Narkissos: I am inclined to agree with you about the idea of Christianity having, very early on, split into various factions. You refer to the various schisms 'condemning' eachother. I wonder how this disunity and antagonism fits in with the claim that Christianity is originated and sustained by god, who is described as "not the author of confusion" ( 1 Cor 14:33 )? I wonder how it fits in with Jesus' prayer that his followers would all "be ONE"? ( John 17:21 ) Could Christianity be just another man-made religion?
"Turned aside after Satan."?
I am inclined to agree with you about the idea of Christianity having, very early on, split into various factions.
I'm not even sure that "split" is the right word, as it implies one origin. The "Christian" identity (in its diverse interpretations) may as well have eventually emerged from a variety of loosely related movements within the nebula of 1st-century Judaism. James' movement, for instance, would have probably considered itself closer to the Essenes or even to the Pharisees than to Paul.
You refer to the various schisms 'condemning' eachother. I wonder how this disunity and antagonism fits in with the claim that Christianity is originated and sustained by god, who is described as "not the author of confusion" ( 1 Cor 14:33 )? I wonder how it fits in with Jesus' prayer that his followers would all "be ONE"? ( John 17:21 )
LOL. Calling for unity is a must for any faction leader.
Could Christianity be just another man-made religion?
If you get used to it, you might be able to find some good in Christianity after all.
jgnat: The trouble is the 'varied landscape' of Christianity brings alot of misery to many ( but not all ) of those who embrace it. We all know of the trauma that many ( but not all ) of JWs have experienced with that particular brand of Christianity, and the same is true of the other forms of Christianity. I've looked at some of the many message boards for ex-Christians, and the testimonies are just as hair-raising as the testimonies on JWD.
For example: "They promise you "joy unspeakable and full of glory" - it doesn't happen...the whole thing is a sham."
"I spent less than 10 years of my life as a born again Christian. I am angry at myself for succumbing to such ignorance."
"It is the testimonies of those of us that have walked away from the insanity that should be shouted from the rooftops."
"All the abuses and absurdities I witnessed in the Evangelical church."
"Deep disgust that I was naive enough to be bamboozled by religious nonsense for so long."
"I am furious that I was lied to for years."
"Stunned at how bitter and angry I am"
"I am supposed to be saved but I'm numb...I just want to breathe and the weight is crushing me."
"All of my abuse issues with Christianity."
"All the emotional and spiritual abuse I suffered."
"Sometimes it hurts all the time."
"Another part of me was always terrified that something bad would happen to me-that god would punish me."
"It represented prison."
"Chained and shackled."
"Could it get any worse?"
I could provide countless more quotes from people who have walked away from Christianity feeling extremely damaged and let down by it. Of course, as the saying goes: One man's meat is another man's poison." Just as there are many JWs who find the JW life just fine, so there are many Christians who find the Christian life just fine. What the above testimonies reveal though, is that Christianity is very damaging to many, many Christians. How ironic that that should be the case in a religion that is supposed to have god as its originator and backer.
Quite another topic...
Following on the "poison" analogy: many a medicine is poison -- many a poison is medicine. Generally, that which cannot harm cannot heal either.
Most of religion in modern context would call for disclaimers such as: if you don't need it, don't take it; and mind the doses.
I agree that religious "professionals" should think a lot more about that, and really wonder whether their special brand of religion is likely to be helpful, or harmful, to any given prospective disciple. A true "pastor" or "soul-shepherd" should really care, but it very rarely happens.
Scout, I looked up the scriptures you quoted. Here are some of the reasons...behind the scriptures...
"turned aside after Satan" ( 1 Tim 5:15 ), This one was talking about single women who were going from house to house, slandering and being busy bodies.. he was advising them to marry, if that's what they were doing.
as being like "the dog that is turned to his own vomit." ( 2 Peter 2:22 ), This one is talking about people who returned to the corruption of the world..
"enemies of the cross of Christ" ( Php 3:18 ), This one is refering to ones who have their mind on eartly things and their god is their stomach.
and as being "not of us" ( 1 John 2:19 ). This one is talking about ones that had come out from among them who was denying the son and therefore did not have the father, and he labled them the antichrist.
I think it's good understand the context, for is isn't just ones who had left christianity..except the last one....is one who had left christianity.
Star Moore: You imply that I hadn't considered the context in quoting the above Bible texts, and that those described at 1 Tim 5:15; Php 3:18 and 2 Peter 2:22 were still Christians. Please be assured that I did consider the context of those verses. Lets look at those texts again, one by one:
1 Tim 5:15: "Some are already turned aside after Satan." Were the people described by this verse really still Christians? Aren't Christians supposed to be 'turned aside after' Jesus, rather than Satan? Can someone still be called a Christian if they have "turned aside after Satan"?
Php 3:18: "They are the enemies of the cross of Christ." Verse 19 says of them: "Their end is destruction, whose god is their belly." Can someone still be regarded as a Christian if "they are an enemy of the cross of Christ."? If their "end is destruction"? If their god is their belly"?
2 Peter 2:22: "The dog is turned to his own vomit." The verse goes on to say: "And the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Can someone who is still a Christian be compared to a 'dog turning to his vomit'? Or a 'sow wallowing in the mire'?
Whilst it can't be said for certain whether the people described in the above verses had stopped going to Christian meetings, it is quite clear that they had abandoned Christianity 'in their hearts'. Many posters on JWD still go to the kingdom hall, but its clear from their comments that they have abandoned JWs 'in their hearts'.
Whilst, as you say, it is good to consider the context of Bible texts that are quoted, its quite clear that gospel writers had no such qualms. Consider Matthew 2:15. The writer quotes an extract from Hosea 11:1, saying: "Out of Egypt have I called my son." Despite the fact that the extract is written in the past tense: " HAVE I CALLED" rather than: WILL I CALL, Matthew applies it as a prophecy, claiming that it was fulfilled by Jesus. Looking at the context of Hosea 11:1, we notice that Hosea was referring to the Israelite exodus from Egypt, something that happened hundreds of years before Jesus was born. He certainly was not prophesying anything to do with Jesus. What a glaring case of quoting Scripture out of context.