no evolution for you...

Discussion in 'Spirituality & Religion' started by msilverstein47, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Solid444

    Solid444 Member+

    Jun 21, 2003
    I dont agree with this. I dont see any reason to accept that for Jesus' teaching to be a good source of morality, that he must accept and comdemn every possible action as either moral or immoral. Even if he had condemned slavery (like he condemned many other things) there would be other things that he did not speak against and we could play this game until the end of time. Just because he didnt explicitly speak against X it does not mean that we cant conclude what he would have thought about X based on other moral norms at we can attribute to him. Now, this isnt even a problem unless you believe that 1) the bible is the literal word of god (minority of christians) and 2) that it is the complete word of god with no possible omissions (an even bigger minority of chistians).
     
  2. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    You really need to stop putting words in other peoples' mouths.

    You say "I don't see any reason to accept that for Jesus' teaching to be a good source of morality..."

    I agree.

    There's some good stuff in his morality.

    I think the slavery issue is a problem for those who use the bible as their source of morality or who claim Jesus as the greatest example. I think those are quite clearly different standards.
    Agreed.

    It's not a problem for me because I don't believe in it.

    It is a problem for those who do believe in it and it's ok to make that argument even when you yourself don't believe in it.

    I will nitpick your point about "complete word of god with no possible omissions". I don't think you need to go that far to make criticize the idea of Jesus as a great moral figure because notable omissions can be problematic. A condemnation of slavery would be notable and is a notable omission in my opinion. I don't have to reconcile my morality with that since it is not the source of my morality. But I can call out people who consider it a good source for that notable omission.
     
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  3. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    If you put it this way you're making Jesus out to be a rather average moral teacher. Instead of fighting slavery then he just regurgitated principles other moral systems had come up with (do unto others...) and now, so many years later, we can apply that to slavery.

    It's rather unimpressive.
     
  4. Solid444

    Solid444 Member+

    Jun 21, 2003
    You can still believe that Jesus is a great moral figure without believing that the New Testament holds the entirety of his moral stance. Jesus did not write the 4 gospels, so to say that an omission by the authors, describing part of Jesus' life up to 70 years after his death, is a notable omission in Jesus' moral stance is silly. To clarify, this has nothing to do with Jesus being the son of god, this is about questioning the oveerall moral stance of a historical figure because an author wrote nothing about a certain moral problem.
     
  5. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina


    I have no idea if Jesus of Nazareth ever said anything about slavery being immoral, but it certainly does seem compatible with his teachings. The oral history about Jesus is lost, and certainly it's plausible that such a revolutionary idea could have been taken out by those who originally wrote down the accounts of his teachings. It is interesting that early Christianity seems to have attracted a disproportionally large number of slaves into its ranks. Perhaps this had more to do with the compassionate and humane way in which slaves were accepted by other early believers -based on the man's teachings- than with any specific moral pronouncement regarding the institution of slavery itself that he might or might not have made.

    Nevertheless it does appear that within the ancient Greco-Roman world it was followers of that man's teachings who were the first pioneers in reaching the conclusion and advancing the revolutionary idea that you and I today take for granted as a no-brainer, namely that slavery is immoral. I think perhaps the itinerant first century Jewish preacher might deserve some credit for that.
     
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  6. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The only people to come back from the death penalty are Jesus and SMU Football.
     
  7. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    one of the real problems in dealing with the issue of 1st Century "slavery" is that it was frequently debentured servitude. i owe you 300 drachma and can't pay you, so i become your "slave" till the debt is paid. in Jesus' time, that would be referred to as "slavery". of course there was the more odious kind where someone was owned and not simply in the forced employment of another, but to say all slavery was inhumane in those days is to disregard the fact that some instances of servitude were occasioned by indebtedness where there was no other practical way to settle the debt.
     
  8. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And? That's an immoral system of repayment as the debtor is forced to relinquish every last bit of his autonomy. All you're doing is making the age-old excuse "but it was a different culture then" that we more often hear when discussing the OT's plethora of absolutely insane and evil laws and customs.
     
  9. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    so, in your view, it's less immoral for someone to owe a debt and not pay it?

    just so we're clear, the "employer" would feed and house the servant, and in some cases, the servant's family. your perception of the situation is so tainted by the notion of slavery as ownership that you cannot extricate yourself from the trap of seeing the situation from the "slave's" perspective. the "slave" created the debt. it's his responsibility to pay the debt. if there is no other way to pay it other than forced servitude, that's his lot. you call it immoral. i call it reasonable, given the circumstances.
     
