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Switch to Forum Live View Curious about "saved"
10 years ago  ::  Apr 28, 2008 - 10:11PM #41
AndyF
Posts: 375

Mercy without justice is rarely merciful.
Would you have called a God good or loving if He granted the same reward to Joseph Stalin as to William Wilberforce, glorified Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa?



But doesn't your faith dictate that had Hitler accept Jesus as his savior just before he died, he would have gotten into heaven and avoided hell (technically, I believe Hitler was Christian - at least he never denied it)?  This comparison would imply that God takes deeds into consideration.  Yet other Evangelicals have stated that faith alone gets one into heaven.  So as long as Hitler or Stalin had faith, they still would escape hell for the rewards of heaven?

The Greeks, the Romans, the Syrians, and most of the other Mediterranean peoples would have said two things about their gods’ characters. First, they tend to be amoral; second, toward humankind they are preponderantly indifferent.



Yes, the deities from mythology from around the world do some rather bizzare and heinous things - in myth.  Like the pious fiction you mentioned.  I'm not aware of any neopagan who takes these myths as a literal truth.  I would agree, that the deities I know are mostly indifferent. 

In regards to the particular verse you’ve chosen, most Christians don’t worship on Sunday and burn witches on Tuesday. That’s just silly.
Peace of Christ!



It is silly, at least here in the states (But it does happen still in other parts of the world).  At the same time, religious groups do burn Harry Potter fairtales, and if you've seen "Jesus Camp", it's a little frightening to see children cheering when they were told that if Harry Potter lived in Biblical times, he would have been put to death.

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 29, 2008 - 1:30AM #42
Anesis
Posts: 1,543
Hi, Andy,

"I know many hard core atheists who live very fulfilling lives while completely denying the existence of any deity."

I appreciate the truth of your comment, but it isn't just about life. It is for many of us about the race, and the reward of heaven is worth running it for. The thing is, is those who live these fulfilling lives now, will retain their memories in hell. I think that would be one of the worst things about hell. There is not only the memory how great life was, but at judgment, they will know the bliss of standing before holiness, and they will carry their regret with them to hell, that they chose to live (and die) apart from God. Another really terrible thing is that in hell there is no water. It is dark and desolate, and there is no living water. There is no life. So your friends who have life and enjoy it now, will know no life later. All life, from their own to even one blade of grass will be dead for them.

How can you verify God? Or the Bible? I thought you recognized that it is impossible apart from faith.

"religious groups do burn Harry Potter fairtales, and if you've seen "Jesus Camp",...."

I think it's really important to recognize the extremists. Harry Potter is no worse than the Greek mythology of Jason in search of the golden fleece or the Chronicles of Narnia. It is a literary work, and actually plays an important part of a child's development, in that children learn to distinguish fantasy from reality.

I saw a clip of a tv show, in which a fundamentalist (very extreme) freaked out because she had allowed a non-believer into her home. She refused to have anything to do with people, places, or activities that were not centered around her faith. Then she went around calling herself a "God-Warrior". All I could think is how terrible a testament to the love of Christ she was, and if I happened upon her as a non-believer, I would want nothing to do with her religion.

Some Christians have taken it too far, in that they literally have nothing to do with anything secular, and have removed themselves from the reality of the world. That is not what we are called to.

It is not about some elite (depending on perspective) group who is too righteous to interact with the world. Rather, it is about human beings who choose to live in reconciled relationship with God through Christ.

For me, the difference between my God and your deities (or anyone else's) is that my God is a being with whom I am in relationship. Other deities are simply idols who have no power, particularly no power of intimate relationship with those who love them. I don't know much about deities, but it seems to me that it is reduced to ritual without relationship.

"I'm having trouble with that line of reasoning. It has as much meaning as the question "Are you for or against purple unicorns?" for me."

