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1/18/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Atheist Bullshiters

Recently a Christian poster made the allegation that anyone who walks away from Christianity always leaves a "strange" version of it. Although this poster declined to define exactly what a "strange" version of Christianity might be, the topic on which this Christian posted his observation had to do with Christians who believe the world is approximately 6,000 years old, was created in six days, in general cling to a Biblical literalism, and who in many cases believe their worldview should be promoted in schools and through other educational venues. Now the Christian poster didn't actually say that such literalists were strange in their beliefs, but that was the implication based on the context of the conversation in which he did say that he had never met a Christian who believed such odd things (World only 6,000 years old, etc). I suggested to this Christian that he hadn't been around much.

Anyway, I attempted, unsuccessfully, to help this Christian understand that there is no way to define "strange" when it comes to various Christian beliefs, because there are so many versions of Christianity believed and followed, both throughout history and now. In reality, any and all versions of Christianity are thought strange by other people in other versions of Christianity. It all depends on who is carrying on the conversation.

He wanted to be inclusive in his embrace of all Christians, regardless of marked theological and behavioral differences, but still held that there are strange versions of Christianity. When pressed harder to define "strange" he simply stopped commenting.

When Christians see members of Westboro Baptist Church out picketing, many Christians simply disavow them as not doing what "real Christians" should be doing. I would guess that Westboro Baptist would be considered a "strange" version of Christianity by many. The trouble is, Westboro's members have as much scriptural support for their positions as do the more liberal and less aggressive versions of Christianity. By being selective, and because of all the contradictions, Biblical support is fairly easy to come by.

OK. Well, this guy in the YouTube video is not a member of Westboro Baptist Church, but he does believe he is a true Christian. Undoubtedly some Christians will find this YouTube Christian as a bit strange. The response was made by a member of the Forum section of this site who goes by the name "Celt Cat."

The language used by the Christian in the first video is not work friendly.

So, here's the question for any and all: Is this Christian following a "strange" version of Christianity? Please try to explain your answer.

The Christian:



An ex-Christian response:

43 comments:

jim earl said...

For some strange reason, the first video would not play. The response video played well. Since I couldn't see what "Glen" ranted about, I can't offer any opinion of this as of now.

However, the response person was right on and I agree that there are countless mistakes in the Wholly Babble.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to check the video when I get home, but I just wanted to commet about something you said, "By being selective, and because of all the contradictions, Biblical support is fairly easy to come by." That is an excellent observation and way of putting it. How often do you hear christians talk about other christians doing things they don't agree with and say, "Well, they aren't true christians." ? Guess god is responsible for both everything and nothing, depending on how it will be taken. Go bible, lol!

Anonymous said...

I notice you had to click on the YouTube link to listen to him.

He is one "angry" christian. I also note he has now switched off comments :(

We could repost his video on YouTube and leave comments switched on :)

I may do it when I get home LOL

Jerry

Anonymous said...

Is this Christian following a "strange" version of Christianity? Please try to explain your answer.

A "strange" version of Christianity is one that does not exhibit its leader, Jesus Christ. Is this man acting as Jesus would? What do you think Jesus would say to this man, especially being this man is trying to represent Him?

The true measure of a Christian is how Christ-like they are. A servant is only as good as His master. If the servant obeys His master, then the servant follows the master accordingly. However, if a servant disobeys His master, He is not acting accordingly. If this man is a servant of Jesus, is He obeying Jesus?

Jesus Christ said that His people would be characterized by the fruit they produce. Jesus also said His people would be known as His by the love they show one another. Would you say this man is following Jesus?

A little different thought....would a person who is confident ever become upset like this man? Obviously, this man is upset because he is struggling in his own faith.

Jesus, who knew who He was, did not struggle fight or even yell when they sentenced Him to prison for lies. They accused Him of lying, for saying that He was God. He is God, however, they did not believe Him. And so, they sentenced Jesus to die because they did not believe Jesus was God.

Jesus did not argue, fight, or yell. He submitted. Jesus agreed that He was claiming to be God. They did not even need to hold a trial because Jesus admitted to this. Despite His confidence, they still hung Jesus on a cross to prove that He was not God. While hanging there, they even challenged Him, telling Him to save Himself. However, Jesus did not come to save Himself. He came to save us.

Do not listen to anyone who claims to be Christian and yet acts differently than Jesus or His teachings.

In Christ,
Blake

Anonymous said...

This comment is in reply to the ex-Christian video.

