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[Atheists & Agnostics] know more about your religion than you!

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Posts

  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    The more I look into Biblical criticism and the history of religion the clearer it becomes that modern Christianity and Judaism in particular, even of the most fundamentalist stripes bears absolutely no resemblance to its original form.

    I'm also back on the Biblical Minimalism kick and find Robert Price's arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus to be, if not compelling, strong enough to entertain agnosticism on the topic.

    Apothe0sis on
    Tide goes in. Tide goes out.
    Es-annon NEVA 4GET
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Well, there's still just the one omnipotent being. The Devil is just a fallen angel with a lot of power, not an actual deity.

    And the trinity is technically one being, just split into three parts.

    And God can't smite an angel?

    I mean, why doesn't their god just get rid of the devil?

    He's useful.

    Raiden333 on
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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Well, there's still just the one omnipotent being. The Devil is just a fallen angel with a lot of power, not an actual deity.

    And the trinity is technically one being, just split into three parts.

    And God can't smite an angel?

    I mean, why doesn't their god just get rid of the devil?

    He's useful.
    They are actually a good cop/bad cop team.

    Couscous on
  • Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Well, there's still just the one omnipotent being. The Devil is just a fallen angel with a lot of power, not an actual deity.

    And the trinity is technically one being, just split into three parts.

    And God can't smite an angel?

    I mean, why doesn't their god just get rid of the devil?

    Because their theology is ridiculous extension of the original mythology held together with spit and string which bears no resemblance to anything within the text.

    Apothe0sis on
    Tide goes in. Tide goes out.
    Es-annon NEVA 4GET
  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Couscous wrote: »
    Bama wrote: »
    The problems with the concept of an omnipotent benevolent deity go way beyond the existence of Satan.

    St. Augustine had a good answer. I think just about the only one possible if someone really wants to think through the implications of the Christian deity.

    It's just one that is really unpleasant to a modern viewpoint and so people just don't think about the Theodicy problem.

    Wasn't St. Augustine's position just that man and Satan created evil by eating the apple/tempting man into eating the apple? How does that solve the problem when God created both man and Satan?

    An omniscient deity would certainly have knowledge of the potential for evil in his creations. It's equivalent to saying that if I made a bomb with a trigger that gave it a random chance of exploding, I wouldn't be responsible for any casualties it caused because I didn't technically choose whether it exploded, the trigger did.
    That doesn't seem to solve the problem of volcanos and everything in nature that keeps on killing us.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schoolhouse_Blizzard

    I think the point is being free to choose between evil and good. Why would a belovent being create evil?

    I am reminded about a scifi scenario i read a short while ago. Two sides at war, both create and use AIs in warfare. And both AIs unite and turn on their creators, uniting them forcibly against a common foe - themself. Its not that illogical if you think a bit about it.

    Of course there are casaulties. Maybe people die this way, but probably LESS than otherwise. That is a pretty good justification.

    Sometimes you need a devil.

    Light is nothing without darkness and vice versa.

    ACSIS on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    The more I look into Biblical criticism and the history of religion the clearer it becomes that modern Christianity and Judaism in particular, even of the most fundamentalist stripes bears absolutely no resemblance to its original form.

    I'm also back on the Biblical Minimalism kick and find Robert Price's arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus to be, if not compelling, strong enough to entertain agnosticism on the topic.

    I'm not sure what it means for there to have been a historical Jesus. What commonalities would a historical Jesus have with the biblical one? Just take away all the magic, or...?

    Loren Michael on
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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    The more I look into Biblical criticism and the history of religion the clearer it becomes that modern Christianity and Judaism in particular, even of the most fundamentalist stripes bears absolutely no resemblance to its original form.

    I'm also back on the Biblical Minimalism kick and find Robert Price's arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus to be, if not compelling, strong enough to entertain agnosticism on the topic.

    I'm not sure what it means for there to have been a historical Jesus. What commonalities would a historical Jesus have with the biblical one? Just take away all the magic, or...?

    Pretty much. As I understand it, "Historical Jesus" = The man referred to as Jesus Christ actually existed, taught a lot of philosophy and theology, and rioted up a bunch of the people with his teachings, which got him executed by the Romans.

    Raiden333 on
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  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    The more I look into Biblical criticism and the history of religion the clearer it becomes that modern Christianity and Judaism in particular, even of the most fundamentalist stripes bears absolutely no resemblance to its original form.

    I'm also back on the Biblical Minimalism kick and find Robert Price's arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus to be, if not compelling, strong enough to entertain agnosticism on the topic.

    I'm not sure what it means for there to have been a historical Jesus. What commonalities would a historical Jesus have with the biblical one? Just take away all the magic, or...?