I am sorry this seems true for you, Andy. I pray one day that my God will hold more love, power, grace, mercy, justice and holiness for you than a purple unicorn. A purple unicorn is as fantastic as a fairy tale or mythology; God is real. I pray that you are one day introduced to him in a way that you can't and won't deny him.
An
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 29, 2008 - 9:08AM #43
AndyF
Posts: 375

Anesis wrote:

Hi, Andy,

How can you verify God? Or the Bible? I thought you recognized that it is impossible apart from faith.



This is true, but I'm curious what it is that makes one belief...more authentic (?)...than any other.

I think it's really important to recognize the extremists.



That's a good point.  Many of the extremists are rather loud and give many good Christians a bad reputation.  As outsiders, we see the Westboro Baptist Church protesting funerals, we see the "God Warrior" lady you mentioned, we see corrupt televangelists, etc.  It's easy to forget that these people do not represent the majority.  (I have a theory about these situations as being ideal situations in which to effectively witness to the world).

For me, the difference between my God and your deities (or anyone else's) is that my God is a being with whom I am in relationship. Other deities are simply idols who have no power, particularly no power of intimate relationship with those who love them. I don't know much about deities, but it seems to me that it is reduced to ritual without relationship.



May I ask how you came to hold that belief?  I feel I have a good relationship with my deities.  Certainly, I don't consider them to be all powerful or all knowing, and as I mentioned mostly indifferent to humanity as a whole.

We have our fair share of poor representation in the media as well - the ritual is the easiest and most dramatic element to display for entertainment.  Lots of neopagan books go into detail about various ritual tools and proper invocations and techniques, but IMO, it's not really necessary.  Personally, I roll my eyes any times I've been to a ritual where people suddenly develop a "Ye Olde English" accent.  Unlike the Catholics who's services appear "fixed" to me, the neopagan rituals can be extremely different for each person (even when they are of the same tradition).  It makes sense to me that since we can all do our ritual in our own way it would be a decent indication that we really do have a relationship with our deities.  We're not droning on and just saying the words and moving our arms up and down, we've tailored our actions for what we feel is the appropriate way to commune.

"I'm having trouble with that line of reasoning. It has as much meaning as the question "Are you for or against purple unicorns?" for me."

I am sorry this seems true for you, Andy. I pray one day that my God will hold more love, power, grace, mercy, justice and holiness for you than a purple unicorn. A purple unicorn is as fantastic as a fairy tale or mythology; God is real. I pray that you are one day introduced to him in a way that you can't and won't deny him.
An



I hope that didn't sound too cold - it was meant to just be a metaphor.  I guess my personal opinion is that the god of the Bible is ambiguous, and may or may not exist.  If he does, I don't personally think the Bible is a literal account (at least, not most of it).  In that respect, I guess I don't hold anything against Him.  If the Bible was a literal account, then I might have something against Him because I am having trouble with some of the events.   

I'd be willing to meet Him halfway

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 6:54PM #44
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Shalom Aleichem!
I don’t want this discussion to devolve into a debate, so I’ll try to tread carefully.

[QUOTE=AndyF;463467]
I'm not sure I've been introduced to the just, merciful God.
[/QUOTE]

I worship the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of Israel, Creator of heaven and earth; Whom Hagar called El Roi (the God Who sees me); Who lifts His people out of slavery in Egypt, sustains them through the wilderness and brings them home again. I worship the God Who, when we were lost in our sins, gave us Himself on that Cross.

“’Bel bows down, N’vo stoops low;
Their idols are borne by animals, beasts of burden.
The loads you yourselves were carrying
Are now burdening tired animals.
They stoop and bow down together;
They cannot save the burden,
But themselves go into captivity.

