Ok guys, here are my two main posts from Jenn's discussion, please repost at minimum your latest reply to me when you join...Thanks!
Congratulations to you and your husband!
I am new to this thread and I admit that I did not read all of the comments up to this point, but if it is not too late, I would like to encourage you in you rrelationship with Rachel.
First, a little bit about me: I grew up in the south and the traditional church and rejected Christianity around the age of 12. I spent the next ~ 10 years pursuing Atheism in the sense of being a LaVeyan Satanist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism#LaVeyan_Satanism (as are many Athiests whether they know it or not) until I was almost 22. I was completely anti-christ and anti-religion. I sold drugs and threw parties...among other things. After wandering through spiritual darkness for many years I had come to realize that I was in a place Jesus called Hell. I made some spiritual decisions and decided that I was rejecting Christianity even though I knew so much about it having grown up in it, but there was something I felt like I was missing. Something I did not understand and to me, the highest form of ignorance is rejecting that which I do not understand. I decided to submit myself to the teachings of Jesus Christ and that is what I did. I came to realize that what He teaches is so far from what the church as a whole teaches. Over the last 8 years since I gave my life to the mystery of the Christ within us and found my place as a Son of the Most High God, who is simply Life and Love. Now, I am a registered nurse and will be a doctor in less than two years :) In the last 8 years of studying scripture, seeking wisdom, and serving and loving people through the anointing (literally: the Christ) in me, I have come to learn many things. A few of those things, I would like to share because I think they might help.
1) The teachings of the church and many of the dogmatic doctrinal ideas of most Christians are not what Jesus taught. They are fueled by the demonic spirit called Religion and they keep our Father's children from truly entering into a relationship with Him. Jesus taught us simply 1) to love God (God = Love, Love= God, God = Life, Life = God, etc) and 2) to love others as we love ourself. He commands us to heal people, to feed people and to simply serve others in selfless love. He DOES NOT command us to build his church or to convince others to become Christians. He does tell us to spead the word of the Kingdom of heaven which He says twice in scripture is a spiritual place here among us right now. This means to let people know that they are truly all children of the Most High God, children of Life and children of Love. We are commanded to tell them that they can, in fact, have a personal relationship with the force of Life that permeates the entire universe. I say this all to point out that your friend Rachel is probably sick of religion as are many people. This is key to understand. Jesus tried to minister to the "Christians" of His day...they were called the Pharisees. He soon came to turn the focus His ministry on the "Atheists" of the day...the Gentiles. My point is that Jesus didn't push religion...he didn't even like religion...He pushed Love and Freedom and Service and Healing etc, etc...
2) I have been in ministry (service) for the last 8 years and I can tell you that it was a while before I came to realize that, although I know many awesome christian brothers and sisters that really do love me, I have many people in my life that are atheists, wiccans, hindus, etc that have loved me regardless of my life path and have always been there for me. These are my true family. I share this to point out that it is your love for Rachel and your acceptance of her no matter what and this attitude is what is going to win her and keep her as your close friend in this situation. You well know that the manifestation of the Spirit of God in and through you will reveal itself as love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, self-control in your relationship with her. This is what we are called to sister...not religious ideas and dogmas. To point, would any of those (love, joy, peace, etc) push Rachel away if you expressed them to her? No. Would religious ideas about Jesus? Yes. The religion would, but the true Spirit of Christ will not push away or destroy relationships...even more evidence that religion is not what Jesus is about for He would never push any away from Himself. With that said, my friends know that I love our Father and have found my path via the teachings of Christ and I do have opportunities to talk about those teachings on rare occasions, but only when they bring it up. The church tells us that we have to beat people up with evangelism, but I am here to tell you to NOT feel guilty for not pushing Jesus (the religious Jesus) on her. I have come to understand that for me to say I have to "convince" someone to become a Christian, is to say that I do not have any confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to do His job. It is the presence of