I would just like to point out that the bible is NOT the absolute truth and it is NOT the Word of God. No where in the bible does it say scripture is the Word of God. Rather, the bible quotes Jesus as saying, "I am the truth."

If the bible is the absolute truth, then it is immediately false because it contradicts this. It claims Jesus is the truth.

The bible is a testimony of Jesus Christ. The bible is a document recording His interaction with humanity. The bible may be true, but it is not the absolute truth. Jesus Christ is the absolute truth. He is the Word of God.

This means that if we want to know the truth, we must seek Jesus.

In Christ,
Blake

Spirula said...

Blake

As to your first comment, be sure to let all 30,000+ Christian denominations know that there is a definition a True Christian. I'm sure they'll appreciate the fact that you figured out something that they, apparently, could not.

I would just like to point out that the bible is NOT the absolute truth and it is NOT the Word of God.

Wow Blake! I believe most conservative Christians would immediately label you a heretic, and claim you have a strange version of Christianity. Next you will explain how you know which parts of the babble are true and which parts may not be true.

In any case, thanks for proving the WM point.

Anonymous said...

Jesus was told all his life that he was in fact sent to Earth by a God, since the very first day that he was born, he was uplifted and praised as a man of God, so Jesus had no reason not to believe that he was sent by a God.

But Jesus was the victim of a very big elaborate hoax, Mary got pregnant from her priest, because she trusted him, so he told her that he wanted to initiate her into the Kingdom of Heaven and he took her into the back room of the church and raped her, Mary being just 12 years old, had no idea what the priest had done.

So Mary got pregnant out of wedlock, a deadly sin, so the priest devised the plan of virgin birth by angels, otherwise the Priest, Mary and Joseph would have been stoned to death.

It all would have been more believable if Jesus was still alive even today, because others in the Bible supposedly lived over 800 years old, so nothing would have seemed unusual even if Jesus had still been walking on Earth today.

But Jesus thought too(also) that he was a God, he thought that he would survive crucifixion, because of Mark 9:1 but their little scheme failed because Jesus never returned, had Jesus still been living today there would be no need for faith, no need for churches and preachers, no need for different beliefs and denominations.

Jesus was not sent from a God, and never was, many thought he was, but he got fooled along with many millions of people.

If Jesus was God, then why did he supposedly say; My God, My God, Why has thou forsaken me?

And why did it take three days for Jesus to resurrect, when supposedly God created the whole universe in just six days?

If I was a God, I would be more concerned about regulating the temperature of the Sun and all the 125 billion galaxies, planets and Suns similar to our own, than be concerned about what a bunch of ignorant fools on a tiny minuscule planet believe.

Anonymous said...

It also took the bible god, four thousand years to devise the saviour on a stick salvation plan.

You Christians are worshipping a man made myth, get over it.

ryan said...

Blake, you are trying to sound like a thinker, and doing poorly. You said that the bible was neither the absolute truth nor the word of god. Then you said that the bible said that jesus was the truth. You can't have it both ways.

By what authority do you assert that jesus was divine; that he was the son of god; that he was the truth? The pope? Voices in your head? Dreams and revelations?

Josh said...

Bently why are you so cruel and mean??? Why don't you want anyone to have JESUS??? Why do you hate Jesus?

Jesus is all that i have, without Jesus i have nuting, i love him soo much and he loves me too...

Praise Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus i love him.

ryan said...

Just a few more things. The gullibility that you demonstrated,Blake, is beyond belief. The nt is mostly slander against the jews, obvious to anyone who has studied a little history. jesus was not crucified because he claimed to be the son of god. The jews had not the authority, and the romans would have had no interest. The roman government took no interest in the religions of their citizens. It would have taken a crime like sedition to have gotten him crucified.

Furthermore, any jew who claimed to be divine would have been discredited among his own people; discredited immediately. The stories you read in your gospel were written years after jesus' death, mostly for people who were not aware of either jewish or roman culture.

You talk like a child.

Anonymous said...

I do not hate JESUS, ok? Get it? And I am not mean, infact more people have been mean to me and done me wrong, than I have to them, ok? Mostly arrogant self-professsing Christians have lied to me to my face and have actually cheated me out of money, yet their imaginary Jesus has somehow found a blessed reason to forgive them.


Josh: "Jesus is all that i have, without Jesus i have nuting, i love him soo much and he loves me too..."

Did you read anything I wrote above?
Jesus was a hoax that went miserably and terribly awry(wrong), Mary had no knowledge about sex, my wife said she knew nothing about sex until after we got married and that was 35 years ago in 1970's 20th century, do you possibly believe they knew more about sex 2000 years ago, than they do today?

