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Stephanos
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25 posted 08-31-2005 09:23 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I don't think early Christians
getting themselves killed to minimize
their vulnerabilty to sin was something
someone dreamed up in the backroom.



No, I never said that was the case.  But to make it sound like the rule, rather than the exception, doesn't really line up with history.  Also the Gnostic / Christian distinction is not made ... an important piece of information in assessing whether or not "holy suicide" reflected orthodoxy or something on the fringe.  


quote:
Because they don't fit, doesn't mean they are false.



False in what sense?  I was referring to this being false in comparison with Christian doctrine.  If you say it's not false to Christian doctrine, I would like to hear an explanation.  Remember that the earliest Christian texts related that Jesus Christ suffered and died for justification of sinners, and to take sins away.  The forgiveness of sins by God,  was central to the Christian message, not peripheral.  So, if Jesus died for sins, you're telling me that it was not "false" to teach that we should die for sins ourselves?  


Again, I'm not denying such a practice existed.  My argument is that it doesn't represent orthodox Christianity, or even the earlier Judaic scriptures.  It sprung out of Gnostic teachings / tendencies.  Do you not concede that the "Gospel of James", which so vividly describes this death-loving mindset, was a Gnostic work?


I'm not asking you to present a research paper on the subject, just talk to me plainly about the Gnostic / Christian distinction, as you see it.  If you want to argue that the distinction is artificial and mostly imagined, I would point out that the Gnostics themselves disagree.  They themselves made a marked distinction from the earliest times.  


Stephen.
Essorant
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26 posted 09-02-2005 02:44 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Essorant, I think you may disagree with me on a fundamental point, about sin and wickedness.  I think that there are deeds worthy of death.  And if, after much longsuffering and patience, God should make such a judgment, then justice is done.  However I don't think that such a severe justice (as punitive death) is ever administered without a great deal of mercy and grace beforehand.  No, I just can't agree with you that when God has done such a thing, that he was being immoral.  "


Stephanos,
I think you loosen morals quite a bit to accept such things in the context of the bible because you are very close to the bible, because the bible is the holiest book to a Christian, and because those are attributed to the holiest beings, even the Lord God.
But take another context, in book or in living action, from another religion, under another being treated as "God" in one way or another, and will you still accept the killing by holy men and the killing given "authorization" by the one accepted as the holiest?  I don't believe so.  Nor may I believe you may ever accept killing in our society , that leaves no example except that men should deal with evil (a part of life) thro acting against life itself, the only thing thro which we may do anything to begin with, good or evil.  But if it were right in the context of the bible, where it is in the context of God and holy men and a holy people, how and why should we be led so strongly, both morally and lawfully, to the truth to know how wrong it is in our society today, a society that is often treated as a far less "divinely inspired?
Because it is in the holiest book, and done by the holiest people, and given authorization by the holiest God, how does the same thing that is wrong in any other context, become right?  
Stephanos
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27 posted 09-08-2005 07:41 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
I think you loosen morals quite a bit to accept such things in the context of the bible because you are very close to the bible, because the bible is the holiest book to a Christian, and because those are attributed to the holiest beings, even the Lord God.

You say that I am "loosening" morals to accept some things in the Bible.  But I would answer you that my whole concept of morality comes from God, as lawgiver.  I don't have a moral sense that really stands autonomously apart from him.  How can I judge the judge of all?


Also, killing cannot be thought to be intrinically and absolutely wrong if anyone really deserves to die.  Scripturally speaking, men become what is, and do what is, worthy of punitive death.  We all know there are cases of death where it cannot be honestly called "unjust".  


For anyone who sees the reality of sin, and what it really deserves, the only charge that can be made against God is that he might administer perfect justice, without proper mercy.  But I really don't think we find such a thing in scripture.  Punitive death biblically, is usually the end of a long process of rebellion, with many opportunities to turn around planted along the way by the hand of God.  


God is all-knowing and morally perfect.  We are limited in knowledge and sinful.  He is the creator of life, and knows it's proper parameters ...  as well as it's consolations and rewards.  I see no reason to insist that God cannot punish by death, seeing that his attributes are superlative.  
What you call "loosening" morality, I call recognizing certain things which are true.  


