Statesboro, GA, USA
The Shadow in Blue:
I don't really see much evidence, at least from what I know that materials like the bible have any backing. I mean Jesus did exist, but he was just one of many "prophets" in the Roman era. And because of that I find that all the "miracles" and parobles he did were just propaganda for the followers of Christianity, etc.
I'd recommend that you do some more searching. There's no solid reason to suspect that the Gospels do not reflect the purist narrative of what really happened, concerning Jesus. Alternate histories don't have the same textual support as the Bible (which is very good- with manuscripts exceeding that of all ancient literature), since Gnostic writings are dated later, with pseudonymnous claims of authorship.
There are many other things to consider apart from manuscripts, along the lines of historiography. If the followers of Jesus, knew that his miracles, and in particular, his ressurrection were fictitious, then one can hardly find a good reason why they might abandon the entire framework of their cultural / religious life, for a lie. In its cradle, Christianity was a sure way to be excommunicated from Judaism, and ostracized from the Jewish community. Second generation zealots, who are deceived, may go to such extremes and even suffer martyrdom for a lie genuinely believed. But you really won't find that kind of devotion among the primary group, who knows whether or not the claims are true.
Many, many other things to consider. I would recommend you look into the likes of Gary Habermas, or N.T. Wright, if you're interested in whether or not Christianity has firm historical roots, rather than propaganda. I, like you, have no desire to believe a man-based religion, and especially one with historically flimsy claims. But I have examined to the best of my ability the historical aspects of the Christian faith, and have found it very convincing.
Plus peoples blind following of their religious beliefs all through history have led to many bloody wars and strife. Just look at The Inquisition, The Nazi's, North Ireland (Catholic vs. Protestant), The Gaza Strip (Palestinians vs. Iraelies), etc. I mean seriously the majority of wars have caused by differences in people's belief of God.
This shouldn't be surprising, since religion is one of the most passionate convictions in the human heart. Things of the highest value or meaning, are the things that incite zeal and therefore the desire to "fight for" what is right.
If this is true of religion, it is also true of ideology in general. The 20th century proved to be a devastating century of killing based upon materialist ideology as well. In that sense, atheism has been as bloody as religion, proving that religion cannot be the scapegoat for our blame about war.
Seeing that the blame for war is a bit wider than religion, I would emphasize the question of whether particular religious claims are tenable, truthful, or enlightening. You shouldn't judge a system or a teaching, based upon its bad examples. Especially when such examples explicitly contradict the teachings of the founder. All the things you mentioned are contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
But one thing I don't get in the bible is the hatred and cold shoulder towards true love, even though it comes in different forms with different people. And that is contradictory to Corinthians. I sort of turned my back to religion a little bit when the election happened in 2004 with the opposition to gay marriage. I guess I'm more about equality and the bible in some verse is contradictory towards that.
The answer from a Christian standpoint, is really a question. What exactly is the "true love" which you feel the Bible denies?
If you're referring soley to homosexuality, I don't see how that can be equated with "true love". Not even heterosexuality can be equated with "true love", since the sexuality of a relationship can be quite separate from love.
With that in mind, it's not the "true love" which may be involved in a homosexual relationship that is condemned. Nowhere does the Bible forbid concern, camaradarie, friendship, tender feelings, etc ... What the Bible does identify as sinful is the homosexual aspect of such relationships, which may or may not be accompanied by "love".
I understand that such a thing would be pragmatically difficult to sort out, but when assessing the Biblical teaching about such, this distincition has to be made. There is no kind of genuine "love" that the Bible condemns. Yet homosexuality, per se, is sinful.
All you really need, in my opinion is to treat people with respect and equality and use intellect where blind faith has been.
Blind faith is harmful. But I think that the Biblical version of "faith" is not of that description. Nor does reason have to pitted against the Christian faith. In fact some feel that apart from the world-view of Christian Theism, that reason itself becomes doubtful. I am one of those who feel this way.
I've got lots of material which examines the faith, in light of reason, and vice versa. If you're interested e-mail me. I really believe that the Christian-Worldview is very fufilling intellectually, and can be appreciated without mindless devotion. Devotion is necessary, but the mind need not be left out.
Most Anti-Homosexual supporters cite King Jame's bible ...
Just for clarification, the King James Version is only a 1611 translation of ancient manuscripts. There are many versions of the Bible, including many fine contemporary English ones, which are translated from the same manuscripts. And all accurate translations pretty much relate the same textual / doctrinal content.
I kinda think Jesus was very Buddhist in his teaching
In what ways was Jesus or his teachings "Buddhist"?
I think that Christianity, in particular, trys to put God in man's terms, when in fact, there is no way we could ever comprehend what God truly is. We can only understand what God is as we are able to perceive.
I think you're concern is valid. But don't make the mistake of confusing accurate knowledge with comprehensive knowledge. It's really a matter of faith in God himself, whether or not he could get to us a reliable revelation of himself that is accurate and true. That doesn't mean that we could ever know it all ... but it does mean we can know something real about God through his chosen revelation to us.
Christianity is the story where God place "His things" in man's terms, even in humanity itself through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Don't be fooled by the humanity, or think that such a treasure can not be held in "earthen vessels". If we don't understand that, we may mistake the true revelation of God, as a construct of men alone ... when in reality, sanctified humanity need not be a barrier to God's communication.
We may be too proud for such a revelation as "human" as that. But God wasn't too proud to give it, and become it. That's the whole point.
The general in religion does not speak except through an infinitely interpretable text.
I would say, Brad, that it's nowhere near "infinitely" interpretable, though its applications, poetry, and scope are anything but tame and simple. I would rather say that it's closer to being infintely changeable and contortable. But staying true to the text, and especially the "Holy Spirit" of the text, allows freedom without autonomy. There is form with freedom, but not freedom from form.
When one does something in the name of God or following the word of God, perhaps the question might be, "And if it weren't the word of God, would it still be the right thing to do?"
A transcending question would be "If there is no word of God, where does one get the idea of a 'right thing'?
I would like to pose this question to you. A few of you seem to put great stock in jesus. Consider this however. Jesus came to earth knowing god was real and that he was god's son. So he was not a man was he? He knew with absolute convivtion that he was gods son and that god was there for him. He did not come to earth as a man, but rather as THE SON OF GOD. There is a very large difference between the two... If he came to earth as a true man, and had to suffer as he did, Do you still think he could have preached the same way he did? Suffered as he did for us? Found the light? I do not.
The Christian doctrine is that Jesus was God AND man. He was all God, and all man, as it were. His humanity is just as real as his divinity. Limitations are not the same as sinfulness, and he was a man in every respect except for moral sin.
Thinking that Jesus was an "inhuman" divine being with only the appearance of humanity is a heresy known as Docetism. The biggest problem with it, is it makes the historical life of Jesus non-sensical. How could he pray "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" if he were not human? There's just too much data we have that indicates, in spite of his divine nature, he was nothing less than human.
Do not believe in some deity that will forgive you all your wrong doings if you repent but rather make peace with the fact that you are flawed, imperfect sinfull. And live despite that. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes and simply deal with the consequences.
That leads to one of two tendencies: 1) Fatalism- We're sinners, and forgiveness and grace is therefore unthinkable and unrealistic. or 2) Euphemism- We're not really sinners, we're just making a few mistakes, and everything will be okay.
When God deals with a person about sin, it comes in two forms ... An inability to minimize it, because of a revelation of ourselves ... and inability to despair over it, because of a revelation of the love of God.