The priest knew that the people had been promised a messiah and had been praying for one for thousands of years, it was his chance to fool the ignorant believers and keep himself from being stoned to death.

Just as you Christians will stand by and defend your pastors today in 2007, so did they over 2000 years ago.

If Mary had been so well favored by God, then Mary would have had alot written about her, say like Moses or Noah or Abraham, Mary being the one chosen to deliver the Christ savior of the whole world??? But the Jesus scam is just that, it even fooled Jesus, he thought he was coming back, he promised that he would come back in the disciples lifetime, Mark 9:1

All you Christians have, is a fable and a myth invented originally to save a preachers ass from being stoned to death.

Anonymous said...

From raping a 12 year old innocent little girl.

Anonymous said...

Blake's and Josh's responces demonstrate the mind of a child, because they have been forewarned not to acccept any teachings outside of the Bible, because any knowledge learned outside of the Bible would only represent Satan the devil.

They feel like they are treading upon unsacred treacherous ground by being here with one foot halfway into Satans hell.

Because this is what they have been taught to believe.

Anonymous said...

Ok I have reposted it under a new YouTube name lol.

Comments are enabled :)

Anonymous said...

oops forgot the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8S-OAbHUhY

John Fensworth said...

Pretty easy for this GlennReb guy to talk shit, eh? Especially since he doesn't allow comments to be posted on his videos and doesn't allow them to be embedded, either!

Anonymous said...

That GlennReb guy is a very angry weird asshole!

Christianity needs much more people like that, cause it's people like him, who are the folk who scare the normal Christians out of their church and beliefs.

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake!

May I have ten dollars, please? Jesus said to give to everyone who asks, and I am asking: Please send me ten dollars through PayPal today.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a wierd rant. I'm fascinated by so much anger in defense of a man whose principle message to humanity was that we should, "Love one another."

I'm an actual atheist so to me ALL Christians are strange. So are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wickans, Pagans, and pretty much anyone else who believes in the beings whose existence cannot be proven, much less even demonstrated. That includes gods, Santa Clause, leprechauns, Bigfoot, fairies, the Loch Ness Monster and heaven with 72 virgins.
So much evil done in the world in the name of beings that don't exist. So sad.

matthew said...

haha, I don't mind being used as an intro to an article, but I counted 3 obvious mis-representations of my statements. I would recommend a more careful approach to writing if you wish to maintain the quality of the site.

1) I didn't say anyone who walks about from Christianity ALWAYS leaves a strange version of it.

2) The implication was not that I never met a Christian who believes in a 6000 year old earth, etc, but that I had never met a Christian who believed satan is responsible for making the earth look old

3) You know very well that I stopped posting because I was asked to and because I came to realize the purpose of this site is not truth-seeking, but support for ex-christians (which is fine, I don't state that in a negative tone). You, obviously, were free to reject my statements explaining what I had previously said, but that's all-together different from not explaining at all.

Anonymous said...

Another reply to Blake.

Jesus said many things that are quite disturbing. He wanted people to leave their families and follow him. He thought he was going to have a heavenly army to destroy his enemies. He himself was a pacificist but he expected that God would fight his battles for him.

Blently that is an interesting idea. I've always thought that Joseph was guilty of at least fornication, do we have evidence that Mary was 12 and Joseph was a priest?

eel_shepherd said...

Josh, it's not true that without Jesus you have nothing and are nothing. You already don't have Jesus, who probably never existed (or if he did, might be explained by one of the other posters' very plausible clergyman-rape scenario), and you've got the same as the rest of us. All it takes is to try to become a little more comfortable with that fact. Someone's been mistreating you Josh. Probably lots of someones. Why not take a vacation from them for a while and take it easy on yourself. "...How can you tell me he will haunt you?/ You can go back to him any time that you want to...", as the song goes.

Now, on to greener pastures, the unhappy-and-lovin'-it Glen, from the YouTube video. Evidently what computer professionals refer to as a ROM-head, since he's the type who blocks all opportunities for feedback.

My favourite part of his video, apart from the sight-gag of his holding up a copy of "Evidence That Demands A Refund" came right within the first minute of the video, when he had to search his memory banks to try and remember what sound a cat makes. Admittedly, he did come up with the correct sound ("meow") but it was touch and go there for a few seconds. He was under a lot of pressure, and it would prob'ly have come to him much sooner if he'd been a bit more relaxed. Come to think of it, _he_ could probably do with a few weeks off, himself.

What's his accent, by the way? Anyone know?

