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Old 06-18-2001, 04:39 PM   #1
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Post The Christian Creed

There are SOME Christians who think the following creed is the MINIMUM belief requirement for "true" Christians:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
3. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried
5. He descended into hell
6. The third day he rose again from the dead
7. He ascended into heaven,
8. He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
9. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead
10. I believe in the Holy Ghost
11. I believe in the holy catholic church
12. I believe in the communion of saints
13. I believe in the forgiveness of sins
14. I believe in the resurrection of the body
15. I believe in life everlasting.


Can a person make a rational argument, supported by facts and solid evidence, for belief in each tenet of such a "minimum" creed?

I would like to begin this inquiry by focusing, first of all, on no. 3:
"Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary"

Surely, a rational Christian has reasonable evidence to support such a belief. Is there solid historical evidence? Let's see.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE(?)
According to Matthew: "Now the birth of the messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins...When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus." (1:18-25)

Does this account sound reasonable? In other words, Would a reasonable person consider this to be solid evidence? Would he believe it if someone walked up to him and told him this story?

Before we decide, let's analyze what the writer says.
1. BEFORE Joseph and Mary have sex, she is found to be pregnant.
2. The father of the child is the Holy Spirit.
3. Joseph considers breaking off the engagement, but reconsiders because...
4. He has a dream and in the dream he is visited by an angel.
5. In the dream the angel tells Joseph that Mary has been impregnated by the Holy Spirit.
6. Joseph wakes up decides to marry Mary, but avoids having sex with her until after the birth of Jesus.

Exhibit A
Summary of evidence: An ancient writer tells this story: Two people get engaged, but the female is found to be pregnant. The male, being a nice guy, decides to quietly break the engagement, but decides not to because he has a dream about an angel who tells him that his fiance has been impregnated by something called the holy spirit. The male is convinced that the female is still a virgin, even though she is pregnant. He goes ahead and marries her, but has no sex with her until she gives birth.

Back to the Bible for more "evidence." According to Luke: "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazereth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus...And Mary said to the angel, 'How shall this be, since I have no husband?' And the angel said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."

Let's analyze what the writer says:
1. Mary, who is engaged to a man named Joseph, is visited by an angel named Gabriel.
2. Gabriel tells Mary that she is to conceive a child.
3. When Mary asks how it is that she will conceive, since she has no husband, Gabriel explains that the Holy Spirit will "come upon" her and the "power of the Most High" will "overshadow" her body.

Exhibit B
Summary of the evidence: An ancient writer tells this story: A female, who is to be married, is paid a visit by an angel. The angel tells the female that she is soon to conceive--as the result of a god who will send something called the holy spirit to hover over her body.

Would a reasonable person be convinced by the statements of ONLY two ancient writers? Remember, SOME Christians believe that in order for a person to be considered a true Christian, he or she MUST believe ALL parts of the Creed, as a MINIMUM. Obviously, that means all "true" Christians must believe no. 3, and the ONLY evidence supporting that belief are Exhibits A and B. Is this rational?

This concludes focus on no. 3.

rodahi




[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited June 18, 2001).]
 
Old 06-18-2001, 06:50 PM   #2
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Hello rodahi, we call that the Apostle creed or at least a poor version of it. The following are my corrections and reason for it.

1 *Creator* of heaven and earth and thus not "maker" because God creates and Lord God makes (forms). This is significant and is the reason for the first and second creation account of Gen.1 and 2.

2 "begotten" should be omitted because JC was his "first begotten" and therefore "only" son.

3 He was conceived by the "power of the HS" and thus not "by the HS." The difference here is that it was not the initiative of the Holy Spirit that Mary should become engaged in this divine birth.

5 He descended to the "death" and did not descend to "hell." I noticed that you rectify this in number six where Jesus "arose from the dead."

The rest I can accept as written but should point out that the Apostle creed is made by Catholics as a profession of Faith.

