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Old 2010-05-14, 15:21   Link #2441
zarqu
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Isn't it the case that anything can be justified as long as you have God in your corner ?
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Old 2010-05-14, 16:45   Link #2442
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by zarqu View Post
Isn't it the case that anything can be justified as long as you have God in your corner ?
Depends on what you mean by "justified" and by "you have God in your corner". For example, most pulpit pounders derive their authority from the Bible rather than by claiming to be prophets themselves. So they'd have trouble selling "Jesus was an impostor sent by Satan".

On the other hand, their audience isn't that critical. So they can get away with hating gays but eating prawns.
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Old 2010-05-14, 17:32   Link #2443
monster
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
I understand your premise; the truth is I once believed the same thing you're stating. Nonetheless, I've recently been exposed to the idea by some scientists (Daniel Denett for example) that if god exists, he is still within the observations of science. Science isn't anything, really, other than what we can conclude/understand based on phenomena we are capable of detecting. This is why I say perhaps we can take a scientific viewpoint on the 'god question.' Of course, the only answer we have right now is "I don't know."
So if you don't know, how can you come to the conclusion that God is within the observations of science?
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
You're diluting the word "faith" to cover so much that you're venturing into solipsism. You have "faith" that anything you see, hear, feel, think, or experiment on actually has tangibility using that smeared definition.

"Faith", in order to have any meaning at all, specifically means the belief in something without any tangible evidence. It *feels* true to you. That's not the meaning of science. In science, as an example, the Theory of Relativity holds sway, but the INSTANT a piece of verified evidence refutes it - its going to be toast, thrown out if it can't be modified to incorporate the new information (or like Newtonian physics, held to be still useful for certain domains, just incomplete). Faith does not use that protocol.
I think you're misunderstanding me. I was associating faith with religion, not science.
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Who died and made you the sole authority on what Christianity is? It's not like persecution can't be justified biblically, either. They're "saving souls". Or something like that.
Nobody died to make me the authority on Christianity. I'm sorry if I've somehow led you to think that way. God, through the Bible, is the sole authority on Christianity. And the Bible never justifies a Christian who persecutes others.
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Old 2010-05-14, 17:42   Link #2444
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by monstert View Post
So if you don't know, how can you come to the conclusion that God is within the observations of science?
We cannot definitively answer the question, that does not mean it is somehow unanswerable by scientific means. We simply haven't found our answer just yet.
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Old 2010-05-14, 17:51   Link #2445
zarqu
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Originally Posted by monstert View Post
So if you don't know, how can you come to the conclusion that God is within the observations of science?
Science tries to make sense of the natural world.

If God is to interact with the natural world, his/her existence is by definition a matter of scientific enquiry.

Nothing supernatural exists. As soon as anything "supernatural" interacts with the natural world (I'm thinking miracles here), it enters the domain of science and can be investigated using the scientific method.

So the argument boils down to: no evidence thus far. And no evidence will come up.

This is where the argument usually ends. I'll get a word salad explaining how science can't investigate god, something about emotions and transcendence thrown in, also something about the Nazis, Stalin and atheism with a touch of absolute morality.
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Old 2010-05-14, 17:51   Link #2446
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Who died and made you the sole authority on what Christianity is? It's not like persecution can't be justified biblically, either. They're "saving souls". Or something like that.
Jesus and the apostles, including Paul taught to persecute non-christians? Scriptural basis please. Taught to persecute to save souls or something like that? Scriptural basis please.

That's weird, I don't think even in the Old Testament, the Jews attacked the gentiles to save their souls. Joshua invaded Canaan and put his enemies to the sword to claim the promised land, I can't recall if he ever did it to save the gentile souls. Nor do I recall such during David's reign, or Solomon's, or any other King for that matter. Even the judges who fought for and defended Israel did not fight to save the gentiles' souls. They either conquered to gain the promised land or defended themselves from those who would take the promised land. Add to that the chastisement of God against Israel for disobeying him by letting Israel be conquered or subjugated by foreign powers.

The saving of Gentile souls as a message began after the resurrection (Well you could include the visions of old prophets, where all nations bowed to God). So therefore, where after the resurrection of Jesus Christ was it taught to persecute non-Christians in order to save gentile souls in scripture?

I have not encountered a teaching in the scripture of the New Testament wherein God (Jesus Christ) or even his apostles, much more Paul authorizing, directing, or abetting persecution of non-christians.

But may be I am wrong, so cite your scriptural basis and supporting annotations of scholars on the matter.
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Old 2010-05-14, 18:23   Link #2447
monster
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
We cannot definitively answer the question, that does not mean it is somehow unanswerable by scientific means. We simply haven't found our answer just yet.
No, you cannot answer because you (or Denett or both of you) jumped to a conclusion. There is no basis for claiming that God is within the observations of science.

