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Source: (consider it) Thread: It's the teaching that matters
Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Just off the top of my head I can think of three important ways (cliche, I know, but I really can think of three at the moment) in which Jesus's ethics beat any others around at the time, and still have immense power today, when all our instincts tend to pull in the opposite direction to his teaching.

<snip>

Just wanted to say, this is brilliant. Thanks.

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Martin60
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mr cheesy. Is it that Jesus embodies the fact of eternal life against all the full, complete and perfect evidence that there is none in the eternal sufficiency of matter, that when I woke this morning from the little death in deep rational paradoxical awareness of looming endless oblivion and spoke to God, it was absurd to invoke an entity of trans-infinite complexity hearing my thoughts, feeling my feelings, but for Jesus ... and that therefore I have no excuse not for being kind apart from the fact I don't know how?

Why are so many of us so mediocre? So unkind? So feeble. So vile. So non-incarnational. Us Christians.

And so may non-Christians are better?

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mr cheesy
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I don't know what that means.

I can see one might think that the gospel ethic is "be nice", but I still can't see how one can take it seriously in totality as an ethic in and of itself. The teaching just doesn't hold together as an ethic, the demands are too great.

Equivalent to an ethic that says "be an olympic badminton player by doing x y and z training". Most of us, I suggest, are not going to be an olympic athlete however much we might agree that the training is the only way to get to it.

One might rationalise it and say "well, I can't be an Olympic badminton player, but I can be a better player by following this training" or "this training seems a worthwhile thing to follow" or "I think I might do some of those stretching exercises" - but I suggest that it is unlikely that anyone is ever going to be committed to these ideals in any of those circumstances. At best it is going to be a pale shadow of the programme, at worst it is going to have nothing to do with it at all.

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Martin60
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I don't know what that means.

Christians are crap. Being creedal doesn't make us incarnational. We're weak, ineffectual, bourgeois, nice, failing. At best. Historically we're fucking monsters. Creedal monsters. We believe. So what? Franco believed. Efraín Ríos Montt believed. The Lebanese Falange believed. Pope Innocent III believed. Christopher Columbus believed.

Maybe that's why BroJames is brokenly on the right track. The same as the apostle Paul's. We are truly utterly pathetic WITH Christ and that's in very large part BECAUSE we're with Christ. As He warned.

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Love wins

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
OK so explain how exactly one rationalises and lives the ethics of Jesus as described in the gospels in the abstract. What does it even look like to live that ethic?

Just off the top of my head I can think of three important ways (cliche, I know, but I really can think of three at the moment) in which Jesus's ethics beat any others around at the time, and still have immense power today, when all our instincts tend to pull in the opposite direction to his teaching.

First, <snip> etc

Adeodatus, I think I love you! And I think you're helping me to love Jesus and his teaching a little bit more.
[Axe murder]

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justlooking
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

But great as it is for us to get the teaching straight from the source, the Gospels make it clear that wasn't his main purpose in coming here. That had to do with his suffering, death and resurrection, as he kept saying. To focus on the teaching alone is to miss out on the main point of the Incarnation. Which would be a shame.

Yes. And the shame would be in having no gospel to proclaim.

The best teaching challenge I've heard came from a bishop who asked a roomful of preachers what they would answer if someone asked them "What is this gospel? - what's it got to do with me?" or something along those lines. If the answer began with anything like "Well, to me it means.... the response was "stop right there" because what it means to you is irrelevant, the person asking wants to know what it means for them.

A good answer IMO would be this from Fr. Gerard Hughes who said "There is no place you can be in life or in death where God is not with you and where God does not love you. There is no sin you can commit which is greater than God's love for you" It's probably a quote from his writings but I heard it when he was preaching at a Good Friday service.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I can see one might think that the gospel ethic is "be nice" ...

It isn't; it's "be good".

And precisely which demands do you find "too great"? Are you, perhaps, looking at some of the obviously hyperbolic sayings about plucking out your eye and suchlike? - because I don't know of any Christian ethicist who has ever said those are to be taken literally (except perhaps St Stupid the Dismembered). No-one has said you have to look at Jesus's ethical teaching and take it superficially or naively.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

But great as it is for us to get the teaching straight from the source, the Gospels make it clear that wasn't his main purpose in coming here. That had to do with his suffering, death and resurrection, as he kept saying. To focus on the teaching alone is to miss out on the main point of the Incarnation. Which would be a shame.

Yes. And the shame would be in having no gospel to proclaim.

