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Old 03-14-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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Oh, no worries, HP, I didn't feel attacked at all. I thought your question was very sincere, and it's something I've thought about a lot myself.

Like I said, my beliefs are outside what I know of Christian orthodoxy, and I always make a point to say that, because I don't feel at all equipped to speak on behalf of Christians.

A closer, probably more accurate description of me is a spiritually promiscuous person (ie, one who takes wisdom wherever she finds it) who wholeheartedly embraces the message of Jesus. I haven't quite sorted out if that makes me a Christian or not.

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Old 03-14-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
I *knew* you couldn't pass a title like THAT up

... So. What makes Jesus any different than any other Christ that has lived before (and since) his time?
The answer to what makes Jesus different is: Jesus was a human being and the others are mythologic. Christ or "the Christ' has only one definition and it only pertains to Jesus; as such, there was no one before or after.

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Old 03-14-2009, 11:53 PM
 
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I *knew* you couldn't pass a title like THAT up
For educational purposes, to separate history from subjective interpretation, watch http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...eligion/watch/ on PBS. It will be worth everyone's while and offers new ways to discuss this topic.:

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Old 03-15-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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WAIT... I didn't realize there was a winning answer here!

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Old 03-15-2009, 02:46 PM
 
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The stories have been... to say it tactfully... heavily skewed to make them seem closer to Jesus' life. Most of the evidence, in fact, seems to be completely made up. This article at Tektonics.org addresses some of the most popular claims.
Or have the events of Jesus' life been skewed? We have to examine accuracy on both sides.
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A lot can happen in 300 years. How much more can happen in 1000 years? That's how much time passed between when Ceaser's Gallic Wars document and the earliest scrap of the document that we have. And, how about Homer's Illiad? 500 years (past the "publication" date) is the earliest record we have. But, for the New Testament, only 25 years. Not too much can change in 25 years, because there would still be people alive who had lived through it and would know if the information was false.

If we look at the amount of documents we have for each manuscript, we only have 10 for Ceaser's Gallic Wars. We have a greater number of manuscripts for Homer's Illiad, 643. Much better. How about for the New Testament? More than 24,000 documents in Greek (primary), Aramaic, and others. By the weight of evidence alone, I'm much more likely to believe in the New Testament than the Illiad.
If I were to write a narrative of what happened in my life 25 years ago (say, a family vacation) and my mother, step-father, and each of my brothers did as well, as well as a few people who heard tell of our vacation, but did not participate, I wager that the stories would be vastly different. Some would remember some things and forget others. And some of us would probably "remember" things that didn't actually happen. Even assuming that the copies are unadultered pure representations of the original gospels (or that the "originals" ever existed) 25 years is still a lot of passing time to write something that is "the word of God" that millions of people are going to base their faith on.
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So, taking away the mythological aspects....why Jesus? Why not anyone else? What is so 'sticking' about Jesus that millions of people devote their lives to following him? FWIW, the same can be asked about Islam and several other major religions, I'm not saying it can't.
Just going out on a limb. I think that art (esp. Middle Ages and Renaissance) really romanticized the Christ story and made Jesus look European, which he obviously was not. Not saying this *is* the reason, but something that always interested me.
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The key tenets were written in a way which would have allowed them to be corroborated at the time, however, unlike most myths. I know CS Lewis referred to Christianity as a 'true myth' - meaning no slander on the historicity of the Gospel narratives - but it is still a word I think should be used carefully, as it can mean anything from 'I don't like it' to 'it's poetic and moving'.
There is no reliable way, now or then, to determine whether Mary was a virgin or not.
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and you know what? science didn't need to tell us any bit of that. it was human common knowledge. it was in us and natural... it wasn't questioned until science came along and made a mess out of it.
Is Christianity a human common knowledge? Is it natural? Would a person raised without any knowledge, and continues to have no knowledge, of Christianity or the Bible, naturally arrive at Christianity?

