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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:25 am 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
I think again that the yoke Paul refers to is the man made additions to the Law. I can see your point though about the other purpose of the OT.


But that still doesn't explain why, in chapter 3 of his letter to the Galatians, Paul references a passage in Deuteronomy--which, again, came long before the man-made additions to the law--referring to the law--as in, what God had given to the Israelites--as a curse. If that was Paul's viewpoint in his letter to the Galatians, doesn't it make sense that that would be his viewpoint in during the time of the Acts passage?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:10 am 
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John Chrysostom wrote:
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In all my experiences with the Bible I have not found any clear contradictions in doctrinal issues, only contradictions in the way people choose to apply the verses referring to them.

So free will or predestination? No clear contradictions right?

Are the sacraments just a symbol or more than a symbol?

Of course people choose to apply the verses in contradictory ways, that's my whole point; the Bible by itself does not solve doctrinal differences. You say there's some kind of middle ground, okay who decides what the middle ground is?



Yep, some people's ideas of free will and predestination clash. And there are verses to back up both sides. My main questions would be who is predestined, and to what?

Now, there seems to me that there's more room for debate over what are included in the sacraments, than whether or not their symbolic. When it comes right down to it, you do what the Bible says to do, and in that sense at least the sacraments would become more than symbolic, because following them is an expression of obedience.(But in the end this doesn't seem, to me at least, like a super important issue. Because, as far as I understand it at the moment, whether you view the sacraments as symbolic or not, it really should affect your salvation.)

No, the Bible alone does not solve all our issues. There are two reasons for this.

1. God doesn't just spell everything out for us. He's kind of notorious for saying things in such a way so that the people who seek the truth will find it, and those who don't care just won't get it. (See every parable in the New Testament.)

2. Even if God did spell everything out with perfect clarity, we still wouldn't understand it all, because our little human brains can only process and hold so much.

But again, assuming that the Bible is a perfect book (in spite of of our imperfect ability to understand some of it) the answers are in their somewhere. Just because the answers aren't 100% forthcoming without really trying to find them, doesn't mean the Bible has erred, and neither does the fact the some Christians strongly disagree on some points. It just means that Satan knows how to find cracks and use them to split the body, usually over issues that aren't necessary to our salvation and don't really change how we operate all that much.

So, just pointing out the different ways that people disagree over the Bible isn't enough to make me doubt it. I'm not ready to deny it just because He didn't say things in the particular way I would have liked him to. And thus far you've only brought up issues where I could go to the verses and say: "Yeah a lot of people think it means this, but it really could mean this." You simply have to look at the rest of the Bible to see what meaning makes the most sense.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:46 am 
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Who is predestined? That's the whole debate and both sides can bring up verses in support of either side. That debate has divided Protestants into two camps on either side. You say we just need to look to the rest of the Bible to solve this debate, do you think that hasn't been done? That there's been this divide for 500 years because no one ever thought to look at the rest of the Bible?

You do realize that this idea that doing the sacraments as primarily a matter of obedience is one view, a view that is not shared by the majority of Christians? Also it is a major issue for most Christians whether or not you view the sacraments as purely symbolic or not. After all, how you treat the sacraments and partake of them is entirely dependent on your view of them. So it makes a big difference, for example, if communion is just a symbol or literally the Body and Blood of Christ.

I agree with both your points. I don't agree however that we don't have the answers from the Bible alone simply because we haven't "really" tried hard enough. Are you saying that no one in the history of Christianity has "really" tried to read the Bible?

I'm not trying to get you to doubt the Bible, I'm simply saying that doctrinal differences can't be solved by simply reading the rest of the Bible. But let me ask you this, are there things you must believe to be Christian? Or can I believe anything I want as long as I believe in Jesus? And can I believe whatever I want about Jesus?


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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:23 pm 
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John Chrysostom wrote:
Who is predestined? That's the whole debate and both sides can bring up verses in support of either side. That debate has divided Protestants into two camps on either side. You say we just need to look to the rest of the Bible to solve this debate, do you think that hasn't been done? That there's been this divide for 500 years because no one ever thought to look at the rest of the Bible?


