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posted by kaptein_kaffe on - last edited - Viewed by 5.1K users
Discussing religion is generally a very bad idea on the internet, but there are a lot of down to earth and rational people on this forum so I decided to give it a go.

I want to hear your beliefs. Also, try to keep an open mind and show respect to other people's opinions. I don't care weather you're a fanatic catholic, fanatic atheist or whatever. Arguing about "who's right" is just a terrible cliche.

Personally I believe that there is a god. I'm not agnostic, I believe in god, but that's just my own spiritual reflection on it. I don't judge other religions and say that "this is right", it's more along the lines of Baruch de Spinoza's take on it where you see god as everything. Maybe there's a word for what that is, I don't know. I prefer to look at everything that is beyond our understanding with humility. Most of my religious knowledge lies within catholicism and I generally agree with the ten commandments, but I also believe that the religion is blurred for the sake of politics, ways of maintaining order and fanatic influences (edit: + things that are lost in translation). In short, I'm a read between the lines kind of guy.

My knowledge on the subject is limited, so it's possible that I won't be able to keep up with the discussion. I'd just like to hear your views :)
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  • Avistew;317813 said:
    wouldn't it make more sense for the Bible to be a constantly moving amount of text, with added parts that relate to today, removing the parts that don't anymore, etc, in short the way it used to be constantly modified in the past.
    No, because religion, like any ideology, really, can be used to motivate people. Put into the wrong hands, it can be pretty dangerous.

    Anyways, I will correct my earlier statement and say anyone in this thread who's attacked another person's belief or non-belief is the lamest thing ever. There's a time for criticism, and there's a time for everyone to get along. This time is for the latter.
  • Just one thought about faith generally and why faith is more attractive than knowledge:

    Knowledge is very inelastic and also very difficult to acquire. If i want to know what someone else knows, then i have to learn this. If i want to believe what someone believes, then i only have to believe this. This needs only the willingness but little work, and setbacks are virtually nonexistent because beliefs of course aren't subjected to the fundamental theorem of falsifiability.
  • Avistew;317813 said:
    What I'm wondering is, since the texts were meant for people thousands of years ago, that they're outdated now because we live in different conditions, and that the passages are so prone to misinterpretation (I don't know two people who agree exactly on which parts should be taken literally and which parts shouldn't), wouldn't it make more sense for the Bible to be a constantly moving amount of text, with added parts that relate to today, removing the parts that don't anymore, etc, in short the way it used to be constantly modified in the past.
    Now it's been the same and is seen as "untouchable" and "unchangeable" when even Christians seem to agree that some parts need to be interpreted completely differently, and so on.
    I'm not sure where you get the "constantly modified in the past" part. The original text isn't modified. We are still today finding more (and older) scrolls and manuscripts that validate other existing material. The text itself doesn't change. Though maybe our understanding of it might.

    There are various translations of the Bible (even in the same language) for various reasons. First, it's because, as we have discussed in other threads, language itself is a fluid and changing thing. Second, it's because some translations focus more on translating word-for-word while others focus more on communicating the basic idea that the text was trying to get across. Also, some translations are designed to be able to use more for study while others are intended to be able to read normally just like a book.

    But anyway, the point to reading Scripture isn't merely as a rulebook or so that we can nitpick at it (although that's not wrong do to.) The point is to grow closer in our relationship with God through learning more about God's character and allowing Him to speak to us through reading the text. The point is to be able to read the Bible and say "what is God teaching me through this?"
  • It's a bit pointless to argue that something is an accurate demonstration of the original by showing that copies of copies many generations down are similar but for minor differences. To say that the words haven't changed is just plain wrong. It is generally accepted among christians that your average bible will have 300,000 alterations from earlier copies in it, but is argued (probably correctly) that none of these are substantial. They are spelling mistakes, fiddling about with sentence structure, reducing text ambiguity, etc.

    The important bit is trying to find out what happened very early on in the bible's formation. One thing we like to use for this is Codex Vaticanus, a very old script with the new testament that's from around 330AD, and more importantly is well preserved so we can read it damned easily.
    Using that as the 'original' we find that Jesus saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" was added later, and the entirity of Mark 16:9-20 was added later.

    And that is using a document from 330AD as the original. We still don't know how much tampering went on to the stories in the 300 years between Codex Vaticanus and Jesus' death.
  • Giant Tope;317810 said:
    Actually, what I'm currently curious about is who people think will go to hell. Also I'm curious about what everyone thinks hell is like.
    I already answered that here. I have precognition.:D
  • At the risk of necro'ing old threads, I decided to post what the upcoming Christmas season means to me.

    John 1:1-14,16

    1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God.
    3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
    4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
    5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
    6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

    10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

    14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

    16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

    Matthew 1:18:24

    18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[h] quietly.
    20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[i] for he will save his people from their sins.”

    22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
    [from the book of Isaiah]

    24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

    Luke 2:1-21

    1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

    8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

    15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

    21 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

    Matthew 2

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
    3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

    7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

    9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

    12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
    13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
    14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

    16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
    18 “A cry was heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”

    19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
    21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
  • On a partially-related note, I really don't get the whole War on Christmas thing. I'm by no means saying all Christians are doing this, but quite a few of them are "fighting" against other holidays of December as well as the celebration practices of the less religious as if someone is taking away their meaningful theological practices, even though Christmas itself doesn't even have a biblically stated root. You know?

    I mean, I'm not against anyone who wants to celebrate any end of the year holiday any way they want, I just don't really get the demanded monopoly for some Christians of the entire season.
  • taumel;317867 said:
    Just one thought about faith generally and why faith is more attractive than knowledge:

    Knowledge is very inelastic and also very difficult to acquire. If i want to know what someone else knows, then i have to learn this. If i want to believe what someone believes, then i only have to believe this. This needs only the willingness but little work, and setbacks are virtually nonexistent because beliefs of course aren't subjected to the fundamental theorem of falsifiability.
    So easier is better?
  • As you may know, there is a pastor in Florida named Terry Jones who has- and is encouraging other people to- burn the Koran, and there has been a lot of controversy going on surrounding his behavior.

    The pastor of my church wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about it:

    Letter to the Editor: Irresponsible behavior

    By Hess Hester, Tulsa
    Published: 4/9/2011 5:43 AM
    Last Modified: 4/9/2011 5:43 AM

    As a local Tulsa pastor, I'd like to publicly say that the self-described pastor in Florida who burned the Quran is best described as an irresponsible idiot. He is neither representative of pastors nor Christians who truly know Christ and know their Bibles.

    I deeply regret that he was given any media coverage and deeply saddened by the loss of life that has resulted. It is a travesty that men like this, and others, such as Fred Phelps of Westboro Church in Kansas, can call themselves pastors. (And, as a Baptist, I also cringe when I see Phelps' church in the news because it has "Baptist" in the name but has absolutely no affiliation with any denomination, only with abomination!)

    There are too many churches and too many pastors out there who are making a difference in Christ-honoring ways in this world and it's unfortunate that crazies like these receive such attention. They are an embarrassment and cause damage not only to God's Kingdom, but to many others as well.

    Editor's note: Hester is senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church

    I have to say, I agree.
  • I thought he didn't do it in the end? Is he up to his games again?
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