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PersistentMan My journal is ready Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
My journal is ready
Jan 3rd 2015 at 10:18:21 AM

Why give us free will if we aren't allowed to use it? It only creates suffering.

Personally, I believe free will is a horrible, horrible thing that humans must get rid of ASAP. If God ever committed a mistake, it was giving humans free will to begin with.

Have you forgotten the face of your father, troper?
Maridee from surfside Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Jan 3rd 2015 at 10:25:15 AM

interesting. I did know about that, but I've heard of it primarily as a Christian sect of Judaism, not the other way around. I mean, the relationship between Christianity and Judaism is pretty close, theologically. I think most Christian theologians would say that Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism, although I doubt many rabbis would say that.

when I think about syncretism, I usually tend to think about how one religion gets folded into another because someplace got taken over, as an instrument of power. so like the Roman Empire takes over everywhere, the old gods don't go away but the Roman gods move in. and how Christianity incorporates a lot of Pagan holidays.

hmmm the wiki article seems to be saying that the split for Messianic Judaism comes at the doctrine of the Trinity, which makes sense. i think that's a very Christian-specific doctrine of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

basically it all seems to be v. complicated

ophelia, you're breaking my heart
carbon-mantis Collector Of Fine Oddities from North Carolina Relationship Status: Married to my murderer
Collector Of Fine Oddities
Jan 3rd 2015 at 10:26:16 AM

[up][up][up]My own experiences with the "Messianic Jewish" sects have lead me to lean towards the latter, or at least apply the "cult" label to them. They tend to apply the worst aspects (extremist "apocalyptic" ideology, sexism, extremely overt racism) of both religions to their practices while foregoing the saving graces of either.

edited 3rd Jan '15 10:42:12 AM by carbon-mantis

MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Jan 3rd 2015 at 10:59:36 AM

Well, putting that aside... I assume that you are pretty much saying that by and large, medieval Protestants wouldn't care much about a Christian military order converting to a Judeo-Christian syncretic religion, so long as they aren't loyal to the Protestant-phobic Catholic Pope and aren't about to denounce Protestantism as intolerable heresy?

edited 3rd Jan '15 10:59:46 AM by MarqFJA

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Maridee from surfside Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Jan 3rd 2015 at 11:30:09 AM

...after some research, what I'm saying is that Protestants didn't exist until the 1500s, so they wouldn't be medieval. They're a post-Renaissance religious movement. Middle Ages. The Reformation. and even then, the only place they'd have enough power to do anything about people they didn't agree with would've been England, in the 1530s.

there were previous attempts to reform the Catholic Church. wiki is giving me Peter Waldo, who started the Waldensians back in 1170, who joined the Reformation when it got going, but they were very persecuted by the Catholic Church. John Wycliffe started the Lollards in the mid-1300s, and they were also persecuted. Jan Hus around the same time had more influence politically, but he didn't start a group. All these men were excommunicated. Wycliffe and Hus were executed.

...I'm not saying that the Protestants would've been less likely to denounce somebody they didn't theologically agree with, because when they came into power they did the exact same shit the Catholic Church was doing. I'm saying that while they were out of power, they probably would've put up or shut up until they got power.

if you don't mind, are you writing a story or something?

ophelia, you're breaking my heart
Shadsie Staring At My Own Grave from Across From the Cemetery Relationship Status: My elf kissing days are over
Staring At My Own Grave
Jan 3rd 2015 at 1:38:46 PM

I once had a friend who was Orthodox Jewish. A convert to the religion, no less. She told me that she, her then-husband and their circle of family/friends really did NOT like Messaianic Jews. It was a matter of "They should stop pretending and just call themselves Christian." Made sense to me.

In which I attempt to be a writer.
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Jan 3rd 2015 at 10:17:47 PM

[up][up] Yeah. I have a Neon Genesis Evangelion AU story that features an ancient military order with a distinctly mixed Judaic and Christian belief system. My current bare-bones draft has them having converted from Christianity to their syncretic belief system either at some point during the Age of Crusades, or during the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation.

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Maridee from surfside Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Jan 4th 2015 at 11:08:29 AM

[up][up]ahhh okay.

what were they before they were Christians? like, how did they form, what's their purpose/goal? the syncretism thing, why is that happening?

ophelia, you're breaking my heart
Jan 4th 2015 at 1:28:57 PM

A bit of a late response since I've been busy but:

Good question. If he didn't want us to be selfish why did he made us that way? Seems pretty sadistic to create a being with certain urges and then not letting them delve into them. He could just made us better.

