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alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:09 PM
I read the New Testament occasionally and try to figure out exactly what Jesus's message was, and how it applies to the world today.

I'm finding these bible quotes to be particularly interesting:

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

John 2:16 "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."

1 Corinthians 15:50 "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."

I like these quotes because I can make sense out of them in modern terms.

The world seems to have become much more material centric over the last few decades, and if one examines the nature of the major problems that our civilization faces, much of it seems to arise out of greedy people putting all of their efforts into finding ways to become wealthier.

When I try to look at this "modern mentality" from a scientific point of view, there seems to some interesting ideas that emanate from the bible passages I quoted above.

First I start with the fact that science has not yet been able to create life from elements. All forms of life on this planet are derived from existing life. It takes life to make more life.

That makes me think that the thing that life is, has to be pretty darn unique relative to matter itself. It seems as though life must be some form of energy the can exist within a material "matrix", but so far as of yet no scientist has been able to do what Frankenstein did, and start with the material matrix, and then put the energy of life into it.

Evolution suggests that we are descended from animals, and when I examine animal societies compared to human ones, there is one gigantic difference that seems so obvious. Animals seem to do only that which they had evolved to do and nothing more. Animals tend to only take from their environment only that which they need to survive and nothing more.

People on the other hand, act in ways that extend past their needs of survival.

Then it gets interesting when you think about animals, and imagine what animals would do if they were spontaneously gifted with the capacity for intellectual thought.

As horse people we know how food focused our horses and ponies can be. So say we hypothetically gifted a pony with the ability of intellectual thinking... our hypothetically pony would still possess it's animal desires for acquiring food, but enabled with the capacity for intellectual thought, our pony might then face a choice of how to use it's powers of intellectual thought. Might the pony devise a cunning plan to acquire all the food it possibly can in an attempt to satisfy it's instinctive desire to eat? Or might the pony also face the choice to act upon it's other innate animal instincts of caring about other heard members, having offspring, and protecting the pony society from harm.

The bible say in John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Could it be that the thing that science might call "life force" is actually the same thing as "Spirit"?

In that context then, animals and people would be born as material bodies with spirits that give them life.

So perhaps Jesus's message is that the spirit that makes us alive is separate from our material bodies that allows us to move about and do things during our lives on this earth.

Our bodies only seem to last an average of 80 or 90 years. That's not permanent. But science says energy can neither be created nor destroyed. So what then happens to the energy that makes us alive, after we are dead?

Maybe the after we are dead our "Spirit" goes back to the same place it originally came from?

This part of the bible seems to be making sense to me because when I think about what life is, it always comes from another living creature, and in order for that living creature to create life, it must sacrifice a part of itself first, and then in the case of mammals, mothers must love and care for their young in order for them to survive.

Reproduction is at it's primary level a selfless act of giving.

Reproduction comes only from life, so if life is the same thing as spirit, then isn't it logical to also say that the Spirit is at it's primary level a selfless act of giving.

Or simply put, the nature of Spirit is selfless giving.

I'm happy about having been curious to start reading and looking for things in the bible that might make sense, and I think this one really does.

Tha Ridge
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:30 PM
I like your interpretation better, but I think you may be misunderstanding John 3:6. I'll preface my explanation by saying that I'm not religious at all but am interested in theology and fairly knowledgeable about the bible.

Anyway, flesh, in biblical terms, is manly desires and our natural desires—think Adam and Eve, lust, greed, etc.—not our physical body; whereas spirit is Christ. The natural mind, the flesh, is always opposed to the spirit. So, yeah, the spirit is not defined as the life force you would initially think of, but rather the spirit of Christ (or the triune God).

Bluey
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:33 PM
I didn't read thru that, but it caught my eye that you think animals are so pure, they just take what they need.
I assume you are talking about predators there?
Not really so, they go on killing sprees and take what they want, leave the rest.
They also have unsavory habits, reflected a bit in humans also, where they do all kinds of mean things to others.

One gruesome example, our resident bobcat doesn't accept any cat around here, but won't kill them, just disembowels them and leaves them lay there, dragging around, for me to finish off if I find them still alive.
It is the nature of bobcats.

Bible notwithstanding, it is a dog eat world dog out there, for practically all species, humans included.
Humans just have a more refined, sophisticated way to use our resources, ways we have been evolving all along with our own evolution.

alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:46 PM
I like your interpretation better, but I think you may be misunderstanding John 3:6. I'll preface my explanation by saying that I'm not religious at all but am interested in theology and fairly knowledgeable about the bible.

Anyway, flesh, in biblical terms, is manly desires and our natural desires—think Adam and Eve, lust, greed, etc.—not our physical body; whereas spirit is Christ. The natural mind, the flesh, is always opposed to the spirit. So, yeah, the spirit is not defined as the life force you would initially think of, but rather the spirit of Christ (or the triune God).

What I've been trying to do. Is make sense out of what the bible says that Jesus taught. My question is, can anyone point to something that jesus said in the bible and put it into a context that actually makes rational sense?

It seems to me that in order for christianity to have had such a powerful influence over the societal evolution of the world, some parts of what Jesus taught must make practical sense??

alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 10:58 PM
I didn't read thru that, but it caught my eye that you think animals are so pure, they just take what they need.
I assume you are talking about predators there?
Not really so, they go on killing sprees and take what they want, leave the rest.
They also have unsavory habits, reflected a bit in humans also, where they do all kinds of mean things to others.

One gruesome example, our resident bobcat doesn't accept any cat around here, but won't kill them, just disembowels them and leaves them lay there, dragging around, for me to finish off if I find them still alive.
It is the nature of bobcats.

Bible notwithstanding, it is a dog eat world dog out there, for practically all species, humans included.
Humans just have a more refined, sophisticated way to use our resources, ways we have been evolving all along with our own evolution.

I'm understanding the bobcat behavior as territorial, and when I did a quick search on bobcats it seems that this is their natural way of hunting all their prey.

If you are going to make a point that animals in their natural environment do waste resources, I think you need to provide a better example then a bobcat living in a manmade environment with animals that were bred by humans.

GraceLikeRain
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:04 PM
What I've been trying to do. Is make sense out of what the bible says that Jesus taught. My question is, can anyone point to something that jesus said in the bible and put it into a context that actually makes rational sense?

