Am I the only one who takes umbrage with this statement? This is known as atonement theology, and it assumes that God is an external Being who invades the world to heal the fallen creation. It also assumes that this God enters this fallen world in the person of the Son to pay the price of human evil on the cross. It was the central theme in The Passion of the Christ which represented a barbaric, sado-masochistic, badly dated and terribly distorted biblical and theological perspective.
Just because that was how the 1st century Jews interpreted the death of Christ does not mean that we are bound by that thinking forever. Human attitudes toward child sacrifice are today violently negative. Attitudes toward animal sacrifice are called "cult worship" and "black magic". That idea makes God barbaric. It makes Jesus the victim of a sadistic deity. It introduces masochism into Christianity and it deeply violates the essential note of the Gospel, which is that God is love calling us to love.
It's right out of the liturgy of Yom Kippur in which a perfect Lamb of God was slain. Its blood spread on the mercy seat of the Holy of Holies that was thought of as God's place of occupation. Therefore, to come to God, people had to come through the blood of the lamb. Then a second animal was brought out and the priest began to confess the sins of the people. As the priest confessed, the sins of the people were thought to leave the people and land on the back and head of this animal. Then burdened with the sins of the people, this animal was driven into the wilderness. The sin bearer (or 'scape goat') then carried the sins of the people away. Both the sacrificial lamb and the sin-bearing goat became symbols by which Jesus was understood.
In this theology, we turn God into an ogre who practices child sacrifice, who tells us that our sinfulness is the cause of the death of Jesus. God did it to him instead of to us who deserved it. I find the God who is portrayed in these images to be violent and sadistic. Why would God require a human sacrifice and a blood offering before God would be willing to forgive? How does Jesus' death satisfy God's offended righteousness? How does Jesus' death overcome your sins and my sins and our alienation? I think that is a sick theology and I do not care how traditional it is.
Further, I see nothing that suggests that we are "fallen sinners" who need to be rescued, but rather incomplete human beings who need to be empowered to become more fully human. I see the call of Christ not in terms of rescuing the fallen sinner but as giving us the power to become something more than we have ever been before.
After reading some of the above posts, anyone notice the lack of knowledge and how it adheres to one regardless of what truth otherwise may say? Doug Spaulding in one sentence says he disregards traditional Christianity and claims he is not in need of a Saviour but, rather, something along the lines of an almighty Benefactor, someone who will build-up what is, I think, his EGO. Into what he must think it would be if he were someday perfect. And not only does his understanding of why God would require the death of His Son goes over the head of Mr. Spaulding, but he sounds a bit upset as well. Mr. Dark, to my surprise, has come out of the religious closet and strongly indicates he is a Mormon of sorts. Has he never met a Mormon who believes that Christ only covers some of the sins out there? But then, there are some people who still believe the Earth is flat. Nard seems stuck on what Free will and Pre-destination is all about. Oh, yeah, what about that other tree in the Garden, the one, if eaten, would have solidified forever the condition of fallen man, a condition which Doug Spaulding refuses to believe exists.
All this debate/discussion should not weary or make enemies of one another. It's helpful when certain things brings us all together, where we demonstrate a quality of the better side of humanity. Salvation of the soul and caring for another are close, but not on equal footing, wouldn't you say? Isn't Loving God first, and loving a neighbor like the first, but second. But when the definition of who God is dramatically departs from Holy Scripture, then is loving one's neighbor authentic?
This, to me, is very affirming.
Religous closet. That's pretty good. I just get tired of christians arguing fine points of theology and creating "others". The unity Christ talks about: is it a unity driven by intellectual conformity or is it a religion driven by love?
Christianity, like other religious traditions, is about symbols. This does not mean the symbols have no historic reality, nor does it mean they don't matter. But each generation has to re-define what religion means to them, or it becomes fixed and stagnant. Isn't this part of Christ's message, that we are putting new wine in old bottles? Do we think this was a one-time event, only? What purpose is provided by the holy spirit, if we could delineate all things with fixed meanings to an inflexible text? This is one of the things I find powerful in Emerson's Harvard Divinity School Address--that religion is not about dusty texts that fade into meaninglessness, it is about a first hand encounter with God? Who can define that but the person having the encounter? I find Paul Tillich's writings refreshing, also; as they look afresh at the meaning of Christ and his work.