“’Listen to Me, house of Ya’akov,
All who remain of the house of Isra’el:
I have borne you from birth,
Carried you since the womb.
Till your old age I will be the same -
I will carry you until your hair is white.
I have made you, and I will bear you;
Yes, I will carry and save you.
To whom will you liken Me and equate Me?
With whom will you compare Me, as if we were similar?’” Isaiah 46:3-5

[QUOTE=AndyF;463467]But these are just stories about those other deities.  They aren't literal truths.[/QUOTE]

You’re reading the stories from a post-modern Neo-pagan perspective (influenced more by Judeo-Christian tradition than many would care to admit). Forgive me, but modern Neo-paganism - even Pagan Recon religions - are not the same as their ancient forebears. You don’t believe the tales of the  gods; the Sumerian farmer, whose farm had just been swept away in a flood and whose city was just sacked by Amorite marauders, did.

[QUOTE=AndyF;463417]
That's quite a test.  But when dealing directly with God in that fashion, especially knowing that God's history of reaction, did he really feel he could protest?  The decision for me would have been easy - I would have said, "No.  My life for my son."  The test was cruel.[/QUOTE]

Again, I reiterate: Abraham didn’t have the Bible. He didn’t have any point of comparison. He didn’t even have the Biblical injunctions AGAINST human sacrifice. Human sacrifice - especially child sacrifice - was common in the ancient Near East and THIS particular story is the first indication that God doesn’t exactly approve of the practice.
But, yes, Abraham had a choice. He could have said, ‘No.’ Was it an easy choice? Of course not. But the easy choice is rarely the best.

[QUOTE=AndyF;463467]
How was the conclusion that this was fiction?  How can I, as a nonbeliever, verify which texts are valid and which aren't? [/QUOTE]

No one here expects you, a non-believer, to be an expert. Especially with the way the History Channel is (one wonders if they ever talked to a Christian). All you have to do is ask.
For Evangelicals, the Bible is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice. You can cite other texts and other sources - the Didache, the Summa Theologica, The Cost of Discipleship, The Horse and His Boy, etc. - but they don’t carry the same weight as the sixty-six books of the Bible.

Old Testament:
Torah (Law): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Nevi’im (The Prophets): Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.
K’tuvim (The Writings): Psalms, Proverbs, Job,  the Song of Songs (aka the Song of Solomon), Ruth Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and 1st and 2nd Chronicles.

New Testament:
The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
The Acts of the Apostles
The Pauline Epistles: Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and Philemon.
The General Epistles: Hebrews, James, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd and 3rd John and Jude
Revelation
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 6:54PM #45
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
continue...
A note on the Canon: Contrary to pop legend, Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicea DID NOT  arbitrarily select the canonical works of the New Testament from a wide selection of equally valid texts because they (as opposed to Gnostic and other heterodox texts) over-emphasized Christ’s Deity. That’s bologna.
1. Constantine had nothing to do with the Canon.
2. The Council of Nicea had nothing to do with the Canon.
3. The books were not selected arbitrarily. Each text had to 1. Be written by an Apostle (iow, in the 1st century AD), 2. Conform to Apostolic tradition and 3. Be ecumenical (accepted by all Christians everywhere). Furthermore, the texts were selected from lists that had existed for a couple centuries. 
4. While a great many other texts were considered for the Canon and rejected (The Didache and the Shepherd of Hermas, for example), the Gnostic Gospels (of which there were eight, not eighty) were NEVER considered on par with the Canonical Gospels.
5. If they were seeking to overemphasize Christ’s Deity over His humanity, the bishops threw out the wrong books. The Gnostic Gospels, not the Canonical Gospels, rejected Christ’s humanity. Compare and you’ll see just how sober Matthew, Mark, Luke and John really are.

The two Ecumenical Creeds - the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are both important. The Apostles’ Creed is  the older of the two. It probably developed from a Q&A session a candidate had to undergo before baptism. The line “He descended into Hades” was probably put in to combat the Gnostics, who denied that Christ actually died. The Nicene Creed was developed by a council of 318 bishops (from across the known-world) to combat the heresy of Arianism (which, btw, didn’t teach that Jesus was human, only that He isn‘t God; Arius thought He was something else entirely).

