For 700 years, no one read Aristotle. He had a completely false concept of the universe, but one that served Rome, and this is the only reason his work survived. Galileo found logic in Euclid, Pythagoras and Democritus, not Aristotle. Science stood still for more than a millennia due to Rome and Aristotle.
Shawn…I see that you and Mitchell have had quite a debate. I do like that one of the moderators inserted an abbreviated statement of faith. That is good, also, for me and otherse to know…
I know we were discussing, variously, your position on certain things. The gist of your remarks seemed to echo aspects of universalism, or at least a good portion of it. When you ask “Why is it so hard to understand God’s love for all of humanity?” you ask a great question.
Just on its own, this is a great question. It is at the heart of the gospel/. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16 NRSV).
I suppose that a really long-winded preacher could spend hours expounding this verse and find within it every bit of the gospel message that is contained within all the rest of the Bible – Old and New Testament. Why did God love the world? Just answer that one. A friend of mine, who is a Mom, said “because He created us” – and as a Mom, she “gets it” in a way that I do not…and maybe not you either.
Why did He “give His only Son” — to make a long story short (VERY long story), humanity soiled itself by rebelling against its Creator – a situation that offended God’s holiness (told you this is a short version of it) and barred us from His presence. Why would we be barred by Holy God? Because He is holy and cannot look upon evil…long story here, but read the Bible…
Who’s talking about evil here???
God is… “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children…” (Jesus speaking)
But God loved His creation so much that He decided to do for us what we have been (ever since) unable to do for ourselves — that is, lived a life of obedience and took the punishment for our sins… so that we could receive forgiveness and be restored to fellowship with Him…
…by believing in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross…and acknowledging our sins and asking for forgiveness…
Yes, God loves all of humanity. As Jesus Himself said, :“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
Jesus said it…Yes, He loves Buddhists and every other sort of person…but “without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins.” “No man comes to the Father but by me…”
The blood that was shed was Jesus’ blood…
OK… nuff said… But “living life as a Christian” starts with acknowledging these things…’ And, while you did not address it in your remarks, you would be hardpressed to find reincarnation or “past lives” taught in the Bible – which should be the source of your faith.
What saved me in reality was not an authority or something like that but liberty + individualism + free speech.
Liberty allows me to have my own judgement and thoughts, and make my own decisions. If I make mistakes, I will be punished and then I learn and improve.
Individualism makes me strong and give me a chance to enjoy more liberty.
Free speech gives me a chance to be enlightened. Yes free speech could mean a lot of heretical notions. But it’s still much better than an authority because free speech also gives the correct speech a chance. And it helps me by enlightening me. But an authority “helps” me by taking away my own judgement, thoughts and decisions, which literally makes me a defenceless silent sheep.
Please help me with a few questions.
- Should Christians help people without requiring them to become Christians?
- Could Christians defend themselves if they are attacked by criminals?
- As Christians, what should they do when their faith is abused or taken advantage of by someone?
Why are these questions important to you??
Because in reality, not all people are ready to behave like Christ.
So why then are these questions important to you???
These things just happen in reality. If Christians don’t talk about them, it’s like you show someone a garden without warning about the bugs.
Now I am REALLY not sure where you are going with this…
We did, somewhere a few postings up, start talking about issues that are contained in universalistic beliefs – even if what you subscribe to (what do you subscribe to??) is called something else.
I did point out that, while there are biblical passages that sound that way, the consistent message of the biblical text (both old and new testaments) is that – while God loves all and has compassion on us all – we have offended Him (and “offended” evidently is putting things mildly) - and that there is a separation between us and Him. It began early on – whether you take “garden” as a garden or a place or something representative or otherwise…
The account even there suggests that some atonement had to be made for the transgressions/sins of the individuals mentioned…
Remember “Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins…”
This separation has been dealt with by what Jesus did on the cross. But the individual person – you and me – must individually make the choice to acknowledge our sinfulness and ask Jesus for forgiveness. He does not turn anyone away…but first they must come…and how will they know if they do not hear???
“There is no other name given among men by which we may be saved…”
“Behaving like Christ” is something none of us can do – because we are sinful — and on the occasions when we DO pull something like “Christlikeness” off, it is because He helps us.
But the Bible does say that “every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”…and if we believe Jesus is, then we believe He is…and when He says “No man comes to the Father but by Me” – it is also true that He says that any who come to Him in repentance will be accepted by Him.