the a pure Spirit of Love in one's life that brings them to repentance, not clever arguments and convincing. Loving her is more powerful than any sort of convincing that your words could ever do...this is the presence of the Spirit within you operating in her life. (I do understand that you will miss the fellowship with her and that is expected, but do not give up hope and control yourself when the urge comes to discuss Jesus-stuff with her. I actually, have learned many ways to talk about spiritual things with those that despise Jesus including words that are non-offensive etc. It is nice to be able to have an entire conversation about Jesus and important spiritual things without saying "Jesus" or other trigger words. If you are interested and think it might be useful to you, I would be happy to share some of that with you :)
3) I want to briefly address the Hell issue. I don't know about heaven or hell after this life and I am sure you have your own ideas. However, I want to encourage you to not concern yourself with whether or not Rachel will go to hell when she dies, but rather be concerned that she may find it here on Earth before then. Continue to be a source of grace and mercy and unrelenting love to her and your light in her life will be a constant beacon if she should begin to find herself traversing into the deeper layers of the underworld. I have seen the depths of hell...maybe even as deep as Tartaros and I can say that the only way I found my way into the kingdom, into complete freedom, was because I had faithful people in my life daily praying for me and loving me regardless. Pray constantly and faithfully.
4) I did see at the beginning of this thread where you said that you had many Christians telling you that to continuing a relationship with her would mean being "unevenly yoked". I bet you have also heard the one about "what fellowship can light have with darkness?" or something to that effect. Let me tell you now that those people, while having good intentions, are wrong, IMO. The pharisees only hung out with other pharisees and religious christians hang out with other christians. Jesus tried to hang out with the "religious christians" of His day and soon got sick of it. So, He decided to hang out with the godless and the druggies and the crazies and the rejects, etc, etc. He loved those that were free from religion and offered love and acceptance to those among them who could find it no where else. By pursuing her, you are following the example of Christ more than most Christians are and will begin to see Him in places and understand His love in ways that most Christians will never know. So, you keep it up and don't listen to that demonic religious spirit that will try to convince you through others (many of whom you trust and probably have the deepest respect for) to leave her alone. (As an aside, I would love to hear of any other arguments "christians" may try to throw at you in an attempt to get you to abandon her...)
Well, I could ramble on and on as I am rather long-winded, but that addresses most of the main points that I wanted to touch on. Forgive me for the deepness in some areas and some of the spiritual ambiguity in others. I was hesitant about posting such an openly christian response in this forum...thought about sending it privately instead, but I guess the response shall be interesting if nothing else. I am looking forward to hearing how things go and will pray that you and Rachel may both continue to find freedom from religion while at the same time, growing and strengthening your relationship with the Father of all of creation, whose Son is Jesus Christ and whose children are Rachel and Jenn (among others as well ;)
I am not sure how it is you can suppose to know me well enough to attack me so based on a single post of mine. I will briefly address your concerns, however, if you would like to continue this discussion, maybe you could start a new thread so as to not clog up thread with unrelated conversation.
1) "you're religious, wrong and turning the so called bible upside down, you're sure that gentiles were atheists!" - Ummm...yes, I am sure. The word "Gentile" is derived from the latin word "gens" originally meaning "clan or family". It is translated in the English Bible from the Hebrew texts as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Hebrew word "goy" and from the Greek texts of the New Testament usually as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Greek word "ethnos". The usage of the word "Gentile" in the greek and hebrew texts refers to people who are non-Jews and typically carries the connotation of a broad sense of the all of the people of the time who did not believe in the God of the Jews (i.e. - non-Jews). There are specific scriptures that carry the particular connotation of a person who is god-less (ie - an Atheist: from "-theist) meaning one who believes in a god and the prefix "A-" negating the following suffix) and likens these "atheist" as Gentiles. It's ok if you didn't know this. One really has to study this stuff for oneself to really pick up on these sorts of things.
