LGBT-Friendly Church is Not “Christian” Enough?

“Stop calling yourself a Christian.”

That was the advice from one commenter on a recent article I wrote, concerning my doubts about a literal hell. In it, I argued that when the message of Christianity is summed up as, “Do as I say and nobody gets hurt,” the figure of Jesus becomes no better than a terrorist.

After reading my article, the commenter had this advice:

[S]top preaching the gospel of Satan, which is no good news at all. Unless you are more spiritually advanced than Jesus Christ, you should take his words and the words of his Apostles seriously.

Funny, I thought I was taking Jesus’ words seriously, but it’s nothing new for people to tell me that I should give up the notion that I am a Christian. Usually, I’m told that I can’t call myself a Christian because I am also a lesbian. The most astonishing thing I’ve heard is that gay or lesbian Christians don’t actually exist. I’m thinking of telling the IRS and perhaps the mortgage company that I don’t truly exist, but I have a feeling that won’t go over well, so obviously, I do exist as both, and more, of course.

I’ve also been kicked out of the Christian club for not believing in other orthodox doctrines and dogma including the Trinity, a literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus and the notion that Jesus died for my sins.

The latest insult to my self-claimed Christianity came in the form of a website that lists LGBT-friendly churches around the US I had submitted my congregation, Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C., to be listed in the database, since I consider us an LGBT-friendly Christian congregation.

Imagine my surprise, however, when one of the site’s owners wrote to question my Christian credentials. One of the boxes you have to check when you submit the information is one swearing that your church is actually a “Christian” church. Well, since we are followers of that Jesus guy, I checked ‘Yes.’

However, after perusing our site, the guy at the LGBT church site questioned our true dedication to the faith. Since we didn’t seem to meet the requirements of the Nicene Creed, we don’t appear to be a “Trinitarian” church. So I was asked to prove that we were a “real” Christian church.

I replied: “We’re not creedal in the sense that we recite creeds or require others to recite them or affirm what are contained in them. We don’t really do a doctrinal ‘sniff test’ on people. Instead, we ask that they affirm the only creed Jesus ever affirmed, which is one of love for self and others and a dedication to service in the world.”

Well, suffice to say, I was informed that following Jesus’ teachings of love and service were not, indeed, enough to be considered a “real” Christian church.

This infuriates me. As a member of a group of people who have been excluded, denied membership and generally shunned by Christian churches around the globe, to be summarily dismissed by a website that is supposedly set up to help LGBT people find accepting places to worship shows just how far the LGBT community has strayed from our own commitment to welcome everyone.

Apparently, we cannot even make room at the table for everyone in our own community if their doctrines don’t smell right.

I understand the argument put forth by the owner of the site itself, that they do have a right to add or exclude churches at their discretion. I could always build a site that includes every faith group from Christian to Wiccan congregations welcoming LGBT people (and somebody should!)—I get that.

What is infuriating is that even within our community, we’re still separating who the “real” Christians are from the “false” ones. Isn’t this what we’ve been fighting against in the mainstream church—for the right to be considered “real” Christians as LGBT people? To begin dividing up our own community with these limited, and limiting, definitions seems to go against the justice we’ve been fighting for all these years!

I also object to the lines of demarcation being drawn between “real” and “false” Christians within the LGBT community itself. My community was rejected by this particular website because we are not “Trinitarian” and do not recite or seem to require assent to creeds such as the Nicene Creed.

Such creeds were written by men (the Church Fathers) hundreds of years after Jesus’ death, but apparently, to be a genuine Christian, one must accept them wholesale—even when they emphasize beliefs about Jesus over actually doing what Jesus says we should do to qualify as one of his followers.

So, the formula to discern real Christians from false ones now seems to be this:

Following creeds =”real” Christian.

Following the teachings of that guy named Jesus, but not (necessarily) the creeds = “false” Christian.

I guess it’s a testament to the progress that LGBT Christians have made in acceptance in faith communities that they now feel free to begin discriminating against one other on the grounds of doctrinal purity. However, such behavior perpetuates the popular myth that assenting to a specific set of beliefs about Jesus makes you more of a “real” Christian than those who doubt the doctrines but still seek to follow Jesus by loving God, self, others, and seeking to serve the world.

Honestly, I don’t think Jesus would recognize the religion that has sprung up around his name, if not his teachings. I’ve always maintained it’s easier to argue about Jesus and whether he was fully human, fully divine, both or some mixture thereof, instead of doing the dirty work of feeding the poor, clothing the naked and visiting the sick and imprisoned.

That’s not quite as entertaining as creating creeds and persecuting the “heretics” who disagree with you.

We’ve piled up so much theological doublespeak and gobbledy-gook on Jesus that, honestly, most of the people in the pews don’t even know what the creeds they blandly recite every week really mean, or how many people were excommunicated or killed for daring to disagree with the enshrined party line about Jesus.

An old theology joke makes the point.

“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked.

They replied, “You are the eschatological manifestation of the Ground of Being, the incarnation of the divine Logos in whom we find our ultimate meaning and raison d’etre over against the Angst and alienation caused by the existential predicaments and uncertainties that plague human life.”

To which Jesus goes, “Huh?”

This is what creeds do for us, they obscure the real message of Jesus, which was, “Go, and do likewise,” not, “Believe and rest on the assurance of your personal salvation.” But, that is what so-called real Christianity has become—even within the realm of LGBT Christianity.

We are now so assured of our own salvation as LGBT Christians, we feel we can become true defenders of the faith and judge others by their correct or incorrect doctrine.

What a sad state of affairs for LGBT people of faith.

Since we’re all so gaga over creeds then, may I propose a new one? How about this one, from Paul Alan Laughlin:

We believe in the reign of God, and in the love, equality, justice, and peace for which it stands; and in Jesus, who proclaimed, and enacted, and embodied its spirit, and taught us all to live as God’s children, and to help the poor and helpless and hopeless; and who died because the world was not ready for his message.

276 Comments

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Is your creed inclusive of those who believe Jesus was actually a myth, and not a historical person?

  • revtheodyke says:

    Well, Jim, since I, as the pastor, am not even sure about whether Jesus was actual history or myth, I’d say so! 🙂

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Cool. All the Christians I know seem to be sure about the things the church tells them to be sure about. I always thought that is what it meant to be Christian. It is a process of Christians getting together to convince each other to keep the faith.

  • revtheodyke says:

    We have what we call “The Jubilee! Salute” which is basically a shrug. We admit we don’t have all the answers and are far more interested in the questions. I guess that kicks us out of the Christian club, too.

  • fdr2ga@gmail.com' Frank Rambo says:

    That website also excluded our Unity church though they were on a little firmer ground denying us a place among Christian churches. Unity is based on the teachings of Jesus rather than the teachings about Jesus, also, but many in our congregation would renounce the label Christian for themselves as they had such unhappy or limiting experiences in fundamentalist, mainline Protestant or Catholic congregations in the past. This would apply to both LGBT and non-LGBT folks alike. Fortunately, there are other places to post our church information and we have gone to them with no problems.

  • shawnsmith1964@gmail.com' S N Smith says:

    Excellent article — Similar problems within the Muslim community of which I belong.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I hope they take pride in their heresy.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Questions can be a problem if they are the right questions. The stronger Christians need to make sure the others are not exposed to them.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    They may not really be problems.

  • mlshatto@dejazzd.com' Marian L Shatto says:

    It seems to me that their definition of “Christian church” would exclude Society of Friends Meetings, also.

  • We should both do what Jesus says and believe in his divine nature and mission if we claim to be Christians. As a gay Christian I totally understand the exclusion problem, but believing in the mystery of the Trinity, in the Resurrection, and in Jesus’ redemptive mission are all essential to being an adherent of the Christian religion and not simply someone who generally thinks Jesus’ teachings are kind of neat. These matters are not doctrinally exclusive of people based on some factor we cannot change, like physical orientation or gender or skin color. Those painful and divisive teachings are added by others. But these core beliefs are essential to the Christian faith and are necessary for the story we tell the world. I’m sorry, but if you don’t believe in the Resurrection or the redemptive nature of Jesus, then you are not a follower of the Christian religion. You are certainly welcome to build your faith according to what you do believe and I for one welcome anyone who wants to come to the table regardless of belief on these matters. But as a Church, we need to stand firm on the importance of these core beliefs to the narrative of grace, hope, and love that we have for the world.

  • revtheodyke says:

    Indeed. Let’s just completely forget who Jesus spent his entire ministry criticizing — the doctrinally pure of his day. Yes, let’s make a religion about Jesus and not based on what Jesus actually asked us to do. I have no interest in affirming things about Jesus. Ideas about resurrection, trinity, or whether Jesus died for my sins are just arguments to keep us from doing the hard work of helping those in need. I have met so many people who are so concerned with keeping their orthodoxy pure that they’ll step over the beggar on the street (“Get a job!”), never give a penny to the church they so fervently believe in, and spend their time making sure the “wrong” kind of “Christians” don’t infect their pure dogma with those dirty ideas of, y’know, actually DOING what Jesus commanded. I believe Jesus would have some of the same harsh words for today’s doctrinal defenders as he did for those he criticized in his own day. Traditional Christianity may well be about what you believe about Jesus, but I believe “real” Christians (whether they affirm Christian belief or not) are those who actually do as Jesus commanded — feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner and take care of the least of these. If you don’t do that, no doctrine in the world will make you a “real” Christian. Sorry, you don’t own the name or the concept no matter how many creeds you write and recite.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I believe the salvation of the world may depend on Christianity eventually coming to an end, and nothing helps that process along more than exclusivity. As the religion shrinks, those who remain in become more self-assured, and it shrinks more. I don’t think there is any way to reverse the process because as it becomes more clear how much damage Christianity has done to the world, they will always have need for other denominations to blame.

  • That’s why I said up front that we need to do what Jesus says. But belief in the core foundations of our religion is also important. Nothing in the Nicene Creed keeps us from doing what is good and right for others; rather, Christian beliefs about God and Jesus make us want to do these things even more.

    You seem very harsh toward anyone who asserts that the Church should abide by its foundational tenets. It’s one thing to say that unjust doctrine should be corrected or abolished, but the core beliefs on which our religion is founded are beautiful and good. I’m puzzled by the harshness of your response.

  • revtheodyke says:

    Oh, no, feel free to abide by your tenets. That’s fine. I have no problem with orthodoxy. It’s a lovely thing for those who need it, I suppose. What gets me, really, is when we start drawing lines and trying to own a religion. I will continue to call myself a Christian, even though I am not an orthodox Christian. I remain a Christian, a follower of the Christ, without having to assent to the traditional doctrines and creeds. It’s when others say, “Stop calling yourself a Christian,” that galls me. I have no intention of doing so no matter how far I may “stray” from orthodoxy. When we, especially, in the LGBT community begin to insist on doctrinal purity over all else, then we become no better than the homophobes who told us to stop calling ourselves Christians if we insisted on remaining gay or lesbian. My point is we are becoming what we hate when we start dividing ourselves by orthodox and heretic. There should be room at the table for us all and that’s what Jesus was all about. Insisting on doctrinal purity then, is exactly AGAINST what Jesus preached. Go ahead and defend the religion, you can have it. I prefer to follow Jesus’ actual teachings than doctrines cooked up centuries later.

  • padre_oso@hotmail.com' BishopAndrewGeralesGentry says:

    You do not need an “imprimatur” from any site let alone one that is apparently self appointed as is the case throughout the gay community,(I know of no election that has put all “our” spokespersons in their positions))…. if there is such thing which frankly I doubt! I have often wondered what other than a shared sexual orientation do I have in common with other gay folk but that debate is for another day. I believe in this guy Jesus and I believe in the Creedal affirmations beginning with the first one of Peter! and I believe in doing what he says do! Ironically your position vis a vis the site reminds me of a very “orthodox” gay woman who was told by a very politically correct Integrity group at a well known university that she was NOT welcomed because she DID believe in the literal Resurrection and the Atonement and so forth and worse than that so they said was she believed in sharing the Gospel of Jesus!

  • If anyone calls themselves a Christian, that’s great, and I welcome anyone who wants to come to the table. Certainly the fruit of our actions is more important than mental exercises and most Christians miss that. I am just concerned about relativism causing us to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have plenty of doubts about the reality of what is expressed in the Nicene Creed but I still see the importance of its tenets for the narrative that Christianity has to offer to the world, which is one of love, justice, and healing. I don’t want the Church to lose sight of that.

  • revtheodyke says:

    I understand you, Christian. I’m not advocating that we ditch all the creeds. They are part of the history of the church, but they are not the be all and end all. I don’t think we’re that far apart on the issue. I just wish, especially in the LGBT community, we could practice a more generous orthodoxy and realize that exclusion is not just harmful to people but to the faith as well.

  • bcoop@animail.net' Barbara says:

    Jesus told us to forgive 70 times 70 and to love our enemy. My “take” is that if “God” is sending people to “hell” to punish them for transgressions, then “he” is not the God Jesus knew, loved, served or preached. If I’m expected to forgive, I think “God” should lead the way, not claim exemption. Guess I’m not a “Christian” either so will just have to get back to following Jesus of Nazareth as best I can.

  • odeliyab@yahoo.com' Liya says:

    hahaha. Rest assured, Jim.

