty ...

    But in all this, it's the love of self that lies at the heart of the problem either way, and that is the point I was making.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  12. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I don't think either are always right or wrong. It's a matter of timing. Sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong. It's a matter of judgment. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything.

    It may be true that people in Western culture definitely love themselves more than in prior generations, but at the same time I think there is also a confusion of what "self-love" or simply "love" (from others) actually is. Life can be both good and painful at the same time in the Western world. Technology has given us high expectations and we are confused about how to experience "love" in a world where an experience of happiness is supposed to be so accessible but also elusive because of our jealousy and envy of others. Enough is not enough when everyone else is enjoying life more than us.

    What kind of therapy? If someone has depression or a mental illness, then they need therapy to get back to normal. Is it wrong for that person to get help? I don't understand people's need for cosmetic surgery, unless it's due to birth deformities or some accident later in life. But who am I to judge?

    Highly probable!:)

    I think sometimes it's the right thing and also a good thing. Some people throw their lives away for some foolish cause or someone they love zealously, not realising that there is little benefit in it for them because who/what they love doesn't love them back.

    That's different. The sport is an expression of their individuality and uniqueness.

    That has more to do with marketing, capitalism and business than the individual himself. The media shapes a person's perceptions of the environment in which he/she lives and their expectations of what should be possible in it. Consider what "individualism" and "individuality" would be like without the media?

    It's a cultural sham not because individualism itself is a sham, but because the people who promote the "cult of the personal ego" are not promoting "individualism" as an abstraction but individualism inside a rapidly changing world where everybody wants to live "the good life" but due to high expectations, finds that the happiness they want is elusive and always out of reach.

    I'm aware this thread is about "New Age Christianity," but in the case of New Age philosophy, I think people should be allowed to dabble in New Age stuff and call it "Christianity" if for some reason they felt "pushed away" from mainstream Christianity because of judgmental and legalistic attitudes. There's no point in understanding the story of the Prodigal Son if you're not prepared to "let people go."

    As long as we adhere to the Seven Noahide Laws as alluded to in Acts 21 and worship the Jewish God, I think we're on the right side of the Gospel. Much of modern Christianity has its roots in Hellenism and a lot of Jews in the first century didn't accept Hellenistic ideas as legitimate even for Gentiles, but Paul and the Nazarenes took a liberal attitude toward these ideas. I don't think it is right, therefore to then be "non-liberal" to those who dabble in New Age stuff provided they also adhere to the Seven Noahide Laws and worship the same Jewish God.

    "The way" spoken of by Jesus was supposed to be something similar to the "halakha" that later developed in Rabbinic Judaism, but most people, including Christians and also non-Christians who aren't Jewish think of "the way" as something more general and abstract rather than as an approach to a particular religion like Judaism. They think of it as a "path" for the entire human race.

    Considering that we Christians have misunderstood the original meaning of the "halakha" (Hebrew) or "shariah" (Arabic) of Jesus, the New Age thinking of Jesus' halakha/shariah is no less legitimate than the mainstream/orthodox understanding of Jesus' path.

    Then you can't blame individualism, because individualism is not the problem here. It is capitalism and consumerism.


    I don't dispute that the culture of the present generation is causing wastage of natural resources. But I disagree that individualism is the primary cause. Just like in the story of the Prodigal Son, you have to let people go when they don't feel like they can belong. The Prodigal Son always wanted to leave the shackles of his father's home and the people of the 20th century wanted to experiment with the limits of technology.

    But we are starting to see the consequences and limits to relentless economic growth and economic activity. I do not believe that all 6 billion people can enjoy the kind of lifestyle we have in the Western world.

    The Prodigal Son has wasted most of his money and is now trying to survive and make a living by feeding pigs in a farm. He is starting to realise that he has "sinned" and very soon must return home to his father.

    We all live under the threat of nuclear weapons and there may come a day when we realise the limits of technology and economic growth. A third world war may be inevitable and it may leave the planet largely uninhabitable due to a massive ecological and environmental disaster. The only solution may be for us to follow the halakha/shariah of Jesus and ask that God make heaven "break in" for us so that we will be immune to the effects of radioactivity and pollution. Heaven will invade the earth and the kingdom of heaven will displace those of the earth. The "meek" who did not participate in the rape of the planet will inherit the earth.

    Individualism is not thoroughly evil. Collectivism presents its own problems. There must be a balance between individualism and collectivism. Not everything the Prodigal Son did was wrong. That was why the father let him go. When I was younger, I harboured a lot of judgmental and legalistic attitudes. I then realised the importance of my individuality and also that of others. At nearly the same time, I also realised that the "freedom" I had in the Western world was only possible because of the economic strength of the country in which I lived.