Ah, who am I to criticise? I still don't know what sound an eel makes.

.:webmaster:. said...

Matthew, thanks for clearing that up. My impression was that you were of the opinion that people who leave Christianity leave only strange versions of it. It appears to be difficult to pin you down on exactly what you mean when you write, so you might want to consider the possibility that if others are frequently misunderstanding you, then it just might be the case that you are explaining things incompletely.

If I've misrepresented you at any point, it wasn't intentional. For instance, "I've never met anyone who believed that" is a bit unclear as to what "that" might be. The reader is left with interpreting to what "that" refers. So, again, I sincerely apologize.

Now, I never asked you to stop posting and I am the webmaster of this site. However, I did ask you a question as to how you identify a strange version of Christianity. I asked you this question several times. You haven't answered the question yet, but you seem to have time to keep commenting on what you didn't say.

How about answering the question?

eel_shepherd said...

WM (to Mathew, immediately above) wrote:
"...you might want to consider the possibility that if others are frequently misunderstanding you, then it just might be the case that you are explaining things incompletely..."

Actually, there's a third possibility --- he's explaining something that is itself incomplete. When I pressed him on the matter earlier on, I thought he gave a pretty good answer, given what he had to work with (namely Xianity), with his list of 5 points. Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, because no-one else thought they (the 5 points) added up to much. Well, as far as that goes, they don't add up to much, but they at least fully add up to the not-much that is Xianity.

Also, it was good to see you point out that you never asked him to stop posting; I thought I was the only one who noticed, and have been on the point of posting that fact half a dozen times, stopped only by my near-terminal laziness and by all the preparations for the upcoming eel-shearing season.

Interesting to note is that Darwinism (speciation through natural selection) has also been set out at some point in the past, maybe even by Darwin, I don't recall, as a list of a few points, perhaps five [??]. If I can find them, I'll post them. The difference is of course that Darwinism's 5? points result in a much higher-yield idea mill. The big point that stuck in my mind was the one that stated that the length of time that natural selection operates in is many orders of magnitude greater than what people normally apply to their lives, or even to history. It's on a scale that we can't normally bring a sense of familiarity to. Richard Dawkins bangs away at this point to a degree that's almost a cottage industry with him.

matthew said...

webmaster,

thanks for responding

No, I do believe that many people leave Christianity because they simply do not believe it is true. My point was that many other people leave Christianity for no 'good' reason in that they leave over a secondary issue and were exposed to some beliefs on those secondary issues that don't make a whole lot of sense (or, as you might phrase it, make even less sense than other versions of xianity). In other words, 'strange' versions.

As for my failures to communicate my position clearly, I am quite willing to take the blame and try again. It may be a bit long though so as to avoid mis-communication:

I think much of the confusion comes from the fact that I believe there are 2 churches (let alone 30,000!). There is the visible church (institutions) and there is the invisible church (true Christians).

Let's start with the visible church. It is very divided. There are thousands and thousands of branches. Some of those branches are, in themselves, 'strange.' What do I mean by that in this case? Maybe examples will communicate best. There are some specific 'Christian' institutions who believe Jesus and Satan are brothers, or that when they die they'll get their own planets with virgins. Then, there are individuals within seemingly normal institutions who believe, perhaps, that God turns their teeth to gold or that Satan is responsible for making a young earth look old.

Such views can be classified as 'strange' versions of Christianity, in my opinion, because those beliefs don't have any basis in Scripture. If a Christian is someone who forms their beliefs from the Bible, is is strange to hold passionately to a belief that isn't in there.

Now, just because somebody calls themself a Christian AND holds a 'strange' view doesn't necessarily mean they aren't part of the invisible church. We aren't true Christians based on our beliefs about non-essential issues. Doctrines aren't the only thing! So when I said some versions of Christianity were strange, I wasn't saying I could judge who is and who is not a true Christian. I can't.

But one CAN look at the fruit of one's life and then identify another type of a 'strange' christian. For example, if someone says they are a Christian, and then blows up an abortion clinic or whatnot, I believe I have a right to call their version of Christianity 'strange' since their actions go directly against Christ's teaching. In such a case, not only can I correctly label their version as 'strange', but I can label their actions as non-Christian.

Thus, in shorter form, since the term Christian simply implies someone who follows Christ, similarity to Christ can be considered the 'norm' and any version of Christianity that does something opposite of Jesus' teaching OR that gets passionate about a belief that isn't endorsed by the Scriptures that Jesus read and provoked, seems 'strange' to me, not withstanding that they may actually be a true Christian despite their strangeness.

