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1 year ago  ::  Dec 21, 2012 - 11:18PM #1
Keyfer
Posts: 2,386

IMO, God is love and His commandments are that we love Him and each other. The first step to loving others is to stop doing evil to others, hence the “thou shalt nots”. 



Matthew 22:37-40


37  Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’


38  This is the first and great commandment.


39  A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’


40  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”



If God is love, He loves every one, not just some. He loves each of us because of who He is, not because of who we are. I believe that false doctrine is born when we alter the simple rule of trusting and obeying God to prepare ourselves for eternal life in heaven. IOW, repent and believe as Jesus said:




Mark 1:14-15


14   ...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God,


15  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.”



When I was a child, I was taught that God loves us, that I should pray to God and be good so I could go to heaven. When I started going to church, I was taught doctrines that were complicated and ambiguous. The general theme of these doctrines was how to receive eternal life (get saved) without having to repent. I changed churches several times in my search for a comfortable church home. Now I am 65 yrs. old and have come full circle. My faith consists of these ideas, God loves us, pray to Him with the intent to know Him and develop a relationship with Him, cease from evil and do good. Maybe my return to my childlike faith is what Jesus meant when He said,



Luke 18:16-17


16  Jesus summoned them, saying, “Allow the little children to come to me, and don’t hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.


17  Most certainly, I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”



Since my present faith can be basically boiled down to living the golden rule, I was excited about what I heard in Karen Armstrong’s TED talk 2008 “Charter of Compassion” based on the golden rule.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJMm4RAwVLo

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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 10:43AM #2
Want to know
Posts: 1,668

Thanks Keyfer. Karen Armstrong was on "Back to the beginning" last night. This was a documentary by Christine Amanpour on ABC. This is worth watching also. If you missed it you might can google it and see it. I really like listening to Armstrong and Amanpour's documentary was very informative.

"Now we see as through a glass, darkly but then face to face:  now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known."  I Corinthians 13:12
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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 1:14PM #3
TemplarS
Posts: 6,241

Keyfer, I think you have got it right.


I do not agree with those who think works can be separated from faith (neither, for that matter, do I see Jesus as teaching this). 


I see Jesus as teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a matter of being saved in the next life, it is being close to God in this life.


It is a Gospel of unconditional love and hope; but it is not a Gospel which requires nothing from us but intellectual assent.


The message of Jesus is quite simple.  There are many layers which have been added to the Gospel, both by early Christians/Catholics/Orthodox (Trinitarian and Marian theologies, e.g.) and the Reformers (faith alone, scripture alone); some of these are I think outright wrong, others are correct, but need to be used only as spiritual aids or practices in getting closer to God and Jesus, not as primary tools of salvation.


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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 2:12PM #4
Jenandew7
Posts: 12,295

I am intrigued by the charter myself.  I think it needs to be powerfully stated against false religion that which preaches separation (hatred/prejudice against the enemy defined merely by being of a different group).  I am intrigued at her suggestion that it should be posted in places of worship.  She points to the Golden Rule and I suppose she does this because it is more recognizeable across religions. 


I also found it interesting that she mentioned that we need to work toward guiding people in how to interpret our sacred scriptures against those who use them to excuse harm to others.  I am not sure how we could proceed because here on these boards I see so much stubborness.  I keep pointing out that we have enmity toward God (and thus the message), both James and Paul do identify it.  I always point to the summary of the Law, the Great Commandment and the Second and I am stymied that Christians will put the 615th Law over it and think they are doing God's will if they hate/oppress/reject/browbeat someone they think is sinning as though our religion is a purity cult. This is the problem I see:  that mankind turns his religion to serve his own prejudices and his desires rather than grasping the glory of God that is within our capacity through faith--a much greater reward that we are cheating ourselves and others in our peripheral out of.  So, one way or another, all religions will deteriorate, spiral downward, unless we somehow focus on this discerning standard, the Golden Rule or the Summary of the Law. All along I have despared because we do not keep our priorities clear.  Half the arguments on these boards could not be perpetrated against God if this one line could not be crossed by anyone who claims Christ.


Annie




If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. --Isaiah 58:10
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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 7:43PM #5
Keyfer
Posts: 2,386

Dec 22, 2012 -- 10:43AM, Want to know wrote:


Thanks Keyfer. Karen Armstrong was on "Back to the beginning" last night. This was a documentary by Christine Amanpour on ABC. This is worth watching also. If you missed it you might can google it and see it. I really like listening to Armstrong and Amanpour's documentary was very informative.




Thanks. If you find a link please share it with me. I did a search but came up with nothing.  

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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 7:49PM #6
Keyfer
Posts: 2,386

Dec 22, 2012 -- 1:14PM, TemplarS wrote:


Keyfer, I think you have got it right.