    True freedom comes from living the way Jesus lived. Like he said, whoever tries to keep his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will gain it. The impending ecological and environmental disaster that I predict will happen in the near future will make this a reality.

    I walked the journey of the Prodigal Son. But regardless of what I now know, I must keep this mostly to myself. There is little point in teaching the younger generation judgmental and legalistic attitudes, only for them to rebel like I did. It's much better for them to be told they can rape the earth as much as they want and later realise the consequences.

    I disagree that "love of self" is what ultimately causes the problem, but more likely a "love of self" combined with vanity, greed, jealousy and envy. The subprime mortgage crisis was caused by greed, jealousy, envy and vanity. When people saw their friends and neighbours buying homes, they wanted some too, despite the fact that it wasn't financially and economically sustainable. This wasn't "love of self" but "love of money" and "love of vanity."
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think a wrong thing is ever the right thing to do.

    Yes. The reality of 'love' is 'gift' — the dynamic going-out of the self to the other, and inversely, the acceptance of the other on its own terms.

    Today love is mostly about requirement — we've been bred to be consumers.

    Prudence, yes. Selfishness, no.

    They're all the same to me, I'm not into sports.

    Generous, altruistic?

    Well that begs a number of questions.

    One: Anyone who 'dabbles' is not a Christian. Christianity is not a dabbling thing.
    Two: I don't think people should be allowed to tag their own inventions with the names of something else, to give it credibility.
    Three: Why did they feel pushed away? I accept there might be genuine reasons, but there might be very real reasons why they were not pushed, they simply would not make the necessary changes.

    The story turns on the Prodigal Son realising the error of his ways. He might well have died and been eaten by the pigs he was feeding.

    Not really. That's not what the Gospel is about.

    Hmm. Modern Christianity has its roots in Scripture, informed by a Greek way of thinking. That's not necessarily wrong, although it has proved problematic. What the Jews accepted is really immaterial. What the Apostles accepted is the point.

    Paul, a liberal? Are you sure? I've never heard him called that before.

    According to the Gospel, it is. Dabbling is a hypocrisy, really. It's toying with something, but not really embracing it, you don't learn anything by dabbling.

    That seems a bit anachronistic, to me. As the way was first, did not the halakha develop as something similar to the way spoken of by Jesus?

    That's my point. It is a way for the world, not a way for Jews only. Nor do you have to be Jewish to walk the way.

    Yes. Love is universal.

    Are you sure you haven't misunderstood the message of Jesus?

    If people had love in their hearts, there would be no need for law.

    I don't blame individualism ... but neither are we blameless. Saying "I didn't know" won't cut it, we do know, we lack the will to do anything about it.

    The individual cannot cry 'it's not my fault' when he's caught selling drugs to kids.

    Selfishness is the primary cause. One can be an altruistic individual. I also believe we've fallen into a morass of our own creation, and getting out is a lot harder than falling in.

    Never said it was. I happen to think the reverse.

    Rubbish. That's like saying it's OK to play Russian Roulette, surely?

    You're assuming humanity is inherently unable to do the good or right thing. Cultures have existed, and do exist, without destroying their own environment. I think it would be better to teach our children how to love, not how to use.

    Vanity, greed, jealousy and envy are distortions of love.

    Love of self is not a bad thing, but a corrupted love of self, that becomes self-serving and self-focussed, is.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    When you see everyone else chasing after money, profits and wealth, buying houses, driving fast cars and living the "good life," what would you feel compelled to do? It just seems normal to a lot of people. It is very hard to unlearn because it's so ingrained in society.

    I disagree. If "dabbling" is about mucking around with something that doesn't belong in your group or community, then Paul definitely did a lot of "dabbling" because he went into the Gentile world to create a "Gentile variant" of Christianity using "Gentile ideas." Christianity emerged out of the intermingling of the Jewish and Gentile worlds. It emerged teaching an ideology that claimed that you didn't have to be Jewish to be one of "God's people."

    This isn't what it's all about, because of course Paul didn't create a "Gentile variant" of Christianity and then call it "Judaism." However, many of today's Christians claim that Christianity is the "cultivated olive tree" and "spiritual Israel" in Paul's olive tree theology.

    I personally disagree with this interpretation. I've been reading online articles/web pages on Jewish views on Christianity, trying to fit Christianity into a more "Jewish" frame of mind. When I put Jesus' life, death, resurrection and teachings in the context of what was happening politically and ideologically in the Jewish world, it leads me to the conclusion that Judaism has always been the "spiritual Israel" and "cultivated olive tree."

