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View Diary: Faith is No Longer in Political Fashion (49 comments)

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  •  For a real believer, (5+ / 0-)

    focusing on relieving suffering should be paramount.  That's where the salvation and rewarding afterlife come from.  

    There is a core, dare I say 'fundamental,' difference among Christians regarding faith and works.  Too many have focused exclusively on faith by cherry-picking in the scriptures to justify that view.  If you take the whole of the New Testament as the blueprint for Christianity, it's a LOT more complicated than that.  Of course, there are a whole bunch of folks who don't 'do' complicated.  They are the ones at teabag rallies.

    The truth is that to do Christianity well, you have to be able to constantly rethink how to live your life.  The changing world requires an ongoing reassessment of how to balance faith and works to accomplish a 'good' life. There are just some people for whom that is so uncomfortable that they must fight against it.  In fact, they must fight to make you believe as they do, because they cannot stand seeing faith work in any other way.

    In most things, I would never want to go back to the "good old days," but in this one, I would.  I'd like to go back to where religion was a minor political issue, if it was mentioned at all.  I really think that the heavy emphasis on religion (or lack of it) has been a major factor in the dumbing down of our leadership.  Although the president is wicked smart, the necessity to tiptoe around the religious nuts makes bad/weak policy.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 02:55:40 AM PDT

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    •  One of my fave questions is (8+ / 0-)

      Assume a young man is brought to the ER by friends. He was on a business trip when he suddenly fell into an apparent coma. For 3 days afterwards he remained in a stupor and upon recovering his faculties, he reported sensational visual and aural hallucinations. What is his DX?

      Answers are usually epilepsy or a stroke or CVA or whatever, until they realize I have rendered a medical report of Paul's conversion experience, based upon Paul's own report of what he experienced.

      Amazing isn't it?

      •  Thanks you! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bonsai66

        I'd never thought about it that way.  I am conflicted about Paul.  The verses from Corinthians about love (love is patient, kind, etc.) are simply beautiful.  Some of his other stuff... not so much.

        -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

        by luckylizard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 03:25:41 AM PDT

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        •  it was while reflecting on Oral Robert's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          luckylizard, Bonsai66

          claim of a 600 ft Jesus in a vision that I reread Paul's account of his experience on the Road to Damascus and thought of if he presented to an ER today. At that point, his account made more sense in a medical sense than it did in a biblical context since he became the "premiere" Christian despite never having met Jesus and having been a foe of Christianity in his early life.

          It just seems odd, when taken outside of the Christian faith tradition, that someone who was not involved with Jesus' ministry and who came late to the faith (his letters date around his 50s in terms of age) should then be so instrumental in shaping the religion through history. I would daresay that most of the sermons this morning across the country will rely more on the OT and Paul than they will Jesus.

          •  Probably, although (2+ / 0-)
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            Bonsai66, Joieau

            this week's readings are really pretty unified.  Most weeks, the OT reading and the Gospel sort of go together, and the NT reading (mostly Paul) is a sort of outlier.  I've thought about the fact that he never met Jesus and also found it odd that we place so much credence in his work.

            -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

            by luckylizard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:47:03 AM PDT

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            •  Not so odd, just corruptive. (1+ / 0-)
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              luckylizard

              Jesus was creating a revolution, a new way of life. Paul was a Pharisee, enforcer for the legal arm of the Sanhedrin, and a 'worldly' Jew of his time. Thus it's not so surprising that he embraced the self-appointed task of universalizing a new religion (with the same legalistic claptrap as the old religion). And at that he was a genius.

              What he created, however, wasn't very close to what Jesus sought to impart.

              Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

              by Joieau on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:27:30 AM PDT

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              •  That's what gets me. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Joieau

                While I really don't like a lot of what Paul 'wrote' I think of things like the Corinthians passage and it doesn't make sense.  Maybe he didn't write the good parts.  That's also possible....

                -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

                by luckylizard on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:13:12 AM PDT

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                •  A big part of Paul's genius (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  luckylizard

                  was in recognizing that the mission wasn't exclusive to the Jews. James had authority over the Jerusalem church, Paul took it outside Judea. That's what all the bruhaha over circumcision came in, an argument Paul won over James. And for all the historical horrors that came and went over the millennia in the name of Christ, Paul often was gifted with divine inspiration. Just not when he was dealing with the minutia of governance.

                  Now, more than ever, we need the Jedi.

                  by Joieau on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 10:41:01 AM PDT

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                  •  When does divine inspiration (0+ / 0-)

                    become dumb luck? After all Constantine claimed the same sort of inspiration and it is very doubtful that he ever fully understood the whole theology thing very well (what politician ever does?)

                    Paul was writing about specific problems in specific churches at specific times. The fact that some of his answers have universal applications would stem from divine inspiration or dumb luck on his part?

                •  about half of his epistles (0+ / 0-)

                  were probably ghost written (shades of Palin) and his main contribution to Christianity was to open it up to pagans and nonJews. As a matter of fact he and Peter had quite a falling out over his status since he was not one of the original disciples and also over the issue of circumcism since Paul held circumcism to be unnecessary

        •  Try reading the new book by (4+ / 0-)

          Crossan and Borg about Paul.  They divide up the letters in the New Testament into genuine letters, maybe genuine letters and probably not genuine letters.  They have very good historical/exegetical/archaeological/etc. reasons for doing so.  What emerges is a Paul who is clearly a believer in the social gospel of Jesus.  The book is here:

          http://www.amazon.com/...

          "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

          by greywolfe359 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 09:07:42 AM PDT

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