I also said we need to ask the question of what those who are predestined are predestined to. I don't think that on has really been explored enough.

John Chrysostom wrote:
I agree with both your points. I don't agree however that we don't have the answers from the Bible alone simply because we haven't "really" tried hard enough. Are you saying that no one in the history of Christianity has "really" tried to read the Bible?


Actually, I said that now one could fully understand the Bible in the end, because we are all hampered by the limits of our own puny human brains. There's just to much in their for us to grasp everything, just as God himself is too big for us to fully understand every aspect of his character.

John Chrysostom wrote:
I'm not trying to get you to doubt the Bible, I'm simply saying that doctrinal differences can't be solved by simply reading the rest of the Bible. But let me ask you this, are there things you must believe to be Christian? Or can I believe anything I want as long as I believe in Jesus? And can I believe whatever I want about Jesus?


Depends on what you mean by "believe in Jesus." Satan knows who Jesus is and he sure isn't saved.
Can you believe whatever you want about Jesus? Yeah, in as much as you can believe whatever you want about anything. (I can believe that the sky is made out of pizza if I want to.)

If religions truly is subjective as man claim, and Jesus is just a symbolic head of a specific religion and therefore also totally subjective, then yes, you could believe whatever you want about him; because, in that case, he doesn't really exist anyway except within our own minds. However, if you believe in the actual personhood of Jesus, then, in a sense, you can still believe what you want about Jesus, but now you have to answer the question of whether or not you're right. (Is the sky actually made out of pizza?)

So, you really have to answer the question of whether the nature of Jesus (or religion in general, for that matter) is subjective or objective, before you can answer the question of, if believing in Jesus, you can believe whatever else you want too.

If there is no ultimately true version of Jesus, then sure, you can believe whatever you want. All you have to do is mold your picture of Jesus to fit with the rest of your opinions.

However, if you believe Jesus as a real person, and you treat him as the Son of God who is by nature worthy to be the Lord of your life, and by sacrificing himself has also become your savior, then you can't just go around living by beliefs that appose his will.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:41 pm 
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What do you think they've been predestined for?

And if two people believe in the personhood of Christ but person A believes that Christ was 60% divine and 40% human and person B believes that Christ was fully human and fully man, who is to say which is right?

I do believe the nature of Christ is objective, what do you believe?


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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:57 pm 
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I'll squeeze into your conversation only once more. O:)

TigerintheShadows wrote:
The Kings Daughter wrote:
What would you say is your reasoning for being comfortable with magic in general? I mean, other than, 'it's not real' (unless that's it ).::)


Pretty much. ;) I guess it's the fact that I've been hearing fairy tales with the exact same kind of magic used in environments like HP that has desensitized me to it. I knew from a young age that "witchcraft" and "fairy tale magic" are two totally different things--one involves real spiritual forces that should not be tampered with, the other involves waving a magic wand and making cool sparkly things happen. One is attainable, but very, very evil...the other is purely fantasy and is totally neutral. If HP said things along the lines of "HARRY MADE HIS DAILY COMMUNION WITH BEELZEBUB AND APOLLYON" or whatever, that would turn me off; but because it's all "'Expelliarmus!' Harry shouted -cue wand or other object flying out of target's hand-", it doesn't bother me. It has always been portrayed as fictional, and I've been raised to know that what makes a good, interesting story and what constitutes acceptable or natural behavior in real life are not always the same thing. (And to me, if you're going to avoid Harry Potter solely on a witchcraft basis, you can pretty well bet that you're not watching another Disney movie or reading another fairy tale ever again...since those also involve dealing with some form of magic.)

And the thing about HP magic (and by extension the magic in the same types of stories) is that it's not something you can obtain by work--you're born with it. It's like talents, or something to that effect--you either have the innate ability to wave a wand and make magical sparkly things happen, or you don't--no demons required.