The definition of “any”: is pretty inclusive…but they do have to come, Shawn…
Now I do know skeptical people who are offended by the sort of people who say they have come to Christ…that is, people with very soiled pasts… serial killers and etc…In other words, "yeah sure, why would I want to be associated with THAT sort of person?:
But we are all that sort of person — circumstances in life have led us into less obvious sins, perhaps…but we all are that…
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” – is not a statement of reincarnation. It has never been interpreted by that, and certainly, while it confused Nicodemus no end, it would also not have been supposed by him to mean reincarnation either…Remember., Jesus did say that He did not come to abolish what you call “the old law” but to fulfill it…
He fulfilled it by making a way of escape from the eternal penalty that is part of that law.
As for Christians doing good deeds for those of other faiths or no faith — yes, of course. But this does not change the reality of Jesus or negate pointing to Him as the way to God
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your willingness to understand the message that I carry. It has much more to do with John 3:17 than 3:16. Christianity has yet to expel the false teachings of eternal damnation from its doctrine. Yes, Christy posted the Biologos guidelines and two of them stand out for me, since they represent the message that I carry.
- We embrace the historical Christian faith , upholding the authority and inspiration of the Bible.
- We seek truth , ever learning as we study the natural world and the Bible.
Origen of Alexandria and the theory of the Apocatastasis are historical Christian Fatih, but few embrace that. I have spent much of my life trying to understand how and why the Good News of Jesus, taught Origen, was destroyed. As you said in your posts:
I have found no other logical explanation as to how this can happen beside the Apocatastasis. This theory of universalism existed in Christianity until 543 AD. Remnants of this this theory still exist in the Bible.
If Christians really seek Truth between the natural world and the Bible, they have to be willing to set aside untrue beliefs that conflict with nature. A good place for Biologos to start is:
“So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” Genesis 5:5
Thank you for your comments!
Maybe I can say that a Christian’s life is a sinful but repenting person’s life. A sinful person can be saved by repenting and following Christ until reincarnation.
But the people that Christians help can not be saved just by the help if they don’t repent and follow Christ.
And, by calling everyone sinful and showing them the right way to be saved, people could turn themselves away from sins. Maybe that can explain the fact that the revival of Christian faith in Australia reduced the crime rate.
Frankly this is the character of many believers in reincarnation. “My daughter has the character of Joan of Arc.” becomes “My daughter is the reincarnation of Joan of Arc.” Likewise the Bible’s claim that John the Baptist came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” becomes John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah. It is the character of an ideology that this is the filter through which they see and hear everything. It reminds me of conspiracy theorists – that paranoia colors everything they see and everything is about some kind of attack upon them to take away their liberty or something.
Good and important question! I’ll state what I do as a follower of Christ and have broken it down into three aspects, though in reality they’re interconnected.
Jesus set the example in having a relationship with the Father. He tells us how to pray and what to pray for in Matthew 6 (and other places). He himself prayed for long periods of time, often in lonely places, before the big events in his life (picking the 12, going on the cross). He prayed early in the morning, “while it was still dark” (Mark 1:34). That’s how Jesus got close to the Father and that’s the example he set. I pray in the morning daily, and other times throughout the day of course. Jesus didn’t seem to need to read scripture but Paul said the Bereans were noble because they, “examined the scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). Most Christians try to have devotional time with God daily, and that is usually time in prayer and reading scripture.
We are all called to be disciples of Christ. Jesus said his purpose was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He called Peter and Andrew to be, “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). So I see my purpose, as a follower of Christ, to be a fisher of men to seek and save the lost. What do I do exactly? I would say that, on average, I share my faith with someone new every other day. If someone comes to service or a bible discussion and is interested in becoming a Christian, myself and one or 2 other guys in my church will join me to study what we call, “1st Principles” of the faith. Men do this with men and women with women. We explain the them what a Christian is, does, and who to become one. If they understand and are willing, we baptized them. Most of the time I’m working with someone.
Jesus also said to let our light’s shine so that people will see our good deeds and bring glory to God. This includes helping the poor and needy, being gentle, being a good listener, being humble, being sacrificial, being gracious, pure-hearted, putting others before ourselves and I could go on but simply displaying the character of Jesus Christ in our lives. That brings glory to God and attracts people to Christ.
I see that my calling is to be a follower of Christ, or disciple. On a daily basis, I renew my relationship with God, deliberately do things to let my light shine and also try to do things to seek and save the lost. I see this as the basis of a way a Christian should live.
What are you talking about? Just because the barbarians who conquered Europe were illiterate does not mean that Aristotle wasn’t read elsewhere. Sometimes white people are so amusing when they talk about the discovery or rediscovery of things the rest of the world have been doing for millennia.
The Geocentric picture is just what we see in the sky. It is no more incorrect than the Heliocentric picture, because the sun is no more the center of the universe than the earth. We now know that the universe HAS NO CENTER, therefore any center you pick for universe is just as valid as any other center.
Incorrect. There was no science in Europe for a millennia because of all the illiterate barbarians who had taken over. Science continued in the tradition of Aristotle quite fruitfully elsewhere during that time.
I tried checking out the “Gift of Reincarnation” article. It was written by you, Shawn, as I see. I did not try opening it so I had to content myself with very small print…
I will say, though, in response to your assertion in the above posting that “Prior to the damnation of Origen, early Christians believed in reincarnation.” You do have some fine tuning of that statement – “not the modern Hindu version…” – but the answer is No. I am quite sure that you will not find any support for a belief in reincarnation. “Once to die and then the judgment…” being one example.
As for the Apokatastasis – it does have a history going from those who saw it as God’s eschatological victory over evil — to the ideas of Clement of Alexandria later re-adapted by Origen, and then re-adjusted by Gregory of Nyssa and then radicalized by others, which led to the criticism from Jerome, Augustine, etc. and finally to condemnation by the Fifth Ecumenical Council in the mid-6th century AD
I got the above from a dictionary of church history which added that the Eastern Orthodox church retooled the idea into a “hope” not a doctrine and was re-fashioned again by some ex-Marxist theologians in the early 20th century…
This is far from saying that – as you do – “the good news of Jesus was destroyed,” and might actually even better explain its evolution or de-evolution…
But no…reincarnation was not an early Christian belief. The Bible talks about a first resurrection and etc (read Revelation 19-21), but these are related to judgment.
You are taking your ideas from elsewhere…And Richard does have some good positive thoughts on what being a Christian means.
Aristotle studied and wrote about the natural world. A structure on urchins is called “Aristotle’s Lantern,” described by Aristotle, was named in his honor.
Aristotle is mainly known for philosophy, of course, and he wrote extensively on ethics. Jeremy Waldron, professor of philosophy at NYU school of law and a prolific scholar, said recently that Aristotle is his favorite pagan author.
Yes, the victors write the history! It was actually the emperor Justinian that declared the Apokatastasis anathema, not the church. What the emperor replaced this Good News with was Eternal Damnation. This is how the pagan’s conquered Jesus’ Good News of restoration for all of God’s children.
If the victors write the history, then you have no way of knowing what Justinian declared or not…or if there even was an Apokatastasis…or if there even was an Origen…or who discovered uranium and so forth…
The concept of “eternal damnation” came from the biblical text and predates the time of Christ. For ex : " And there shall be a time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people will be delivered … And many of those who sleep in the dust if the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2) …
…and even the teachings of Jesus Himself… “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul . Rather fear him who can kill both soul and body in hell” (Mathew 10:28)
Justinian was described by some as a flaky megalomaniac who tried to officiate resolutions to the Monophysite controversies of his time —
OK…I think we have beat this subject to death. Your sources of information seem to be out of the mainstream but we have discussed them enough. The original question “What life should a Christian live to be Christian?” is a good one…but first one must be Christian…
Enough on this…
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
This seems to be different than what I got from Robin’s posts.
In most cases, the people you help do not want to be saved, though they want your “help”.
A few years ago, I met a girl who was deep in credit card debt and became suicidal after being chased by the bank. I offered her a job (requiring no skills, just checking contracts and the related docs) and was ready to pay her 3 times as much as another person. She rejected because she didn’t want to work.
In another case, after seeing several times a begging message " … donation … just buy us a cup of coffee!", I was about to send them some money, but thought why not asking them to do something which I believed was just too easy for them, and was ready to pay 10 times more than what I’d pay another person. I was told “not interested”.
And, some people borrow money and never return.
God gave people hands. He meant people should use their hands to work to support themselves, not to take something from others.
I also think it’s a serious sin to refuse to support oneself but deliberately burden others. We should only help those who don’t think it’s our burden to help. People can only ask for help when they truly need and they should appreciate. They should know what they get for free is not free for others.
And, as a Christian, if people are hostile to Christianity, what would you do?
I do not disagree with Richard here at all…but was focusing on some of your other assertions, Shawn…