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Switch to Forum Live View "ABC - Christianity is More Than Bring Nice"
3 years ago  ::  Jan 29, 2015 - 5:06PM #1
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

The Archbishop is right to say Christianity is not a social politeness movement: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/113724...

Is the view that godliness is synonymous with politeness and Anglican wide trait or is it mostly a British thing?  

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2015 - 1:17PM #2
Stumbler
Posts: 347

He said the life of Jesus “challenges every assumption” about society, adding: “He does not permit us to accept a society in which the weak are excluded – whether because of race, wealth, gender, ability, or sexuality.


“Nor did he permit us and does he permit us to turn religion into morality.



I dunno, but isn't this "social claptrap"? What did Jesus actually have to say about "exclusion" or "inclusion" anyway? What did his life have to say about these things? To be sure, Jesus sent word to John in prison that "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." (Mt 11:5) But what was the gospel preached to the poor? That they would not be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven, but what did he mean by that?



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3 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2015 - 7:50PM #3
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Feb 3, 2015 -- 1:17PM, Stumbler wrote:


He said the life of Jesus “challenges every assumption” about society, adding: “He does not permit us to accept a society in which the weak are excluded – whether because of race, wealth, gender, ability, or sexuality.


“Nor did he permit us and does he permit us to turn religion into morality.



I dunno, but isn't this "social claptrap"? What did Jesus actually have to say about "exclusion" or "inclusion" anyway? What did his life have to say about these things? To be sure, Jesus sent word to John in prison that "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." (Mt 11:5) But what was the gospel preached to the poor? That they would not be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven, but what did he mean by that?






Good question, but first we need to know what Jesus actually said, and what was the context of what he said (both in conversation, and culturally).  Unfortunately we do not have that, unless we assume that the writer of the gospel or other noncanonical sources have successfully relayed it.  


IMO it is much easier to imagine that God somehow relays the insight of his word to us today, and that word may be applied differently in our culture than it was in Jesus'.   


In Jesus' day, people were probably less concerned with social acceptance (inclusion) and more concerned with having adequate food.  "Daily bread" probably was literal, not some spiritualized sustenance, which we may tend to think about today, but since thankfully many of us have enough to eat, the spiritualized meaning is therefore more relevant to us.

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 12, 2015 - 9:20AM #4
Stumbler
Posts: 347

Feb 5, 2015 -- 7:50PM, Nino0814 wrote:


Good question, but first we need to know what Jesus actually said, and what was the context of what he said (both in conversation, and culturally).  Unfortunately we do not have that, unless we assume that the writer of the gospel or other noncanonical sources have successfully relayed it.  




I am not so convinced by the arguments of the Jesus Seminar, Bart Ehrman and others that we have lost most of the content of what Jesus said and taught. If I thought the actual record of the life and teachings of Jesus had disappeared over the event horizon, I'd walk away from Christianity, personally.



IMO it is much easier to imagine that God somehow relays the insight of his word to us today, and that word may be applied differently in our culture than it was in Jesus'.   




Easier? How then does God do it? Does "insight" include actual truth claims, or only suggested ways of responding to experience?


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3 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2015 - 9:06PM #5
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Feb 12, 2015 -- 9:20AM, Stumbler wrote:

 How then does God do it? Does "insight" include actual truth claims, or only suggested ways of responding to experience?


God gives us the capacity to learn by experience (our own, and through the observation of others).  It's relative and practical knowledge.  I see no compelling reason to believe in divine revelation (as some Christians and Jews view the Bible, and Muslims see the Quran, as absolute Truth).  


For me, religious traditions are a collection of human insights that we can personally consider.  God may be the source of the truth contained in these writings, but no differently than God is the source of any knowledge.


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3 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2015 - 2:13PM #6
Stumbler
Posts: 347

I suppose we've veered onto something else. I was initially responding to your claim that we don't know enough about what Jesus actually said to make much of a difference. From there, you say that God could communicate his ideas to us today, so knowing what Jesus said would be unnecessary. This new revelation, if that's the right word, should do the job on its own. 



If so, then the teachings of Jesus are both gone from  our view and, in any case, superfluous. We're getting fresh material all the time. It's not clear to me how we're getting it, or who's getting it, but I stand by my earlier claim. If I believed this, I'd find Christianity a waste of time. 


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3 years ago  ::  Feb 15, 2015 - 10:05AM #7
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Feb 14, 2015 -- 2:13PM, Stumbler wrote:


I suppose we've veered onto something else. I was initially responding to your claim that we don't know enough about what Jesus actually said to make much of a difference. From there, you say that God could communicate his ideas to us today, so knowing what Jesus said would be unnecessary. This new revelation, if that's the right word, should do the job on its own. 


If so, then the teachings of Jesus are both gone from  our view and, in any case, superfluous. We're getting fresh material all the time. It's not clear to me how we're getting it, or who's getting it, but I stand by my earlier claim. If I believed this, I'd find Christianity a waste of time. 



I wouldn't say that the Church is receiving "fresh material" and that the received tradition is superfluous.  I would say that the Church receives and engages a "living tradition", meaning that the material of the tradition is the context for our spiritual exploration, but "it is the "Spirit", found in the community of the faithful (the Church) that makes that tradition relevant.  IMO Jesus of the gospels does this.  He does not bring in "new material" but revises it for his community.  Below is one example:


“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."


