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Feeding The Lions

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 03-20-2006 03:08 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“Afghan Man Faces Death for Allegedly Converting to Christianity”


KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan man who allegedly converted from Islam to Christianity is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death, a judge said Sunday.

The defendant, Abdul Rahman, was arrested last month after his family went to the police and accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told the Associated Press in an interview. Such a conversion would violate the country's Islamic laws.

Rahman, who is believed to be 41, was charged with rejecting Islam when his trial started last week, the judge said.

During the hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago when he was 25 and working as a medical aid worker for Afghan refugees in neighboring Pakistan, Mawlavezada said.

Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which states that any Muslim who rejects their religion should be sentenced to death.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,188364,00.html


Is being openly Christian worth dying for?
Would you die for your faith?
What do you think of someone who would?

As an aside, doesn’t the use of the word “allegedly” carry the tone of crime
about it?
LeeJ
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1 posted 03-20-2006 11:13 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Is being openly Christian worth dying for?

I don't believe my self a Christian, because I refuse to believe in any man made religion...but, would I die for God or Jesus...depends a whole lot on the circumstance at hand....would I denouce my faith if I knew it would save my life?  I can't honestly answer that...I don't know...


Would you die for your faith?  I'd die for my family...son, grand daughter, mom, etc...or, I would hope I would, so would I die for my faith?  My faith is my family

What do you think of someone who would?

I don't think one way or the other...there have been many men who believed strongly in the North and the South, (Civil War)  each with their own prefrence, who died for what they believed in...nothing has changed, our soldiers are dying in Iraq, for the same reasons...

I think they are admirable, courageous, and to be recognized as heros, supported, and most of all, upon their return, they should have free health care and be taken care of the rest of their lives...more so then the illegal immigrants of this country.  


Stephanos
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2 posted 03-21-2006 12:20 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Is being openly Christian worth dying for?


Don't you think the answer depends upon whether or not Christianity is really true?  If (as the New Testament tells us) loyalty to Christ brings eternal glory, and denying him eternal shame, then it would stand to reason that the rewards of being faithful would be greater than the pain of someone else's offense.  


quote:
Would you die for your faith?


I hope I would have the grace to be able to, instead of renouncing Christ to save my own skin.  He didn't try to save himself when the shoe was on the other foot.  But saying that you are willing to suffer for your faith, and actually doing it, are two different things.  Now, that doesn't mean that there is no value in unfledged resolve, or pledges of untested devotion ... even if failure proves that most of it was fluff.  Sometimes we have to painfully regret our house of cards, before we find a real home.  

In the Gospel narratives, Peter did this, telling Jesus unflinchingly that he would be willing to die for him.  Theory is an easy tune to dance to.  But when the unsavory time came, Peter couldn't even stand up to the puerile questioning of a servant girl.  However he did obtain something of a more rugged faith, later.  Tradition holds that he was crucified upside down for his Christianity, deeming himself unworthy to die in like manner to the one he had denied before.  


quote:
What do you think of someone who would?


I would thank God for such a fealty, and such devotion ... whether it be for the person of Christ, or for the truth as such.  It's easy to disdain someone who is willing to kill for truth, but much harder someone who is willing to merely die for it.  I guess that's why Socrates was always one of my favorite Philosophers.  


quote:
doesn’t the use of the word “allegedly” carry the tone of crime about it?


Islamic Law does hold open profession of Christ, to be a punishable crime.


Stephen.
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3 posted 03-21-2006 01:23 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I find the focus on Christianity a little bit beside the point--because, um, Christianity was, once upon a time a cult religion. (Don't even argue with me on that one, just do the research.)

(Every religion has suffered persecution.)

To answer your questions though:

Is being openly Christian worth dying for?

--Is being YOURSELF in another guise worth living for?

Would you die for your faith?

  Daily. (I don't know how to live without a faith of some kind.

What do you think of someone who would?