1) The evil and death-deserving nature of sin
2) The justice and holiness of God.  
3)  The longsuffering and patience he demonstrates even when his punishments have seemed severe.
4) God's prerogative (as Creator) to define life's parameters.


I don't think you are really addressing these answers, or taking them seriously ... only posing the question again and again.


quote:
But take another context, in book or in living action, from another religion, under another being treated as "God" in one way or another, and will you still accept the killing by holy men and the killing given "authorization" by the one accepted as the holiest?  I don't believe so.

Again, Essorant, that's not because I deem killing as universally wrong, in every context.  Rather, it would be because other revelations of "god" have irreconcilable problems, historically, theologically and morally.  And I don't accept them as true.  In other words, there are manifold considerations by which I accept the Bible, or reject other "holy books" as true revelation.  You oversimplify here.    


Though it is true that God using human intermediaries for punitive death is limited in the Bible, compared with something like the Koran.  And that is notable.  
    

Stephen.
Essorant
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28 posted 09-14-2005 08:18 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

"You say that I am "loosening" morals to accept some things in the Bible.  But I would answer you that my whole concept of morality comes from God, as lawgiver.  I don't have a moral sense that really stands autonomously apart from him.  How can I judge the judge of all?"

  
My position is that some things in the bible don't live up to brighter revelations that I believe are found in ourselves and in democracy. I think one of the most obvious is the justice system and how willing men were to kill men for what they believed in.  The bible is life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.  But it goes far beyond dealing out murder only as a revenge or punishment for murder itself.  I don't need to get into the disturbing examples.  Any one familiar with the bible, knows about disturbing murders described for many kinds of sins.  

The bible should not be expected to live up to democracy's standards.  We should not say "it should've been better" and should have the morals and standards we have now when such morals and standards were not become to such then.  
But acknowleding such, doesn't mean we should omit acknowleding how much more advanced Democracy is in many ways today, especially in human rights and justice.


"Also, killing cannot be thought to be intrinically and absolutely wrong if anyone really deserves to die.  Scripturally speaking, men become what is, and do what is, worthy of punitive death.  We all know there are cases of death where it cannot be honestly called "unjust".  "

Maybe not; but it can be known as wrong.
Morality to me is about life and peace.  It has no room for violence and murder.  
We know better because better is done.  People get jail, rehabilitation and help all under man's hospitality.  That to me is much more civilized  than throwing a thunderbolt at the person or throwing him into a firepit called hell.

"Punitive death biblically, is usually the end of a long process of rebellion, with many opportunities to turn around planted along the way by the hand of God. "

Fair means don't justify foul ends.


"I see no reason to insist that God cannot punish by death, seeing that his attributes are superlative. "

The reason is that "punish by death" (murder) and "superlative" can never stand together.  
It is trying to make war out as peace.  Or hell out as Heaven.
It is backwards.

Stephanos
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29 posted 09-14-2005 10:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
My position is that some things in the bible don't live up to brighter revelations that I believe are found in ourselves and in democracy. I think one of the most obvious is the justice system and how willing men were to kill men for what they believed in.  The bible is life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.


You're right, the justice of God, and the punishment of sin is not a "brighter" vision at all.  His mercy and longsuffering is definitely the brighter revelation.  But you still have to answer the question about those who reject God's longsuffering and mercy.  To not actively punish, or to not decree consequences, at that point, would not make God more than merciful, but less than just.


And your idealization of Democracy is hard for me to take seriously, for I live in one.                 Remember that the same Democratic principles you are praising, which ensure rewards via "the pursuit of happiness" for those who do well, also admits the possibility that misery may be pursued, and the happy roads left sometimes untrod.  Aren't men punished with death sentences even in the good ol' democratic USA?  Even many who are opposed to the death sentence, recognize the unsavory necessity of incarcarating people their entire lives in prison, for the protection of society.  


No, I'm not trying to directly equate God's economy with the governments of men.  But I am trying to show that your constant appeal to "democracy" does not at all prove your point, but actually is much closer to the point I've been trying to make.  