To me, you could make a far better case about other objectionable content in HP than anything to do with the magic. There is some pretty unpleasant stuff in there (though much of the story's darkness can be attributed to the whole "major war" thing). The thing is, though, the messages about the strength of love and friendship, about courage, about doing what is right instead of what is easy, about how there are always shades of gray in the midst of the black and white, and that subsequently, people should be looked at as real human beings with flaws and strengths--those shine through the darker elements and ultimately make for a pretty incredible story. (Matter of fact, there is quite a bit if Messianic and otherwise Biblical symbolism to be noted in DH.)

I totally understand why people are sensitive to magic. Me? I'm pretty sensitive to violence. I can't stand violent movies. (Hermione's torture scene in DH1 causes me to flee the room, because Emma is a fantastic actress.) I don't do well with screams of pain, nasty wounds, blood spattering on walls, or any of those elements. Thus, war movies are pretty much out, as are games such as CoD or Halo. My brother and dad, though, are totally cool with violent movies, if the movie has enough redeeming messages and values to it that the violence is largely par for the course. They are not horrible people who are filling their minds with FILTH OF THE DEVIL :x ; they are two of the most godly men I know. It's just a difference--everyone has a blind spot. (Note--I don't believe that you were accusing me of anything, TKD; I speak to a broader audience in this particular paragraph.)
Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to elaborate. I don't agree with everything one hundred percent necessarily, but it was great to read your reasoning. :)

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:14 pm 
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You're quite welcome. :) I can get a bit antagonistic when told that I'm engaging in devil worship or whatever, which is why HP is a tricky subject on these boards. So I have to thank you, TKD, for not attacking me and for instead giving me a chance to explain myself. :) Because I don't like to be antagonistic Tiger. Antagonistic Tiger is no fun. :( (She has fun, mind you; it's just not fun for the people around her. ;) )

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:01 am 
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@Tiger I am not saying that we are justified by the law, as Galatians 3 points out very clearly, but that if we love God we will obey His commandments and part of his commandments are the Old Testament.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:30 am 
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No, we are not justified by the law. But I really don't think that we MUST obey the OT if we truly love God. Paul isn't saying in Galatians 3 that justification solely through works of the law is a curse; he specifically says that the righteous have always been saved by faith. He identifies living under the law in and of itself as a curse under which we no longer have to live. That was Paul's point--if I recall one particularly memorable moment, Paul questions them as to why they insist on circumcision--"just cut the whole thing off" were his basic words. Paul is clearly identifying the Jewish law as negated. I ask you to show me the exact passage where Paul either states or implies that loving God = not just following Christ, but also following the Jewish law, considering that most of his letters involved telling people that tacking anything on to the saving work of Christ was no gospel at all.

See, I'm not getting how you justify the principle of freedom in Christ with living under a restrictive system. The two intrinsically clash. You can't just say, "I follow everything except the sacrificial system because freedom in Christ" and then basically tack a Christian mindset onto everything about Jewish law. Either all but the Ten Commandments are negated, or none of it is. There is no selectiveness about it.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:38 am 
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Like I said, in Acts they talked about abstaining from sexual immortality, this is an Old Testament law not mentioned in the Ten Commandments. So if all but the Ten Commandments are negated then there's nothing wrong with sexual immortality. In James it says quite clearly that faith without works is dead, our faith is not simply a mental exercise or intellectual belief; it is a lifestyle. You say we are free in Christ and I agree, free of sin not free to do whatever we want.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:24 am 
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I think it was there, indicated by the spirit behind "Thou shalt not commit adultery", which Jesus discusses in the Sermon on the Mount--not lusting after someone is also meant in the Ten Commandments, and so is God's idea of marriage--the "one man and one woman for life" and "sex only inside of wedlock" doctrines are presented, at least they are to me, in both the fifth and the seventh commandments. Abstaining from sexual immorality is clearly in the Ten Commandments, and it's reiterated multiple times throughout Paul's letters.

At no point have I ever stated that "The Jewish law is negated, so we can do whatever we want". I'm saying that the Jewish law pointed to a coming Messiah, and New Testament law points to a Messiah that has already come. The New Testament laws, which essentially flesh out the Ten Commandments, are the ones we are to follow. What you appear to be saying to me is that the Old Testament laws are the only ones out there and that the New Testament never talks about moral living or something.

