Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christianity

Theology, Religious Studies, religion, god, faith and other topics of a spiritual nature.

Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christianity

Postby Braininvat on December 23rd, 2016, 1:01 pm 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/sunday/pastor-am-i-a-christian.html

It gets pretty interesting in the second half of the interview, as the nature and scope of faith is discussed, and what distinguishes a "secular Christian" from one who believes in such miracles as virgin birth and resurrection from a grave. Also, I was amused at the waffling over whether or not Gandhi would go to hell for not being Christian. It's very articulate and thoughtful waffling, but it's still waffling.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5517
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christiani

Postby mitchellmckain on January 30th, 2017, 1:43 am 

ok... my own stand on these issues.

the virgin birth?
Is a virgin birth integral or defining of Christianity? It is not in the earliest creed of Nicea 325AD by which I define the Christian religion.
Is it possible the virgin birth was used to appeal to older religious sentiments like Paul's use of the altar to an unknown god? Sure. It is also possible God used this by actually having Jesus born to a virgin.
All things being equal, is it probable? No. But this doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Is a virgin birth scientifically/physically impossible? No. As we know today a baby requires fertilization not actual intercourse.
Do I think it is possible that Jesus did not have a human father? No.
Where does the Bible stand on this? Frankly, it suggests a virgin birth but that Jesus had a human father as well as a heavenly father.

the Resurrection?
Literal? Yes. Bodily? Yes. Physical? No.
That is where the Bible is on this issue as directly addressed by Paul in 1 Cor 15.
He explains that it is a resurrection to a spiritual body made of the imperishable stuff of heaven and not of the perishable stuff of the earth. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." But does that mean that the resurrected Jesus was a ghost? No. Ghost are dead spirits and a shadow of their former selves. But Jesus is a living spirit like God Himself, which is more real and substantial than all the physical universe, and capable of more rather than less in every way.

the miracles?
Depends on how miracles are defined. If they are defined as a breaking of natural physical law then no I do not believe in them. I believe God made the laws of nature for a very good reason so I do not believe He breaks them. But clearly far more is possible that people usually presume. Most of the miracles have been reproduced or explained. Does this mean these were magic tricks or that Jesus was a magician? Jesus never claimed supernatural powers. He said that we would do everything He had done and more. What Jesus made clear was that these were things the Father had done, so if you call these things magic tricks then God was the "magician".

Also, I was amused at the waffling over whether or not Gandhi would go to hell for not being Christian.

You will get no waffling from me on this. The answer is no. I reject the Gnostic gospel of salvation by the mental works of secret knowledge or correct belief. Being a Christian does not mean one is saved. Not being a Christian does not mean one is not saved. Such issues of belief are largely irrelevant. In Romans 10 Paul distinguishes "righteousness based on the law" from "righteousness based on faith" (i.e. between legalism and faith) on the basis of whether you have pinned righteousness upon some kind of formula by which you think you can say who goes to heaven or who goes to hell. That is legalism according to Paul. To live by faith means you don't ask such questions. You simply love God and his children with all your heart without looking for some kind of payback. But doesn't that mean not believing in God means you cannot live by faith? No, this simply translates to doing what is right for its own sake.
Last edited by Braininvat on February 20th, 2017, 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fix typo
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 495
Joined: 27 Oct 2016


Re: Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christiani

Postby henriette on February 1st, 2017, 8:32 am 

Dear,
Not only for fun, two points about the topic:

There is a most important spiritual figure, the son of God and of a human female, who suffered the sacrifice of his life for all of them, who went to the dead's world, who was not born out of a vagina (but rather out of a leg), who experienced resurrection and made a lot of miracles : Dionysus. What is important here is maybe not so much the historic truth but rather the impact of such symbols, I mean the way they work more than their meanings.

The concept of miracle as discussed in the paper seems to be inconsistent because what god may do is always under his common law or his will, whatever it appears to be a general rule or rather an exception, is it? I do not understand what this pastor (or Pascal) means when it is about miracles.

It is of major interest in this field to read about paleochristianity. The two councils of Nicea and Constantinople, out of whom the Christian credo (i.e. the symbol of Nicea-constantinople) was developed, were mainly a way to settle disputes with other Christian sects (including the marcionists and the followers of Simon the magician). My humble position here is that Augustine made a great work at least on a point : he made Christianity, with its bunch of saints, something else than an iconoclast religion, at the opposite of the two others religions around and astonishingly despite Augustine's interest for Plato's idealism ! This is a miracle we may all enjoy when entering a Gothic or a Roman church !
User avatar
henriette
Member
 
Posts: 357
Joined: 30 Oct 2007


Re: Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christiani

Postby Braininvat on February 19th, 2017, 7:44 pm 

Mitchell, I have neglected this thread. Thanks so much for your reply , especially the insight on Paul's distinction. I will be back and fix your typo in the first post.

I am a bit puzzled about the concept, in Hemriette's post, of being born from a leg rather than a vagina. Some anatomy clarification is needed?
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5517
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Interview with pastor regarding skepticism of Christiani

Postby mitchellmckain on February 20th, 2017, 12:24 am 

Braininvat » February 19th, 2017, 6:44 pm wrote:I am a bit puzzled about the concept, in Hemriette's post, of being born from a leg rather than a vagina. Some anatomy clarification is needed?

The myth of Dionysus is that he was born out of Zeus' leg, the fetus transplanted there from the dying mother. The relevance is probably the other parts of the myth of Dionysus which sound like Jesus: came back to life after being ripped apart by the Titans and performed a resurrection. But frankly these two are such common elements in the stories of mythical gods that one could say they were standard expectations for anyone claiming such a status. Then it becomes a chicken vs. egg type issue where the Christian is just going to see all these myths as foreshadowing Christ.
User avatar
mitchellmckain
Member
 
Posts: 495
Joined: 27 Oct 2016



Return to Religion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests