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Old 08-14-2001, 12:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amos123:
Hello Donald

The argument is flawed ...
What "argument"? [I didn't present an argument, so I have no idea what it is that you have in mind.]

[snip]

Quote:
This means that before we can even speak of eternal heaven or hell the concept eternity must be made known to us and thus become real to us. In other words, "
"We"? [The words are not mine. They are attributed to Jesus. And I dare say that you don't know that he actually said them or with certainty what they mean.]

[snip]

--Don--
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Old 08-14-2001, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Donald Morgan:
<STRONG>

"We"? [The words are not mine. They are attributed to Jesus. And I dare say that you don't know that he actually said them or with certainty what they mean.]

[snip]

--Don--</STRONG>
Sorry Don, I am referring to the argument presented by Maarten de Zeeuw: [q]"I do not argue with the belief that there will be some punishment after death, . . . ."[/q]

As for me believing in Jesus? Nah, it's all allegory. Jesus was the reborn Joseph who later called himself John when he wrote the Revelations. No, you do not have to agree with this.

Amos

[ August 14, 2001: Message edited by: Amos123 ]
 
Old 08-15-2001, 02:15 AM   #13
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Hell. If it exists as a literal place we're already here.

I accept entirely that most Christians through most ages have believed in a literal hell. They have also believed in a literal six day creation. They were wrong about the later and I think about the former too.

I will not even bother reply to Don's childish demands I explain stuff with certainty. I hope he's grown up enough to see shades of grey. I am not even going to argue that the evangelists agreed with me on this (they probably did have a literal conception of hell although it wasn't as well developed as it later became and Paul almost certainly did not).

The real point of my earlier post is that many posters here would much rather we Christians held onto the bliefs that appear most extreme. I have frequently seen atheists erect the strawman that a literal reading of Genesis and the Fall is essential to Christianity and likewise they are happy to tell me I ought to believe in a literal hell so they can then attack me if I do.

The two extremes feed off each other. The militant atheist insists evolution destroys Christianity as vehemently as the YEC. Moderate Christians who would be otherwise take a more measured view are driven into the arms of extremists. The atheist wants to set up a false contradiction between science and religion even when it isn't there.

I have never seen hell used as an evngelising tool by anyone but the most conservative sects. I certainly don't (although the concensus here seems to be I ought to or I'm not a proper Christian). On the other hand I have frequently seen the term 'Christians' or occasionally 'most Christians' to describe the people who hold the views of such conservatives as if they are representative.

Now in an earlier thread Don gave me the impression that the orthodox Catholicism I espouse isn't 'traditional Christianity' and that only biblical inerrantist fundiementalism is. Perhaps this is another example of how atheists insist on all Christians pleading guilty to everything on the charge sheet and crying foul if we do not.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 08-15-2001, 08:10 AM   #14
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Bede:

Quote:
The real point of my earlier post is that many posters here would much rather we Christians held onto the beliefs that appear most extreme.
The word “extreme” usually carries the implication of “unreasonable”. Not only is the belief that the Biblical verses that I quoted imply that the damned are punished eternally in Hell entirely reasonable, but I don't see how any other interpretation is reasonable. You have offered no argument to the contrary, just a lot of rhetoric. Unless you can offer an argument to support it, it is your position that must be considered unreasonable and therefore "extreme".

Quote:
I accept entirely that most Christians through most ages have believed in a literal hell. They have also believed in a literal six day creation.
But the latter belief has nothing to do with the fate of our eternal souls, whereas the former does. No reasonable person today believes that the Bible gives a literally correct account of the natural world, but that isn’t all that important because a correct account of the natural world can be obtained through observation and experiment. However, knowledge of the supernatural world can be obtained only through revelation. If God has lied to us or misled us regarding the latter we are irrevocably wrong about the most important things. How can you believe that God would do this to us?

Quote:
I am not even going to argue that the evangelists agreed with me on this (they probably did have a literal conception of hell although ... Paul almost certainly did not).
So those who were closest to Jesus and most familiar with his thoughts and beliefs had a “literal conception of Hell”, but Paul, who never met Jesus, did not. Don’t you think that some reasonable conclusions can be drawn from this regarding Jesus’ conception of Hell?

Quote:
Now in an earlier thread Don gave me the impression that the orthodox Catholicism I espouse isn't 'traditional Christianity' ...
Perhaps that’s because the position you espouse isn’t traditional Christianity. Nor is it orthodox Catholicism. Here are some excerpts from the Catholic Catechism (which pretty much defines “orthodox Catholicism” ):
Quote:
1033 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self- exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "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."