As for being asked to leave, it is hard to keep track of who's who around here, so I apologize for thinking I was asked to leave by someone with the authority to tell me to. But overall I misunderstood the purpose of this site on my original visits and so my commenting is less appropriate than I previously believed. I plan to keep reading and may comment when I feel appropriate.

Have a good day,
matthew

tigg13 said...

Ah, matthew, what a lovely little world you have created for yourself - so safe and isolated from the dangers of doubt and criticism. You need not concern yourself with issues like damnation, creation, inerracy or evil. Likewise, you can ignore topics such as abortion, slavery, intolerance and a whole host of other 'secondary' issues. The division by doctrines is simply an illusion because the "true" church is invisible.

All you need are your 5 points:

god exists.
god is good.
jesus came in the flesh.
jesus was the messiah.
jesus arrose from the dead.

As long as you can cling to these ideas and keep telling yourself that everyone else who believes in them are saved - no matter what else they believe or what they have done - then all will be well.

God isn't really going to cast over 95% of the human race into the pit.

You've got the odds on your side.

But, how did you arrive at your 5 points, matthew? How come "god created the world in 6 days" isn't on the list? Or "humanity was doomed because of original sin"? Or "god made covenants with abraham and moses"? Are these secondary issues, and, as such, unimportant?

Do the stories of noah, joseph, david and job have any real significance? Did the prophesies really come true? Will revelations become reality? Are these questions even relevant?

What if your perspectives on these issues really do make a difference?

You say that being a christian means to follow christ. Does that mean doing what jesus did - or doing what he said you should do?

Can anyone really be sure how jesus would have reacted to cloning or stem cell research or radiocarbon dating?

Have you given up all of your personal possessions (money, property, belongings,...) and put your life into christs hands as jesus said his followers should?

I'm just skimming the surface here, matthew. There are tons of "secondary" issues out there, any one of which might make or break you.

What it all boils down to is what it always all boils down to: You have devised a doctrine that allows you to use the bible to rationalize your personal beliefs and make them look like objective truths. You have grounded your beliefs in your faith and based your faith on your beliefs.

It all makes perfectly, logical sense.

Unless you're wrong.

Dano said...

Lets face it Matthew believes God made Jesus in a special way in order to have someone to sacrifice to himself, and there is no logic, or reasoning that he will allow to change that belief. Matthew has FAITH, period.

God said it and Matthew believes it, case closed.

If I'm not wrong, the 19 young men who flew airplanes into the world trade center had the same kind of blind faith. But of course they believed in the wrong version of how God does things!
Dan (agnostic atheist)

.:webmaster:. said...

Matthew said, "Similarity to Christ can be considered the 'norm' and any version of Christianity that does something opposite of Jesus' teaching OR that gets passionate about a belief that isn't endorsed by the Scriptures that Jesus read and provoked, seems 'strange' to me..."

And I think that's the crux, Matt. It's whatever seems strange to you that you find strange. Another Christian might see your particular version of Christianity strange. I have no doubt that 500 years ago all the current versions of Christianity would have been considered quite strange... heretical, even.

Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, and other deeply divided branches of Christianity helped found this country, and in that founding created widely separated communities where "strange" versions of Christianity wouldn't be allowed to dilute the purity of the true gospel (True gospel being relative to the various separated branches.)

What I'm trying to say is that your inclusive ecumenical version of Christianity is considered strange by a vast number of Christians today as well as throughout the past 2,000 years.

All you really have to support your position is your particular feeling about the matter and your specific selection of Biblical passages. Of course, that's all any segment of Christianity has, someone's opinion and the select application of particular supporting Bible verses.

The reality of the matter is that all denominations of Christianity claim support for their individual distinctives by quoting the Bible and citing Jesus' example.

And your reference to Satan and Jesus being brothers in one branch of Christianity actually comes from the Mormons. Last I heard, Mormonism is considered a cult, not a Christian denomination, but if you want to include them into the mass of Christianity, that's fine with me.

In any event, thanks for finally giving me the courtesy of a reply.

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and I forgot one thing Matt. You're "invisible church" doctrine isn't in the Bible.

matthew said...

Tigg13,

You said a whole lot of stuff that begs response. I hope you don't mind point form comments.

1. If I was interested in isolating myself from doubt and criticism, why would I visit sites like this at all?

2. Just b/c an issue is non-essential doesn't mean I ignore those issues. I have very strong opinions on most of those issues. I simply won't divide based on differences in those areas

3. I never said that anyone who believes those 5 points are saved. I've said anyone who agrees with those 5 points can logically be considered part of the visible church. I've stated over and over that salvation isn't merely doctrinal.

