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Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:33 PM

How can anyone be a moderate Christian?

I'm sorry, but it really makes no sense to me. If you truly believe what the Bible says about God, Jesus, heaven, and hell then how can you be a moderate? Either God demands you worship him or go to hell or he does not. There is no middle-ground. Either Jesus says you accept him as king or he doesn't. In Revelation Jesus attacks lukewarm faith as worse than no faith. Jesus does not accept compromise so how can any of his followers? Jesus did not preach a message of tolerance, he taught a message of cult-like devotion and intolerance of any faith, but the one he preached. To me Christianity in all of its forms makes no sense, but moderate Christianity makes even less sense than fundamentalism. At least the fundies understand that Jesus's message was one of intolerance and they put that into action. So, please explain to me how someone can believe the parts of the Bible where Jesus talks about love, but ignores the passages where the condemns those who don't believe to hell or where Paul says Christians should have no association with non-Christians.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply How can anyone be a moderate Christian? (Original post)
white_wolf Dec 2012 OP
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #1
beam me up scottie Dec 2012 #2
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #4
beam me up scottie Dec 2012 #7
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #8
beam me up scottie Dec 2012 #11
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #13
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #15
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #16
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #17
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #18
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #19
msongs Dec 2012 #9
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #10
ZombieHorde Dec 2012 #28
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #29
ZombieHorde Dec 2012 #31
trotsky Dec 2012 #21
struggle4progress Dec 2012 #3
trotsky Dec 2012 #22
Agnosticsherbet Dec 2012 #5
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #12
fishwax Dec 2012 #6
TreasonousBastard Dec 2012 #14
Jackpine Radical Dec 2012 #27
trotsky Dec 2012 #20
CJCRANE Dec 2012 #23
cbayer Dec 2012 #24
white_wolf Dec 2012 #26
cbayer Dec 2012 #30
white_wolf Dec 2012 #32
Thats my opinion Dec 2012 #25
trotsky Dec 2012 #34
intaglio Dec 2012 #33
madrchsod Dec 2012 #35
Humanist_Activist Dec 2012 #36

Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:41 PM

1. Well I believe in Jesus and the general dogmas of Christianity, but i do not believe that the bible

was meant to be read literally. As an Episcopalian we follow the three legged stool of faith. Tradition, scripture, and human reason. Yes for some it is hard to accept that if you don't accept it all how can you accept any of it. I am not one of those people. Paul is not God. I personally believe in a God of love so I do not really believe in hell. I believe that if God feels you are not to go to heaven he makes your soul cease to exist. It is complicated like all of life.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:45 PM

2. Why would God not want me to go to heaven?

Or anyone else?

Thank you for trying to explain your beliefs, it's not an easy thing to do.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:48 PM

4. A truly evil soul like a serial killer with no remorse.

I am not talking about the regular SOB on the street. I think most of humanity make it to the afterlife with God. No matter their faith. When someone asks me if I am saved I say yes with everyone else on a hill 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. Hell makes no sense to me.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:55 PM

7. Okay.

None of it ever made any sense to me but thanks for your thoughts.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:56 PM

8. LOL I get that sometimes. Faith is hard to explain.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:02 PM

11. No, it's probably me.

I wasn't raised christian and never was a believer of any kind.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:06 PM

13. Ok. Not everyone has faith. It is a hard thing to get.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:01 AM

15. Respectfully, I think that not having faith is harder.

Our brain is a belief machine, literally. To override years of cultural indoctrination and programming of a belief machine with reason, logic, and skepticism is a challenging feat!

It is much easier to just believe and move on.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:06 AM

16. Well I can tell you for me it is not easy to believe. I constantly pray for faith.

You may be right. People make non-believers feel like they are evil so i see what you mean.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:12 AM

17. If for no other reason than to learn about how the brain actually works

I highly recommend Michael Shermer's book The Believing Brain. It is really fascinating to understand the reasons WHY we believe the things we do, not just religious beliefs, but ALL beliefs.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:16 AM

18. I will look it up. Thanks my friend.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:21 AM

19. Your welcome. Enjoy.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:01 PM

9. serial killers get to heaven if they give themselves to jesus in time lolol nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:02 PM

10. Ok unrepentant serial killers. But in the end i mean people who have evil souls that are unrepentant

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:29 PM

28. Aren't sociopaths born that way?

Isn't it a cognitive disability?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:32 PM

29. I can no answer that, but I would say that if I am right God would have a way of knowing all this.

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:34 PM

31. That's fair. nt

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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:31 AM

21. If you don't read the bible literally...

then Jesus didn't really exist. He didn't actually die for your sins.

What you mean to say is that you don't read ALL the parts of the bible literally, only some. Just like the fundies do - they just pick different parts.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:47 PM

3. Do you know what the logical fallacy of "equivocation" is? It is a change of the meaning of a word

used during an alleged proof, invalidating the proof

Here's a famous example:

Assertion: All governments are unjust.
Proof. Consider an arbitrary government. Obviously, being arbitrary, that government is unjust. But since an arbitrary government is unjust, all governments are unjust. QED

The fallacy here is that the meaning of "arbitrary" changed suddenly mid-discourse, so that what begins as a valid instance of the rule

P(x) =>

ends in disaster

You wish to equivocate: namely, you depend on a shifty use of "moderate"

There are other flaws in your discourse, most notably "begging the question," in which you presume results you wish to establish

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 09:31 AM

22. Yeah like what happens with the word "faith" in this group all the time. n/t

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:49 PM

5. But every Church has its own doctrine and its own interpretation of holy word.

Some fundamentalist believe the bible is literal and everything in it is factual.

Other churches accept things as symbolic and great truths rather than real facts.

There are groups that fall between those extremes.

Revelations was supposedly written by Saint John the Divine, a figure that no one is sure who he was, and is a testament of a vision. Some say that the vision is about the future. Others think he was talking about the Roman Empire of the second or third century. So, technically, Jesus isn't arguing anything in Revelations.

So, yes, there are moderate churches because interpretations vary.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:05 PM

12. Many Bishops of the early church did not want it included in the canon of the bible.

There is some thinking that the book may have been written in the mid 2nd century.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 09:51 PM

6. I think almost all christians (fundies included) read at least parts of the Bible symbolically

Fundamentalists, for instance, generally reject the idea that Jesus's comment that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" is meant to be taken literally. Different people differ in what they read symbolically and what (if anything) they take to be literal.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 12:41 AM

14. A lot of us don't buy the hell thing. Christianity had...

most of its roots in Judaism, which doesn't accept Hell as a place, rather it's a state of being ignored by God, or some such thing. "Modern" notions of hell as a place of punishment seem to have come about during medieval times and then codified by Dante in his hallucination.

As to other strange beliefs in Christianity, or any other religion, the concept of mystery is discounted by many who consider themselves rational thinkers. There is no proof either way of any God's existence, so one is perfectly free to believe in one. If one does believe, the concept of god pretty much by definition means that god is inscrutable to us. Just as our dogs don't know all of what what we're doing when we drive a car, it's enough for them that a car trip often enough fun-- unless it's to the vet. Our dogs also are quite capable of learning to do things that please us and and have some understanding of mutual love between us and our pets. But they can't do algebra or build a house.

If we believe in a God, it's a God we don't fully understand, or what would be the point of a God who is as simple as us? God could even simply be a being of the fourth of fifth dimension that we are incapable of actually seeing, much less understanding.

Few of us would consciously consider ourselves God's pets, but that might be the most rational way to look at the relationship between ourselves and God.

(If there is one)



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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:29 PM

27. BTW, dogs may not be able to do algebra, but they can co calculus!

Here is a little thought experiment:

Throw a Frisbee for your dog & watch him learn the skill of observing and predicting its flight path in order to catch it.

Then ask yourself what implicit calculations the dog had to perform, what equations he had to solve on his built-in analog computer, and how quickly, in order to accomplish that feat.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 08:12 AM

20. It takes a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance.

You have to look down on fundamentalists who are following parts of the bible literally (according to their interpretation) while you are doing something totally different, namely following parts of the bible literally (according to your interpretation).

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:10 AM

23. I think you're conflating different things...

There is the basic moral message, which is "be nice and be fair to other people".

Heaven and hell are just the carrot and stick designed to cajole people into adopting these moral behaviors.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 12:28 PM

24. Your experience with the church must be incredibly limited and/or narrow.

Perhaps that is the description of the church you have been exposed to, but it in no way describes many other churches.

Perhaps you should start by checking some of them out and asking your question there.

That is, if you are truly interested in understanding and not completely dug in on this issue.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:21 PM

26. I am interested and admittedly my experience is limited.

I went to a Southern Baptist school for 6 years so that colors my opinion of the religion.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:32 PM

30. You may want to check out a Universalist/Unitarian Church if there is one in your area.

They tend to embrace and explore many religions and are generally welcoming towards anyone, theists and atheists.

The Southern Baptists are probably not the best model for representing american theists in general, despite their very high numbers.

I'm watching a 6 part frontline/american experience series called "God in America" right now.

It is an excellent show and is teaching me a lot about the role religion has played in the US. Check it out (streaming on Netflix and probably available through PBS website).

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Response to cbayer (Reply #30)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:42 PM

32. I'll check and see if there is one in my area. Thanks.

I'll also check out "God in America." It sounds interesting.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:11 PM

25. It is always interesting when someone who is not only outside a tradition but despises it

tells those inside the tradition what the boundaries are.

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Response to Thats my opinion (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:52 PM

34. Kinda like you do with atheism? n/t

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:50 PM

33. Problem, only 2 things inform the dogma of Christianity

and that is the text of the Bible and Church tradition. (Note: I suspect a similar comment could be made about most, if not, all faiths).

Let me deal first with tradition. It is a church tradition that St Peter was executed in Rome by a Roman Emperor and was thus martyred but there is no evidence for this whatsoever. The "Gospel" of Peter does mention that but it is a late apocryphal work and includes other fables. Other traditions include the supposed suppression of Christianity from the time of Christ until Constantine and the Immaculate Conception (Mary not Jesus). Obviously what traditions, if any, are accepted by a particular Church vary.

The Bible is another matter. The Bible, with minor variations, is accepted by all Churches; the difficulty is that there is no surviving source text, only copies and translations from various eras. Now, "The Bible" is, by definition, the word of God which leads to difficulty. Because there are variant texts Churches must either take one particular Bible as the true, divinely ordained text or say that all Bibles are flawed because they were copied and translated by fallible humans and so believers must search for what God truly meant.

This last leads into the maze of Biblical exegesis and the abandonment of seemingly clear teachings as being metaphorical or as truths tailored for the time of the first readers of the text. From this modern Christians can choose to be moderate, discarding the many vile and hateful things in the Bible in favour of their own feelings and what I term the pretty, glittery nice parts

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:53 PM

35. well i`m a very liberal person that is a believer in christ`s teachings

as for the rest of the bible ..interesting reading about the people of the middle east thousands of years ago.
i guess i`m one of those people who make no sense.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Dec 13, 2012, 04:21 PM

36. Generally speaking, all Christians pick and choose out of the Bible and their chosen...

church tradition. Usually they believe whatever makes them comfortable, and ignore what makes them uncomfortable.

NOTE: This isn't unique to Christians.

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