[QUOTE=AndyF;463467]
I know many hard core atheists who live very fulfilling lives while completely denying the existence of any deity.[/QUOTE]

As Anesis has already stated, this isn’t about the here-and-now. I’m not going to try and debate the state of another’s heart. God alone sees it. But I’d like to point out the atheists aren’t in Hell. Not yet. They still enjoy access to General Revelation (Nature). As long as they have breath in their lungs, they have hope.

[QUOTE=AndyF;463510]But doesn't your faith dictate that had Hitler accept Jesus as his savior just before he died, he would have gotten into heaven and avoided hell (technically, I believe Hitler was Christian - at least he never denied it)? This comparison would imply that God takes deeds into consideration.  Yet other Evangelicals have stated that faith alone gets one into heaven.  So as long as Hitler or Stalin had faith, they still would escape hell for the rewards of heaven?[/QUOTE]

Hitler ONLY replaced the Bible in Church pews with Mein Kampf, replaced the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Gospel of being born German, and had Catholics and members of the Confessing Church (iow Christians who refused to participate in the State-controlled Church) sent to Auschwitz. He ONLY called Christian a weak, flabby JEWISH religion and would have turned his hate on Christians give half the chance. Adolf Hitler was not a Christian. He was interested in Teutonic Recon, though.
Anywhoo, moving on.
As I said before, we are all in the same boat. We’ve all sinned by the things we have done and the things we have left undone. “And there is no health in us” (as the Thomas Cranmer prayer reads). No, we’re not all Hitlers (most of us have never been given the opportunity to become Hitlers). But there is nothing, absolutely nothing we can do to achieve salvation for ourselves.
The Good News is that, when Jesus died on that cross, He took the sin, guilt and shame of the world upon Himself. He became the object of God’s wrath so we wouldn’t have to be. As the hymn goes:

“My sin - O the bless of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Had Hitler and Stalin repented of their crimes, even at the last moment, they could have been forgiven. Jesus died for them, too, after all. The question is: did they? Hitler’s final act was to kill his mistress and his inner circle. Stalin died cursing Christ. I think it’s perfectly evident neither repented.
Salvation is a gift from first to last, freely given. All we can do is to turn to our Savior in faith.
However, our actions DO matter. After we’ve received the salvation which is only possible through Jesus Christ, wouldn’t the most natural response to this Grace be to do things which pleases God? The most natural and appropriate response to love is TO LOVE. I don’t believe a person who takes advantage of the poor and takes the Gospel as license to hedonism is a follower of Jesus Christ, whether he identifies  himself as such or not. He doesn’t have faith.
If Hitler and Stalin had faith, they would not have been genocidal maniacs. They would have been great saints. (The holiest saints and more despicable sinners are made of the same type of person.)

[QUOTE=AndyF;463510]
It is silly, at least here in the states (But it does happen still in other parts of the world).  At the same time, religious groups do burn Harry Potter fairtales, and if you've seen "Jesus Camp", it's a little frightening to see children cheering when they were told that if Harry Potter lived in Biblical times, he would have been put to death.[/QUOTE]

Not all Evangelicals feel so strongly about Harry Potter. I, for one, love the books.
There’s a difference between burning witches and burning books about witchcraft. Not least of all a book is composed of paper, ink and cardboard, not flesh and blood. Witchcraft, according to the Bible, is a sin. People protest the books not because they’d really like to burn Rowling but because they believe the book promotes witchcraft.
3. I have not seen Jesus Camp. I do not plan on seeing it. It is NOT representative of Evangelical Christianity. And it was created by a woman who is more interested in selling her book than presenting a balanced view of the American Christian religious experience.
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 6:56PM #46
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Continue…

[QUOTE=AndyF;463510]
OK, so there were so many who responded about making the choice.  Do you think anyone who has declined is justified in feeling that certain Christian elements seek to impose the faith anyway?[/QUOTE]

Explain what you mean by “impose” and “certain Christian elements.”
I’ve been berated for “imposing” my faith on others by wearing a t-shirt with John 3:16 written in Hebrew. I’ve also been berated for “imposing” my faith when I expressed contempt of the barbaric practice of abortion. (For Pro-Lifers, abortion isn’t a religious issue. It’s a human rights issue.) I'd also like to add Abolition and the Civil Rights Movement were both originally disparaged as religious movements only (and, therefore, the non-believing world shouldn't be required to follow them.).
So, please clarify.
Peace of Christ!
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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 9:24PM #47
AndyF
Posts: 375

TalithaKuom wrote:

I don’t want this discussion to devolve into a debate, so I’ll try to tread carefully.



