Easy n Dirty

Any Really Smart Christians Out There?

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Fundamentalist Christianity exposes a flaw that Christians choose to ignore -- that the major reason for the spread of Christianity is that it's very, very easy. Believing that you will see your dead spouse in heaven is easy. Facing your own death with a certainty of an afterlife is easy. Having only one book to believe is easy. Believing you have life and the world figured out is easy. Heck, the majority of professing Christians reduce their religion to easy, simplistic platitudes like avoiding "bad" words or anything involving risk. It's nothing spiritual at all. It's a religion without sacrifice, because the sacrifice has already been made for you. (Remind you of a recent war somewhere in the mideast?)

 

 

I'm not sure that you can say that a majority of professing Christians fall into that category. Professing a faith is one thing, and that is easy to do... but living Christianity is not at all easy. And Christians that truly believe what they profess are indeed called to live the life of a Christian and walk the path which leads through the narrow gate.

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Fundamentalist Christianity exposes a flaw that Christians choose to ignore -- that the major reason for the spread of Christianity is that it's very, very easy. Believing that you will see your dead spouse in heaven is easy. Facing your own death with a certainty of an afterlife is easy. Having only one book to believe is easy. Believing you have life and the world figured out is easy. Heck, the majority of professing Christians reduce their religion to easy, simplistic platitudes like avoiding "bad" words or anything involving risk. It's nothing spiritual at all. It's a religion without sacrifice, because the sacrifice has already been made for you. (Remind you of a recent war somewhere in the mideast?)

 

well, you're mostly right there. there are many, a growing number unfortunately, who practice a dumbed-down christianity that is essentially an "easy" works-based religion. i think particularly of kids and young adults who grow up in very "christian" environments, a hugh number of them fit this description IMO. but that's obviously not true of all christians, or even really of a majority of "born again" fundies. for all its dogmatic stupidity, the evangelical christian message is one that can be remarkably powerful in a very "spiritual" way. it can be gutwrenching and life-transforming in a way that is anything but "easy". how about being a recent grad of northwestern medical school, with a ton of debt to pay for school, with two little girls and a wife pregnant with your first son....and moving to west africa for 3 years to live in a dirt hut and do missionary work, getting malaria, almost dying...then moving back to the US with a family of 5, dirt poor -- yet still giving 10-20% of your income (pretax) to the church. would you call that "easy"? that is the story of my mother and father in law. they are the most hardheaded bible-thumpers you will ever meet. they embody so many of the negative stereotypes of fundie christians -- she, in particular, is one of the coldest, most judgmental people i have ever come across. several aspects of their religion are just wrong wrong wrong when compared with the religion of jesus....yet, to call their religion "easy" or devoid of risk as you do just seems, well, way too easy and simplistic.

 

I don't think he's slamming Christianity per se so much as any system that grants you a special "status" no matter how stupid and worthless you are as a human being.

 

well, christianity teaches pretty clearly and emphatically that all "status" is illusory, and concern with status corrupting. when people get into the whole saved/unsaved business, they cease becoming christians and become pharisees. i think almost all christians would agree with that statement, and yet...almost all of us end up doing it anyway. i suppose it's one of those areas where practicing what you preach is not "easy".

Edited by Azazello1313

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Fundamentalist Christianity exposes a flaw that Christians choose to ignore -- that the major reason for the spread of Christianity is that it's very, very easy. Believing that you will see your dead spouse in heaven is easy. Facing your own death with a certainty of an afterlife is easy. Having only one book to believe is easy. Believing you have life and the world figured out is easy. Heck, the majority of professing Christians reduce their religion to easy, simplistic platitudes like avoiding "bad" words or anything involving risk. It's nothing spiritual at all. It's a religion without sacrifice, because the sacrifice has already been made for you. (Remind you of a recent war somewhere in the mideast?)

 

i'm curious why you use the 'fundamentalist' qualifier. is there a different kind of christianity that you are aware of that is harder?

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Fundamentalist Christianity exposes a flaw that Christians choose to ignore -- that the major reason for the spread of Christianity is that it's very, very easy. Believing that you will see your dead spouse in heaven is easy. Facing your own death with a certainty of an afterlife is easy. Having only one book to believe is easy. Believing you have life and the world figured out is easy. Heck, the majority of professing Christians reduce their religion to easy, simplistic platitudes like avoiding "bad" words or anything involving risk. It's nothing spiritual at all. It's a religion without sacrifice, because the sacrifice has already been made for you.

uh, the largest branch of Christianity is Catholicism and Martin Luther left Catholicism in no small part because he couldn't find in the Church's teachings an assurance of salvation.