  • DiggittMcL@gmail.com' Diggitt says:

    I absolutely do not understand Christians who stick with their churches through behavior like this. “I’m going to reform it from within,” I hear (even from young ministers). Well, guess what–young ministers fifty years ago were saying the exact same thing. Even though their church was filled with haters or people for whom privilege was the most important thing around, they were going to reform it from within. This is a LONG reform, folks. How many ministers have sacrificed themselves for it for their entire careers?

    The new creed you’ve written? Try it with the UCC. It would work there. Same with Quakers. If you’re already UCC, check out your local UUs. There are lots of fights the world needs. Is this particular one–these career-long, failing, reforms from within–really worth your time? Compared with the poor and hungry and unsheltered people you were on about elsewhere in the article? (Hint: they are poor, hungry, and unsheltered NOW, while here you are reforming from within.)

  • DiggittMcL@gmail.com' Diggitt says:

    Friends and UUs have spent a long time on the outside. The question is, the outside of what? Just think–we are being excluded by the kind of people who exclude. Is that a group we want to belong to?

  • petemontdc says:

    That reminds me of my favorite short-version description of Unitarian Universalism,which came from a former head of the denomination, William Schulz- I am probably paraphrasing – We value the mystery more than any single attempt to explain it. I recently heard another good short one from Rob Hardies, the pastor at All Souls Church in DC: Love beyond belief.

  • tojby_2000@yahoo.com' apotropoxy says:

    “It’s easier to argue about Jesus and whether he was fully human, fully divine, both or some mixture thereof…”
    ________________________________

    We’ve come a long way, baby. That sort of conversation got you tossed out of the club in the old days.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Feel the wrath of the fundamentalists and have the reassurance that they are a minority (thankfully) of some 35-40% in the USA and 11% in Canada of the Christian body. These are the people that all Christians protect because they are “under the Christian flag” but they are NOT like you. They are the Christo-Taliban who are causing the present uproar over school prayers, commandments on the front steps of public buildings, war on Christmas, the saying of “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays”, anti-abortion rhetoric and anti-gay rhetoric. Their base is encouraged by the misinformation channel, Faux News. They are uncompromising, aggressive and determined to “take the nation back to God” – their idea of God.

    Their goal is, by stealth, to infiltrate (as they have in the GOP) and gradually change all of society by legal means to reflect a theocracy. For interesting follow up, check out “AlterNet.org” and “TheocracyWatch.org” and especially articles by Chip Bartlott who has been following their development for years.

    They have, in their ranks, Dominionists, whose aim is to subdue and conquer and create a “bible-based” society and God help any other denomination or any other religion other than their own.

    Consider this excerpt by one of their own, Gary North in Christianity and Civilization, Spring, 1982 when he said:

    “So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain
    independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who
    know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral
    education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in
    constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally
    denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.…………………………”

    Enemies of God being anyone who is not one of them.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    It’s RELIGION – not just Christianity. Religion is divisive.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Pat Robertson said: “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”

    adultthought.ucsd.edu/culture_war/the_american_taliban.html

  • dfeatherkile@wildblue.net' Diana says:

    So many consider labeling Unity Church under the “cult” title – I love Unity – it is a 2nd Church for so many, including my brother who joined the Mormon church – but needs to sneak over to the close Unity Church every few months for the Light they give. I suppose this organization is also “inclusive and tolerant” – those words, when I see them, really irritate me, because they are very “selective” in how/who “I and T” they are. To me, those words are red flags – if we are Christians, that is part of the package – we do not have to TELL people we are – all are invited to the table – it should be a BIG table! “We are all just walking each other home” Ram Dass

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    The Society of Friends is another name for the Quakers and they were getting a rough time from the Anabaptists right from the get go. The Baptists wanted special status in their state and it is this rivalry that spurred the item in the constitution dealing with separation of church and state.

  • dfeatherkile@wildblue.net' Diana says:

    I love that!

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I would qualify that by saying FUNDAMENTALIST” Christianity is doing the damage. Most Christians (mainstream) remain quite private about their beliefs and live according to them but the fundamentalists are always bringing notice to themselves, aggressively pushing THEIR particular flavor of it.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    You marginalized yourself and don’t realize it. Sad.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    You have created your own god and religion. At least have the integrity to admit it.

  • lisenberg@psr.edu' Laurie says:

    The San Francisco Bay area has just what you wished for: a multi-faith collection of LGBT-affirming faith communities. The Coalition of Welcoming Congregations (http://cwcbay.org/).

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Stripping away at constructs around God is not quite the same as creating a new one.

    If your god is nothing without tribal exclusivity, you worship an idol.

  • bob@deism.com' Deist1737 says:

    Don’t feel bad if people say you’re not a true Christian. Nobody knows what a true Christian is. People who believed they themselves were Christians and that other people who claimed to be Christians were not true Christians have existed and have been killing each other for 2,000 years. As the Deist Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition:

    “The Calvinist, who damns children of a span long to hell to burn forever for the glory of God (and this is called Christianity), and the Universalist who preaches that all shall be saved and none shall be damned (and this also is called Christianity), boasts alike of their holy [revealed] religion and their Christian faith.”

    The important thing is to remember that God gave us innate reason and not religion – not any of them.

    Progress! Bob Johnson
    http://www.deism.com

  • lilsisbear@gmail.com' Yogini says:

    Truly frightening…has a similar ring of the ideology leading to the holocaust…”rid the world of those not ‘acceptable’ or like you”…truly terrifying. Let us always speak truth to power in Love…words not always required…actions of kindness and compassion done with love, may melt the coldest and hardest of hearts…this is my prayer. Thank you Pastor Candace for shining your Light in this dark world.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    No but stripping away the truths of God is. Talk about worshipping an idol….

  • davehabermehl2003@hotmail.com' dmh4 says:

    Be careful of demonizing “exclusion” or sacramentalizing “inclusion.” both are necessary goods for maintaining Christianity. There can’t be a group of people who call themselves followers of Jesus’s teachings who don’t exclude behaviors that are contrary to His teachings. In broader terms, we can’t even have language with out exclusion–love of people excludes hatred of people, blue excludes red . . . We can’t have anything we can call “the faith” without exclusion. The real problem is that exclusion is so easily abused. Maybe it would be better to keep the possibility of excluding certain ideas from Christianity alive and focus on what’s being excluded/included. Otherwise we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as Christian Marble said.

  • sandys@shaw.ca' Arachne646 says:

    As you do?

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    So why do you choose to exclude yourself?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Looking back through history heresy has a great record. It is always something to be proud of.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    The real holy trinity is William Blake, Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Can I say a word for a group that is often overlooked — even by me when I get angry at the latest idiocy spouted by some radio preacher — the sane fundamentalists and evangelicals. (I realize it could be argued by my fellow atheists that simply by being believers, no Christian can be called ‘sane.’ I’d say that there is a difference between being wrong and being mad, and that you can use your religion — if you have one — as an excuse for being either as good as you can be or as bad as you can be.)
    c
    But, ignoring that wool-gathering parenthesis, we have a tendency to see all members of a church or congregation as being 100% behind what their leaders — or, in some cases their loudest and most media-friendly spokesmen say. (Of course, if we dealt with Catholics in the same way, we’d assume that no Catholic woman ever had an abortion, or used contraception.)
    We also have the usual American-centered perspective — not unreasonable in this case, since ‘true’ Fundamentalism was an American invention of the late 1800s and the beginning of the next century. But if we look at Evangelical academics — in American
    non church-run schools and particularly in Europe, we’d have a completely different picture. They tend to find the Robertsons, the Falwell-types, and the politicians who carry their Christianity as a uniform — even the ones who don’t change it for prison orange — as much jokes as we find them. (It’s been years since I checked in with him personally or checked his blog, but if Chris Tilling is still blogging, you might read both his blog and the ones he links to, for a different view of evangelicals — as you can by reading Warren Throckmorton. (There was a religious blog that held a joke ‘election’ for the ‘worst idea in the History of Christianity — but ruled out “The rapture” because there were so few people who actually believed in it.)
    We tend, far too easily, to imagine people think their positions through far more than they actually do. (We make the same mistake, with worse consequences, in politics, but I’ve started ranting about this so badly I’ve voluntarily withdrawn from all political blogs until I can keep myself in control.)
    The fact is that ;people don’t have the time, the interest, sometimes even the mental equipment to work out the consequences to their positions the way we — frequently from outside — can. And the fact that people are more likely to be human and humane than logical and consistent. Ed Brayton tells a story of an Aunt of his, a firmly believing Fundamentalist, who discovered, when she found out that he had AIDS, that her husband was predominantly gay, and chose her love for him to her “Christian duty to reject him’ and nursed him lovingly for the rest of his life — and all of us have known similar, if less severe cases.
    And how many fervent listeners to your favorite Ugly Evangelist are simply enjoying the oratory without necessarily believing every — or most — of what they hear.. .

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Literal believers of the bible generally fall in with whatever is taught and almost without exception, once they are saved, they take on the same reasoning, almost as if there was a cookie cutter procedure that rendered them “born again”. I fully realize that these folks are a minority within the Christian body and are something more of a cult, usually lined up behind one televangelist or another, be it Hagee, Robertson or Comfort. They parrot back exactly what he preaches and they are aggressive proselytizer, often street preaching or standing on the corners with large crosses or picketing a family planning centre to harass its patients. As a matter of fact, in the last years, there have been over 100,000 arrests and convictions of these people for attempted murder, murder, death threats, arson, hate mail, hate email and the like.
    My concern are the Dominionists whose intention it is, is to infiltrate government to change laws, schools and such in order to bring about a theocracy.
    I doubt very much that many ;listeners of a particularly virulent televangelist or evangelical preacher are there out of superficial interest.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    >I
    doubt very much that manyeners of a particularly virulent televangelist or
    evangelical preacher are there out of superficial interest.

    Well said; these people are worth losing sleep over.

  • awerling@gmail.com' andrew123456789 says:

    Perfect choice for a creed. Bravo.

  • RobinCeleste75@gmail.com' RobinCeleste says:

    Can you have faith in Jesus without believing what he and his disciples/apostles taught?

    It is clear that for Jesus, what was critical about faith was the object of that faith: God and/or himself. Many times he healed people and told them that it was their faith (that he could heal them) that had made it possible. None of these people expressed any doctrinal content to their faith, it was faith in Jesus’/God’s ability alone.

    However, it is also clear that Jesus’ disciples/apostles believed that he was in some way God, that he died for our sins and rose again from the dead. If you can’t believe these things, then what does it say about the person you claim to believe in? If Jesus’ closest intimates misunderstood and misrepresented him, then how are we to know anything at all about him? If Jesus’ closest followers got it all wrong, Jesus was a colossal failure! You can’t say he was a good teacher if he failed to communicate to his students accurately, and you can’t say he was a good person if he misrepresented himself!

    You might say that Christianity as we know it is an invention of later generations of believers, and that may be true, but if God has any power and influence, would he not direct the development of the faith to reflect the truth? If God could not even do that, then what power does he have at all?

    Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” It is quite clear (and all too common) that you can be orthodox in your beliefs and yet far from God. It seems to me that it is also clear that you can not believe in the doctrines of the faith, and yet do the will of God–love one another, heal the sick, feed the poor, visit those in prison, etc.

    So do you have to believe the orthodox tenets of the Christian faith to be a Christian? I guess not, but I’m still not sure why you call yourself a Christian if you don’t believe in what he and his Apostles taught. I called your message a gospel of Satan because if the content of one’s faith is important, then surely Satan would be happy to have someone preach that it is not!

    Robin Skiff
    September 9, 2014

  • conjurehealing@gmail.com' conjurehealing says:

    I was with you completely until I got to this line:

    “This is what creeds do for us, they obscure the *real* message of Jesus”

    Who are *you* to say what the “real” message of Jesus was or is? Isn’t that the point, that Jesus *is* to the believer who and what ever they say that He is?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You might say that Christianity as we know it is an invention of later generations of believers, and that may be true, but if God has any power and influence, would he not direct the development of the faith to reflect the truth?

    I think the answer is no. That would make the church into your God.

  • revtheodyke says:

    I agree, Jim. The trump card of “wouldn’t God direct the development of the faith?” or scripture, or what have you, is designed to shut down any arguments around the clear human political jockeying that took place during the development of the church. Anyone with an inkling of education in Christian history knows that human hands shaped so much of what we call “orthodoxy” today that I imagine Jesus wept more than once as “heretic” after “heretic” were burned at the stake or excommunicated. If God can “limit” himself in who can be saved and who goes to hell (as it’s been argued by many before), why would he not limit himself when shaping doctrine? Seems like God is a bit confused. I would think if God would limit himself at all it would be around theology and not around grace. But, what do I know? I’m a simple, faithful heretic who happens to be okay with paradox and unanswered questions.

  • Elfsinger@live.com' Annie Catling says:

    “We’ve piled up so much theological doublespeak and gobbledy-gook on
    Jesus that, honestly, most of the people in the pews don’t even know
    what the creeds they blandly recite every week really mean”
    Yes, ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!
    To be a Christian you have to do two things:
    A) Believe in God
    B) Love yourself and others as you would like to be loved.
    That’s what Jesus said. Period.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    Triangulating from there tends to lead right to Liber Legis imho.