    My point is this. Of course Christians have not called their religion "Judaism," but they have certainly been calling themselves "spiritual Israel." They have given the Christian collective a misapplied label to give it more credibility.

    There is an economic context to the story of the Prodigal Son. The Prodigal Son could not handle the economic reality of living separately from his father.

    What are the economic consequences of embracing New Age Christianity? Can you show me how New Age Christianity leads to environmental and ecological degradation? The difference between mainstream and New Age Christianity is a theological one.

    But much of Christian theology is about heaven without any consideration of our earthly reality. My personal view on "sin" is that it must always have a context in our earthly reality. Only after considering earthly consequences of "sin" should we then move to a more "heavenly" context.

    For example, love and charity have earthly consequences. Greed has earthly consequences. Capitalism and consumerism have led to environmental and ecological degradation.

    Of course I expect you to argue that New Age Christianity distorts the ideology of mainstream Christianity, but what are the earthly consequences of that? How does it harm people? What injustice does it do? How does it harm our planet?

    The life, death and resurrection of Jesus had an earthly context. Jesus led a movement away from mainstream Judaism, which prior to the destruction of the Second Temple was plunged into legalism. That legalism cut people off from their relationship with God. This is where the earthly meets the heavenly. Jesus taught his followers love and charity and this caused heaven to "break in" because their love and charity made heaven open up. Their relationship with each other (earthly) was just as important as their relationship with God (heavenly). They could not have one without the other. This is why Jesus taught us to love one another.

    When New Age Christianity is condemned as evil or heretical or just not Christianity, this isn't love or charity. New Age Christians don't do us any harm, why should we fight and exclude them? This stops heaven from breaking in. They want to be Christians too, and Jesus said whoever is not for me is against me.

    Actually, I think it is. You are excluding New Age Christianity from your categorisation of what is "Christianity" simply because they have a different theology to your own, when you should be asking yourself whether they adhere to the Seven Noahide Laws. You're using a different criteria to make that decision and I think it's the wrong criteria.

    I disagree that what "the Jews" decided was immaterial, and I wasn't even talking about all Jews. I was talking specifically about the Nazarenes, particularly James the Just, because they were the ones who decided what was acceptable.

    Nevertheless, the later Rabbinic Jews had a similar philosophy on the Gentiles' relationship with God. If they complied with the Seven Noahide Laws, they were "Righteous Gentiles." The difference between them and the Nazarenes is that Rabbinic Jews for most of the last 2,000 years regarded Christianity as a form of idolatry.

    If what the Jews decided wasn't important, then why is it that the people who decided what would apply to this new variant of Christianity were Jews? Christianity started with the death and resurrection of Jesus, a Jew. A Jew named Paul (Pharisee of the Pharisees) went to the proto-Christian churches to decide what the new variant of Christianity would be about, so that the Gentile Christians would not have to convert to Judaism (and be circumcised).

    A third Jew that we now call James the Just was leader of the Jewish church in Jerusalem, leader of the Nazarenes. He was among the people who decided that Christians, as a minimum should adhere to the Seven Noahide Laws. The ideas of Philo of Alexandria went into the writing of the opening passage of the Gospel of John.

    Why didn't God send a Greek philosopher to the Gentiles? Christianity has never been completely independent from Judaism.

    But what, may I ask, are the roots of Scripture, and what part of Scripture? Are you talking about the Tanakh or the New Testament Canon? If you're talking about the NT canon, then I would say it has two roots: Judaism and Hellenism.

    Paul became a "liberal" after his conversion to Christianity.

    No, no! The origins of Jewish halakha predate Jesus. Many of Jesus' teachings were similar to those of Hillel the Elder (who was an old man when Jesus was born), but Jewish halakha was the work of more than one man. It was only after the destruction of the Second Temple that the rabbis got together and consolidated their various ideologies into one single unified thought system.

    I think there are many layers to Jewish halakha. If Jesus' teachings were an approach to Judaism, then it was a layer on top of everything else. We can substitute Christian theology for the bottom layers. In Judaism, the bottom layers would consist of the Law System and 613 commandments.

    I wasn't saying you had to be "Jewish" to walk the way, but that "the way" Jesus taught was something similar to what Jews have today, including the bottom layers. If there was a difference, it would have been that Jesus was starting a new faction which we now call the Nazarenes. There were a number of groups with their own "halakha" in those days. Off the top of my head there were the Pharisees and Essenes. The Pharisees were involved in the temple cult. The Essenes were not. Among the Pharisees, each "rabbi" would have had his own halakha. When they established Rabbinic Judaism, the various schools were consolidated into one single, unified system.

    So where is the Gospel in all this, you must be asking?

