Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 11, 2020 8:09 pm

Now that is a very tricky question, mainly for the individual. But then, if anyone has ever been anywhere near a bushfire, even without necessarily losing their homes, their lives & their livelihoods, not to mention a big swag of all that is good & unique about their part of the world, the record-breaking hot weather, plus spending months of living with a brown smog blocking out a deep Charnish red sun guaranteed to choke any asthmatic game to go outdoors, will certainly know what being saved feels like. It is when the rains finally pour down, putting out the last of those terrible fires, cooling & renewing the soil.

And yes we did pray most earnestly for rain. Given that even the Weather Bureau never predicted last weekend's downpour, that would have to rate as as a blessed salvation.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby mm1991 » Feb 15, 2020 4:54 pm

Jumping off wagga's answer - I think it's more like you feel the after-effects of being saved rather than "feeling saved." And that gives you a sense if you are doing things right. Of course this depends on your definition of what being saved means. Is it a one-time deal? Or is being saved an on-going process? I'm not a fan of having to "rededicate yourself" a million times over because you don't feel saved. It seems like a time waster no matter your definition. This is all my personal opinion, I am not a theologian.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 17, 2020 8:42 pm

I'm no theologian either. When I was growing up, it was considered not a woman's place in the church, & I didn't want to be a nun. Some of them scared me to pieces & had a reputation for being a bit too free with the cane. :-o

mm1991 wrote:And that gives you a sense if you are doing things right. Of course this depends on your definition of what being saved means. Is it a one-time deal? Or is being saved an on-going process?


But back to your talking about "being saved". It still is analogous to how I felt about the relief of the dams filling up so quickly & unexpectedly after a long time of arid & fiery despair. Yes it could be a one time thing, because when it is over so unexpectely, I felt that yes this miracle has happened, but what is stopping the rain from drying up & then, like some earlier winter showers, we are back to where we were with months & months of drying soil, with rain, that because the ground was too hot, would evaporate inches before reaching the soil. It has happened beforehand, of course. My grandmother used to talk about a great drought in 1902, when it was so hot, here in Oz, that people could fry eggs on the footpaths.

And so, how do you feel about a dam full of water then? What about Jesus' living water that he promised us? Or, a more secular analogy, a one off lottery win? Go mad & squander all the money until it is all gone, & then you are back to where you start? Do you suddenly switch on all the sprinklers, whilst you dance gleefully in the mud, after a good drop of rain, forgetting that the ground is watered for you nicely already? Pressure the government to get rid of those horrible water restrictions right this very minute just for your own pleasure? Or do you continue to eke out the water carefully, to make it last as long as necessary, learning not to waste God's precious gifts so cavalierly, whilst trying to do better? So God's salvation might well be an ongoing process, which has to go well beyond ourselves.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Stylteralmaldo » Feb 19, 2020 10:39 pm

The Old Maid wrote:Here's a question: Is salvation a feeling?

If you are saved, should you feel saved? If you don't feel saved, does that imply that you are unsaved?

Some believers preach Assurance, as a variant of the peace that passeth understanding. Others say that we cannot know. That is, our feelings may prompt us to want to be saved, but our feelings do not save: only God saves. In fact, our feelings can mislead us.

What do you think? Is salvation a feeling?


I have a strong opinion on this. Salvation is not a feeling. Salvation is the knowledge that one is a part of God’s family. The saved are elected by Grace through Jesus Christ our Savior.

This knowledge can bring peace to the soul, but not necessarily bring warm and comforting feelings. One can experience a lifetime of turmoil and struggle and lack any sense of good feelings yet still have the knowledge that salvation awaits them. This knowledge is not the same as assurance as St. Paul acknowledges that we are to finish the race.

I doubt the early Christians that were burned alive by Nero felt very good near the end of their earthly lives. If I was a spectator at that event I seriously doubt I would have seen smiles on their faces as they suffered terribly. However, I do believe these suffering Christians had hope. I suspect they didn’t feel good near the end of their lives, but they knew Jesus Christ and had hope in the Resurrection.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 22, 2020 5:31 pm

Stylteralmaldo wrote:I doubt the early Christians that were burned alive by Nero felt very good near the end of their earthly lives. If I was a spectator at that event I seriously doubt I would have seen smiles on their faces as they suffered terribly. However, I do believe these suffering Christians had hope. I suspect they didn’t feel good near the end of their lives, but they knew Jesus Christ and had hope in the Resurrection.