  This question, I believe, assumes the answer to the previous. A better question would be how does one survive life without a faith in something?

Whether or not we call it science or God or Allah or Jesus, we do presume a daily expectancy of certain things being so.

I like to think we are allowed the individual right to personalize our beliefs as Gods, Goddesses, or even the AA doorknob.

Feeding The Lions?

I thought that was why football was invented.




Essorant
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4 posted 03-21-2006 02:25 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Is being openly Christian worth dying for?"

Not to me.  


"Would you die for your faith?"

No.  


"What do you think of someone who would?"

I think it is going too far.  

Life is more important than faith.

Stephanos
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5 posted 03-21-2006 03:03 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I find the focus on Christianity a little bit beside the point--because, um, Christianity was, once upon a time a cult religion. (Don't even argue with me on that one, just do the research.)


Hi Karen.        

I have done quite a bit of examination of the historical foundations of Christianity.  What do you mean by saying it was once a "cult" religion?   Do you mean that it was once the minority rather than a world religion?  If that's what you mean, then I understand your point ... but size can be irrelevant to truth.  


I think Christianity comes into focus, since "persecution for righteousness", and the necessity of holding onto a dogmatic loyalty to the person of Christ in the midst of persecutions, is a dominant theme.  I'm not aware of it in other "faiths", beyond the common nationalistic encouragement to die for one's countrymen and family, or the reverse admonition to persecute others for the sake of righteousness.  I'm not saying that the "martyr" concept has no value outside of Christianity.  I'm just saying that it is more prevalent there, historically and doctrinally speaking.


quote:
This question, I believe, assumes the answer to the previous. A better question would be how does one survive life without a faith in something? ... I like to think we are allowed the individual right to personalize our beliefs as Gods, Goddesses, or even the AA doorknob.



individual rights granted ... we have free will.  But that doesn't safeguard against being wrong, or irrational.  If someone's higher power is a door knob, they are plainly worshipping something less than themselves.  All "faiths" are not equal.  I think you would concede at least that much?
  

quote:
I think it is going too far.  Life is more important than faith.


But Essorant, that doesn't take into account the whole of life, which includes invariably physical death.  If what Jesus said is true about the nature of life and death, then wouldn't it be wise to place trust and loyalty in him, even in the face of threats?  Many feel that honor is more important than life.  And if there's more, that's not at all unreasonable.  

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose" - Jim Elliot.  


Stephen
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6 posted 03-21-2006 02:18 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Now Stephan, we're really not going to go that round again are we?

I was not mocking the AA doorknob.

If you believe that with God all things are possible, why would you assume that there is not a spark of divinity even in a doorknob?

namaste sweet friend

You have found your path. It works very well for you, and I respect you beyond what meager words can express. But please allow others the same respect of belief. If the God of your belief is all that you say, then that God will find everybody, right?

It's a dark neck of the woods, and sometimes people have to take different paths to get to the same destination.

*peace out* Stephen

(you are trying to adjust my radio dials again, and I happen to be jammin' on the signal I've got! )
Stephanos
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7 posted 03-21-2006 05:19 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
If you believe that with God all things are possible, why would you assume that there is not a spark of divinity even in a doorknob?



I believe that God will continue to remind worshippers of brass objects, that doorknobs retain the humble function of opening physical doors.  There are other "doors" for which common latches prove utterly useless.  That's where the "all things possible" part comes in.


For me, the spark of divinity comes in, in the symbolic ... to what something like a doorknob may point to.  Jesus did say "I am the door".  In that sense, I have no problem with granting mundane objects, much more than their typical admiration.  I actually believe that divine truth, gives great honor and energy to our mythic imagination.  But in the final analysis, created things are simply created things, not worthy of the worship that is due only to God.      


quote:
If the God of your belief is all that you say, then that God will find everybody, right?



