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    World Religion & Speculative Theology - Thread: Could it all be a fraud?

    1. #21
      MoreCoffee's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
      I never felt it necessary to prove that everyone else is wrong. But polytheism seems particularly unlikely as an ultimate power, except when viewed as symbolic. But most people with that view think there's a single ultimate power, so they're kind of monotheists.

      The others are variants of Christianity. They all believe in the same God and accept Christ as Lord.
      Like you I don't feel any compulsion to prove a Hindu wrong or a Muslim or a Jew. Yet there are people who make a living out of lecturing against Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons and Muslims - James White does that I think.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    2. #22
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by MoreCoffee View Post
      Like you I don't feel any compulsion to prove a Hindu wrong or a Muslim or a Jew. Yet there are people who make a living out of lecturing against Jehovah's witnesses and Mormons and Muslims - James White does that I think.
      The question you raise is important for the future of Christianity I think.

      I’m going to suggest that something like a liberal view on this may be the only one that fits the evidence.

      The OT prophets and Jesus both said that what matters is to worship the one, true God and treat others right. To my knowledge Jesus doesn’t say members of every other religion are damned. His attacks are generally against fellow Jews that don’t do what they should, and actual threats of hell as we think of it are unusual outside Matthew.

      “Religion” is tricky concept. It’s not like there’s a single framework within which people give different answers. Different cultures ask different questions. There’s a reasonable degree of commonality about how they say we’re supposed to live. C S Lewis tried to document this in “The Abolition of Man.” But there aren’t really competing saviors. Religious founders generally seem best understood as prophets.

      I’m not going to say that all religions are alike. They’re not. But there’s a common direction, so that I think one can, for example, rule out the aggressive versions of Islam (and Christianity), and also polytheism. Even more sophisticated thinkers in polytheistic cultures generally think that behind the stories about the gods there’s a single ultimate.

      Most Christians these days are inclusivists, so it’s not so unreasonable to say that people who follow this common tradition, and are repentant, are going to be OK. Is that “salvation by works?” I don’t think so. No one is claiming that we merit God’s love. He loved us first. It’s more about being his people and responding to what he did first.

      So what about Jesus? I do think in him we see God personally in a way that we don’t elsewhere. I don’t think he believed he was making it possible to avoid hell when it hadn’t been possible before. But I do think he thought he was beginning the establishment of God’s Kingdom, writing the Law into our hearts (Jer 31:31). I think the people who respond to his call to do that are a unique group that I’d like to be part of. It’s pretty clear that his vision has inspired people outside just Christianity. But there are certainly fine people in other religions and cultures.

    3. #23
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      I should note that the threat of hell seems to be losing its power to motivate. There are probably both good and bad reasons for that. If Christianity is going to continue, I think it has to be more than the only way to avoid hell. I think it has to be a community called by Jesus to play a special role in the world.

      In the past we're used to having everyone in Christian cultures participating in the Church. There are still cultures where that's possible. But I believe the number of people really interested in being ambassadors of the Kingdom is going to be smaller. That's probably OK.

      The trend that worries me more is Christians publicly identifying the Church with anti-Christian actions. That makes it really difficult for the people who wan to be ambassadors of the Kingdom. It used to be that non-Christians believed that Christians were admirable. That's no longer the case.
      Last edited by hedrick; 05-02-2018 at 02:18 PM.

    4. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
      The question you raise is important for the future of Christianity I think.

      Iím going to suggest that something like a liberal view on this may be the only one that fits the evidence.

      The OT prophets and Jesus both said that what matters is to worship the one, true God and treat others right. To my knowledge Jesus doesnít say members of every other religion are damned. His attacks are generally against fellow Jews that donít do what they should, and actual threats of hell as we think of it are unusual outside Matthew.

      ďReligionĒ is tricky concept. Itís not like thereís a single framework within which people give different answers. Different cultures ask different questions. Thereís a reasonable degree of commonality about how they say weíre supposed to live. C S Lewis tried to document this in ďThe Abolition of Man.Ē But there arenít really competing saviors. Religious founders generally seem best understood as prophets.

      Iím not going to say that all religions are alike. Theyíre not. But thereís a common direction, so that I think one can, for example, rule out the aggressive versions of Islam (and Christianity), and also polytheism. Even more sophisticated thinkers in polytheistic cultures generally think that behind the stories about the gods thereís a single ultimate.