No it was a terrible time, to be sure. Yes Salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice is a belief for believers to share. It is harder to keep belief going in hard times, I agree. Yes, we can only hope that the trials & tribulations will finish at some point, & keep faith that we are all in God's hands. The early Christians did indeed suffer cruelly, & in some parts of the world still are persecuted, don't forget. Even in the Western World, not every nation has laws guaranteeing free speech, or religious tolerance, for those whose beliefs do not agree with the majority, or whose outspokenness offends powerful minorities, using their new-found political muscle to assert their views on how life should be lived. This is why in his letters, St Paul urges us to pray for those in government & to grant them wisdom to rule us in fairness.

I've read Eusebius, who wrote the History of the Church, as well as other early Christian writings about what went on. James, the brother of Jesus, & the first Christian bishop, was thrown down from the walls of Jerusalem, for instance. St Peter was crucified, & St Paul, being a Roman citizen, was put to the sword, as was also Mary, the mother of Christ, I've heard. But after enduring Nero, the likes of the paranoid Domitian & others, right up to Diocletian, it would have been a real relief for those like Eusebius, when Constantine the Great put a stop to that persecution, after his battle on the Milvian Bridge.

As a matter of interest, I know I prayed most earnestly for rain in the last three months or so, & it was also part of the Church services I attended. I was reminded that it was not only the Anglicans, but also the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Uniting Church, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the various Orthodox churches & many others, not all of them Christian. I've no doubt that wish, hope & prayer were echoed, including in Synagogues, Mosques, Temples & Pagodas, right across Sydney. Elsewhere in Australia, were also praying & still do, very fervently, for rain. It is at times like that you may find that never have people of faith, of any sort of faith, so long as they do have faith & hope, have people been so united.

However our combined prayers helped, it did rain. Enough to fill up a two thirds empty dam. Whatever atheism likes to say, that very timely rainy patch was still a great & merciful gift of God. And it was deliverance from a great disaster, reminding us of the words of The Lord's Prayer.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby mm1991 » Feb 22, 2020 11:02 pm

I just want to say, wagga, you really put things very beautifully. I appreciate it. :ymhug:
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Mar 07, 2020 6:33 pm

mm1991 wrote:I just want to say, wagga, you really put things very beautifully. I appreciate it. :ymhug:


Er :ymblushing: you are welcome. That is very nice of you to say so. :ymhug:

Meanwhile, I was watching one of the sorts of historic documentaries, we sometimes get on SBS or ABC, discussing, of all things, Crucifixion. Apparently the Romans used this method of execution for not only runaway slaves but also, perhaps, especially, for non-citizens. Those enduring this procedure, were also anyone they had extreme contempt for. The program said that the method involved a T shaped cross, rather than a t sort of cross, that feet were pierced through ankles, & that death was hastened by whipping of those being crucified, to further weaken them before execution, as Jesus Christ was treated, or while the sufferers were hanging on the cross they might be whipped some more, or their legs broken to hurry up the process. It was so the Roman soldiers could go back to camp at the end of their shifts.

It was a horribly agonising & drawn out way to die. Strangely, it has been rare to find complete remains of those who have clearly been crucified, & some of the evidence of the practice was of graffiti, mocking Christians, found in Italy & elsewhere. In Judea, more evidence was found, in a wealthy family tomb, of a bloke called Joachanan, suggesting that people who were executed might be because the Romans feared them for political reasons, such as the Zealots, or because the unfortunate man had spoken out against someone or other.

Thanks to Constantine the Great, that practice was finally discontinued. It demonstrates exactly why Constantine is revered as "the Great". There is a statue of Constantine the Great outside York Cathedral in England, if anyone wants to know. Christianity & his embrace of it in the Fourth Century AD did make a big change in the world.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby coracle » Mar 07, 2020 6:53 pm

I'd be interested to know who made the programme. Certain church groups have different views about crosses, especially the one Jesus died on. One group calls it .
a stake instead of a cross. (the word crucify indicates a cross, I.e. two lines crossed)

Whatever it was like, it was a slow and painful death.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Mar 07, 2020 7:31 pm

coracle wrote:I'd be interested to know who made the programme. Certain church groups have different views about crosses, especially the one Jesus died on. One group calls it a stake instead of a cross. (the word crucify indicates a cross, I.e. two lines crossed)


Interestingly, also in Judea, the shape of the cross changed to reflect the shorter trees in that region, into an X shape, shedding light on St Andrew's Cross, notably on the flag of Scotland.

According to last Friday's TV program (March 6th, 7.35 pm ADST) it was published in UK in 2019, under the title: The Crucifixion Mystery, Episode 3 of Season 6. Season 6 of this program consists of 6 episodes, & it seems to be called "Discover the Secrets of 5 of History's Greatest Treasures", but I could be wrong & will check it. You may find more information on SBS on Demand, on this site. It didn't cost me anything to join, but I'd be wary about this for people elsewhere in the world.