2) "Atheism is not satanism" You are correct in that Atheis is not satanism. I never said it was. I understand how someone reading quickly through my post might have misinterpretted this idea. What I said was that many Atheist cleanly fit the criteria for LeVeyan Satanism. Have you read the Satanic Bible written by Anton LaVey? There are many shades of Satanism and there are many Atheists who do not fit anywhere within the a-theistic ideas conveyed by LeVey, but there are many who do...I was one of them. www.religioustolerance.org explains LaVeyan Satanism as a "small religious group that is unrelated to any other faith, and whose members feel free to satisfy their urges responsibly, exhibit kindness to their friends, and attack their enemies." Read the Satanic Bible...you can find a free copy here: www.thesatanicbiblefree.com "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
3) "and I was called antichrist but I didn't have anything to do with the devil" I am sorry you were called anti-christ. One can be against (anti-) Christ and not be Satanic or have anything to do with the devil. I believe you. There are many names for spirits that are against Christ...one is Satan, which literally defined, means "the false accuser" Have you ever been accused falsely? If so, then you experienced a Satanic spirit operating through whoever was falsely accusing you. I have encountered him on more than one occasion...even recently I might add :)
4) "and you must have a ton of latent guilt from religion because you're so called wild demonic trip is having fun maybe too much which is constrained by religion and you went to what you know as repenting." I see how you might assume these things, though I can assure you that I am completely free from all guilt. I have been forgiven for everyone I have hurt and every offense I have ever committed. In fact, I have found a place where I live under a pouring rain of perpetual or constant forgiveness. In staying in this place, it allows me to immediately forgive others when they offend or hurt me :) Proof = The fact that I forgive you because your response to my attempt to encourage Jenn was a little hurtful but it is ok, I still love you and would do anything for you and I don't even know you :)
5) "Prove to me you know squat about you're old atheistic ways and state great points that turned you into an atheist." If you would like further proof, please start a new thread and we can discuss it as much as you like. It might be good to give the others who will assuredly attack me a ready avenue to do so without clogging Jenn's thread. Looking forward to talking with you more :)
1) Never obey anyone's command unless it is coming from within you also.
really? you don't listen to your boss at work? ever? wow, that is scary!
2) There is no God other than life itself
well, we don't believe in any god, so this is just one more to not believe in.
3) Truth is within you, do not search for it else where.
i am sure guys like ted bundy believed this too.. nice way to justify all kinds of narcissistic behaviours. so do you believe that the laws of your country contain no truth? why do you bother reading anything at all? if all truth is within, what is the point?
4) Love is prayer
really? can you explain how?
5) To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.
Buddhism in a nutshell here.. he was an atheist by the way...
"These truths are universal and are not limited to Jesus which is why I can find so much in other faiths that teach the same things"
these 'truths' are not universal unless you subscribe to anarchist and nihilistic points of view, but having been a satanist at one point, you have had experience there as well...
Osho is an Eastern personality, so you need to study him a bit to understand the context.
He was raised a Jain if I remember correctly.
"Osho is a modern day mystic whose wisdom, clarity and humor have touched the lives of millions of people around the world. His insights are creating the conducive atmosphere or ‘ Atma-Sphere ” for the emergence of what he calls the ‘New Man’ or Zorba , the Buddha – the combination of celebration, dance and song of Zorba and the silence, stillness and meditation of the Buddha, the meditation of the East and the materialism of the West. Zorba the Buddha is a totally new human being who is an awakened one, and he is life-affirmative and free. When someone asked Osho the definition of religion, Osho replied: To be in romance with life is religion."
as i have stated, we don't believe in any gods so whatever one he is believing in, we don't believe in it. buddhism has many aspects to it, some of which are compatible with atheistic points of view. Sam Harris believes in meditation as well, so if Chris is looking for dialogue, then he should make his case clear and ask questions, not assume we are who he thinks we are... the rhetoric accomplishes nothing but animosity on both sides... :D
i found this on this site > http://www.oshoworld.com/osho_now/speaks_mystics.asp
^^^ haha, cute ^^^ ...I been hit with a pokeball... -128 hit pts
I like it...lmao... :D
Jenn and James
You are looking at Ohso from a western understanding and Osho is from an eastern culture.
