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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 1:55PM #51
Anesis
Posts: 1,543
“This is true, but I'm curious what it is that makes one belief...more authentic (?)...than any other.”
   
  This is a very good question and has brought me to really think back to when I heard that little voice. What made me turn to Jesus rather than Buddha, or some other ‘deity’? The message I got was about Jesus Christ, and the message was the joining of a handful of verses which were brought together to form a couple of concepts that are completely biblical. I think what makes my beliefs authentic for me is that the Bible is true to itself. Although books and parts of books were written from different perspectives, for different purposes, and to different recipients, the Bible is without error. It was written over 1500 years and has about 40 authors, and is completely cohesive. This kind of cohesion would not be possible without the inspiration and hand of God. History is also proving biblical validity through the sciences, such as archeology and psychology; it is not just because ‘tradition says so.’
   
  “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.”
   
  I’ve known people who have other ‘religion’ – I don’t know what they called themselves, but they had very specific rules about what ritual to perform and under what circumstances, and it all seemed very methodical, even to them. They, too, did not claim their gods were all-powerful or all-knowing, but that is a claim that Christians make with confidence. Why? Because he is. Our God is above all other gods. We choose to place him at his rightful place as number one God. One of the commandments says to place no other gods before God. He acknowledges that there are other gods in this statement, as anything can become a god – a workaholic’s god might be productivity or money, for example. But God is above that. He is God and is above all other gods, but we have to choose to put him in his rightful place in our hearts and lives.
   
  God is also very personal. Many children have ‘invisible friends’ – well, God is our ‘invisible friend’. That is not to say we are a bunch of mentally under developed overgrown children! But it is the same idea. Where our childhood invisible friend ceased to exist for us, real friends took their place. For believers, it is the other way around. Jesus existed as a man, and now he (God) is spirit, so he became our invisible friend from a flesh and blood friend. Either way, he is still our friend and it is through him that we can have a very intimate relationship with the Father. It is very personal indeed!
   
  “it was meant to just be a metaphor.”
   
  I know it was a metaphor, and no, it didn’t sound cold. I was following suit, in that I desire that my God becomes more real to you than a metaphor. My prayer is that you experience his love, power, grace, etc, which is something you will never get from an ambiguous metaphor.
   
  You know, I have trouble with some biblical stories as well. For example, Onan in Genesis 38 was to lie with his brother’s widow, so she would have a child, but because Onan disobeyed and took preventive measures, God “put him to death.” I don’t get it! That seems unreasonable to me. A severe punishment for not impregnating his brother’s wife! But I have come to accept that I do not have to understand everything, as God’s understanding is way higher than my own finite mind can understand. His ways are not my ways – His are better because they are holy, and I simply take that at face value. I don’t like it, but I don’t have to like it. All I have to do is accept that God knows what he is doing, and when I look at the Bible as a big picture, I see that he certainly knows what he is doing, even in matters that make no sense to me. He provided Jesus as atonement, and that was the plan from the start.
   
  “I'd be willing to meet Him halfway”
   
 
I’m sure he’s happy to hear that!  :)
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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 1:55PM #52
Anesis
Posts: 1,543
It seems to me that one of the problems with Christians of many kinds have is that they (we) expect everyone to live to and abide by biblical standards. That is an unrealistic expectation, and one that I have had to fight against. A very dear pastor of mine confronted me on an incident when I was a landlord. I had a tenant who smoked pot in the house, and the smoke from it would come to the main floor, where my son and I were exposed to it. I expressed my frustration to my landlord and told him I didn’t want any drugs of any kind on my property. My pastor asked if the tenant was a Christian, and I said I didn’t know. He then gently asked me why I would judge a non-believer to Christian principles. He explained that people who are non-believers are not accountable to Christian principles, but if he were a Christian, then I could confront him on it. As it turned out, I told the tenant to smoke it outside, as I had a very young child at the time, and he did so. That conversation with my pastor was one of many, which showed me what the Christian attitude toward the non-believer should be, and it is one thing I have been deliberately working to change. I do not want to judge the world according to the standards of a God they do not know. I think this is one of the reasons so many non-believers do not feel comfortable with the Christian God – we are a very judgmental people, although some of us deeply desire not to be.
   