    Reminds me about the cult place in Srinagar, India. Its two thousand years old and the religious community there claims its the final resting place of Jesus. According to their ancient records (state archive of Srinagar) Jesus was, after being removed from his crucification at the cross, nurtured back to health and travelled into exile: India.

    According to the records:

    The stranger sat in the grass wearing a white robe, surrounded by a circle of listeners.

    The ruler of Kashmir asked the stranger where he came from.

    The stranger answered:

    "I was born from a young woman, i walked and preached in Palestina and teached the truth against the destruction of tradition. They called me "Messiah", but they didn't like my lore. They refused the traditions and condemed me. I suffered in their hands."

    If you belive the records, Jesus went to India and preached until he died of old age.

    On the grave is written: "Here lies the famous prophet Jussuf, prophet of the children of Israel."

    The grave is visited by Hindus and Moslems alike.

    Understandably, Christians have very little interest in this place.

    Oh, i belive in Jesus. I just belive, as he said "son of god", he didn't mean HE is THE son of god. Thats why he asked his apostles who he is, denying all answers until Petrus answered: "you are the son of god". He meant "son of god", like in: every human is "son or daughter of god". And i guess a lot of people misunderstood and are still misunderstanding what he actually meant by that. All humans are children of god, not him alone.

    He was smashing Idols and condemmed worshipping of such things. I wonder what he would think about himself becoming an idol, nailed on a cross. I am quite sure he wouln't be to happy about it.

    I think he was a quite philosopical teacher, but not neccesarily divine, at least not more than any other human being.

    ACSIS on
  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Apothe0sis wrote: »
    The more I look into Biblical criticism and the history of religion the clearer it becomes that modern Christianity and Judaism in particular, even of the most fundamentalist stripes bears absolutely no resemblance to its original form.

    I'm also back on the Biblical Minimalism kick and find Robert Price's arguments against the existence of a historical Jesus to be, if not compelling, strong enough to entertain agnosticism on the topic.

    I'm not sure what it means for there to have been a historical Jesus. What commonalities would a historical Jesus have with the biblical one? Just take away all the magic, or...?

    Well the only real sources of information we have on Jesus are the Gospels, the four in the New Testament and those written around the same time that were not included in the NT. We don't have Gospels before that, and anything after that is too late to be reliable. Other sources around that time are not very detailed - Paul for example wrote before the Gospels, but all he says about Jesus is that he was born of a woman (*gasp*) died and was resurrected.

    The Gospels of course are not written to be accurate historical accounts at all, they were written to present the life of Jesus under a certain perspective (He was the Jewish Messiah! He was the misunderstood Son of God! etc.) So trying to reconstruct who the historical Jesus was given only these later, unhistorical and often mutually-contradicting accounts is, if nothing else, an interesting challenge.

    So, what commonalities would there be between the NT Jesus and the historical Jesus? Given that we can only reconstruct the historical Jesus based on the NT, answering that question is the entire point.

    Richy on
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  • ArchsorcererArchsorcerer Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    @ACSIS

    The cross is a symbol not an idol.

    Archsorcerer on
    XBL - ArchSilversmith

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves." - Made in USA
  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    @ACSIS

    The cross is a symbol not an idol.

    Certainly.

    But if Jesus is nailed on (and he is quite often) it, its certainly an idol. Depiction of THE son of god, as understood by christianity. Direct depiction of a divine being equals idol. Also you find many depictions of Jesus, God and Angels in churches.

    Christianity worships the divine being, not its lore. It should not matter WHO came up with it. If it matters, its only showing the entire lore is NOT understood. Don't they care about WHAT they propagate for two thousand years by now?

    "How much merit have I earned for ordaining monks, building monasteries, having holy scriptures copied, and commissioning divine images?"
    "None, good deeds done with selfish intent bring no merit."

    ACSIS on
  • ArchsorcererArchsorcerer Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    People do not idolize the image, they worship God.

    I agree with you that there is a hipocrisy of certain individuals, to the point of involving a (non-sexual) fetishism towards images. I'm from Mexico and here the worship of saints is a little of a misplaced effort.

    But there are others who need an image, a symbol to express and direct their faith.

    Archsorcerer on
    XBL - ArchSilversmith

    "We have years of struggle ahead, mostly within ourselves." - Made in USA
  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Isn't it a bit odd to express faith by commiting an act condemned by the person being worshipped?

    ACSIS on
  • gtrmpgtrmp Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I think you might be confusing 'icon' with 'idol', ACSIS.

    gtrmp on
  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I am not confusing anything. The point is living the lore, not focusing on acting particulary holy by worshipping images, idols or symbols. Thats for show, so others can see how devoted you are to the cause. The bible is very clear about Jesus's opinion about it.

