Mod+ 275. MARK VERNON, IS CHRISTIANITY WORTH SAVING?

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
UKIP is remarkably non-violent - something that is important to me - for example here is Paul Nuttall's response to the attack on Syria:
http://www.ukip.org/paul_nuttall_has_condemned_the_us_missile_strikes_on_syria_as_trigger_happy

David
It's good that many politically minded people are peace loving so we know from this that politics doesn't have to lead to war.
I believe that:
It's good that many religious people are peace loving so we know from this that religion doesn't have to lead to war.

The Bible is, admittedly, a haven of confirmation bias and those who believe in war will find an excuse for it, usually buried in the first five books of the OT (Darn that Moses bloke!) but really, if you were to read the NT for yourself (which gives the full picture of how a Christian is supposed to live) I would consider you a very clever sophist indeed if you could find such an excuse. "Religion" is far too controlling and I have had major difficulties with churches fully accepting me because my understanding of the Bible differed from theirs and I have also been totally ignored by "Christians" when I was crying my eyes out in church, close to a complete breakdown, but that hasn't stopped me from pursuing what I believe to be true.
 
It's good that many politically minded people are peace loving so we know from this that politics doesn't have to lead to war.
I believe that:
It's good that many religious people are peace loving so we know from this that religion doesn't have to lead to war.

The Bible is, admittedly, a haven of confirmation bias and those who believe in war will find an excuse for it, usually buried in the first five books of the OT (Darn that Moses bloke!) but really, if you were to read the NT for yourself (which gives the full picture of how a Christian is supposed to live) I would consider you a very clever sophist indeed if you could find such an excuse. "Religion" is far too controlling and I have had major difficulties with churches fully accepting me because my understanding of the Bible differed from theirs and I have also been totally ignored by "Christians" when I was crying my eyes out in church, close to a complete breakdown, but that hasn't stopped me from pursuing what I believe to be true.
"The Bible is, admittedly, a haven of confirmation bias"
An excellent description - agree 100%
To my perception the teachings of Jesus in the NT are not compatible with the OT
and I have never understood why Christians cling to that abominable old book
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
The Marcionist "heretics" agreed.

"Marcionism thus rejected the Old Testament God, claiming that Jesus represented the true sovereign God who was different from the God of the Hebrew people."
I can see why. This is partly why I believe the revelation of God in the Bible is progressive. The God of Moses very often seems entirely different from the God of the prophets who resembles Jesus far more closely. The Messianic prophesies of Isaiah are like reading the Gospels in more detail so I wouldn't personally split it so cleanly into OT/NT but the point is a reasonable one.
 
"The Bible is, admittedly, a haven of confirmation bias"
An excellent description - agree 100%
To my perception the teachings of Jesus in the NT are not compatible with the OT
and I have never understood why Christians cling to that abominable old book
Conversations about the Bible are, admittedly, havens of confirmation bias.

The Church has "clung" to the OT because in the Gospels Jesus himself says that the OT spoke of him. Regardless of how one interprets either the historical provenance or the intertextual significance of such statements, the Christian tradition very early recognized that Marcionism was an illusory "easy out" that would impoverish one's understanding of Jesus' message and of the NT. The kerygma of the early church was, and would remain, indecipherable if the OT were to be jettisoned as a crucial source.

That "abominable" book (collection of books, rather), meanwhile:

  • States at the outset in Genesis 1 that all human beings are created to be God's image-bearers, and not just royal figures alone. This "democratization" of the divine image was a radical break from the standard religio-political conceptions of the ancient world. See J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1.
  • Contains, as David Noel Freedman of Harvard University pointed out, the only pointed criticisms of monarchy to be found in the literature of the Ancient Near East (See 1 Samuel 8 among a plethora of passages)
  • Is a collection of dissonant voices, in which predominant testimonies are counterpoised with minority reports - conventional wisdom of Proverbs vs. the radical questioning of Job
  • A profound social justice witness in the prophets that has inspired modern figures like MLK Jr. (fond of quoting Amos 5: "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a never-failing stream."
Is there a lot of "bad stuff" in there, as well? I'm not a fundamentalist, so it's easy to say of course there is. But fundamentalism is itself a product of modernity, and many early prominent Christian theologians who rejected the Marcionite option did not simply assent to bare, literal historicism either. Both Origen, the first major theologian, and Gregory of Nyssa, one of the architects of Trinitarian orthodoxy, rejected literal interpretations of the Canannite genocide as not worthy of God. Augustine of Hippo, perhaps a fount of evil for many, could only accept the OT because Ambrose of Milan opened to him the possibility of multiple levels of interpretation. Thus he wrote in the Confessions:

And while I opened my heart to admit how skilfully he spoke, there also entered with it, but gradually, and how truly he spoke! For first, these things also had begun to appear to me to be defensible; and the Catholic faith, for which I had fancied nothing could be said against the attacks of the Manichæans, I now conceived might be maintained without presumption; especially after I had heard one or two parts of the Old Testament explained, and often allegorically— which when I accepted literally, I was killed spiritually. Many places, then, of those books having been expounded to me, I now blamed my despair in having believed that no reply could be made to those who hated and derided the Law and the Prophets.
For some helpful, non-fundamentalist approaches to the OT, I could recommend:

Joshua Berman, Created Equal: How the Bible Broke with Ancient Political Thought

Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy

Ellen Davis, Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament

Gregory Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God (2 volumes)

Gary A. Anderson, Christian Doctrine and the Old Testament: Theology in the Service of Biblical Exegesis

Samuel D. Fohr, Adam and Eve: The Spiritual Symbolism of Genesis and Exodus

Timothy Scott, Symbolism of the Ark: Universal Symbolism of the Receptacle of Divine Immanence

The latter two are "perennialist" authors who point out cross-cultural parallels in service of spiritual interpretation of OT texts. For a robust defense of the legitimacy of reading a text on multiple levels (which was really the norm in the ancient world, not our modern restricted literalism), one could consult the four volumes of Henri de Lubac's Medieval Exegesis.

On a more popular level, and while not agreeing with everything he said, I like how Baptist pastor Michael Spencer put it in a web article years ago: that the Bible can be read not as a straightforward instruction manual, but as A Conversation in God's Kitchen.
 
Last edited:
Is Christianity worth saving?

Yes, Why? Just consider what they are trying to replace it with. A huge gaping void of materialist meaninglessness.

A.G. Barr:
"Among the militant secularists there are many so called progressives. But where is the progress? We are told we are living in a post Christian era. But what has replaced the Judeo-Christian moral system? What is it that can fill the spiritual void in the hearts of the individual person? And what is the system of values that can sustain human social life? The fact is that no secular creed has emerged capable of performing the role of religion.
This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion & traditional values."​




Good point.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articl...ect.html#articles_by_subject_benefits_meaning
Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists: "The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. ... In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks. ...​
Belief in religion and the afterlife eases grief and fear of death. It deters suicide, and helps people cope with adversity such as unemployment and divorce. People who find meaning in life are healthier, but pseudoskeptics espouse materialism which says that life is meaningless.​
Materialism: Meaning is an illusion. Science: People need meaning to thrive.​
Belief in religion and spirituality gives meaning to life in a way that atheism cannot.​
Belief in religion and spirituality is enormously beneficial to the individual.​
Religion provides a solid foundation for ethics and morality in a way that atheism and materialism cannot.​

Religion has provided immense benefits to humankind ....

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_civilization
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”


Viktor Frankl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl), a former Auschwitz inmate wrote in The Doctor and the Soul, that the source for much of the 20th Century’s inhumanity has come from the very origins being discussed here.
“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.​
“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”​

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/video-john-lennox-on-problem-of-evil_7.html

Dennis Prager
...
I asked Samuel Oliner, "Knowing all you now know about who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, if you had to return as a Jew to Poland and you could knock on the door of only one person in the hope that they would rescue you, would you knock on the door of a Polish lawyer, a Polish doctor, a Polish artist or a Polish priest?"
Without hesitation, he said, "a Polish priest."
...​
To put this as clearly as possible: If there is no God who says, "Do not murder," murder is not wrong. Many people or societies may agree that it is wrong. But so what? Morality does not derive from the opinion of the masses. If it did, then apartheid was right; murdering Jews in Nazi Germany was right; the history of slavery throughout the world was right; and clitoridectomies and honor killings are right in various Muslims societies.​
So, then, without God, why is murder wrong?​
Is it, as Dawkins argues, because reason says so?​
My reason says murder is wrong, just as Dawkins's reason does. But, again, so what? The pre-Christian Germanic tribes of Europe regarded the Church's teaching that murder was wrong as preposterous. They reasoned that killing innocent people was acceptable and normal because the strong should do whatever they wanted.​
In addition, reason alone without God is pretty weak in leading to moral behavior. When self-interest and reason collide, reason usually loses. That's why we have the word "rationalize" -- to use reason to argue for what is wrong. ...​
In that regard, let's go to the empirical argument.?​
Years ago, I interviewed Pearl and Sam Oliner, two professors of sociology at California State University at Humboldt and the authors of one of the most highly-regarded works on altruism, The Altruistic Personality. The book was the product of the Oliners' lifetime of study of non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.​
The Oliners, it should be noted, are secular, not religious, Jews; they had no religious agenda.​
I asked Samuel Oliner, "Knowing all you now know about who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, if you had to return as a Jew to Poland and you could knock on the door of only one person in the hope that they would rescue you, would you knock on the door of a Polish lawyer, a Polish doctor, a Polish artist or a Polish priest?"​
Without hesitation, he said, "a Polish priest."​
...​