I can concede this much ... He will certainly find all who will be found.  And his merciful ways go ever beyond my comprehension.  But his ways involve ultimately turning us from idols, never joining us at the fireside.    


quote:
It's a dark neck of the woods, and sometimes people have to take different paths to get to the same destination.



I do agree.  But that's only true of some paths, which are intimately connected and part of a common thoroughfare.  Other paths lead to very different destinations.  Just ask my wife, how often I've proved this theory whenever I'm driving, and won't stop and ask directions.  Sometimes turning around (repentance) is not optional, if you want to get where you were going.  

I can relate to Bugs on that "Left at Albequerque" syndrome.    

Nice talking with you again, Karen.  And yes, even when we disagree, the respect for each other is always present, and that means a lot.  


Stephen.
      
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8 posted 03-21-2006 05:53 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Respect is easy with you, Stephen.



And since we have danced to this tune before, (many times) I'll just exit with a and?

I'll see ya when we get there.  
JesusChristPose
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9 posted 03-21-2006 07:59 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"What do you mean by saying it was once a "cult" religion?   Do you mean that it was once the minority rather than a world religion?  If that's what you mean, then I understand your point ... but size can be irrelevant to truth."

~ So, what is labeled as "cult" today, and I have heard those in the majority call them "whacky cults" or "of the devil cults" etc., since they are in the minority, their size can be irrelevant to the truth too?

~ How about those people a few years back, who all gave their lives to catch a ride in the comet up in space in order to meet their God. They died for their religion, was that suicide?

  


"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."
Huan Yi
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10 posted 03-21-2006 08:04 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Death is easy to talk about until you’ve seen it
with no angels coming by to take anyone anything anywhere
ever.  And all you have is a corpse, like a rat, or a dead dog.


Stephanos
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11 posted 03-21-2006 11:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP:
quote:
So, what is labeled as "cult" today, and I have heard those in the majority call them "whacky cults" or "of the devil cults" etc., since they are in the minority, their size can be irrelevant to the truth too?


Yes, of course size can be irrelevant to the truth too.  I've never heard anyone call a religious movement a "cult" based upon mere size ... such a label is usually based upon practice and doctrine.


quote:
How about those people a few years back, who all gave their lives to catch a ride in the comet up in space in order to meet their God. They died for their religion, was that suicide?


Why wouldn't it be suicide?  What's the definition of suicide?  Didn't they take their own lives, by their own hand?  The article in discussion involves someone else doing the killing.  True martyrs do not desire death, they only think a loyal death would be better than a faithless life, and so choose not to recant their wedding vows.  See the difference?


John:
quote:
Death is easy to talk about until you’ve seen it


You're right, it certainly is.  And that's why I always wonder at atheistic confidence about one's dying day.  You'll certainly find no boasting on my part, about how willing and able I am to suffer for Christ.  I can only take it day by day, and pray that by his grace, I may do well.

quote:
no angels coming by to take anyone anything anywhere ever.  And all you have is a corpse, like a rat, or a dead dog.


Living people have seen angels.  People who have been rescusitated have reported seeing both angelic scenes, and horrific ones ... giving some validity to the doctrine of life beyond death.  Though I'm wary of believing every instance of supernatural experience I hear, I don't cynically think that they are all merely imagined.  To do so certainly takes one beyond the pale of science also, and lands one in another kind of "faith" assertion.


And the conclusion that you will forever be no better than a dead rat or dog, supplies it's own criticism.  It doesn't fit our psychology of hope, nor our habits of self image.  Neither does it do justice to the overwhelmingly high percentage of belief that there is some kind of life after death ... other than by calling it a foolish form of wish-fulfillment or denial.  (Though It's often overlooked that atheism itself can also be explained in terms of wish fulfillment- ie, not wanting a Judgement day, or any moral contraints beyond the self).  