1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the "sad and lamentable reality of eternal death" (GCD 69), also called "hell."

1861 [excerpt] If [mortal sin] is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.
While we’re on the subject of “orthodox Catholicism”, which you claim to espouse, the following section of the Catechism may also be of interest:
Quote:
633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, "hell" – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into "Abraham's bosom": "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell." Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.
The mention of Lazarus here can only refer to the passage from Luke 16 quoted earlier. Note that the Catechism, while recognizing it as a parable, takes it for granted that it gives an accurate account of the nature of Hell and damnation.

It is indeed unfortunate that the Catholic Church insists on taking extreme, unrepresentative positions on these matters which tend to discredit Christianity.
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Old 08-15-2001, 08:57 AM   #15
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Thank you bd_from_kg for aptly illustrating once again that most relgionists, friend Bede being no exception, have no idea what their own faith teaches or whether what they themselves affirm is orthodox or heretical. No surprise this, as which is which shifts with the sands of time and who has the biggest club.
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Old 08-15-2001, 10:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ron Garrett:
Thank you bd_from_kg for aptly illustrating once again that most relgionists, friend Bede being no exception, have no idea what their own faith teaches or whether what they themselves affirm is orthodox or heretical. No surprise this, as which is which shifts with the sands of time and who has the biggest club.
In all fairness to Bede, I think he does have a very good idea of what it is that his faith teaches, where it is that he varies from those teachings, and why he varies. But the result is that--like many liberal Christians--he ultimately ends up with what I would call a religion of his own making.

--Don--
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Old 08-15-2001, 11:01 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Bede
I will not even bother reply to Don's childish demands I explain stuff with certainty.
Oh, I see, if you assert something as if it were fact, no qualification, no shades of grey, and I ask you to explain how it is that you know that with certainty, then I am being childish?

How typically rude--not to mention the fact that your rudeness is based on your misunderstanding of what I asked--not demanded.

Now, please explain how it is that when I preface a request with "please"--as I did--that equates to a demand.

Next, please explain exactly what it was that I allegedly demanded that you "explain with certainty."

Or perhaps you should just reread what I wrote, correct your misunderstanding, and then explain what I asked, namely, "Please explain exactly how it is that you know with certainty that this is a parable which is not to be taken literally." [emphasis added]

Quote:
I hope he's grown up enough to see shades of grey.
I would hope that you were grown up enough to admit that you misunderstood and to not label what you misunderstood as indicative of "childish demands."

Quote:
I am not even going to argue that the evangelists agreed with me on this (they probably did have a literal conception of hell although it wasn't as well developed as it later became and Paul almost certainly did not).
I didn't ask you to argue that the evangelists agreed with you. I asked you to explain how it is that you know with certainty that this is a parable. If you can't explain it, then you have no business making such a claim unless you qualify it as an opinion and preferably point out that you can't explain it.

Quote:
The real point of my earlier post is that many posters here would much rather we Christians held onto the bliefs [sic] that appear most extreme.
That may be true. It also may be true that what they wish that you would hang onto would be a more fundamental Christianity. It is easier to argue with something when you know what you are arguing with. Liberal Christianity which is ever-changing is a moving target and difficult to understand let alone argue with.

Quote:
I have frequently seen atheists erect the strawman that a literal reading of Genesis and the Fall is essential to Christianity and likewise they are happy to tell me I ought to believe in a literal hell so they can then attack me if I do.
I have seen Christian after Christian come here and erect straw man arguments based either or both on a misunderstanding of what their adversaries have written or a canned idea of what agnostics and/or atheists believe.

Quote:
Now in an earlier thread Don gave me the impression that the orthodox Catholicism I espouse isn't 'traditional Christianity' and that only biblical inerrantist fundiementalism [sic] is.
I gave you the impression, or you got the impression?

No, I don't think that biblical inerrantist fundamentalism, only, equates to traditional Christianity, but neither do I think that you espouse traditional orthodox Catholicism. I think that you have essentially a religion of your own making.

--Don--

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: Donald Morgan ]
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Old 08-16-2001, 02:29 AM   #18
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How typically rude--not to mention the fact that your rudeness is based on your misunderstanding of what I asked--not demanded.
Sorry. And sorry if it is indeed typical.