4. I have no idea what percentage of people will be saved.

5. I arrived at the 5 points b/c those are the 5 things I find in Scripture that indicate the we 'must' believe them. I also recognized that, on these 5 points, 99% of people who call themselves Christian agree.

6. Why must secondary issues be considered unimportant in your view? Seems to me there is a big difference between unimportant and un-essential. I believe secondary issues are very important.

matthew said...

Dano,

I don't know if it was you before doing the same thing, but I find your implication that all truth claims are of equal value to be fascinating and unbelievable.

matthew said...

Webmaster,

1. Frankly, it doesn't matter who thinks who is strange or even who thinks who is heretical. Christians, by definition, are people who are supposed to follow Jesus' teachings. Some beliefs and actions go totally against his teachings and, so, for someone to claim 'christianity' as a label to hold such beliefs or perform such actions is strange by definition.

2. I think it is misleading to imply (or state) that denominations are deeply divided in general. Almost all protestant denominations consider other protestant denominations to be of the same faith.

3. Haha, I've never been called an inclusivist or ecumenical before. That is interesting.

4. Your second comment is what I most want to address. You stated that the invisible church doctrine isn't in the Bible. That is incorrect. Those specific words aren't used, but it is clear throughout the Old Testament that there was institutional Israel and a faithful remnant existing within that institution. Paul said this bluntly when he stated that not all Israel (institutional) is Israel (truly God's people). Jesus also stated this when He said that He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, implying that the true church is made up of those in a genuine (yet invisible) relationship with the Lord.

It would actually be a better argument to say that in the New Testament the 'visible' (institutional) church isn't taught. Jesus never started an organization, He started an organism. Institutions came along much later, around the time of Constantine. Prior to that, churches were just bunches of people meeting together on a regular basis without written creeds, rulebooks, or procedures. It was only once Christians becames friends with the world that they became like the world in terms of being institutional, divided, an war-like.

Dano said...

matthew wrote:
"Dano,

I don't know if it was you before doing the same thing, but I find your implication that all truth claims are of equal value to be fascinating and unbelievable."

Dano: Matt. You must be clear and concise as to what you do believe, and why, if you want someone to give up rational thought and follow you!
Dan (Being coy will get you nowhere!)

.:webmaster:. said...

Matt, please delineate your scriptural support for the doctrine of the invisible church.

Thanks.

Historically, the denominational differences have been considered very important. Early Baptists (Anabaptists) were considered heretics by all other branches of Christianity.

All.

All.

The Roman Catholic Church labeled all Protestants as heretics.

ALL!

Your modern understanding of Christianity is, well, modern.

I strongly suggest you learn some history.



Sincerely.

matthew said...

I am a student of church history. You seem to put much stock into what various branches of Christianity label one another. Why? It's not their opinion that matters. Roman Catholics don't decide who's a heretic anymore than Protestants do.

If I told my congregation tomorrow that from now on we consider the lutheran church down the road to be heretics, how would that make the lutheran church down the road heretical?

As I began to state in the Scriptures I pointed out before, we aren't saved by denominational affiliation, but by in Christ.

JV said...

Matthew: "I am a student of church history. You seem to put much stock into what various branches of Christianity label one another. Why?"

It's not the Atheist who puts stock into the various Christian labels... it’s the denominations themselves that suggest their flavor of religion is the most "true".

Matthew: "It's not their opinion that matters. Roman Catholics don't decide who's a heretic anymore than Protestants do."

Wrong, heretic has come to mean those that do not follow a common belief system... to the Catholics, protestants are "heretics"... and to the protestants... Catholics are "heretics". The heretic charge a thousand years ago carried the death penalty - by the Catholic Church.

The term no longer can be used to justify murder, and thus has fallen out of "use", by religion...
A charge a thousand years ago would justify the murder of the heretic.

And, to suggest that another religion/"their" opinion doesn't matter, is to suggest that "your" opinion doesn't matter as well. If you consider your opinion and your belief valuable, then you would have to consider other beliefs as valuable - unless you wanted to be a hypocrite/bigot.

Matthew: "If I told my congregation tomorrow that from now on we consider the lutheran church down the road to be heretics, how would that make the lutheran church down the road heretical?

How does it work, when you call someone an Atheist. Atheism was heretical back in the day.

Matthew: "As I began to state in the Scriptures I pointed out before, we aren't saved by denominational affiliation, but by in Christ."