    If "gospel" means "good news," then the good news was that the Gentiles had a place in the "world to come."

    I remember a discussion two or three years ago when dauer and some other guy were talking about how Jesus fit into Judaism. That was when I first learned of a guy named "Hillel" and in the past year I have been reading stories about this guy.

    Hillel's significance can't be fully understood without knowing how he compared to his colleague, named Shammai. One of the most commonly told stories about Hillel and Shammai is the one about a Gentile coming to them asking them to teach him the Torah while standing on one foot. Shammai gets angry and drives him away, but Hillel replies, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary, go study!"

    That is the good news. Jesus' death and resurrection can be seen as an extension of that. Shammai was very anti-Gentile and his teachings dominated much of the late Second Temple period. Jesus opposed his teachings and advocated "the way" of Hillel. His resurrection could be seen as a sign that God favoured "the way" of Hillel.

    Of course, Paul doesn't tell it the way that I just did because most people in the Gentile world were ignorant of Judaism. It was more convenient to use their own culture to explain the significance of Jesus' death and resurrection. It was more convenient to use concepts in the Greek and Roman pagan cults to explain it.

    There were officially two variants of Christianity in history: a Jewish and a Greek/Roman variant. But in theory, there can be at least one variant for every culture. Why does Christianity have to be "Greek?" Why can't there be a Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian or native American variant of Christianity? Most so-called "variants" of Christianity are actually variants of "Hellenistic Christianity" rather than variations of the abstraction "Christianity." What makes the Greek variant of Christianity superior to other variants? What makes Greek ideas better? It's actually a bit racist.

    Paul in theory could have written epistles to China, Japan, Indonesia or the Americas. Imagine that. Imagine a Christianity based on something other than the New Testament we know.

    It is theoretically possible for "New Age Christianity," "Buddhist Christianity" or "Christianity with a belief in reincarnation" to be "Christianity" because the more important question is "what makes it Christianity?" It just doesn't have to be "Greek."

    Are you sure you haven't misunderstood the message of Jesus?:)

    If people had love in their hearts, there would be no need for mainstream Christian theology.

    You have to realise that mainstream Christian theology has become quite legalistic. Those who criticise mainstream Christian theology become demonised and condemned (like criminals) even when their criticisms are mild and reasonable. This response does not involve love or charity, but stubborn bias. Modern Christianity has its roots in Hellenism and is biased toward those roots.

    If love and charity are so important, then roots are secondary. You said we didn't need to be Jewish, so I say we don't need to be Greek or Hellenists either.

    You can teach them, but you still have to let them do their own thing.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Saltmeister —

    I know. Pope Benedict XVI said we will not find the solutions to our ills by trying to circumvent the problem, we have to face the problem, and that is the worth of life is measured according to material values.

    I don't think one can accuse Paul of being a 'dabbler', he was too full-on.

    His ideas about Christianity are Christian first, he used both Jewish and Gentile motifs and methods to explain it. His ideas of a nuptial mystery, a filial mystery, and the all-encompassing idea of the people of God as a Mystical Body of the Logos of God as Hebraic motifs, all his Gentile ideas serve and support this motif.

    The Fathers, almost to a man, Platonised, but then the Jews, in the same way, shape their understanding according to their own philosophy.

    I see nothing wrong with that. By 'liberal' I agree that Paul opened up the promise of Divine Union to all humanity, he did not restrict it to a class or caste (such as a Jewish heritage). His liberalism did not encompass 'anything goes' however.

    And he was critical of narrow-minded Jewish and Gentile thinking:
    "For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumblingblock, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
    1 Corinthians 1:22-25.

    Luke, Paul's disciple and a Gentile, was equally critical of Gentile thought:
    "(Now all the Athenians, and strangers that were there, employed themselves in nothing else, but either in telling or in hearing some new thing.)" Acts 17:21
    Most commentators agree that this is a damning indictment of Greece, that the Golden Age of Thought had passed. Philosophy had become, for many, a trivial pursuit.

    That seems a more political than philosophical answer to me.

    OK. But that is way subsequent to the Scriptural context.

    Depends on the environmental attitude.

    Again, depends on attitude. Christian preachers in Africa are telling the people to sit back and await the gifts of God. The impact on the social structure is dreadful. Basically what they're actually intent on creating is a dependence upon the benificence of America, not God. That, too, is New Age Christian thinking.

    Absolutely. That's my point. If NAC is right, then they should be able to argue the point theologically. Too often they don't. They reject orthodoxy on political grounds first, and then assume the theology equally flawed.