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Old 03-15-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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Is Christianity a human common knowledge? Is it natural? Would a person raised without any knowledge, and continues to have no knowledge, of Christianity or the Bible, naturally arrive at Christianity?
you're quite stretching what I was saying. actually changing it into something else. I wasn't saying "christianity" was against science or vice versa... and only one could be right. I'm saying to throw out all other kinds of thinking and esteem science above all is a dangerous concept.

furthermore, "christianity" is a word used to imply one is a beliver in Jesus Christ, the son of God and follows the teachings of Christ. It's justa word we use to to describe it - it's the heart of the matter which is what is important. And would a person who never heard the name of "jesus Christ" before, but still cries out to God (or whatever his language would have for that word) arrive naturally at "christianity"? no, ofcourse not. but their souls would still be searching for truth and God.

that's like asking if a baby never heard the name of Christ would they not be a christian?... it's kinda irrelevant. as he wouldn't even know what the word was if he did here it...

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Old 03-15-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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There is no reliable way, now or then, to determine whether Mary was a virgin or not.
There's no reliable empirical way (that I know of, at least: although I suppose nowadays one could at least determine whether or not a woman has given birth). Nevertheless, the Biblical data says that she is a virgin. It doesn't make sense to discount this on the grounds that virgins don't have babies, this being clearly portrayed as outside the norm; nor is examining it from the perspective of philosophical naturalism the 'unbiased' or 'objective' way to view the data (plus, philosophical naturalism is self-refuting). So how would you suggest trying to determine the truth value of that statement?

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Old 03-15-2009, 07:42 PM
 
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What I'm trying to say it that, regardless of when the gospels were written, whether it be 25 years later, 120 years, or whatever, there are things that the writers could not have known or corroborated regardless of the time frame. Did any of the apostles know Jesus as a boy or young man? There is so much that is literary hearsay. Just because someone wrote it doesn't make it so.

There is no way to determine of Mary is a virgin, and no one knows for a fact that Mary was a virgin (except for Mary herself) or not. If you want to believe that she was a virgin, that's fine, but it doesn't make it fact.

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Old 03-15-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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you're quite stretching what I was saying. actually changing it into something else. I wasn't saying "christianity" was against science or vice versa... and only one could be right. I'm saying to throw out all other kinds of thinking and esteem science above all is a dangerous concept.

furthermore, "christianity" is a word used to imply one is a beliver in Jesus Christ, the son of God and follows the teachings of Christ. It's justa word we use to to describe it - it's the heart of the matter which is what is important. And would a person who never heard the name of "jesus Christ" before, but still cries out to God (or whatever his language would have for that word) arrive naturally at "christianity"? no, ofcourse not. but their souls would still be searching for truth and God.

that's like asking if a baby never heard the name of Christ would they not be a christian?... it's kinda irrelevant. as he wouldn't even know what the word was if he did here it...
What I was trying to say is that babies are born expecting to be breastfed, because that's normal. Not quite the same as Christianity. In my humble opinion, science can't muck up religion. Either something is likely or it is not. People get up in arms about science, but only when science has essentially dissproven that which people have faith in. If the events in the Bible occurred, then no one should have a problem with scientists exploring it.

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Old 03-16-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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Ramama-

that's just it... you can't disprove faith. my point entirely. you can't disprove faith or anymore than you can disprove feelings. or thoughts.

science has it's place for sure! but it's just one of many vessels of learning. and when people stop remembering that all sorts of twisted things can happen. Science is no smarter than the "scientist". (and anyone can be that... officially or not). science has ALWAYS existed and always will. just as faith, spirituality and belief will.

why would someone have problems with scientists "exploring" the Bible?? (I'm not sure I follow...) that seems rather ridiculous. people have been exploring the biblical texts for thousands of years. I'm not sure what else they are expecting to find... but it doesn't bother me a bit.

---
as far as proving Jesus and his life - that really is NO different than any other history. nobody knows what happened in the past but the people of that past. period. so it's a rather ridiculous argument to apply to Jesus Christ and not every other person in history. so again... not sure where that is going.