It seems to me that in order for christianity to have had such a powerful influence over the societal evolution of the world, some parts of what Jesus taught must make practical sense??


You are right! The New Testament is a love story that is as applicable today as it was the day it was written. I think it is so exciting and brave that you are tackling the New Testament. It can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to best read it and take away the intended message.


A favorite biblical story of mine that is so relevant today is the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15).

When you read it I encourage you to go back through and think of it in modern day context. This is a link to a modern retelling of the story that I find particularly powerful: http://treymorgan.net/a-modern-day-prodigal-son/

The teachings of Jesus are absolutely applicable today but some times it can be difficult to pull out the underlying message if you are not familiar with biblical and historical references.

I find it very helpful to have a a study bible (ideally 2-3) that you can use as reference.

HorsesinHaiti
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:15 PM
Argh! My brain is fading out and the internet just ate what I wrote!

I find the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) a mix of very practical and earthly wisdom (fix your mindset before you do religious actions claiming a virtous mindset, worrying isn't doing you any good or getting your problem solved) with some mind-blowing calls to live as if we believed that God is there and is good and that people have a value worth putting out effort to protect. Martin Luther King took the last section of chapter 5 (turn the other cheek and go the second mile, love your enemies because God is gracious to you and to them,) and made huge strides towards fixing some serious evil in the US by showing that it really does work in the practical here and now, though it is very costly to people used to 'me first' thinking. And as people looked at Jesus they realized how much of that double whammy he held and was.

Tha Ridge
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:15 PM
What I've been trying to do. Is make sense out of what the bible says that Jesus taught. My question is, can anyone point to something that jesus said in the bible and put it into a context that actually makes rational sense?

It seems to me that in order for christianity to have had such a powerful influence over the societal evolution of the world, some parts of what Jesus taught must make practical sense??

...And they do make practical sense to those who believe. ;) I don't believe, but I do acknowledge why things are interpreted the way they are and I do think that most interpretations make sense given the context and preceding text.

alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:45 PM
...And they do make practical sense to those who believe. ;) I don't believe, but I do acknowledge why things are interpreted the way they are and I do think that most interpretations make sense given the context and preceding text.

But that's the thing, I don't necessarily want to rely on someone else's interruption, I want to be able to read something that Jesus said that has meaning without any need for interruption.

Take for example John 2:16 "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."

To me this make perfect sense as I read it, it simply says that the things of this earth are separate from God.

Well, if god is Spirit, that makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:49 PM
You are right! The New Testament is a love story that is as applicable today as it was the day it was written. I think it is so exciting and brave that you are tackling the New Testament. It can be a bit overwhelming to figure out how to best read it and take away the intended message.


A favorite biblical story of mine that is so relevant today is the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15).

When you read it I encourage you to go back through and think of it in modern day context. This is a link to a modern retelling of the story that I find particularly powerful: http://treymorgan.net/a-modern-day-prodigal-son/

The teachings of Jesus are absolutely applicable today but some times it can be difficult to pull out the underlying message if you are not familiar with biblical and historical references.

I find it very helpful to have a a study bible (ideally 2-3) that you can use as reference.

That story made me cry.

So you're saying that people are like children that run away from home (God)? If God is nice, then why do we run away from him in the first place?

alterhorse
Apr. 7, 2012, 11:53 PM
Argh! My brain is fading out and the internet just ate what I wrote!

I find the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) a mix of very practical and earthly wisdom (fix your mindset before you do religious actions claiming a virtous mindset, worrying isn't doing you any good or getting your problem solved) with some mind-blowing calls to live as if we believed that God is there and is good and that people have a value worth putting out effort to protect. Martin Luther King took the last section of chapter 5 (turn the other cheek and go the second mile, love your enemies because God is gracious to you and to them,) and made huge strides towards fixing some serious evil in the US by showing that it really does work in the practical here and now, though it is very costly to people used to 'me first' thinking. And as people looked at Jesus they realized how much of that double whammy he held and was.

I'll start reading that again, and look at it with your thoughts in mind.

Larksmom
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:11 AM
Yes, why do kids run away? Some from cruel parents, but mostly from what they percieve as mean parents, [won't let me stay out all night partying] sort of nonsense. Think of a three year old child throwing a tantrum because they cannot have the shiny bauble they want. Or better, a piece of candy. The parent doesn't want to give the child a piece of candy, may ruin dinner, or teeth, or give child a lifelong addiction to sugar. Whatever. The child just knows that he wants that candy NOW. God does look out for us like that, but does allow us the free will to reject his teachings, as many do.
The bit about what is flesh is flesh and what is spirit I think is more about the second birth. We are all of flesh, and consequently, we sin. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we die to self, and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. I could write more, but it is late, and I am tired. God Bless

Bluey
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:17 AM
You may understand this better if you think that many religions have "rites of spring", that are about renewal.
The story of the Christian Easter is one such, one a bit more sophisticated.

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:31 AM
Yes, why do kids run away? Some from cruel parents, but mostly from what they percieve as mean parents, [won't let me stay out all night partying] sort of nonsense. Think of a three year old child throwing a tantrum because they cannot have the shiny bauble they want. Or better, a piece of candy. The parent doesn't want to give the child a piece of candy, may ruin dinner, or teeth, or give child a lifelong addiction to sugar. Whatever. The child just knows that he wants that candy NOW. God does look out for us like that, but does allow us the free will to reject his teachings, as many do.
The bit about what is flesh is flesh and what is spirit I think is more about the second birth. We are all of flesh, and consequently, we sin. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we die to self, and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. I could write more, but it is late, and I am tired. God Bless

So maybe it's something like we are Gods children in heaven, and we see the earth and ask our father God what that place is, and he tells us the place is bad news and not to ever go there. But some of us get curious and just want to get a little closer to earth just to take a peak, but the closer we get the more interesting it looks and we get too close and forget what our father told us. Then we see that others of our kind are already on earth, so we figure we'll just jump in real quick and see what the earth is all about, and then jump right off again.

But after we touch the earth we get sucked in and our animal form influences us and causes us to forget who we really are.

So once we are on the earth we're stuck here, and every time we die, we just come right back again because we're already too close to escape the earths "pull".