If democracy has punished men severely only after many many chances and opportunities, and only as last resort, then how much more is this true of God?


quote:
But acknowleding such, doesn't mean we should omit acknowleding how much more advanced Democracy is in many ways today, especially in human rights and justice.



Democracy is no sure-fire solution to the problem of "human rights".  Do you realize that under democracy, Roe versus Wade (for example) has allowed legally for some 50 million unborn human beings to be killed?  And what did they do wrong?  


It's all perspective Essorant.  We call former generations "Brutal" and "Barbaric", but we have our own sins to look at and consider.  Of course we're going to say theirs are worse.  That's what we do, with individuals too, else there wouldn't be so much gossip among our places of employment.  They (those who lived in ancient times) used axes, spears, and swords.  We use technology, economic maneuvering, and clinical settings to do atrocities.  We're more politically correct in our horrors.  

Another thing, the Bible does comment on it's own "imbalances", as you call them.  The "eye for an eye" concept was actually intended to lessen the passion of a man to poke out two eyes for his one.  In a culture of bellicose brutality, this was actually a step in the right direction.  The Mosaic prescription, though we might not like it, was like more like a grey stone among black stones.  And I don't automatically assume that our American approach is an pearl.      

The law of Moses was also given to demonstrate the concept of Justice, and the reality of sin to a people with no revelation of such things.  Whereas Jesus did change the dynamic somewhat with his covenant of grace and forgiveness.  But where this new "covenant" is not recieved, the law and justice does not simply disappear.  None of this changes God's prerogative to punish sin, where that punishment is demanded by justice.  Even if the "bowels of divine mercy" have been extended through the New Testament, it still may be possible to avoid them ... to neglect "so great a salvation".  


quote:
Morality to me is about life and peace.  It has no room for violence and murder.  
We know better because better is done.  People get jail, rehabilitation and help all under man's hospitality.  That to me is much more civilized  than throwing a thunderbolt at the person or throwing him into a firepit called hell.


Essorant, you've said this so many times, that I have to call you on it.  Do you really believe that under our present Justice System, all criminals are really rehabilitated that undergo "rehab"?  You think we don't "throw the lightening bolt" of the Electric chair, or "throw a person" into a firepit called prison, if they keep going back (with increasing intensity) to their criminal ways?


Again, I'm not trying to say that God's econonmy is nothing more than a celestial version of democracy.  But, please, stop using democracy falsely as somekind of utopian vision, by which you can contrast my views.  You're either ignorant of our present justice system, or not being wholly honest here.  You always strive to see the best in everything and everyone Essorant, and that's admirable.  It's actually one of the things I like most about you. But maybe that's what you're doing in an extreme way ... wearing rose colored glasses as you look at Old Betsy's stars?  You can't seem to see her stripes.

quote:
The reason is that "punish by death" (murder) and "superlative" can never stand together.


If better means are rejected, then to "punish by death" does not necessarily entail what you call murder.  The Bible makes a distinction, for example, between the sword of civil government (following the law of God) and the dagger of a rogue.  I'm not saying that the earthly manifestation of punishment represents the "best".  (It does represent the worst).  But I am saying that there is a difference between punitive death and murder, biblically speaking ... and before you say it, even in a wonderful democracy like ours.  

I'll quote C.S. Lewis here: "An exhortation to charity should not come as a rider to a refusal of justice".


Stephen.      
Essorant
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30 posted 09-16-2005 05:46 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