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Old 03-16-2009, 07:27 AM
 
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What I'm trying to say it that, regardless of when the gospels were written, whether it be 25 years later, 120 years, or whatever, there are things that the writers could not have known or corroborated regardless of the time frame. Did any of the apostles know Jesus as a boy or young man? There is so much that is literary hearsay. Just because someone wrote it doesn't make it so.
I'm not sure what you mean. Why couldn't the gospel writers have done research and learned about Jesus' life as a boy or young man, like any other historians? The Gospels don't actually have a lot about Jesus as a boy or young man, simply because they were focussing on Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection; but I see no reason why they couldn't have if they'd felt it was important...?

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There is no way to determine of Mary is a virgin, and no one knows for a fact that Mary was a virgin (except for Mary herself) or not. If you want to believe that she was a virgin, that's fine, but it doesn't make it fact.
And if you want to believe she wasn't, that's fine too, but also doesn't make it fact... so I'm not sure what you're getting at. It's obviously a bit late to conduct virginity tests on Mary, even were such things scientifically possible: so of course belief will ultimately fall on the side of acceptance or skepticism according to worldview. And worldviews can be debated, so it's not like the question need end there with a hopeless 'Oh well, it's all in how you think of it' - but the conversation does tend to get a lot more philosophical and technical at that point.

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Old 03-16-2009, 10:06 AM
 
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I still think you all should be watching:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...eligion/watch/ on PBS.
It addresses much of what is being discussed here. It came out a few years ago during Lent. It was a four hour program. But here on the site, it is broken up into easy to watch segments. History, politics, architecture, sociology, etc. explains in this program how what we come to believe in Christianity is deeply routed in Judism.

I've always maintained that Jesus made a difference because people were ready for a change; that a new consciousness, evolution in thought, emerged. I went back and started watching this program the other evening. Much to my surprise, my personal conclusions align with the scholarly research presented that shows how--following John the Baptist and the peoples questioning Roman rule (especially politics and morality), they were ready for a change. (And, didn't the Roman Empire fail in the end?) (Just a side thought: Watch the program, then think about is going on in U. S. and world economics and all the immorality associated with it. Would a Jesus have a chance today?)

Don't forget, Jesus was also a healer. That wasn't isn't emphasized much in the past as part of his religious persona, but it contributed to his appeal in raising this new consciousness.

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Old 03-19-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you mean. Why couldn't the gospel writers have done research and learned about Jesus' life as a boy or young man, like any other historians? The Gospels don't actually have a lot about Jesus as a boy or young man, simply because they were focussing on Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection; but I see no reason why they couldn't have if they'd felt it was important...?

<snip>

Jesus, if in fact he existed at all, was just a poor carpenter's son. He wasn't born into a rich, well known family. No one would write about him! Of course there are no stories, history about Jesus as a child...he was just one of many Jewish boys living at that time.
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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Jesus, if in fact he existed at all, was just a poor carpenter's son. He wasn't born into a rich, well known family. No one would write about him! Of course there are no stories, history about Jesus as a child...he was just one of many Jewish boys living at that time.
you are right that nobody would have written about him... unless he claimed you be the messiah... then yeah. obviously they would. just like any prophet or what have you.

everyone is ordinary until they aren't.

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Old 03-20-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I still think you all should be watching:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...eligion/watch/ on PBS.
It addresses much of what is being discussed here. It came out a few years ago during Lent. It was a four hour program. But here on the site, it is broken up into easy to watch segments. History, politics, architecture, sociology, etc. explains in this program how what we come to believe in Christianity is deeply routed in Judism.

I've always maintained that Jesus made a difference because people were ready for a change; that a new consciousness, evolution in thought, emerged. I went back and started watching this program the other evening. Much to my surprise, my personal conclusions align with the scholarly research presented that shows how--following John the Baptist and the peoples questioning Roman rule (especially politics and morality), they were ready for a change. (And, didn't the Roman Empire fail in the end?) (Just a side thought: Watch the program, then think about is going on in U. S. and world economics and all the immorality associated with it. Would a Jesus have a chance today?)