But then God says something like "those dam kids of mine, they never listen". God then says to our really smart big brother Jesus, "go over to earth and tell your Brothers and Sisters to come home", so Jesus goes to earth, and delivers Gods message to everyone of how to find your way back home, and then leaves in a dramatic way to make his point stick.

So by just believing in Jesus, the next time you die, you will this time be looking for heaven, and not look back at the earth, and when you see heaven you can then go back home and tell God you are sorry for not listening to him. But God interrupts you and says to you, I know, we can talk about that later, I love you, it's just good to have you back home where you belong. Then God gives you a big hug and says Welcome home, and you melt in his arms feeling loved :)

lifesabreeze
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:50 AM
I'm understanding the bobcat behavior as territorial, and when I did a quick search on bobcats it seems that this is their natural way of hunting all their prey.

If you are going to make a point that animals in their natural environment do waste resources, I think you need to provide a better example then a bobcat living in a manmade environment with animals that were bred by humans.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/100621-science-chimpanzees-chimp-gangs-kill-mitani/


"Some gangs of chimpanzees beat their neighbors to death in bids to expand their turf, according to a new study.

While scientists have long known that chimps will kill each other on occasion, the finding shores up a long-held hypothesis that humans' closest living relatives sometimes turn to violence to annex valuable parcels of land.

Researchers observed predominantly male patrol groups sent out by a 150-strong chimp group at Ngogo in Kibale National Park in Uganda. The chimp gangs killed 21 of their neighbors between 1999 and 2008.

"Just fists and feet" were used in the attacks, study leader John Mitani, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in an email from Uganda. "Multiple chimps pummel the victims with both [appendages]. I think the victims die from internal injuries.

"Victims are usually totally immobilized and don't really stand a chance of getting away," he added."



+++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3323070/Killer-dolphins-baffle-marine-experts.html

"It's hard to visualise but the intelligent and ever-friendly dolphin can also be a determined killer.

New evidence has been compiled by marine scientists that prove the normally placid dolphin is capable of brutal attacks both on innocent fellow marine mammals and, more disturbingly, on its own kind.

Film taken of gangs of dolphins repeatedly ramming baby porpoises, tossing them in the air and pursuing them to the death has solved a long-term mystery of what causes the death of so many of these harmless mammals - but has left animal experts baffled as to the motive"

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 05:37 AM
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/100621-science-chimpanzees-chimp-gangs-kill-mitani/


"Some gangs of chimpanzees beat their neighbors to death in bids to expand their turf, according to a new study.

While scientists have long known that chimps will kill each other on occasion, the finding shores up a long-held hypothesis that humans' closest living relatives sometimes turn to violence to annex valuable parcels of land.

Researchers observed predominantly male patrol groups sent out by a 150-strong chimp group at Ngogo in Kibale National Park in Uganda. The chimp gangs killed 21 of their neighbors between 1999 and 2008.

"Just fists and feet" were used in the attacks, study leader John Mitani, an anthropologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said in an email from Uganda. "Multiple chimps pummel the victims with both [appendages]. I think the victims die from internal injuries.

"Victims are usually totally immobilized and don't really stand a chance of getting away," he added."



+++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3323070/Killer-dolphins-baffle-marine-experts.html

"It's hard to visualise but the intelligent and ever-friendly dolphin can also be a determined killer.

New evidence has been compiled by marine scientists that prove the normally placid dolphin is capable of brutal attacks both on innocent fellow marine mammals and, more disturbingly, on its own kind.

Film taken of gangs of dolphins repeatedly ramming baby porpoises, tossing them in the air and pursuing them to the death has solved a long-term mystery of what causes the death of so many of these harmless mammals - but has left animal experts baffled as to the motive"

Those are interesting, I was aware of the chimp behavior but not the dolphins.

Interesting how both of those examples are thought to be the next highest intelligent mammals after humans!

But by and large I think the majority of animals simply only take only as much as they need to survive.

Elephants can do heavy damage to forests, but they create grasslands that benefit many other animals by doing so.

lifesabreeze
Apr. 8, 2012, 06:02 AM
"She and another pod member ate the shark's liver and allowed the rest of the carcass to sink"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale


+++++++++++++++++
There were quite a few links about wolves killing and not eating:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2009/11/do_wolves_kill_for_sport.html

"Wolves are not alone in displaying an apparent lack of predatory economy. Foxes have been known to kill large numbers of chicken, eating only the head of each victim. (Veterinarians vaccinate foxes against rabies by sprinkling inoculated chicken heads throughout their territory.) Weasels like the back of the head and neck of their avian prey and tend to pile up the uneaten bodies in neat stacks. Raccoons eat the head and the crop."

Bluey
Apr. 8, 2012, 07:29 AM
Those are interesting, I was aware of the chimp behavior but not the dolphins.

Interesting how both of those examples are thought to be the next highest intelligent mammals after humans!

But by and large I think the majority of animals simply only take only as much as they need to survive.

Elephants can do heavy damage to forests, but they create grasslands that benefit many other animals by doing so.

The "Animal Kingdom" is really not like Walt Disney portrayed them.
I manage a wildlife preserve and can attest to animals taking what they want and wasting plenty.
A mountain lion will kill some deer or cow or mare, eat what it wants, some times even drag it to some brush and pile more downed brush and weeds on it.
Then rarely come back to eat more, it tends to move on and forget what it killed and kill more.
You may as well not wait there to catch that lion, if it is one that is preying around habitations, because it won't be back to that kill but rarely.

I am afraid you have an exalted view of what animals are, according to what you think others should do, especially humans, that doesn't correspond to reality.

Animals are wonderful in all the ways animals are wonderful.
We really don't do them right when we want to attribute some to them, to make them more "noble" in some eyes, that is not who animals are.

Animals, like humans, are who they are, not any more or less for being who they are, awesome at times, but still who they are, warts and all.:yes:

saultgirl
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:41 AM
I believe both dolphins and some primates also engage in sex quite casually (for pleasure?) and not based on the best time to reproduce.

HorsesinHaiti
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:04 AM
But then God says something like "those dam kids of mine, they never listen". God then says to our really smart big brother Jesus, "go over to earth and tell your Brothers and Sisters to come home", so Jesus goes to earth, and delivers Gods message to everyone of how to find your way back home, and then leaves in a dramatic way to make his point stick.