I. Never obey anyone’s commands unless it is coming from within you also. He is saying to obey your conscience.
2. There is no other God other than life itself. Osho is about leading people to enlightenment which is different from Xian understanding, it's not not about a reward after death.
3. Truth is within you, do not search for it else where. Eastern philosophy you look within where Xian is you look outside yourself for the answers.
4. Love is prayer. Prayer is meditation and love can be a form of meditation to eastern philosophies, you will not understand his meaning from a Xian view point.
5. To become a nothingness is the door to the truth. Nothingness is the means, the goal and attainment. This about getting rid of ego, again a eastern viewpoint.
6. Life is now and here. Live here and now is about getting you to drop ego.
7.Live wakefully, it is about living in the here and now, no thoughts about the past or future.
8.Swim don't float is not about being in the water, it is about not fighting with all the thoughts that go through your mind.
9. Die each moment so that you can be new each moment. Again about living in the here and now. In eastern philosophy you you need not die to find enlightenment in a physical since.
10. Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see. your search blocks your ability to see the path. Be in the here and now and the truth will be revealed. This a eastern theistic view.
Again this is from an eastern philosophy to understand what he is saying you have to get out of western thinking. If you read the teaching of Jesus from an eastern point of view it takes on a different meaning than what most western would perceive.
Jesus had a Master/disciple relationship with his followers, I know most Xian do not understand the concept. Master/disciple relationship has been a staple of eastern philosophies for 1000s of years before jesus. I didn't find it in the end to be anymore satisfying than Xianity, but it does have a lot less guilt.
The teaching are no more flawed than Xian teaching, Osho does explain from his view the teachings of Jesus, a very interesting take. Jenn I'm not sure you would accept them but Osho also would tell you since you are a westerner that the teachings of Jesus will get you to enlightenment but the Church will is a hindrance.
For me the whole thing is simply the opposite side of the same coin.
Reason brought me to my path.
Jenn and Jim,
Forgive me for taking so long to respond. My perspective is similar to each of your's in some ways and in some ways it is a little bit different. This has all been very encouraging to me because I am learning that my understanding of Jesus' teachings is not unique to just me and a small minotiry of Christians in the US but is very much the same as the Eastern view of his teachings (eastern vs western). Instead of icking points to agree or disagree with you guys on, I am just going to adress each of these ideas in turn as I have come to see them. Also, I should make note that while what I share is going to be from the perspective of one who has submitted to the teachings and discipline of Christ, I make no assertions that these ideas are limited strictly to Christianity but are rather, universal truths that span time and cultures though I feel them to be the major tenets of the teaching of Christ (no matter what the church says ;). I hope my explanations are adequate :)
One last warning: The christian lingo is meant for the christians reading this. If you are not Christian, please do not try to start an argument about it. The references to scripture are for evidence to those who consider the Bible to be a credible source or for general reference. Thanks :)
Finally, we have to realize that all of these ideas are interrelated and are very similar if not the same in many ways. I will try to keep them separated as much as possible.
1) “Never obey anyone's command unless it is coming from within you also.”
This is simply saying that “God’s” law is higher than man’s law. That love and life are to be revered above all things and if there is a conflict between the law of man and the law of god (which is simply to love and protect life) then our loyalty lies with the higher principality. This is clearly evidenced in the ministry of Jesus and a perfect example (of many) would be his healing of the man on the Sabbath, which was in direct violation of the Mosaic Law. Matt 12:1-14
This statement also is based on the believe that Life is God and Truth is God and that we all have truth and life within us, though some of us spend much of our life denying a harmonious existence and live in a state which Freud describes as Ego Dystonia as it would be approached with the premise that we are all children of truth and children of life and therefor can only exist syntonically if we are at one with truth and life within us and around us.