  So when you talk about the law and about public figures, imho, there is nothing wrong with having something like the ten commandments on the wall, as the principles from it are some of the principles which America was founded on. They should be there alongside British constitution and other historically significant contributors to US law and constitution, but should not be given a prominent place.
   
  Even some of the things that are argued about in schools, such as taking away the Lord’s Prayer – why not have a silent prayer time, and for those who do not pray, perhaps they could use the time as silent reflection rather than for anything spiritual? It is hard to find a balance that would suit everyone’s needs. If you take prayer right out, the needs of the spiritual are not met and if you leave it in, it offends the non-spiritual. But there are always solutions, and believers and non-believers can respectfully co-exist.
   
  It is a shame to the testimony of Christ that some of his followers have become so radical that they forget about what true evangelism is, and thereby turn people away. I can be passionate for Jesus and spreading the gospel without becoming disrespectful about the person’s right to say ‘no, thank you.”
   
  Just as we believers contribute to turning people away from our faith, the non-believer is also guilty, in that they see those radicals and extremists, and then attribute those kinds of behaviors to all fundamentalists, or all evangelicals, or (pick your persuasion). They stereotype us based on the few who get their attention, and do not recognize that just as there are good and bad people in every other race and religion, there are good and bad in ours as well. It is the few who spoil it for the many, and that is a shame. So both sides contribute to the reputation of any given group. Stereotyping is a form of prejudice, and should be stopped!
   
  I think imposing our religion is not necessarily an accurate use of terminology; rather, we are trying to keep what we have always had, which is the right to practice and share our faith without the prejudice. When it comes to the constitution, reflecting Christian values is not necessarily imposing them. Besides, if you can name a better thing for the constitution to reflect, then I’d like to know what it is. Reflecting Christian values is a lot different than imposing Christian rules. After all, as I said earlier, Christian ‘rules’ are only for those of us who willingly choose to submit to them.
An
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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 3:55PM #53
AndyF
Posts: 375

TalithaKuom wrote:

Shalom Aleichem!

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?



But Osiris's stories were recorded back in 2400BC and AFTER his cult was well established.  Does that not imply that Osiris's stories pre-date the Christian version?

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.



I'm not sure what you mean by that.  The legends of so many deities are traced to specific times and places.

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.



Again, I don't take these myths to be true.  But from an anthropology standpoint, myths and legends are altered and expanded upon regularly to fit the times and the needs of the people.   We see the phenomena even today in movies.

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.



I'm confused.  I would be surprised if there were not parallels.  Which anthropologists are you referring to? 

It's unfortunately, very true that Christians have committed the acts of Molech in the Name of Christ.  ... 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.



That doesn't exactly answer my question.  If faith alone gets one into heaven, and these people had so much faith they were willing to kill for it do they still get in?  If so, then I can't see the the justice and love your God is supposed to have.  If not, then there must be more than faith to get in right?

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.



I would agree. I didn't care for the books either, but there were boycotts and complaints about these books.  If they didn't want to read the books and see the movies, then they didn't have to.  But they tried to impose their beliefs on others (when we're supposed to have the choice) by trying to ensure no one else could see the movies or read the books either.

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!"



I like scones ;).


Well, actually the Ten Commadments monument was there already. The issue wasn't someone setting it up, but someone wanting to tear it down.



I've seen several stories recently about trying to add the 10 commandments. I can find the stories if you like.

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?



But our laws are based in part on Hammurrabi's laws.  However, I can understand your case. 

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



Depends, the Christian code of ethics frowns on acknowledging other deities.  Would it become illegal to do so?  If the code was exclusively Christian in nature, would it not become a theocracy?