Christians have no need for faith because faith includes the existence of doubt and since doubt cannot be part of the Christian's life the Apostle's Creed is not for Christians but for Catholics only.

Perhaps better, a Christian has (or at least a "true Christians has") experienced the Apostles Creed, has followed the footsteps of Jesus, died with him, annihilated doubt with him (to make faith redundant), and subsequently rose with him to sit at the right hand of God from where he can judge the living and the death in the here and now.

Yes the Annunciation is very important because this indicates that the birth of Christ within man must be upon the initiative of God who's only angel is Gabriel. If we now go Jn.1:13 there are two kinds of rebirth possible. Those that are born upon the initiative of God and those that are reborn from carnal desire in effort to gain approval from the preacher, the parents, the girl/boyfriend or other some similar reason. The Catholic profession of faith declares the true and only way of salvation that can possibly lead to eternal life.

Now you should also know that Catholics are not Christians but at best Christians-in-becoming and if you would ask a, or any, traditional Catholic if he/she is a Christain the answer would be "I am a Catholic" and if you think that this means that I am a Christian, than yes, I would be a Christian (reverence would prompt this answer).

The virgin birth makes reference to the manner of rebirth in which God instead of the evangelist is the protagonist. The difference here is that if God is in charge the rebirth will be a natural event and if the evangelist is doing the "tugging" he can and will rupture the membrane (against which he is tugging) and so rob us of our virginity towards rebirth. If then, in fact, a rebirth takes place such will be a fornication and the happy sojourner will be lost forever in the promised land as a child of God without ever maturing into an extension of God.

Mary is the female identity of the animal man. She is the personification of the womb of man retained in the subconscious mind of each and every man (man is the neuter and human and woman are the masculine and feminine side of man).

Amos




[This message has been edited by Amos123 (edited June 18, 2001).]
 
Old 06-18-2001, 08:22 PM   #3
James Still
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Amos did you do a lot of drugs back in the hippie days? (Just joking, and I apologize in advance but I couldn't resist.) Do you really want to say that Catholics are not Christians? That's the strangest thing I've heard in quite some time.

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Old 06-18-2001, 09:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
Amos did you do a lot of drugs back in the hippie days? (Just joking, and I apologize in advance but I couldn't resist.) Do you really want to say that Catholics are not Christians? That's the strangest thing I've heard in quite some time.

</font>
Never mind the anti-Catholic thing, what about the Jungian Mary?


As for the original post, there seems to be some confussion here. We don't have to prove any of that. The creeds are the communies self understanding. It's our understanding of who we are; we are the community which embraces this creed, and holds to each of the points in it. If one wants to try and demonstrate each point, fine, it isn't necessary. It's not science, its not history, its not philosophy. It doesn't have to be.
 
Old 06-18-2001, 09:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
Amos did you do a lot of drugs back in the hippie days? (Just joking, and I apologize in advance but I couldn't resist.) Do you really want to say that Catholics are not Christians? That's the strangest thing I've heard in quite some time.

</font>
Well I am glad you realize that I am not on drugs now and that you take my post serious.
Thanks for that. I think it is only in America and perhaps in England that the word Christian is freely used. I think it is only he/she who wants to be counted among the righteous that would considder him/herself a Christian which I find ironic since Jesus, who himself did not become fully Christ until the resurrection, was counted among the wicked.

Catholics are sinners and have the confessionals to prove it. Christians are without sin (1Jn.3:9) because they have been set free from the law and can therefore not sin. Gal.5:1-5 makes it clear that if we have faith in Christ and still seek justification in the law we will have fallen from of God's favor etc.

Be reminded here that the law was given to Moses not to stop man from sinning but for the conviction of sin and once we have been convicted (Gal.2:17) the law is obviously no longer needed. In fact, we will have been circumsized by natural law through which we will know the will of God.

Sorry James, but that is how I read it.

Amos
 
Old 06-18-2001, 09:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Metacrock:
Never mind the anti-Catholic thing, what about the Jungian Mary?