The best teaching challenge I've heard came from a bishop who asked a roomful of preachers what they would answer if someone asked them "What is this gospel? - what's it got to do with me?" or something along those lines. If the answer began with anything like "Well, to me it means.... the response was "stop right there" because what it means to you is irrelevant, the person asking wants to know what it means for them.

A good answer IMO would be this from Fr. Gerard Hughes who said "There is no place you can be in life or in death where God is not with you and where God does not love you. There is no sin you can commit which is greater than God's love for you" It's probably a quote from his writings but I heard it when he was preaching at a Good Friday service.

And what would that love look like for the person asking?

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hatless

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It's not really ethics, the teaching of Jesus. It has ethical consequences, about which we can disagree, but the Lost Coin? Is that ethics? The Prodigal Son? The Workers in the Vineyard? (I really hope that's not ethics.)

A lot of the 'teaching' isn't really teaching. There's nothing there to make notes about, but lots that stimulates - the style of Jesus, healings and conversations, stories, encounters, and a lot of stuff that is entirely contextual.

I would describe the Lost Coin, for example, as a story that challenged its hearers to see God, themselves and each other, and the times in which they lived, with a different lighting. It can do something similar for us today.

And if it's about God and us, then that can be expressed in terms of Jesus' relationship to God, and we can say, if we choose, that Jesus is the Son of God in whom the Father was reconciling the world to himself. But I think there's a one way valve in there. We can look at Jesus and draw the diagram of Jesus, God and us, but that diagram (the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc.) is a commentary on Jesus. It's not legitimate to work the other way round and say that Jesus came 'in order to ..' this or that. His example isn't important because he was God. His life is important, attractive, compelling because it self-authenticatingly is, and we express that by our theologies; we move from Jesus to theology. We should not, or we should only with great care, move from theology to Jesus.

Or so I think I think.

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Martin60
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I like it.


I regret my obscenity above, in some peoples' minds, including part of mine, it invalidates anything one has to say. It is out of inarticulacy and the desire to shock, as in the milder profanity before it.

What I want is to be as fully incarnational as possible and not use the incarnation as an excuse NOT to be.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I can see one might think that the gospel ethic is "be nice" ...

It isn't; it's "be good".

And precisely which demands do you find "too great"? Are you, perhaps, looking at some of the obviously hyperbolic sayings about plucking out your eye and suchlike? - because I don't know of any Christian ethicist who has ever said those are to be taken literally (except perhaps St Stupid the Dismembered). No-one has said you have to look at Jesus's ethical teaching and take it superficially or naively.

Oh, well I dunno - just the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the plain, the words from the cross, the six woes of Matthew and the eight woes of Luke (or is it the other way around?), almost all of the parables... and yeah, the stuff about dismembering oneself.

How do you get "be good" from those? What does "being good" even consist of?

It isn't like the common understanding of Greek ethics where it was just the thing that "all right-thinking Greeks would do" - and let's not forget enjoying the boys at the baths, eh Socrates - which fairly clearly meant nothing, but at least was something to argue about.

As an ethical code, without the supernatural stuff, the New Testament has nothing, zip, no way to tell good actions from bad ones.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
As an ethical code, without the supernatural stuff, the New Testament has nothing, zip, no way to tell good actions from bad ones.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Inasmuch as you did not do this (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.) you did not do it to me.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

If you say "raca" to your brother, you are in danger of hellfire.

He who divorces his wife makes her an adultress.

-----

I'd say that's more than nothing nada zip.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Adeodatus
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Well, let's start with the basics. Is murder bad only because God tells us not to do it, or is it bad for some other reason? If you can say that it's not only because God says so, then you have already admitted that there are bases for ethical behaviour - some ethical behaviour, at least - other than "God says so".

If now we can admit that refraining from murder is, in some primordial sense, "good", then sure, all sorts of other questions open up. Suppose for example I really, really want to kill someone: then I can ask, what counts as murder? Is there some way I can get an "out" here?

What Jesus does, partly, is to take a lot of ethical raw material he's inherited, and to talk about definitions, ranges of applicability, and how far you should go. (His answers often boiling down to "tighter than you thought", "wider than you thought", and "further than you thought", respectively.)

So, for example, I'm told I can't have sex with that woman - can I just objectify her a bit? No you can't. I know I have to help strangers, but do I really have to help that smelly foreigner? Yes you do. This person keeps annoying me, and I know I should keep forgiving him, but I have a number in my head.... Forget it.