  • joerogers67@gmail.com' joeyj1220 says:

    true… being excluded from some random website isn’t exactly being cast to the outer darkness to wail and gnash teeth

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    >Isn’t
    that the point, that Jesus *is* to the believer who and what ever they say that
    He is?
    If you’re right about this, then Jesus is nothing but whatever any believer’s imagination conjures up.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    By the same kind of people whose church split into two factions, the Roman Catholic and the Greek Catholic over how many angels could dance on the end of a pin. These are the kind of people who also wrote the bible texts and yet there are those today who insist that the bible be understood literally.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Absolulely, it is religion in general but that which concerns us most here are our own fundamentalists who, if elected into power to govern this nation, taking into account their legends of the apocalypse and desire for it to come, and their general willingness to make war, are the greatest threat to us right now. They are already in government controlling the GOP which, in turn, throws continual stumbling blocks in front of the Progressives to do their job.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    It depends on how you understand Jesus – either dealing with what IS possible and by understanding the conditions of the time, his being born and died a Jew in a Jewish world, with a knowledge that the Jewish messiah was just a man/leader, he was lashing out against a Rome-appointed, Rome-collaborating Priesthood who were Jews on the outside and Romans on the inside.
    /
    OR you can understand him based on the later invention by Paul of the “man god” who “spoke” whatever his words his gentile writers dreamed him to say. These are the “real” Christians who accept the incredible on faith. His words in this case will be framed in a way that a Gentile audience accepts and can understand, in this case a mating of a God with a virgin producing a sacrificial demi-god, a pattern repeated over and over producing many such demi-gods in the Roman world.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Well said. They don’t have a coherent answer to that.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Interestingly, the author’s view of her Christianity is very similar in ways to those of contemporary evangelical and pentecostal Christianity — namely, that “Christian” need not connote the accumulated institutions, traditions, liturgy, and hermeneutics belonging to the Church.

    One of the fallacies that this seems to presuppose is that there is some pre-institutionalized, ur-Church, that represents the *real* Christianity, and can be separated from its institutionalized identity, in the Latin and Orthodox churches.

    The problem is that none of this is true. The very canon in which everything the author asserts about Jesus is written, was compiled, edited, and canonized *by* the institutionalized Church — the Church of the Fathers, the Apologists, and the Councils. The same people who wrote the Nicene and other Creeds as descriptions of the core beliefs of Christianity–and thus, determined what was heretical and what was not–are the ones who created the very text, in which Jesus appears as the main character and from which the author takes her instruction. In short, without institutionalized Christianity of the Latin and Orthodox varieties, there *is no Christian Bible* for the author to consult and follow.

    The historical Jesus–if he existed–was a Jewish reformer, among many in the late Second Temple period. As an observant Jew, the idea of his being God would have been inconceivable — sheer blasphemy. Remember that the Gospels are dated later than the Pauline letters. They were written in Greek, by gentiles, who had already been exposed to the Christology that runs throughout the Pauline literature. Christ, then, is *read back* into the “original Jesus story”, from a vantage point, in which what would become institutionalized–and it should be mentioned, gentile–Christianity was already beginning to coalesce.

    I have no problem with the author’s Church or her practices. (In fact, I approve of them wholeheartedly) As a Jew, none of this is my fight. But the idea that there is something outrageous or crazy about people who want to say that “Christianity” denotes the theology, practices, and liturgy of those churches that emerged out of the work of the Fathers and the Councils strikes me as misunderstand what religions are: namely, socially embedded and historically contingent institutions.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    This would not distinguish Christianity from virtually any other religion.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. But I was replying to Jim regarding the end of Christianity being the salvation of the world. I think there needs to be an end of all religion. We can be moral, ethical, and good without it.

    I see little difference between Reconstructionists and the Taliban. The more power they attain, the more abusive they become. If the ultra-fundamentalist Christians should attain enough political power to actually install a theocracy here, they would be just as radical and bloodthirsty as any Muslim fundy.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    But, like their moderate Muslim counterparts, they do little to stem the excesses of the fundamentalists – or even really speak out against them, thus extending their power. It will take a massive uprising of moderates to shout down the fundies, and I don’t see it happening.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    it is also clear that Jesus’ disciples/apostles believed that he was in
    some way God, that he died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

    ——————

    But the only source for this view is the NT itself. And the Gospel narratives were written in Greek, by Gentiles who had already absorbed the Christology in the Pauline literature (the Gospels were written *after* Paul’s writings, not before).

    The point is, we have no idea what Jesus’s actual disciples thought about anything. What we have is a story about Jesus and those disciples, written by non-Jewish, Greek-speaking authors, who read back into the Jesus story all the Christology that had already started to accumulate into what would become the Latin and Greek churches.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Okay with paradox and unanswered questions is a pretty good approach. Saying that can be like being on a tightrope. Keeping your balance as you draw fire from both sides can be tricky.

    You might have opened a can of worms with the Bart Ehrman interview. Two years on it could probably use some updating.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Gary North is the son-in-law of the late JR Rushdoony, the father of Reconstructionism. He is a free-market economist and radical Reconstructionist – the most extreme of the Dominionists. These are the ones who want to stone gays and unchaste women in the public square. And they are working, as you say, just under the radar to take power.

    Other good sources on the theocrats – who also encompass some of the neo-confederate movements – are rightwingwatch.org and (the best, IMHO) talk2action.org

    You will also find Chip Berlet at talk2action, along with Rob Boston, Frank Cocozzelli, Bruce Wilson, Rachel Tabachnick and Chris Rodda.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    This might not be your fight, but as a Jew working for Christians in the heart of the Bible Belt and in the field of education, isn’t there a risk of you getting dragged into the fight at some point?

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Funnily enough, it almost never comes up, despite the fact that I teach philosophy.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Reminds me of my fundy mom. She would wax ecstatic about the latest tirade on Gawd Radio, but when I asked what the sermon was actually about, she hadn’t a clue! Yep, the emotion, the oratory, and zip for content, LOL. Though I’m sure she absorbed it at some subliminal level, because she was one of the most bigoted and hate-filled people I’ve ever known.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Totally agreed. Mainstream Christians should be made more aware of the monster in their midst in order to realize the menace will eventually turn on them (if you go to their boards, you will read the disdain they have for “lukewarm” Christians ) distance themselves and stop protecting them.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    You are a bit sweeping here. I don’t see how my liberal, Reform Jewish congregation is causing any harm to the world or “needs to be ended.”

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    >We can be moral, ethical, and good without it.

    I would add, “We can be moral, ethical and good much more easily without it.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It would distinguish it from evangelical Christianity.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Really, everyone?

    I think that my daughter has benefited from attending Sunday school, at our liberal, Reform synagogue. Indeed, I teach in the Sunday school, and a lot of what we talk about is moral in nature.

    This weekend we discussed the story in which God orders Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It provided a terrific opportunity for the kids to explore their own consciences and to consider how they understand authority. I asked them: “Is there anything you wouldn’t do, regardless of who asked you to do it?”

    The conversation was productive and all of us learned something. Could you please explain why my students and I would have been better off without it?

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Nor Unitarians, nor Friends, nor a few others. All of them small denominations. And of the “live and let live” philosophy. However, most religion is terribly divisive, and makes adherents into schoolyard kids taunting, “My god’s bigger than your god… nyah, nyah, nyah.” And the bigger the religion grows, the bigger a bully it becomes.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    I should have added that, LOL.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Well, Reform Judaism is the largest denomination of Judaism in the US. That said, of course, it is still relatively tiny, when compared to main denominations of Christianity.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    The story is literature. I am not saying that holy books are not literature, because they are. And can be studied as such. Your discussion could just as easily have happened outside the religious parameters, and it sounds less religious than philosophical, anyhow. You do not need religion to discuss ethics.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    In this “terrific opportunity . . . to consider how they understand authority,” did anyone bring up the monstrosity of this god ordering Abraham to kill his son? Thought not.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I wouldn’t be teaching Bible to a bunch of 12 year olds, but for in a Jewish Sunday school.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    So, you’re asking me a question and then answering it yourself? How is that a discussion?

    In fact, every single kid said that they would *not* follow such instructions, even if they came from God.

    And yes, we did discuss the monstrosity of the request. And tried to imagine what reasons there could possibly be. (No one could think of a single good reason.)

    If you want to talk to people, it is good to actually listen to them, rather than fill in what *you* want them to be saying. If that’s your aim, you’re better off talking to yourself.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    I’m not sure, but unless I’m mistaken, Jews of all denominations are only about 2% of the US population, so, yes, it is a small minority.

    In any case, it will be a very long time before people give up on religion, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Except, of course, the fundies.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I just see no need–or use–in liberals turning on each other. And sometimes, it seems like liberal atheists want to chuck their liberal religious compatriots out of the tent.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    I apologize. You are right about my presumption. So what excuses did this discussion generate for an all powerful and loving (sic) god asking his faithful follower to commit infanticide?

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    None. No one could come up with a single good reason.

    And no worries. It often gets a little hot in here.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Okay, there’s that. But theoretically, you could. Form up something akin to those dreadful “Good News Clubs”. Teach them to THINK instead of merely accepting authority.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    That prevalent attitude ripped apart two families in my childhood – mum was Catholic, dad was not and in my marriage – my husband was fundamentalist, I was not and now it’s tearing away at my present relationship – my partner, encouraged by his newly converted to evangelical fundamentalist son, is now throwing insults and calling me an “atheist” because I’m agnostic on God and a non-believer in the man-god version of Jesus. In all cases, the attacks came from the ultra religious and yet the other side was the nicer and more peaceful of the two.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I agree, in principle. I think philosophy should be part of the k-12 curriculum. Unfortunately, it is not, except for in the Catholic school system, where it is required.

    We *do* teach them to think. The entire rabbinical tradition consists in thinking about, interpreting, and debating the mores and laws identified in the TANAKH. Ours is not a literalist, nor a fundamentalist tradition.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    I consider myself an atheist, but maybe I’m more of an agnostic. I don’t discount the possibility of a greater power, but I do discount the possibility that any such power is interested in the details of our daily lives.

    I really don’t have any quarrel with very liberal religious, but I find them to be more humanist than religious in the end. And, truly, I have a lot of axes to grind with fellow atheists – too many of whom are misogynistic libertarians.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Maybe it would help if you pointed out the basics, since most non-Jews assume that the only difference is that Jews don’t believe in Jesus. I think it would help to point out the differences in expectation between the two in terms of a messiah.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    That’s why I can’t come up with a single good reason to believe in such a god.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Reform Judaism is not fundamentalist, but Orthodox Judaism is. EVERY religious tradition, even Buddhism, has its fundy faction.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    And for all I know, many of the students do not. Certainly, I am not telling them that they ought to.

    For me, the Jews are first and foremost a people. The value in studying the Bible is in that it acquaints us with our peoples’ longstanding narrative. Some of that narrative is historical and some of it is myth, like the Kalevala or other national myths. Studying it helps us to understand the roots of our own people better; to understand our archaic, primitive origins, and how we got from there to where we are today.

    In short, my–and our conception–of the purpose of religious education is centered primarily around identity and not around doctrines.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Orthodox Judaism is not fundamentalist either, in that it accepts the interpretive, hermeneutical literature as authoritative. (Fundamentalism means that one takes the Bible as fundamental and rejects all other literature as non-authoritative).

    What they are, however, is reactionary, in their values. And that’s more than bad enough.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I don’t think many moderates have even an inkling about how extreme these people are. They operate so much by stealth and don’t really open up until there is a group of like thinkers together. I’ve listened to them and I think they’re just plain nuts! It’s like being in another reality on a different plane.
    /
    If even the Muslim Imans can denounce extremists, surely we can too. The only church person I’ve heard that goes in that direction is Rev. Bruce Prescott, a Baptist of the Interfaith Alliance.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    It’s hard to have a coherent answer to a rather incoherent rant. Though Aravis does a good job just down a post.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Yes its obvious many here have little understanding of anything.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    And of course there is more than a little of the Mithran legend wrapped into the story of Christ. I personally believe that a man called Jesus existed, taught, tried to reform, and was executed. But I do not believe he was god, nor immortal, nor born of a virgin, etc. Jesus’ followers, moreso, Paul’s followers, created the mythos. The “Christian” religion is actually a “Paulian” religion.

  • My husband is always asking me why so-called Christians have replaced God with Jesus. He feels that this is a violation of God’s Commandments, and cannot understand why people insist that they must worship Jesus for their salvation. He points out that Jesus will speak for those who seek a good judgment as an advocate, but when you read Matthew 25 about how that process goes, it is clear that God will be the Judge, not Jesus.

    As a minister, I tend to agree with him on this one – Jesus is not God, he is the Son of God. He brought us God’s message – love one another and love God, and be of service to mankind. Most Christian leaders today seem to have missed that fine point – Jesus is NOT God, nor did he ascend to replace God anymore than any other man does. That the people of the early church felt that they had to create this idea of a Trinity with all of them being one and the same, and that only through Jesus could you find salvation, they were creating not only a specific faith that would benefit them and the state, but also put barriers up between humanity and God. Whether you believe in God or not, this kind of mentality continues today.

    God creates all life and He does not make imperfect people. That people claiming to talk for God seek to exclude anyone is an anathema to me. I run an online ecumenical church, and if the author would like me to register her church on my website, I will be more than happy to do so, just as I would register any other faith’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc. as places where people can find acceptance in keeping with God’s plans for humanity. And anyone who wants to seek me out to learn more about God’s New Message for mankind is more than welcome to contact me through the website.

    Rev. Devon J. Noll
    New Word Universal Fellowship Church
    http://www.newworduniversalfellowship.org

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    A fundamental truth. All religions teach this basic tenet, which is well and good. It’s the rest of the dogma that makes it go south.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    We know that Paul was influenced by the Greek Mystery religions that were prevalent in Tarsus, so it makes perfect sense that these Greek elements would make their way into the religion that would eventually be called “Christianity.”