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There is a big difference between a "social" member of any branch of faith and a "practicing" member.

 

To wit ...

 

Any one know someone that claims to be Jewish, but hasn't been to synagogue, observed the high holy days, or even said a prayer in years (i.e., the things that make a person Jewish, by faith)? In essence a person who is Jewish for social reasons, not for faith-reasons?

 

Any one know someone claiming to be a Christian that goes to the pot-luck dinners, but hasn't asked for forgiveness of their sins in ages ... someone that sings in the choir but doesn't pray or read scriptures as a normal course of their days ... etc?

 

Anyone know someone claiming to be a Christian that picks and choses the parts of the Bible they want to believe and discarding the parts they don't (for whatever reason)?

 

See, claiming to be a person of a particular faith is sort of like having huge fishing boat ... either you have it or you do not. And, if you don't have a huge fishing boat, but instead have a big ol' RV, then quit trying to tell everyone your RV is actually a boat.

 

If you tell the world you're a Christian (or Jew, or whatever), but disregard or discount a significant portion of the beliefs of the faith, then you're not that faith. And, that's ok. You're something else...but, you're not that faith...and by claiming that badge that you disagree with it jaundices others views of you...so, if you say, "I'm a Christian but I don't believe that Christ died for my sins", then you're really not a Christian (since that is the central tenant of the faith), you're something else. You may be a "social Christian" (i.e., a person who goes to church for Christmas and Easter, but doesn't really seek God day-in and day-out), or you may be an athiest or agnostic who simply doesn't want to admit it...maybe because of a fear of social or familial stigma.

 

PS -- God isn't going to let everyone wearing a "Hi, I'm a Christian" nametag into heaven...he'll look a little deeper than that.

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There is a big difference between a "social" member of any branch of faith and a "practicing" member.

 

To wit ...

 

Any one know someone that claims to be Jewish, but hasn't been to synagogue, observed the high holy days, or even said a prayer in years (i.e., the things that make a person Jewish, by faith)? In essence a person who is Jewish for social reasons, not for faith-reasons?

 

Any one know someone claiming to be a Christian that goes to the pot-luck dinners, but hasn't asked for forgiveness of their sins in ages ... someone that sings in the choir but doesn't pray or read scriptures as a normal course of their days ... etc?

 

Anyone know someone claiming to be a Christian that picks and choses the parts of the Bible they want to believe and discarding the parts they don't (for whatever reason)?

 

See, claiming to be a person of a particular faith is sort of like having huge fishing boat ... either you have it or you do not. And, if you don't have a huge fishing boat, but instead have a big ol' RV, then quit trying to tell everyone your RV is actually a boat.

 

If you tell the world you're a Christian (or Jew, or whatever), but disregard or discount a significant portion of the beliefs of the faith, then you're not that faith. And, that's ok. You're something else...but, you're not that faith...and by claiming that badge that you disagree with it jaundices others views of you...so, if you say, "I'm a Christian but I don't believe that Christ died for my sins", then you're really not a Christian (since that is the central tenant of the faith), you're something else. You may be a "social Christian" (i.e., a person who goes to church for Christmas and Easter, but doesn't really seek God day-in and day-out), or you may be an athiest or agnostic who simply doesn't want to admit it...maybe because of a fear of social or familial stigma.

 

PS -- God isn't going to let everyone wearing a "Hi, I'm a Christian" nametag into heaven...he'll look a little deeper than that.

 

 

i wonder why you think you get to decide whether someone is a christian or not? i happen to think the bible was written by men. imperfect men with their own agendas. i cherish the writings of the new testament because they contain by far the best information we have about jesus and his earliest followers. i cherish the writings of the old testament because they tell us give us the context for jesus. but i give the biblical writings different amounts of weight. for example, i hold the gospel of mark to be the most historically reliable (as the oldest and least polemical). i find the gospel of john to be less reliable as history, but i do find it to be the most theologically developed. i differentiate between the genuine letters of paul, and the new testament letters traditionally attributed to him that he almost certainly didn't write -- like the pastorals and ephesians. i really pay little attention at all to second century writings like revelation and 2peter.

 

aside from all that, i'm not entirely convinced that jesus' dead physical husk somehow transmogrified and disappeared into another realm -- though i find the mysteries involved there infinitely compelling. i know the first christians experienced "the resurrected christ", but i don't pretend to know exactly what that means.

 

i take it this means i'm going to hell, huh? shucks, and here i thought my "i'm a christian" nametag was going to get me in the door.