It may be difficult to do - it would scarcely be worthwhile preserving if it wasn't - but I honestly can't see why it's difficult to understand that these things are about being "good", rather than about winning Scooby snacks from God.

[cross-posted with mousethief]

[ 06. April 2017, 14:18: Message edited by: Adeodatus ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Inasmuch as you did not do this (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.) you did not do it to me.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

If you say "raca" to your brother, you are in danger of hellfire.

He who divorces his wife makes her an adultress.

-----

I'd say that's more than nothing nada zip.

OK, so show me someone who believes in the New Testament as an ethical code who doesn't believe in divorce, or not calling people names.

If that's the code, then clearly nobody is living it.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Well, let's start with the basics. Is murder bad only because God tells us not to do it, or is it bad for some other reason? If you can say that it's not only because God says so, then you have already admitted that there are bases for ethical behaviour - some ethical behaviour, at least - other than "God says so".


For sure, my problem is that I can't see how you are getting a useful code from the NT which amounts to "be good". I am perfectly happy to believe that the NT has some weight beyond that x behaviour is good because "God says so".

Even your examples of "don't murder" don't really work. Who defines what murder is? How does one determine when killing is appropriate?

The NT teaching in the abstract doesn't help with these detailed and real questions of how to live the ethics. Even if they are as basic as you suggest.

quote:
It may be difficult to do - it would scarcely be worthwhile preserving if it wasn't - but I honestly can't see why it's difficult to understand that these things are about being "good", rather than about winning Scooby snacks from God.

Right, but that's not really the point I'm arguing. My main point is that you're arguing that there is some kind of useful ethic that can be extracted from the NT, but you're not explaining how you intend to determine the wheat from the dross or how you actually live sayings - which are clearly impossible.

Without some kind of context "love your enemies" means nothing. Or everything.

[ 06. April 2017, 14:27: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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quetzalcoatl
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This is hitting up against the problems with any system of morality, which claims to be objective or absolute. They tend to start fraying at the edges, for example, killing might be considered the right thing to do in some circumstances, e.g. self-defence, war.

I don't see how morality can be anchored in an objective way really, whatever the provenance. If text X says 'don't do Y', so what? I am not bound by that, unless I agree to be.

Hence, the development of relativism, postmodernism, situational ethics, and so on.

Incidentally, using 'murder' is cheating, since it already contains a negative connotation. Thus soldiers don't murder in battle (normally).

[ 06. April 2017, 14:50: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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Adeodatus
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Some ethical principles - e.g. "don't murder" should be self-evident. Honestly, if you don't think they are, you have a serious problem. The art of ethics is partly about extrapolating to the less self-evident, and sometimes from the less self-evident to the surprising, which is one of the things Jesus excelled at.

What ethics need not be about is going to egregious lengths to explain itself. Yes, you should be able to see the working-out, the progress from one step to another. But ethics need not get itself into the corner where the only answer to the 107th "why?" is "Because I (or God) bloody say so!" There will always be a "try it and see" element to ethics, a choice. (Who was it said "I set before you life and death, blessings and curses"? Oh yeah....) You don't have to behave like this - the universe is unlikely to vanish into a big black hole if you don't - but life will be better if you do, and humankind will thrive if you do. You can always argue that "I" am worse off under Jesus's ethics because it inconveniences me to love my enemies, but the argument is that on balance and ultimately, humankind and "I" will actually be better off. It will be a better world we live in.

Do you want me to say it's a gamble? Okay, it's a gamble. But I'd put good money on it.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Some ethical principles - e.g. "don't murder" should be self-evident. Honestly, if you don't think they are, you have a serious problem. The art of ethics is partly about extrapolating to the less self-evident, and sometimes from the less self-evident to the surprising, which is one of the things Jesus excelled at.

Riiiight, way to go at not answering the question.

I'm now doubting that you've spent any time at all considering ethics outwith of your Christian mindset.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
[QUOTE]I'm now doubting that you've spent any time at all considering ethics outwith of your Christian mindset.

If what I've written here leads you to think that, I think you should probably read it again.

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quetzalcoatl
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Surely, it's not whether 'don't murder' is self-evident, since 'murder' already contains a prohibitive sense, but 'don't kill'. I suppose for some people it is, but not for others. In fact, killing can be viewed as highly patriotic (and of course, not murder).

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
If what I've written here leads you to think that, I think you should probably read it again.

You just said that there was something wrong with me if I questioned the ethic "Do not murder". Plenty of ethical frameworks have more explanation as to what is or isn't ethical killing than the New Testament.

