You know Logan, I can't stay out of this any longer. Your question asking "where exactly is our sin nature, in our genes". Then you go on about evolution. Wow, this is very funny actually. Let me ask you a question, where is LOVE in our genome, or intellect, or "morality", or our "soul", etc. You see, those who hold to evolution, I find claim to have all the answers, however, they cannot answer the how or why questions answered by religion. If they could, we would not need religion. A "bootstrap" mentality may work for you, fine. But, as another so astutely put it, you too will die. There is nothing you can do to prevent it, no matter how much YOU try.....and the questions remain...why are we here, how do we "understand" or have "self awareness" while no other creatures do (and please don't tell me how a chimp can do sign language or cry or whatever, that does not cut it). P.S., sorry if this sounds harsh, it is not meant to be, however, it is to the point.
Christianity promotes a helpless victim mentality...
I agree with your statements. Organized religion, which mainly consist of various forms of Christiantity was created to control the masses.
To control people, you must make them feel inferior, so they seek your help, need the answers you offer. Do not also forget it is a basic human function to need answers to such questions as why are we here and what is our purpose in life.
It is possible to develop spirituality and explore belief in a higher power, to essentially wonder, "why we are here." without needing to "join" a religion. One doesn't need to "join" Buddaism, to adopt the beliefs and practices of zen, or to experience the rewards of meditation.
I personally think organized religion (Christianity) is a huge sham, scam. It's something "some" people use to validate their self-worth and ease their conscious, so they don't truly have to become responsibile citizens. (I believe at some point in their life, perhaps in moments before their death, they realize how they've done nothing except cheat themselves, but essentially that is okay too.) Let me interject something else here... I don't just believe someone when they tell me they're happy. In fact, I don't even think there is a way to happiness, rather happiness is the way.
That being said, I don't deny anyone the right to believe what they must. That is an amazing freedom we have been given and must be respected. I am curious though as to how one uses Christianity to develop a relationship with God, meaning how they've come to that decision for themselves. I would find it interesting just to hear about their process. I might agree, or disagree, but i think anything, and I mean ANYTHING, can be someones's path to truth and enlightenment. I think what is dangerous is when you shut down inside and stifle your eternal voice, that is always seeking to return from where it came. Like static electricity particles, that seek to return to it's source through the first conductor available (probably your doorknob) so that truth about nature, reflects a truth about us, as humans.
And one day we too, must all grab that big doorknob....
ps. ha ha, i hope my sarcasm reads appropriately. Anyway....
Excellent thread. I am a Christian. I am also an agnostic. I read the Bible the way I would any other fictional story. I find inspiration in the parts that mean something to me, the way I would respond to the an epic story, or the story of Prometheus, or even just a movie like "Braveheart," for example - or "A Bug's Life." I understand your statement that you are especially impugning "fundamentalist" Christianity, and I know you already understand that there can be much good found in Christian teaching. So although I'm not arguing with you, I merely wanted to point out how some of these "negative" perspectives on Christianity can just as easily be seen in a positive light, by others.
I'm going to be a man of few words here. Christianity, in it's truest, fundamentalist form, promotes an unhealthy and non-productive victim mentality."Christianity, in its truest, fundamentalist form" is an ambiguous, subjective phrase. It sounds like you meant truest "fundamental" form, which is probably why even non-fundamentalist were moved to make a declaration of faith.
The Christian feels helpless on his own -- condemned by sin and absolutely unworthy.The Christian ending to this Jewish Epic needed very little poetic license in painting the "Mosaic Law" as some kind of system of condemnation. However, it does this precisely to make the tragicomic Rabbi free us easily from all the condemnation and unworthiness.
They must call on a force which there is no empirical evidence for whatsoever to solve their problems. The entire fundamental message of Christianity is, "You're helpless without Jesus."
Where is your sense of poetry? The greatest stories always have the hero take a leap of faith. But the readers, the audience, are also the vicarious heroes of any truly great story. We are now the kings, we are now the priests. "The Kingdom of God is within you." Whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven. Wherever two or three are gathered together, "there I am in your midst." We share victoriously in the greatest power known in the Jewish context. It was meant to be empowering. And it was meant to turn the world upsidedown for those who usually felt the most helpless. "The first would be last, etc."
Furthermore, the Christian feels he/she is the victim of the sin of two people who lived six-thousand years ago. They cannot help sinning themselves. They are powerless against their weaknesses.
Not at all. The only moral Jesus attributed to Adam and Eve was the prototype for a positive enduring husband and wife relationship. The idea of Jesus' Christianity is that we now have a new, simpler motivation which is all the power we need against our weaknesses. Love the ultimate source of all, the Father who cares for sparrows and lilies. And love your neighbor, including Samaritans and Palestinians.