2) “There is no God other than life itself.”
I just sort-of spoke to this. Life is the driving force, the breath within and throughout all of creation. If we chose to call is “God” or whatever, it is mere semantics, but the principle remains the same. Life is the Most High God in the sense that it is not man-made, but rather it is that it is. Studying genetics and cellular molecular biology and biochemistry has shown me in detail as deep as we have come to understand as human beings the methods for which this force choses to interact with the creation and I can say that I am continually in awe at the complexity and universality of the creation and the unexplainable nature of the forces which drive these processes and comprise that which we understand as life. Even quantum physics can only speculate into the depths of this force and I love the reality of that which is natural and have no problem continually digging deeper to understand that which is beyond what we recognize as natural. I love science because it is the very study of life itself. Some think that theology is the study of God but I would say that theology is the study of religion. Science is the study of God, science is simply the study of Life. Thus, God=Life and Life=God in this mind-set.
Finally, to speak to the Christian paradigm, Jesus states explicitly in John 14, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The greek word used here for life and in many other places is “zoe” and comes from the root word “zao” which literally means “to live”. This is different from the word “pneuma” which is used to convey the idea of the rational and immortal soul. Here Jesus is saying that He is completely one with Life and with Truth. He also, as you know states that He and the Father are one and the same. It is the idea that it all ties back into itself in that the Father is Life (and mother is Earth though Jesus does not state this about mother, but it is the idea of flesh and spirit, mother and father). The greek word there for Father simply means father in the sense of ones parent. So, Jesus is saying that he is one with Life, he is one with Father, and the way is the complete submission to truth in the sense of never lying even if it leads to one’s own death. This is what John’s epistles allude to when it talks about walking in truth. Which leads us to the next statement:
3) “Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.”
I don’t think Osho is saying that there is no truth elsewhere, but rather, we don’t have to search elsewhere to find it. We must look within for we all have it within us. Whether or not we recognize it or submit to it, we have it. From a Christian perspective, Jesus not only teaches this principle, but even uses His understanding of this principle in His daily practice. Go back and look at how many times people come to Him searching for the “truth” of things. They ask Him specific questions and He responds with either a blatant question or a parable. We must look deeper than the surface, but once we do we see that Jesus realized that each of these people coming to Him in search of the “truth” already had the answer within them, so He turned pointed them not to some external fact that only He knew, but rather He pointed them inward, into their own heart to find the answer to their question. Many spiritual “guru” or “teacher” recognize this principle and use it to direct their students to the “truth” that is already within them. I could give many references and examples but I think if you take a moment to consider it you can think of at least a few on your own. ;)
4) "Love is prayer."
Love = prayer and prayer = love. I understand this to mean simply what it says. Many of us have heard prayers that we might not consider to be loving in a selfless way, maybe they stem from a heart that loves not others but only itself. I could also point out that there may be prayers that originate from fear, which is the opposite of love. I think what Osho is saying here is that true prayer, genuine prayer, is the complete submission and opening of one’s heart to life and love and expressing life and love for others by focusing our thoughts and feelings on the needs of others in a completely selfless way. I understand this to be true prayer and pure love and is what I believe he is referring to with this statement.
5) “To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.”
Many spiritual disciplines teach this concept not only Osho and Jesus and Paul. It is the idea that I consider myself to a son of the King, a child of the universe, while at the same time considering all to be as valuable or more valuable than myself. Well, you are probably asking, “How is this relevant to the statement. It seems quite opposite.” This place I am speaking of is the kingdom. To enter into the kingdsom, we must let go completely. We literally must consider ourselce to be the “salt of the earth”. To be nothing by denying our self nature which is everything we have known. By letting go of our self and everything that we are, we become nothing and sub,mit ourselves to allow Life to be everything it is in and through us, so that it is no longer my “self” that lives, but rather Life that lives in and through me. I become one with Life and the only way I can do this is by getting my “self” out of the way. This is how becoming nothingness is the means to entering into life and truth, it is the goal and the achieving of this state, which is the secret place Jesus calls the Kingdom of Heaven here and now among us (Luke 17:20-21). To become nothingness, we must not focus on our self, but rather on truth and Life and the more we submit to truth and Life, the less we are. I could go on and on, but I hope that has displayed the point J
6) "Life is now and here."