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



I don't think I follow that.

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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 4:44PM #54
AndyF
Posts: 375

Anesis wrote:

It seems to me that one of the problems with Christians of many kinds have is that they (we) expect everyone to live to and abide by biblical standards.



That's an interested account about the pot smoker.  I think you certainly should have confronted him about it regardless of religion.  That type of activity is just illegal.  You probably could have gotten in trouble if he was caught for not reporting him.

So when you talk about the law and about public figures, imho, there is nothing wrong with having something like the ten commandments on the wall, as the principles from it are some of the principles which America was founded on. They should be there alongside British constitution and other historically significant contributors to US law and constitution, but should not be given a prominent place.



That could be a debate for another thread.  I'm not sure how much of our currently laws come from the 10 commandments given that less than half are actually enforced by the law. 
   

Even some of the things that are argued about in schools, such as taking away the Lord’s Prayer – why not have a silent prayer time, and for those who do not pray, perhaps they could use the time as silent reflection rather than for anything spiritual? It is hard to find a balance that would suit everyone’s needs. If you take prayer right out, the needs of the spiritual are not met and if you leave it in, it offends the non-spiritual. But there are always solutions, and believers and non-believers can respectfully co-exist.



I think the response we usually give is that why does there need to an official time for prayer at all?  How can the student's spiritual needs not be met when they are free to pray any time they want in public school (in between classes, during lunch, silently during class...).  I understand it seems like Christianity is being singled out when they are told they can no longer do things.  I suspect half of the response is that they shouldn't have had those privileges in the first  place (no one should).  The other half are saying, if they can have it, then so should we.

For prayers at town council meetings, if the name of a particular god is invoked, then will it still be allowed to invoke the names of other gods?  Would you be OK if a Satanist or NeoPagan wanted to offer the prayer?  (There was a case recently where a Buddhist offered a prayer and was shouted down by a family of Christians).  Instead of dealing with all of that, maybe it would just be better to say no one can do it.
   

Just as we believers contribute to turning people away from our faith, the non-believer is also guilty, in that they see those radicals and extremists, and then attribute those kinds of behaviors to all fundamentalists, or all evangelicals, or (pick your persuasion). They stereotype us based on the few who get their attention, and do not recognize that just as there are good and bad people in every other race and religion, there are good and bad in ours as well.



Yes, I hear the stereotypes about Christians a lot - and this is why I appreciate a candid, respectful conversation.

I think imposing our religion is not necessarily an accurate use of terminology; rather, we are trying to keep what we have always had, which is the right to practice and share our faith without the prejudice. When it comes to the constitution, reflecting Christian values is not necessarily imposing them. Besides, if you can name a better thing for the constitution to reflect, then I’d like to know what it is. Reflecting Christian values is a lot different than imposing Christian rules. After all, as I said earlier, Christian ‘rules’ are only for those of us who willingly choose to submit to them.
An



I agree there is a difference between reflection and imposing.  I think "Christian values" is an over used and very ambiguous phrase.  Is there more to it than what we hear in the culture wars (gay marriage, abortion, public school prayer, evolution)?

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10 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 10:28PM #55
AndyF
Posts: 375

Anesis wrote:

“This is true, but I'm curious what it is that makes one belief...more authentic (?)...than any other.”
   
Although books and parts of books were written from different perspectives, for different purposes, and to different recipients, the Bible is without error. It was written over 1500 years and has about 40 authors, and is completely cohesive. This kind of cohesion would not be possible without the inspiration and hand of God. History is also proving biblical validity through the sciences, such as archeology and psychology; it is not just because ‘tradition says so.’



There are many people who would argue with that.  I want to avoid that debate here, but what is it like when people tell you that there are all sorts of errors or problems in the Bible - contradictory accounts, as well as a lack of evidence for described events (such as the Flood).  I'm guessing it's frustrating, but is it something that you would research more?
   