So by just believing in Jesus, the next time you die, you will this time be looking for heaven, and not look back at the earth, and when you see heaven you can then go back home and tell God you are sorry for not listening to him. But God interrupts you and says to you, I know, we can talk about that later, I love you, it's just good to have you back home where you belong. Then God gives you a big hug and says Welcome home, and you melt in his arms feeling loved :)

There would be less violent, off-putting ways of leaving in a dramatic way if making the point stick was the only thing to it. But if talking about that later includes dealing with the fallout of the wrong things we did to others on earth, then Jesus taking the pena maxima starts making a whole lot of practical sense.

I wish Christians would pay more attention to this implication: To oversimplify hugely, Easter means that God declares that the wrong we suffered matters, and that the suffering we have caused others matters. He declares it by taking responsability for it and suffering the punishment for it even if the humans that wronged us - or if we - refuse to acknowledge the suffering we caused. Pretty much the opposite of trying to sweep all the wrong of the world under the rug of warm fuzzy 'lets just forget about it and just start loving each other' approaches. Or of 'I get to ditch this world and live in (personal) glory' approaches. That talk later is where he gets personal and individual about it with each person.

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:07 AM
The "Animal Kingdom" is really not like Walt Disney portrayed them.
I manage a wildlife preserve and can attest to animals taking what they want and wasting plenty.
A mountain lion will kill some deer or cow or mare, eat what it wants, some times even drag it to some brush and pile more downed brush and weeds on it.
Then rarely come back to eat more, it tends to move on and forget what it killed and kill more.
You may as well not wait there to catch that lion, if it is one that is preying around habitations, because it won't be back to that kill but rarely.

I am afraid you have an exalted view of what animals are, according to what you think others should do, especially humans, that doesn't correspond to reality.

Animals are wonderful in all the ways animals are wonderful.
We really don't do them right when we want to attribute some to them, to make them more "noble" in some eyes, that is not who animals are.

Animals, like humans, are who they are, not any more or less for being who they are, awesome at times, but still who they are, warts and all.:yes:

I think things need to be kept in context.

If the context is needless destruction, then measure the destruction wrought by people over all forms of life, and look to see what had been gained by that destructiveness.

Then measure the destruction wrought by all animals over all forms of life, and look to see what had been gained by that destructiveness.

The destructiveness of the animal kingdom has resulted in a healthy living earth with a multitude of prospering creatures upon it.

The destructiveness of humanity has destroyed a multitude of once prospering creatures. But is the value of what has been gained worth that price? That's a question that I want to think about.

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:30 AM
There would be less violent, off-putting ways of leaving in a dramatic way if making the point stick was the only thing to it. But if talking about that later includes dealing with the fallout of the wrong things we did to others on earth, then Jesus taking the pena maxima starts making a whole lot of practical sense.

I wish Christians would pay more attention to this implication: To oversimplify hugely, Easter means that God declares that the wrong we suffered matters, and that the suffering we have caused others matters. He declares it by taking responsability for it and suffering the punishment for it even if the humans that wronged us - or if we - refuse to acknowledge the suffering we caused. Pretty much the opposite of trying to sweep all the wrong of the world under the rug of warm fuzzy 'lets just forget about it and just start loving each other' approaches. Or of 'I get to ditch this world and live in (personal) glory' approaches. That talk later is where he gets personal and individual about it with each person.

That's a fascinating way of looking at Jesus' sacrifice. I am a sort of recently returned to the fold Christian but I'm still struggling with this concept. I don't think I quite "get" WHY Jesus had to die for our sins. If God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive the human race for our sins without sending a part of himself to be crucified and die to save us? I'd be curious on your take of that. It's a sincere question on my part.

DieBlaueReiterin
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:47 AM
I think things need to be kept in context.

If the context is needless destruction, then measure the destruction wrought by people over all forms of life, and look to see what had been gained by that destructiveness.

Then measure the destruction wrought by all animals over all forms of life, and look to see what had been gained by that destructiveness.

The destructiveness of the animal kingdom has resulted in a healthy living earth with a multitude of prospering creatures upon it.

The destructiveness of humanity has destroyed a multitude of once prospering creatures. But is the value of what has been gained worth that price? That's a question that I want to think about.

i think this is a good and interesting point, and can be thought about and discussed. really not seeing the connection between this and jesus though?

Bluey
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:58 AM
That's a fascinating way of looking at Jesus' sacrifice. I am a sort of recently returned to the fold Christian but I'm still struggling with this concept. I don't think I quite "get" WHY Jesus had to die for our sins. If God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive the human race for our sins without sending a part of himself to be crucified and die to save us? I'd be curious on your take of that. It's a sincere question on my part.

What is so easy to miss is that nothing really happens in a vacuum.
Religions of all sorts evolved from direct needs and wants of the ones that they evolved to serve.
Religions were one more evolutionary process that helped keep people working together against a scary, unknown and seemingly haphazard world, trying to make sense of it.

Study history, then study history of religions and you will se the one constant, that it served the groups that believed in each one of those religions.
Religions also evolved over the years/centuries, so what we think any one part of it means today is a stretch on what it meant once, in a very different world.

So much you may read in Holy Books like the Bible is hard to make sense of today, because it was written in very different times.

Sure, we can twist it around until it makes some kind of sense today, but we have to work some magic to make that work for those that want to make sense of all that with what we know today.
Much of the anxiety and questioning by the faithful would go away if we explain that so it is understood at a basic, emotional level.
Faith, by definition demands that you believe because that is what the faithful does, questioning is not good for your faith.
That is why in church services you have sermons, not debates.;)

All that is not even touching on the way some parts of our brains, in many humans, have evolved to respond to "faith" in a way that predisposes people to believe "on faith alone", maybe thru that process that gave those that were primed to be believers more access to the groups resources and so propagate more than those that were more independent individuals, independent of the groups.
I think if that is so, the world is changing in favor of independent thinkers and so maybe the environment where believing in faith was an evolutionary advantage is not as much an advantage any more.
We will have to wait some decades/centuries maybe to, in hindsight, see where humanity is then.