This seems to obvious to me. Do not live in the past and have no concern for the future. Not in the sense of, let us live recklessly to day, eat and drink for tomorrow we die, but rather with the attitude that every single moment is precious, every moment may be our last and we should be thankful for every breath and not take a single one for granted. Use this moment you have to exist and to exist meaningfully, by being life and love to those around you who you are sharing this moment with. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6:25-34 and many other places…Paul teaches this as well as many other spiritual teachers J
7) "Live wakefully."
This means to live in a manner where I understand that life is here and now and that every moment might be my last so I should look for every opportunity to love those around me and serve them. This ties in very closely with #6. Essentiall, stay alert: Mark 13:33-37
8) "Do not swim – float."
This is the idea that we should flow in harmonious oneness with the universe and not fight the life and the truth, which is in the heart of every man. Also, from a Christian perspective (that means if you are reading this and are not a Christian, do not feel like you need to comment if you do not agree or do not understand), I have often heard it taught that we “as Christians” are caught in a world, which is like a river of sin, and as Christians, we are to swim against the current. I don’t agree with this. If you have ever tried to swim against a current, you know it is a constant battle and if you give up for only a moment to rest, you find yourself where you started or further downstream. As Christians, we should be where Jesus is and He can walk on water. It is this place where His burden is easy and His yoke is light (Matthew 11:25-30). This is the idea that Osho is conveying, though I agree the terms are all mixed up. Osho is conveying the idea, not that we should float with a river of sin, but rather float on and in a river of Life. We should not fight life by swimming, and life is not about doing, but rather life is about just being…just floating in harmonious oneness with truth and life and love.
9) "Die each moment so that you can be new each moment."
This reflects the concept of dying to my carnal nature…my selfishness. I shouldn’t have to give any references to the Christians reading this. This is a well-known and much talked about concept within Christianity. It kinda goes back to the “nothingness” idea that I spoke to earlier. We must strive to be open minded and have an open heart in every moment. In every moment, we submit our “self” to the life within us so that in every moment we may be filled with new life (Romans 12:2). When we are not, we are instead filled with things like religion or other such nonsense that keeps us from being new. Luke 5:33-39
10) "Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see."
This is another one that is worded in a way that seems to contradict Jesus’ teaching, but I would disagree. It is saying the same thing in a different way. It is essentially saying that you don’t have to find purpose or “god” or anything externally, way out there somewhere, but instead, Life is all around you. Just sit still and look. If you are too busy doing this or doing that, or as many Christians, too busy running from Hell or running to heaven as if these are some places we go when we die, instead, the kingdom is here among you. Life is all around you. Quit doing and just be. Psalm 46:10
My $0.02. :)
and end the end you must kill your master to move on.
So maybe if your willing to explain yourself there are folks here that would understand the position. Many of us have more knowledge on these types of subjects than you may think.
Teachings of Jesus (or whomever wanted people to believe in Jesus and Christianity)-
What is the message, really? Believe in me and have eternal life – or else? What’s the alternative- the writers clearly tried to use fear as a motivator.
Granted, some of these are parables, but what is the obvious message?
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
2 John 1:9-11 ESV
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Luke 19:27 ESV
But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”
John 14:12 ESV
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.
John 6:50-71 ESV
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. ...
Once again, Jesus’ so-called teachings are not unique to Jesus or Christianity- they were borrowed as Christianity evolved to make the mythological features of Jesus as powerful as any other figure of worship and Christianity as powerful and believable as any other existing religion.