    ACSIS on
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    The whole graven images thing (a notable commandment, containing God's explicit declaration of His jealousy), and Jesus' later denunciations of idolatry in all its forms (including worship of money, that was a relevant one) strikes me as being primarily about the other guy's icons. Bear in mind here that early Christians were surrounded by hostile Romans who kept statues of their manifold gods within their homes, and worshiped them. Early Christians bickered among themselves about whether or not it was okay to eat Pagan sacrifices; you know, if their neighbors ever have a barbecue or something.

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • Witch_Hunter_84Witch_Hunter_84 Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    This seems more than just a "symbol" or "icon" to me:
    Jesus%20on%20the%20Cross.jpg

    Witch_Hunter_84 on
    If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten in your presence.
  • ACSISACSIS Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Its pretty specific about Idolatry. You wouldn't need to be specific about idolatry after stating explicitly no worship of other gods is tolerated. If its only applicable to idols of other gods, why even bother mentioning it?

    Also ironcally, the commandments do not require worship AT ALL. Its just handed down what you shouldn't worship.

    ACSIS on
  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    The whole graven images thing (a notable commandment, containing God's explicit declaration of His jealousy), and Jesus' later denunciations of idolatry in all its forms (including worship of money, that was a relevant one) strikes me as being primarily about the other guy's icons. Bear in mind here that early Christians were surrounded by hostile Romans who kept statues of their manifold gods within their homes, and worshiped them. Early Christians bickered among themselves about whether or not it was okay to eat Pagan sacrifices; you know, if their neighbors ever have a barbecue or something.

    Er. You're talking about the prohibitions on idolatry in the Old Testament, right? Which was written well before there were Christians?

    mythago on
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  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    This seems more than just a "symbol" or "icon" to me:
    Jesus%20on%20the%20Cross.jpg
    You're right, that's not an icon nor a symbol. It's a statue.

    As for the idol debate, the question is, does anyone worship the thing itself? No? Then it's not an idol. The fact it represents the deity being worshipped or that people worship near it doesn't make it an idol; only worshipping it specifically does.

    Richy on
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  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    The whole graven images thing (a notable commandment, containing God's explicit declaration of His jealousy), and Jesus' later denunciations of idolatry in all its forms (including worship of money, that was a relevant one) strikes me as being primarily about the other guy's icons. Bear in mind here that early Christians were surrounded by hostile Romans who kept statues of their manifold gods within their homes, and worshiped them. Early Christians bickered among themselves about whether or not it was okay to eat Pagan sacrifices; you know, if their neighbors ever have a barbecue or something.

    Er. You're talking about the prohibitions on idolatry in the Old Testament, right? Which was written well before there were Christians?

    That's not the clearest sentence I've ever written but it is there. And (though it is possible, and done) it's very difficult to frame the expounding of the law in such a way as to argue that Jesus rejected that commandment.

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    The whole graven images thing (a notable commandment, containing God's explicit declaration of His jealousy), and Jesus' later denunciations of idolatry in all its forms (including worship of money, that was a relevant one) strikes me as being primarily about the other guy's icons. Bear in mind here that early Christians were surrounded by hostile Romans who kept statues of their manifold gods within their homes, and worshiped them. Early Christians bickered among themselves about whether or not it was okay to eat Pagan sacrifices; you know, if their neighbors ever have a barbecue or something.

    Er. You're talking about the prohibitions on idolatry in the Old Testament, right? Which was written well before there were Christians?

    That's not the clearest sentence I've ever written but it is there. And (though it is possible, and done) it's very difficult to frame the expounding of the law in such a way as to argue that Jesus rejected that commandment.

    Yes, it is a conjunctive sentence, and no, it's not clear because you are framing both parts (prohibitions on 'graven images' as well as Jesus denouncing 'idolatry') as related to the historical situation of the early Christians. I don't know that Jesus's repeated condemnations of wealth are idolatry in the same sense as the Commandments. Jesus was talking about money being an earthly thing that distracts people from spirituality, i.e. following God; the commandments in the Torah are about not worshipping other gods. Keep in mind that at that time, the Jews weren't necessarily exclusionary monotheists - there were other gods, sure, but you weren't supposed to worship them (as opposed to the later sentiment that other gods simply don't exist).

    Sort of the difference between telling your spouse "Don't sleep with other people" and telling them "Don't spend all your time playing video games when you should be spending time with me."

    mythago on
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  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Worship of humans is considered idolatrous so modern Christianity is idolatrous.

    The definition of idolatry is much more complicated than that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idolatry_in_Judaism
    In his The Guide to the Perplexed, I:36, Maimonides holds that in the original form of idolatry, no one actually believed that their idols were gods; he states that idol-worshippers understood that their idols were only representations of a god, or God. Idols are "worshipped in respect of its being an image of a thing that is an intermediary between ourselves and God."