The two previous episodes were 1.The Viking Murder mystery, & 2. The mystery of Rome's Sunken City.

The synopsis of Episode 3 states: The stunning discovery of an executed man in Northern Italy reveals the brutal truth behind the Roman practice of crucifixion and sheds new light on the most famous crucifixion of all - the killing of Jesus Christ.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Kalta79 » Mar 09, 2020 9:59 am

1 Peter 3:17 does mention it's better to suffer for good than evil, if it's God's will.

I've never understood people who reject God because life isn't perfect. Life on Earth isn't perfect because we aren't perfect. And the Bible makes it clear that we will endure suffering. Jesus was perfect, but he was still tortured and crucified by the very people he was here to save. And the early Christians didn't fare much better. And 2000 years later, Christianity is still being persecuted. :(

I however do understand that some people reject God out of ego/pride. We want to think that we're in control and powerful. I just think most people are misguided about their views on power. To me, anything that can be given or taken away is not power. It *must* be inherent. And there are only two things that fit that description: God's love and free will. Free will doesn't get enough credit. Going into sci-fi/fantasy nerdiness here for a moment, with alternate realities. They're always about what if B happened instead of A? But it's not that far-fetched, when we think about choices. We box ourselves into thinking our choices are just turn right or turn left. But you can go straight, make a U-turn or do donuts. And you can honk your horn and have your lights on. And have them on for varying lengths of time. And you can be singing to the radio while you're doing it. And you can keep changing stations every five minutes. Go forward five feet and then slam on your brakes. Each of those are the choices you have(just like it's the cop's choice to give you a ticket, but we're not going there :D ), and so many more. The power of the choice is so awesome, and it shows that God loves us enough to gift us a world of infinite possibilities. :x
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby King_Erlian » Mar 10, 2020 7:13 am

I'm an "ex-vangelical". In fact, I'm really an agnostic now. The reason is, I've tried pursuing faith the evangelical way for nearly 40 years, starting with the "ask Jesus into my life" prayer when I was 17, and then praying over and over for God to guide me, reading the Bible to discover his will... and it didn't work. I've never heard God speak to me. The Bible, whilst interesting in places, was not written for me, and I don't agree with the way some people read it, like a Christianised version of a horoscope: open the book somewhere (usually according to some Bible reading notes or a "read the Bible in a year" plan) and then whatever you read must be God's word for you that day. I certainly don't believe it's somehow "magic" in that the reading and the learning from it automatically makes you a more spiritual person. I have a friend who's probably the most knowledgeable about the Bible of anyone I know, and he's also one of the most short-tempered and judgemental.

But what drove me away from the evangelical church was the unwillingness of people to be honest, and to listen to others without judging. Instead of admitting that they too might have struggles with their faith, they would cling to the Bible texts about having the victory in Jesus. Instead of listening to those expressing doubts or genuine problems, they would just keep quoting John 3:16 as if it were a spell they'd learned at Hogwarts. It's not fair to condemn people because they have a hard time believing because "life isn't perfect". For some, life is hell. They may have suffered from abusive relationships, or been made homeless, or inherited a serious medical condition. Yet the response I received from people in the church is that not knowing God is ALWAYS because of ego/pride. Blame The Victim! It's not the fault of the family members who mistreated you, or the thief who stole all your money, it's YOUR fault. If you don't hear God speaking to you, it's YOUR fault. In the past I've gone along with this, thinking, "Maybe it is me, maybe I am selfish," and sincerely asked God to change me; and still nothing changed.

I've always (certainly since I was 5) believed in a Creator God; to me it doesn't make sense that a universe as vast and as complex as this could suddenly spring into being with nothing to make it happen. But a lot of modern evangelism seems to me to be based on the premise that if you can convince people of the existence of a Creator God, then they will instantly believe that God loves them, and if they don't, just quoting John 3:16 will fix that. I've never heard anyone say "I don't believe in God because Schwarzschild's Equations clearly demonstrate that the nature of matter and energy is random". People say they don't believe because they can't reconcile an all-powerful and all-loving God with the state the world is in. It's too easy - dare I say, smug - just to say, "It's because of our sin". That may be the case, but it puts over a sense of really not caring about people's problems, only of wanting to get the unbeliever to agree with them and stop moaning.