    Christianity is genealogically Jewish, but theologically Greek.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    >”What they are, however, is reactionary, in their values. And that’s more than bad enough.”

    Amen, brother. You said a mouthful there.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I read a Rabbi’s description once” “David had a beautiful garden in which he grew tomatoes. Paul came along and planted cucumbers in the same garden and told everyone that the roots of the cucumbers were the tomatoes”. Same garden. Two distinctly different plans.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    Nice analogy, but instead of cucumbers, poisoned punji sticks is more like the crop Paul planted.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    What about the Ebionites?

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    I understand its hard for people to comprehend an actual truth. If you want to uphold Aravis’ failure as some kind of marker, go for it.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Clueless.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    If you have a substantive reply, let’s hear it. I’m prepared to debate the matter.

    If not, then, well, your statement doesn’t have much credibility, does it?

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    We know virtually nothing about them, other than that which is described in the Church Fathers.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Got an argument? Otherwise, you’re just grunting and making noises.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Aren’t the writings of Paul the oldest record of any Christianity that we have? If you are talking about an even older Christianity aren’t you basing that on nothing (besides things that were made up much later than Paul)?

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Yes, Frank. As always, you are clueless.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Well, the red letters in the Bible do make it pretty clear what Jesus’ message was. Jesus’ followers are to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted (ailing), and love their neighbors as themselves. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    And you, sirrah, are chief amongst those who lack understanding.

  • RobinCeleste75@gmail.com' RobinCeleste says:

    If you have no content to your faith (doctrines) and you know nothing about the object of your faith (God/Jesus) then just what is the point of your faith? I’m not sure why anyone who does not believe what Christians have historically believed, and who do not think that God has left us a reliable witness in the Bible would still bother to call themselves Christians. It seems more intellectually honest to call yourself an agnostic or an atheist.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Heh. You’re preaching this hot mess to an observant Jew, sweetie.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with any of this. I was simply distinguishing between history and the sort of narrative that we find in books like the NT.

    Addendum: I realize, now, that you may have misunderstood me. I am Jewish, not Christian. It just happens that the period I studied at University was late Second Temple and inter-testamental, so I’ve studied the source material on Christianity quite a lot.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    >”why anyone who does not believe what Christians have historically believed, and who do not think that God has left us a reliable witness in the Bible would still bother to call themselves Christians. It seems more intellectually honest to call yourself an agnostic or an atheist.”

    Exactly so, which is why more and more of us are doing what you suggest all the time.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    Tell that to the Driscolls, Osteens and bazillions of other megachurch running con man hacks around.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    I would love to, frankly, but they have figured out how to turn other people’s poverty into their own enrichment. The “prosperity gospel” is a big ol’ scam.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    Luke, evidently, was a scientist in his time. He researched diligently, and wrote a gospel that differs in many ways from the others, though Mark is the oldest, and based, supposedly, on an even older document that, IIRC, is called Q.

    There is enough evidence to support the existence of a rabbi called Jesus from Nazareth, IMHO. But as Aravis pointed out, Jesus was a Jew, and a reformer. The PTB of the time didn’t care for his viewpoint and had the Romans execute him.

    Of course, there is no absolute proof, one way or the other. No one will ever know the whole of it for sure.

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    ROFLMAO! Frank, Frank, Frank.

    Actual truths can be proven, or at least have a huge amount of evidence that suppports them, like evolution. There is NO proof of any god’s existence, nor any proof that Jesus was in any way divine. Or any proof he even existed, for that matter.

    You have strong BELIEFS. And yes, there are some “universal ethical standards” in your holy book, along with other holy books. But to talk about “truth” as you do is quite a stretch.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Luke was not a historian and Q was an invented source probably to make up for the fact that Paul was older than the gospel record, and his writings don’t support the gospels.

    If there was a rabbi named Jesus at the start of the first century, Paul was not writing about this person because Paul was writing about the Jesus that was being discovered in Old Testament scriptures and in professed visions. The gospels were not talking about this person because they were busy making up their own stories about Jesus and they were writing decades, generations later. If you go down the list, there is no book in the new testament that is about this Jesus person. That means Jesus of the Bible and Christianity is a myth, and not a historical person.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    This is a summarized paragraph of information that I have otherwise in too many articles to enter here:
    /
    Ebionites, or Ebionaioi (Greek: Ἐβιωναῖοι; derived from Hebrew אביונים ebyonim, ebionim, meaning “the poor” or “poor ones”), is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian movement that existed during the early centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah while rejecting his divinity and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish law and rites The Ebionites used only one of the Jewish Gospels, revered James the Just and rejected Paul of Tarsus as an apostate from the Law. Their name suggests that they placed a special value on voluntary poverty. The Ebionim was one of the terms used by the sect at Qumran that sought to separate themselves from the corruption of the Temple, whom many believe were the Essenes.”
    /

    This covers what you posted:
    “Since historical records by the Ebionites are scarce, fragmentary and disputed, much of what is known or conjectured about the Ebionites derives from the Church Fathers, who wrote polemics against the Ebionites, whom they deemed heretical Judaizers”

    I would think that criticisms would present the most honest manner of preservation of the beliefs of these people. It would be less likely to alter them.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Jews thinking someone was the Messiah is nothing special. There was a Messiah a week, in those days.

    Jews thinking someone was God, however, is another story.

  • imjessietr@yahoo.com' Kelly says:

    Jesus loves us, even if you’re too much of a Pharisee to love us yourself.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    What Jews thought Jesus was God? Other than Messianic Jews (recent), I can’t think of any. Surely they would know their own scriptures well enough not to bite for that.
    /
    Even most Christians think that Jesus was the SON of God, either literal or symbolic. Fundamentalists are the only ones I know of who think Jesus WAS/IS God.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    That’s my point. I think we’re talking past each other.

    My original comment was in response to RobinCeleste, who said that “Jesus’s Apostles thought he was God.” My answer to that was, “If we are talking about the actual, historical followers of Jesus, who were Jews, they certainly did *not*.”

    As for the second point, all Christians believe that he is both the son of God *and* God. That’s the whole point of the triune God.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    The idea of Jesus IS God is never taken literally in the mainstream who believe he only the son of God, not God himself, albeit in a relationship called the trinity, with only the unity of purpose, as in a father-son relationship.. The first that I heard of the “Jesus IS God himself” was from Christian evangelical fundamentalists a few years ago. It was as foreign to me as it would be to most people, including most mainstream people.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I’m just telling you what the theology says. I can’t speak to the beliefs of the average believer. But according to the theology, the triune God consists of three parts, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    This feels weird. I’m an atheist, a bisexual, a lifelong proudly Progressive Democrat — the sort that considers the Party needs to pull itself back from its current centeredness at ‘Rockefeller Republican.’ Instinctively I hate these people and all they stand for. Add to that the fact that I care enough about science that I shudder over the thought that North and Rushdoony split because North couldn’t accept Rushdoony’s geocentrism, of all things. On the other hand, if there are groups who I should be supportive of, it’s the T2A crew.
    But maybe I can explain it when I say why I can no longer support, or even stand to read, most of the T2A people — Rachel Tabatchnick being the exception. These are people who are so scared and disturbed by the actions of the Religious Right that they have lost all sense of proportion and sometimes of common sense. They are so eager to make their points, to wake us up to the danger of the RR that they seem to swallow any piece of evidence that they think points in their direction, and have grown more and more conspiratorial.
    (Have we totally forgotten that when Chip Berlet first started talking about ‘The Family’ it was not just as a conspiratorial group with tendrils deep into the wheels of government — of governments, in fact. But the representative of The Family, the ‘shadowy candidate they were maneuvering into the White House was … Hillary Clinton. — Another irony for me, because I personally feel that the nominee presumptive would be disastrous as a candidate and difficult as a President. But she’s hardly a Christian version of the Manchurian Candidate — and as for The Family, in retrospect, can we admit that Berlet was too believing of their own propaganda, too acceptant that whatever dark aspirations they might profess that they were actively attempting to achieve? In fact, they turned out to be little more than a boarding house for people who proclaimed their ‘Christianity’ but were mostly glad to have a way to get away from their wives. They were far more the Raccoons than the Klan, no matter how much they spoke of their world-changing aspirations.)
    Far too often we need to watch the famous Elsa Lanchester TWILIGHT ZONE episode after reading a few of these articles. Yes, the true Dominionists, the Radical; Reconstructionists are awful people, and if they had the slightest possibility of gaining power in even a small town, this would be scary. But there just aren’t enough true followers of North and Rushdoony to fill the average High School Gym. — at least religious followers, North has a tiny influence because of his service on Ron Paul’s staff, but I doubt if many of the libertarians who think they are following ‘one of their own’ in Daddy Paul would even understand — and certainly would not accept — the religious ideas. In fact, when they are faced with the connection they just deny it because they as much as we know that North is a nut.
    Please understand me. I am not whitewashing these people, or denying the danger they represent — but the danger is not in their ideas but in the way their language plays the tunes that too many voters dance to. The candidates who beg for their support will sing the Siren song, yes, but how many true theocrats are really out there, or how many people take the theocratic idea as anything more than a ‘pleasant’ (*gaaahhh*) dream for the far future — and if you actually asked them if they would really support many of these ideas when they were spelled out in front of them, they wouldn’t — even as authentically ‘hateful’ as they are.
    Again, how many of you think that even Sarah Palin would support the stoning of fornicators or adulterers? In fact, if you really see someone as a Christian Theocrat — ask yourself if you think this person would support a law, in a state or in the nation, that would return divorce to the “Christian Ideal” forbidden in all cases except for adultery? Ask yourself how many of the voters for him would?
    No, we HAVE to fight against these people, fight them at the ballot boxes, in the public discussions, wherever they begin to shape the ‘climate of opinion.’ But we’ll fight them better if we actually keep them in perspective, know the difference between a Bryan Fisher — with real influence — and a Linda Harvey or an IHOPrayer type, realize how incredibly high the proportion of pure hustlers and conmen fill the ranks — as well as the typical Republican ‘promise ’em anything, since we can’t deliver we can keep making the same promises for decades’ attitude.
    Put THEM on the defensive. Laugh at them, show them as the stupid idiots they are — if you are qualified, show them how little they know of their own Bible — and follow the leadership of Colbert rather than Berlet. Take our positions, take them proudly, and force them to say why they oppose ideas that are so obvious, and so humane. Challenge them on their stereotypes.
    Laughter, not fear, is our greatest weapon — bur our second greatest is a determination to follow FACTS, and not to exaggerate, not to twist, but simply to demonstrate such an ability to back up our statements that we can’t be challenged successfully on them.
    Yet another long-winded rant from the local specialist in same.

  • conjurehealing@gmail.com' conjurehealing says:

    The red letter Bible.. wow that is really clever, now how about these words:

    “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.”

    Yup, that “real” message of Jesus is pretty clear!

  • phatkhat@centurylink.net' phatkhat says:

    I see your point, but disagree. The only one at T2A that I think kind of went over the edge is Bruce Wilson, and he hasn’t been writing there of late. Chris Rodda specializes in debunking David Barton and the revisionists, Cocozzelli specializes in Catholic issues, and Rob Boston is Communications Director for AU.

    The Reconstructionists may not get a lot of support for their more radical ideas. But the Dominionists of the NAR variety – like Palin – are a lot more dangerous. They have pretty much taken over the GOP, and in some instances, have candidates on both the GOP and Dem tickets, as they recently did in Maryland.

    They deal in garden-variety hate and bigotry, and believe me, they have a large following. I don’t know where you are from, but I’m from the South, and believe me, they have power.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Are they? Think about the last eight years, when the nuts have been let out of the nuthouse and have been running wild. What have they actually accomplished? Have they ever even produced a protest gathering that had as many as 5000 people there? Have they turned the drive towards SSM around — or has their resistance actually been one reason why support for SSM is over 50%? Have they actually succeeded in any of their even minor projects? (One example, there’s always talk of some group or another — usually of the most hateful of these types — moving in to a town and taking it over — but it never happens.)
    They haven’t driven gays back underground — or even off television and judicial benches. They have, at best, managed successful delaying actions, maintaining against challenges things that once would have been accepted unchallenged.
    Even where they have elected Congresspeople, they have done little but join in Republican delaying tactics. The Governors they elected have more often than not, moved from the State House to the Courthouse on the way to the Jail House. And while they and their legislatures have passed truly horrible, murderous laws, they haven’t been religious in any but the minds of rare defenders. Neither the 2nd Amendment or Medicaid expansion is in the Bible — nor are the arguments they use to support them. (For those two, the best Biblical reference is “Thou Shall not Kill.” They are authentically homicidal — ‘reckless disregard.’)
    And when they went too heavy on Republican ‘economics’ they so wrecked the state that they have even managed to turn a deep red state like Kansas into an almost bluish purple state.
    And as for their more religious aims overall, rather than making America more “Christian” every action heightens awareness of American religious diversity, and never has the ‘no time for religion’ crowd — not just atheists and agnostics but simple secularists — been a fifth of the size it is now — at least since the days of the Founding Fathers.
    And yes, they have created an atmosphere of hate — and it is unimportant whether it was newly created or merely newly ‘respectable’ but time after time they have created an almost ‘Hegelian antithesis’ — had to get some official pomposity in here somewhere. But think of how every single prominent action they have done has moved the country away from their position. Gays, blacks, atheists, women — particularly feminists (who, of course need not be women) — all have gained visibility, popularity, power. (And it is interesting how many religious rules are broken every day on tv, from gays in prominent positions, to women ‘in authority over men’ etc.)
    They produced far better spokesmen to oppose them, George Takei, Stephen Colbert, Wendy Davis, the “You Can Play’ Project, even an atheist community so acceptant of itself it could dare attack the fools on its side.
    Again, we have to fight them, we have to fight hard, and we have to win. But humor and ridicule, understanding and compassion, avoiding overstatement or our own stereotyping all are weapons as well as the others we talk about using.
    And maybe the best weapon — or at least the best shield and defensive weapon — is a simple slogan:
    DON’T LET THEM SCARE YOU
    Whew!