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i wonder why you think you get to decide whether someone is a christian or not? i happen to think the bible was written by men. imperfect men with their own agendas. i cherish the writings of the new testament because they contain by far the best information we have about jesus and his earliest followers. i cherish the writings of the old testament because they tell us give us the context for jesus. but i give the biblical writings different amounts of weight. for example, i hold the gospel of mark to be the most historically reliable (as the oldest and least polemical). i find the gospel of john to be less reliable as history, but i do find it to be the most theologically developed. i differentiate between the genuine letters of paul, and the new testament letters traditionally attributed to him that he almost certainly didn't write -- like the pastorals and ephesians. i really pay little attention at all to second century writings like revelation and 2peter.

 

aside from all that, i'm not entirely convinced that jesus' dead physical husk somehow transmogrified and disappeared into another realm -- though i find the mysteries involved there infinitely compelling. i know the first christians experienced "the resurrected christ", but i don't pretend to know exactly what that means.

 

i take it this means i'm going to hell, huh? shucks, and here i thought my "i'm a christian" nametag was going to get me in the door.

 

 

az, are you disputing that a christian is essentially someone who takes on the belief that jesus died for their sins in order that they may be saved? muck has provided the essential definition and it is indeed accurate. you may choose to classify the books of the bible according to your tastes, that is certainly your right, deciding which ones you find more or less accurate and which ones put milk in your cocoa puffs, but central to the faith is what muck states.

 

if you want to follow jesus' teachings because you like the man but you can't bring yourself to believe that that husk did indeed transmorgify, causing that stone to move, providing our means for salvation, you are indeed missing the boat.

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PS -- God isn't going to let everyone wearing a "Hi, I'm a Christian" nametag into heaven...he'll look a little deeper than that.

 

That's exactly why I've got it embroidered in my boxers. :D

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David Sklansky, a very intelligent

:D If you say so. Sure can't tell from this brilliant "challenge," which is about one of the most retarded things I've ever even heard of on any of a number of levels, with holes in his logic/conclusions big enough to drive a truck though.

Edited by BeeR

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az, are you disputing that a christian is essentially someone who takes on the belief that jesus died for their sins in order that they may be saved? muck has provided the essential definition and it is indeed accurate. you may choose to classify the books of the bible according to your tastes, that is certainly your right, deciding which ones you find more or less accurate and which ones put milk in your cocoa puffs, but central to the faith is what muck states.

 

if you want to follow jesus' teachings because you like the man but you can't bring yourself to believe that that husk did indeed transmorgify, causing that stone to move, providing our means for salvation, you are indeed missing the boat.

 

True. But I think his point or at least part of it was muck throwing out a number of other things beyond the "basics" and implies they are mandatory to be a Christian, and they aren't.

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i wonder why you think you get to decide whether someone is a christian or not?

 

I don't think I do...not sure why you think I feel that way...

 

What I do think is that if "something" is largely defined by "something else" and if a third "something" is said to be identical to the first "something" yet, the third "something" doesn't contain the "something else" then the third "something" isn't the same as the first "something".

 

Apply this to any topic you wish.

 

i happen to think the bible was written by men. imperfect men with their own agendas.

 

Could be...

 

i cherish the writings of the new testament because they contain by far the best information we have about jesus and his earliest followers. i cherish the writings of the old testament because they tell us give us the context for jesus. but i give the biblical writings different amounts of weight. for example, i hold the gospel of mark to be the most historically reliable (as the oldest and least polemical). i find the gospel of john to be less reliable as history, but i do find it to be the most theologically developed. i differentiate between the genuine letters of paul, and the new testament letters traditionally attributed to him that he almost certainly didn't write -- like the pastorals and ephesians. i really pay little attention at all to second century writings like revelation and 2peter.

 

Ok. Every reader of scripture will have different aspects that appeal to them.

 

Generally, these preferences for one writer or text doesn't get in the way of the overall message, though ... which is (for those playing at home), "God loves you and sent Jesus to earth to die as a blood sacrifice to cover your sins so that you may spend eternity with Him in heaven"... The whole "love" and "eternity" thing is pretty much the crux of the message.

 

...again, I'm trying (by design) to simply articulate a definition of "Christian" that pretty much every member of every mainline Protestant church and the Catholic church could agree on...yes, they may want to stick other things onto the definition, but they'd agree with the core of what I have put here...

 

If you want to define "Christian" differently (say, perhaps as "whatever it is that I believe"), it probably wouldn't pass the same muster as I'm trying to achieve here.