Yeah? And which Christ would that be, the Trinitarian Christ or non-Trinitarian? Do you actually believe that the single word Christ saves you, or do you believe you have to accept all of the other rituals that go along, like baptism, etc.

You may believe you are tied to other Christian denominations by Christ, but "Christ" is the starting point, from there, the very "nature" and belief of Christ, and the associated rituals like baptism, etc., are what come together to create "salvation".

If you suggest that only belief in Christ is required, then you haven't read your bible lately. The "reason" there are other denominations, is because there are passages in the bible which suggest that you need more than just "Christ" in order to be saved, i.e., works, deeds, faith, love, etc.

If you can't find these passages in your very own bible, I can provide them to you, but surely... you don't need an non-believer to show you your own bible - or do you. You likely disagree with many other Christian denominations in all aspects of their belief system, with the exception of the nature of Christ... Many just don't accept that last tenant of Christian belief - Christ.

tigg13 said...

matthew said -

"1. If I was interested in isolating myself from doubt and criticism, why would I visit sites like this at all?"

I think you already believe yourself to be isolated from doubt. That's why you are willing to risk coming here.

"2. Just b/c an issue is non-essential doesn't mean I ignore those issues. I have very strong opinions on most of those issues. I simply won't divide based on differences in those areas"

But what makes you so sure that all of those issues are non-essential? What if it turns out that sitting on the fence isn't an option?

"3. I never said that anyone who believes those 5 points are saved. I've said anyone who agrees with those 5 points can logically be considered part of the visible church. I've stated over and over that salvation isn't merely doctrinal."

Here I must apologize to you. I misunderstood the nature of your 5 points. I thought that you considered these points to be a litmus test for inclusion into your invisible church. But, in rereading your earlier post, I do see that you stated quite clearly that following jesus or being like jesus is what being a christian is all about.

"4. I have no idea what percentage of people will be saved."

But you obviously recognize the implications of there being so many different versions of christianity. If only one doctrine were correct then, not only would all non-beleivers be doomed, but all of the christians who didn't follow that one doctrine would be damned as well. That leaves a relatively tiny fraction of humanity actually making it into heaven.

And the odds of you (or anybody for that matter) being on that list are incredibly low.

"5. I arrived at the 5 points b/c those are the 5 things I find in Scripture that indicate the we 'must' believe them. I also recognized that, on these 5 points, 99% of people who call themselves Christian agree."

But what about the hundreds and hundreds of other points that those same 99% don't agree on?

It sounds to me like you're just trying to play it safe. If you were to take a stand on one of these non-essential points, you know you would wind up alienating someone - whether it be a Lutherin or a Calvinist or a Methodist - someone would challenge your position and then you would face the possibility that either you or this other god-fearing believer would wind up doomed.

"6. Why must secondary issues be considered unimportant in your view? Seems to me there is a big difference between unimportant and un-essential. I believe secondary issues are very important."

We're not discussing my views.

And my question is, what makes you so sure that these secondary issues are un-essential?

You stated earlier that doctrines are not needed for salvation, but, like it or not, you have created a doctrine and by following this doctrine you hope to live forever in heaven.

Good luck.

.:webmaster:. said...

You stated earlier that doctrines are not needed for salvation, but, like it or not, you have created a doctrine and by following this doctrine you hope to live forever in heaven.

Thank you Tigg. That is exactly the point I was trying to get Matt to realize.

Everything is doctrine. So, in essence, having the correct idea in one's mind and appropriately acting on that idea is supposedly what grants salvation to Christians.

Without the correct idea, or collection of ideas, and failure to appropriately act on that idea or ideas will condemn a person to everlasting torture.

So much for being saved by grace, at least in this version of Christianity. Apparently a person must possess and embrace a minimal set of ideas (doctrines) and then act on them. Salvation, in this understanding, is entirely up to the individual and entirely decided by the individual. Ultimately, the Christian earns his or her own salvation through embracing, adhering to, and acting out a few basic doctrines in life. No one can tell who is or who is not a True Christian™, but if someone is behaving in a way that is interpreted as being "like Jesus" then others can be relatively assured that person is a real Christian. If the person does not behave like Jesus, then doubt can be cast on to the efficaciousness of the person's salvation experience.

Again, it appears that observed behavior ratifies a person's salvation, which is a sincere and real embrace of a few mandatory doctrines (beliefs/ideas), so salvation by grace is nonexistent.

Matt, if a person must either embrace an idea or belief, and/or must demonstrate the sincerity of that belief in real-life actions, then the salvation is no longer of grace, but of works.