But if it is so all-pervasive, how does it work as a distinctive ethic anyway? We all know murder is bad, according to you, so what do you need the NT for?

You keep insisting that there is a NT ethic that can be gotten even if the supernatural is rejected but then spectacularly failing at articulating what that actually is. Or how exactly to use the NT in that way.

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quetzalcoatl
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Well, I don't have any enemies. I doubt that this was achieved via Christian ethics, to be absolutely candid.

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Garden Hermit
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65 years of Christian Teaching and its still an Enigma. But I suppose thats to be accepted for one poor Human Brain. I just can't believe that Life was meant to be working hard for money, to spend it on Plastic Tat which is skipped after a few months, is what its all about.
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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Garden Hermit:
65 years of Christian Teaching and its still an Enigma. But I suppose thats to be accepted for one poor Human Brain. I just can't believe that Life was meant to be working hard for money, to spend it on Plastic Tat which is skipped after a few months, is what its all about.

Well, that's a false dichotomy. There are plenty of ways of life which are neither Christian nor full of plastic tat.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
OK, so show me someone who believes in the New Testament as an ethical code who doesn't believe in divorce, or not calling people names.

If that's the code, then clearly nobody is living it.

This, children, is what is known as "moving the goalposts."

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But if it is so all-pervasive, how does it work as a distinctive ethic anyway? We all know murder is bad, according to you, so what do you need the NT for?

Why must it be distinctive? If many other ethical frameworks have come to the same conclusion then surely that in itself points to that conclusion being the right answer?

But, as Adeodatus said on the previous page, it is pretty distinctive in terms of how far it goes. "Love everyone" means "love everyone". "Don't kill" means "Don't kill anyone, ever, for any reason, period". That's pretty distinctive, I'd say.

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justlooking
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

But great as it is for us to get the teaching straight from the source, the Gospels make it clear that wasn't his main purpose in coming here. That had to do with his suffering, death and resurrection, as he kept saying. To focus on the teaching alone is to miss out on the main point of the Incarnation. Which would be a shame.

Yes. And the shame would be in having no gospel to proclaim.

The best teaching challenge I've heard came from a bishop who asked a roomful of preachers what they would answer if someone asked them "What is this gospel? - what's it got to do with me?" or something along those lines. If the answer began with anything like "Well, to me it means.... the response was "stop right there" because what it means to you is irrelevant, the person asking wants to know what it means for them.

A good answer IMO would be this from Fr. Gerard Hughes who said "There is no place you can be in life or in death where God is not with you and where God does not love you. There is no sin you can commit which is greater than God's love for you" It's probably a quote from his writings but I heard it when he was preaching at a Good Friday service.

And what would that love look like for the person asking?
That's always a good question for the Church although the ultimate answer is 'God knows'. No-one can see inside another's life and know what they think and feel or what they have experienced. The business of the Church is to worship God, proclaim the gospel and endeavour to live the gospel. We can do our best to understand but how the gospel is received is beyond our control. 'Let God do God's work' is a good maxim. A problem with seeing the gospel of Christ as nothing more than ethical teaching is that it can become something to be possessed and controlled.
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
This, children, is what is known as "moving the goalposts."

Not it isn't. What you've described is a few phrases which do not encompass all of the teaching in the New Testament, and even if it did nobody who says they treat the NT as ethics to live by actually live by the things you've quoted.

You've dangled a couple of lines in the air and said "what about this" and don't like the idea that nobody would take those particular lines as a basis for their ethics.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:


But, as Adeodatus said on the previous page, it is pretty distinctive in terms of how far it goes. "Love everyone" means "love everyone". "Don't kill" means "Don't kill anyone, ever, for any reason, period". That's pretty distinctive, I'd say.

Bullshit. Have you read the New Testament? Have you seen the wide variety of opinions created by those who have read it and sought to understand the idea of "not killing"? Hint: not everyone who takes the gospels as being authoritiative believes it therefore means not to kill anyone, ever, for any reason, period.

That's one of the craziest things I've ever heard.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
What you've described is a few phrases which do not encompass all of the teaching in the New Testament,

That's not at all what you said. If you had said this, it wouldn't have been moving the goalposts. Objection overruled.

quote:
and even if it did nobody who says they treat the NT as ethics to live by actually live by the things you've quoted.
Irrelevant to the question asked.

quote:
You've dangled a couple of lines in the air and said "what about this" and don't like the idea that nobody would take those particular lines as a basis for their ethics.
You said there was nothing. I showed there was, in fact, something. You didn't say anything about how many people like the something that's there. This is, indeed, moving the goalposts: bringing up qualifications that weren't mentioned before.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Hint: not everyone who takes the gospels as being authoritiative believes it therefore means not to kill anyone, ever, for any reason, period.

