crispybits wrote:On the slavery thing, Jesus referred to men as possesions within one of the quotes within my post (the Luke one).
No, he did not. He simply referred to consequences of actions. Today, people would be fined or even perhaps put in jail for bad actions toward employes. Back then, beatings and such were common. That doesn't mean it was slavery, it means that things were very different back then.
crispybits wrote:And I'm having trouble thinking of a situation where you will be thrown in jail for quitting your job (and only because you quit your job). Maybe if you're a pilot or train or bus driver and you do it while the vehicle is in motion and it crashes then yes, but that's a hell of a stretch. For 99.999% of cases if you quit your job you cannot be thrown in jail or beaten or whatever for that action.
That doesn't apply to any of the above situations.
But your 99.99% figure is incorrect. Anyone who violates a contract can be fined or otherwise penalized. If you quite a job, you lose benefits.
If I show up just a minute late for my job, I get a "point". If I get too many points, I get fired. Back then, in many situations, being "fired" would have meant starvation. Ironically, not necessarily a lesser penalty at all.
crispybits wrote:I went to a catholic school, and believe me I heard their official line on the bible. but it wasn't even just from there, I went to an anglican church for about 2 years too, looking for answers to questions about why the hell I was here and what the whole point was of everything. When I didn't find answers there I fell in with new age happy clappy born again christians (they baptised me all over again in a public swimming pool) but still the answers I was being given did not make sense. Even when you shed off most of the historical tradition and ritual and focused on the message of love from an almighty creator it didn't fit. For several reasons. So I looked outside of christianity, but even in other faiths I didn't get given a convincing explanation. The closest anyone came were the buddhists, but that's not a religion, it's more like a metaphysical philosophy about existence, and it says nothing about "God". I actually find many aspects of it enlightening, but I have problems with other sections so I can't even say I'm buddhist.
I will speak only of the Bible, but say that many of the qoutes you have given, things you assert very much disagree with what I have not just learned, but read and percieve on my own. I don't claim to be a scholar, but sometimes you just have to read for yourself, and realize that a thousand people can read just about anything other than math and get a several hundred different views
crispybits wrote:See this is why I have such a problem with the message of "open your heart and you will find Him". I have opened my heart, on several occasions. Not from a point of starting with it closed and paying lip service, but from a point of accepting that I don't know what's out there, and believing there is "something" out there, and wanting to connect to it. If it is there, and if it can do a fraction of what most religions say it can do, then I'll be better off for having it with me. Every single time though, without fail, I have tried to genuinely connect with whatever it is through religion, I've found myself looking at.... nothing.
The only time I have ever found myself really believing that I'm connecting with that something has been in quiet times, alone with myself, and talking to it as I'm talking to you now (not through an internet forum obviously). And it's not that it answered or that it demonstrated it's existence or anything like that, but just that all of the ritual, all of the ceremony and obligation that religion entails, it's all completely un-necessary.
I had to stop you here because this IS prayer, it is what I and many Christians experience and feel. Most of the ceremony IS superfulous or rather, it offers a pattern that some people, not all find comforting. Me..there are times when I find it comforting. At a funeral of close family it can be good to have a pattern to fall back upon, something that tells your hand/mouth/body to act when your mind is basically shut down in grief. However, I very much disdain what I see as very excessive ritual in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. On the other hand, I find the more Evangelical to be, well, a bit too much on the other side of things. Too often they exchange a church heirarchy for heirarchy of male family and control of an individual pastor (though that is not always true). Church is where Christians go to meet other Christians and talk about faith. Its not necessarily where all faith is found.
It's an impedement. If it does exist, it doesn't need me to say certain words, or to be in a certain place, and it certainly doesn't give me the right to demand anything of anyone else, or impose my own standards on anyone else.
Christ never demanded this. He simply says where people meet in his name, there he will be.
crispybits wrote:But even then the doubt remains - there is no proof that I was connected to anything, I didn't come away from those times with any more knowledge or revelation than I had beforehand. I didn't come away from those moments changed in any way. I cannot claim any privileged truth or knowledge for having made the connection.
What is proof, except something that you have been taught is true? Faith and belief just take another step. Sometimes, in science, you get to point where you have to make a choice and invest your life/money/time in one route versus another. You hope it proves fruitful.
For many, faith is more.. they see something that leads them down one path or another. But, even the most faithful have times of doubt. Sometimes then you just decide to have faith and go on, but that is a very personnal choice.
crispybits wrote:I still believe there is "something" there, and I still believe it is entirely impersonal, uncaring and oblivious. It cannot be said to have human characteristics, because it cannot be said to be human. It might have, but I've never seen, hard or "felt" any evidence that it does. You could just as easily define it as "the stuff beyond the stuff we know about" as anything else, and the feeling of connection can easily be explained by simple psychology, about the human desire to feel a belonging to something greater than yourself. I'm fully aware that my own personal god concept could be a simple personal delusion.
