Dominance, Control = Kingdom? .....NOT!
terraly, interesting thoughts. You too Just2laws, for that matter. Here you present a view of Christianity that has almost no guilt, fear, etc. But, it seems to me, that this view, while enlightened and well intentioned from a human standpoint, is not a reasonable view of the bible. You know the Bible? The book that gave you the concept of Christianity in the first place? I hate to say it, but Jehovahs Witnesses have a more reasonable view of the Bible than you do. I mean, if you aren't even going to try to take it at face value, why the hell even try to take it at all?
Oh believe me, I understand that if you loose 99% of the Bible, and key in on 95% of Jesus' words, your views make perfect sense. And don't get me wrong, I think there is a place for these views, as they are far more benign, far less dangerous to humanity, than more traditional views.
But Norm said a real mouthful when he said, "Being under the influence of superstition and old fairy tales is simply very oppressing to the mind although it might be very appealing to your emotions."
Is this perhaps Christianity Lite" - - 80% less dangerous than other major religions, with none of the guilt!
Boy, am I getting an education. My first post here was Is there no good in the WTBTS? I felt like a democrat at a republican political campaign. Now I find myself in a debate Is there no good in the Bible. But I’m relieved to find I’m not alone this time. Come to think of it I wasn’t alone last time.
Your comments were fair and reasonable and appreciated.
One more freedom I would like add to yours is freedom from oppressive religion. True, Christains have been oppressive, but not because Jesus taught them to be so. In fact the first century writings constantly warned us to avoid making rules nor allow ourselves to come under rules.
*** Rbi8 Galatians 5:18 ***
18 Furthermore, if YOU are being led by spirit, YOU are not under law.
*** Rbi8 Hebrews 5:14 ***
14 But solid food belongs to mature people, to those who through use have their perceptive powers trained to distinguish both right and wrong
*** Rbi8 Galatians 5:1 ***
5 For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery.
True, Paul was talking mostly about the laws of the Hebrew Scritptures, but if those laws were not to be imposed, what religious laws could legitimately replace them? NONE.
Norm makes the point that this freedom is an ‘Obey or Die’ kind of freedom. But are we not all dying anyway? And what does he want us to obey? JUST TWO LAWS. I find this liberating.
Well, SixofNine, you have a very valid point.
Let me explain my view of the Bible. Since it never claims to be directly the word of God or inerrant, I don't make that assumption about it. I approach it like I might approach any book- for instance, Crisis of Conscience. Who's writing this, what do they know, how reliable can I estimate their sources to be?
I think I do take the Bible literally at face value (the first part as a bunch of myths written by a bunch of crazy desert nomads, and the second part as a collection of writings intended to support the fledgling church). It is only that in our culture- "face value" of the Bible implies approaching it as the indisputable word-o'-God.
Looking at it this way is subjective, it means that every has to consider the Bible for themselves and try to discern the truth from a lot of chaff. This may not end up in perfect WT unity, but I think we'll all survive that.
The WT approach, which you say is more reasonable, is to try to take all the contradictions, all the bigoted opinions, all the stories of a vengeful God written by a people who's culture centered around a hard, uncertain life: to take all this, and, in the words of Geoff "sum it and divide by two" (I hope I'm not misquoting him). Sure, this is valid if every word carries equal weight, but I don't think it does.
I read the Bible and I see a lot of creation myths in the OT, and a bunch of crazy prophets who thought God was talking to them (and who am I to say whether he was or not), and I see this Jesus character saying a lot of good things, and then I see mainly Paul explaining to us all what Jesus "really meant". Well, what Jesus says makes sense to me. He seems like a pretty decent, intelligent guy- the sort of guy who's life style I might want to imitate, and the sort of guy who doesn't seem dangerously delusional.
There's still "problems"- things Jesus says that I am unhappy with. I don't know what to do with some of them- but Jesus was just this guy right? I mean, that's part of the point, that he was perfectly human. If a fig tree didn't give me figs I'd curse it too. I can relate to that- he's not so holy*. Other of his statements about Gentiles and dogs, that sort of thing...
I'm aware of how much later the Gospels were written, how not everything attributed to Jesus is a direct quote, how the people writing the Gospels have their own ideas about how the world really works and they put that story in too (like Mark and all his demons).
Do I pick and choose? Somewhat... but you will admit that it's only about 5% of Jesus' words that are so bad. Basically, I think his fairly revolutionary ideas came through ok, with a little variation added on both ends by hard-core writers and also soft-bleeding-heart writers...
Why try to get something out of the Bible? I think there's something there. I also think there's something to choosing the "enlightened" parts of the Bible.
I'm not going to worship a God that's not worthy of being served (like the WT Jehovah). I limit my search for God to the sort of God I would want to serve- because frankly, if the WT Jehovah exists, I want to remain in a state of rebellion, thank you all the same. And I think I found something underneath it all, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see...
Jst2laws: I agree, freedom from oppressive religion is one important thing, but historically, I fear it's not a great selling point for Christianity :)