There's no difference to me Stephanos.
Killing is killing, whether you do it thoughtfully, unthoughtfully, mercifully, or cruelly.  It doesn't kill evil.  It only kills men and life.  
The more people think it kills evil, the more they kill men and life. All you have is more killing, violence and death.  And the more it shows up for almost anything that offends appetites or thoughts in in any rank of life.  After one layer of killing, violence, and death, comes other layers for act in retaliation.
Life becomes more like and more given to death and war, than life and peace.  And many examples of history show us lives that were always threatened in thickness of that.  And a chief reason for that was that killing was far more widely and willingly authorized in governments against crimes,  gone to as war and followed as an example by many people that looked up to those authorities.  
I don't think there is any such willing givenness and toleration of killing in society anymore.  Democracy is far more morally and legally fortified against such acts than many governments of the past and many other governments of the present.  And authorities know better that the examples they set also are ones that greatly influence the people in society who see and hear so many of them at all times, ones that will be followed on different levels, believed and trusted as right examples.   The more they give examples of how to give the hope and protection of  life, the more they teach men outside to follow similar examples, and the more such examples are come to be followed.
That doesn't mean democracy is perfect, nor that it is best.  It may not even be better in everything.  But I believe this shows it is much better in some of the most important parts.



"But you still have to answer the question about those who reject God's longsuffering and mercy. To not actively punish, or to not decree consequences, at that point, would not make God more than merciful, but less than just."

I'm not sure what kind of answer you seek Stephanos.  Of course I accept active punishment and consequences.  But there are two very specific forms of "punishment" I can't ever accept by God or by man: punishment that makes pain central, and punishment that causes death.
If you say every punishment borders on pain to some, I agree. But we know how to put civlized pursuits above that, of discipline,  hope, protection of life, both for those that are free and those that are punished.  
I think these are very chief.  Without these respects punishment becomes inhumane and unrighteous as if there were no Government or laws at all.


"Do you really believe that under our present Justice System, all criminals are really rehabilitated that undergo "rehab"? "

No; no one should expect all criminals to be rehabilitated.  
What one should expect though is that when these men give up on themselves and others, that at least the justice system will not: but will always offer the hope and protection of life.  I think that is something that every man deserves.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-16-2005 10:15 PM).]

Arnold M
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31 posted 01-23-2006 10:05 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

It's been some time since I've been on this thread.  After rereading my post on 8-21-05, I feel I should have asked John his idea of "hell".  If he said it is a place of concious eternal torment, then I would have answered the same: Jesus describes no place like that.  If John said it was a place of fire and death, where wicked unbelievers after their judgement would be cast, then I would have answered in the affirmative; and that place is called geenna in the Greek, translated 'hell' in many versions.

Here are the verses: Matt.5:22, 29; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 23;  Mark 9:43, 45, 47; and Luke 12:5.

All for now, Arnold
Fade
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32 posted 03-14-2006 01:07 AM       View Profile for Fade   Email Fade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Fade

In the book of Revelation, the resurrected diety of Christ did show John the revelator that several classifications of sinners would be cast into the " lake of fire ",
which is the ultimate damnation of those who reject Christ, and those who rebelled in heaven.

While " hell " is what most refer to as the eternal torture in flames for the damned, the book of Revelation states that hell itself will be cast into the lake of fire.

Hell is , if my understanding is correct,
is a place of imprisonment for the angelic beings that rebelled, and for those who are seperated from God, because of their rejection of Jesus as The Messiah.

So in a nutshell, hell, is jail for those waiting to be condemned by the Judge before his court, but the " lake of fire " is the
furnace of Gehenna, which is the spiritual analogy of the area used to burn refuse and waste outside the city of Jerusalem.

but it really doesn"t matter...

JesusChristPose
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33 posted 03-14-2006 05:52 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"Hell is , if my understanding is correct, is a place of imprisonment for the angelic beings that rebelled,"

~ Tartaros

".... and for those who are seperated from God, because of their rejection of Jesus as The Messiah."

~ According to the Bible, no human being is in tartaros, only angels who were created as spiritual beings and not of flesh and blood. All humans who have died are "asleep" in the ground = sheol or hades or hell. That is what Arnold is saying.


"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Fade
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34 posted 03-17-2006 10:57 PM       View Profile for Fade   Email Fade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Fade

well, hell was preapared for the devil and his angels, and that is where souls seperated from God are held, according to the bible. but , yes there are references to  " asleep " , as well, but the soul is still " awake " , I think. maybe its like a nightmare, hell .

but it really doesn"t matter...

JesusChristPose
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35 posted 03-17-2006 11:31 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"well, hell was preapared for the devil and his angels, and that is where souls seperated from God are held, according to the bible.

