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A little update on 01/26/09:
An aquaintance of mine from highschool posted this banner on her Facebook page:
One of her friends posted a comment, and he and I ended up in a debate. Here are the comments as they were posted:
Facebook Guy: Hmmm..This makes as much sense as "if you don't support incestuous marriage... don't get one!"
Highschool Acquaintance: Actually it does make a lot of sense. This is between two grown adults, in a committed relationship who come to the decision together to become life partners. No one is forcing or manipulating anyone. To even compare the two is unfair and hurtful.
FG: Yo (insert name of highschool acquaintance) Two people of the same gender can have the deepest of friendships, but that does not mean they have to have sexual intercourse. Your statement presumes that all incest involves force and manipulation... sadly, it does not. Nevertheless both incest and homosexuality are condemned... "unfair to compare"? The book of Leviticus condemns them equally. "hurtful"? Yes to their Creator. Very hurtful to the One Who created them male and female from the beginning (Words from Jesus in Matthew 19:4).
I challenge you as a friend, and believe you can handle the interaction because you were bold enough to post the statement.
HA: I can handle the interraction...I know you aren't attacking me or anything like that. We've known each other far too long for that. :) I know you come from a good place when we speak of this sort of thing. I'm blessed to have someone like you in my life.
Isn't it possible for people to fall in love with someone of the same sex? I agree that not all incest comes from force and/or manipulation but I guess I'm just naive in that I don't see how the two are the same.
FG: Yes! Lust is a distortion of EROS (sensual love), not AGAPE (sacrifical love). We have PHILEO (friendship love). EROS is meant for a husband and wife.
Homosexuality and incest are not identical, but they are both condemned by the Creator. Unbelievers sin by nature; believers have a new nature (believers wrestle with sin). We must compassionately tell unbelievers the truth that they are lawbreakers and are under God’s judgment. Until they get a grip on the coming wrath, the Good News of Jesus’ love and death on their behalf is ho-hum (meaningless and trivial).
Another chick said: WOW. (insert FG's name here)......no offense, but you take IGNORANT to a whole new level. I would have to agree with (insert HA's name here) on this one.
Here's where I couldn't keep my big mouth shut in 3...2...1...
Shangrila: (Insert name), have you been listening to Pastor Melissa Scott? She's very compelling, I agree, but the bible was not written by God. In fact, the gospels written by Jesus were not included purposefully, because his works and words did not support the agendas of the men in power who compiled, edited and financed the many versions of the bible after Jesus' death. Studying theology is a passion of mine, and I believe that we were put on this planet to love and be loved- Gay or straight, Buddhist or Catholic, Wiccan or Athiest. Kudos to both you and (insert name) for discussing your beliefs so honestly and openly. :)
FG: Angela, keep studying. The variants in the New Testament manuscripts are minimal. Check out the Dead Sea Scrolls showing the incredible accuracy of Scripture! Contra to what you said, the disciples were eyewitnesses to what they wrote (1 John 1:1).
Are you a roll-your-own theologian? Which god do you worship? When Jesus demanded exclusive worship (“You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve”) what did He have in mind for the Buddhist and Wiccan?
The Holy Spirit describes love this way, “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3). It is loving to obey Jesus’ command to warn the wicked to repent and believe His gospel. It was He Who said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
S: (Insert name), no I am not a "roll-your-own" theologian (do you make these "words" up?) I have studied all "major" religions extensively, and have found versions of the Trinity and a mother figure and her consort across the board. I was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic schools and went to mass twice a week for the majority of my life. Jesus was a Jew. What would he think of his "followers" setting him up as a false idol? I am well aware of texts other than the Old and New Testaments and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as my shelves are full of them. Might I interest you in the Gospel of Mary (has a page on Wikipedia, a document by William Wake regarding such can be found at www.gutenberg.org)? Or the life works of Joseph Campbell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wi
This is not to say that I believe everything that I see, only that it is important to seek the answers, and not subscribe to dogma. Calling any text "The Word of God" is laughable. Deity is all around us. Providence is not afraid of that which is different. We humans are nothing before the world, dwarfed by a pattern and a purpose too large and complex to imagine. The arrogance of modern day "christians" is unspeakable.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:8-9).”
“Seek peace, and pursue it. (Proverbs 34:14)”
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek; and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. [Matthew 7:7-8].”
Okay, one more thing and then I'll shut up-lol! I said, "compiled, edited and financed" not "written." I was not contending whether or not the apostles were eyewitnesses. This only demonstrates why I took issue in the first place. Contemporary christians read, hear and believe, then charge full-steam ahead without stopping to understand the question. It is important to question, reflect, THINK. There is only one god, and his name is Yahweh/ Allah/El Shaddei (I won't say, "Buddha." Buddha was a prophet, as was Jesus.) Much love, A.
FG: A false idol? Jesus is Who He claimed to be! “Those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33). As C.S. Lewis said, ‘Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or He is LORD.”
If you are “well aware” of the Dead Sea Scrolls then you know well that the original manuscripts are nearly identical to the translations we hold in our hand.
What is your fascination with other fringe inter-testamental literature if you do not even accept the most well-attested documents of the Middle East?