Neither does it fit with history, as there is at least one who was reported to be raised from the dead.  The history isn't easily explained away, if one takes the time to try and test the alternatives to a corporeal ressurrection of Jesus, in explaining the growth and vitality of the early Christian Church ... which could have all been ended by something as simple as producing a body, on the part of the Romans or the Jews.  And as for disciples who had hoped for a political Messiah, would their discouragement and dashed hopes have motivated them to steal away the corpse, and proclaim that he was raised from the dead, if he had really not been?  Especially when such a doctrine, would make them enemies of an entire Judaistic culture of which they were part, and even sympathetic to?


Of course, there is always room for doubt, even in the face of extreme plausibility.  Even Jesus' disciples on the Emmaus road doubted.  And to that, I'll give you a couple of authors who have answered well ...



"One word, Ma'am ... All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder.  I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it.  So I won't deny any of what you said.  But there's one thing more to be said even so.  Supposed we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself.  Suppose we have.  Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones.  Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world.  Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one.  And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it.  We're just babies making up a game, if you're right.  But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow.  That's why I'm going to stand by the play world.  I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it.  I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can, even if there isn't any Narnia."

(Puddleglum talks to the Queen of Underland- from "The Silver Chair" by C.S. Lewis)


and ...


"Something analogous to the difference we have pointed out in the experience of the two and the ten disciples in connection with belief in the resurrection may be found in the ways by which different Christians now are brought to faith. The evidences of Christianity are commonly divided into two great categories--the external and the internal; the one drawn from outward historical facts, the other from the adaptation of the gospel to man's nature and needs. Both sorts of evidence are necessary to a perfect faith, just as both sorts of vision, the outward and the inward, were necessary to make the disciples thorough believers in the fact of the resurrection. But some begin with the one, some with the other. Some are convinced first that the gospel story is true, and then perhaps long after waken up to a sense of the importance and preciousness of the things which it relates. Others, again, are like Cleopas and his companion; so engrossed with their own thoughts as to be incapable of appreciating or seeing facts, requiring first to have the eyes of their understanding enlightened to see the beauty and the worthiness of the truth as it is in Jesus. They may at one time have had a kind of traditional faith in the facts as sufficiently well attested. But they have lost that faith, it may be not without regret. They are skeptics, and yet they are sad because they are so, and feel that it was better with them when, like others, they believed. Yet, though they attempt it, they cannot restore their faith by a study of mere external evidences. They read books dealing in such evidences, but they are not much impressed by them. Their eyes are holden, and they know not Christ coming to them in that outward way. But He reveals Himself to them in another manner. By hidden discourse with their spirits He conveys into their minds a powerful sense of the moral grandeur of the Christian faith, making them feel that, true or not, it is at least worthy to be true. Then their hearts begin to burn: they hope that what is so beautiful may turn out to be objectively true; the question of the external evidences assumes a new interest to their minds; they inquire, they read, they look; and, lo, they see Jesus revived, a true historical person for them: risen out of the grave of doubt to live for evermore the sun of their souls, more precious for the temporary loss; coming

"Apparelled in more precious habit,
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
into the eye and prospect of their soul,
"


(A.B. Bruce, The Training of The Twelve)


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-22-2006 01:01 AM).]

JesusChristPose
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12 posted 03-22-2006 06:12 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"Yes, of course size can be irrelevant to the truth too.  I've never heard anyone call a religious movement a "cult" based upon mere size ... such a label is usually based upon practice and doctrine."

~ For sure, and during Christ's time, the fledgling religion of Christianity was labeled a cult based upon its practice and doctrine. Jump forward about 2000 years from now, what is considered a cult now, may be as popular and accepted as Christianity today. That is the point I was making.

"Why wouldn't it be suicide?  What's the definition of suicide?  Didn't they take their own lives, by their own hand?  The article in discussion involves someone else doing the killing.  True martyrs do not desire death, they only think a loyal death would be better than a faithless life, and so choose not to recant their wedding vows.  See the difference?"