I don't want it to become a debate either - I hope my questioning does not make it sound like I am baiting you.

You’re reading the stories from a post-modern Neo-pagan perspective (influenced more by Judeo-Christian tradition than many would care to admit).



I think you might have that backwards.  There are many ancient legends of man-gods who were killed and reborn and then traveled the world seeking followers, teaching civility, and promising salvation upon death - many predate Christianity.

Forgive me, but modern Neo-paganism - even Pagan Recon religions - are not the same as their ancient forebears. You don’t believe the tales of the  gods; the Sumerian farmer, whose farm had just been swept away in a flood and whose city was just sacked by Amorite marauders, did.



Certainly true that modern paganism is very different from what it was.  But what makes you think any of the cultures took their myths as truth?

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 9:52PM #48
AndyF
Posts: 375

Hitler ONLY replaced the Bible in Church pews with Mein Kampf, ...



But he also said, ""As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice".  However, he twisted Christianity to suit his agenda. But I don't want to debate that.

But what's your opinion then, of someone who does evil in the name of Jesus - the person completely believes - say one of the Crusaders or a person who bombs a clinic where abortions are done?  They truly believe in their savior with all their hearts - do they get to heaven?

Not all Evangelicals feel so strongly about Harry Potter. I, for one, love the books.



That's good.  Personally, I didn't care for them.   What do you think about that woman in Georgia who was trying to ban the book from public school libraries?

There’s a difference between burning witches and burning books about witchcraft. Not least of all a book is composed of paper, ink and cardboard, not flesh and blood. Witchcraft, according to the Bible, is a sin. People protest the books not because they’d really like to burn Rowling but because they believe the book promotes witchcraft.



I don't think people want to burn witches or Rowling, but it's enough to get a shiver for me.

3. I have not seen Jesus Camp. I do not plan on seeing it. It is NOT representative of Evangelical Christianity. And it was created by a woman who is more interested in selling her book than presenting a balanced view of the American Christian religious experience.



But when you see the "God Warrior Lady" and the Jesus Camp kids marching in place wearing military camouflage, and the Westboro Baptist Church people, and televangelists saying 9/11 is because of gays and pagans, why doesn't anyone stand up and say "No, that's not right"?

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10 years ago  ::  Apr 30, 2008 - 10:11PM #49
AndyF
Posts: 375

TalithaKuom wrote:

Continue…

Explain what you mean by “impose” and “certain Christian elements.”



Certain elements refer to groups of minority Christians.  For example, the woman in Georgia who wanted Harry Potter removed from public school libraries because she didn't like that they promote witchcraft (even though they have very little to do with real witchcraft).

  Then there was teaching creationism (or Intelligent Design) in public school science classes (if you google "the Wedge Document" you'll see it was a creationist group's agenda detailing their deliberate  plans to destroy "scientific materialism" and replace it with a new kind of science that supports Evangelical Christianity. 

I would consider wanting to install monuments of the 10 Commandments in government facilities an attempt to impose religion (most of the 10 commandments are not enforceable by law anyway - and not recognizing other deities is quite contrary to our rights of freedom of religion in this country.

I remember Huckabee was saying how he wanted the US Constitution to reflect Christian rules.

I feel denying homosexuals the right to marry is also imposing...what other reason is there to deny it other than the Bible says it's wrong?

etc etc etc

I don't mean to imply that you or any posters in this thread are imposing religion.

I’ve been berated for “imposing” my faith on others by wearing a t-shirt with John 3:16 written in Hebrew.