      Most Christians these days are inclusivists, so itís not so unreasonable to say that people who follow this common tradition, and are repentant, are going to be OK. Is that ďsalvation by works?Ē I donít think so. No one is claiming that we merit Godís love. He loved us first. Itís more about being his people and responding to what he did first.

      So what about Jesus? I do think in him we see God personally in a way that we donít elsewhere. I donít think he believed he was making it possible to avoid hell when it hadnít been possible before. But I do think he thought he was beginning the establishment of Godís Kingdom, writing the Law into our hearts (Jer 31:31). I think the people who respond to his call to do that are a unique group that Iíd like to be part of. Itís pretty clear that his vision has inspired people outside just Christianity. But there are certainly fine people in other religions and cultures.
      Interesting, I don't know too much on the subject of jews in india, I do know that a few apostles preached in India. India has some pretty ancient religions, was Bartholomew converting them to Christianity? Just curious, maybe I should google the Armenian Apostolic church in relation to its neighboring religions.

      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

    5. #25
      psalms 91's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
      The question you raise is important for the future of Christianity I think.

      Iím going to suggest that something like a liberal view on this may be the only one that fits the evidence.

      The OT prophets and Jesus both said that what matters is to worship the one, true God and treat others right. To my knowledge Jesus doesnít say members of every other religion are damned. His attacks are generally against fellow Jews that donít do what they should, and actual threats of hell as we think of it are unusual outside Matthew.

      ďReligionĒ is tricky concept. Itís not like thereís a single framework within which people give different answers. Different cultures ask different questions. Thereís a reasonable degree of commonality about how they say weíre supposed to live. C S Lewis tried to document this in ďThe Abolition of Man.Ē But there arenít really competing saviors. Religious founders generally seem best understood as prophets.

      Iím not going to say that all religions are alike. Theyíre not. But thereís a common direction, so that I think one can, for example, rule out the aggressive versions of Islam (and Christianity), and also polytheism. Even more sophisticated thinkers in polytheistic cultures generally think that behind the stories about the gods thereís a single ultimate.

      Most Christians these days are inclusivists, so itís not so unreasonable to say that people who follow this common tradition, and are repentant, are going to be OK. Is that ďsalvation by works?Ē I donít think so. No one is claiming that we merit Godís love. He loved us first. Itís more about being his people and responding to what he did first.

      So what about Jesus? I do think in him we see God personally in a way that we donít elsewhere. I donít think he believed he was making it possible to avoid hell when it hadnít been possible before. But I do think he thought he was beginning the establishment of Godís Kingdom, writing the Law into our hearts (Jer 31:31). I think the people who respond to his call to do that are a unique group that Iíd like to be part of. Itís pretty clear that his vision has inspired people outside just Christianity. But there are certainly fine people in other religions and cultures.
      Sounds like an argument for one world religion and we know what is said about that. Also there is only one God, one way on to Him, anything else is false and leads to you know where
      Isaiah 40:31

    6. #26
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by psalms 91 View Post
      Sounds like an argument for one world religion and we know what is said about that. Also there is only one God, one way on to Him, anything else is false and leads to you know where
      No. All religions aren't alike. I see some common directions. But removing everything specific and just trying to follow the common content isn't a good thing. In "Mere Christianity", Lewis made the same comment for Christianity. He intended to document a common core, but if you want to be a Christian, you have to join a specific church.

    7. #27
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      @MoreCoffee in Post #15:
      "My bible is 73 books. The 66 book "bible" is not the bible, it is an eviscerated edition created by human beings who for reasons best known to them and their followers removed 7 books and parts of 2 other books from the inspired canonical scriptures."

      @MoreCoffee in Post #17, after mentioning various religions and holy books they regard as creditable sources of religious wisdom (my terminology), including the 77-book and 66-book versions of the Bible, and associating the latter with Jehovahís witnesses, asked:

      "Who is going to decide this case, who will adjudicate between these competing claims? God may do so at the last judgement but today who will decide it?"

      ================================================== ============================================

      Well, just comparing the 66- and 77- book Bibles for a moment:
      - If @MennoSotaís statement regarding Athanasiusí proclamation is correct, the 66-book version is the authoritative one.

      ================================================== ============================================

      But besides that, there is a very simple touchstone that gives a definitive answer.

      If you take the 66-book Bible and read it carefully without the filters of later theological deliberations (or accidentals), a simple, consistent, trans-testament message is revealed. It cuts through the denominational squabbles that are so evident (both external and internal). That is so, even if various denominations pooh-pooh the idea because it is discomforting to them.