Why give us free will if we aren't allowed to use it? It only creates suffering.
I won't pretend I have even close to a fraction of God's infinite knowledge and wisdom, but here is my understanding of free will:

Free will is essentially the ability to choose between God's will and our own. God gives us this gift because He is not a fascist; if He was, we'd have no mind of our own and we'd be little more than preprogrammed robots. It also gives us an opportunity to truly show how much we love God. If we had no say in the matter and had no choice but to love God, how could we show Him that we really love him? Instead, we humble ourselves before Him by exalting His will above our own.

The thing is, you are allowed to use the gift of free will. Whether you use it to follow God's will or your own, you're still using it. But if you want to know why one would get punished for following their own will, it's because unlike God, humans are not infinitely good; sooner or later, your will is probably going to want to do some greedy, selfish, or otherwise harmful things.

As for the despot thing, Original Sin is a good example. Punishing every human being for the actions of two people who have been mislead and didn't even act from malice.
This is how I see it: Adam and Eve were in just about the most innocent environment one could think of. They didn't have many of the temptations we do; they couldn't steal since they already had everything, they couldn't commit adultery because there was no one to cheat on each other with, etc.

They had one simple commandment: don't eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And yet they did it. If these two people before the fall were unable to resist breaking that one rule, then how many people after the fall do you think will be able to? The very next generation, we see the Bible's first murderer.

It wasn't. God confirms it. And banishes them so the don't become immortal.

And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: - Genesis 3 22
First off, I'd like to say I'm having a hard time figuring out your argument. You said Satan didn't lie to them, yet you, yourself mentioned God revoking their immortality when Satan told them when they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they wouldn't die and earlier you said Adam and Eve were misled. Which is it? I'm not trying to make fun of you or anything, I'd legitimately like to know what I'm arguing against so I can have an easier time presenting my case.

Next, I would like to point out that the Bible wasn't written in English. The wording of the lie in Gen 3:4-5 is different than what God says in Gen 3:22. But, for the sake of argument, let's say they were the same. Even then, it would be hard to say they necessarily meant the same things because the Hebrew word "yada" ("to know") alone has dozens of different possible meanings and appears in different forms in 3:5 and 3:22.

Nevertheless, since I know next to nothing about Hebrew, let's keep it in English. Though the wordings are similar, I think different meanings are conveyed in 3:5 and 3:22. I think what the serpent means in 3:5 is pretty close to what's presented; "If you eat of this tree, you will know what's good and what's evil." I think what God means in 3:22 is a bit closer to, "Man has, in his own mind, become like God because now rather than listening to God's definitions of good and evil, he now seeks to define such things for himself."

MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Jan 4th 2015 at 1:38:15 PM

[up][up]They were Christians in the beginning. They started off like any other military order: To fight in the Crusades for the glory of Christendom against the heathen Saracens of the Near East, who had stolen the Holy Land from its rightful owners and defiled it with their false faith. note  Over time, however, the went a similar way to the real-life Knights Templar did: Gradually becoming more tolerant of the infidels, cultivating mutually beneficial relations with Muslim traders, craftsmen and even scholar, and even practicing some proto-form of The Laws And Customs Of War (e.g. no slaughtering enemies if they genuinely surrender)note .

I haven't gotten this part ironed out yet, but the gist of it is that as the order gradually realizes the enormity of the excesses of corruption and hypocrisy that the Catholic Church's clergy had become mired in over the centuries (you know, one of the reasons the Reformation was sparked), they eventually lose faith in the Catholic Church while still being skeptical of other Christian sects, not even finding fulfillment in the newly arisen sects of Protestantism, and similarly not being convinced of other neighbouring faiths like Islam and Judaism. Then their current leader falls into a deep slumber after a few sleepless days and nights of pouring over the various scriptures of all known religions in a desperate attempt to find a new purpose for his troops, and has a dream-vision that becomes the foundation for his new, syncretic religion.

edited 4th Jan '15 1:39:11 PM by MarqFJA

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Jan 4th 2015 at 6:39:38 PM

[up][up]About free will: if your punished for its use, it's not "free". Otherwise slaves would be "free" to go as well.

They had one simple commandment
That's one of my problems with god's laws from the beginning. They're simply given as "because I said so" commands not actual morals with a reasoned explanation. Not could they because Adam and Eve lacked the understanding to tell them apart. But it is not morality that is tested, it is obedience.