~ Do you know what those "true martyrs" were thinking upon their deaths? Surely, you can't know if they desired it or not?
All those martyrs had to do was denounce their faiths and live... sounds like a form of suicide to me, and I don't see much of a difference or any at all between those martyrs and those people who died to catch the comet in the sky. Those martyrs died for a man who claimed himself to be god. They weren't the only ones to do that.




"If this grand panaorama before me is what you call God... then God is not dead."
Huan Yi
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13 posted 03-22-2006 07:50 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



I think much of past martyrdom was much indicative
of the poverties of the lives being sacrificed.  There
was something in that comment by Kirk Douglas
in the role of Spartacus when he said when a free man
dies he gives up the pleasures of life while a slave gives
up its pains and so is not afraid.  It is one thing to give
up a life that is highlighted only by respites from misery
and suffering and quite another to let go one of comfort
and gratification.  What is the point of the resurrection
of the body except thereby to experience through it
the pleasures little or not previously known.


As far as seeing angels and such, there's
a scientific explaination for that,
(read Weird Science by Michael White).


Stephanos
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14 posted 03-22-2006 10:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP:
quote:
For sure, and during Christ's time, the fledgling religion of Christianity was labeled a cult based upon its practice and doctrine. Jump forward about 2000 years from now, what is considered a cult now, may be as popular and accepted as Christianity today. That is the point I was making.



And still ... each example of doctrine and practice, stands or falls upon it's own grammatico-historical validity, philosophical coherency, and moral excellence.  If you honestly think that "Heaven's Gate" is really comparable to Christianity in these regards, then it's probably pointless for me to continue talking to you.


quote:
Do you know what those "true martyrs" were thinking upon their deaths? Surely, you can't know if they desired it or not?



Um. actually you can to some degree.  And no, it's not mind reading.  Just follow the clues.  Look at their respective ethos, and the worldview that they ascribed to.  The Judeo-Christian foundation tells us that God created life, and that it is good.  Christians, in general, were not at all averse to life.  They considered the present life to be a gift from God.  So their religious teaching is one clue.  The second clue is that they were singled out by others to be persecuted, or killed, for what they believed in.  So the impetus of death came from someone other than themselves.  


So, Martyrdom doesn't mean that death was a desirable state for them.  It merely means that for them apostasy is worse than physical death.  But that's not the same thing as despising life, or even desiring to die.  


Also, I'm pretty sure the "Heaven's Gate" cult, did follow teachings which drew heavily from Gnosticism.  And Gnostisicm didn't merely put a second-rate status on the present life ... but said that it was positively evil, a creation of a demiurge.


And I have the witness of myself.  I personally love life.  I love sunshine, and music, and food, and good company ... like everyone else, maybe more.  But do I think that a living apostasy and denial of Christ is better than dying?  I wouldn't be a real Christian if I thought so.  And yes, I'm aware of the fact that my belief in this regard remains untested.  But right now, I can't help that.  I do hope and pray it remains so.  I guess I've always believed that we should hope for the best, and be ready for the worst.


But my point is ... If I feel this way, I think it's pretty natural to infer that most Christian martyrs would share the same love for life, even while choosing death over infidelity.  It actually gives more value to what they are doing.  Who is commended for losing something that they don't really love anyway?  


John:
quote:
I think much of past martyrdom was much indicative of the poverties of the lives being sacrificed.


There's some truth to that I'm sure.  If life is burdensome here, the promise of setting things right in the world to come is tantalizing. But you've also got to reckon with those who had material possessions, and then only lost them because of their refusal to deny Christ.  Then the most likely answer is that they valued something more than material possessions and temporal happiness, which would explain both the more affluent martyrs AND the impoverished ones.  But to say that the martyrs' "devotion" arises out of socio-economic conditions, since having never experienced anything good in life, they all naturally despised their present lot ... only explains the impoverished mindset, not the mindset willing to lose comfort and wellbeing, in order to be faithful.  So, if it only adequately explains one, and there is an alternative explanation which explains both, maybe you should consider the possibility.  