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    And — okay, a hobby horse — is Jesus’ version of words originally from Hillel.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Sounds about right. I disagree with many of you about the real existence of this rabbi, a fact I find as undeniable as many of you find it incredible, and I regret that yet again this is not the proper place for Jim Reed and I to have a delightful ‘knock-down, drag-out’ over the question. But as for the ‘Christian’ view of Jesus, yes, too often it is ‘what the believer’s imagination conjures up.’
    Maybe a better way of putting it would be to describe the figure of Jesus — for these folks — as an ’empty suit’ (literally like a Halloween costume, not the metaphor) that they can walk into an empty, mirrored room and put on, forget they’ve done so, and then listen to the words they are speaking and swear that they are the words of Jesus. (Not consciously, nor are they consciously, in most cases, creating those speeches, but assembling them from their own subconscious and the memories of what they have heard from their parents and preachers.)
    That’s for those who are even aware that he was a preacher and a teacher. Too often — and this grows the further ‘right’ you move — Christians are so involved with the idea of Jesus as a magical “Get Out of Hell Free” card that they aren’t even aware that he did, in fact, speak. For them Paul, or, at best, John (the evangelist, not the fantasy fiction writer of the Apocalypse), is the foundation of their idea of Jesus — two people who neither met the man or — as at least Paul admits — never heard him speak. They never bother with the Synoptics — and sometimes think they already know what’s in the part between the manger and the cross, but usually they don’t.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Lora, any chance you can reread your posts and actually check them before hitting post — I say, as if I always do. The fact is that the ‘angels on the head of a pin was a dispute among Medieval Christians — and wasn’t quite as absurd as it is usually seen as. (I believe — but am not sure — that it was a way of Christian theologians dealing with the idea and meaning of the concept of infinity and the conundrums it brought. Does anyone, btw, know if this had any even temporal connection with the rediscovery of Greek philosophical ideas like the paradoxes of Zeno?)
    The Roman/Greek split was more to do with the question — again seemingly unimportant, but in fact touching on the entire Trinitarian concept — as to whether the Holy Spirit ‘proceeded’ from just The Father or The Father and the Son — the ‘filioque’ question. (Administratively, it also dealt with whether the Bishop/Metropolitan of Rome was merely the equal of the other Metropolitans — if ‘first among equals’ — or if this Bishop was uniquely the sole head with the other Metropolitans under him.)

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Sometimes in my earliest posts of the day I can be harsher than, on retrospection, I meant to be. This was a prime example. I may have been right to be exasperated by this particular statement, I was simply wrong to generalize it into a criticism of Lora, whose contributions are quite valuable even if I frequently disagree.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Your first paragraph is much better — though (okay, saddle up yet another hobby horse) you need to add in the influence that Zoroastrianism had on both Judaism — at least ‘folk Judaism,’ ‘Judaism as she was spoke’ — and on early Christianity. We tend to forget that Israel was under the Overlordship of the Persians far longer than it was under the Romans, and that, unlike Roman polytheistic paganism, Zoroastrianism was a true monotheism, and almost the only other one around. (It has the semi-dualism that Christianity introduced with the revised concept of Satan — I’d argue that it was the source of the revision, because Satan in the Hebrew Bible is “God’s Prosecuting Attorney” not his adversary. But as with Christianity, it retains the right to call itself a monotheism by subordinating the ‘spirit of destruction’ to the ‘one true God,’ making him — as Satan is in some Christian theologies — actually performing a necessary service under the rule or even the command of the O.T.G.
    Unfortunately, your second one is a bit of a mess. Paul — who wrote prior to the Gospels — does not, I believe, use the ‘virgin birth; story at all. That does come from the Gospels, and specifically from the Synoptics, Matthew and Luke but not Mark. And remember even Paul was talking to a Christian church already fragmenting — and that he was not ‘writing theology’ but instead was simply writing letters to Churches — many of which he had founded — basically because he was unable at the time to visit them in person, helping to settle disputes that were arising (mostly because of Jesus’ sincere and undeniable and even by then almost certainly dubious belief — that even those later evil “Christians” couldn’t write out of the Bible because it was too well known — that he and his hearers were living in ‘the End Times.).
    In fact it was the words he spoke that seem to be, along with the crucifixion, the one undeniably true part of the Bible. Not all of them, certainly, there is a lot of obvious and provable myth even in the Synoptics — has anyone noticed I don’t have too much respect for John — and particularly in things like the ‘Great Commission” — and anything else he is supposed to have said after the supposed Resurrection — or the words at the various versions of the various trials he was supposed to have gone through. But the careful and entirely Jewish antiphone of “You have heard it said … but I say unto you” (not a claim of ‘unique authority’ merely the way a rabbi — then or now — presents an argument), the echoing of Hillel, and the blunders about the End Times are among my strongest arguments that he did exist and that these segments are almost certainly as close to actual quotes as we are likely to get.
    I think far too many of you are making too much of the echoing of the ‘sacrificial man-God’ theme. Sure, it was stolen, but Christianity has always been willing to steal anything that might help them in their cause — even changing the supposed season of Jesus’ birth that had been accepted for seven centuries so they could grab the Winter solstice celebration away from pagans and Christianize it. But the Christians were able to steal it because it wasn’t that different from what some groups already believed — see Ehrman.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    The irony of this is that Jesus and Hillel were both Pharisees or leaning that way — forerunners of Torah Judaism that was to become ‘simple Judaism’ more than they were defenders of the rival ‘temple Judaism.’ You might read Dimont on this, though he is probably too kind to them, seeing them as the ‘reform Jews’ of the time — he himself is a modern ‘reform Jew.’
    It was only later when the Christians were desperate to distance themselves from the Jews the Roman Empire had recently and after an unexpectedly long struggle finally beaten and dispersed that they made Jesus speak against what were the most prominent type of Jews to Roman eyes.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Actually it is ‘mystical thinking’ of any kind, and lack of true critical and evidence-based thinking. And I agree with those who say ‘divisive’ is not necessarily wrong — the reverse leads to a morass of ‘false equivalencies’ and really results in ignoring the fact that ideas have consequences. I want to be able to divide Fred Phelps, Jody Hice, Brian Fisher, and Tony Perkins from the mass of Christians.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Okay, one last one, then i’ll stop paging down, I promise. but this is much more of a task than you think it is. Just to give you a hint, the Jewish Messiah was not a spiritual figure at all but a military leader — though he was expected to be accompanied by a rabbi who would testify to his authenticity. The most successful Messianic claimant, in fact, bar Kochba, was not merely not highly religious, but almost a scoffer of the “God, I don’t care if you help me, just don’t help my enemies’ type. (If you happen to know anything at all about Kemal Ataturk, it has always struck me that if there were an afterlife,

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    It really is time to retire this use of “Pharisee” as a term of condemnation. It is an insult to every Jew. The entire Rabbinical tradition comes from the Pharisees.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to Christian readers, Jim. This is a paragraph that deals with it from Outreach Judaism: “In Judaic texts, the term messiah was used for all kings, high priests,
    certain warriors, but never eschatological figures. In the Tanach, moshiach is used 38 times: two
    patriarchs, six high priests, once for Cyrus, 29 Israelite kings such as Saul
    and David. Not once is the word moshiach
    used in reference to the awaited Messiah. Even in the apocalyptic book of
    Daniel, the only time moshiach is
    mentioned is in connection to a murdered high priest. ”
    Yes there was to be an afterlife but only after a period of one year. When the body died, the soul went to Sheul and then to the afterlife OR never woke at all. This is the idea of DEATH of the soul and if one were to LIVE, one was to be righteous, charitable and follow the Law (commandments) – 613 for Jews, 7 for Noahides or righteous gentiles.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Glad to see you read Ehrman. Eisenman and McCoby fill out the rest. There are those who argue that McCoby is way off base but with his knowledge as a Hebrew biblical scholar and historian makes much more sense than all the spinnery-driven apologetics anywhere else.

    Certainly, Zoroastrianism was a basis for Christianity. Roman soldiers brought it home and it existed in Rome before and alongside Christianity for some 200 years. In fact the fathers of Christianity complained that the devil had invented Mithraism (an offshoot of Zoroastrianism) in advance to mimic Christianity yet Christian churches today exist, built on the ruins of Mithraic temples.

    I doubt that the man, Jesus, uttered very many of the words that are written in the NT. Take what he would have preached as a Jew to errant Jews and then separately, take what he (as a man god invented 30 years after the fact) preached to others (words put in his mouth by gentile writers) and there you have it and you also have the explanation for why Jesus, at times,
    seemed to be at war with himself.

    Agreed that Christianity hijacked almost everything it has from Judaism and mostly from paganism. In fact, I still maintain that Christianity is simply the last and biggest of the pagan beliefs of the world.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    Dunno know, Jim, sometimes the comments here get me het up and I let loose, as I’m sure you do at times. You’ve obviously delved into areas I have not and if you find something you feel I need to research, feel free to let me know. I’ll certainly appreciate new avenues to explore.

  • revtheodyke says:

    He does have a new book out. Perhaps it’s time to revisit him!

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I believe he is now sounding less sure about some things than he was before.

  • sink0014@gmail.com' Eric says:

    Oh please. I know that the the leadership of gaychurch.org tried to post an article on Candace’s “Whosoever” magazine and it was rejected as “too traditional”. What a hypocrite.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Obviously we will not agree on what is truth and what is construct. But that is not because one of us is creating her own god and the other isn’t. It’s because one of us believes whatever he is told, and the other doesn’t.

  • revtheodyke says:

    That’s completely untrue. I have never had a submission by them before, and if you’ve ever read the magazine you’d see that there are a mix of voices there. I don’t agree with the theology of everyone who writes there. The purpose of the magazine is to provide a wide range of voices, which we have done since 1996.

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    Aravis, the following snark is not meant as disrespect to you, just as a way of opening the topic and shaking up a few heads so that the open side is ‘more to the top.’ And I am aiming it at you only because the actual questions I have to ask may be ones that you have answers to, because I don’t. So…
    /
    Aravis, did “Mark” use the hardback edition of Paul’s letters, or did he wait until the revised and expanded paperback edition was published?
    /
    The question is, of course, absurd, but it brings up the points I want to make. Yes, Paul’s letters were written prior to Mark’s Gospel, but what I don’t know — and what I personally have never seen discussed — is when and how they were distributed to other churches and to other readers.
    /
    We forget that these were not written as ‘sacred texts’ to be considered the equivalent — at least — of the writings of the Prophets in the Hebrew bible. There was no Christian ‘sacred text’ at all at the time.
    /
    These were letters, and so designed. Not even ‘epistles,’ a slightly different form of writing. (Enslin has a nice description of the difference on page 213 of CHRISTIAN BEGINNINGS, one of the — for me — essential books on the topic even though it is 80 years old. If you are unaware of it, there are quite a few copies of both editions on various bookseller sites — the hardback is in one volume, the paperback — Torchbook edition — splits the book into two volumes, the first containing the historical background, the second a discussion of ‘THE LITERATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT’ the title used for what was Part II in the original book. Unless I state differently, any mention of “Enslin” refers to this book.)
    /
    They were simply Paul answering some questions that had arisen in churches he had, mostly, founded, sending letters because he was unable to visit the Churches in person. (And the fact that he frequently used women as messengers who were to be treated and listened to as if they were Paul himself shows that the comments about ‘women are not to be allowed to preach’ are later interpolations, and that Paul is not quite the misogynist he is occasionally portrayed as being.)
    /
    But when did these letters get passed around to churches other than the ones they were addressed to? How were they gathered together? (Did someone go from Church to Church asking to copy any letters they had from Paul? Did the Churches ‘swap letters’ with the Church at Ephesus sending its letter to Corinth in exchange for a copy of the letter Paul had sent to them? For that matter, did Paul himself keep copies and were they found among his effects? I have, as I stated, never seen such a question raised.)
    /
    (And it leads to the secondary question as to how complete is the collection we have? Could Paul have sent other letters that simply weren’t preserved by the recipient churches, or were lost over time? It is a fascinating speculation, what Paul might have written that we don’t have. Sadly, it can be nothing more.)
    /
    Then the question is ‘who was Mark,, where was he located, and what chance did he, in fact, have to see the letters from Paul?’ He is generally seen as being connected to Peter in some way, which means he was probably at either Rome or with the original ‘Jerusalem Group’ — or he could have traveled with Peter from Jerusalem to Rome. (There are, apparently questions as to what language his gospel was in fact written in, with the possibility that it could have been in Latin, not in Greek, and with at least some speculation that it may even have been written in Aramaic — or at least by someone who ‘thought in Aramaic and translated as he wrote.’ Enslin 380-381 has a good, if brief discussion of this with several footnotes that would be of interest to someone with access to the sort of academic library in which these articles could be found.)
    /
    But how likely is it that he could have seen a letter to Ephesus, to Corinth, to ‘Galatia’? Is there, in fact, any evidence other than chronology that Mark or the later Synoptics had ‘absorbed the Christology in the Pauline literature?