    They don't even examine their own ideas critically — nor do orthodox Christians, but the point is that the orthodox lines do have a history of critical analysis — theology. NAC, if it is to be authentic, should flower from within that rootstock. Too often it simply tries to graft a leaf onto its own ideas to give the idea credibility.

    I was a NAC, until I started asking difficult theological questions.

    Well not Catholic theology. Nor Orthodox. Nor many other denominational theologies.

    OK. The consequence of sin is the wilful pursuit of that which one knows to be morally wrong. I would have thought the earthly context is staring us in the face, based on a purely humanist morality.

    And religious organisations globally make a significant contribution in all areas of serving those in need. Love of neighbour is a very real and very human context.

    Depends again, but I'm not arguing earthly. I would not argue with a NAC who was giving a dying man a glass of water. I would argue if he told the man not to dig a well, God will provide.

    I would agree, but that message is dependent upon the preaching of his evangelists, as we have only their evidence ... and you've accused them of dabbling with a Jewish message and ignoring the Jewish context ... but now you're saying Jesus was leading away from mainstream, by which I assume you mean legalistic, Judaism, to a more holistic Judaism — yet Judaism is defined by its monotheism, and its legalism. It is, in that context, exclusive. Jesus teaching, as we receive it, is inclusive — the Spiritual Isreal.

    Heaven breaking in was Jesus Himself. You present Jesus' message in purely earthly terms: 'You must do this to attain that'. There's no heavenly 'breaking in' in that message.

    The Jews taught that they are a chosen people loved by God. Jesus taught that all humanity is loved by God — that is heaven breaking in — Paul taught that God chose the Jews to show something to the world, it was not for their exclusive benefit.

    Yes it is. To correct is charitable if done with love, otherwise love is craven. I happily admit that, as a species, we find it easier to administer correction by force, rather than by love, and in so doing fail to see that in so doing charity is emptied of its meaning and content.

    At one point NAC (or aspects thereof) preached 'free love' which translates to regarding the other as a commodity to be used for one's own satisfaction. It is utterly and absolutely contra to the Christian notion of love, which is the gift of self, rather than the possession of the other, which is what 'free love' is.

    Free love was very harmful, believe me, I have witnessed the consequences of stripping another of their dignity.

    I'm not claiming all and every here ... but if we're going to generalise.

    Too often NAC simply drops the bits it finds uncomfortable. It's idolatry, it's creating a God to suit oneself. It's consumer Christianity.

    Yes, it does.

    Then, as Jesus taught, it's up to us to show the error of their ways. Everyone wants God on their own terms, even the most materialistically-minded. People who use others for their own pleasure are not 'for Christ', no matter how they flower it up.

    No, I'm excluding them on the basis that one cannot ignore 2,000 years of wisdom and come up with a better version that just so happens to pander to one's wants and wishes.

    As a matter of fact, I'm equally tough on 'Traditional Catholicism' which likewise bends the theological message to a sociological ideal. I was 'headhunted' quite strongly by Trad Cats, and was told quite bluntly that with my theological understanding, I'd be a bishop in no time flat.

    Yep. That's why Christ was crucified. And 6m Jews went to the chambers, along with 25m others ... and we're still killing each other today.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  16. Raven

    Raven New Member

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    Christianity in any age old or new is a dangerous concept.
     
  17. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    ah....why so?
     
  18. Raven

    Raven New Member

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    Brainwashing is the first thing that comes to mind.
     
  19. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    I think we would be able without common scriptures, as each by the grace of God are capable of visions of prophecy of our own. Even in Christ, we see no special characteristics until the dove enters Christ's skull (I believe this is the picture the Bible paints) and he is empowered by the Spirit.

    For me, reading the various scriptures and holy texts of the world merely allows me to view others take on what they are shown. By pulling from each what is similar, I feel I am discovering real truth, that science appears to be reconciled entirely with resulting conclusions shows me I am on the correct path. Often, however, these faiths present a very self-centered message, for instance in the words of Jesus "no man goes to the father except through me" - although we can say living how he lives is what he means, serving others, sacrificing for the greater good since he is the Word. These words, and a few other examples, have been major causes of bloodshed through history and yet we are told to know the tree by its fruits. For me, this seems to have spurned much hatred out of quite an egotistical sentence. Such phrases seem to be quite contradictory towards shared concepts of spirituality seen throughout other texts.
     
  20. Ben Masada

    Ben Masada New Member

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    It does not matter how much has Christianity evolved into the New Age. We do not have a soul to let us know anything. We are living souls, according to Genesis 2:7, where we read that, when God formed man from the dust of the earth, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. "Became" means to be and not to have. If you speak of the soul as some thing that lets us know what we must, you are making of the soul some thing we have and not some thing we are.
    Ben
     

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