That having been said, I do view the Bible as a sacred text, and the teachings in it as true; but portions are to be taken literally, portions are allegory, portions are poetic, portions are proverbs, portions are speculations, etc. The Bible is not simply one text, all to be taken in a single way throughout. It has to be interpreted. When we "fix" content and turn it into unyielding creeds, we are on the path of killing the spirit of the religion.
On Bradbury's make of this stuff. In his story about the priest on Mars who "sees" Christ, only to find out it is a telepathic Martian who has taken on the form of man, Bradbury makes a point about religion in general in this story. In the book, The Ghosts of Forever (1980), he says this about that encounter:
"'Let go!' the Martian pleads.
The preist feeds his eyes on the Dream before him. But realizing that he will kill the Martian if he keeps him too long in this form, the priest agrees to avert his gaze, let the Dream go..."
For Bradbury, when we freeze religion into a textual orthodoxy--a series of fixed and lifeless creeds--we kill religion. This is the idea Emerson captured. It is the idea Joseph Campbell writes about so often. While truth itself appears to be fixed, there appears to be a certain fluidity required to make it's meaning relevant over time.
Note: THE GHOSTS OF FOREVER. Ray Bradbury and Also Sessa (artwork). Rizzoli International Publications, NY. 1980. p. 23. A very cool book, with Bradbury's writings intersperced with Sessa's artwork. Theme discussed are religion, nature of man/god, role of Science Fiction, the blending of text and art, etc.
Mr. Dark! Tsk tsk! Are you starting to sound mean and disquieted from the old Mr. Dark of before? Or am I reading something into this? Furthermore, should I agree with everything you are saying? That certainly would be getting along, wouldn't it? Of course when Christ spoke about new wine, he said wineskins. And he said wineskins because new wine in old wineskins ruptures, explodes, and the wineskin becomes useless. When a person has not heard the truth and formulates a life style around their own thinking, or ego, and truth is suddenly affixed upon their being, they cannot take it in. They rupture, metaphorically speaking.
Emerson was a border-line humanist. I never read anything of his where he proclaimed himself a sinner in need of a Saviour. The only believer in that crowd of writers seemed to possibly be Melville, and certainly Hawthorne. Our Walden Pond boy said he figured he didn't do anything wrong to need the benefit of God's grace. Surrounding stillness of the woods seemed to placate him.
Should I be bothered by your insisting that the Bible be not taken as a one-time event only? But it is! Christ returning from the dead breathed the Holy Spirit into a believer. But all activity and visions of a believer, must be backed-up by scripture. You cannot start having revelations if you cannot back it up from scripture.
Is not Freedom a God-given gift. We must then do with it what is morally (a wonderful word) appropriate. Inside of our humanness is an understanding by which we sense when the decisions we have made have harmed no one, not even ourselves. Be it materials, intoxicants, words, actions, intentions, or apathies, we must decide to do what is right for humanity and, thus, for ourselves as a key part of the whole.
That is a very tall order. Far be it for me to quote scripture or cry in the wilderness, for I am no expert of exact verse. I humbly venture each day to make a difference, to bring some light into what is often a dark world of constantly shattering news items. Job would have felt the same today as he did in his own time. I guess, that is the lesson... Patience is a virtue. Some days I have a bit, yet on so many others, I wish I had much more. So, I am no Job!
But the passage (I attached above) tells me that I must stand firm to beliefs at the core of my own knowledge. Those felt, more than intellectualized, it seems. I am an observer of things. In doing so, I see God's hand in all that is good. How about this: two nights ago, boys safely asleep, snow falling very hard, I stepped outside into a cold, quiet darkness. It was a perfect winter evening. (I am sure I have let the snow fall onto my face just like this a thousand times since my childhood.) Looking up into infinitely falling snowflakes, I sensed a need to say "Thank you!" And so I did...audibly. A simple action put forth by a rather insignificant person. Yet, had I not, I would have felt selfish. I now reflect.
Birth, life, and the spirit's passing are each a mystery, really. At first, we come in crying while others laugh; then, we cry and laugh while others join us; and finally, our bodies no longer needed,
others cry but also laugh, recalling the things we thought so important that have proved insignificant in the grander scheme.