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    We don’t know the answers to these questions. Indeed, we know virtually nothing about the writers of the books of the New Testament.

    I am simply speaking, here, in a simplified way, to what the current predominant view is in the scholarship. But understand that when you are dealing with history this old and this poorly sourced, the potential theories are radically underdetermined by the data.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    Leo Baeck described Christianity as the last great, Greek Mystery Religion, in his “Judaism and Christianity.”

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I totally agree. What I’m very much afraid of though is that this last great Greek Mystery Religion in its most rigid form will become, as it hopes to, the state religion here. This form tends to kill off, quite literally, all that it is not in agreement with.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. The demographics are all pointed against it. The evangelical churches are hemorrhaging young people (the largest growing religious demographic is the “nones”). In a generation or two, they’ll be nothing but a footnote.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I wonder. It’s true that many evangelical churches are losing their young but they are also draining the more right wing from the mainstream churches which are almost disappearing. What the none side lacks is the determination, organization and the financial backing that the extreme right wing does have as in the Koch brothers and the very rich Council for National Policy. The extreme right wing are almost crazy with determination, look forward to “end times” and are “secure” in the sure knowledge that they will be raptured out of harm’s way after instigating conflagration in the middle east. They have the backing of Big oil, corporations and private wealthy interests like the Kochs. It’s another David/Goliath moment in time, it seems.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    I agree, but that it is a finite group of people. Once they die out, the next generations are much less religious. And even the young evangelicals are less right wing on things like homosexuality and women.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Wide range of voices is kind of the opposite of religion.

  • flame@yourlink.ca' lorasinger says:

    I sure hope you’re right. I see my relative bundle his daughter off to a RR “University” 1000 miles away to study some mundane thing, taught right within her own city, but with the intent of exposing her to young men that are suitable in daddy’s extreme right wing eyes to mate with his chaste daughter, to raise a batch of home schooled “as many as God gives me” offspring as arrive. And I see him also bundle his son, who wants to be an artist, off to a seminary school for pastors. The father meanwhile, spends his time annoying every living soul that has the misfortune of walking within 6 feet of him with constant proselytizing. When he’s free he hangs around abortion clinics protesting or approaching kids in the park to convert them. Aravis, I really wish there was a spray that worked on that kind of being.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Oh please. You sound desperate. The truth is there for everyone to see: homosexual behavior is a sin. No getting around that.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    You are in extreme denial of you think Gods truth about sexuality and marriage will ever change.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Desperate? That’s a strange one. Do you read things before you parrot your one anti-gay line over and over on everything?

    You don’t win by repeating yourself. Show me that you’re capable of a concept more complex than “homosexual behavior is a sin JUST BECAUSE.”

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    All available evidence supports homosexual behavior is always sinful. It’s you that has zero evidence.

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    You say “All available evidence supports homosexual behavior is always sinful.”

    So let’s see it. And if it’s just quotes from your book, it’s not evidence, it’s propaganda

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    You’re repeating yourself, and that is a complete non-sequitur.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Religion stuff is important, but there must be more to life than just religion. This may be off topic, but yesterday NASA announced what companies would get contracts to take people to the space station. Boeing and SpaceX. Did NASA just outmanuver congress here? Boeing is the favorite of congress, or at least the favorite of those profiting from it. The others in congress don’t really care one way or the other. Meanwhile, NASA might be a little concerned about turning development of space over to the military industrial complex, and feeding them billions in profit, and NASA never ends up getting to do the space related projects that they know could be done.

    As the conference went on, NASA always mentioned the two companies, Boeing and SpaceX, and Boeing was always mentioned first. Then in the question period it turned out Boeing gets 4.2 billion, and SpaceX 2.6 billion, but it is not a major and minor winner. Both are full winners, and the amounts were determined by their bids. Now congress is boxed in. If this is too expensive and they want to cut it back to one winner, SpaceX is being paid less, and they are farther along in real construction and launch terms, and they are developing a 21st century product that lands back on earth with pinpoint accuracy through its system of little rockets. The Boeing product looks more 20th century, and returns by parachute and splashes down in the ocean, or on land with some inflated air bags to cushion the landing so that it will be more comfortable than the Russian landings. Congress will now be hard pressed to defund the SpaceX project and continue just with Boeing. If they try reducing the amount of the awards, SpaceX will fly anyway, and Boeing will cancel because they can’t do anything that doesn’t make billions in profit.

    Now NASA has bought itself a little time to continue dumping 50 years of space knowledge to SpaceX because they know NASA will never be able to do these things, but they can do them vicariously thourgh SpaceX.

    The game is not over quite yet. Boeing has a new plan. They just teamed up with the world’s foremost authority on dirty tricks and patent wars and destroying the competion. Will he be able to beat Musk, or at least slow him down long enough for Boeing to collect more tens of billions of taxpayer money?

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Then show us. Where does God do anything but condemn homosexual behavior? Where does God condone and bless homosexual behavior?

    And don’t embarrass yourself by bring Michael Vines terrible fallacious interpretations.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    So sad.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    All available evidence supports homosexual behavior is always sinful.

    Really? Then cite some of this evidence. I’ll be especially curious to know how you apply this evidence to the bonobos, for example.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    So, is that an admission that you have no evidence?

    That’s pretty much what I thought.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Still sticking to that elementary school strategy of “I’m rubber you’re glue.” No surprise. You never had anything of substance.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    You are more than welcome to act like a chimp.

  • Candace, have you been born again?

  • mlg101@q.com' Mike Lee says:

    Yes, it is incredibly sad that you sit there and spout off about “all the evidence” when there’s NOTHING for you to rely on except meaningless words in a meaningless book. We’re still waiting for even one piece of “all the evidence.” Put up or shut up.

  • zinealine@gmail.com' cranefly says:

    Show me the evidence that the Bible was written by God, and I will show you that God created gay people just the way they are.

    I have no idea who Michael Vines is.

    What religion are you, Frank? Catholic, or self-appointed pope?

  • Fiona, “few there be that find it” are quite sobering words from Jesus, are they not?

  • Of course, someone can perform good deeds without giving their heart, will and soul to Jesus and His authority. Since God creates everyone in His image, there is beauty in one and all, whether they have accepted Jesus into their hearts and souls as Lord, Master and Saviour, or not. Each of us is gifted by Him uniquely to display His characteristics in each one’s distinct way. However, the good deeds that are done without acknowledging Him and giving Him all the glory, will be worthless in God’s sight. When we live for Jesus, out of our faith in Him, we will do good works in His name. Faith without works is dead. But works without faith in the One who calls us to Him is for naught. It will be burned up. If we bring material bread to the hungry without, at the same time, bringing them the Bread of Life, it is not significant to God. We must first give thanks and praise to the Maker of the bread, our Bread of Life. We must bear witness to the fact that He is the giver of all gifts, including bread, and that without Him, there would be nothing to give the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. Only because of Him do we even have life. Only because of Him do we have the hands, the feet, the mouth, the heart, the knowledge, and the compassion to reach out with eternal purpose to touch the life of another, to make a difference for good in this life, as well as a lasting difference in the next. It all boils down to abiding in Him.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Why, look! It’s one of the biggest bigots on the internet! Who would Jesus hate today, Ginny?

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    So, no citations then?

    That’s about what I thought.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    You never had anything of substance.

    That’s rich, coming from an imbecile like you.

    So, where are your sources? Where is “all the available evidence” that you claim?

    Why don’t you just admit that your source is your bunghole, Frank? We all know that anyway.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    If we bring material bread to the hungry without, at the same time,
    bringing them the Bread of Life, it is not significant to God.

    So, you can’t feed the hungry without demanding that they listen to a sermon?

    Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind. Especially since his words about public displays of piety being for audiences and not for God being pretty clear (Matt. 6:6).

  • Have you been born again, Fiona?

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Can’t answer the question, eh?

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Your constant deflection of the issues says a lot about you, Ginny.

  • Your warm welcome gives me such warm fuzzies, Fi, as does your habit of stalking.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    If you don’t want people to see where you post, Ginny, make your Disqus profile private. It’s not “stalking” when you provide the information freely.

    Thanks for continuing to be one of the biggest bigots on the internet, though. You, and people like you, are the reason that young people are walking away from your so-called churches in droves. No one wants to be part of your “Who Would Jesus Hate” religion, so you’re like a walking billboard for the exodus.

  • scaggs.jim@gmail.com' jim scaggs says:

    I am a fundamenalist and I do not think people should be forced to say merry Christmas or live in a certain way or believe in a certain dogma. Its none of my business how one wishes to live you cannot force people to accept Jesus all one can do is present the Gospel and yes there is a hell and a heaven and Jesus did rise from the dead and the Bible is true these
    are points of facts that I never argue or debate.So here it is Jesus did come to seek and to save sinners of which I was the chief of sinners and by his grace I am made whole and yes one must live ones life as the prescribed in scripture but this is a personal choice and yes it is true Jesus is the only way that one can obtain eternal life so there it is call me narrow minded or homophobic or whatever you wish too all I will say is In Jesus name I love you and will pray for each of you.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I like to think we are beyond that stage.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Jim,
    It is smart of you to refuse to argue or debate. The Bible doesn’t hold up well in an open discussion, so your best chance is to stick with belief based purely on faith.

    One of the clearcut Bible problems is the timing of the telling of the story of Lazarus. Here was Jesus’ greatest miracle, this person had been rotting in the grave for 3 days, and just to show God’s power Jesus was in no hurry to fix things. When the time was right, He used the power of his voice to command Lazarus to come back to life, and walk out of the grave, and probably live to an old age. The problem is this story shows up in the last gospel, that was written decades after the first gospel, that was written decades after Paul’s letters, and none of the other gospel writers knew about the Lazarus story. Paul who was writing in the middle of the century actually didn’t know about any of the gospel stories. So this particular story, Jesus’ greatest miracle, wasn’t known to Christianity until about a hundred years later, either that or the writer of John made it up. That seems more likely. There is no way to believe this is truth from God unless you just ignore the reality of the timing. At least that is how it seems to me. True believing Christians all seem to have no problem believing this is God’s word, and they seem to be totally incapable of understanding there is any problem here.

  • revtheodyke says:

    Yes.

  • Fiona and Plum, what did I deflect?

    I was born in the morning, Fi, but not yesteday morning.

    Right, because the progressive, anti-God training kids receive in our brain-washing government schools has nothing to do with why young people reject Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords,

    “So-called churches?”

  • You would like to think so, Jim? What does that even mean?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Born again is more a state of the church collective encouraging people to join in the thought processes. You go through a spiritual experience that is driven by expectations of the church. It seems real to you because everyone is telling each other how real the experience is. Once you see that, it is possible to rise above that experience to a higher level of consciousness.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    You still haven’t answered the question I asked, despite it having been repeated for you. Your response is more deflection.

    Thanks for continuing to prove my point about your bigotry in the name of Jesus, and your inability to follow what Jesus actually taught.

    And yes, “so-called churches.” When you refer, as you have done many times, to bigots and abusers like Chuck Colson and James Dobson as “exemplary men,” you show that your beliefs are diametrically opposed to those of Jesus.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Elementary school children know the citations. What’s your excuse?

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Jesus tell us the bread and water of life is much more important than a meal.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Says the person we all know has no idea what they are talking about. Pitiful.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Still no answer to the question?

    That’s about what I thought.

    You’re such a fucking hypocrite, Frankie.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Chapter and verse, please.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    As you know, Frankie, I won’t do your homework for you. Put up or shut up.

    Or, alternately, admit that you have no citations.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Your willful ignorance is pitiful. A child could reference it.

    John 6

    26Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” 30So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’” 32Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

    35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.36“But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.40“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    And where did he say that the physical meal was unimportant?

    Oh yeah. Nowhere.

    You lose, Cranky Frankie. Again.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “I’ve also been kicked out of the Christian club for not believing in
    other orthodox doctrines and dogma including the Trinity, a literal,
    bodily resurrection of Jesus and the notion that Jesus died for my sins.”

    If
    the author does not believe in the Trinity then she is not a
    Christian. The Trinity is the most foundation belief of all of
    Christianity. Without it Christianity makes little sense. If she does
    not believe in a bodily resurrection then there is no hope for heaven
    and our salvation. If Jesus did not die for our sins then again there
    is no hope of salvation and what she believes is not Christian. I can
    say that I play in the NFL but if I never practice with a NFL team nor
    play in any games then I probably do not play on a team. Same with the
    author of this piece. She can say that she is a Christian but if she
    rejects major historical Christian beliefs then she is not a christian.
    Her belief sounds more like the heresies that often plagued
    Christianity throughout the centuries.

    “I replied: “We’re not creedal in the sense that we recite creeds or
    require others to recite them or affirm what are contained in them. We
    don’t really do a doctrinal ‘sniff test’ on people. Instead, we ask that
    they affirm the only creed Jesus ever affirmed, which is one of love
    for self and others and a dedication to service in the world.”

    Hmmm.
    So Jesus only confirmed love of self and others and a dedication to
    service in the world. maybe I have been reading the wrong Bible and New
    testament and met the wrong Jesus since Jesus often spoke about Hell
    (and the reality of i). Jesus also confirmed the Shema which most
    important point is the we are to Love God with our whole being. Jesus
    also prays to His Father and speaks about another Helper or counselor
    (the Holy Spirit).