First, you'd have to be capable of reliably (in your own words) "detect" God. If you can do that, then you can scientifically observe God, test whatever hypothesis you have, and come up with conclusions.

Until then, saying the "God question" is somehow scientifically answerable only you haven't find your answer yet is no different than simply saying God exists. They're both based more on faith than the scientific method.
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Originally Posted by zarqu View Post
Science tries to make sense of the natural world.

If God is to interact with the natural world, his/her existence is by definition a matter of scientific enquiry.

Nothing supernatural exists. As soon as anything "supernatural" interacts with the natural world (I'm thinking miracles here), it enters the domain of science and can be investigated using the scientific method.
Except since we don't know everything about the natural world, we can't reliably detect whether a phenomenon is caused by God's interaction. At most, you can observe the phenomenon itself, but not God. Unless God chooses to reveal himself.
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So the argument boils down to: no evidence thus far. And no evidence will come up.
What the argument boils down to is if you insist on using scientific evidence when making a claim, and you don't have any evidence or a way to test that claim, then don't make the claim.
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Old 2010-05-14, 18:51   Link #2448
Vexx
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Originally Posted by MFSxA View Post
Jesus and the apostles, including Paul taught to persecute non-christians? Scriptural basis please. Taught to persecute to save souls or something like that? Scriptural basis please.

...
That's not what he said... perhaps you should read it again. "It's not like persecution can't be justified biblically..." is a very different statement. Put quotation marks around "justified" if you like...

The persecution and forced conversions of non-Christians began around the time the Roman Empire co-opted the religion for its own purposes. Prior to that, the Romans persecuted Christians for not affirming the godhood of the emperor or the supremacy of the state. You're right... there's little scriptural basis (other than the indirect example of the genocide of few "heathen" nations, okay because God directed it - as you say, not for saving because they weren't of the Chosen tribe anyway) for persecution, but interestingly, the fervent can usually find some text extract to support their actions against the "outsider". The persecutory/conversion nature carried on even after Rome fell through the acts of its descendant city-states (Spain, Portugal, France, England, etc) as a cultural weapon of war at the state level (convert or die) and a scapegoat mechanism at the local level (witch trials, etc).

Jesus himself is quite the anomaly in the book with his teaching (gentle almost buddhist-nature remarks if we can trust the texts). One can argue all day about what Paul's interpretation and packaging for Gentile ears did with the religion.

OTOH, its parent religion Judaism started out heavy on the "you're not a Chosen One, tough for you" and proceeded to mellow over the centuries. Islam (offshoot of the Judeo-Christian line) is more problematic when it comes to persecution of non-muslims, because as with the Bible, Koran scripts can be extracted to "justify" many unpleasant behaviors.

Last edited by Vexx; 2010-05-14 at 19:23.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:00   Link #2449
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Just a reminder that this thread is not for debating about the validity of the various religions.

It's for sharing personal experiences of your own religion or lack thereof.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:09   Link #2450
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by monstert View Post
Nobody died to make me the authority on Christianity. I'm sorry if I've somehow led you to think that way. God, through the Bible, is the sole authority on Christianity. And the Bible never justifies a Christian who persecutes others.
OK, then who died and made you sole authority on biblical interpretation? You may think they were wrong, but that's just you. They - whoever they are, crusaders, inquisitors, abortion clinic bombers... - certainly seemed to think they were being good Christians, and doing God's work.

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Originally Posted by MFSxA View Post
Jesus and the apostles, including Paul taught to persecute non-christians? Scriptural basis please. Taught to persecute to save souls or something like that? Scriptural basis please.
Well, obviously they don't call it persecution, but I think it's all covered under "spreading the message". Stretched a bit, sure, but not to the breaking point. And if you're willing to go back to the Old Testament, it's not like God didn't show the way of genocidal pedagogy, what with his deluge or Sodom and Gomorrah. And if you're not... didn't Jesus himself get a little rough with the merchants? And, really... saving souls. Who's against that? It's like being against Freedom, or Justice. It just isn't done.

But then, I'm no Bible scholar and have no desire to become one just to win an internet argument.

Quote:
That's weird, I don't think even in the Old Testament, the Jews attacked the gentiles to save their souls. Joshua invaded Canaan and put his enemies to the sword to claim the promised land, I can't recall if he ever did it to save the gentile souls. Nor do I recall such during David's reign, or Solomon's, or any other King for that matter. Even the judges who fought for and defended Israel did not fight to save the gentiles' souls. They either conquered to gain the promised land or defended themselves from those who would take the promised land. Add to that the chastisement of God against Israel for disobeying him by letting Israel be conquered or subjugated by foreign powers.
Yes, they didn't much bother with excuses back then. Which does make me wonder at the claim that Christianity and persecution are incompatible.