Don't forget, Jesus was also a healer. That wasn't isn't emphasized much in the past as part of his religious persona, but it contributed to his appeal in raising this new consciousness.
I second this endorsement.
I'm also finding this conversation fascinating. I've been doing some reading lately (Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman and Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Spong) and am getting a better grasp on how the Bible came to be.

Paul's letters and writings (although not all are actually written by Paul) were the first documents chronologically. Mark, the first gospel written, tried to reconcile Paul's apparent adoptionistic beliefs - that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his resurrection and made God's son at that time - to the holiness of his life which begins at his baptism. Matthew and Luke, using Mark as a basis, went further to portray Jesus's birth as pure by giving him a virgin mother. There are other cultures with virgin birth myths that may have influenced their writing.
At least that is my understanding, far from being a Biblical scholar.

I do wonder at the accuracy - how can something be written an quoted 40 years after the fact and not be distorted?

To answer the original question - Jesus is special to me because he was a revolutionary teacher and leader. He preached and entirely different and radical message than the prevailing Roman world view of the time. Power and strength were worshipped where Jesus taught humility and service. He shook his world upside down and gave people an example of God's love and compassion, a way to live a fulfilled life.

I'm still sorting out what exactly the Bible is. I believe it is an inspired book with many great truths yet it is not inerrant or complete. There is much to learn from other faiths.
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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you are right that nobody would have written about him... unless he claimed you be the messiah... then yeah. obviously they would. just like any prophet or what have you.

everyone is ordinary until they aren't.
But that's exactly my point too....

If he was really real, if he really existed, why aren't there ANY records from the time that he was alive? Why did people wait a century or so to start writing ANYTHING?!?!?

I mean, you'd think some guy wandering around walking on water, raising people from the dead and healing the sick would warrant some attention in real time. Not a hundred years after the fact. The reason we know so much about so many people from history that we KNOW existed, is because there is so much written about the DURING their life. It just doesn't add up???

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Old 03-20-2009, 09:45 AM
 
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I second this endorsement.
I'm also finding this conversation fascinating. I've been doing some reading lately (Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman and Why Christianity Must Change or Die by John Shelby Spong) and am getting a better grasp on how the Bible came to be.

Paul's letters and writings (although not all are actually written by Paul) were the first documents chronologically. Mark, the first gospel written, tried to reconcile Paul's apparent adoptionistic beliefs - that Jesus was adopted as God's son at his resurrection and made God's son at that time - to the holiness of his life which begins at his baptism. Matthew and Luke, using Mark as a basis, went further to portray Jesus's birth as pure by giving him a virgin mother. There are other cultures with virgin birth myths that may have influenced their writing.
At least that is my understanding, far from being a Biblical scholar.

I do wonder at the accuracy - how can something be written an quoted 40 years after the fact and not be distorted?

To answer the original question - Jesus is special to me because he was a revolutionary teacher and leader. He preached and entirely different and radical message than the prevailing Roman world view of the time. Power and strength were worshipped where Jesus taught humility and service. He shook his world upside down and gave people an example of God's love and compassion, a way to live a fulfilled life.

I'm still sorting out what exactly the Bible is. I believe it is an inspired book with many great truths yet it is not inerrant or complete. There is much to learn from other faiths.
Some people might suggest that Bishop Spong is also far from being a biblical scholar - but that would perhaps be a rude thing to say. I would defiantly recommend reading his stuff critically. Even if you like his ideas, many things he presents as fact are controversial, and it isn't always clear in his writing. If you google him you can find out what is hard fact and what is more interpretation.

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Old 03-20-2009, 09:53 AM
 
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But that's exactly my point too....

If he was really real, if he really existed, why aren't there ANY records from the time that he was alive? Why did people wait a century or so to start writing ANYTHING?!?!?