"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions."

(Hebrews 10:32-34 NIV)

quote:
As far as seeing angels and such, there's
a scientific explaination for that,


There's also a Theological explanation for that.  Nothing wrong with considering both.  And I have no doubt that particular reports, respectively, are subject more to one explanation than the other.  


Stephen.
  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-22-2006 11:09 PM).]

JesusChristPose
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15 posted 03-23-2006 08:17 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"And still ... each example of doctrine and practice, stands or falls upon it's own grammatico-historical validity, philosophical coherency, and moral excellence."

~ You just described Buddhism, among countless other religions created by the humankind - cults included.

"If you honestly think that "Heaven's Gate" is really comparable to Christianity in these regards, then it's probably pointless for me to continue talking to you."

~ I never said that, so don't put words in my mouth, please. However, I don't know about you, but I know that I could never know if those people of the Heaven's Gate "cult" really were inspired by the true Creator to do what they did.

"Um. actually you can to some degree."

~ And just what that degree may be? Do you know of any eyewitnesses? Do you have their own handwritten memoirs available to dissect? Or, do you have their psychiatrists medical recores?

"And no, it's not mind reading.  Just follow the clues.  Look at their respective ethos, and the worldview that they ascribed to."

~ Based upon written diaries of their minds?

"The Judeo-Christian foundation tells us that God created life, and that it is good.  Christians, in general, were not at all averse to life.  They considered the present life to be a gift from God.  So their religious teaching is one clue.  The second clue is that they were singled out by others to be persecuted, or killed, for what they believed in.  So the impetus of death came from someone other than themselves."

~ That doesn't matter to me. To live, all they had to do was denounce their God. After they did that, they could go back home, open up a bottle of wine and celebrate with their families for fooling those stupid officials with a fake recantation. I'm not buying it. They could be considered to be suicidal just like those Heavan Gaters. One could say that the Heaven Gaters were forced to die for their God due to the world treating them as those officials treated the Christian martyrs, albeit on a different degree (I'd say by about 20% less).

  

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

Ron
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quote:
To live, all they had to do was denounce their God.

So, you would be willing to denounce your wife, your children, your parents, everyone and everything you have ever loved, just to save your own life, Mike? Their honor, your own honor, means nothing to you when faced of personal danger?
JesusChristPose
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I don't know if one can compare an unseen God or a man who claimed to be God, but then more than one man has done so, to my family, whom I know are my son & daughter.

That is the difference.

Besides that argument, what are words anyway? Tell the fools, "Yeah, you are right, he isn't God." Now, you are not going to die and you can go home and laugh at those idiots because you got the best of them. Now, you will continue to proclaim your God. Of course, I would then move to a different city/province and spread the word again.

"... Melvin, you overwhelm me."

Ron
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18 posted 03-23-2006 11:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I notice you didn't answer the question, Mike.
hush
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19 posted 03-24-2006 02:01 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

John, do you assume nobody here has seen death? That it's easy for everyone here to talk about?

I don't have a strong personal faith in God, so I wouldn't die for a religious belief I don't have. But I see what Stephen and some of the others are saying. If I were in some sick hypothetical situation where someone had a gun to my head and said, "If you kill that innocent person, I'll let you live; if you don't, I'll kill you," I hope I'd have the courage and morality within me to take the bullet myself.
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20 posted 03-25-2006 11:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP:
quote:
You just described Buddhism, among countless other religions created by the humankind - cults included.


If you really think cults are so great, why did you bring up Heaven's Gate if not to liken Christian Martyrdom to it's disturbing mindset?  This in itself shows that you don't really think all beliefs are equal.  You play the relativist card way too much, for one who wants a sturdy argument.


quote:
I don't know about you, but I know that I could never know if those people of the Heaven's Gate "cult" really were inspired by the true Creator to do what they did.