Wow.  It is really silly to think wearing a t-shirt was imposing.  I'd laugh if that wasn't so sad.

I’ve also been berated for “imposing” my faith when I expressed contempt of the barbaric practice of abortion. (For Pro-Lifers, abortion isn’t a religious issue. It’s a human rights issue.)



Being anti-abortion is not imposing in my book.  But I can see how some might feel it is being imposed when the law tries to change the rules to prevent others from having an abortion.

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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 11:04AM #50
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Shalom Aleichem!

[QUOTE=AndyF;468899]
I think you might have that backwards.  There are many ancient legends of man-gods who were killed and reborn and then traveled the world seeking followers, teaching civility, and promising salvation upon death - many predate Christianity.[/QUOTE]

Can you provide an example of one?
Dying-and-rising gods are a dime-a-dozen in world mythology: Quetzacoatl, Balder, Osiris, Dionysus, Tammuz, etc. For the Christian, this shouldn't be a problem. If, as we believe the Incarnation is the seminal event of human history, it would be strange indeed if the pagan world hadn't heard rumor of it. Agreed?
However, there's a problem with the deities lifted in comparison to Christ.
1. They're ahistorical. They died in the never-neverland aonce upon a time. Jesus, however, was born during the governorship of Qurinius, was crucified under the authority of the proconsul, Pontius Pilate and the high priest, Caiaphus, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The Gospels were composed by eye-witnesses to His death and literal bodily Resurrection from the dead.
2. Osiris, Dionysus, Persephone, Tammuz, Adonis, etc. represent agricultural phenomena. You know they escaped the Underworld when it rains or the anemones bloom. The "salvation" they provided was not release from the universal problem of death, but crops at harvesttime. You can feed your family in the here and now. The earliest references, in fact, to Mystery Cults offering salvation from death appear in the late second century AD. (Just in time to be influenced by Christians.)
3. True resurrections were rare. Every year Osiris, Persephone, Tammuz, Adonis, etc, escape from the underworld (and event which is, understandibly, celebrated). But they ALL must returned. Osiris was raised only long enough to have sex with his wife. Cybele proved her power over the grave by raising her lover Attis from the dead: he could just wiggle his little finger. So there is no real triumph over the tomb here.
4. Balder is unique. He's dead, but he hasn't been raised yet. Not until after the Ragnorak. But there's a problem here, too: the first people to transcribe the story of the Ragnorak were CHRISTIAN monks. Many Asatruars and Vanatruars reject the Ragnorak from their corpus as a Christian invention (a story composed to mock their gods).
Actually, most of the comparisons people find between Jesus Christ and the dying-and-rising gods of religions past is the result of what we're discussing: reading later views into older myths. Anthropologists use Christian theological terminology to describe a myth/religious tradition and are shocked to find parallels.

Now, there are myths I, as a Christian, love more than others. The story of Orpheus and Eurydice, for example, about the futility of attempting to rescue someone from the grave. Even Orpheus, a demi-god, couldn't rescue his beloved from Hades! But I know the One Who can. I love the fairy-tale of Cupid and Psyche. Greco-Roman philosophers read this story as an allegory for The Good's love for the soul. Christians borrowed that allegorical reading from them. (Although it's a perfectly beautiful and worthwhile story in its own right.)
I do not assume (as, frankly, you appear to be doing) that they read the stories exactly the way I do as a Christian.

[QUOTE=AndyF;468899]
Certainly true that modern paganism is very different from what it was.  But what makes you think any of the cultures took their myths as truth?[/QUOTE]

Depends on who you mean. Greco-Roman philosophers read the myths as parables, or even downright lies, about the gods. Plato believed it was inappropriate to teach children these stories (Keep in mind, Plato assumed something about the gods based on the character/personality he intuited to the one supreme, transcendent and monounique deity called The Good (aka the Unmoved Mover))..
For the ordinary Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Greek and Roman believers, the myths accurately reflected the personalities of their gods. The cruelty, the ambivalence, the amorality, the phthonos of the gods were dreadful realities. They (like most people) used story to communicate reality.

