Thread: Non- Christian Religions " Perverse"? Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
My denominational FB page is regularly trolled by an über-right-wing gadfly who is constantly accusing the ELCA of heresy, apostasy, blah, blah, blah.

Recently, in the midst of all the 500th Anniversary Reformation hoopla, the page featured a statement repudiating Luther's anti- Semitic attitudes and writings and their negative influence in history. True to form, our man -- I'll call him Dick -- piped up to protest that Jews " reject Christ," that Judaism is a "perverse" religion that doesn't deserve an apology, and that once again the ELCA is going astray from the Gospel.

Now, it's easy for some of us, at least, to dismiss " Dick" as some bigoted old coot. But my question is: How pervasive, and explicitly stated from the pulpit these days is the notion that non- Christian faiths aren't just incomplete or misguided, but actually evil...even demonic?

I heard polemics like this in my childhood church almost 50 years ago, but my guess is that these days not even they are quite as militant as "Dick."

So...is this really a thing, or just the rantings of a sad, poorly catechized xenophobe?

[ 28. October 2017, 23:06: Message edited by: LutheranChik ]
 
Posted by Ian Climacus (# 944) on :
 
I don't see perverse as meaning demonic; it means obstinate in behaving in an unacceptable or unreasonable way.

Do I think Jews are mistaken? As a Christian I would necessarily believe so. I do not believe they are perverse. I do not believe they are going to hell.

I think your madman is a madman, gripping on to a black and white view of faith.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
LC--

If I may ask, is there any parallel between his beliefs and, say, those of Lutheran Missouri Synod? And I think there's another that's even more conservative. Wisconsin?

Not meaning any offense. Just wondering whether he's a random crank, or a more conservative Lutheran with an axe to grind.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Golden Key, he says he belings to a "good" ELCA church.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
LC--

Of which, perhaps, he is the only member?

Someone needs to remind him that Jesus was/is Jewish. (Verb form depends on whether you think he took all of his human nature into heaven with him.)

There's a saying: When the Messiah arrives, Jews will say "Welcome", and Christians will say "Welcome back".

[Smile]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I've heard this sort of rabid foaming at the mouth from the pulpit a few times in the last 5 years (including outright saying that other religions worship Satan), I think each time it's been the same crazy old retired previous minister of the parish. Last time it was a spittle flecked rant about "teh gayz" and threats about Sodom and Gommoragh that had me on the point of heckling.

The focus tends to be Islam these days rather than Judaism. Presumably even most of these nutters have picked up that it's not allowed for them to target Jews.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Well "Dick's" (perfect, as in don't be a) Christianity is perverse, being a sick synergy of what he brings to the party and textism.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
A classic down the line accept Christ or go to Hell theology has this as an inevitable conclusion to be consistent.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
There does seem to be a fundamentalist fondness for latching on to some negative-sounding word that was common in seventeenth-century pamphlets, and then using it because it sounds Religious, without much thought as to what it meant then or what it means now.

[ 29. October 2017, 08:13: Message edited by: Ricardus ]
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
There does seem to be a fundamentalist fondness for latching on to some negative-sounding word that was common in seventeenth-century pamphlets, and then using it because it sounds Religious, without much thought as to what it meant then or what it means now.

Yep.

Time machine required to send him back to the 17th century, see if he’s happier there [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
When reminded that Jesus was Jewish,
" Dick" asserted that Jesus was " Jewish by heritage, but Christian by faith." Which reminded me of a comedy sketch where Jesus exclaimed, " By God!...which is to say myself!"
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The focus tends to be Islam these days rather than Judaism. Presumably even most of these nutters have picked up that it's not allowed for them to target Jews.

Nah, it's just that muslims have dark skin and jews have white skin, so muslims rank higher on the racist priority list.

I'm convinced that the second we do actually discover intelligent alien life, all of humanity will forget its racial and religious divisions and unite in love and brotherhood against the filthy stinking non-humans. It's just the way we are [Disappointed]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The focus tends to be Islam these days rather than Judaism. Presumably even most of these nutters have picked up that it's not allowed for them to target Jews.

Nah, it's just that muslims have dark skin and jews have white skin, so muslims rank higher on the racist priority list.

I'm convinced that the second we do actually discover intelligent alien life, all of humanity will forget its racial and religious divisions and unite in love and brotherhood against the filthy stinking non-humans. It's just the way we are [Disappointed]

There is a Twilight Zone that has a similar plot. And the humans work out their difference to better deal with the aliens.
I'm convinced that if aliens show up, we'll kill each other in the rush to be in control.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
LC--

quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
When reminded that Jesus was Jewish,
" Dick" asserted that Jesus was " Jewish by heritage, but Christian by faith." Which reminded me of a comedy sketch where Jesus exclaimed, " By God!...which is to say myself!"

...so Jesus had/has a lot of faith in himself? He's self-confident? (Re Christian by faith.)
[Biased]
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
I think I know who you are talking about since I also follow the ELCA FB page. I wonder why the administrators have not blocked him.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
The focus tends to be Islam these days rather than Judaism. Presumably even most of these nutters have picked up that it's not allowed for them to target Jews.

Nah, it's just that muslims have dark skin and jews have white skin, so muslims rank higher on the racist priority list.

Some commentators think that in the long run, conservative Christians and Muslims in the West will made common cause with each other when they realise that secularisation threatens both of them.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
I don't say any threat to Islam in the West. Not in my street five hundred yards from the masjid.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
see ...
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I think it's more a question of power. Power will remain in the hands of secular politicians, authorities and systems, regardless of how large particular Muslim communities might be.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yyeeaaah. I can't see how Deobandi Muslims and conservative Christians can work together communally on up in the UK. There are no Christian communities for a start. To demand more faith schools? What? Drive out betting shops?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Some commentators think that in the long run, conservative Christians and Muslims in the West will made common cause with each other when they realise that secularisation threatens both of them.

It's interesting that "some commentators" (who?) regard having to live alongside people who don't share their beliefs as a threat. Which may itself be the biggest stumbling block to this theoretical alliance between religiously conservative Christians and religiously conservative Muslims; the underlying premise that non-believers are a "threat" precludes the possibility of an alliance between groups that regard each other as non-believers.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Croesos, you forget that not being able to enforce their religion on others is considered a threat by religious conservatives. They're threatened, for example, by losing the ability to stop gay people marrying.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Croesos, you forget that not being able to enforce their religion on others is considered a threat by religious conservatives. They're threatened, for example, by losing the ability to stop gay people marrying.

Not at all. I'm just pointing out that it's very hard to form an alliance based on forcing your religion on others if the key to that plan is allying with a group that doesn't share your religion.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Croesos, you forget that not being able to enforce their religion on others is considered a threat by religious conservatives. They're threatened, for example, by losing the ability to stop gay people marrying.

Not at all. I'm just pointing out that it's very hard to form an alliance based on forcing your religion on others if the key to that plan is allying with a group that doesn't share your religion.
Well, the irony (considering the general antipathy) is that they share a great number of the things they might want to enforce. Both conservative Christianity and Islam are heavy on patriarchy and against the gayz for starters
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
quote:
Not at all. I'm just pointing out that it's very hard to form an alliance based on forcing your religion on others if the key to that plan is allying with a group that doesn't share your religion.
Well, this seems to be what the American Fundamentalists are trying to do when they allied themselves with Trump--he does not share their religion!

I just hope when he goes down in flames (there is definitely smoke pouring out of the engines), he does not pull all of American Christianity down with him.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
Ah, the attraction of ostracism.

Reminds me of a great line from the emetic 'Aarfy' Aardvark, in "Catch 22". "Fraternity membership was wonderful. We used to ostracise everyone, even each other!"

The real perversity is in the minds of folks whose security is improved if they find someone different to oppose. Really, they ought to be anathema. Oh, wait ....

[ 01. November 2017, 20:04: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Gramps: Pulling down American Christianity [tm] may be exactly what is needed.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Some commentators think that in the long run, conservative Christians and Muslims in the West will made common cause with each other when they realise that secularisation threatens both of them.

It's interesting that "some commentators" (who?) regard having to live alongside people who don't share their beliefs as a threat. Which may itself be the biggest stumbling block to this theoretical alliance between religiously conservative Christians and religiously conservative Muslims; the underlying premise that non-believers are a "threat" precludes the possibility of an alliance between groups that regard each other as non-believers.
The threat doesn't emanate from individuals, and 'secularisation' isn't a person who lives next door! It concerns a societal trend.

Most people, whether religious or non-religious, agree that in Western societies institutional religion is losing both numbers and public influence. This is one definition of secularisation.

One response to ongoing secularisation is ecumenicalism. Since Christian groups that were once antagonistic have overcome their differences to pursue mutually beneficial goals it doesn't seem so shocking to me that people of different religions might do so.

This might happen at the most conservative end - but perhaps also at the more moderate end. However, secularisation is eating away at moderate Christianity relatively quickly, so the impact of interfaith work in that context might not have much hope of further expansion. IME it often involves rather elderly Christians with much younger Muslims, a pairing which must become non-viable in the long run.

In any case, the main commentator I was thinking of with regard to conservative Islam and Christianity is Eric Kaufmann, although I've also come across the idea elsewhere.

[ 02. November 2017, 00:37: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
LutheranChk wrote:

quote:
Now, it's easy for some of us, at least, to dismiss " Dick" as some bigoted old coot. But my question is: How pervasive, and explicitly stated from the pulpit these days is the notion that non- Christian faiths aren't just incomplete or misguided, but actually evil...even demonic?
Christians have taught that Judaism is satanic almost since the year dot. Its emblematic of our faith as an institution. I suppose people have fought against this to varying degrees throughout history, but arguably the most successful figure in turning Christianity away from our hatred of Jews and Jewishness is Adolf Hitler.

I was going to expound an idea that postwar liberal Christianity is a soap-bubble in Christian history, but I think that's probably my fear getting the better of me.
 
Posted by jacobsen (# 14998) on :
 
For 11 glorious minutes we lived in an a Trump-tweet-free world....
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
LutheranChk wrote:

quote:
Now, it's easy for some of us, at least, to dismiss " Dick" as some bigoted old coot. But my question is: How pervasive, and explicitly stated from the pulpit these days is the notion that non- Christian faiths aren't just incomplete or misguided, but actually evil...even demonic?
Christians have taught that Judaism is satanic almost since the year dot. Its emblematic of our faith as an institution. I suppose people have fought against this to varying degrees throughout history, but arguably the most successful figure in turning Christianity away from our hatred of Jews and Jewishness is Adolf Hitler.

I was going to expound an idea that postwar liberal Christianity is a soap-bubble in Christian history, but I think that's probably my fear getting the better of me.

Indeed. My experience inside Evangelicalism is that little has changed with regard to religions outside Judaeo-Christianity; "rejecting Jesus as God and the One True Way" appears to be the charge. Judaism post-Hitler gets a pass because they don't need Jesus because Old Covenant still stands so they don't need to get the Jesus bit right like everyone else does or something. Me? Just points me to Universalism.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
To the OP Christianity is the most and ONLY perverse religion. In what ways can any of the others have gone astray?
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
My experience inside Evangelicalism is that little has changed with regard to religions outside Judaeo-Christianity; "rejecting Jesus as God and the One True Way" appears to be the charge. Judaism post-Hitler gets a pass because they don't need Jesus because Old Covenant still stands so they don't need to get the Jesus bit right like everyone else does or something. Me? Just points me to Universalism.

If evangelicalism becomes universalist can it still be evangelical? Will the Bebbington quadrilateral still apply?

I suspect a grey zone can be can be maintained up to a certain point, because all religious tendencies exist on a spectrum. A devout and personable Muslim who emphasises his love and respect for Jesus might presumably be received as a brother by a certain kind of evangelical (or indeed, a RC). For example, the unorthodox American Muslim Louis Farrakhan has preached at a number of African American churches, and they're probably not the most liberal of America's congregations.

Of course, it helps that Farrakhan and the churches he goes to share other cultural and social similarities and concerns. I can't see white middle class evangelicals and brown urban Muslims joining forces for any significant reason if they have nothing socially and culturally in common.

But ultimately, if universalism replaces evangelism wholesale then Western Christianity will have done its work and can settle down to die. It's already heading that way. I don't think this drawn-out death of Christianity is particularly impressive to Muslims, though.

[ 03. November 2017, 10:40: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Hmmm. The RC&OCs are pretty universalist aren't they? For all their 'distinctives', some take the long arc, post mortem view with Purgatory and apocatastasis, so there's plenty of room for some not of their faiths to be purgated in the intermediate state in Hades. Same for the Jews. There's not a fag paper between them really. Of the Reformed, low evangelicals seem to be Islamic about it.

These are all theistic, textist beliefs of course and will always exist, like the otherwise poor. The God of infinite, eternal creation is not limited by such primitive, inchoate words.

Incarnation saves.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I don't know much about the RC view on purgatory; but I know the Church has devoted vast amounts of money and manpower to evangelism over the centuries. I should think they've done that for a reason.

As for the Reformed (or Calvinistic) denominations, AFAIUI, several of their theological distinctives and their stress on evangelism have waned over time.

American Puritanism famously lost its fervour, and many of the originally Puritan movements and their offshoots are now among the most liberal in the USA. In the UK, the offspring of the Reformed Congregationalists and Presbyterians are hardly vicious enemies of Islam. As for the CofE, it's ultimately pluralistic, harbouring conservatives, moderates and liberals alike. Attitudes towards Islam are likely to be all over the shop. I know of a retired vicar who likes to pray in a mosque.

Reformed/Calvinist thought and Arminianism have consequences regarding evangelism and conversion, but in modern Britain it's unclear how these theologies, which are hardly taught or emphasised in most church life today, continue to influence general attitudes towards other religions.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Islam and conservative Protestantism are damnationist to a man, that's what I meant. The other theists allow for purgating/purification of some, but the former, it's damnation all the way by God the merciful.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
I think "perverse" is being used in the sense of someone who continues to believe in something after it has been debunked.