Is faith without works dead? Sure. But nowhere have I said that we are only to have faith in God and we don't have to do anything with it; what I have been saying is that physical asceticism to the extent of Old Testament law is no longer necessary--spiritual and mental asceticism, such as not putting garbage into your head and not making idols, is just as important as refraining from killing someone or stealing from someone, which is the kind of physical asceticism we are to follow.

Thinking back over this whole debate, I feel like I've been condemning your choice of lifestyle. Let me be clear--I'm not (not, of course, that you needed my affirmation to live a certain way ;) ).If you feel that it is a sin to eat pork, that is your conviction, and I admire that you want to follow that. I do not, however, believe that such a lifestyle is necessary for all Christians, and I don't think it wise for that to be pushed, because it sounds too dangerously close to Judiazation for my liking.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:57 am 
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I agree that the New Testament fleshes out the Ten Commandments and gives us examples of how they pertain to us in the church versus the nation of Israel. I also agree that spiritual and mental asceticism is important and I just don't see the point of saying physical asceticism should no longer be held to the same standard as the Old Testament. What I think that Paul and the Gospels are talking about is that we are no longer saved by physical asceticism, as they were in the Old Testament. But that does not mean we shouldn't hold ourselves to the same standards, after all Christ held Himself to these standards and we are called to be perfect just as Christ was perfect.

Thank you for the clarification. I think you and I are closer in thinking than most these days. You say it is too close to Judaization but I think much of the church today is too focused on some sort of prosperity gospel or in a feel good message that does nothing to challenge us, I think the church as a whole could use a lot more physical asceticism not less.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:20 am 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
we are no longer saved by physical asceticism, as they were in the Old Testament.


References to this idea, please? The Old Testament often comments about how people would be counted righteous for their faith. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness", anyone? Habakkuk--who lived under the Jewish law--wrote by divine inspiration that "the righteous shall live by his faith". The first commandment involves a love for God with everything you have, and the rest follows, making faith in and love for God far more important than living by the law. The famous passage in Hebrews 11 speaks of Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, David, and all of the other famous Old Testament figures--name-dropped or otherwise--as being made righteous by their faith, not by the law.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
after all Christ held Himself to these standards and we are called to be perfect just as Christ was perfect.


He held Himself to those standards before His sacrifice, when we still had to hold ourselves to that. If His sacrifice was what freed us from Jewish law restrictions, it makes sense that Jesus would live that way, as He was Jewish and He hadn't died and resurrected yet. His post-resurrection ministry makes no reference one way or another as to how He lived--as in, with or without Jewish law--but I believe that in Galatians, Paul was speaking of the Jewish law in and of itself when he told us that we were no longer under thse restrictions because Jesus came, at least in part, to end them, and as those letters were just as divinely inspired as the Gospels, it would make sense to me that Jesus would consider the Jewish law null with the exception of the Ten Commandments as He retold them.

See, the thing is, Jesus told us that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. That's part of the point of "it is finished"--it's not just His sacrifice that's finished, it's the need for the Jewish law that's finished. It was designed to point to a coming Messiah. That Messiah has come and He has fulfilled the law, and now that He has done so, there is no use for it anymore. Now we live under a different law, the law that points to the Messiah who will come again, a role which Old Testament law simply does not fill.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
You say it is too close to Judaization but I think much of the church today is too focused on some sort of prosperity gospel or in a feel good message that does nothing to challenge us, I think the church as a whole could use a lot more physical asceticism not less.


Many churches, when under poor leadership, have an unfortunate habit of leaning too far in either extreme--either it's the "everybody come to Jesus and He'll make you happy!" gospel (to which I respond, "Peter's upside-down crucifixion, anyone?") or it's the "YOU MUST FOLLOW EVERY LAW EVER AND IF NOT YOU ARE GOING TO BURN HEATHEN" gospel (to which I respond, "And yet we are told that whomever the Son sets free is free indeed"). Either way, they're not really preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Could we use some more physical asceticism? To an extent. I think too many Christians are willing to expose themselves to entertainment that has sinful elements and no redeeming elements to balance it out, or alternatively they don't look at the world through the Biblical lens that they should. However, I don't believe that the kind of physical asceticism spoken of in Jewish law is the answer to that problem--Holy-Spirit-driven discernment, wisdom, and Biblical worldview are.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:55 am 
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Yet there were still physical sacrifices, even after their faith all those mentioned made physical sacrifices.