    Finally I do not think it is loving to
    others to not tell them the truth or encourage them to believe in the
    Truth of Scripture. It seems less loving to pay more attention to
    getting along and helping other love themselves than to encourage them
    to love God.

    There is not much different in the author’s
    version of Christianity than many other religions. I will keep
    believing in the Truth of scriptures.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Hmm I am not sure you understand the concept of winning.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    I’m not sure you understand much of anything, Cranky Frankie.

    Have you sought help yet for being a self-loathing closet case? Please do. You’ll be much happier.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Always reduced to insults when you are proven wrong. Pitiful.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    You haven’t proven me or anyone else wrong, Frankie. You have, however, done a fabulous job of demonstrating the depths of your ignorance.

    Again, seek competent psychiatric help for your self-loathing and internalized homophobia, Frank. You’ll feel much better afterwards, and you won’t feel the need to behave like a dry alcoholic who’s drunk on Jesus.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Your dismissal reminds me of the derogatory fantasies that homophobes cook up to explain how people “choose” to be gay – equally condescending, egotistical and degrading.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Thanks, I take that as a complement.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Well, how desperately sad that is then, to purposefully emulate bigots.

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Yup always reduced to insults when proven wrong. Thanks for confirming that yet again. Gosh you are easy.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Still can’t answer the question, I see …

    You’re an angry little boy, Frankie. Seek help.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    she is not a Christian.

    I don’t think you get to decide who is or is not a Christian, frankly. I mean, I don’t think our Cranky-Frankie troll is much of a Christian, because Jesus wouldn’t recognize his words in Frankie’s ugly mouth .. .but Frank claims he is a Christian nevertheless.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    I would like to believe that Ginny has progressed to the point of minding her own business, but alas …

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That is just the way you want to see things,.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Your arrogant dismissal affirms my point.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    So everybody is happy.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Especially the billy goats who were able to cross the bridge while you were distracted.

    Enjoy your prejudice, knowing that you are operating on the same moral level as homophobes like Pat Robertson, and racists like David Duke.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    Fiona, Thank you for the reply. Anyone can claim they are a Christian. That does not mean that they are a Christian. I agree that those who spew hatred do not demonstrate the love of Jesus.

    I am not really making a claim that the author is not a Christian as much as rejecting her claim that she is one even though she seems to reject how Christians throughout the centuries have defined themselves. So the question really is why does she get to reject the traditional, long standing, and basic beliefs of Christianity and still be called a Christian? I side with the view held down throughout the centuries. Her views are very new and novel. This does not make them automatically wrong. There have been radical changes in Christian beliefs as Christians have found themselves to be in the wrong. For instance many Christians (and most people) used to believe slavery was okay. Now neither Christians nor most people accept that slavery is moral. This change in beliefs occurred somewhat quickly but I feel it was still right and displays the teaching of the Bible. I think may would view the changes of belief during the Reformation in a similar light (although I believe it was a return (in the West) to the teaching of the other church). But anyways most Christians today do not believe as she does. Most have not rejected the basic beliefs of Christianity. So there has not been a quick change as described above. She and some select denominations have novel beliefs that I can only describe as non-Christian because they do not line up with what Christians have held to and continue to hold to as the basics of their faith.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think I knew if I explained what it means to be born again some people would probably react to that, but then I went and explained it anyway. I feel like RD might be the only place where we can discuss religious topics, so I think we should at least try even if there are risks.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    So you knew that you if you posted a false and derogatory fantasy about ‘what it means to be born again’, you’d be rebuked, but you did so anyways.

    Funny, that is exactly how the homophobes behave.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It is the most accurate explanation I have ever heard. Other explanations sound pretty foolish. That is probably why nobody e;se is trying to explain it here.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    And yet it is not accurate, but like the homophobes, you insist that your derogatory fantasy is correct. You are operating on the same nasty level as any homophobe or racist.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    And yet, there is no other view that can be openly expressed.

  • stacey.erickson@yahoo.com' Stacey (the kids' Aunt Tasty) says:

    Click on “Frank6548” to reveal all of his comments on all the articles where he has made comments. You’ll see an obvious pattern. Perhaps it will free you from further interactions with the impossible. 🙂

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    That is not at all true. In fact, the accurate views are openly expressed, more so that your false and derogatory fantasy.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I meant expressed in an open discussion like here on RD. The explanations are normally reserved for places where nobody will question, and that is a major flaw in religious thinking that is allowing it to get way off track. People get together, tell each other they are right, drive away those who question, and lock ever tighter into a belief system.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Without it Christianity makes little sense. With it Christianity makes even less sense.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    Your post makes little sense. See I can make meaningless statements also.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Your statement is still not universally, or even predominantly true.

    “The explanations are normally reserved for places where nobody will
    question, and that is a major flaw in religious thinking that is
    allowing it to get way off track. ”

    Your assertion reflects a falsely limited and derogatory characterization, a demonstration of both malice and prejudice on your part. Which is why your next sentence:

    ” People get together, tell each other they are right, drive away those
    who question, and lock ever tighter into a belief system.”

    Is basically what you are attempting to do here.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Actually, I am saying,

    Born again is more a state of the church collective encouraging people to join in the thought processes. You go through a spiritual experience that is driven by expectations of the church. It seems real to you because everyone is telling each other how real the experience is. Once you see that, it is possible to rise above that experience to a higher level of consciousness.

    Some people won’t like it, but they can’t really question it without looking foolish.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    My problem with Frank-the-wanker is that there may be people reading who can be reached with facts (not him, obviously) and thus those facts should be shared.

    Frank is a long-time troll of RD, RHRC, and other sites where reproductive justice, LGBT equality and similar are discussed. I figured out years ago that he’s an angry closet case. I will occasionally poke that particular cobra, but for the most part it’s about demonstrating the wrongness of his position to people who are capable of actual thought.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I guess that is why the church explained it as a mystery.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “Born again is more a state of the church collective encouraging people to join in the thought processes.”

    And that false, derogatory fantasy reflects your bias, not the experiences of Christians.

    How arrogant and sick of you to tell me what I experience. It is no different than the homophobe who insist that I chose to be gay, that I “really” find gay sex disgusting, or any of the other filthy fantasies they project on GLBTQ people.

    ” to a higher level of consciousness.’

    And there’s your motive – to exalt yourself at the expense of others with a vicious and derogatory lie about our experiences. That of course is the psycho-social mechanism behind all prejudices. You are a bigot, just like homophobes and racists, denigrating and dehumanizing others so you can feel superior.

    “Some people won’t like it, but they can’t really question it without looking foolish.”

    Your pre-emptive insult only exposes your egomaniacal bias. You are operating on the same level as Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, David Duke, etc.

  • stacey.erickson@yahoo.com' Stacey (the kids' Aunt Tasty) says:

    I should have clicked on your name, too! I’d have figured (by the number of your interactions) that you already knew this.

    You make an excellent point about engaging in this forum.

    I thank you for your reply, as well. Have a great day!

  • SWhaption6548@gustr.com' Frank6548 says:

    Yet another confirmation. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so pitiful.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    People can go through experiences and feel emotions, but born again combines that with church influences. The influence gets strong when the church uses it as a dividing line between who goes to heaven, and who goes to hell. They can’t make the incentives any stronger. And that is the influence that is driving how people see the experience, and then they confirm it to each other, and it just snowballs. Over time, we have also seen the more deeply the people feel and believe in their born again experiences, the more screwed up the beliefs of that church are, and the more damage that church is capable of doing to its people. What can you do? If you are a part of the church, the only thing you can do is believe even deeper, and cross confirm the beliefs with others. This is why seeing what is going on and making the correction is like rising to a higher level of consciousness. The born again experience leaves lots of room to rise above it.

  • fiona64@livejournal.com' fiona64 says:

    Still no answer to the question, I see.

    Poor little nutter.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “but born again combines that with church influences.”

    Well, to begin with the phrase ‘church influences’ is so broad and vague as to be worthless. And your diversion regarding ‘influences’ is irrelevant, since the core slander is your unsubstantiated assumption about the nature of people’s experiences being ‘driven’ by, rather than authentic.

    “Over time, we have also seen the more deeply the people feel and
    believe in their born again experiences, the more screwed up the beliefs
    of that church are, and the more damage that church is capable of doing
    to its people.”

    Your derogatory fantasy is faulty in many ways. For one thing, it is entirely dependent on your subjective interpretation of events you had no part in, it relies on cherry-picking data to suit your pre-existing conclusion, with the result of ignoring all data that does not fit your fantasy.

    Again, you are articulating a fraudulent, simplistic and derogatory characterization of a very diverse and broad body of experiences, apparently for the sole purpose of exalting yourself.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The experience is authentic in that it is an experience, it is just not divine. It comes from human psychology, and certainly the key driving factor is the groupthink, and that means the church. The saddest part is deep down people have that unexpressed doubt that it is real. That little feeling has to be suppressed, but some people can always feel it is there even though they can’t say anything. I guess silence is the nature of religion. If things are expressed, religion will dissolve, so it knows what it has to do to survive.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    ” it is just not divine.”

    How arrogant of you. Of course, you sound exactly like the homophobes who dismiss the emotions of GLBTQ people as lust, not love. Your position is based entirely on bigotry and malice.

    ” It comes from human psychology, and certainly the key driving factor is the groupthink, and that means the church.”

    Again, there’s no truth in your post, just malice and prejudice. Ironically enough, what you are expressing comes from human psychology – you need to feel superior, so you denigrate and revile things that are important to other people to give yourself the sense of superiority you crave. The key driving factor to your entire position is groupthink: “the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome”. You want people to conform to your worldview, but the result is both irrational and dysfunctional.

    “I guess silence is the nature of religion. If things are expressed,
    religion will dissolve, so it knows what it has to do to survive.”

    You guess wrong. But you got to denigrate something most people value and tell yourself that you are superior. That’s not psychologically healthy, of course.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Sorry, you are right about a lot of things. I probably do denigrate and revile things that are important to other people. I don’t think I do this to crave superiority, it just seems like something that can be done here on RD. I come from a world where everyone believes in the born again experience. Trying to deal with it can take most of a lifetime, and even then you get nowhere. I have heard the reasonings, and it feels like living in a world where everything is a giant web. You try to pull free from a strand, and there are always more and more strands being piled on. They are all weaving this web, and they have been for longer than I know. One thing I know is I can say things on RD that can’t be said normally. at least not without consequences, and over time it does seem to make a difference. I may say something that denigrates, but maybe it needs to be said. The web is being blown away, and things are becoming clear, and it might be uncomfortable but that is the nature of RD, and I think it will continue to be.

  • phillinj@slu.edu' NancyP says:

    I do believe that many of the extreme right preachers are entirely convinced about the rightness of their actions and statements. And many more may be con-men, but they actively promote hating their fellow Americans, with results identical to those achieved by the most sincere extremist preachers. These preachers are happy enough when listeners beat up strangers or kick their own children out of the house for being gay/lesbian/different, but don’t expect to hold the preachers accountable – they only said that the gay child is possessed by the Devil, or that allowing gays to visit their partners in hospital, serve in the military, have their existence recognized in school, or currently, marry at Town Hall, will doom civilization and threaten all their listeners’ families personally.

    The sad part about the hating preachers is that they discredit Christianity by turning it into a contest for who can hate most.

  • phillinj@slu.edu' NancyP says:

    Of course there are sane and kind evangelicals out there. Maybe they ought to be voting more with their feet, mouths, and wallets, and not put up with the pastors who pursue scapegoating as the way to keep congregations happy and putting money in the plate. Whatever happened to the “protestant” part of Protestantism? When the pastor spends more time railing against “THEM” than on feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, befriending the friendless, etc, well, that pastor is not doing the job and needs to step down.

  • phillinj@slu.edu' NancyP says:

    The second best weapon is good opposition research. Every time an anti-gay preacher or pundit is outed by a gay male sex worker (Ted Haggard), every time an anti-abortion-even-to-save-the-woman’s-life politician is found to have paid for his mistress’ abortion, another scale falls off someone’s eyes. You can’t buy the good publicity garnered for the LGBT movement by the bad behavior of the Phelps clan.

    Still, if you have grown up in a church that tells you on a regular basis that you are an abomination, you are right to be scared of them and to not trust their supposed piety or goodwill.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    ” I don’t think I do this to crave superiority,”

    There are two basic reasons for such behavior. One is ego-exaltation, putting others down to make your self look good. The other is sadism.

    One of the huge mistakes you are making, by the way, is defining ‘born again’ by modern American fundamentalists, even though the concept of being born again through baptism is common to most if not all of Christianity, in all of its diversity.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    So born again doesn’t really mean anything.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Nothing in my post indicates any such thing. Your dishonesty does not help you.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    If it doesn’t mean a dividing line between who is supposed to go to heaven and who to hell, then what else is left? It is just at statement that you conform to a belief in the religious meaning of the term, which is groupthink.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Many things are left.

    “It is just at statement that you conform to a belief in the religious meaning of the term, which is groupthink.”

    Nope.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “Anyone can claim they are a Christian. That does not mean that they are a Christian. I agree that those who spew hatred do not demonstrate the love of Jesus.”