“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”


Did Moses have it wrong?  Was Jesus correcting the record of Mose's error, or was Jesus applying a new insight that was critical for the Jews of his time?  IMO the former view locates God's truth in past revelation (the Bible and oral traditions), and our objective is to follow it; the latter views God's revelation in the search and application of a living tradition where past insights are revered but seen as guides on how to examine the tradtion, not set rules of how to interpret it.


I respect the point of view of that the Christian tradition was fully revealed in Jesus' words and deeds, and the gospel writers and Church Fathers relay the essence of that revelation.  That is probably the view of most Christians.  

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3 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2015 - 9:54AM #8
Stumbler
Posts: 347

Feb 15, 2015 -- 10:05AM, Nino0814 wrote:


Did Moses have it wrong?  Was Jesus correcting the record of Mose's error, or was Jesus applying a new insight that was critical for the Jews of his time?




Given your skepticism about our knowledge of what Jesus said, why would you accept this particular passage as a record of what Jesus was up to? And why should we pay any special attention to what he may or may not have taught?



 IMO the former view locates God's truth in past revelation (the Bible and oral traditions), and our objective is to follow it; the latter views God's revelation in the search and application of a living tradition where past insights are revered but seen as guides on how to examine the tradtion, not set rules of how to interpret it.




On the one hand you claim "first we need to know what Jesus actually said, and what was the context of what he said (both in conversation, and culturally).  Unfortunately we do not have that, unless we assume that the writer of the gospel or other noncanonical sources have successfully relayed it"--an assumption which you are seemingly unwilling to make. On the other hand you want to maintain a living tradition around past insights that may or may not have any historical basis.


How is this different from simply arriving at one's moral, social, etc. conclusions by whatever means and simply projecting them onto a screen of "tradition" that is vague enough to accept pretty much any image we apply to it? 



I respect the point of view of that the Christian tradition was fully revealed in Jesus' words and deeds, and the gospel writers and Church Fathers relay the essence of that revelation.  That is probably the view of most Christians.  




I don't think it's my view, but that's beside the point. My starting point is, Do we know enough about "Jesus' words and deeds" to have a tradition that can actually link its authority to the authority of that historical individual? Is there any point at which we can and should say that although our contemporary thinking says P, Jesus clearly taught not-P? Or should we always expect to be able to put the message we want into the mouth of "Jesus"?


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3 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2015 - 9:49PM #9
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Feb 18, 2015 -- 9:54AM, Stumbler wrote:


Given your skepticism about our knowledge of what Jesus said, why would you accept this particular passage as a record of what Jesus was up to? I don't.  And why should we pay any special attention to what he may or may not have taught? It shows my point that within the gospel tradition, Jesus did not simply "make up stuff"; he used the Jewish tradition to make new points.



On the one hand you claim "first we need to know what Jesus actually said, and what was the context of what he said (both in conversation, and culturally).  Unfortunately we do not have that, unless we assume that the writer of the gospel or other noncanonical sources have successfully relayed it"--an assumption which you are seemingly unwilling to make. On the other hand you want to maintain a living tradition around past insights that may or may not have any historical basis.


How is this different from simply arriving at one's moral, social, etc. conclusions by whatever means and simply projecting them onto a screen of "tradition" that is vague enough to accept pretty much any image we apply to it? IMO many religious people do that.  I think that was what ABC was criticizing.  "Being nice and agreeable" is socially acceptable today so they project that onto Jesus. They are reading their own point of view into the Christian tradition.



My starting point is, Do we know enough about "Jesus' words and deeds" to have a tradition that can actually link its authority to the authority of that historical individual? I don't think we do, but we do know what Christians believed and practiced.  So I may not be following the actual ways of the historical Jesus, but I can follow people who believed they were following Jesus.  If their practices make for a better life, then why should I concern myself with how they uncovered their methods?


Is there any point at which we can and should say that although our contemporary thinking says P, Jesus clearly taught not-P? Or should we always expect to be able to put the message we want into the mouth of "Jesus"? Jesus was historical, and so historians can rule out things Jesus likely did not say or do.  I mentioned that I do not believe Jesus said he was the "I AM".  I also find it silly to believe that Jesus told his disciples to "carry their cross".   Those expressions IMO reflect a post Easter reflection back on to the ministry of Jesus.  I do think the expression "to carry our cross" is a powerful spiritual truth that was inspired by the life and crucifixion of the historical Jesus. The fact that Jesus did not utter these words IMO does not change their spiritual value for religious practice.  The Post-Easter expression is historical.  We can study how Christians understood that expression, and applied it.   Since its meaning to Christians is historical it prevents later Christians from putting "the message we want into Jesus' mouth".



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3 years ago  ::  Mar 10, 2015 - 11:01AM #10
Stumbler
Posts: 347

So, in your view, it's silly to think Jesus ever said "Take up your cross", but it's kind of nice that enough Christians were gullible enough, for long enough, to think he did say it, so that a tradition could be born out of their credulity?


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