I mean, you'd think some guy wandering around walking on water, raising people from the dead and healing the sick would warrant some attention in real time. Not a hundred years after the fact. The reason we know so much about so many people from history that we KNOW existed, is because there is so much written about the DURING their life. It just doesn't add up???
There is, I believe, a Roman record of his crucifixion. I'm not sure that this really flies though. The first records in scripture were rather earlier than a 100 years before they were written. Additionally, most Biblical scholars are pretty sure the synoptic gospels were partly based on an earlier record, which we don't have - documents don't always survive. There was no tradition of journalism like we have today. We have lots of well-documented texts written by students of Jesus disciples and friends - so one person removed. I'm not sure that it is reasonable to ask for more - people studying other historical figures of 2000 years ago would be quite happy with that amount of material.

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Old 03-20-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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But that's exactly my point too....

If he was really real, if he really existed, why aren't there ANY records from the time that he was alive? Why did people wait a century or so to start writing ANYTHING?!?!?

I mean, you'd think some guy wandering around walking on water, raising people from the dead and healing the sick would warrant some attention in real time. Not a hundred years after the fact. The reason we know so much about so many people from history that we KNOW existed, is because there is so much written about the DURING their life. It just doesn't add up???
keeping in mind that he wasn't just a prophet - he was one that was not looked nicely upon by Roman (hence the crucifixion). and it's not like there being a writer or reporter was some kind a big time job like it is now... there weren't exposes and CNN. people did that on their own time for the most part. Christ wasn't popular among the masses.

furthermore there are many other writings about Christ that were not included in the Holy Bible. (they were not canonized for one reason or another). so you can argue that MUCH was written about Jesus... only some was selected to be used in the actual Bible.

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Old 03-20-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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Jesus offered salvation, hope, peace, and eternal life....I suppose enough people actually were "filled" with these things and "satisfied" with their relationship with Christ that something clicked and people followed. (and died for Christ). Can't argue with having an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God Himself. Who wouldn't want that? Something has to be real about it.

THose who have found a true personal relationship with this man, who called himself God... then speak about it....that is the difference why Jesus is special.

What I always wondered is why the very name of Jesus causes such a stir with everyone. People swear, curse, sneer, at the name of Jesus...why? Why not other prophets? Whats the "real power" behind His name? There is something powerfully different about the man Jesus. People pick up on that. I think it might have something to do with TRUTH. Just my opinion though.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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What I always wondered is why the very name of Jesus causes such a stir with everyone. People swear, curse, sneer, at the name of Jesus...why? Why not other prophets? Whats the "real power" behind His name? There is something powerfully different about the man Jesus. People pick up on that. I think it might have something to do with TRUTH. Just my opinion though.
I think it has far more to do with people's experience with some Christians and with the teachings of some Christian churches than it has to do with their experience with Jesus. I think it's the kind of sentiment that Ghandi was getting at with this quote.
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

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Old 03-21-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

you know i have heard this so many times... and I get it. I do.

but on the other hand it's just an incredible rudeness. Incredible. I can't imagine saying "I like your Hashem but I don't like your Jews" or "I like your Muhammad but I don't like your muslims" or so forth...

if said by the right person at the right time, sure I could buy it. but it's been repeated a BILLION times by so many people who think it such a clever thing to say. as if it's ok to hate Christians b/c they are nothing like Christ.. well it's kinda lost it's value to me. it's just another rude snide remark towards my religion. and it hurts just as much as any others.

not all Jews are rich, not all Muslims hate white people, and not all Christians burn people at the stake who don't accept Jesus. People just cling to the nasty stories about religious people and dump all the rest. most of us religious peoples are normal average people who generally love and respect one another.

it's a bigoted prejudiced remark.... so forgive me if I'm not impressed.

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Old 03-21-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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What I always wondered is why the very name of Jesus causes such a stir with everyone. People swear, curse, sneer, at the name of Jesus...why? Why not other prophets?
Where people's primary exposure to religious figures comes in the form of the veneration of the Christian rendering of Jesus, and people's primary ability to have a negative exposure to and/or relationship with a religion comes in the context of an almost exclusive exposure to Christianity ... who else will they sneer at?