 

aside from all that, i'm not entirely convinced that jesus' dead physical husk somehow transmogrified and disappeared into another realm -- though i find the mysteries involved there infinitely compelling. i know the first christians experienced "the resurrected christ", but i don't pretend to know exactly what that means.

 

It is a pretty fantastical thing to contemplate irrespective of someone's specific faith leanings... For someone to make that claim is pretty amazing. Maybe he was nuts. Maybe it actually happened. Either way, it has big-time implications for the world...because either way, lots of people are wrong in their beliefs. :D

 

i take it this means i'm going to hell, huh? shucks, and here i thought my "i'm a christian" nametag was going to get me in the door.

 

 

I never said anything that, if true, would mean you're necessarily going to heaven or hell. Same applies to me.

 

I'm being pretty general in my discussion of issues of the Christian faith and have pretty much left out any sort of personal observations as it applies to you, me or any other single individual.

 

If you think you're going to hell, you better go to the next pot luck dinner you can find. :D

Edited by muck

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That's exactly why I've got it embroidered in my boxers. :D

 

 

Probably a good idea.

 

That said, soiling yourself could take on eternal consequences.

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If you tell the world you're a Christian (or Jew, or whatever), but disregard or discount a significant portion of the beliefs of the faith, then you're not that faith.

 

There's something wrong with the logic here. Defining "significant" is difficult enough but doesn't this argument imply that either Catholics or Protestants may be Christian, but not both?

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That's exactly why I've got it embroidered in my boxers. :D

 

Uh, those with embroidered boxers are going to he11. Now those of us with Jesus Thongs on the other hand... :D

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how well do you actually know the bible, spain?

 

Not very much, but alot more than most folks I know who profess to be Christians and every Catholic I have ever met. Let me see if I have the whole heaven and he11 thing figured out from a biblical perspective:

 

1. Man has a sinful nature and cant come to heaven in this condition.

2. God sent his son to die for our sins and those who "accept him" get to ride the glory train

3. Those who dont accept him are still in that sinful condition and cannot enter the Kingdom of God

 

So, how exactly, do non-believers ever make it to heaven again?

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So, how exactly, do non-believers ever make it to heaven again?

 

 

Slipping a few c-notes in the collection plate every Sunday so they can act like an ass the other 6 days?

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I find it extremely hard to believe that, should a higher power exist, they would be bound by the rules of emotion as we are. I simply cannot believe that someone who has done good thier entire life, yet never set foot in a church, synagogue or mosque would be banished to some hell. How could you possible believe in a higher being that is so unreasonable? It really seems that that many of the stories that sprang from pagans of wrathful, prideful and loving gods were openly used in biblical text.

 

I personally prescribe to the belief I do what is right and helps people whenever I can, within my means. If my bases aren't covered with that, if this higher power somehow needed reassurance that I REALLY REALLY believe in THEM, and needed me to swear fealty to prove it, then I guess I am in purgatory for eternity. But it would seem really sad that an omnipotent being would be so insecure.

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I simply cannot believe that someone who has done good thier entire life ...

 

nobody does this. we are all sinners and our acts alone cannot make up for that.

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I find it extremely hard to believe that, should a higher power exist, they would be bound by the rules of emotion as we are. I simply cannot believe that someone who has done good thier entire life, yet never set foot in a church, synagogue or mosque would be banished to some hell. How could you possible believe in a higher being that is so unreasonable?

 

 

This is Sklansky's point exactly - tonorator's follow-up point notwithstanding, because I don't get his argument either. Understood that we are all sinners and noone is perfect, but is perfection the standard for getting into heaven, or short of that some sort of acceptance of Jesus and belief in the resurrection?

 

I am a Christian, though not as devout of one as many in this thread, and I do believe in the resurrection, but to use the words of one blogger who commented on Sklansky's proposition, and who is far more eloquent than me:

 

"I will admit that I agree with David (Sklansky) that the belief that an omnibenevolent being would consign people to hell for not believing in Christ is pretty hard to rationally justify, given that the vast majority of all humans who have ever lived, and even the majority of humans who have lived since Christ, have never even heard of him. It would make no sense to create people, give them no opportunity to save themselves, and then punish them, especially if you buy into the whole free will thing. How can you have free will if you are never introduced to Christ and therefore have no possible fate other than damnation?"

Edited by Easy n Dirty

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:D If you say so. Sure can't tell from this brilliant "challenge," which is about one of the most retarded things I've ever even heard of on any of a number of levels, with holes in his logic/conclusions big enough to drive a truck though.

 

 

No disagreement on the point you're making as to the absurdity of Skalnsky's challenge.