Read Paul and you will see a man who feels worthless without the drug of the psyche which he calls the Ransom.
Partly true. But I don't see any real obsession with the ransom as you do. I see a tragic subplot of the man who wanted to free others as far as possible from bureaucratic, legalistic religion. Paul gave his life to do this in the best way he knew how, and his death, his risks, and sacrifice offered a hope to many, especially in the context of his own understanding of pagan and Jewish religion. Religion was a snare and a racket, and Paul wanted to offer religious freedom instead. But religion, like weeds, began to choke Christianity again. Human nature had turned Jesus into an external god, and expected him to come back on the clouds. The imaginations of the women who couldn't accept Jesus had really died, wouldn't let him go. They even "saw" him in the gardener! So Jesus was externalized, resurrected, expected to come again in the flesh.
But those high hopes failed them. The story ends with the sad realization that the resurrections never came, the expectations that Jesus would immediately come back after the Jerusalem holocaust of 70AD failed. Jesus himself personally never came back. The rapture never came. That part of the story was a failure. In the final verse, John is still begging for his apocalyptic dream to come true, his vision that they would all be redeemed, and that a final vengeance would come upon their enemies. For me, that's an important part of the story. Jesus shouldn't be externalized; instead he should be "spiritually internalized." He is deified only in the sense that "we may be one just as they (the son and the father) are one."
Everywhere in the New Testament you see it: victimology, helplessness, weakness, guilt, shame, defenselessness. All this is said to magically disappear because God or the son of God died -- himself a victim.
Not everywhere. I don't see it in the Sermon on the Mount nor in most of the parables. Most everything that is reasonably attributed to Jesus doesn't include this. We all have crosses to bear in this life, because we truly are victims. For most of us, it's not as bad as it was for some in the Roman world. But a Christian faith acts on the belief that self-sacrifice results in a better world. The Christian ideal is to imagine a God who is a Perfect Father and to love that Ideal -- become perfect as that Heavenly Father is perfect. Give good gifts, do unto others, love your neighbor. That's what I see everywhere in Christian beliefs.
I say no. I say I'm not a victim. I say I have the power in my own life to face the challenges of existence no matter how joyful or how painful it is. I'm my own Messiah. I am a Christ unto myself.
Agreed, but I see this in Jesus' own teaching. It was through no fault of the boy or his parents that he was born blind (John 9). It was through no fate or fault that a faulty tower fell on a bunch of people and killed them, Jesus said (Luke 13:4). In the context of Judaism and rampant superstitions (and Jesus was guilty of these, too) this was still very empowering.
Don't be a victim. Don't look for some imaginary outside help from a crutch which no one has seen. Jesus doesn't save. Save yourself.And I see this as the ultimate lesson in the Bible story, whether the collectors of the stories, visions, propaganda, essays, songs, and letters that make up the Bible intended it or not.
quoting from thebeliever
Organized religion, which mainly consist of various forms of Christiantity was created to control the masses.
my take on the original statements by logansrun is well expressed in this quote. The purpose of ORGANIZED religion, IMHO, is to control people. Personal belief is very subjective, however, belief in one's own power of choice and values overrides religion. I do NOT agree that 'organized religion' 'mainly consist(s) of various forms of Christianity'. It is, indeed, one of the smaller, and youngest of the main 'organized religions' (think of Buddhism, Shintoism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism - MILLIONS (most likely billions) more than Christians).
Organized religion has been used for milleniums as a form of monetary and political control; thus, 'the opiate of the masses'. One 'believes' in a god, therefore one does what 'his' priests tell one. The intent of the individual may be to do 'good' deeds (eg. love thy neighbour), but the control exerted by the power structure of the 'church' takes over and tells the believer how to feel and act, instead of the individual thinking for her/himself. Therefore, control by the individual is lost and the power structure takes over. In our culture (western), media has become a form of control, indeed the 'new' religion of many, although they may not realize it.
to KGB and others who may feel personally attacked by this argument,
this is not an attack on your personal belief system (at least by moi), but a provocative question that asks you to question whether people use religion (perhaps as a means of survival) as a way to deny thinking for themselves, and anaesthetize (sp?) themselves to their feelings by following a proscribed way of acting/thinking because it's easier to follow a religion that has rules and structure than it is to make one's own choices. And it's certainly easier for the religious leaders and/or government to control us when we are following our 'faith' that is government-sanctioned. Note that the laws of any given country often reflect the religious faith of the rulers of that country.
That is, What We Are Taught is the 'right' thing to do. Why is the Christian way the 'right' way'? Why is the Islamic way the 'right' way? Why is Shinto the 'right' way? Isn't that what most cultures teach their young? 'Follow the WAY, and you are GOOD.' Whether that way is Christian, Islam, Wicca, Hindu, or whatever.