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:05 AM
Thanks bluey...that was a interesting thought provoking answer. I do get that the relevance of what happened so long ago and the message then can be hard to relate to but so many seem to want to oversimplify it. "Jesus died for your sins." My question was "why did he have to die?" "Why couldn't God, who is infinite and the creator of all, simply forgive us? Perhaps it is the "lesson" of sacrifice he was trying to teach us as well as that death is not final if you are in Grace.

This really is an interesting discussion and one very relevant to my own personal reflections.

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:13 AM
That's a fascinating way of looking at Jesus' sacrifice. I am a sort of recently returned to the fold Christian but I'm still struggling with this concept. I don't think I quite "get" WHY Jesus had to die for our sins. If God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive the human race for our sins without sending a part of himself to be crucified and die to save us? I'd be curious on your take of that. It's a sincere question on my part.

I just re-read the sermon on the mount as HorsesinHaiti had recommended.

Those are difficult concepts to take literally.

I was in a violent relationship in the past, and if I was to forgive that person and make amends as Jesus instructs, I would just be reopening a door that would bring further harm to me and my family.

I can forgive that person in a sense that I know that they are always going to be dangerous and they can't help being that way. That to me is the same as forgiving a hungry wolf for being what it is, but should I purposefully seek out a hungry wolf and extend my hand to it in forgiveness knowing that it will immediately devour me?

This is the sort of thing about the bible that I just don't understand.

It seems like following the path of Jesus must ultimately result in your own crucifixion. But then Jesus might say something about having faith that god will protect you. But the wolf is a REAL wolf.

Bluey
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:23 AM
Thanks bluey...that was a interesting thought provoking answer. I do get that the relevance of what happened so long ago and the message then can be hard to relate to but so many seem to want to oversimplify it. "Jesus died for your sins." My question was "why did he have to die?" "Why couldn't God, who is infinite and the creator of all, simply forgive us? Perhaps it is the "lesson" of sacrifice he was trying to teach us as well as that death is not final if you are in Grace.

This really is an interesting discussion and one very relevant to my own personal reflections.

I live in a very small community, there are several churches and most everyone belongs to one or another.
They are all an important part of everyone's life here.
There is an older gentleman, that has been all his life very active in his church, that once told me that he spent all his life and all what he has done thru his church ... not being able to believe any of it.
He was very sad about this, had prayed all his life to become enlightened, but sadly, he said all that their church and religion meant to others, friends and family, just left him cold and puzzled as why they felt so strongly about it.
He could see how it helped the community, but as for what they were asked to believe and pray to, well, he just could not get with it.

I explained about how we know more today about brain function and one of the theories, according to some studies on our pleasure centers and our primitive neurons that guide emotions was showing that, while many people were wired a certain way to have those emotional responses to some stimuli that permitted them to by-pass our higher brain functions, to "believe on faith" what we were told to believe, others just were not wired like that and, as he was, just left them puzzled about all that getting so high on faith.
That didn't make him any better or worse than others, just a bit different.
What really matters is what we do with who we are and he was a wonderful person and that he didn't feel the "rapture" of the faithful only meant he was not made to feel/think like that.
I did tell him, if "a" god made all, as religions insist, well, then he was one more of God's critters too.:yes:

I think it made him feel better to know that maybe he was not just not being a good person, but had a reason to do what is right in itself, not because he had any external force, faith, driving him to it, for what he told me later.

LMH
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:36 AM
If you (or anyone reading this thread) are looking for some help in understanding what Jesus taught then I would recommend you listen/watch the messages by Andy Stanley. You can watch them on your computer so it is easy and free. You can also watch when you have a convenient and quiet time.

He is very modern in his speaking and applies all the teachings of Jesus to modern life.

Here is the link to pages of his past messages:

http://www.northpoint.org/messages


His current message series is calle "Christian" and is worth watching from the beginning. Big Church is another one that really explains what 'it' is all about.

Today at 11am, 2pm, 6pm and 10 pm you can also watch his Easter message online at this link:

http://www.northpointonline.tv/

I just watched his Easter message and it is wonderful. I don't know if this message would answer your specific questions but it would certainly be worth investing an hour.

It is also played again Wednesday at 8pm if today is busy with family, etc.

If you are interested in a more 'personal' way to have your questions answered, feel free to PM me and I will give you contact information for someone (as in a person not just a video) that can be helpful.

Andy is a gifted pastor-he has a way of explaining things so they make sense and is not judgmental to those that are struggling to understand the Bible.

There are many gifted pastors but Andy is very modern, incredibly clever and has a great sense of humor-all good qualities when teaching others about a sometime challenging topic!

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:41 AM
i think this is a good and interesting point, and can be thought about and discussed. really not seeing the connection between this and jesus though?

The basis of the thought about animals was relevant to the premise that only those things that are of the Spirit are of god, and all things that we desire of the world are temptations that keep one away from god.

So I sort of made the case that humans were separate from animals, in that humans have the power to choose to be good or evil, but animals only act on their instincts and don't know any better.

In other words I'm tying to rationalize that animals can't be guilty of sin if they don't have any awareness of what sin is.

But if a person understands that a thing they do is wrong, yet they do it anyway, then the concept of desires of worldly things keeping one away from god starts to make more sense. Because it gives humanity a unique responsibly to care for the earth by not desiring from the world any more then god grants us in the same manner that he provides for all other animals.

fooler
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:42 AM
Another lapsed Christian returning to the fold. Some things I have learned from reading and from bible lessons on the radio.

There are required antonments/sacrifices listed in the old Testament. Passover, when Jesus entered Jeruslam, had turned into a great money making scheme for those selling fowls, sheep and cattle for ritual sacrifices. People would sacrifice animals for their sins of the prior year and not really change their actions. So the need to make an impact on the human race. The Lamb of God was sacrificed for al of our sins. The value we placed on his sacrifice guides us in our daily lives. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are expected to be aware and very conscience in our actions.

There is a difference between forgiving and forgetting.
One should learn to forgive. Remove the burden of hate and allow yourself to heal. You don't have to forgive that person(s) face to face, it is only necessary that YOU forgive. And sometimes that person you are forgiving is yourself.;)

Do remember what happened and stay away from that person or situation. One should learn from one's experiences

DieBlaueReiterin
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:53 AM
The basis of the thought about animals was relevant to the premise that only those things that are of the Spirit are of god, and all things that we desire of the world are temptations that keep one away from god.