      Add the apocryphal books that bring the total to 77, and the internal cohesion disappears. Instead, there is found only a confusion of contradictory ideas. The contrast could not be more contrasting (to coin a word play).

      Determining the consistent message is logically simple, even if emotionally difficult because of peopleís backgrounds and preconditioning.

      It can definitely be done.

      The question for each individual is: Is it worthwhile enough for me to make the effort?
      Seeking to understand with precision, God's holy and coherent revelation to us.

    8. #28
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      Quote Originally Posted by Pedrito View Post
      @MoreCoffee in Post #15:
      "My bible is 73 books. The 66 book "bible" is not the bible, it is an eviscerated edition created by human beings who for reasons best known to them and their followers removed 7 books and parts of 2 other books from the inspired canonical scriptures."

      @MoreCoffee in Post #17, after mentioning various religions and holy books they regard as creditable sources of religious wisdom (my terminology), including the 77-book and 66-book versions of the Bible, and associating the latter with Jehovah’s witnesses, asked:

      "Who is going to decide this case, who will adjudicate between these competing claims? God may do so at the last judgement but today who will decide it?"

      ================================================== ============================================

      Well, just comparing the 66- and 77- book Bibles for a moment:
      - If @MennoSota’s statement regarding Athanasius’ proclamation is correct, the 66-book version is the authoritative one.

      ================================================== ============================================


      Brother Pedrito, MennoSota's claim is not correct, saint Athanasius did not produce a 66 book list of canonical books of holy scripture. At the Easter of AD 367 saint Athanasius wrote an Easter letter, called a festal letter because it was written for the feast of Easter, in which he lists the old and new testament books that were accounted as holy and canonical in his church in Alexandria Egypt at that time. He lists the books of the Old Testament as 22 in accordance with Jewish tradition. To the books in the Tanakh he adds the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, but he excludes the Book of Esther. He also lists the books of the New Testament as the 27 with which we are familiar:
      • the 4 Gospels,
      • the Acts of the Apostles,
      • the 7 General Epistles (listed in the order in which they appear in modern editions of the New Testament),
      • the 14 Pauline Epistles (listed with the Letter to the Hebrews placed between those to the Thessalonians and the Pastoral Epistles),
      • and the Book of Revelation.

      Although the order in which Athanasius places the books is different from what is now usual, his list is the earliest reference to the present canon of the New Testament



      But besides that, there is a very simple touchstone that gives a definitive answer.

      If you take the 66-book Bible and read it carefully without the filters of later theological deliberations (or accidentals), a simple, consistent, trans-testament message is revealed. It cuts through the denominational squabbles that are so evident (both external and internal). That is so, even if various denominations pooh-pooh the idea because it is discomforting to them.

      Add the apocryphal books that bring the total to 77, and the internal cohesion disappears. Instead, there is found only a confusion of contradictory ideas. The contrast could not be more contrasting (to coin a word play).
      I read a 73 book bible that is more cohesive and more free of denominational biases than the 66 book bible I possess (KJV included). God willing you may see this for yourself when you read a 73 book bible for yourself, if you have not yet done so. And if you have then God willing some day the revelation will dawn upon you and the day star will rise in your heart (2Peter 1:19 And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts).


      Determining the consistent message is logically simple, even if emotionally difficult because of people’s backgrounds and preconditioning.

      It can definitely be done.

      The question for each individual is: Is it worthwhile enough for me to make the effort?
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

    9. #29
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      Eusebius. By the early third century only a handful of books that we now call our New Testament were in question. In western regions of the empire, the book of Hebrews faced opposition, and in the east Revelation was unpopular. Eusebius, a church historian of the fourth century, records that James, 2 Peter, 2-3 John and Jude were the only books ďspoken againstĒ (though recognized by others).

      Athanasius. In 367, Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, wrote an Easter letter that contained all twenty-seven books of our present New Testament. In 393 the Synod of Hippo affirmed our current New Testament, and in 397 the Council of Carthage published the same list.

      https://www.biblestudytools.com/bibl...the-bible.html

      The Roman church didn't declare the apocryphal books as canon until the Council of Trent, which came as a rebuke to the Reformation. I have already noted that the Council of Trent is the defining moment in Rome becoming a church that abandons the gospel to preach a false gospel.

    10. #30
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      Judge Rutherford of The International Bible Students Association (later renamed to Jehovah's witnesses) wrote that religion is a snare and a racket! Religions certainly receive a lot of money for services that are - by and large - immaterial services so do you think you get value for money after you pay your tithe?
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

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