~ The bible never says that a person's soul will reside in tartaros. It states that only the devil and the angels will reside in a tartaros, which cannot ever be the Lake of Fire because tartaros is described as black/darkness.

~ The bible clearly teaches death = non-existence = the 2nd death, as Paul called it. And, til this day, I can't understand how any Christian thinks this is not important - because it is... The Lamb without a blemish cannot be distinguished by any human being, but only through the true Spirit of God... One for God and one for Azazael.

"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."

Fade
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36 posted 03-18-2006 11:00 PM       View Profile for Fade   Email Fade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Fade

yeah, the lake of fire is referred to as the  " second death " .

which, I think people consider as the eternal damnation of fire called hell.

hell, i think is actually what the catholics call pergatory, only there is no redemption from it.

everyone will sleep.

Jesus has the keys to death, hell, and the grave, which i would think are:

spiritual death ( second death in the lake of fire }*death

pergatory (holding place for spirits and souls awaiting God's judgment )*hell

physical death, " sleep " ( the recomposition of the physical body into dust) (which will be resurrected by Jesus, on the day of Judgment, which all bodies will present themselves before God)

JesusChristPose
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37 posted 03-18-2006 11:28 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"yeah, the lake of fire is referred to as the  " second death " ."

~ We agree on that part. Yet, you didn't mention the Greek word for death, which is "thanatos." Thanatos always meant non-existence, not "separation from God." The Greek term for "separation" is not thanatos.

"which, I think people consider as the eternal damnation of fire called hell."

~ Then, those people don't understand what hell means and are therefore ignorant of what the Holy Spirit of God teaches.

"hell, i think is actually what the catholics call pergatory, only there is no redemption from it."

~ The Catholics do not consider hell to be pergatory. Those are 2 separate places according to Catholicism.

"everyone will sleep."

~ Yes, Paul states that fact. In other words, everyone will die. All humans will eventually die. Not separate from God, but actually die.

"Jesus has the keys to death, hell, and the grave, which i would think are:

spiritual death ( second death in the lake of fire }*death"


~ Read the Bible to find out. Don't just think. The Bible clearly states that those who are cast into the Lake of Fire will burn up, no longer exist, just as death and hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire and will both no longer exist.

"pergatory (holding place for spirits and souls awaiting God's judgment )*hell"

~ There is no such place as pergatory. That place was infused through pagan thought with Dante's Divine Comedy, which was considered to be factual by the masses back in his day. Why? Because the masses were ignorant and uneducated.

"physical death, " sleep " ( the recomposition of the physical body into dust) (which will be resurrected by Jesus, on the day of Judgment, which all bodies will present themselves before God)"

~ Why the need of a resurrected physical body if the soul is already suffering in hell or having a great time in heaven?



"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."
Arnold M
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38 posted 03-29-2006 09:05 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Hi J.C.P.  In your post of 3/17/06, you stated that "only the devil and the angels will reside in tartaros."
That just isn't so.  Let's see what the scriptures say. From the CV,2Pet.2:4,5, "For if God spares not sinning messengers, but thrusting them into the gloomy caverns of Tartarus, gives them up to be kept for chastening judging; and spares not the ancient world....."
And Jude 6, "Besides, messengers who kept not their own sovereignty, but leave their own habitation, He has kept in imperceptible bonds under gloom for the judging of the great day." CV.
IMO, these messengers (angels) are those described in Gen.1,2 as "sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose." RSV.
How the angels could do this is not said, but one view is that they, as spirit beings, could enter and then control a man; just as demons are described to do in the Gospels.  And notice, most bible versions are wrong when they read "everlasting chains", because the sinning angels are only kept there until they are judged.  The word in the Greek is "aidios", which can mean "perpetual" or "imperceptible", but obviously can not mean "everlasting".
Nothing is said of Satan, the devil, and his angels being held in the gloomy caverns of Tartarus.  They are still at large until the middle of the tribulation period when there is war in heaven and the devil and his angels are cast down to the earth. Rev.12:7-9. The lake of fire is to be prepared for the devil and his angels where they will be cast.  

All for now, Arnold

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