So I sort of made the case that humans were separate from animals, in that humans have the power to choose to be good or evil, but animals only act on their instincts and don't know any better.

In other words I'm tying to rationalize that animals can't be guilty of sin if they don't have any awareness of what sin is.

But if a person understands that a thing they do is wrong, yet they do it anyway, then the concept of desires of worldly things keeping one away from god starts to make more sense. Because it gives humanity a unique responsibly to care for the earth by not desiring from the world any more then god grants us in the same manner that he provides for all other animals.

ahh ok i see what you mean now. this brings up another question. if animals aren't sinning bc they have no concept of right or wrong, what about people who haven't read/heard of the bible and thus don't know the commandments about things there that are sin? ie, someone in some island culture somewhere who has never read the bible has sex outside of marriage, is gay, curses their parents, etc. (i'm trying to give examples of things that there aren't any "natural"/non-bible based reason to necessarily have laws or rules against, so the person in this culture wouldn't have any other reason not to do these things.) would the be considered to be sinning by god/jesus?

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:10 AM
ahh ok i see what you mean now. this brings up another question. if animals aren't sinning bc they have no concept of right or wrong, what about people who haven't read/heard of the bible and thus don't know the commandments about things there that are sin? ie, someone in some island culture somewhere who has never read the bible has sex outside of marriage, is gay, curses their parents, etc. (i'm trying to give examples of things that there aren't any "natural"/non-bible based reason to necessarily have laws or rules against, so the person in this culture wouldn't have any other reason not to do these things.) would the be considered to be sinning by god/jesus?

I'm guessing... but I'd think the person would have to be aware. We need one of our Coth bible scholars to answer that one for sure.

I think that's the reason the church sent all those missionaries to all the far reaches of the world to teach everyone about the bible and right and wrong.

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:12 AM
Another lapsed Christian returning to the fold. Some things I have learned from reading and from bible lessons on the radio.

There are required antonments/sacrifices listed in the old Testament. Passover, when Jesus entered Jeruslam, had turned into a great money making scheme for those selling fowls, sheep and cattle for ritual sacrifices. People would sacrifice animals for their sins of the prior year and not really change their actions. So the need to make an impact on the human race. The Lamb of God was sacrificed for al of our sins. The value we placed on his sacrifice guides us in our daily lives. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are expected to be aware and very conscience in our actions.

There is a difference between forgiving and forgetting.
One should learn to forgive. Remove the burden of hate and allow yourself to heal. You don't have to forgive that person(s) face to face, it is only necessary that YOU forgive. And sometimes that person you are forgiving is yourself.;)

Do remember what happened and stay away from that person or situation. One should learn from one's experiences

Thanks for clarifying that for me. :)

saultgirl
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:34 AM
Why did Jesus cry out, while dying on the cross, "God, why have you forsaken me?"

Mara
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:48 AM
If you (or anyone reading this thread) are looking for some help in understanding what Jesus taught then I would recommend you listen/watch the messages by Andy Stanley. You can watch them on your computer so it is easy and free. You can also watch when you have a convenient and quiet time.

He is very modern in his speaking and applies all the teachings of Jesus to modern life.

Here is the link to pages of his past messages:

http://www.northpoint.org/messages


His current message series is calle "Christian" and is worth watching from the beginning. Big Church is another one that really explains what 'it' is all about.

Today at 11am, 2pm, 6pm and 10 pm you can also watch his Easter message online at this link:

http://www.northpointonline.tv/

I just watched his Easter message and it is wonderful. I don't know if this message would answer your specific questions but it would certainly be worth investing an hour.

It is also played again Wednesday at 8pm if today is busy with family, etc.

If you are interested in a more 'personal' way to have your questions answered, feel free to PM me and I will give you contact information for someone (as in a person not just a video) that can be helpful.

Andy is a gifted pastor-he has a way of explaining things so they make sense and is not judgmental to those that are struggling to understand the Bible.

There are many gifted pastors but Andy is very modern, incredibly clever and has a great sense of humor-all good qualities when teaching others about a sometime challenging topic!

I realize this is totally off-topic, so I'll keep it brief. Andy's a gifted speaker, no doubt. I live in Atlanta, have attended a couple of services at North Point (at the behest of others), and have friends /acquaintances who attend. Maybe I'm too Episcopalian (heh), but I don't care for the sort of Old Testament-ized "family values" espoused by the majority of North Pointers I know. (I'm not gay myself, but if I were, I'd not feel welcome at North Point). That is all, just my POV.

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:14 PM
Thanks for that link Leah. I'll definitely check it out. I'm very interested to hear what he has to say.

Fascinating discussion all around.

HorsesinHaiti
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:00 PM
I just re-read the sermon on the mount as HorsesinHaiti had recommended.

Those are difficult concepts to take literally.

I was in a violent relationship in the past, and if I was to forgive that person and make amends as Jesus instructs, I would just be reopening a door that would bring further harm to me and my family.

I can forgive that person in a sense that I know that they are always going to be dangerous and they can't help being that way. That to me is the same as forgiving a hungry wolf for being what it is, but should I purposefully seek out a hungry wolf and extend my hand to it in forgiveness knowing that it will immediately devour me?

This is the sort of thing about the bible that I just don't understand.

It seems like following the path of Jesus must ultimately result in your own crucifixion. But then Jesus might say something about having faith that god will protect you. But the wolf is a REAL wolf.

Absolutely the wolves are real! Jesus wasn't into superficial or Sound Bite thinking, he meant for us to think over everything he said in this 'let me introduce myself' talk. A couple examples:

When John the Baptist was beheaded, Jesus knew the religious leadership intended to take the opportunity to come after him. He didn't let that toxic relationship get rolling, he withdrew. Didn't give the wolves a chance to abuse him then. Jesus chose when he would get interventional with the religious leaders and force them to choose if they would listen or would attack him - because he had a healing purpose in accepting their attack. Likewise,

The Civil Rights movement used boycotts - withdrawing from abusive relationships and systems - more often than they stood up to blows, water cannons, and police dogs. Mostly, they calmly declared that they would no longer go along with being treated as less worthy of humane treatment, as people who were there to be abused, and then refused to stay in that abusive loop. They refused to reopen a relationship with the boycotted system until the people in that system were willing to take an honest look at what was toxic.