First off, I'd like to say I'm having a hard time figuring out your argument.
I was referring to the "knowledge about good and evil" part. The snake says they will gain it from eating it. Afterwards God confirms that the humans had gained that knowldge upon eating the fruit.The death part isn't an inherent consequence of eating the fruit. That's just God's decision.

They were "misled" in the sense an aunt would "mislead" a child to eat candy despite the parents forbidding it.

Next, I would like to point out that the Bible wasn't written in English. The wording of the lie in Gen 3:4-5 is different than what God says in Gen 3:22. But, for the sake of argument, let's say they were the same. Even then, it would be hard to say they necessarily meant the same things because the Hebrew word "yada" ("to know") alone has dozens of different possible meanings and appears in different forms in 3:5 and 3:22.
No idea about Hebrew. But the German Bible I have uses the phrase "erkennt Gut und Böse" which can mean recognize/identify/realize/spot Good and Evil among other things in both instances. And while possible, there's no indication that it means anything different the second time.

Jan 4th 2015 at 11:25:49 PM

[up]As far as I can gather, it seems our difference on the whole free will argument is that you think you seem to think you get punished for using free will in general, whereas I think you only get punished for using it to do something that warrants punishment (ie: willfully going against God). I think your argument essentially hinges on "why give us a choice if using free will to disobey God will get us punished?" Again, if you had no choice, how can you truly love God and how would that not make God a tyrant who decides what we think?

When you follow your own will and not God's, you wind up sinning, which is something that warrants punishment in the first place. Whether lying, stealing, murdering, or what, there's a victim. The only times in the Bible I can remember where sin has no earthly victim is when man chooses to serve another god. This is why in Mark 12:30-31, Jesus sums up the whole of the law with "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

What I'm getting at is this why you're punished for following your own will; because your own will is what leads to taking advantage of others. And if God made it so you could just follow your own will and be fine, what need would we have for a savior?\\
Back to the original sin story, I, personally, I don't think there was anything special about the fruit other than it being forbidden. Probably because I've never bitten into fruit and suddenly gained a wealth of information. Then again, I can't say I have much experience with talking snakes either, so I'm ready to be wrong. At any rate, I think the only knowledge they "gained" from eating from the tree was knowledge they had all along; that God wasn't forcing them to obey Him and they were given a choice.

I think part of what leads me to my interpretation of that part of the Bible is that if Adam and Eve really did learn what is good and what is evil, then there wouldn't be so much philosophical debate over such topics - let alone the topic of whether good and evil actually exist. I'm of the opinion that, whether you wanna take it literally or figuratively, the point of the original sin story is that it didn't take man long to start rationalizing ways to disobey God.

And, at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I really don't see much productive coming out of carrying this discussion much further because it seems the root of our differences are deeply-held convictions it's going to take more than some stranger's word on the Internet to change. Obviously you're free to reply to this and I'll read it, but I'm not sure whether I'm all that keen on boring everybody with any more walls of text for now.

dRoy Perpetually clueless from The Happy Place Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Perpetually clueless
Jan 5th 2015 at 6:40:24 AM

So, I took a course called "Bible as Literature" last semester, which is...well, pretty much about reading and interpreting the Bible.

As the final paper, I wrote how the Transfiguration connected the Old and the New Testament, and how Jesus' coming was foreshadowed in the former and his relationship with the Law would be in the latter.

In the Old Testament section, I started with the point that Joshua was the prototype for Jesus, and used Psalm 22 and Isiah 53, as a foreshadowing of Jesus. In the New Testament, I used quotes of Matthew chapter 5, 23, and few verses from Roman and Hebrews, and others.

My summary was that Jesus' coming did nothing to change the Scripture, but rather, how it was meant to be applied. In the OT, it was about dogmatic and exclusive part of the Law, while in NT, it was more about compassionate and accepting part of the Law, as seen in even Exodus and Deuteranomy.

Not sure it was something writing a paper, but eh, already done and submitted so...yeah.

Mother of god...You turned one of the hardest and best Champions into an absolute joke. - Zelenal
Maridee from surfside Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Jan 5th 2015 at 10:28:23 AM

@Marq FJA:

ahhh okay. that's going beyond my knowledge, but wish you the best of luck!

ophelia, you're breaking my heart
Shadsie Staring At My Own Grave from Across From the Cemetery Relationship Status: My elf kissing days are over
Staring At My Own Grave
Jan 5th 2015 at 11:52:09 AM

It might all depend on how literally one takes the Adam and Eve story. Presently, I tend to take it more symbolically, as in awareness of "good and evil" and awareness of mortality are things that happened to the human animal at some point, and "death entering the world" was a spiritual death and "eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil" meant that we gained a unique awareness of empathy and malice.