I’ve known people who have other ‘religion’ – I don’t know what they called themselves, but they had very specific rules about what ritual to perform and under what circumstances, and it all seemed very methodical, even to them.



Yes I suppose there are many like that.  Some prefer a lot of structure.  I personally keep a ritual light hearted and free flowing.  I went to a public ritual once led by an Asatru and a Gardnarian Wiccan.  They both wanted to include specific ritual elements from their traditions and the whole thing lasted 5 hours.  What a nightmare.

God is also very personal. Many children have ‘invisible friends’ – well, God is our ‘invisible friend’. That is not to say we are a bunch of mentally under developed overgrown children! But it is the same idea.



I would say that is how I feel about my deities.  They are more like friends or allies than parent figures.  I wouldn't say I worship them - more like honor them.

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10 years ago  ::  May 04, 2008 - 7:49PM #56
birwin4
Posts: 688
[QUOTE=AndyF;471470]There are many people who would argue with that.  I want to avoid that debate here, but what is it like when people tell you that there are all sorts of errors or problems in the Bible - contradictory accounts, as well as a lack of evidence for described events (such as the Flood).  I'm guessing it's frustrating, but is it something that you would research more?
   
If we take the Bible to be the whole of truth then obviously we get into the difficulties you describe. If, on the other hand, we see the bible as a text which progrssively shows us what God expects of us then the issues of whether the flood was universal or local or the age of the earth etc are not the focus. To me the Bible is not a book of science but a book about the sort of life God wants from me. If I want answers about science I go to science as the Bible tells me to:'The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows his handiwork' (Psalms). I see Science and the Bible as complementary and not in opposition. I do not use the Bible as a source of all truth. All truth is God's truth wherever it is found.
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10 years ago  ::  May 04, 2008 - 7:49PM #57
birwin4
Posts: 688
[QUOTE=AndyF;471470]There are many people who would argue with that.  I want to avoid that debate here, but what is it like when people tell you that there are all sorts of errors or problems in the Bible - contradictory accounts, as well as a lack of evidence for described events (such as the Flood).  I'm guessing it's frustrating, but is it something that you would research more?
   
If we take the Bible to be the whole of truth then obviously we get into the difficulties you describe. If, on the other hand, we see the bible as a text which progrssively shows us what God expects of us then the issues of whether the flood was universal or local or the age of the earth etc are not the focus. To me the Bible is not a book of science but a book about the sort of life God wants from me. If I want answers about science I go to science as the Bible tells me to:'The heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows his handiwork' (Psalms). I see Science and the Bible as complementary and not in opposition. I do not use the Bible as a source of all truth. All truth is God's truth wherever it is found.
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10 years ago  ::  May 07, 2008 - 8:37AM #58
AndyF
Posts: 375

birwin4 wrote:

AndyF wrote:

TI see Science and the Bible as complementary and not in opposition. I do not use the Bible as a source of all truth. All truth is God's truth wherever it is found.



Sounds good to me.
Do you think there are spiritual truths that are not contained in the Bible (found in other sources)?

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10 years ago  ::  May 07, 2008 - 2:22PM #59
TalithaKuom
Posts: 556
Shalom Aleichem!

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]But Osiris's stories were recorded back in 2400BC and AFTER his cult was well established.  Does that not imply that Osiris's stories pre-date the Christian version?[/QUOTE]

The Osiris myth isn't a perfect parallel. Osiris rose temporarily and then descended into the grave. Neither he nor the citizens of the Field of Reeds may return to the land of the living. This is only a dim reflection of what Christ has done for us.

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
I'm not sure what you mean by that.  The legends of so many deities are traced to specific times and places.[/QUOTE]

Example?

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
Again, I don't take these myths to be true.  But from an anthropology standpoint, myths and legends are altered and expanded upon regularly to fit the times and the needs of the people.   We see the phenomena even today in movies.[/QUOTE]

Whereas Jesus' Resurrection was historical. It ACTUALLY happened.
No, I didn't expect you to take the myths literally. I'm trying to demonstrate the problems with the comparison. I'll get back to you on the anthropologists' and mythographers' names. Not having a head for names, I'll have to make a library run.

