I hate hypocrisy. More than anything. Seriously.
My personal rule in life is don't be a dick (subjective to the golden rule) and don't be a hypocrite. That's it. Pretty much a perfect circle of decent humanity, right?
That's why I fucking despise religious moderates.
I mean, what's the point, really? Do you believe that crap, or don't you?
Either the Bible/Koran/Whatever is perfect and written by god, or it isn't. There is no middle ground. A god that is capable of mistakes isn't a god. If a holy book has errors, then it means the deity is not omnipotent. A 'real' god could prevent translation errors. A 'real' god could prevent incorrect human editing.
So either you buy into the laws and the consequences for breaking them, or you don't. Pick a side, please?
Now, if you claim to follow a god of love or whatever, then sure, he'll forgive you for some sins, right? But the things that are explicitly outlined, like divorce and remarriage are considered ongoing sins. Every day you stay remarried, you are committing adultery. If you kill yourself, if you die while being an active homosexual...ect.
See, I think the Amish are on to something. At least these guys have dedication. At least they walk the walk as well as talk the talk. These guys have earned my respect.
Jews that say "I just participate in holidays to keep ties with my heritage, not because I believe in that pish" are also just fine by me. Catholics that don't believe but feel comfort in the ritual? Fine. As long as the admit the truth.
It's the half-assed American Bible Belt fatties that drive me nuts. Either follow the Bible, follow the Koran or shut the fuck up.
Quit twisting things. Quit making excuses. Either back up your belief by committing your life to the full scale Biblical outline, or take off the stupid silver crucifix earrings.
Please don't say you are "A born again Christian" if you've never read the entire New Testament.
If you don't know the rules expected of you, you obviously aren't following them. These aren't exactly common sense outlines, you know. They were written by goat herders a few thousand years back, and a lot of the policies don't quite fit into modern life so easily. If you are a "Christian" then you'll stand out. There is no such thing as incognito Christianity if you are actually following the laws set down for you.
And if you aren't? And if you don't know them? Then please quit clinging to a false title. It just makes you look pathetic.
Can't you get friends without being part of some super club?

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Right. Fundamentalists and I agree on one thing: not all views are equally valid. If I'm right, then all theists everywhere are completely wrong. If the fundies are right, then belief in JC is the only way to avoid damnation and the rest of us are going to hell. The idea that all beliefs are valid despite the fact that they contradict each other may appeal to a liberal theologian because if its "tolerance" and lack of conceit, but it is still impossible. And that shield of "tolerance" for plainly irrational and impossible beliefs prevents them from receiving the criticism they deserve.
Misty you are so damn sexy spot on target! I was going to start taking some quotes out to comment on but then I found I was taking the whole thing. You bring up some extremely superb points! You are my TA hero!
I haz sexy in huge amounts!
Growing up in the household of a liberal theologian... let me give my perspective on things. Fundy literalists are black and white... Its all are nothing...(that's what they claim..but if you dig into it a bit you'll find they pick and choose just like everyone else)...

The way the mystics look at 'religion' is that it reflects more about the 'people of that time and place' then it does about anything divine. This is why the God of the old testament is such a dick...and the God that Jesus talks about is a much nicer fellow.. (except for that part about eternal damnation) The God of today and the future is also going to have a different picture painted of him.. This is the liberal approach. Does God change?... No.. but OUR understanding does.

The liberal theologians don't have the absolutes that the fundies have.... They just hold to the 'ideal' of a higher power....the absolute apex of love, goodness, wisdom etc.
Wesley, I completely understand where you're coming from, and I agree with your observations. But I still agree with the original point. When we talk about how our understandings of a supposed being change as society changes, what we're really saying is that we're redefining that being according to the shifting zeitgeist. That's why religious moderates frustrate me more than fundamentalists in some respects. They're essentially defending the "god of right now", based on their current preferences and understandings, rather than the god that the Bible actually describes as constant and never changing.

At least the fundamentalists are willing to stick by their convictions that the book is true. Moderates who have to pick and choose and interpret are basically just building a god to suit their tastes and telling themselves that everyone's god is valid and true as long as it fits a small set of criteria. That's some of the sloppiest reasoning I've ever heard.

By the way, what on earth is that in your avatar? I'm afraid.
Here's a passage that those of a mystical bent would use to confound the fundies... Which they equate with the 'natural man'... for they are literalists and are blind to the inner spirit. The mystics of course are the 'spiritual men' for they see with the inner eye and interpret according to the higher wisdom and ideals of the spirit.

There are numerous passages that the mystics use to support their interpretation.

1st Corinthians 2nd chapter verse 6 through the end of the chapter.

"Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

this 'but we have the mind of christ' was probably added by a cleric or priest who was worried about losing authority over those who searched the spirit for themselves.
On the one hand, I completely agree with you, especially about the Amish. I completely respect them, at least they have the balls to stick it out and actually live the life their religion tells them to, and I can't stand it when people will use the Bible to be homophobic, but then decide not to kill their kid who they just found out had premarital sex.

On the other hand, I do think religion these days has become such a flimsy thing that picking and choosing isn't so much a picking and choosing from which Bible passages to believe (I'm not saying people don't do that - obviously they do and it's completely ridiculous), but it seems to me that people believe things on an individual level depending on exactly how they feel and perceive the world as opposed to how an organized religion tells them to believe. I think this is the basis of the whole "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual" sort of movement happening. Honestly, I think it's a step in the right direction. While I am most definitely an atheist, I think I wouldn't mind it so much if everyone who was part of an organized religion now became this sort of "spiritual" - everyone believing in their own thing (regardless of how incorrect it is), and not being controlled by some higher organized group, which is where most of the danger of religion comes from.

I mean, yes, it pisses me off as well - but I certainly am glad no one is trying to stone me or anyone else to death for doing the things we do.
I think this is how religion is going to have to evolve if its going to survive... Its going to have to be able to 'grow and change' as we grow and change. It will lead to deeper and grander spiritual conjectures..... which is what has moved many people to the christian mysticism gnosticism and mystical teachings of the east.. Which are much 'fairer' and grander than fundy literalism.
Except for when it comes to homosexuals!
Don't stone your kids.
Eat bacon.
Eat shrimp.
Wear cotton blends.
But look out for queers. They are trying to brainwash our school children into supporting notions like equality and civil rights!
One of the things about "picking and choosing" that rarely gets brought up is that the bible itself was the result of "picking and choosing" among various writings. The apocrypha is what was left out, which, IMO, has some of the most interesting stuff!

Even today the bible in use is not identical among various christians. Some contain books that others don't. Some add entirely new and separate books on top of whatever collection a group calls their bible.

Picking and choosing is not only a micro-level activity, but a macro-level activity, too.
You're right about the apocrypha being some of the most interesting stuff. I've just finished reading "Lots Christianities" and "Lost Scriptures" by Bart D. Ehrman. Together, they examine some of the early versions of Christianity lost over the centuries, and some of the texts they followed, most of which would be wholly unrecognizable to Christians today. Imagine a Christian church that said that Jesus was only ever a man, that the virgin birth didn't happen, and that the thing that descended onto Jesus as a dove when John the Baptist baptized him was actually Christ, a spiritual being that inhabited his body until he was put on the cross. Or a church with two gods. Or with a different god for each day of the year.


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