[QUOTE=AndyF;468960]But what's your opinion then, of someone who does evil in the name of Jesus - the person completely believes - say one of the Crusaders or a person who bombs a clinic where abortions are done?  They truly believe in their savior with all their hearts - do they get to heaven?[/QUOTE]

It's unfortunately, very true that Christians have committed the acts of Molech in the Name of Christ. (I might add, though, that "the excesses and atrocities of organized religion have no bearing whatsoever on the existence of God, just as the threat of nuclear proliferation has no bearing on the question of whether E=mc2." (Roy Abraham Varghese, from the preface to Antony Flew's There Is A God)) The Crusades were wrong. Bombing abortion clinics is wrong. And I think, as a follower of Jesus Christ, it would be a grave sin for me to do either. But God alone is Judge and - Praise His Name! - I am not. He alone sees the heart. And He ALONE welcomes souls into His peace.
Now, having faith in Jesus isn't license for sin. 

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
"If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.
"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." Romans 6:1-14

After all, even the demons know there's only one God.

[QUOTE=AndyF;468960]
That's good.  Personally, I didn't care for them.   What do you think about that woman in Georgia who was trying to ban the book from public school libraries?[/QUOTE]

That's one way of selling books. I don't believe in banning books: 1. I majored in English in college. 2. It doesn't work. If you want people to stop reading a particular book, don't talk about it. 3. I'm not an ostrich. I don't believe in burying my head in the sand every time I feel threatened. I read the DaVinci Code when it came out (in one day actually), Woman With An Alabastor Jar, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, of Philip, of Mary, etc. I re-read Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. I read everything about Gnosticism and the Holy Grail I could get my hands on. And I'm pleased to say Dan Brown, Margaret Starbird and the like don't know what the heck they're talking about. They're looneys. They're books aren't even well-written.

[QUOTE=AndyF;468960]
But when you see the "God Warrior Lady" and the Jesus Camp kids marching in place wearing military camouflage, and the Westboro Baptist Church people, and televangelists saying 9/11 is because of gays and pagans, why doesn't anyone stand up and say "No, that's not right"?[/QUOTE]

We do.
Unfortunately, we don't have any cameras trained on us. The news is part of the entertainment industry. They're trying to get you to watch THEIR station, read THEIR newspaper. Which would you rather tune into? A sedate Christian baking golden-raisen scones or a wild-eye crazy wearing a placard reading, "THE END IS NEAR!"

[QUOTE=AndyF;469009]
I would consider wanting to install monuments of the 10 Commandments in government facilities an attempt to impose religion (most of the 10 commandments are not enforceable by law anyway - and not recognizing other deities is quite contrary to our rights of freedom of religion in this country.[/QUOTE]

Well, actually the Ten Commadments monument was there already. The issue wasn't someone setting it up, but someone wanting to tear it down. The other problem is the courthouses are often decorated with images of Minerva, Confucius and Hammurrabi. But we can't put up a symbol of Moses, even though the majority of Americans are Christian, Jewish and/or Muslim and, well, our laws are based on Mosaic Law?

[QUOTE=AndyF;469009]
I remember Huckabee was saying how he wanted the US Constitution to reflect Christian rules.[/QUOTE]

What exactly is the trouble with Christians wanting politicians to embrace a code of ethics?

[QUOTE=AndyF;469009]
I feel denying homosexuals the right to marry is also imposing...what other reason is there to deny it other than the Bible says it's wrong?[/QUOTE]

Point. But keep in mind, it's also EXACTLY the same reason polygamy and pedophilia are illegal in this country.

[QUOTE=AndyF;469009]
Wow.  It is really silly to think wearing a t-shirt was imposing.  I'd laugh if that wasn't so sad.[/QUOTE]

I laughed and said, "God bless you."
Peace of Christ!
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