  10. phedre44

    phedre44 Member

    SKC
    Apr 1, 2008
    Kansas
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There are other ways to get debts payed than "forced servitude." And, yes, it is less immoral to not pay a debt (essentially stealing) than it is to enslave another human being.

    You're also ignoring the fact that plenty of people enslaved in Jesus' day were, in fact, just slaves, unlucky enough to be on the losing end of a battle against the Roman army, not people who owed debt and were working to pay it off.
     
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  11. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i've acknowledged the latter. but it isn't less moral to force someone who voluntarily incurred a debt to pay it.
     
  12. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree fully with Phedre's response, and he is right to point out that talking about the servitude you're referring to is a red herring because the full on slavery type of slavery did exist in that time as well. Acknowledging it doesn't make it magically go away.
     
  13. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart
    On a side note, I think the last pages nicely show that religion is really only gains life in interpretation.
     
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  14. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart
    Oops, scratch the "is"...too late to edit I'm afraid.
     
  15. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Your sin is . . . Forgiven.
     
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  16. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i'm not trying to brush it away in any absolute sense. we are all against owning people. but the idea that a person can incur a debt and then not pay it is part of our current cultural/legal mindset. we live in a world where filing for bankruptcy and hiring lawyers to allow us to escape from credit card debt or tax debt is fully acceptable. it's not even of questionable morality. it's endorsed by governmental agencies and banks. we live in a society where moral relativism is the norm. Jesus challenges moral relativism, but not the way you would prefer.

    the Gospels don't claim to be absolutely comprehensive. in fact, John suggests that if everything Jesus did were recorded, there wouldn't be space to contain the volumes that would be written. i take that as hyperbole, but i also believe that the Gospels proclaim the essentials.
     
  17. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart
    A lot of interpretation going on there.

    And even assuming that you had a complete account of Jesus' life, 99.999% of all the possible decisions that could face you in your daily life would not be addressed. That's why it always comes down to interpretation.

    When you ask yourself "What Would Jesus Do?", you are indulging in interpretation. You are looking at what the Bible says he did do, then you try to condense a general MO from it which you then try to map onto your real life problem. And the result is bound to be subjective, because you necessarily bring your own person, your own morals, your own worldview, your own way of thinking to the table. Christianity therefore always comes down to interpretation as soon as it collides with the real world.

    For instance, say you wonder if you should buy that SUV. What would Jesus do? One Christian may say sure, god said "subdue the earth", what better way to do so than with a big automobile. The next may argue to at least go for a hybrid in order to be a good steward of the earth and the Amish will tell you to keep away from this kind of devilish thing altogether.

    The point being: No matter how literally you read the bible, you won't find any passage in which Jesus told you how to deal with the question of purchasing an SUV. So every answer you could possibly come up with is highly subjective.
     
  18. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    when Jesus was wandering around healing folks and feeding the masses, occasionally he would leave crowds of people to go somewhere else. why? because that was what he was being told to do. we don't understand the specific "Why", but we know from what he said to his disciples that he only did what the Father told him to do.

    God isn't going to tell me to do something clearly immoral. he doesn't tell people, no matter what they might claim, to bomb abortion clinics. but he does speak to individuals. twice, i have had the distinct experience of being told something by a voice in my head that directed me to a specific good action that i would not have otherwise done. doing what one is told to do is called "obedience". the more one is obedient, the more good actions will be disclosed. this is part of spiritual training.

    i've indicated this before, but Luke 6:40 states that a fully trained disciple will be able to do what his teacher does. i don't have any way to know whether God, thru my faith, performed a healing in a man i know, but i was led by a voice in my head to lay hands on and pray for a guy named Pete who was suffering from an incurable cancer that started as a basal cell carcinoma. he was told that he had only a few months to live over a year ago and he's still alive and the cancer doesn't seem to be progressing as predicted. i believe God wanted me to do what i did and that my faith played some part in the process.

    back to the SUV scenario: perhaps you imagine that buying an SUV might be immoral for some people. so do I. it's not up to me to decide whether it's immoral for Jim or Tony, just for me. i could afford a far more expensive car, but i purchased a Camry Hybrid because i thought that was the correct purchase for our family. i did pray about the decision. i paid cash because i think for us that paying interest to buy a car is wrong, perhaps not morally but certainly fiscally.

    doing what you are told to do isn't subjective.
     