    So, by your own argument, you do not demonstrate that you are a Christian.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Sorry, I misspelled a. I edited in the correction.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    WilmRoget, There was nothing mean or hurtful in my posts. That is unless you believe any person with a dissenting view is spewing hate. Some try and paint others as intolerant or hateful to smear and win debates. Politicians are great at this. But these kinds of tactics only limit thought and really have no place here. just like real hate does not either. But again I have said nothing hateful.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    ” There was nothing mean or hurtful in my posts.”

    Lying about it doesn’t change reality.

    “That is unless you believe any person with a dissenting view is spewing hate.”

    Nice pre-emptive hate there.

    ‘Some try and paint others as intolerant or hateful to smear and win debates.”

    Yes, you’ve demonstrated that quite well.

    ‘ But again I have said nothing hateful.”

    And yet you have. Lying about it only makes it worse.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    This might sound weird, but the preachers have to make a living. That might be the approach that makes them more money. If Jesus was here today, he would probably be broke and looking for a new line of work to make ends meet.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    WilmRoget, Wow! I hope you are just a troll. If not then you are a hypocrite because you have spewed hate on me! LOL!

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Your initial post, and your subsequent one, was quite hateful, and now you rely on hateful insults to dismiss me.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    WilmRoget, Nothing was hateful. Like I said earlier there are many who try to quiet others by claiming that others are hateful when they are not. This only encourages truly hateful speech because many stop taking such accusations seriously.

    That seems to be what you are doing here. You just make statements with no commentary or proof. You are so sensitive that discussion and disagreement of any such is at best discouraged although most likely completely ended. Thus truth and growth are also forgotten. That is a huge problem in American society today. Discussion and truth are discouraged because sincere and grown up disagreements are discouraged. I hope others can find truth through discussions with others (especially those that disagree with them). I fear that you will be stuck with only the thoughts you believe are correct.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “WilmRoget, Nothing was hateful.”

    Wrong. Your prior posts were quite hateful.

    “there are many who try to quiet others by claiming that others are hateful when they are not.”

    And yes, you’ve resorted to that as well, when you posted at me ” I hope you are just a troll. If not then you are a hypocrite because you have spewed hate on me! LOL!”

    “That seems to be what you are doing here.”

    That is a nice statement without proof.

    ” You just make statements with no commentary or proof.”

    That describes your prior posts quite well.

    ” You are so sensitive that discussion and disagreement of any such is at best discouraged although most likely completely ended.”

    What a hateful thing to say.

    ” I fear that you will be stuck with only the thoughts you believe are correct.”

    That’s a very hateful thing to say.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “Wrong. Your prior posts were quite hateful.”

    No, you are wrong. LOL! Again no proof or commentary.

    “And yes, you’ve resorted to that as well, when you posted at me ” I hope
    you are just a troll. If not then you are a hypocrite because you have
    spewed hate on me! LOL!””

    No, because I do not believe you have been hateful. i was only demonstrating that you were being hypocritical. I was only stating that you are hateful by your own standards. Not mine. Again LOL!

    ” That is a nice statement without proof.”

    That is why I used seems. Please read every word in the sentence.

    ” That describes your prior posts quite well.”

    This makes no sense and is another example of making a statement that is pretending to be an argument. Again no proof or commentary. LOL! or should I just yawn?

    “What a hateful thing to say.”

    This is only further proof of what I said. LOL!

    “That’s a very hateful thing to say.”

    This is only further proof of what I said. LOL!

    I do not know if you are super sensitive or not but you clearly do not want a discussion. Maybe I will be like you and just claim that you are one. No proof or commentary needed. 🙂

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “Again no proof or commentary.”

    And once again, that is a standard that you don’t live up to. And your empty denials accomplish nothing, you have repeatedly posted hateful things.

    “No, because I do not believe you have been hateful.”

    So, you lied when you wrote “because you have spewed hate on me! LOL!”.

    ” I was only stating that you are hateful by your own standards. Not mine.”

    No, you were just lying.

    “This makes no sense”

    It does to rational people. However, prove that it makes no sense.

    Again, your abusive behavior only affirms what I’ve presented from the start:

    “So, by your own argument, you do not demonstrate that you are a Christian.”

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “And once again, that is a standard that you don’t live up to. And your
    empty denials accomplish nothing, you have repeatedly posted hateful
    things.”

    Your empty accusations and statements mean nothing. I have had no arguments from you in which I have had to demonstrate any proof against.

    So, I will answer like you. Your empty accusations mean nothing.

    “So, you lied when you wrote “because you have spewed hate on me! LOL!”.”

    Obviously you did not read again. Read again what I wrote. I was demonstrating you are a hypocrite based upon your own presumed standards. I actually have offered proof of this BTW. Please read and try and understand what I written before making statements and accusations that make no sense.

    “No, you were just lying.”

    Just an empty accusation.

    “It does to rational people. However, prove that it makes no sense.”

    Prove that it makes sense if it does to rational people.

    “Again, your abusive behavior only affirms what I’ve presented from the start:”

    Just an empty accusation.

    This is fun BTW.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    ” I have had no arguments from you in which I have had to demonstrate any proof against.”

    That isn’t even coherent. You have to demonstrate proof to support your claims. And you don’t. You are judging by a standard you don’t live up to, but Jesus says – whatever standard you use to judge others by, you are judged by. So you are self-condemned.

    “Your empty accusations mean nothing.”

    How ironic, since from the start, you’ve made empty accusations about others, demonstrating hate and malice.

    ” I was demonstrating you are a hypocrite”

    You were falsely accusing me, while you demonstrate persistent hypocrisy by demanding that I adhere to a standard you don’t meet.

    “Obviously you did not read again.”

    Every insult is evidence of hate on your part. So, by your own argument, you do not demonstrate that you are a Christian.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “That isn’t even coherent. You have to demonstrate proof to support your
    claims. And you don’t. You are judging by a standard you don’t live
    up to, but Jesus says – whatever standard you use to judge others by,
    you are judged by. So you are self-condemned.”

    You have not been coherent. You are self condemned to nothing because you have made no arguments. Only bland and meaningless statements.

    “How ironic, since from the start, you’ve made empty accusations about others, demonstrating hate and malice.”

    How ironic since you only make statements (no arguments) with no proof.

    “You were falsely accusing me, while you demonstrate persistent hypocrisy by demanding that I adhere to a standard you don’t meet.”

    Please read again. You were falsely accusing me. You made baseless accusations with no proof. I only used your own words and beliefs against you.

    “Every insult is evidence of hate on your part. So, by your own argument, you do not demonstrate that you are a Christian.”

    That is not an insult. And insult would be if I said that you are stupid. I did not say that. I made a statement. You did not read. now calling you a hypocrite was kind of an insult. However, it was only used to demonstrate how your statements and insults made little sense. I hope you are trolling.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “You have not been coherent.”

    And yet I actually have.

    ” You are self condemned to nothing because you have made no arguments. Only bland and meaningless statements.”

    Ironically enough, you’ve just described your own posts, not mine.

    “How ironic since you only make statements (no arguments) with no proof.”

    Again, you’ve just described your own posts. Heck, you just made a derogatory statement about me – without a shred of proof.

    ” You were falsely accusing me.”

    No. Actually, I’ve understated the case a bit.

    “That is not an insult.”

    Sure it is – to a Christian. But since you don’t see it as an insult, you must not be a Christian.

    “You did not read.”

    Your deceitful and vicious fantasies are sin. Please repent.

    ” I hope you are trolling.”

    No, I leave that to you.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “And yet I actually have..”

    No, you have not.

    “Ironically enough, you’ve just described your own posts, not mine.”

    No, you have described your own posts. Not mine.

    “Again, you’ve just described your own posts. Heck, you just made a derogatory statement about me – without a shred of proof.”

    Incoherent. Already shared proof. Just another statement.

    “No. Actually, I’ve understated the case a bit.”

    No you do not.

    “Sure it is – to a Christian. But since you don’t see it as an insult, you must not be a Christian.”

    No it is not. Read again and try and understand what an insult is.

    “Your deceitful and vicious fantasies are sin. Please repent.”

    Huh? Incoherent rambling.

    “No, I leave that to you.”

    Definitely a troll.

    We can do this forever I guess. It is pretty easy to respond to your posts since there is no argument. If you want a discussion please post something sensible. Anything.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    Denying reality, as you are doing, accomplishes nothing.

    “Definitely a troll.”

    Yet all you provide is no, no, no.

    ” It is pretty easy to respond to your posts since there is no argument.”

    That is a great analysis of your own posts.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “Denying reality, as you are doing, accomplishes nothing.”

    You re living in an alternate reality.

    “That is a great analysis of your own posts.”

    Yes, this is exactly what I say in almost everyone of my posts about you. Right. Good analysis.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “You re living in an alternate reality.”

    Your constant string of insults, beginning in your first post here, only reflect your character, not anyone else’s.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “Your constant string of insults, beginning in your first post here, only reflect your character, not anyone else’s.”

    You are the one giving the insults.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “You are the one giving the insults.

    Yet you provide no evidence to back up that claim, while I did quote you. The sorry truth is that you are engaged in all of the bad behaviors you accuse others of, and by your own standard, you do not act like a follower of Christ. From the start, you have reviled and slandered people for the sake of your ego.

    Please repent.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:


    Yet you provide no evidence to back up that claim, while I did quote
    you. The sorry truth is that you are engaged in all of the bad
    behaviors you accuse others of, and by your own standard, you do not act
    like a follower of Christ. From the start, you have reviled and
    slandered people for the sake of your ego.

    Please repent.”

    I have already quoted you often and provided evidence so many times but that is not what you are after. You quote selectively also. You need to repent.

  • desandberg@gmail.com' WilmRoget says:

    “I have already quoted you often”

    Not a word of which substantiates your accusation. You have sinned against the author, and against me.

  • blackhaw66@gmail.com' Carl says:

    “Not a word of which substantiates your accusation. You have sinned against the author, and against me.”

    More selective quotation. Also you contradict yourself in your own posts. The very last post you state “Yet you provide no evidence to back up that claim . . . ” and now you agree that I did quote you directly. Make up your mind. Did I give you evidence or did you just not like the evidence I gave to you?

    Finally how have I sinned against you and the author? You have not demonstrated this at all. No evidence has been given to substantiate this. This is just a phantom accusation like all your other ones. Can you give any evidence? Do you understand why you should? Do you know what evidence is? I have to start asking these questions now because of your unwillingness to cite anything. It has been fun responding to a troll but I will probably have to quit soon and just start ignoring you.

  • feh79h@h798fe.net' JoeM says:

    Since I haven’t attended every church in the world, I cannot say that every church is false. But I can safely say that the majority of them are indeed false. They haven’t a clue. And I will also say that it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a gay Christian church of any kind. Well. You can. But it’ll be just as false as the others.

    To start with. People convert the truth into worldliness. They take the spirit out of it. The fact is, Jesus wasn’t Christian. The disciples didn’t need a church or a Holy bible. They were chosen, regardless of their sins. That is true. But they were to leave their sins behind and not continue living them. It didn’t matter how they felt about it. They had to take the ultimate plunge into a selfless existence. Surrender their spirit in order to receive that which Christ carried. one that would guide them through. After all, when Christ was gone, how did they know what to do? They were spiritually guided. And THAT is the way that Jesus commanded for all of us. Not just the apostles.

    The Scriptures are only testimonies and information to bringing us so far. The real change happens outside the writings. At some point, we close the Book and won’t necessarily open it again. Because once we receive the Spirit in our life, we would have already entered the path. And we would be devoting ourselves daily to the signs given to us to follow. GOD’s plan isn’t based on our own will. We give that up. it doesn’t matter if we are straight, gay, handicapped, a prostitute, or whatever else. The trick is to surrender all baggage and leave it outside to be picked up by the trash truck. If a person continues to carry their baggage with them, they will most certainly NOT have the Spirit in their life guiding them. Thus, will not actually be living for Christ. How much you willing to give up for GOD? Your whole life? If that is true, then you will give up the lifestyle on this Earth. Because Christ told many to do just that. Some did. Some walked away. For those who did not give up their life, it was clearly symbolized to mean they were left behind.

    The world is against what GOD intends. Today’s world resembles the chilling descriptions of cities that were destroyed all because they built empires void of GOD’s Will. There were all types of people, including homosexuals, that were described as self guided people that did whatever they wanted. I see that today. Homos are first in line to advertise their madness onto society. Even if its inappropriate for children. Like running naked in the street parades. That behavior is wrong no matter who you are. But the worst part of it all is the fact that ANYONE would fight the world just to simply get what they want. To satisfy their “feelings”. THAT my friends is NOT GOD’s Will. Anyone who lives that way is NOT a servant of Christ. No matter who you are. I am not a Christian. I am a human. I need no identity. Because what matters is how I choose to live my life. It does matter. I learned a long time ago that no matter how I felt inside, I ALWAYS took the wrong path when I did it by my own will. But when I threw away all my worldly possessions and altered how I spent my time. I found out that GOD wanted me to devote the majority of my time to the cause. I have spent alot of time learning. But eventually, what guides me is spiritual inspiration. Signs. They come when its needed to let me know what to do next. It has helped add purpose to my family’s life that was never there before. But I am nobody special. And I don’t want to be. I see enough of that from everyone else in the world that is led by their own corrupted hearts full of desire and ambition. It’s sickening to me. Because they do not know what REAL Christianity means. Just the worldly version that has flooded every church in the world. And they all call themselves something different.

    What are you willing to give up for GOD? Prove it. You have to. If you don’t prove it, then you never actually received the free gift of salvation that isn’t “free” like the world says it is.

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