That's one of the craziest things I've ever heard.

Not everyone who etc does. It doesn't take away from the fact that they should.

There's some disagreement as to whether the Early Church Fathers (pre-Constantine) all preached pacifism. But at the very least, it's a strong strand of early Christian belief.

This, from Ron Sider:
quote:
... there is not a single extant Christian author before Constantine who says killing or joining the military by Christians is ever legitimate. Whenever our extant texts mention killing—whether in abortion, capital punishment, or war—they always say Christians must not do that.
Hang out the flags (red ones, of course). I'm agreeing with Marvin.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:

There's some disagreement as to whether the Early Church Fathers (pre-Constantine) all preached pacifism. But at the very least, it's a strong strand of early Christian belief.

Yes. But (a) it isn't consistently held by everyone (b) it isn't consistent with the OT and (c) you can't get it from the NT without reading it with a particular context and framework.

As it happens, I'm a pacifist. But that's not because I read the NT and thought "oh, that's obvious, we shouldn't kill anyone ever in any circumstances".

[ 06. April 2017, 16:51: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I don't have any enemies. I doubt that this was achieved via Christian ethics, to be absolutely candid.

Wow. How do you not have enemies?

Trust me, that enviable state has nothing to do with Christian ethics, or any ethics. Ethics tend to make you enemies, not take them away.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Yes. But (a) it isn't consistently held by everyone

It is before Constantine. And that's something that's very difficult to get around.

If you think the early Church was wrong on this, say so, but you can't sweep that they thought that 'no killing under any circumstance' was Christian doctrine, under the the carpet.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Just off the top of my head I can think of three important ways (cliche, I know, but I really can think of three at the moment) in which Jesus's ethics beat any others around at the time,

lilBuddha scratches head Yeah, tough one.

[ 06. April 2017, 17:05: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
It is before Constantine. And that's something that's very difficult to get around.

If you think the early Church was wrong on this, say so, but you can't sweep that they thought that 'no killing under any circumstance' was Christian doctrine, under the the carpet.

Thanks, I don't need lessons in the history of Christian pacifism. It's an irrelevant point as to whether one can deduce pacifism from taking the NT as a non-supernatural ethical tome.

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
but I honestly can't see why it's difficult to understand that these things are about being "good", rather than about winning Scooby snacks from God.
If you don't mind me saying so, it's a gross mis-characterisation of (my) belief to say that insistence on belief in God as standing behind 'good' is about the scooby snacks.

We agree about the 'Jesus takes tough thing and makes it tougher' angle. I trust Jesus to define the 'good' - that's my faith, nothing about reward apart from that inherent in sometimes not falling into a mess of sin (see my sig). You seem to have faith in Him too, whilst wanting to think the 'good' invents itself. Well, maybe it does, but if it does it is still as unsophisticated as calling it God.
Snacks, no snacks, I don't care.

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
I agree with you Adeodatus. I think the idea that Christian teaching is that heaven is a reward for good behaviour is one of the most persistent distortions of Christian belief both within and outside the Church that we have to contend with, along with the closely related idea that Christian faith is primarily about ethics.

I could not agree more.

I do not think it is incongruous to both reject a "properly believing and / or acting people go to Heaven and the rest go to hell" vision of the gospel, and to look for something more than ethical teaching in the gospel.

In fact, given that Jesus clearly is interested in Humanity's relationship with God, not just one person's relationship with others, and given that we know these teachings because they were first written down by religious communities, it seems really odd (and a bit cowardly) to simply want to appropriate the ethical bits without investigating the other bits as well. Progressive Christians should be empowering people to really wrestle with what it means for Jesus to be the way the truth and the life and find ways that that might not be in opposition to a pluralist outlook, rather than pretending that that part isn't in there at all.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
It is before Constantine. And that's something that's very difficult to get around.

If you think the early Church was wrong on this, say so, but you can't sweep that they thought that 'no killing under any circumstance' was Christian doctrine, under the the carpet.

Thanks, I don't need lessons in the history of Christian pacifism. It's an irrelevant point as to whether one can deduce pacifism from taking the NT as a non-supernatural ethical tome.
Well, in a post you made an hour earlier, you said it was one of the craziest things you'd ever heard. So I made the assumption, based on what you said, that you'd never heard Marvin's entirely reasonable and historically accurate point being made before.