A Somalian person, Bhutanese, Algerian, Mongolian, or whatever, who is expressing a similar feeling with regard to a religious figure, is probably not going to think of Jesus first.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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you know i have heard this so many times... and I get it. I do.

but on the other hand it's just an incredible rudeness. Incredible. I can't imagine saying "I like your Hashem but I don't like your Jews" or "I like your Muhammad but I don't like your muslims" or so forth...

if said by the right person at the right time, sure I could buy it. but it's been repeated a BILLION times by so many people who think it such a clever thing to say. as if it's ok to hate Christians b/c they are nothing like Christ.. well it's kinda lost it's value to me. it's just another rude snide remark towards my religion. and it hurts just as much as any others.

not all Jews are rich, not all Muslims hate white people, and not all Christians burn people at the stake who don't accept Jesus. People just cling to the nasty stories about religious people and dump all the rest. most of us religious peoples are normal average people who generally love and respect one another.

it's a bigoted prejudiced remark.... so forgive me if I'm not impressed.
I think if it's a comment made blithely then yeah, it's rude. But it's one of the comments that actually made me THINK when I *was* a Christian, and it really gave me pause about the hypocrisy of these multimilliondollar mega churches and their so called mission programs that are more about bringing in more money than actually helping people survive THIS world. So, my hope is if someone sees this on the back of a car, maybe it'll make them think just a bit about the same concept. That SO many Christians just.....aren't. I realize you're different HP, I really do in my heart believe that, but there just don't seem to be many of you out in the world, at least where I've lived. You, my dear, are the minority it seems.

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Old 03-21-2009, 01:32 AM
 
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Theoretica,

oh my don't get thinking I think myself something grand, please! but you know, the mega church crud you describe... that isn't Christianity. it's what is popular... but it isn't religious christianity. it's christian-ese. It's christian-like. it's pop-Christian.

(I'm terribly sorry if this is a huge rude thing i am saying ot any mega-churches... forgive me for being blunt, and feel free to disagree with me)

It's not that take issue with bigger churches... or church buildings. or anything like that. but the stuff sold at the mega churches is "easy believism". it's just something to spoon feed people to make them feel good. It's common for "missions" to just be like rich people's "fund raisers". it's people giving money to a cause they know little about so that other people can do all the work. it's pathetic and speaks little of what Christ was about. it's hypocritical!

and yeah, I don't relate to that. and not i'm saying you can't go to a big church and be a Christian either. but the "big church" mentality is a lot like the "walmart" mentality - box it up quick and cheap and people will buy it. it's not about quality - it's about quantity sold.

and that... well that isn't what Christ was about. and maybe I can't speak for Christ completely. I don't know it all... I admit that fully. but what Bible are Christians reading to get the mega church idea?

so I guess what I'm aiming to say is this - there are a lot of real Christians out there. not trying to sell you candy bar religion, and NOT trying to terrorize you into believing in God or going to hell (etc). But maybe they don't get noticed so much... maybe they are quiet. maybe they are just the person that smiles are you at the store. maybe they are busying living their lives in the way they feel god intended. or.... maybe they are off on REAL missions working their butts off with no credit.

I hate to see all of Christianity thrown into two common labels of "crazy witch hunting proselytizers" or "mega church phonies"...

sorry I guess that is a but OT... but who are we kidding here... how can this topic stay... on topic? hah

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Old 03-21-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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you know i have heard this so many times... and I get it. I do.

but on the other hand it's just an incredible rudeness. Incredible. I can't imagine saying "I like your Hashem but I don't like your Jews" or "I like your Muhammad but I don't like your muslims" or so forth...

if said by the right person at the right time, sure I could buy it. but it's been repeated a BILLION times by so many people who think it such a clever thing to say. as if it's ok to hate Christians b/c they are nothing like Christ.. well it's kinda lost it's value to me. it's just another rude snide remark towards my religion. and it hurts just as much as any others.