I went back and re read the Catechism last night and felt comfortable with my interpretation. The entire passage in context speaks of Hell as being eternal self-imposed separation from God. Theologically as God is the source of all life this can only mean eternal death - as the quotation from 1 Jn in the same passage makes clear.

One day I will write about this and gather my reading, thought and prays together into something that could be loosely termed as an argument.

In the mean time I am saddened you feel that tactics used by conservative evangelists should make something similar valid on your side.

Rather than treating religion as an enemy it would be better if non believers entered into a more sympathetic dialogue with the believers (largely the liberal end) who are willing to engage in that dialogue. Instead the only use of liberal theology and scholarship here is to bash more conservative believers. This further polarises arguments and makes an understanding acceptance of our differences more difficult to achieve.

As for Catholicism, it is a very broad church containing wide ranges of opinion from Cardinal Ratzinger to John Dominic Crossan. Long may it so remin.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 08-16-2001, 08:10 AM   #19
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Friend Bede:

You may well be right that liberal Christians get it from both sides. As a fundamentalist I faulted liberal Christians for trying to remake the Christian faith into something palatable to the modern secular mind. Now that I'm an agnostic, I fault liberal Christians for trying to make the Christian faith into something palatable to the modern mind.

Liberals can't win. They lack the purity of the "old time religion" and it's claim to ultimate revealed truth, but they still want to keep the dangerous fantasy alive and breathing, just repackaged for social acceptability.

The kind of dialogue non-believers need to have with liberal Christians is called psychotherapy. We need to understand why when you know at some conscious or unconscious level your religion is nonsense and reprehensible, you nevertheless cling to it and try to evolve it to make it agreeable to yourself and others.
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Old 08-16-2001, 09:22 AM   #20
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Bede:

Quote:
One day I will write about this and gather my reading, thought and prays together into something that could be loosely termed as an argument.
Fine. I understand how difficult it is to gather one’s thoughts into something that could loosely be termed as an argument for those to whom subtle thought comes as something of an effort. In the meantime you might consider being courteous enough to refrain from disparaging the intelligence of those who disagree with you, characterizing their views as “extreme”, and casting aspersions on their motives.

As to your “orthodox Catholicism”, it’s quite true that there are many Catholics (including some prominent ones) whose beliefs are at odds with official Church teachings, but their ideas can hardly be described as “orthodox”.

Since your version of Christianity is radically different from the version held by the vast majority of Christians throughout history, perhaps you should not describe it as “traditional Christianity”. And since it varies from official Church doctrine you should not describe it as “orthodox Catholicism”. Don’t try to pass off these extremely heterodox ideas as something other than what they are.

Quote:
Rather than treating religion as an enemy it would be better if non believers entered into a more sympathetic dialogue with the believers...
But, you see, this is rather difficult. Christians tell me (in effect) that my mother and father, two of the finest people I’ve ever known, are suffering agony and torment in hell, and will continue to suffer for all eternity, because they did not believe that a man was God, and that I’m going to join them unless I accept Jesus as my Savior. What’s more, they insist that this punishment is perfectly just, which means that they are saying that my parents were incredibly wicked. And I will deserve the same if I don’t accept the Christian “plan of salvation”. I’m sorry, but I consider this a personal affront. Anyone who regards my entire family as deserving of eternal torment is my enemy.

As for the idea that there is no eternal punishment: aside from the fact that this is contrary to the Bible and to what the Church has taught for almost two thousand years, it doesn’t really help. Christianity teaches that those who are “saved” will receive an infinite reward which those who are not “saved” will be denied. Being deprived of an infinite good is just as bad as being subjected to an infinite punishment . Admittedly, it won’t be as painful, so the prospect doesn’t produce such strong emotions, but from an objective point of view there’s no real difference. If we were able to imagine the infinite joy that (according to Christians) awaits the “saved” in Heaven, the prospect of missing out on it would be just as upsetting as the prospect of eternal torment.

Don’t imagine that your version of Christianity is significantly less objectionable than the “standard” version. It only seems so at first glance. You’re still saying that my parents were such horrible people that they deserve an infinite punishment (being deprived of eternal bliss), and that I’ll deserve the same unless I change radically. And I still take this as a personal affront.

Just how am I supposed to “enter into a sympathetic dialog” with people who consider me and my family to be unimaginably wicked? A dialog, yes, but sympathetic, never.

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: bd-from-kg ]
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