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I have not encountered a teaching in the scripture of the New Testament wherein God (Jesus Christ) or even his apostles, much more Paul authorizing, directing, or abetting persecution of non-christians.
Well, at the time, they weren't precisely in position to do that, were they? Early Christians were more into being fed to the lions than persecuting people. But that doesn't mean that you can't apply logic to a few biblical principles to get relevant policies for a society in which Christians aren't a minority. Like loving everyone and wanting them to go to heaven. What's a few burned books in the face of that?
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:20   Link #2451
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Lio View Post
Just a reminder that this thread is not for debating about the validity of the various religions.

It's for sharing personal experiences of your own religion or lack thereof.
Aye, technically the thread probably shouldn't even exist as it's basically a "list" thread (see Forum Rules). As one can see by browsing the thread, its difficult to discuss comparatively... but one should be able to explain the latticework or underpinnings of a religion without getting too honked up. How religion gets *used* by people is even more difficult to dance with as a topic - as we can see above.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:20   Link #2452
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The persecution and forced conversions of non-Christians began around the time the Roman Empire co-opted the religion for its own purposes. Prior to that, the Romans persecuted Christians for not affirming the godhood of the emperor or the supremacy of the state. You're right... there's little scriptural basis (other than the indirect example of the genocide of few "heathen" nations, okay because God directed it - as you say, not for saving because they weren't of the Chosen tribe anyway) for persecution. The persecutory/conversion nature carried on even after Rome fell through the acts of its descendant city-states (Spain, Portugal, France, England, etc) as a cultural weapon of war at the state level (convert or die) and a scapegoat mechanism at the local level (witch trials, etc).
Exactly the point. God, under Christian doctrine does not order, direct, nor abet persecutions for any reason. Jesus Christ himself set the example. The most powerful being did not smite his enemies but showed great patience.

Now if Christians want to obey and follow God, well and good. If they chose to pervert or disobey the teachings, that's their watch. Free will and all.

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Jesus himself is quite the anomaly in the book with his teaching (gentle almost buddhist-nature remarks if we can trust the texts). One can argue all day about what Paul's interpretation did with the religion.
Well the old quest, new quest, and eventually the Jesus Seminar all paint their pictures. It is quite true though that Jesus Christ was, well hard to describe, just happened that way.

Though I have to say that Paul's view won out because of a vision by Peter found in the book of Acts. Truth is, he wasn't really a person who had a lot to say until after the good part of his ministries. He always needed the approval of Peter and James the Just (brother of Jesus). (Witherington III, Ben. New Testament History. 2001)

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
OTOH, its parent religion Judaism started out heavy on the "you're not a Chosen One, tough for you" and proceeded to mellow over the centuries. Islam (offshoot of the Judeo-Christian line) is more problematic when it comes to persecution of non-muslims.
I don't know, only read a few parts of the Quran, and a small part of the Talmud. Perhaps when I have time, I'd love to read further.

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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
As with the Bible, scripts can be extracted to justify many unpleasant behaviors.
This is true especially when they "cut and paste" effectively leaving out the context. But that is why we have our free will, intellect, and reason. Its the information age, verify what one reads, think, discuss, decide.
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So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

Ecclesiastes 2:15-16, NKJV
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:22   Link #2453
monster
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
OK, then who died and made you sole authority on biblical interpretation? You may think they were wrong, but that's just you. They - whoever they are, crusaders, inquisitors, abortion clinic bombers... - certainly seemed to think they were being good Christians, and doing God's work.
As with any disagreement over interpretations, you go back to the source. So if you (or they, whoever they are) would show me where in the Bible either Jesus or any of the Apostles taught Christians to kill and persecute other people or destroy other people's places, then we'll see if my interpretation requires re-evaluation.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:29   Link #2454
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Islam (offshoot of the Judeo-Christian line) is more problematic when it comes to persecution of non-muslims, because as with the Bible, Koran scripts can be extracted to "justify" many unpleasant behaviors.
The short Islamic passage Al-Khafiroun discusses what a good Muslim would do when meeting a non-Muslim. They would not force their religion upon those unwilling, but despite that would not throw away their own beliefs. (Somebody famous named Osama clearly didn't read that part of his religion).

A good article to shed light on what the religion actually is about beyond the common misconceptions and how most Muslim-Americans feel when they hear these stories of terrorism caused by people claiming to be of their religion: http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/11/0...ood/index.html
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:47   Link #2455
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As with any disagreement over interpretations, you go back to the source. So if you (or they, whoever they are) would show me where in the Bible either Jesus or any of the Apostles taught Christians to kill and persecute other people or destroy other people's places, then we'll see if my interpretation requires re-evaluation.
"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me." - Lk 19:27

How about that? However, I think the main issue is the Old Testament, and the fact that Jesus (as far as I know) never said that many of its teachings no longer apply.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:55   Link #2456
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Anh Minh you are now entering the issue, whether or not God's frame of mind is the same as humans, and therefore his acts were wrong, under human consideration.