On what basis do you claim that Yahweh is the true God since you do not accept Scripture as God’s Word? You said it was laughable to recognize the Bible as the Word of God? It is laughable to think you can judge Scripture!
The Tetragrammaton? Jesus evoked Yahweh as a reference to Himself!! Jesus said “before Abraham was, I AM."
Only a prophet? The Lord Jesus Christ forgave sin, received worship, created the universe, and will judge the living and the dead. “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
S: Are you deliberately misunderstanding me? You strike me as very angry. I did not say that Jesus was not who he claimed to be. Jesus did not intend for us to worship him. He taught us how to pray to and serve his father. I did not contend the accuracy of the scriptures as translated from the Dead Sea Scrolls, only that various compilations of the bible included and excluded text according to what served the purpose(s) of the men in power at the time. Unless you can read (and speak) Hebrew (and Greek, and Aramaic) you are comparing a translation to a translation. I love C.S. Lewis. He was the greatest Christian apologist of his time. Please note that he was an athiest from his mid-teens until his 30's (ages 15-33 if memory serves me correctly?) In 'The Last Battle', he wrote: "Therefore if any man swear by (the Devil) and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then...
FG: I don't think I am deliberately misunderstanding you - you said calling the Bible the Word of God is laughable. You seem to deny the Trinity.
(I am not an authority in Biblical languages, but I have had 2 years of OT Hebrew and 3 years of NT Greek.)
Jesus intended full and exclusive worship. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36).
You clearly want to pick and choose what portions of the Bible are accrptable for you. Thus you stand in judgment over Scripture.
Do you know who first questioned the Word of God ("Did God actually say")?
S: ...though he says the name (God), it is (the Devil) whom he serves and by (the Devil) his deed is accepted." This is the point that I was making when I said, "There is only one god, and his name is Yahweh/ Allah/El Shaddei." All gods are one. I said that it is laughable to call ANY text "the word of God". At best, all texts are the words of godly men, at worst tools used by men in power to control the minds and behaviors of other men. The LORD forgave sin because Jesus Christ (the anointed) sacrificed his life. The tetragrammaton is invoked more than 6,000-some times in various texts held sacred by the Judea-Christian church. You are only proving what I have intimated from the first: scripture to support multiple views can be quoted in an attempt to "prove" the accuracy of a statement. Theologists have studied, compared and studied religious texts since before the birth of Chrisianity.
You, also, clearly wish to pick and choose which portions of the text to believe. If you are going to interpret the biblical text so literally, do you then believe that only 144,000 souls (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) will ascend into heaven, as is stated in Revelations 7:4-8 and Rev 14?
Ack-meant to say "Theologists have studied, compared and QUESTIONED religious texts since before the birth of Chrisianity. :)
FG: Yes, I believe the Bible. (And that clearly annoys you too.) "knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation." We are to use a historical grammatical hermeneutic. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." You said "all gods are one," but there is only one true God, and He said "you shall have no other gods before me."
Let me ask you, would you consider yourself to be a good person?
S: It does not annoy me that you believe in the bible. It annoys me that you question my right to consult texts other than "(Insert name here)-approved" scripture, and that you find yourself fit to judge other lifestyles and belief systems (based on the teachings of your church.) I agree, there is only one true God, THEREFORE all Gods are the one true God, no matter the name by which they are invoked, or the language used to pray to Him. Yes, I believe myself to be a "good" person, in that I do my best to follow the ten commandments, grieve and ask forgiveness when I fail, ask my God for guidance every morning and thank him every night, treat others with love, kindness and respect, and am teaching my children to do the same. We are none of us perfect, but we are none of us God, either. Only God is capable of judgement, and for all our studies and struggle toward the light, I believe it a form of arrogance to say that one "knows" God's will.
FG: I am not doubting your sincerity. I do not have all the answers but God does. I do not function on the teachings of any church, I am functioning on the basis of Scripture. Apparently, you trust the critics of the text more than you trust the text.
What I am saying is orthodox doctrine, wheras what you are saying is syncretism. You make a most heretical statement "all Gods are the one true God." This is what I mean by roll-your-own theology. You make it up as you go. You are fashioning god into what you want him to be, and this is a violation of the Second Commandment.
S: I think that we are going to have to agree to disagree. I do not believe that it is heresy to state that there is one true God, and that he is known by many names, in many cultures. I do not believe that it is heresy to trust that all good and moral men and women have a chance at eternity based on the good that they do and the love that they share here on earth. Our interpretation of the second commandment differs. Ultimately, I think that our main difference is that I feel that God speaks to me through many channels, and you believe that God is found in scripture alone. If I am right, we will laugh together in the afterlife. If you are right, you will laugh alone. As it stands, I will pray for you, and hope that you will do the same for me. Much love, A.