  19. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No evolution for Stilton, because he doesn't believe in it.
     
  20. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    it depends on what you mean when you say "evolution". do i believe that all life evolved from a single something? of course not. we don't even fully understand how life progressed from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction. without sexual reproduction you don't have the kind of evolution that you are talking about.

    it's completely counter-intuitive to believe that two necessarily compatible systems developed separately from undirected, random genetic changes. you believe that. i believe otherwise.
     
  21. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart

    Well, in a sense it's still subjective, though not on your part but on the part of the one giving the order. But I get your point and yeah, I agree.

    However, what I was trying to say is that you're NOT told what to do, at least not in 99.999% of instances. There are a couple of exceptions, like all those commandments ranging from not killing all the way to not mixing fabric in your clothes. But those still only apply to a minuscule fraction of real life decisions, hence my SUV example. The Bible doesn't tell you to buy or not to buy one, to finance it or to pay cash, to pick leather or cloth upholstery, etc.

    And what is true for SUVs is true for many things, even foundational stuff like the nature of god. The trinity is nowhere to be found in the Bible, it's an interpretation shared by all surviving Christian sects, but it's not literally there. And even when it's literally there, like "thou shalt not kill", the majority of Christians throughout history have interpreted it in such a way for it to actually allow killings...like witches, infidels, apostates, heretics, etc.
    Even today, AFAIK, a majority of evangelical Americans supports the death penalty, despite it being explicitly against god's commandments. You can only get there through interpretation.

    Hence there cannot possibly be an objectively true "Christianity", only interpretations. At least from our vantage point. If there was a god, he'd obviously know how he'd like to be worshipped the most, but apparently, he has chosen not to tell us, at least not specifically, leading to a splintering of denominations. If there was an objectively identifiable true message in the Bible, we'd expect the opposite, we'd expect Christianity to converge on a single belief. Instead we see them fracturing and fracturing and the number of denominations constantly increasing.
     
  22. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The death penalty would only be contrary to Scripture if it is clearly defined as murder. Stoning in the OT was not only permitted but commanded under specific circumstances. We understand that those specifics only applied to the Hebrews and don't now apply to us, since we aren't the Hebrews.

    When you speak of Christianity fracturing, you are again speaking about diverse church denominations. Those are not Christianity. They represent what Man has done in attempts of varying authenticity to replicate discipleship. Jesus doesn't tell his disciples to form churches. He tells them to make disciples.

    Now, when there are groups of disciples, there will be churches, but the functional problem is in current society that people joining churches are very often not disciples at all. They are church-goers.

    God has told us how he is to be worshiped. Jesus makes that clear in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4: 21-26 what the parameters are.

     
  23. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    #98 argentine soccer fan, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
    I agree that it comes down to interpretation, but only within certain clear parameters. If you honestly look at the teachings of Jesus -based on the way they are described in the New Testament- you can come up with some basic principles and you can logically build from them and come up with a way of life and a moral code that is consistent with the teachings of Jesus and works for you, based on those basic principles.

    The minutia may not be clear, obviously there are moral issues today that are different than what Jesus and his followers were facing in the first century, and also depending on where you live and what your circumstances are the teachings of Jesus may apply to you in different ways. (Living here in the San Francisco Bay Area I have different moral quandaries than if I lived for example in Ethiopia.)

    But in general terms, I would say that if a person lives a simple, humble life, has compassion towards others, practices charity and forgiveness, then I'd say they probably get the essence of the teachings of Jesus. I've met people who I felt clearly exhibit the spirit of Jesus in themselves, some of whom don't even call themselves Christians. On the other hand, those who don't exhibit those characteristics, even if they call themselves Christians, I would surmise that they don't follow the teachings of Jesus.

    As far as that SUV, that's an interesting example. If I wanted to fully follow the teachings of Jesus as I understand them, I wouldn't say I should under no circumstances get a large SUV, but I'd say there would have to be a damn good reason for needing one, or else I think I should pass on it.

    I'd like to think my Honda CRV is kosher, though. :D
     
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  24. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i'll ask God on your behalf.

    ;)
     
  25. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

    Mar 4, 2010
    Chicago
    Club:
    Chicago Red Stars
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well he did allegedly say to treat your slaves in a nice way.
     

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