Why not?  You seem pretty sure that what you call "mainstream Christianity" is not inspired by the true Creator.  I'm pretty sure you've actually said that, in nearly those very words.  You’re not being consistent.  


quote:
Do you have their own handwritten memoirs available to dissect?


Actually there are things written by Martyrs and many other things written about them, (and the communities they were apart of) ... from ancient times right up to the present.  I’ll be working on a reading list, if you want to really explore it.  And too, since Jesus warned his disciples about future persecutions and suffering, we have a body of teaching and theological consideration about the nature of suffering for the faith.  So no, it’s not just a shot in the dark.  


quote:
To live, all they had to do was denounce their God. After they did that, they could go back home, open up a bottle of wine and celebrate with their families for fooling those stupid officials with a fake recantation. I'm not buying it.


You're not buying it?  Then why did many of them do what they did?  In every other sense, they seemed to be quite well-adjusted and loyal citizens (just read such accounts as "The Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs").  So your proposal that they were suicidal, is much harder to buy than the commonly held explanation, that they really did so out of devotion.


quote:
They could be considered to be suicidal just like those Heavan Gaters.


They could be, but that doesn't mean they should be considered suicidal.  

quote:
One could say that the Heaven Gaters were forced to die for their God due to the world treating them as those officials treated the Christian martyrs, albeit on a different degree (I'd say by about 20% less).



One could say that too.  But aren't you switching tactics now?  You were saying that the Christians were suicidal.  Now your reversing the argument and saying that HG cult members were "forced" to die for their God, like the Christians were?


quote:
I don't know if one can compare an unseen God or a man who claimed to be God, but then more than one man has done so, to my family, whom I know are my son & daughter.



The Bible says that it is possible to know God in an intimate way ... a way that even supercedes family relations.  That is also the testimony of many Christians.  If that's the case, why couldn't these situations be comparable?


quote:
Besides that argument, what are words anyway?


Classic Liar's paradox.  How can I believe your argument then?


quote:
Tell the fools, "Yeah, you are right, he isn't God." Now, you are not going to die and you can go home and laugh at those idiots because you got the best of them. Now, you will continue to proclaim your God. Of course, I would then move to a different city/province and spread the word again.


There is much you're not acknowledging here ...


1)  The Judeo-Christian teaching has always been that words are very important, and that we should be honest, not break promises, not give false witness etc ... And this is not some dusty ancient concept.  In general most people believe this today, sometimes concerning themselves, but always when the shoe is on the other foot.  


2)  In the Roman persecution of Christians, Emperor worship was the point of contention.  "Ceasar is Lord" is what all were required to say, and throw some incense in the fire.  Then a certificate was given to verify that the honor had been paid.  But to the Christian, this was the "number of the beast".  Remember that Jews and Christians believe that God commands that there shall be "no other Gods before me"?  in fact it was numero uno, in the big ten!  To acquiesce to Cesar is to place someone before God, and to shame God at the same time, respecting an earthly ruler more than the ruler of all things ... even giving the title of Christ to a pagan king.


3)  To deny Christ, and then to pretend that it didn't really matter to Christ, is to forget all he told his disciples concerning the persecutions and sufferings to come, and how important it would be to endure to the end, even to the point of death if necessary.  In short, it would contradict and trivialize his very explicit teachings, and so make the title "Lord", a joke.      


4)  Rome basically ruled the world at that time.  It's not like you could just pack up and move from Georgia to Florida.  It was the Emperor of the vast Roman empire who demanded worship.  Why else do you think the book of Revelation described those who take the mark of the beast, as "unable to buy or sell"?  Because, there was literally no place to run, realistically speaking.  All roads literally led to Rome.      