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
That doesn't exactly answer my question.  If faith alone gets one into heaven, and these people had so much faith they were willing to kill for it do they still get in?[/QUOTE]

Jesus said,

“’Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but  the one who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.”’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

God isn't pleased by the death of any. Why should He be? I would argue that anyone who kills another human being, created in God's image, in Christ's Name or any others', doesn't know the Living God.
But that isn't my call. What value is there is meditating on the state of another's soul? We're blind; we don't see clearly enough to judge. Which is why God - and not I - is Judge.

"'Child,' said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.'" (C.S. Lewis, The Horse And His Boy)

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
  If so, then I can't see the the justice and love your God is supposed to have.  If not, then there must be more than faith to get in right?[/QUOTE]

You seem to imply that 1. faith is the MEANS of salvation and 2. that we're saved by faith to the exclusion of works.
There is nothing we can do to attain salvation for ourselves. We simply don't deserve it. But God holds out His hands to us, offering us the fullness of His grace and mercy, free of charge, if we'd only say "Yes." Were not saved because we have faith; we have faith because we have been saved.
Faith is not merely thinking the right thoughts about God. Satan knows about God; he's seen Him. And it's more than placing your butt in a pew on Sunday. Faith is radical trust in the Creator. Faith overflows into works. Once you've been saved, you naturally want to please God. As I've already stated, the most natural and appropriate response to love is LOVE.

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
Depends, the Christian code of ethics frowns on acknowledging other deities.  Would it become illegal to do so?  If the code was exclusively Christian in nature, would it not become a theocracy?[/QUOTE]

I shouldn't have to point out that pagans burned Christians at the stake for refusing to acknowledge other deities.
No one wants a theocracy. Personally, I think the mere mention of one is a scare tactic, a weapon of mass destraction. You don't have to deal with the issues if you cry "Theocracy!" Christians ethics does NOT translate into Shari'a law.
About a century ago, a certain Lord Melbourne said, "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of public life." He was referring to a young parliementarian (an "Enthuist", what we'd today call an Evangelical) who actively sought to change British laws to conform to Christian morals. Lord Melbourne saw this as a dangerous business. The name of this parliementarian? Wlliam Wilberforce You see, Melbourne and others didn't have any problem with Abolitionists, as long as they didn't try to infringe on others' rights to own slaves.
Fifty years ago, a Southern Baptist minister tried to force the US government to enact some of his religious beliefs into laws. He justified his political beliefs with the Scripture, particularly favoring the Old Testament. His name was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today, I'm glad that Wilberforce and King succeeded in "imposing" their religious opinions on a slave-owning and segregated world.

[QUOTE=AndyF;470676]
I don't think I follow that.[/QUOTE]

You charge that conservatives are ONLY opposed to homosexual marriage because the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are wrong. (Orientation, being a modern concept, is not addressed in ANY ancient text, including the Bible.) I, being a political moderate (in Massachusetts, no less), don’t believe this is true. There are a great ,many things at stake. Not least of which is that, well, we never got to vote on it. Four UNELECTED officials legalized same-sex marriage. The State legislature said we'd vote on it in 2006; it wasn't on the ballot. And last year they told us that we didn't have to because they knew the people would vote in favor of it.
And don't know about you, but this Massachusetts Republican doesn't appreciate being told what I think.
Anywhoo, Christians condemn homosexual behavior. We also condemn pedophilia and polygamy. (Pedophilia, if you recall, was not only legal in the ancient Greco-Roman world, it was encouraged.) If fact, Judeo-Christian disapproval is the only reason pedophilia and polygamy are illegal in this country and not in others.
Peace of Christ!
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10 years ago  ::  May 07, 2008 - 5:35PM #60
Anesis
Posts: 1,543
“That type of activity is just illegal. You probably could have gotten in trouble if he was caught for not reporting him.”
   