“Love your neighbor as yourself”-
Again, this “teaching” is not Jesus’
The Bible- a bestseller-
This means absolutely nothing- the religion virus is very “infectious” and has had centuries to evolve. And there are many other “holy” books, and many other popular gods have existed before Christianity- Jesus has only been popular for the last 2000 years- not really very long in the time span of human existence. And all the previous popular gods, who were worshiped by hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, have all perished with the societies that invented them.
Move to the Middle East- they have bigger “best sellers” there for you to believe in. And Allah and Mohammed are much more popular there than Jesus.
Ethnocentrism – a wonderful thing.
Quotes “taken out of context or are illustrations that are conveying a deeper principle and one that is not violent at all”
Of course, they are always out of context, and they always show some deeper meaning. And of course, you could also counter with so many scriptures on love and peace and service and healing, etc, etc. Then I could counter with all the atrocities
And we could counter-counter forever about the nice stuff and the bad stuff, etc., etc.
The New Testament had to evolve to something nicer - the world changed. The god of the Old Testament was a horrible creature and the New Testament tried to fix that - but to me, the attempt at making it better with a human sacrifice, although it may have been ok for the first century when people still accepted animal sacrifices as legitimate, is simply unacceptable.
Biblical quotes as statistical outliers-
Really? So are you saying they can be discarded or ignored because they are statistical outliers?
And if I was misunderstood, I apologize- I meant to say Jesus’ life as portrayed by the Bible is hearsay. And, personally, I don’t like the word “scripture.” It makes the Bible sound like more than it really is- as I’ve said before, for the most part, its a book written by non-scientific, racist, misogynistic men.
Prayer may, and I emphasize may, make people feel better, like meditation, exercise, etc. Even if it does serve this purpose, regardless of its mechanism, to me it is nothing more than a glorified magical belief. And if you think you can cause a deity to intervene on your, or someone else’s, behalf, to me it is really nothing more than an infantile need to be the center of the universe - I mean, really, humans can control or influence a god? Wouldn’t that make you more powerful than god, at least for the moment he, she, it obeys you?
Pray all you want, just leave me out (and all others who do not share your beliefs) and please, tell all your Christian friends to stop trying to force my kids to pray to your god in our public schools. Yes, I am fighting this battle, and the battle of the Ten Commandments, with religious morons in TN. This is where I have a very difficult time with Christians - and I am getting very tired of it (not to mention the altered Pledge that my kids have to hear every morning in school and the moronic national motto of “In God We Trust” that historically and Constitutionally ignorant Christians keep spewing out to justify prayer in schools, etc.- but I digress, sorry).
Sorry, I may be able to try to comprehend explanations for why cultures sacrificed children, slaves, prisoners of war, etc., but I cannot accept human sacrifice as morally justifiable - even if it was god creating a son to be killed as a "human sacrifice."
Self sacrifice is not even close to taking the life of an innocent person to appease a god.
Finally, as I’ve said before, the world has witnessed the following progression- animism, polytheism, monolatry, monotheism. It may take hundreds of years, but monotheism will be replaced by something else - freethought, agnosticism, atheism, who knows..
(And although I would like to share my specialty with you, I live in a small community with a majority of Christians in TN - people here are distinctly different and less friendly if/when they discover I'm not a Christian, so I'd rather maintain some anonymity- my name here isn't even my real name- sad, but true, that I have to be concerned about my identity as a non-Christian for business and social reasons)
Good luck with USMLE part 1. May knowledge bless you.
And, if you are ever interested, some leisure time reading for you (after your USMLE):
Thanks for your reply :)
"What is the message, really? Believe in me and have eternal life – or else? What’s the alternative- the writers clearly tried to use fear as a motivator.