And that, dear believer, is a doctrinal split that has caused disagreement, even to the point of bloodshed, throughout Christian history from the time of Paul vs. James, Augustine vs. Peleagius up through Calvin vs. Arminius, and on until today.

And this is only one division.

As much as you may desire it to be different, all 33,000 Christian denominational ships do not sail on the same ocean, at all. They follow different gospels and different Jesus's. And this is the way it has been since day one. During the first four centuries there were so many different gospels and different Jesus's that the entire movement was spliting apart at the seems. However, once Emperor Constantine demanded unity, and all the so-called heretical versions of Christianity were condemned and hunted into oblivion, a version of Christianity you would consider "not-strange" became dominant. Up until then, the versions of Christianity that denied the divinity of Jesus were every bit as "orthodox" as the rest. And those who denied the divinity of Jesus were considered Christian brothers and sisters. After Constantine, if you didn't consider Jesus to be GOD, you were no longer considered a Christian.

Perhaps you should study the history of the Church a bit more.

Alan said...

matthew wrote:

3. I never said that anyone who believes those 5 points are saved.

Matthew, you conveniently avoided salvation in your "5 points," yet salvation is the biggest freaking "point" of the entire religion. Christianity is a great scam, it convinces you that you have a disease (original sin,) then sells you the cure (salvation.) Problem is, Christians can't even agree how someone is "saved." Is it through faith alone or faith and works? Do you have to be "born again," or is that not necessary? Do you have to believe the Bible is the literal word of God, or can you let that slide? No doubt you think you have the "true answer," but the bottom line is with religion, you make it up as you go along. That's why there are so many denominations, because there is nothing objective to refer to that can resolve these discrepancies.

JV said...

Matthew: "I am a student of church history."

Here's something more for you to study.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christology

The fact that there has been a movement and an entire field of study on this subject matter is genitive to the diverse arguments brought to the table pre-Christianity until today. Pre-Christianity, because the debate precedes Jesus (assumption based on OT prophesies). As well, Christianity as a movement during Christ's day, because "he" as a figure wasn't a Christian - he was Jewish (talk about irony). And, after Christ's death (figuratively speaking), how he was portrayed through various religious sects. As the WM points out, the dominant view of the nature of Christ was projected by the one with the most power, the Roman Empire - Constantine-I.

I'd ask you how you are studying "church history", but I suspect you are more involved with the study of "church", than you are of the surrounding "history" of the "church". As if, the "church" existed as a precise state of affair, without any influence from political or environmental factors, basically, as if it never changed.

If this is the approach to your education... then the educational philosophy you are being exposed to is dysfunctional in terms of ontology/metaphysics (metaphysics as denoted by the study of existence/reality & being).

Speaking of doctrine, if you consider yourself competent enough to discern true authority from false authority, and you write about the true doctrine - then your very words to "you" become doctrine, and when presented to others becomes "doctrinal", in essence.

The challenge throughout history, in terms of Christology, has been to identify the one who has the greatest authority to speak doctrinally about Christ. I dare say... I'm not religious...

However, the Roman Catholics, doctrinally speaking... do seem to have the oldest living records on file that describe the nature and message of Christ... the early fathers of the original Roman Church were sainted... St. Thomas, St. Peter, etc., etc.

The early Mormon church didn't have the high ground on this doctrinal argument, thus... they came up with their "own" modern day "doctrine" as given by an angel on golden plates, that required "magic" to decrypt... Thus, they claim that their doctrine may not be as "old", but it's the most "up-to-date” and "in-line" with god's vision... as well, they have a modern day prophet and a quorum of elders who facilitate the dissemination of god's words, through Video Teleconferencing world-wide.

So, your suggestion that you are studying "church history", seems a bit weak, unless you are in your first few weeks of study, or you are being spoon fed a particular type of isolated church history.

eel_shepherd said...

matthew wrote:
"...5. I arrived at the 5 points b/c those are the 5 things I find in Scripture that indicate the we 'must' believe them. I also recognized that, on these 5 points, 99% of people who call themselves Christian agree..."

Then why were you being so shy about saying what percentage of people were going to get into heaven? Just take the number of people who call themselves Xtian, multiply by .99, and there's your answer.

Anonymous said...

I give you credit Matthew for engaging in this debate - y'know it just may be your unconscious doubts surfacing & you probably are seeking to challenge your beliefs in a most constructive way - keep the debate going, it's the best way to put faith & perspective to the test. See where it takes you - good luck on your journey!

Yet another ex-xtian.