 

But he is an intelligent guy - he has written numerous books on poker, and his Theory on Poker is considered by many to be a poker bible of sorts. He went to Wharton for a year before dropping out to become a professional gambler, where he has done quite well, and he is now one of the principals in Two Plus Two publishing. While I grant that his proposition is illogical on several fronts, it probabbly is a +EV proposition from his perspective, and it would be a mistake IMO to understimate his intelligence.

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nobody does this. we are all sinners and our acts alone cannot make up for that.

 

If what you say is true, if acts carry no weight in salvation, then they carry no weight for good or ill. A conscientious person who spends their life trying to do the right thing and accepts Christ is on the same footing as someone who spends their life intending to cause harm and still, in the end, accepts Christ.

 

How can this be?

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Uh, those with embroidered boxers are going to he11. Now those of us with Jesus Thongs on the other hand... :D

 

:D I think we're all going to he11 after this thread.

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If what you say is true, if acts carry no weight in salvation, then they carry no weight for good or ill. A conscientious person who spends their life trying to do the right thing and accepts Christ is on the same footing as someone who spends their life intending to cause harm and still, in the end, accepts Christ.

 

How can this be?

 

you have discovered my plan :D

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I don't think I do...not sure why you think I feel that way...

 

probably from your litany of "you know self-professed christians who do or believe this or that? they're not christians".

 

What I do think is that if "something" is largely defined by "something else" and if a third "something" is said to be identical to the first "something" yet, the third "something" doesn't contain the "something else" then the third "something" isn't the same as the first "something".

 

Apply this to any topic you wish.

 

this is faulty logic. nobody said the first something is identical to the third something, in fact is only you who are saying that the first something is equivalent to the second something.

 

what is a christian? that can be expressed simply, and without any qualitative judgment attached: a christian is one who professes that jesus is "christ". i would not and have not presumed to equate any two ways of professing that idea. we can all disagree and have our own opinions which christians are right about what jesus was all about and which ones are missing the point and barking up the wrong tree, but that does not make anyone who confesses christ NOT a christian.

 

Ok. Every reader of scripture will have different aspects that appeal to them.

 

right, like the 2nd and 3rd century catholic bishops who decided what was "scripture" for subsequent generations and what wasn't based on what appealed to them and their situation. but really, nothing i said had anything to do with evaluating biblical writings based on what appeals to me. for instance, i would definitely say that the fourth gospel is the one which "appeals to me" most. but as far as historical veracity, i would be foolish to place it above a much earlier document like mark's gospel. evaluating each biblical writing according to its date, author, intended audience, the reason for its writing...as well as its theological message, its literary and poetic value, and so on -- to me that's just using that spirit of discernment paul exhorted from his disciples.

 

...again, I'm trying (by design) to simply articulate a definition of "Christian" that pretty much every member of every mainline Protestant church and the Catholic church could agree on...yes, they may want to stick other things onto the definition, but they'd agree with the core of what I have put here...

 

If you want to define "Christian" differently (say, perhaps as "whatever it is that I believe"), it probably wouldn't pass the same muster as I'm trying to achieve here.

 

so, you think it's ok to presume that someone who confesses christ is not a christian, because they, for example, "pick and choose the parts of the bible they want to believe"? well actually a LOT of mainline protestant denominations take a similar view of scripture to the one i described above: the united methodists, the disciples of christ, the united church of christ all come to mind. also many of the great christian theologians of the last couple centuries.

 

regardless, i think the notion that some sort of human majority or ecumenical power structure dictates who is or is not within the body of christ is a very un-christian (not to mention, un-biblical) one. i feel pretty strongly (i guess that's apparent) that any attempt to parse definitions about blessedness and grace so to exclude their theological adversaries and the like is a dangerous step down the wrong path. the path described in matthew 23. "slamming the doors of heaven in peoples' faces" -- ask yourself, who among today's christians do this?

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If what you say is true, if acts carry no weight in salvation, then they carry no weight for good or ill. A conscientious person who spends their life trying to do the right thing and accepts Christ is on the same footing as someone who spends their life intending to cause harm and still, in the end, accepts Christ.

 

How can this be?

 

 

hey, i didn't design the system. maybe the latter have all the janitorial duties in heaven, but they still get in.

 

accepting Christ, really accepting Him into your heart, changes you as a person. if you truly do this, then that does shape out the rest of your life. if you truly do this on your deathbed, i understand that to be enough. "truly" being the key word, and i'm not the decider on what that means.

 

i have read that there is a plan for those who have not heard vs. they are automatically condemned. couldn't tell you what that is either.

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