not all Jews are rich, not all Muslims hate white people, and not all Christians burn people at the stake who don't accept Jesus. People just cling to the nasty stories about religious people and dump all the rest. most of us religious peoples are normal average people who generally love and respect one another.

it's a bigoted prejudiced remark.... so forgive me if I'm not impressed.
I'm sorry you feel hurt - that wasn't my intention, which was to answer why the name of Jesus cause a stir. I do think that sentiment encompasses the feelings many non-christians experience when confronted with Christianity. And frankly it's not without basis. With things like the Pope's recent comments abour Africa, the Prop 8 campaign in California and numerous horrendous comments I have heard and my children have heard personally all spouted in the name of Christianity/Jesus, I get the sentiment. I don't hate Christians but I admit a skepticism about those who follow the religion that professes love and yet my personal experience is that so many act hatefully and cite their religion as the justification. I don't think that Christianity is often a true reflection of the message of Jesus Christ and it is often (not rarely but often imo) used as a political or personal hammer, a platform for judgement or exclusion and not a force for good.

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Old 03-21-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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It's not that take issue with bigger churches... or church buildings. or anything like that. but the stuff sold at the mega churches is "easy believism". it's just something to spoon feed people to make them feel good. It's common for "missions" to just be like rich people's "fund raisers". it's people giving money to a cause they know little about so that other people can do all the work. it's pathetic and speaks little of what Christ was about. it's hypocritical!

and yeah, I don't relate to that. and not i'm saying you can't go to a big church and be a Christian either. but the "big church" mentality is a lot like the "walmart" mentality - box it up quick and cheap and people will buy it. it's not about quality - it's about quantity sold.

and that... well that isn't what Christ was about. and maybe I can't speak for Christ completely. I don't know it all... I admit that fully. but what Bible are Christians reading to get the mega church idea?

so I guess what I'm aiming to say is this - there are a lot of real Christians out there. not trying to sell you candy bar religion, and NOT trying to terrorize you into believing in God or going to hell (etc). But maybe they don't get noticed so much... maybe they are quiet. maybe they are just the person that smiles are you at the store. maybe they are busying living their lives in the way they feel god intended. or.... maybe they are off on REAL missions working their butts off with no credit.

I hate to see all of Christianity thrown into two common labels of "crazy witch hunting proselytizers" or "mega church phonies"...
I have never tried to put my finger on it, but this is it. Thank you. This is how I feel about huge churches that I have been to.

I always call it generic Christianity.

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I'm sorry you feel hurt - that wasn't my intention, which was to answer why the name of Jesus cause a stir. I do think that sentiment encompasses the feelings many non-christians experience when confronted with Christianity. And frankly it's not without basis. With things like the Pope's recent comments abour Africa, the Prop 8 campaign in California and numerous horrendous comments I have heard and my children have heard personally all spouted in the name of Christianity/Jesus, I get the sentiment. I don't hate Christians but I admit a skepticism about those who follow the religion that professes love and yet my personal experience is that so many act hatefully and cite their religion as the justification. I don't think that Christianity is often a true reflection of the message of Jesus Christ and it is often (not rarely but often imo) used as a political or personal hammer, a platform for judgement or exclusion and not a force for good.
I think this is true of all groups though - people are often hypocritical and/or self-righteous, as individuals and as a group. I can't think of a religion it wouldn't apply to, though it tends to be more common in the regions' most popular religion (or non-religion) I find.

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Old 03-22-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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I think this is true of all groups though - people are often hypocritical and/or self-righteous, as individuals and as a group. I can't think of a religion it wouldn't apply to, though it tends to be more common in the regions' most popular religion (or non-religion) I find.
Possibly, although in my experience I've had proportionately more unpleasant experiences with Christians, both personally and politically/culturally than with any other religious groups I encounter. And unfortunately it isn't isolated to the mega-church sterotype that HP posted about. It's been across the Christian spectrum.

Regardless, IMO it still serves to answer the question about why Jesus causes such a stir - especially in North America and other countries where Christianity is one of the major if not predominant religions.

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