5) A Christian who felt that the desire of Christ was for him to be a faithful witness for him, could not feel that he "got the better" of the Romans, by denying Christ in their presence.  In fact anyone who saw and knew this, would instantly know that Christ to the apostate Christian was no more than the countless other "gods" of Rome.  You say that you could "proclaim your God", but what would be to proclaim, if Nero was already proclaimed to be Lord?  In the Christian's mind, how could anyone be saved by such a privatized, non-confessional, non-commital belief as that?  That champagne you mentioned would have gone flat, and the laughter hollow.    



Hush:
quote:
If I were in some sick hypothetical situation where someone had a gun to my head and said, "If you kill that innocent person, I'll let you live; if you don't, I'll kill you," I hope I'd have the courage and morality within me to take the bullet myself.


Amy, thanks for understanding.  From what you've said, in my opinion, you've gone beyond egoism and are understanding something of what Christ is about.  Though you may not agree with me that that's what you're doing ... to love him from afar, is no small thing.  I did that for a long time.    


Stephen.  
JesusChristPose
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21 posted 03-27-2006 06:18 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"So, you would be willing to denounce your wife, your children, your parents, everyone and everything you have ever loved, just to save your own life, Mike? Their honor, your own honor, means nothing to you when faced of personal danger?"

~ I guess I didn't answer the question, but I don't see how I can... How does one "denounce" living human beings? What would the event be where I would have an opportunity to denounce them. Would it be, "Say you don't believe in your wife, now, and I will let you live." I would answer, "I can't help believing in her, she is standing right there. You see her to."


"... Melvin, you overwhelm me."

JesusChristPose
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22 posted 03-27-2006 06:20 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

Stephanos,

I read your reply. You go off on so many tangents in so many directions that the original questionings and subject line gets changed and twisted too many times.

Have you ever read, Gulliver's Travels?

"... Melvin, you overwhelm me."

Stephanos
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23 posted 03-27-2006 11:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Would it be, "Say you don't believe in your wife, now, and I will let you live." I would answer, "I can't help believing in her, she is standing right there. You see her to."


Those who martyred the early Christians were asking them to recant their loyalty to Christ.  It was far more than a mere intellectual belief, else they would never have been persecuted that way.  Remember that they were required to say "Cesar is Lord"?  

In that regard, it would be more like someone demanding you to divorce your wife, or to call her a prostitute, or to strike her ... It's more along those lines.  That's how you would "denounce" human beings.  You don't have to agree with me, as to what would be the right thing to do.  But I think you can at least understand.  


quote:
Have you ever read, Gulliver's Travels?


Is that "related to the original questions" enough for us to discuss?    


Stephen.
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24 posted 03-28-2006 06:10 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"Those who martyred the early Christians were asking them to recant their loyalty to Christ.  It was far more than a mere intellectual belief, else they would never have been persecuted that way.  Remember that they were required to say "Cesar is Lord"?"

~ I was answering Ron's question, but since you replied for him, I'll go ahead and take another "stab" at responding to your reply... I believe we are going in circles. Once again, I will stick to this single issue of - just telling them what they want to hear in order to live and worship your God. That is all these martyrs had to do, unless they were indeed "suicidal" - like those Heaven Gate people who took their own lives out of love and devotion to their God. I don't see much of a difference at all between both groups. Yet, I said this all before. We have come full circle.         

"In that regard, it would be more like someone demanding you to divorce your wife, or to call her a prostitute, or to strike her ... It's more along those lines.  That's how you would "denounce" human beings."

~ That is called the "slippery slope." We are only talking about saying, "I don't believe in my wife." I can't compare being put on the spot to divorce or hit my wife to what the martyrs did. They were only told to say that they didn't believe that Jesus was God.

"You don't have to agree with me, as to what would be the right thing to do.  But I think you can at least understand."

~ Yes, I understand and I answered you.  

"Is that "related to the original questions" enough for us to discuss?"

~ With regard to how you reply to my responses, yes, but only in that regard.      


"... Melvin, you overwhelm me."
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