FG: Thanks for your amicability Angela. I would not laugh or rejoice for anyone not entering the kingdom of God. May I share further contrast? I believe that we have each broken God's laws and our goodness tank is on empty. "No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18). We need Someone Else's perfect morality to be credited to our account. So the Eternal Son Jesus took on flesh, came here and lived a righteous life. He did this because none is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). To say that men and women have a chance at eternity based on their goodness is an empty hope. Have they obeyed each of God's commandments without fail every day of their lives? God demands perfection and no one passes that test. Most people believe they are basically good and do not deserve hell - this is why the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
It is a lot narrower to yield to the fact that each person is guilty of God-belittling and commandment-breaking. So when I repent and turn by faith alone to embrace the Savior’s work on my behalf, I am born again. I am now trusting Him, not my feeble attempts. My destiny lies entirely on Jesus’ goodness, not my own. “Not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:9).
Every man and woman will continue to exist either with the Lord (new heaven/new earth) or without Him (lake of fire).
Yes, I am passionate about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who is fully capable of preserving a reliable text. His words are so rich and trustworthy. This Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears MY WORD and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
S: I am sorry. Your belief structure makes no sense to me. What then, is the point of kindness? Of love? Of beauty (if not to bring us closer to God?) If Revelations is correct, neither you nor I will enter into heaven. Only 144,000 Jewish celibates that were of/descended from God's Chosen People (the 12 tribes of Israel.) That would mean that Mother Theresa would not be allowed into heaven. Gandhi? No heaven. The martyrs of the middle ages? No heaven. Joan of Arc? No heaven. The men who fought in the Crusades? Nope. Fred Rogers? C. S. Lewis? Pope John Paul II? No, no, and no. The Dalai Lama? No dice. The souls of innocent babies (baptised AND unbaptised)? En-no. That makes NO SENSE. If Revelations is NOT correct, doesn't that make the entire text suspect? How to explain the dichotomy found in scripture (where different scriptures seeming counteract others?) This is not "roll your own" theology. Frankly, I'm just not that cool!
These are questions that were asked by holy men and theologians long before you or I were born. I doubt that you or I will ever bring one another to the other's way of thinking. I truly believe that God's promise regarding the sacrifice of his son, and the forgiveness of sin is enough. I am betting my soul (and the souls of my children) on it. I will continue to be a "good" person, and know that you will do the same, in the ways that you feel the scriptures have instructed you to. Respectfully, as always, A.
FG: Wow! Amazing! Have you read the Revelation? (It is singular, not plural.) These special 144,000 are the “firstfruits for God and the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). Are you familiar with the firstfruits of old? Firstfruits foreshadow the even greater, coming harvest! The text doesn’t say that are the only ones who will ever enter heaven! I am confident that when a born again believer is “absent from the body,” he is “present with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). The gospel is given to “every nation and tribe and language and people” (Revelation 14:6)! There is a blessing for those who read the Revelation (1:3), but be cautious about attacking it, because it is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” who alone is worthy, and whose blood ransomed “people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation!” (Revelation 5:9).
S: I've tried to be nice. I've tried to be respectful (which is more than I can say for you, "Christian" that you are). I say "revelations" when referring to two different scriptures from that book in the bible. Sue me. Don't you and your teachers realize that when you quote scripture over and over it becomes meaningless noise to the people hearing (and reading ) it? Go ahead and spew scripture instead of answering the questions posed if it keeps you from feeling lost. If you want to teach others your belief system, you may want to work on not coming off as an arrogant, know-it-all jerk. It's off-putting and I can't imagine that it wins many over to your camp. You are too proud of what you've learned and what you think you know to have truly shown the humility and selflessness that you have said God requires. You would do better to improve yourself instead of condemning others, as we all have a lifetimes work waiting for each of us within. I have tried to end our exchange twice, stating that we will never convince each other to think differently. Go ahead and put in your last word. Study your precious scripture in an attempt to control your fear and anger, I wish you joy in it. As for me, I will make the most of this life that I've been given.-A.
FG: Yikes! I answered your claim that Revelation was not correct and that "the entire text suspect." I answered your objection that Revelation limited heaven-goers to only 144,000, showing (from the text) that people from all tribes will be saved. I am not interested in a last word here, but I am very interested in the WORD of God because this is how faith comes - "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). It is through the precious "sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).
"Spew scripture" - Wow! Since theology is a passion of yours, I would never have guessed that you would be turned off by the Bible. Is the Bible living and active? Is the Bible sharper than any two-edged sword? Doesn't the Bible pierce to the division of soul and of spirit, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart?
S: I am not "turned off" by the bible. The bible is a book, no more powerful than any other book that moves people's heart and soul and mind. I've read the bible 3 times (as an adult, once as a pre-teen , which I don't think counts) and have found it fascinating and inspiring, but none of the things you claim it to be. YOU did not answer me, you gave quotes from the bible, which, as I've stated before, can be used to "prove" many differing viewpoints. That's it. The only thing I have left to say can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/wat
FG: You do not want to tangle with infinite anger from an omnipotent God on judgment day.
At that point I decided that I'd filled January's quota for listening to crazy talk and (tried to) let it go. Clearly, I have not yet succeeded as I still feel the urge to find this guy and beat him to death with a crucifix. I'm going to go now. I need to chant the serenity prayer and try to bless Facebook Guy. (No way am I letting this dumbass ruin my karma.)