Granted, some of these are parables, but what is the obvious message? "
The obvious message in the teachings of Jesus as a whole, IMO, are simply to love and serve others no matter the cost (healing, feeding, clothing, etc), to never lie even if it leads to your own death, and to realize that everyone on this earth is equal and valuable. To see others perspectives as relevant and meaningful, even if they are not my own. That we are all children of the universe and the only thing that makes me any different as a son of the King from someone who doesn't believe in the "king" is that I know and live within the kingdom here and now as a prince and my brother who stands beside me denying the kingdom is missing out on his birthright. that makes him no less a son of the king. I could go on and on, but that is the gist of it.
Of the scriptures you quoted above, I tend to be a bit wary of the ones that are other christians ideas about what christianity and the church should be. Remember, I am not like most xians in that I believe the bible is the infallible word of god. The other verses from Jesus that you quoted, with the exception of the verse in Luke, are all parts of a larger picture and do not convey his message individually. I should point out that the quote from the parable in Luke is not Jesus' words about himself, but if you go back and read the entire chapter, you will see that this verse is him quoting the nobleman in the story he is telling. See Luke Chapter 20 and Matthew 22 for parallel stories for comparison.
"Once again, Jesus’ so-called teachings are not unique to Jesus or Christianity- they were borrowed as Christianity evolved to make the mythological features of Jesus as powerful as any other figure of worship and Christianity as powerful and believable as any other existing religion." I never said they were and I completely agree with you. Not sure where you are going with this, but you are correct :)
"Ethnocentrism – a wonderful thing." I agree, yet still doesn't change the fact that it is as it is.
Do you believe in aliens?
"The New Testament had to evolve to something nicer - the world changed. The god of the Old Testament was a horrible creature and the New Testament tried to fix that - but to me, the attempt at making it better with a human sacrifice, although it may have been ok for the first century when people still accepted animal sacrifices as legitimate, is simply unacceptable." Once again, you are entitled to your opinion of what is acceptable and what is not. I do not personally practice ritualistic sacrifice but I also realize that I am not in a place to judge those who did or do. Maybe there is something to it that I am missing...
"Really? So are you saying they can be discarded or ignored because they are statistical outliers?"
Yes, I am saying that I have no problem disregarding statistical outliers especially since it is all emanating from hearsay anyways. :)
"And if I was misunderstood, I apologize- I meant to say Jesus’ life as portrayed by the Bible is hearsay. And, personally, I don’t like the word “scripture.” It makes the Bible sound like more than it really is- as I’ve said before, for the most part, its a book written by non-scientific, racist, misogynistic men." I completely understand your perspective here. :)
"I mean, really, humans can control or influence a god?" = Not that I know of
"Wouldn’t that make you more powerful than god, at least for the moment he, she, it obeys you?" = It would which is why this view on prayer, to me, is childish and ridiculous.
"please, tell all your Christian friends to stop trying to force my kids to pray to your god in our public schools." = I do tell them every chance I get. :)
"This is where I have a very difficult time with Christians - and I am getting very tired of it" = Me too. It is frustrating and exhausting, but all we can do is continue to educate the ignorance out of them and love them and forgive them :)
"Human sacrifice- Sorry, I may be able to try to comprehend explanations for why cultures sacrificed children, slaves, prisoners of war, etc., but I cannot accept human sacrifice as morally justifiable - even if it was god creating a son to be killed as a "human sacrifice."" = Once again...I do not believe in human sacrifice either, however, I think there is something there that we are missing...the point I guess and the contextual aspect r/t the time.
"Self sacrifice is not even close to taking the life of an innocent person to appease a god." = I completely agree.
"Finally, as I’ve said before, the world has witnessed the following progression- animism, polytheism, monolatry, monotheism. It may take hundreds of years, but monotheism will be replaced by something else - freethought, agnosticism, atheism, who knows.." = I completely agree...who knows :)
"Good luck with USMLE part 1. May knowledge bless you." = Thanks! And I am looking forward to checking out the readings!