    Maimonides, however, goes further in defining idolatry than other Jewish thinkers before or since; he states that it is idolatry to hold that God is subject to any affections at all. Not only believing that God has a body, but merely believing "that one of the states of the body belong to Him, you provoke His jealousy and anger, kindle the fire of his wrath, and are a hater, an enemy and an adversary of God, much more so than an idolator."

    Maimonides spends the first one-third of the Guide attempting to show that a literalist understanding of the metaphores, idoms, and homonyms in the Hebrew Bible are idolatrous in this regard. For Maimonides, and other philosophers in the neo-Aristotelian mold, it is idolatry to believe that God has positive attributes. Maimonides' negation of positive attributes to God reaches its epitomes in the Guide I:56, where he states that "the relation between us and God, may He be exalted, is considered as non-existent."
    This is one of a number of reasons why Maimonides' writings sparked protest from the wider Jewish community for the next two centuries, a phenomenon sometimes known as The Maimonidean Controversy. Both Maimonides' supporters and opponents agreed that by his definition, many religious Jews (as well as non-Jews) were effectively (although unintentionally) idolaters. Maimonides' supporters held that the proper response was to spread Maimonides' teachings, to bring people away from idolatry and towards pure monotheism. Maimonides' opponents understood him the identical fashion, but believed him to be incorrect, and thus held that his philosophical teachings were not to be taught. In many places his works were banned.

    Couscous on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Couscous wrote: »
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Evander wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Well, there's still just the one omnipotent being. The Devil is just a fallen angel with a lot of power, not an actual deity.

    And the trinity is technically one being, just split into three parts.

    And God can't smite an angel?

    I mean, why doesn't their god just get rid of the devil?

    He's useful.
    They are actually a good cop/bad cop team.
    Which is which?
    20070813.gif

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    In short, the proper Jewish definition of idolatry is to do an act of worship toward any created thing, to believe that a particular created thing is an independent power, or to make something a mediator between ourselves and the Almighty. These laws are codified in the Mishneh Torah, mainly in the section called Hilkhot Avodat Kokhavim (Avodah Zarah) - The Laws of Strange Worship (Idolatry). It is considered a great insult to God to worship one of His creations instead of Him or together with Him. According to the Noahide Laws, the 7 laws which Jews believe to be binding on the non-Jewish world, the non-Israelite nations are also Forbidden to worship anything other than the Absolute Creator. One can find this in Hilkhot Melakhim u'Milhhamotehem (Laws of Kings and their Wars) chapter 9 in the Mishneh Torah. Judaism holds that any beliefs or practices which significantly interferes with a Jew's relationship with God may, at some point, be deemed idolatry.

    Couscous on
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    mythago wrote: »
    Yes, it is a conjunctive sentence, and no, it's not clear because you are framing both parts (prohibitions on 'graven images' as well as Jesus denouncing 'idolatry') as related to the historical situation of the early Christians. I don't know that Jesus's repeated condemnations of wealth are idolatry in the same sense as the Commandments. Jesus was talking about money being an earthly thing that distracts people from spirituality, i.e. following God; the commandments in the Torah are about not worshipping other gods. Keep in mind that at that time, the Jews weren't necessarily exclusionary monotheists - there were other gods, sure, but you weren't supposed to worship them (as opposed to the later sentiment that other gods simply don't exist).

    Sort of the difference between telling your spouse "Don't sleep with other people" and telling them "Don't spend all your time playing video games when you should be spending time with me."
    I'm framing Jesus' reported denunciations of idolatry as having been informed by Mosaic law as well as the vulnerable status of his early followers in Roman Palestine. His extension of idolatry to money and power (earthly things) was new, and I like your "don't spend all your time playing video games" explanation, but the old "don't sleep around" was still very much in force and not at all in contradiction with Jesus' words as reported. They didn't call the dude King of the Jews because he claimed Moses was a false prophet.

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I'm framing Jesus' reported denunciations of idolatry as having been informed by Mosaic law as well as the vulnerable status of his early followers in Roman Palestine. His extension of idolatry to money and power (earthly things) was new, and I like your "don't spend all your time playing video games" explanation, but the old "don't sleep around" was still very much in force and not at all in contradiction with Jesus' words as reported. They didn't call the dude King of the Jews because he claimed Moses was a false prophet.

    We're not actually disagreeing here, but the extension of idolatry was a shift. Instead of just 'don't sleep around', it was 'don't do things that interfere with our marriage, which means you still can't sleep around, but you shouldn't be wasting all your time on video games either'. The Mosaic law was a little less concerned with the distractions of earthly things and didn't see them as idolatry unless done to excess or in place of.

    mythago on
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  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Yeah it was definitely just faulty wording on my part that made me sound like one of those atheists who thinks Jesus wrote the Ten Commandments or something. That would be really unfortunate given the title of this thread. :P

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
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