Richard Taylor

“The modern age, more or less repudiating the idea of a divine lawgiver, has nevertheless tried to retain the ideas of moral right and wrong, not noticing that, in casting God aside, they have also abolished the conditions of meaningfulness for moral right and wrong as well. Thus, even educated persons sometimes declare that such things as war, or abortion, or the violation of certain human rights, are morally wrong, and they imagine that they have said something true and significant. Educated people do not need to be told, however, that questions such as these have never been answered outside of religion. He concludes, Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air; which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning.”​

Czeslaw Milosz

“A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death—the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders, we are not going to be judged.”​
 
Hello, old members may remember me? I thought I would once again join the community after I was prompted to sign up again from another old time member. (;

Is Christianity worth saving? I have no answer for that. I think the better question may be is it worth understanding? and my answer would be a definite yes. Its roots, its cultural impact, its spiritual impact etc... This is something I have investigated on and off for years. It no doubt leads into the murky ground of interpretation at times, things are not always clear cut. I think truly investigating without bias will lead most people to very different perception than the one presented by the modern church.

Personally, as a pagan I cannot help to hold some disdain for it. Historically Christianity did not think other traditions were worth saving, in fact it's history is all about the destruction of other traditions, so much cultural richness destroyed or twisted into propaganda because of its self righteousness. Instead of opening up an age of enlightenment it lead the way into feudalism and the dark ages. I believe in cultural richness, all cultures, all traditions regardless of ethnic backgrounds, just don't push it on others.

I agree with soulatman regarding Gnosticism, this aspect must be researched to have a full view I think, it turns much of Christianity on it's head. Not much remains of Gnosticism of course because much literature was destroyed and proponents murdered by Christians. In there view the Hebrew God of the old testament was the abomination, the Demiurge Yaldabaoth. The angry, jealous and genocidal god which was to be feared and obeyed. Jesus was not a man but a spirit. The serpent in the garden of Eden was the hero, the messenger for the unknowable true god, delivering the knowledge of good and evil, and releasing Adam and Eve from their hypnotic slumber and subservience to this vindictive God. Much like the Greek myth of Prometheus delivering the light of wisdom to humanity and then punished for it. A completely different perception. More of a left handed path, one that requires no church and no authority, only to look within yourself for the path. Definitely something that resonates with me.

Do Christians know that the Hebrew Elohim is actually plurality? But it is still regarded as monotheistic? Do they know the actual translation of the Earth being without form and void is actually as being a wasteland and desolation? that Adam and Eve were to replenish the Earth as in do it again? That Lucifer does not equate to Satan?

This is just a little bit of how things have been twisted. Do they know the roots of Judaism and were the fundamental concepts derive? There is not much original here, not to mention the pagan influences. My point here is simply about perception and what is often called the"truth".

Originally before the roman influence there were hundreds of sects, what we are left with is but a shell in my opinion. What I believe to be more of a political tool. Who can know? History is written by the winners and perhaps in this case of a religion, this is true as well? But hey if it makes you a better person then have at it, if it breeds division, hatred and self righteousness then let it die. The problem is that both of these things are true. Same can be said for many things.

I recognize this as mythology, not literal truth but I do believe there is a message in it as worthwhile. but....

"Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth" - Goebbels
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."- Voltaire
 
Christians who believe in the Trinity don't have a problem with the Elohim.
I suppose the Ang-El's could also represent a hierarchical pantheon. Christians also seem to have no problem with an Angry, Jealous, vindictive and spiteful god as depicted in the OT.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. was God!
Wouldn't that be a twist! That is sort of a Gnostic point of view. And explains a lot don't you think. Not that I buy into this, The Gods are both real and imaginary, They exist within not out there some where. As we all stem from the uncreated.
 
Last edited:
I suppose the Ang-El's could also represent a hierarchical pantheon. Christians also seem to have no problem with an Angry, Jealous, vindictive and spiteful god as depicted in the OT.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. was God!
Wouldn't that be a twist! That is sort of a Gnostic point of view. And explains a lot don't you think. Not that I buy into this, The Gods are both real and imaginary, They exist within not out there some where. As we all stem from the uncreated.
As they say, I think that needs unpacking a bit!