My bad.

( [Roll Eyes] )

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Jesus's teaching on hypocrisy, about which, you'll recall, he had fairly strong views.

Very rabbinic

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No, because those teachings were not original - lots of other pharisees said similar things.

How strange that the people who heard Jesus speak disagree with you.
And who might they be? And where did they state this view?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No, because those teachings were not original - lots of other pharisees said similar things.

About the poor, women, children, disabled, afflicted, sick, ethnic minorities, sinners?

Where?

Here

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Schroedinger's cat

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Well, I don't have any enemies. I doubt that this was achieved via Christian ethics, to be absolutely candid.

Wow. How do you not have enemies?

Trust me, that enviable state has nothing to do with Christian ethics, or any ethics. Ethics tend to make you enemies, not take them away.

The only way you don't have any enemies is to be so fawningly flexible you are meaningless. If you have ethics, someone will find a fundamental disagreement with you.

I'm so ethical, I don't have any friends.

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Lamb Chopped
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Heheheheheh.

Actually, I can imagine a world in which everybody was so reasonable as to be able to disagree with each other without turning it into enmity.

Unfortunately, that world is not this.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No, because those teachings were not original - lots of other pharisees said similar things.

About the poor, women, children, disabled, afflicted, sick, ethnic minorities, sinners?

Where?

Here
Where?

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:

But great as it is for us to get the teaching straight from the source, the Gospels make it clear that wasn't his main purpose in coming here. That had to do with his suffering, death and resurrection, as he kept saying. To focus on the teaching alone is to miss out on the main point of the Incarnation. Which would be a shame.

Yes. And the shame would be in having no gospel to proclaim.

The best teaching challenge I've heard came from a bishop who asked a roomful of preachers what they would answer if someone asked them "What is this gospel? - what's it got to do with me?" or something along those lines. If the answer began with anything like "Well, to me it means.... the response was "stop right there" because what it means to you is irrelevant, the person asking wants to know what it means for them.

A good answer IMO would be this from Fr. Gerard Hughes who said "There is no place you can be in life or in death where God is not with you and where God does not love you. There is no sin you can commit which is greater than God's love for you" It's probably a quote from his writings but I heard it when he was preaching at a Good Friday service.

And what would that love look like for the person asking?
That's always a good question for the Church although the ultimate answer is 'God knows'. No-one can see inside another's life and know what they think and feel or what they have experienced. The business of the Church is to worship God, proclaim the gospel and endeavour to live the gospel. We can do our best to understand but how the gospel is received is beyond our control. 'Let God do God's work' is a good maxim. A problem with seeing the gospel of Christ as nothing more than ethical teaching is that it can become something to be possessed and controlled.
Why don't we ask them?

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justlooking
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The Church does ask, directly and indirectly and many activities of the Church are based in responding to what it hears. Or at least to what it expects to hear or wants to hear. There is a huge difference between telling the good news and thinking we are the good news. If all we have is ethical teaching and all we do, all we believe in, is based on this then the Church becomes a social club, a place of cultural and historic interest, a dispenser of charity, a branch of the social services, and nothing more.
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by justlooking:
If all we have is ethical teaching and all we do, all we believe in, is based on this then the Church becomes a social club, a place of cultural and historic interest, a dispenser of charity, a branch of the social services, and nothing more.

I suspect that many people in the wider culture would prefer churches to see themselves primarily in this light. Others would argue that many churches are already more or less like this.
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No, because those teachings were not original - lots of other pharisees said similar things.

About the poor, women, children, disabled, afflicted, sick, ethnic minorities, sinners?

Where?

Here
Where?
Click on the link and cursor about 1/2 way down.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No, because those teachings were not original - lots of other pharisees said similar things.

How strange that the people who heard Jesus speak disagree with you.
I disagree also, but there is an important point here.

Lots of terrific, true, and enlightening things are said by lots of people. I have no trouble accepting that much of what Jesus taught had been said before. I also love the sayings of the Dalai Lame, Tich Nat Hahn, the Pope and any number Christian writers.

The thing that sets Jesus apart is the story, and therefore the source of the information. The things He taught are not just good ideas for better living, but the authoritative wisdom of God Himself.

It would be as if in 1492 Columbus turned up with amazing information about a strange new world. The obvious question is "How does he know about this?"

Without the story, and therefore the identity of the source of information, it is all speculation.

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