And this is why I believe that if I have been given a message it is the message that religion is fundamentally wrong.
Actually no disagreement there! Religion, church is a human construct. It is very different from what I refer to as "faith". Many people tie them together, find that their church supports their religion, may even see a particular church as in some way necessary. I said before that Christ did not specify worship in particular places. (some Mennonites, the Amish don't have churches because they believe that constructing a church would lead to in some sense worshipping the building itself). He did, however give us a few patterns, "rituals" if you will. The Last supper/communion. He also accepted Baptism as a affirmation of a new covenent. Its not that he gave us no ritual or "rites". However, for each of these, people have taken it well beyond anything specified in the Bible and that can be a hindrance to many people, even just plain wrong... particularly when, say not having the "right clothes" means someone doesn't feel comfortable going to church or when not being able to drive well or working odd hours means attending services and communion are difficult... etc.
crispybits wrote: If I haven't been given a message and it's a delusion, if I have done everything asked by the religious and asked nothing except "be with me" and been denied then their definition of God is flawed, because by definition that being would accept that request, by definition it cannot deny that request. So I find that all religions I have ever honestly tried are bullshit and in the absence of any real supernatural authority my natural moral duty as a human being is to spread that rejection of brainwashing, to confront this manipulation and control exercised by mortal men over mortal men and hold the banner up for freedom from this mental, emotional and physical oppression. And if I have been given this entirely personal message from the almighty, then I have just as much of an evangelical imperative to do exactly the same. And that imperative does not extend to forcing my morals over non-religious subjects onto others as all religions do with the fear of God's wrath, but simply to address the religious disease that keeps us in spiritual shackles, bound by the moral opinions of people who I cannot believe have any authority over a relationship with the divine that is entirely personal, and who definitely don't have the authority to use the fear of God's wrath as justification for bending others to their extended secular moral viewpoints.
That's about the most open and honest post you will ever get from me on this subject by the way (thanks to a few beers and a genuine desire to explain my position rather than just bash others' positions). Religion is bullshit. Religion is immoral. Religion is a man made control structure that has been used for political and financial gain, and it has nothing to do with any almighty power, whether that power exists or not. Religious people are victims of the most powerful brainwashing man ever invented, and it is everyone's moral duty, whether those morals come from God or nature, to resist, oppose and attack that offensive, demeaning and morally and spiritually bankrupt slavery of the soul.
Religon is often all of those things, because religion is always tinged by humans. Religion is essentially a creation of humanity in this sense. However, believe and faith are not necessarily. AND.. religion doesn't have to be beholden to any pattern or creation of humans. The Bible, anything on Earth is and can be misused by human beings. But it is up to other human beings to see that the tools are turned to good use.
One biblical symbol of this is often the sickle and cythe. They are blades that were used, necessary for harvesting grain.. or they could be a weapon. They were blades of peace, but also could be for war. It is not up to the blade to decide its use, it is up to the weilder.
crispybits wrote:(By the way, before you say that I haven't denied the possibility of your God, and that your God could still be God and he's just connecting with me in a different way, then I would ask why he wants me to attack his religious structures, and why an all-powerful all-loving being with the power of personal revelation direct into every human heart even needs any religious structures or authorities at all)
Well, I, BK Barunt, several others here have very vocally attacked what some percieve to be "the church". IF you were to go back and look at some of what BK Barunt has said on the Roman Catholic church in particular, you would find it not very favorable. 2dimes, a few others have similarly addressed these things without necessarily evicting themselves from Christianity.
As to the last, though.. God actually doesn't really "need" us in the sense you give there. We need him. As to why he doesn't reach in and just give the truth to every person there, it is because if he did, we would be nothing but puppets... and he wants more for us. He created us to be human, for all the good and bad that entails.
It may not be a satisfactory answer. That is OK. Some answers never really get a "good" answer, or any answer. Sometimes just the fact that you are searching is all you can try to demand.
But here is the basic point I have tried to make with you from the beginning. You have every right to criticize whatever and whomever you wish. The issue I have had is that too much of your criticism of God and Christianity are really not criticisms of the whole God, all of Christianity, but very specific teachings you have been given, particularly things I can tell come from the Roman Catholic Church. There are a good many people here who share much of the criticism you voice, and yet we still call ourselves Christian. That doesn't mean you have to share our faith, but it means that if you don't carefully distinguish between criticism of a part and criticism of the whole, then you will find yourself facing paragraphs of explanations as to why your criticism is off base
Some might consider taking a secular saying and applying it to faith to be disrespectful. It can be, but I think a secular quote answers best what I am saying. The highest form of patriotism is criticism. Sometimes, too, the highest form of faith is allowing oneself to criticize and critique. If someone doesn't, then we all become blind sheep.