If Christ didn't come to abolish the law then why is it gone? Isn't that the same end result?

I would not say you must follow every ever and if not you are going to burn. I recognize that as an extreme but I don't think there are a lot of churches like that. I think the other extreme is much more prevalent. I agree that too many Christian expose themselves to bad entertainment but I think it goes beyond that, our culture is just so permissive and focuses on what we are allowed to do when that can only lead to enslaving yourself to desire. Let me ask you this, what physical asceticism from the Old Testament are you against?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:08 pm 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
If Christ didn't come to abolish the law then why is it gone? Isn't that the same end result?


He didn't come to abolish the law--He says so Himself in Matthew 5:17. He also states that He came to fulfill said law. When something is fulfilled, that implies that there is no more that can be done with it--when you have fulfilled an obligation, it is no longer necessary to do anything with it. So when Jesus fulfilled the law, which He stated that He came to do, it became unnecessary.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
Yet there were still physical sacrifices, even after their faith all those mentioned made physical sacrifices.


Yes, they lived under the sacrificial system. But what you said was that they were justified by their physical acts, while I was saying that they were saved through faith alone.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
I recognize that as an extreme but I don't think there are a lot of churches like that. I think the other extreme is much more prevalent.


I agree that it's much more "do whatever" nowadays, but from what I understand, the "feel good gospel" is a recent thing historically--look at people like the Puritans, who took asceticism to quite the extreme. I say that to say that leaning too far in either direction is a problem--you should not cut yourself off from everything that's even slightly cheerful, nor should you be allowed to do anything you want because "I got some freedom in Christ, baby!" Cultural reference for the day.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
Let me ask you this, what physical asceticism from the Old Testament are you against?


(I'll be honest here and say that while I've read Leviticus, I don't remember a whole lot about it. But I do remember some.)

I don't think that shaving is wrong, or that a woman with a pixie cut is sinning, or that eating pork is a sin, or that certain types of dyes or colors are not to be worn. I do think that vanity is wrong, that certain types of clothing are dishonorable, and that spending your time and resources solely on things of this world is living a sinful lifestyle. Do you see the difference? It's still physical asceticism and we're still holding ourselves to a godly standard, but it's not the exact same standards as in the Old Testament--just because the letter of the standards isn't the same doesn't mean that the standards have been lessened.

(And to the debate hounds: whatever your opinions on types of clothing, please don't start a debate about it just because I used it as a point of comparison. I say that not to suppress opinions, but because people, myself included, have debated about modesty until our virtual faces have turned blue, and it's really pointless, imo, to have yet another discussion.)

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
our culture is just so permissive and focuses on what we are allowed to do when that can only lead to enslaving yourself to desire.


But wouldn't the opposite end of the spectrum--being too restrictive--only lead to enslaving oneself to legalism?

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:43 pm 
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What is the difference between abolish and fulfill?

So you're saying all the physical sacrifices of the Old Testament were unnecessary?

I don't believe the Puritans cut themselves off from everything that is slightly cheerful, they just realized that making yourself feel good was not the highest goal in life. But in no way did they deny themselves all pleasures. I see nothing wrong with the Puritan way of life.

I can cede that we can't follow the exact letter of the law but to the best of our ability why not? You do admit that physical asceticism is important, whereas at the beginning of this discussion you said it had no place in our lives. I agree with you, we should hold ourselves to a Godly standard, I don't think however that most Christians today are in any danger of holding to the exact standard of the Old Testament.

We are so far from the opposite end of the spectrum, we are nowhere near legalism as a society or Christians as a whole. Yes we should stop before we get to that extreme but that is not a good argument to stay where we are now.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:18 pm 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
You do admit that physical asceticism is important, whereas at the beginning of this discussion you said it had no place in our lives.