As for the original post, there seems to be some confussion here. We don't have to prove any of that. The creeds are the communies self understanding. It's our understanding of who we are; we are the community which embraces this creed, and holds to each of the points in it. If one wants to try and demonstrate each point, fine, it isn't necessary. It's not science, its not history, its not philosophy. It doesn't have to be.
</font>
Hi meta. I would say that it is science and that philosophy can justify the creed or the atheist community would be right. In other words, it is not just a fairy tale.

Please tell me something about the Jungian Mary (if you have time). Id' love to hear what he does with her.

Amos
 
Old 06-19-2001, 02:48 AM   #7
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The Apostle's Creed is also (or was when i used to go to Church) part of the basic CofE service and belief as well. We used to say it (or sing it) at Communion, Morning Service and Evensong.

I guess that means that Anglicans will not go to Heaven either. Never mind, it leaves lots of elbow room for the True Scotspeople (PC, you know).

Gonna be aweful lonely up there aint it Will?

Norm
 
Old 06-19-2001, 04:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Metacrock:
Never mind the anti-Catholic thing, what about the Jungian Mary?


As for the original post, there seems to be some confussion here. We don't have to prove any of that. The creeds are the communies self understanding. It's our understanding of who we are; we are the community which embraces this creed, and holds to each of the points in it. If one wants to try and demonstrate each point, fine, it isn't necessary. It's not science, its not history, its not philosophy. It doesn't have to be.
</font>
Oh, but to be considered RATIONAL, those who believe the Creed must present convincing evidence to support their belief. Otherwise, they can say they can believe anything they wish, ostensibly for any reason--just to make themselves feel good. I submit that is NOT a rational position.

ILLUSTRATION

Creed
1. I believe in the Heavenly Father Zeus, God Almighty and the Creator of Heaven and Earth
2. I believe in Herakles, His son, the Savior
3. I believe Herakles was miraculously conceived by the Virgin Alcmene
4. I believe Herakles, the Savior, suffered and died
5. I believe Herakles survived his death as the Holy Spirit
6. I believe Herakles ascended to Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of Zeus
7. I believe Herakles will return to Earth some day to judge humanity
8. I believe these things are true with all my heart

This creed is my understanding of who I am. I don't have to prove any of it to anyone. It isn't necessary. It's not science, or history, or philosophy--it doesn't have to be. It just makes me feel good to believe these things. Anyone who has felt the Spirit of Herakles in his heart knows what I mean.

rodahi

 
Old 06-19-2001, 08:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Amos123:
Hi meta. I would say that it is science and that philosophy can justify the creed or the atheist community would be right. In other words, it is not just a fairy tale.</font>
I have to agree with meta here. A creed is a confession of faith and not an evidential straightjacket. When a believer says "I believe in Jesus Christ" he or she is not saying "I have studied the internal evidence and now give my intellectual assent to the truths therein." For most believers that would sound very strange (and perhap that's why biblical studies are largely a secular endeavor). There is an enormous difference between belief "in" the gospel and belief "that" a gospel is true. Think of Kierkegaard's "deo incognito" -- even if you were a disciple of the historical Jesus and witnessed his miracles firsthand you would still need to choose whether to believe in him.
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Old 06-19-2001, 08:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Amos123:
Hi meta. I would say that it is science and that philosophy can justify the creed or the atheist community would be right. In other words, it is not just a fairy tale.

Please tell me something about the Jungian Mary (if you have time). Id' love to hear what he does with her.

Amos
</font>

You are the one who seemed to be interpriting Mary as a Jungian symbol; the female in the male or whatever.

I don't think the creeds have to be justified or atheists are right. That's just ignoring the fact of what creeds are. I didin't say they were fairy tales, I said its the self defition of the community. Since atheists are part of that community they have no right to judge a communities on self definition. If they disbelieve the points of the creed, than don't join.
 
 

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