I find much Spirit in the ceremonies of this and all seasons. This is because I have always known them. From grandparents, to parents, and now to my own children, the traditions are passed on. We are very fortunate to share close family ties, even if many miles must be made to be with one another. That is what Christmas is all about ~ LOVE!
So, for now, I wish you share just that with those who make it most heartfelt. I didn't get a gift for anyone, but I will send you each this Merry Christmas Wish: I wish you discover a moment soon when the snow is coming down just right, or maybe the sun will be shining warmly upon you, or the moon glowing to brighten your night, and you find you have tipped your head way back, as you did when you were a child. And looking up, you hear yourself say just the right words...
No, I'm not angry. I think you're reading something into my comments.
While Emerson was not a traditional christian in the narrow sense that we sometimes see that discussed, he believed passionately in God, and his life was defined by his understanding of God. It is difficult for me to understand how someone could read his Harvard Divinity School Address and come away with the conclusion that he is a humanist (in the sense that a humanist is an athiest). He felt religion was not just an abstraction or tradition or matter of creeds; it was a matter of having a real and personal relationship with God and the laws of God. Christ himself said religion was in the relationship with God--not just in creeds or judgementalism: This is life eternal, that they might know God the eternal father, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. (paraphrase) The highest laws were love of God and love of neighbor. I think too many christians miss the point and think salvation is in creeds defined hundreds of years ago.
When Christ spoke of putting new wine in old "wineskins", I think he meant what Emerson meant; that we needed to breath new life into old forms. Emerson never called for the destruction of the church, he wanted the church to become alive in a knowledge and direct experience of God.
I think Bradbury's view of religion would comport more with this kind of view than with one that is driven and defined by fixed creeds.
Does that mean I don't believe it is important to know the truth? No. Christ taught that we are made free in the truth. But is the truth Christ himself, or is the truth a list of fixed and narrow definitions agreed to by various committees and/or individuals?
I agree with the entry above, that religion is often felt and that it is often lived in appreciation of our lives, and in one-on-one service provided to others to enrich, as much as we can, the lives of those around us.
The reference to the wineskins is:
Matthew 9, vs 17~ Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
Luke 5, vs 37-38~ And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
Well, I've had no income at all since mid-November, so can't afford wineskins, new or old. Efforts to find employment have been fruitless. No insurance, bills still accruing...And, for me, it has become an actual conscious effort (rather than a reaction) to be thankful to God, what with so many unblessings to count. I do love what Butch (fjp451) wrote above, though, I and have hope.
Christmas carolling this Sunday eve in our little neighborhood - I can at least bring Good News and joy to others.
You will be in my thoughts and prayers. When the telecom industry collapsed, I lost my job and could not find anything other than short-term contract jobs for a long time. I burned through all my savings and my 401K and very nearly lost my home. When I was financially at the end of my rope, I got a job and began to rebuild as best I could. I still am not making what I was making in my halycon days, though. Very Best of Luck!!
Is there a club we both can join? Basically, I've been out of full-time work most of the year, and, yep, out of insurance. While ago Cobra insurance was $600 a month, and couldn't handle that. My old printing business has changed dramatically and I lately have lacked all the OompH needed to get out and sell printing. (What is this, spiraling down into the depths of despair?) Well, yes. Certainly, if I didn't know the Lord in some measure of hope and vision, what would there be? Not much. Not anything, in fact! Everything disappears on you, eventually. Every prop you create or find to get you thru the day will eventually break or vanish. What's left is what Christ promised. If that ain't true, then nothing is true, and there is nothing really, and mind as well join ranks with the existentialists who say God is dead. But I've seen with these two eyes some of the glory of God and what else is there going to be in this life but that?
In the meanwhile I have a landlord who has been sharpening the axe, really a lot lately, and a wife who has been terribly under the weather.
But there's tomorrow. In fact, there's the next hour. Worlds, circumstances and lives can change in an hour. I'm trusting it'll get better.
BrII, Mr. Dark, Nard, Patrask, DS, Bi2, et al:
The Brightest Star shines just for you!
Peace and Good Health ~
...Then we have received His greatest gifts!
fpThis message has been edited. Last edited by: fjp451,
Thanks, guys, and God bless us, every one!
Here's an "Awwww!" photo for you...
SleepInHeavenlyPeace2.jpg (42 Kb, 8 downloads)
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