  I knew the residential laws. The only thing I would be guilty of is if he was growing, and he was not. It is not illegal to smoke pot in some cases where I live, and it is not up to me to judge whether his was recreational use or approved use. It is out of the scope of a landlord to ask that kind of information. I did what I was ‘allowed’ to do, which is ask him to do it outside so the smoke did not permeate the whole house.
   
  “I'm not sure how much of our currently laws come from the 10 commandments”
   
  Nor am I. I am not American. However, the original law given to Moses (the big 10), has some foundational principles that today’s laws (and morals) are founded on. For example, murder is against the law. Bearing false witness (perjury), stealing, and even divorce law until recently was founded on the biblical principle of fidelity.
   
  “Would you be OK if a Satanist or NeoPagan wanted to offer the prayer?”
   
  This is why I think it would be good if it were silent prayer. In this way, each individual would have the right to invoke any god they want, without prejudice.
   
  “I think "Christian values" is an over used and very ambiguous phrase.”
   
  For the sake of clarity, I think any value that is biblical is a ‘biblical value’ whether it is or is not also a value for those of the secular persuasion. For example, if a non-Christian values fidelity, that does not make it any less biblical, as the bible speaks about the value of fidelity. In other words, it can be both, but doesn’t have to be both. So to me, for the constitution to reflect biblical values is actually a good thing, as I believe it speaks to praiseworthy values. For example, life is a good value to reflect, and is indeed reflected in the stance against euthanasia; however, since we should not impose our rules, we should encourage women not to abort, but also allow it under certain circumstances and as a last resort (in other words, women who use it for a method of birth control and go in every 6 months for one should be questioned). This way, valuing life can be reflected in the constitution, but Americans would not be bound to those values as in law.
   
  I am becoming a social worker, and my values must reflect those of the profession. This is my biggest challenge, as some of those values is contrary to my Christian values, but I have to remember that those who do not claim to be Christian, are not obligated to share my values.
   
  “what is it like when people tell you that there are all sorts of errors or problems in the Bible - contradictory accounts, as well as a lack of evidence for described events (such as the Flood)”
   
  For me, when people point out their ideas of contradictions, I often have to remind myself that they are reading with preconceived notions and are even sometimes determined to prove the Bible inaccurate. However, if they would really research it, take it into context and understand culture and language of the time it was written, they would realize that the Bible never contradicts itself. Nor does it contradict science; rather, there are simply things that science has not been able to yet explain, and there are things we do not yet understand about the Bible (such as Revelation). I think the biggest thing is that we all have our mental constructs with which we filter and interpret new information, and we also have a sub-conscious, innate defense to protect those constructs. Those constructs are made up of the very factors that make us unique, the part of us that is most resistant to change, and we will look for anything to protect them, even half-truths or non-truths, when the truth is right before us.
   
  “They both wanted to include specific ritual elements from their traditions and the whole thing lasted 5 hours.”
   
  I am not putting other faith persuasions down, but this sounds like a Roman Catholic wedding I attended years ago – it lasted nearly 3 hours!
   
  You say you honor rather than worship your deities. I think my relationship with my God is different in that you do not believe that your deities are all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-mighty, holy, righteous, everlasting to everlasting, which is what I believe of my God. I believe in the Trinity, too, which is Father, Son, and Spirit, so I do see God as my Father, but I also see God (Jesus) as my friend and co-heir – even though Jesus will reign, I will also inherit the Kingdom. The Spirit is the one who guides me, speaks to me, and my body is a temple for him; he transforms my heart and mind as I ‘work out’ my salvation.
   
  You also were asking Birwin about the Bible as the source of truth. The Bible is fully true, but it does not encompass all truth – for example, I’m not sure the Bible mentions the truth of gravity or the speed of light, but whatever is in the Bible is surely true. But we must be careful to read it with the writer’s perspective, culture, era, language…..
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