David
 
As they say, I think that needs unpacking a bit!

David
I suppose it does sound strange without some background. Basically the Hebrew God Yahweh was the unfortunate consequence of Sophia the Aeon's fall from the pleroma (totality of divinity) an abortion of sorts, an imperfect God. The Demiurge. A creator. But not the creator of our divine spark which is uncreated because it is eternal (timeless), a emanation of the Monad, the unknowable, formless, true God, the one, the absolute. All other gods are also emanations from this source.

This is the Gnostic myth.

The Monad, the divine spark exists within us, separated only by time and space to perceive itself. So the gods are also within us. both good and evil. Parts of our psyche we anthropomorphize. So both real and imaginary.

BTW Dave, Sophia, represents divine wisdom, the "oph" comes from the ophic or Orphic serpent worship, the serpent was the symbol of wisdom. This is another example of what I wrote in the other thread regarding the symbolism of the ǫnd or spirit.

Christianity was all about destroying the pagan serpent and the old ways while at the same time co opting much. This is why she has a bad rap and cast as something evil, as was the feminine cast in a unfavorable light. The serpent symbolizes something very ancient and profound. In fact this would be the holy spirit in the trinity.

My 2c, I hope that makes sense.
 
Last edited:
Here is an amazing NDE account with a encounter with the Demiurge. It's a very bittersweet and profound story.


If this is the truth, I'm sure at least there is some truth, but if this is truth then Christianity, Judaism and Islam must end and apparently is inevitable.
 
Last edited:
"Is Christianity worth saving? "

Kanye West thinks it is.

And the political implications are revolutionary.

https://hillfaith.blog/2019/11/02/t...uring-kanye-wests-baton-rouge-sunday-service/

Something genuinely significant appears to be occurring in connection with Kanye West and his ‘Sunday Service’ evangelism events, with “thousands” reportedly responding to the altar call in Baton Rouge Friday evening.​
“’Tonight, worship was lifted, the name of Christ was exalted, the Word of God was preached, a multitude prayed together, the Gospel was clearly proclaimed, and an opportunity to respond was given,’ Faithwire’s Lindsay Elizabeth reports Saturday, quoting an Instagram post by a local pastor who described it in detail while attending the event.​
...​
Something that often is lost in contemporary political analyses is the reality that politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from philosophy, which is in turn downstream from matters of faith.​
That’s why the Kanye West conversion isn’t significant only as a development on the faith front, it has ramifications at multiple levels of analysis. As I noted on HillFaith on October 8:​
“Love or despise him, though, West is a major influence on contemporary American culture and that makes him relevant in multiple ways for folks working on Capitol Hill.​
“(For one thing, he may be a canary in the coal mine of American politics, telling us in advance of a coming seismic shift in the way Black Americans see things in Washington, D.C. That, as Sen. Bernie Sanders might say, would be huuuuge on Capitol Hill.)”​


"Sing till the power of the Lord comes down.

Every hour.

Every minute.

Every second."
 
Last edited:
"Is Christianity worth saving? "

Kanye West thinks it is.

And the political implications are revolutionary.

https://hillfaith.blog/2019/11/02/t...uring-kanye-wests-baton-rouge-sunday-service/

Something genuinely significant appears to be occurring in connection with Kanye West and his ‘Sunday Service’ evangelism events, with “thousands” reportedly responding to the altar call in Baton Rouge Friday evening.​
“’Tonight, worship was lifted, the name of Christ was exalted, the Word of God was preached, a multitude prayed together, the Gospel was clearly proclaimed, and an opportunity to respond was given,’ Faithwire’s Lindsay Elizabeth reports Saturday, quoting an Instagram post by a local pastor who described it in detail while attending the event.​
...​
Something that often is lost in contemporary political analyses is the reality that politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from philosophy, which is in turn downstream from matters of faith.​
That’s why the Kanye West conversion isn’t significant only as a development on the faith front, it has ramifications at multiple levels of analysis. As I noted on HillFaith on October 8:​
“Love or despise him, though, West is a major influence on contemporary American culture and that makes him relevant in multiple ways for folks working on Capitol Hill.​
“(For one thing, he may be a canary in the coal mine of American politics, telling us in advance of a coming seismic shift in the way Black Americans see things in Washington, D.C. That, as Sen. Bernie Sanders might say, would be huuuuge on Capitol Hill.)”​


"Sing till the power of the Lord comes down.

Every hour.

Every minute.

Every second."
 
Top