No, what I said was that it isn't as important as spiritual or mental asceticism and it should not be the same type of asceticism as prescribed by the Old Testament.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
So you're saying all the physical sacrifices of the Old Testament were unnecessary?


No, I'm saying that sacrifices save no one. Over and over again in the Old Testament, God informs the Israelites that He'd much prefer a broken spirit and contrite heart instead of a bunch of dead animals prepared in a special way. The sacrifices were a symbolic act and they point to the need for a permanent Savior, but they didn't make a person truly righteous because they didn't accomplish any permanent remission of sins.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
they just realized that making yourself feel good was not the highest goal in life. But in no way did they deny themselves all pleasures. I see nothing wrong with the Puritan way of life.


I respect that, and I honestly thought that for the most part the Puritans actually had some accurate things to say. But it wasn't just "making yourself feel good isn't a priority"; they were a lot stricter than really necessary (example: music and dancing was frowned upon because devil worship in spite of the existence of Psalm 150, and the Salem Witch Trials were tragedies that happened because of some honestly pretty backwards superstitions and kangaroo courts based on rather arrogant ideologies). I recognize that Puritanism wasn't as bad as people like H.L. Mencken portray it to be--it wasn't a chaste culture, for example--but it was almost like there was this idea that luxuries are inherently evil, and they're not. (Additionally, I'm not real impressed with the fact that they made people stand up in front of the whole church and get grilled on how pious they were--seems a bit too close to the Pharisees to me.) I think they had the right idea in that sense that the church needs to be an entity unto itself and not a political or social machine, but I think they took it too far--there's a reason why Massachusetts Bay was thought to be a theocracy.

(Looking back on my post, I might have said what sounded like some ignorant things re:Puritanism. I get that it wasn't that depressing or restrictive; I've looked at the Puritans in both history and English classes. I was speaking of the idea that a few people seem to have that anything that might have even a relation to secular attitudes is horrible and sinful.)

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
we are nowhere near legalism as a society or Christians as a whole. Yes we should stop before we get to that extreme but that is not a good argument to stay where we are now.


I wasn't saying "stay where we are now". A previous post of mine specifically reads that we as Christians need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than many of us currently do. I'm saying that we ought not to be a belief system of extremes--there needs to be a balance between fitting into the culture and holding ourselves to a godly standard. Do we need to fit in to all of the culture? No. But do we need to completely cut ourselves off from it? No. One leads to the "anything goes" mentality; the other leads to a legalistic mentality. What I meant was that too much asceticism--of any kind--leads to legalism, in contrast with your (accurate, I might note) comment that too much freedom leads to complacency. You appeared to me to be saying that we needed to tilt into the opposite extreme in terms of our morality, and I was saying that when we do that, we look a bit too much like the Sanhedrin of Jesus's day.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
What is the difference between abolish and fulfill?


To abolish the law would be to simply get rid of it, which does not require a sacrifice or even Jesus's first coming at all--God could simply speak through a prophet and declare the law done with--but that wouldn't actually do anything. To fulfill the law, which Jesus states that He came to accomplish, is to bring the purpose of the law--pointing to a permanent Savior and sacrifice--to its full realization. It's like the obligation example I used--to abolish an obligation would mean that you would simply do away with it for whatever reason; to fulfill the obligation would be to accomplish it and its purpose.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this.

If God informed the Israelites of that, like He did in the New Testament, then why did they continue to make sacrifices? Why did God lay out entire books of law about the importance of sacrifices if they were just symbolic acts? And if they are meant to foreshadow Christ's sacrifice wouldn't that make Christ's sacrifice symbolic in nature too?

I agree some Puritans were too strict but I don't think that's a problem right now.

I obviously don't want to be like the Sanhedrin of Jesus' day.

So the only point of the Old Testament was to point to a need for a Savior? I'm not disagreeing that it does that, just that the pointing out of this was the only purpose.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:14 pm 
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Margaret Thatcher wrote:
If God informed the Israelites of that, like He did in the New Testament, then why did they continue to make sacrifices? Why did God lay out entire books of law about the importance of sacrifices if they were just symbolic acts? And if they are meant to foreshadow Christ's sacrifice wouldn't that make Christ's sacrifice symbolic in nature too?