An even better issue is whether or not your an atheist, because, as any atheist worth his salt knows (I was a former atheist) there is no objective morality or duties, that my friend, directly affects your contention as to whether or not God's action is atrocious - because the answer may make you look like a hypocrite. Apologists refer to it as the "Moral Argument" for God's existence. If you have followed Dawkin's works, he affirms this - human worth more specifically (Wolpert, Lewis. Six Impossible Things before Breakfast. London: Faber and Faber, 2006, p. 215). Friedrich Nietzsche realized it by posing the question who will comfort those who have killed God? (Paraphrase)

Besides Anh Minh, if people don't want to follow authority that's their choice. It is quite sad that the Catholic Church gave in to these abuses.

Abraham Lincoln put it well, and I paraphrase, you want to know a man's character? Give him power.

The leaders of the church in those times showed their character. But such does not derogate to the fact that Christian scripture does not teach such actions.

That vital distinction must be noted, for fairness' sake.
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So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also is vanity." For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

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Old 2010-05-14, 19:58   Link #2457
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Well, on the paper I'm Christian, but in fact I really am not religious.
I have this one theory though, that destiny exists. But don't read any further if you're not interested in a childish man's view on the world.

Spoiler for Destiny exists because...:


Omg, I can't believe I just wrote that down.
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Old 2010-05-14, 19:59   Link #2458
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by MFSxA View Post
Exactly the point. God, under Christian doctrine does not order, direct, nor abet persecutions for any reason.
Unless you count Exodus, where God uses mind-control to get - or at least maintain - a persecution.

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Originally Posted by MFSxA View Post
Anh Minh you are now entering the issue,
Am I? When did that happen?

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whether or not God's frame of mind is the same as humans, and therefore his acts were wrong, under human consideration.
You have it backward. What I said was "God did it. Therefore, under the moral system of those who believe him perfect, genocide in case of excessive sin is not only acceptable but desirable". I wasn't trying to say his acts were wrong. Though obviously they are, but under my morals, which we weren't discussing.

Also, do you contend that certain acts can be right if God does them, but wrong for everyone else?

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An even better issue is whether or not your an atheist,
Actually, I don't see how my personal views are relevant to the debate.

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because, as any atheist worth his salt knows (I was a former atheist)
Which by itself doesn't make you an authority on atheism, any more than Monstert's an authority on Christianism.

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there is no objective morality or duties,
Which doesn't make atheists incapable of moral judgments.

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that my friend, directly affects your contention as to whether or not God's action is atrocious - because the answer may make you look like a hypocrite. Apologists refer to it as the "Moral Argument" for God's existence.
But genocide is atrocious... by the standards of what we - here and now - call civilized behavior. The perpetrator may have other ideas, but who cares about that?

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If you have followed Dawkin's works, he affirms this - human worth more specifically (Wolpert, Lewis. Six Impossible Things before Breakfast. London: Faber and Faber, 2006, p. 215). Friedrich Nietzsche realized it by posing the question who will comfort those who have killed God? (Paraphrase)
That sentence doesn't parse.

Quote:
Besides Anh Minh, if people don't want to follow authority that's their choice. It is quite sad that the Catholic Church gave in to these abuses.

Abraham Lincoln put it well, and I paraphrase, you want to know a man's character? Give him power.

The leaders of the church in those times showed their character.
Which times were those? Because if we're talking about getting fed to the lions, I don't think it shows character. It shows either powerlessness (if you can't prevent it) or suicidal tendencies (if you can).
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But such does not derogate to the fact that Christian scripture does not teach such actions.
It doesn't teach to print Bibles either. Different times, different problems, different solutions. Still - and we go back to my point - we can apply Christian principles to justify... many things. Who's to say what's "Christian" and what's not? Isn't it a bit easy to see someone labeling himself as Christian do something you don't like, and then just dismiss it with a no True Scotsman argument?

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2010-05-14 at 20:28.
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Old 2010-05-14, 20:05   Link #2459
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Originally Posted by Nogitsune View Post
"But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them - bring them here and kill them in front of me." - Lk 19:27

How about that?
That is a parable, and Hell does exist for unbelievers. But had Jesus meant that literally for his disciples and Christians to do, then Jesus wouldn't have chastised one of his disciples for using a sword when he was about to be captured. (Luke 22:51)
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However, I think the main issue is the Old Testament, and the fact that Jesus (as far as I know) never said that many of its teachings no longer apply.
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, ..." - Luke 6:27
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Old 2010-05-14, 20:18   Link #2460
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If anything, I'm Pantheist.
I do believe there is a godly force that created what we have around us.
'...Nature.'
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