Sorry. Rant over.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Kalta79 » Mar 10, 2020 2:01 pm

Are you directing your remarks to me, or just making a general post? Because if it was directed at me, I'm sorry you feel that way. Would you be offended if I prayed for you?
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby King_Erlian » Mar 10, 2020 4:51 pm

A bit of both, really. I wasn’t angry at you but your post was a trigger for me to say what I felt I wanted to say. I didn’t mean to be offensive. I don’t mind at all if you want to pray for me, though at the moment I don’t believe that prayer does any good.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby mm1991 » Mar 12, 2020 4:47 pm

@Kalta79
I believe the problem comes from reading verses saying God is loving and all-powerful, and then taking a look around the world at the suffering, and wondering why someone who loves us would allow us to suffer. If God is our Father, shouldn't he spare us? If you have a child, and they were diagnosed with cancer, wouldn't you try to move Heaven and Earth to take it away? To make it stop? Or....would you turn your head and tell them they are a human, they "deserve" this? This suffering will "build character?" If they die, "oh well, all humans are destined to die?" That would be cruel. But that it what many people see God as doing to his own children.

The truth is...a lot about the Bible and God's nature is not black and white, it is gray and complicated. It's great that some people have such assured answers, but it doesn't help the people who have - very reasonable - doubts about such things.

It doesn't mean you are wrong, but I do think we can be more understanding and have more empathy for people who struggle, and ultimately reject, God based on these notions. They have deep concerns and questions and are often met with "answers" like "It's a mystery!" or "Humans are lowly and deserve it!" Not helpful in the slightest.

@King_Erlian
I totally understand a lot of your issues. While I still identify as Christian, I'm fairly positive it looks quite different from many of the members here. I see the Bible and Christianity differently than how my parents see it, how the members of the church I went to growing up see it, and probably "American Christianity" in general.

I don't "hear God's voice," I never have. I question the stability of a person who claims such things. Also, reading the Bible to discern God's will...that has always been such a strange phrase to me. The Bible is a book full of history and wisdom...it's not a magical book like in the movies, where you read it and "Eureka! A plan for my life! This is what God wants me to do!" You will learn more about God and how to lead your life by actually living it. Making decisions and learning from your mistakes. At least that's how I see it. If God is present in all things, you experience God best out in the world, not locked up in a room reading the Bible all day.

The people in the Church has always been my biggest problem with Christianity too. My family has had extremely bad experiences with fellow Christians. It drove my father to eventually renounce all religion. Some were cruel and judgmental (I'm not talking a single church, I'm talking several churches). Others were nice but still had problems.

When someone answers a religious question I have with "I don't know, I'll need to look into it," or something similar, that is so much better to me than "It was meant to be a mystery, God doesn't want us to know everything because all will be revealed in Heaven!" When someone gives me that "answer," I immediately lose disrespect for them. That's neither an answer, nor does it show concern or empathy for the person asking.

And finally, I'll also echo that I have friends who don't deny the existence of God. They reject the notion of worshipping a God who - to them - seems cruel and unjust. And it doesn't come from a sense of pride, it comes from a sense of empathy and bewilderment.
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Kalta79 » Mar 13, 2020 12:06 pm

If I were to describe my beliefs without any religious/spiritual terms, I believe in the truth. It never changes, just what we know of it does. That's why I said what I did. If atheism is correct, then life not being perfect because we're not perfect is true. Because there would be no such thing as perfection without God. If the Bible is correct, then there is suffering because humanity rejected God's word right from the beginning. He loves us enough to give us free will, because sure he could make us obey him without question(so we'd still be in the Garden of Eden), but making us mindless slaves is not love, it's abuse. With the power to make choices also comes the consequences of those choices. Humanity doesn't have a good track record with making good choices, we still can though. It would help if we remember we're the ocean instead of the beach. Because each grain of sand on the beach is forever separate from all the rest. The ocean is made of drops of water that are still unique, yet form a cohesive body. Hence the ripple effect.

I specifically said if the Bible is correct, not Christianity, because to me there is a distinct difference. Christianity is people following other people. But there have always been false 'prophets' and charlatans. We simply need to look in the Bible for the truth of God's word. If you don't understand it, find those who can help you, just make sure what they're saying isn't contradicted by the Bible. There are three passages that sum up my chosen path: Romans 13:9(For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”), Matthew 25: 32-40(32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’), and John 16:33(I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”).

That's all I have to say. God bless everybody!
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Re: Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!

Postby Stylteralmaldo » Apr 05, 2020 7:29 pm

Kalta79 wrote:...If you don't understand it, find those who can help you, just make sure what they're saying isn't contradicted by the Bible.


This can be self-defeating advice. It’s almost as if you are saying ‘find someone who understands it better than you until you find that you understand it better than them’.

I don’t think any of us can truly just look to the Bible for the answers, then once we get stuck, look to another to help us understand it, then check to see if that person’s responses contradict the Bible, because then you’re back to going based on your own understanding which could be flawed.
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