I do not agree with those who think works can be separated from faith (neither, for that matter, do I see Jesus as teaching this). 


I see Jesus as teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is not just a matter of being saved in the next life, it is being close to God in this life.


It is a Gospel of unconditional love and hope; but it is not a Gospel which requires nothing from us but intellectual assent.


The message of Jesus is quite simple.  There are many layers which have been added to the Gospel, both by early Christians/Catholics/Orthodox (Trinitarian and Marian theologies, e.g.) and the Reformers (faith alone, scripture alone); some of these are I think outright wrong, others are correct, but need to be used only as spiritual aids or practices in getting closer to God and Jesus, not as primary tools of salvation.





Thanks for your response, Templar. It seems that we agree that we have a role to play in our spirituality.   :)

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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 7:59PM #7
Keyfer
Posts: 2,386

Dec 22, 2012 -- 2:12PM, Jenandew7 wrote:


I am intrigued by the charter myself.  I think it needs to be powerfully stated against false religion that which preaches separation (hatred/prejudice against the enemy defined merely by being of a different group).  I am intrigued at her suggestion that it should be posted in places of worship.  She points to the Golden Rule and I suppose she does this because it is more recognizeable across religions. 


I also found it interesting that she mentioned that we need to work toward guiding people in how to interpret our sacred scriptures against those who use them to excuse harm to others.  I am not sure how we could proceed because here on these boards I see so much stubborness. 


Yes. I remember her saying that we need to find a compassionate interpretation for the rebarbative passages of scripture which are used to justify malice, I agree. I think that it is clear that God is good and we are not and that the questionable passages should be considered in that light. Of course, each must be allowed his/her freedom to choose what to believe and how to live. We can only control ourselves.


I keep pointing out that we have enmity toward God (and thus the message), both James and Paul do identify it.  I always point to the summary of the Law, the Great Commandment and the Second and I am stymied that Christians will put the 615th Law over it and think they are doing God's will if they hate/oppress/reject/browbeat someone they think is sinning as though our religion is a purity cult. This is the problem I see:  that mankind turns his religion to serve his own prejudices and his desires rather than grasping the glory of God that is within our capacity through faith--a much greater reward that we are cheating ourselves and others in our peripheral out of.  So, one way or another, all religions will deteriorate, spiral downward, unless we somehow focus on this discerning standard, the Golden Rule or the Summary of the Law. All along I have despared because we do not keep our priorities clear.  Half the arguments on these boards could not be perpetrated against God if this one line could not be crossed by anyone who claims Christ.


Annie



I agree, Annie.





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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 9:36PM #8
Hatman
Posts: 9,634
i think that the Golden Rule("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", or conversely, "Do NOT do unto others what you would NOT have them do unto you") based in love, is a perfect rule, even law.

However, this Rule is a double-edged sword.

If, for example, i refuse to forcefully intervene to stop someone committing a rape, have i loved my neighbor as myself?

If i do not attempt to use force to disarm someone shooting down others because it would be "unkind" or "unloving", have i really been true to the Golden Rule?

If i keep silent, hold my peace while knowing about an authority figure engaged in sexual molestation because "it would hurt his/her career, and i wouldn't want that done to me", have i hewn closely to Christ's commands?

Warmest regards-

Hatman
"History records that the moneychangers have used every form of abuse, deceit, intrigue, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance."
-- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
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1 year ago  ::  Dec 22, 2012 - 10:03PM #9
TemplarS
Posts: 6,241

Well, Hatman, general precepts always need to be applied to real world situations, and this can lead to disagreements and grey areas.  


I don't think the cases you mention are all that difficult to deal with.  But you then have cases of "tough love", where to benefit a person you must go against what they themselves seem to want to do, even if they are hurting nobody but themselves.  It can get complicated in practice.

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1 year ago  ::  Dec 23, 2012 - 7:23AM #10
Keyfer
Posts: 2,386

I had been reading in Swedenborg that at one time, our ancestors considered love to be the only faith. IOW, if a person was loving toward others, they were living life as God (Who is life) does and as we were created to. I am reminded of the statement that Jesus made, “...the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve...(Mark 10:45). As we declined spiritually, faith became the “new love”, iow, we moved from actually loving others to giving mental assent that we should love others. K. Armstrong, in her TED talk, said that to believe something began to be intellectual in the 17th century, prior to that, to believe something meant to love it, to hold it dear, to prize it. 



IMO, Swedenborg says that if one is not loving, God has to reach him through truth which is meant to lead one to love. If truth does not lead one to love, then that truth is not really truth. Real truth is a living thing because it is united with love, truth apart from love is not alive.

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