Only at certain times, to push certain issues, at appropriate moments, did they do sit ins and marches. They prepared in advance to have backup and prepared themselves to handle the abuse from direct confrontation. But when they confronted, they applied the Matthew principles. When they withdrew, they were polite, they refused to curse or hate in return. Either way was an application of 'turn the other cheek' and 'do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good' (from Romans 12).

Jesus is in no way saying you have to take any and all abuse from your man! Just the opposite!

HorsesinHaiti
Apr. 8, 2012, 01:48 PM
That's a fascinating way of looking at Jesus' sacrifice. I am a sort of recently returned to the fold Christian but I'm still struggling with this concept. I don't think I quite "get" WHY Jesus had to die for our sins. If God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive the human race for our sins without sending a part of himself to be crucified and die to save us? I'd be curious on your take of that. It's a sincere question on my part.

My musings and very incomplete understanding:

For those willing to give some credence to the Old Testament stories, both Moses and especially Ezekiel had brief encounters with God where they figured if they were to stay, their evil damaged nature just wasn’t going to endure the presence of his fundamental and pure nature. Like wax next to a hot fire, it just wasn’t going to work out. In what I think are symbolic terms, God reassured Ezekiel that he had dealt with the problem.
More practically, if God is pure and just and good than like Jesus pointed out, he can’t ignore evil, he has to somehow deal with it. Think of crime victims who’s attackers get off on a technicality. The victims tend to feel anger and humiliation, and say the person getting off means that their own suffering has been treated as not being important, not mattering. They generally want the attacker to suffer the same degree that they suffered. (ie: see what COTHers invoke on animal abuse threads!) Basically, that is asking for atonement as a way of declaring that the victim’s suffering matters.

God can certainly use being all – powerful to say that ‘I choose to just forgive sin, the same as I chose to make the world’ (by whatever method and timeline). But he is fundamentally just. He wants to forgive and be able to have an ongoing relationship with those he has made, but he chooses in his justice to not ignore the harm done to those who suffered evil and wrong at the hands of other humans. To have both, to not blow off justice for the victims, he takes responsibility for that wrong. He’s not guilty because it was the humans’ free choice to do evil, but he does take responsibility for the world in which he allowed humans to choose evil. So he makes an offer.

If you stack up all the harm that most anyone has done by commission or omission, it’s a huge pile that would be hard for anyone to suffer the equal of. God who wears three ‘persons’ offers that he himself will suffer what is due to all victims, including himself. Since he is eternal and unlimited, it won’t destroy HIM. The whole universe sees that the victims matter, God is willing to bear responsibility for what he has set up, and evil gets answered for in a way that doesn’t destroy anyone.

I might as well mention now: we still have free choice, so in this structure we are able to opt out of God's offer. If we say we don’t want someone else to have that chance, then God says ‘it works both ways’ AKA (Matt 6:15) "if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions". We don’t ‘lose the deal’ if we are slightly imperfect at forgiving but it is a legit warning that there is a consequence for asking for ‘outliers’. And also, we have the free choice to say we aren’t at all interested in the offer. For that, Jesus eventually started talking about the concept of what happens to those who reject the offer.

Event4Life
Apr. 8, 2012, 02:12 PM
That's a fascinating way of looking at Jesus' sacrifice. I am a sort of recently returned to the fold Christian but I'm still struggling with this concept. I don't think I quite "get" WHY Jesus had to die for our sins. If God is all powerful, why couldn't he just forgive the human race for our sins without sending a part of himself to be crucified and die to save us? I'd be curious on your take of that. It's a sincere question on my part.

As another "recently returned to the fold Christian", I found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2vwkMvEvAU&feature=endscreen viewpoint interesting. Someone just posted it on my church's Young Adults Group FB page. One answer to your question....

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 03:33 PM
Thanks HIH...that is a very good explanation. That helps a lot.

Event4life..I'll check that out also. Thanks!

Imaginagent
Apr. 8, 2012, 04:54 PM
Why did Jesus cry out, while dying on the cross, "God, why have you forsaken me?"

Jesus had just taken on all the sins of the world, both before and after the cross. As God cannot look at sin, Jesus was left on his own for a bit.

And it was perhaps answered by someone else, but my take on why God can't just forgive people is this. If I told you I forgive you, but you didn't ask me to forgive you, and more so, don't think you did anything wrong to me, what would that forgiveness mean to you. 1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive all our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

houndsRus
Apr. 8, 2012, 07:50 PM
Sorry this is a bit long. I do this stuff for a living.

Easter. Christ is Risen, indeed! I have skimmed most of the responses here. As always, CLOTHers are an intelligent, thoughtful lot. Askers of lots of important questions about which entire books have been written.

I see many here are believers in some take on (Penile) Substitutionary Atonement—Jesus died in our place for our sins, such that through his death and resurrection we are saved—a doctrine dating back to the 12th C, Anselm of Canterbury, with some later interpretations by Calvinist Reformers in the 16th C that are a bit frightening. Calvin believed that infants emerge from their mother’s womb totally depraved. Yikes! And, I’m a Presbyterian.

Many folks these days reject this Jesus as blood sacrifice understanding of salvation. It is important to remember that it is always dangerous to read scripture in some English translation or paraphrase and think we understand Jesus’ teachings or what the authors of Bible intended for the hearers and readers of their days to know and understand about their encounters with God. And too, recall that Atonement is not “in the Bible.” It is a theological idea that theologians came up with AFTER the documents which became the Bible were compiled and while the Church was trying to figure out what the heck someone had to believe to be a Christian. Also remember that the Church has done that across time and it still doing that.

For me and some other folks who reject Substitutionary Atonement, it is Jesus’ life that got him into trouble in the first place. Jesus challenged the cozy relationship between the religious authorities of his day and the Roman authorities who maintained the Pax Romana on the backs of poor Jewish peasants; most notably, through the establishment and enforcement of the Temple Tax; the Jerusalem Temple what the religious heart of the Judaism of Jesus’ day. Jesus stood firmly for the poor, the sick, the dispossessed, the “other,” and, in the Gospel by the Lukan author, women who were among the most marginalized and against this “good ol’ boys” arrangement with Rome.