Why not make up your own mind what is the 'right' way?
'religion is the opiate of the masses' If you're listening to someone else tell you what to do because of a 'belief system', then you're not thinking for yourself. Not anti-Christian, just pro-freethinking.
... just tryin' to splain' the point as I see it. Hoping I don't get flamed, but I can take the heat if I have to. Oh, well, that's why I don't usually engage in these discussions.
You make a good point w regard to jesus' attitude toward sin. He is mostly portrayed as refuting it and hanging out w those who others considered to be sinners. It is christians who enterpret the ot as pointing out the infinite forms of sin who are guilty of fostering helplessness, or taking extreme measures to suppress it. Paul was guilty of this to an extent. Those who find god inside, as the gospels describe jesus having done, realise that they are not sinful, but are a chip off the old block, so to speak.
Aside from the biblical support (The Psalm of David which states "See in sin was I conceived") I'm thinking all human history points to humanities propensity to sin. Evidence to the contrary pending...I rest my case.
I guess by the dictionary definition of victim, you were right when you said:
Wow. How is one not to feel like a victim because of a sentence of death? Read this statement ten times and see just how silly it it.
When thinking of victim I usually think of today's usage, like, ...people who stuff themselves daily on McDonalds are victims of a corporation, or, ...someone who smokes cigarettes all of their life despite warnings of their danger are victims of a corporation or some great conspiracy.
The rest of your post was also grounded on the supreme assumption that the Bible actually is without error, that Jesus actually was the son of God, etc.
I am not sure I think the bible is without error, I think the NWT is evidence that there can be errors in translations.
Yes, I do believe Jesus is the Son of God and also that He is God.
Really -- my God, man! -- there is so much you are missing.
I am not sure what you mean by that. If you mean I am missing information, you are right. There are millions of books on every subject. There are at least thousands of books, both pro and anti Christian. I will never read them all in my lifetime, I will always be missing something.
If you mean I am missing something in life, then you are wrong. I think there is no better life possible than Christian life, I mean the Christian life as outlined in the bible, not in some churches.
Christian life has made me a better person. Certainly a better person than I was as a Jehovah's Witness.
I know it is an old question, but I think it is a valid one; would you rather live in a world of true bible Christians or in a world of non-Christians?
The "Ransom Sacrifice" is one of the most perverse, incoherant and twisted religious ideas humankind has ever thought of.
I disagree. It is not possible to give a good analogy for this work of God, but I will use a very poor one, just to illustrate. Suppose you were a judge and your child came before you charged with murder. You love your child with all your heart and cannot stand the thought of sending your child to be executed for the crime, so, you yourself, pay the penalty so your child can live, especially if your child is genuinely sorry for the crime and promises to spend the rest of his/her life living properly.
I know that is a poor example but I think you get my point, what parent would not give their life to save the life of their child?
To everyone else who commented to me, Thank you.
but what if your grandchild came to you accused of murder and they didn't do it? What if the parents did, what if it was not murder but suicide? And that grandchild was sentenced to die because of their parents suicide--by your own laws? Personally, I would change the laws, not condemn the child or kill another child in its place or kill myself in its place.
and as far as living in a world with 'true bible christians' or non-christians---I would choose the non-christians in a heartbeat. I spent three years in TN with 'true bible christians' and they were the cruelest bunch of fanatics I ever met. If you were to take christianity out of the equation from its beginning we would not be in any of the wars or conflicts we are in today(granted we might be in others---but they would not be any worse than these ones--and isn't christianity supposed to be better than that? all about love and peace?) I have not seen anything good as global force come from christianity in over 2000 years of recorded history---maybe as individuals, but not as a group. It appears to me to be a failed experiment.
The problem is not with the bible or christianity per se, it is with christians who believe it is their mission from god to convert everyone to christianity. It is the sheer arrogance and egotism that says they have the ONLY truth and there is no way but the christian way. There is nothing different from that and islam or judaism.
Perhaps Logan was referring to the "personal application of christianity"?
Although many will profess a certain belief, the actual execution of the worship may be performed altogether differently from one individual to the next. I have personally witnessed such differences in my catholic family. Many of my relatives have developed their own personal "version" of faith and practice it accordingly.
I have met christians who are very happy, positive, outgoing, gregarious and successful. And yet, I have also met those who are very timid, mild, apologetic for living at all and searching for more sacrifices, more tasks, more rituals, and seeking to please others and carry their "cross".
I do agree that religion in general is dangerous, mentally crippling, demoralizing, and bad for self-esteem, some humans seem to thrive under it and ignore the danger.
I do not fell like I am a victim of two people who lived 6000 years ago, I think I am under a sentence of death because of those two people, but do not think of it as being a victim.
Stockholme Syndrome, anyone?