The sacrifices were, I think, symbolic. What God truly wanted and still wants is a penitent heart. Speaking in Christian terms, simply knowing that Jesus was the sacrifice, even knowing that it's your sin that held Him on the cross, isn't enough--you have to trust in Christ as your Savior and repent of your sin. It appears to me to be the same principle under Jewish law in that simply sacrificing some animal isn't going to save you; that's just a symbolic representation of what must be done for remission of sins--it's important, but it's really just a ritual. The important thing to keep in mind is the penitence of heart--as I've said before, God tells His people that He is much more interested in a "broken and contrite heart" than He is in sacrifices, which indicates to me that animal sacrifices save no one.

As far as Christ's sacrifice being symbolic if animal sacrifices were symbolic--animals do not have souls, and therefore cannot be perfect--they have no moral compass; they act on instinct, and largely a carnal instinct at that. An animal cannot be much more than a symbol because they are not perfect. Christ is perfect, and is therefore the only sacrifice that can actually save you because His sacrifice has a lasting effect. His death in and of itself--by which I mean the process of crucifixion--isn't so much the point as it is His voluntary bearing of every single sin of mankind, past, present, and future. An animal cannot do that--even if an animal had the power to save, which, because it is not sapient, it did not, it was only a temporary fix.

This, I think, further alludes to this physical act vs. symbolism thing, which in my opinion has really been an undercurrent of this whole debate. The spiritual significance of both the animal sacrifices and the final sacrifice of Christ are both the real meat re:propitiation. Just killing an animal or crucifying someone won't really do anything. The animal has no choice in the matter, and God is clearly looking more for an understanding of why that animal needs to be killed rather than the physical act of killing it. Jesus, meanwhile, was a sapient human being as well as the perfect God, meaning that He met necessary conditions for propitiation--He had the divine power to do away with the sins of the world, which neither a priest nor an animal can and which God clearly did not do throughout the Old Testament without an actual repentance from those who did the sacrificing.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
I obviously don't want to be like the Sanhedrin of Jesus' day.


I'm not saying you do or don't. I'm really not even talking about you personally. I'm referring to the fact that we cannot be a faith of extremes re:freedom vs. obedience because, flawed humans that we are, we take either idea and we twist it into something entrapping. I'm saying that there needs to be a balance, because we're either going to be a bunch of flower children spitting out junk about "love and tolerate" (neither of which we would really understand in that case) or we're going to wind up like the Sanhedrin, ordering people into a morality box wherein we would understand only the depth of a physical act instead of having a true understanding of why we do it.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
So the only point of the Old Testament was to point to a need for a Savior? I'm not disagreeing that it does that, just that the pointing out of this was the only purpose.


I'm assuming that you're speaking of the Old Testament Hebrew law, since that's what we've been discussing?

I should have been clearer. Long-term, yes, that was its purpose. This was not, after all, just a law code--it had spiritual significance to those to whom it was given. Short-term, it was indeed a law code; it was a system of morality. But that does not mean that it is a system of morality that applies to us now--not because God was wrong or we should disobey His word because it makes us uncomfortable, but because its long-term spiritual purpose--which was the ultimate purpose--has been fulfilled, a task that Jesus states that He came to do. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the long-term purpose of the law is ultimately its reason for existence, though it did fill the more immediate need for a law code.

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 Post Post subject: Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology
Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:15 pm 
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So you're saying you could have been saved, in the Old Testament without sacrificing animals?

I agree that physical act vs symbolism is the undercurrent of this whole debate, so let me clarify. Why did Christ have to die as a sacrifice to bear all the sin? If it was just to line up symbolically with the sacrifices of the Old Testament then it seems silly if there's nothing deeper to the OT sacrifices. Was Christ dying then a symbol of a symbol? That to me seems to rob some of its meaning.

I agree we shouldn't go to either extreme, I'm just reacting to what I see as the one extreme right now.

This leads into an interesting rabbit trail then, what should our code of law be based on today then?

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