In other words, when I see a cat torturing a mouse it has caught, I tend to consider the cat innocent in its cruelty, because I don't think kitty realizes the full extent of what she is doing, whereas, if a human (past a certain age / cognitive level) were to put a cat in a sack and beat it because they thought the sounds of the cat-screams were amusing, they'd be evil/doing evil, because THEY KNOW BETTER. Personally, I actually find nothing scarier than oblivious evil (like the time a young nephew of mine killed several of the family's newborn kittens because he didn't know that squeezing them too hard hurt them and kept getting at them and taking them out to hold and squeeze before anyone noticed/was able to get in to stop him)... (and it's how I like to make Skull Kids in my Zelda fanfictions), But there is something to be said for when a person "knows the difference between good and evil."

Ancient religious narratives aside, isn't science trying to figure out the same kind of thing? What makes humans different / what makes us have the "moral sense" that we have, why do some people in society not have "pro-social" traits and shoot up schools full of elementary kids, etc.

Er, yeah. I tend to see certain parts of the Bible (and other ancient stories) as symbolic and pointing to universal truths we're all trying to figure out, even we "sophisticated moderns" who have got it figured it out less than some of us think.

Then again, sometimes I also think I ought to be killed for believing in anything at all. I'm a stupid, defective person who's once-belief in the literal and continuing belief in anything means I'm really of little to now value to the future, right?

As for the seeking out story-help... try Writer's Block? Just because this is the Christian Coven doesn't mean that everyone on the board who is a Christian actually hangs out here on a regular basis, plus there are many non-Christians who enjoy studying history and religion who don't come to this part of the forum who might be eager the be of assistance over in Writer's Block. It's good to try all angles when researching.

edited 5th Jan '15 11:58:41 AM by Shadsie

In which I attempt to be a writer.
Jan 5th 2015 at 4:40:05 PM

There's a big problem if you think you should be killed for believing in something. Here's a hug. And don't listen to the idiot trolls that think being a Christian means you're less than human.

Jan 5th 2015 at 5:40:24 PM

It might all depend on how literally one takes the Adam and Eve story. Presently, I tend to take it more symbolically, as in awareness of "good and evil" and awareness of mortality are things that happened to the human animal at some point, and "death entering the world" was a spiritual death and "eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil" meant that we gained a unique awareness of empathy and malice.
That take is actually very suitable. Even if it wasn't intended as an allegory for humans gaining consicousness, it is still very applicable to it. "Paradise" was just the state of not being self-aware (noticing being naked fits as well even if that is more a cultural taboo). It also fits the "idleness" of the paradise. Animals don't need to do agriculture/animal husbandry and plan far ahead.

Shadsie Staring At My Own Grave from Across From the Cemetery Relationship Status: My elf kissing days are over
Staring At My Own Grave
Jan 5th 2015 at 7:26:35 PM

Not being there at the time these stories began, I do not know if they were meant to be myth or meant to be literal, but even if they were meant to be literal, I see no reason not to see myth. (I don't mean "myth" in the derogatory sense, in fact, I'm annoyed at the modern world for having made "myth" a bad word. I think we miss out on a lot). I don't think ancient people were idiots. I think they knew that there was something different and interesting about us (compared to how other animals seem to experience the world) and, of course, we do have our natural senses of morality and guilt. I think Ancient Jews tried to figure it all out as much as anyone. I think people only hate it as much as they do in the modern world because *both sides * lost their sense of "myth" about it and that's why we have the Creation museum. In other words, I think a lot of people who use it to try to prove or disprove the existence of a Higher Power or the roots of human morality as if we're dealing with something journalistic cosmically miss the point.

That said, again, not taking it literally didn't kill the idea of "God" in my mind. Take that as you will. Frankly, if you're here just to poke at us because you're slumming it among those you think of as less than you, I may be a newbie here, but let me ask you to get out. This place is a Coven - a safe place for those of a certain persuasion, a clubhouse that any outside the club need to be polite in. Wipe your feet before entering. If you want to put us in our place, there's Off-Topic Conversation for that. So far, you've been good, but know where you are, okay?

In which I attempt to be a writer.
PersistentMan My journal is ready Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
My journal is ready
Jan 9th 2015 at 2:48:45 PM

I just wanted to find a way to make everyone believe.

Have you forgotten the face of your father, troper?

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