All of this seems to have gotten to the religious establishment of his day a bit and made them very unhappy with him. Unhappy enough that they had him publically executed for all to see. We cannot separate the reason Jesus died from the events of the last three days, his suffering, death, time in the tomb and resurrection. From the horrible and unthinkable, God did the unimaginable. What that did for us, for you and me right here today, is not only show is how God wants us to live, but unleash a power of love and justice into human existence that would love each of us enough to heal each of us in all the places where we are poor and sick and dispossesses, all the places where we feel “other” or marginalized so that we might live the way Jesus lived and taught.

This means that any understanding of scripture that does not actively seek justice for the poor, healing for the sick and acceptance of the “other” —read GLBT, illegal, non-Christen…. is inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings. It is the Easter event that conquers sin all that would separate our hearts and our living from living in such close communion with God that we can live as Jesus did in whatever our personal life circumstance.

He is Risen!
Hound

FlightCheck
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:13 PM
Hound,

Thank you. That was beautifully written!

Melelio
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:14 PM
I didn't read the whole thread, but I'm of the opinion that the message might be better found in the Old Testament, as old as you can get, closest timeframe to the actual message.


Of course, over the years, that message has been edited a whole bunch to serve others' purposes, so it's probably impossible to know what or if what is written in what really was said at the time, or just sounded better to the editor.

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:26 PM
Hound...that is a fascinating way to look at it. I do have a hard time with the substitutionary atonement (as you put it). I like your explanation a lot more...it makes more sense to me. I'm a thinker and a questioner..not one to just take something at face value. I like to understand the WHY of something and that it makes sense.

Is this a teaching of the Presbyterian Church or your own concept? I'm still trying to figure out what "kind" of Christian I am. Looking and seeking...and I'd like to find a church that fits me. I'm not an evangelical hard core type and grew up in a old time Protestant church most folks never heard of...Church of the Brethren (similar to Mennonites but not as strict). Unfortunately that church does not exist in my part of VA as it's centered in SE PA where it originated. Emphasis wasn't put on just being "saved" but also on how to live your life everyday in peace and love and acceptance. I don't want to offend anyone but the hellfire and brimstone sort of sermons aren't my cup of soup. I'd rather focus on the positive.

Thanks.

Bluey
Apr. 8, 2012, 08:40 PM
---This means that any understanding of scripture that does not actively seek justice for the poor, healing for the sick and acceptance of the “other” —read GLBT, illegal, non-Christen…. is inconsistent with Jesus’ teachings. It is the Easter event that conquers sin all that would separate our hearts and our living from living in such close communion with God that we can live as Jesus did in whatever our personal life circumstance."---

Fine sentiments there, but when you read the stories in the Bible, there is plenty of bigotry and damning there.
The Bible is not quite a compendium of kind and forgiving stories.:eek:
What so many took and take today off those, like the "anti" so much there, homosexuality a prime example, others we don't follow any more also, don't seem to follow your words in that paragraph.:no:

Religious teachings when applied are dependent on the humans that use them, for whatever they do use them, some for good deeds, some for evil, just as humans use any other we do.

When it comes to interpreting what the Bible was saying we read it in the first translations into latin and it sounded very much different than the later, "cleansed" versions do.

houndsRus
Apr. 8, 2012, 09:37 PM
DB, Keep on thinking and questioning! No, these are not my ideas; I wish I was that smart, this is my understanding of the ideas of quite a few folks who, if pushed, might call themselves “Progressive Christians.” Some are Presbyterian and other of the old mainline Protestant denominations who comprise the “religious left.” Back in the day, theological and social liberals. Google progressive Christian, read the religion section of the Huffington Post on line, also the Washington Post online Religion blogs as some places where you might easily access other ideas.

Bluey, no, not sentiments, but God’s mandate to us all, this is the purpose of the Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Is the Bible full of horrible stuff? Certainly. It was written to very different times and cultures, often the point of a story like, say, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, is lost by folks not considering the culture from which it arose and the point about God it is making. I abhor the child-murder idea of this story, however, the point of the story is that there are times when our faith calls us to go against moral and cultural expectation, times when our faith calls us to act even against our previous understanding of our faith and trust God. It is an incredibly powerful lesion in faith, one I see often as I work with people who are trying to make decisions about caring for medically compromised family members.

Also, there is lots of icky stuff in the Bible that is has nothing to do with what Jesus actually said, but was added to help the early Jewish-Christ-Followers understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ or to help define the early communities of Jewish-Christ-Followers from other Jews.

Any time we look at the Bible it is important to understand that it is ultimately a book of grace. If a passage is judgmental or condemnatory, it is good, 1) to go back to the original language, Koine Greek or Hebrew; 2) look at the context of the passage in the larger context of the segment of scripture where it is found; 3) understand the cultural context in which it was written and to whom and for what purpose. It is important to struggle with the passage and to ask the Holy Spirit to help one understand how it might contain God’s gracious purposes.
A good example is Luke 14:26, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.” Not a very gracious or loving piece of scripture, but one way to understand it might be akin to the Abraham and Isaac story, our ultimate commitment and obligations are to God, and our love for our family flows from that. Most of the time the two don’t come into conflict, but if I am a parent of a child with an addiction problem and I need the strength and courage to practice tough love, understanding that sometimes God’s love doesn’t always feel like love and that I too sometimes might need to love and trust in God to do things that, perhaps my logical mind knows are loving, but that feels unloving to me.

This is hard-core, radical stuff. It got Jesus killed. If it is truly understood, it should at once comfort and challenge, offer grace and scare us a bit. It is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart.

Hound

Daydream Believer
Apr. 8, 2012, 10:59 PM
Hound...thanks! I've been surfing sites now for over an hour. I think I finally know where I belong in my beliefs..now I need to find a group to hang with and learn from.

alterhorse
Apr. 8, 2012, 11:24 PM
I was looking for quotes relevant to Jesus dying for our sins and this is some of what I have found so far...

Matthew 26:
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Matthew 20:
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:
9 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”

Matthew 16:
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
*22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
*23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”