So for example, to a certain sort of atheist, Christianity is something that has already been comprehensively shown to be "nothing but" a tool of social control, a delusion, a projection of our Freudian need for paternal reconciliation, pre-scientific thinking, whatever, and therefore for anyone to continue practicing as a Christian is perverse.

And it strikes me that part of the modern internet echo-chamber syndrome is that more and more people are becoming more and more convinced that opposing ideas have been debunked, and that their circle of contacts are therefore acting entirely reasonably in treating those who disagree as perverse.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Islam and conservative Protestantism are damnationist to a man, that's what I meant.

Out of interest, do your damnationist acquaintances make much effort to convert the local Muslims and Hindus, etc., to Christianity? If they live in the heart of a large city they surely have their work cut out for them. But I don't get the impression that a great deal of work is going into converting Muslims. It's a lot of effort, even for the most ardent of damnationist British Christians.

I supspect that conservative Muslims and Christians who actually engage with each other theologically, as used to happen at Speaker's Corner, AIUI, can find that their respective conservatism is at least a point of mutual understanding.

A strict Muslim and a liberal Christian are likely to have much more difficulty understanding each other, and some commentators warn that Christians who bend over backwards to concede to Muslims on everything rarely win the respect of those Muslims. Or more simply, their ill-informed attempts to be obliging may simply create more confusion.

But I fear that a lack of mutual understanding is endemic among Christians and Muslims, not least because British society is growing more segregated, not less.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
As a strict liberal I have no problem understanding Islam and getting on with my excellent Muslim neighbours. And yeah, I haven't noticed damnationist evangelical textists daring to try to save damnationist Muslim ones, who DO have the courage, but not any other means.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I'm sure you get on with your neighbours excellently!
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It's easy to, I have had robed Deobandi ring the doorbell and invite me to the Masjid. Superb people. My boss and another colleague used to worry about my eternal fate as I took such an interest in Islam but wouldn't convert. They are easy to respect. Is that bending over backwards? What am I in danger of conceding by being polite?
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
But that's a perfect example of what politeness should be: trying to understand people rather than making assumptions about what they'll find appropriate. You've made a careful study of Islam, the better to understand your neighbours. Many Christians who want to be obliging don't make that degree of effort. It could be argued that they do a disservice to both Islam and Christianity.
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
My experience inside Evangelicalism is that little has changed with regard to religions outside Judaeo-Christianity; "rejecting Jesus as God and the One True Way" appears to be the charge. Judaism post-Hitler gets a pass because they don't need Jesus because Old Covenant still stands so they don't need to get the Jesus bit right like everyone else does or something. Me? Just points me to Universalism.

If evangelicalism becomes universalist can it still be evangelical? Will the Bebbington quadrilateral still apply?.
fwiw, I teach the Bebbington quadrilateral at my evangelical college. I find nothing in it that is inconsistent with universalism. The closest we can come is "decisionism"-- but I would argue that there are other reasons to "decide"-- other reasons to follow Christ-- than just escaping the flames of eternal fire.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I'm thinking in particular of conversionism. It seems obvious on a very basic level that if you believe that (more or less) everyone will have a lovely time in the hereafter regardless of their religious allegiance then your focus on making converts is likely to be reduced.

This doesn't mean that no evangelism is going to take place, or that there aren't other good reasons for seeking conversions. But I feel that very few churches have clearly enunciated those other good reasons for evangelism. In the British context, ISTM that where there's an impetus for (non-evangelical) evangelism, it springs out of the reality of steep church decline and the fear of institutional collapse rather than some kind of sophisticated, non-damnationist re-assessment of the value of conversion.

Perhaps evangelical churches discuss the changing theological environment more openly than others since conversionism is so important to them in the first place. And perhaps their passionate discussions help them to re-frame their evangelism. Nevertheless, I think there are many commentators who see a 'creeping' universalism as one of the reasons why many evangelicals are doing less evangelism overall - and hence becoming a little less evangelical.

[ 05. November 2017, 01:45: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
I don't think it requires a huge amount of sophistication to say that truth is valuable in itself, and that God can and will change people for the better here and now if allowed to. Frankly, though, most con evos don't seem to act as if they think eternal conscious suffering is a potential outcome of non-belief (apart from the really disturbing ones who seem to relish the idea).
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
Well, maybe it doesn't require great sophistication, but it does at least require some explanation and internalisation - and action. The decline of organised Christianity in much of Europe suggests that this blend is missing in very many cases.

[ 05. November 2017, 13:34: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Hmmmm, SvitlanaV2. It's far easier to keep the golden rule with those who are more 'other'. I despair of Christians, myself included. I'm intrigued at the ignorant obliging ones. What do they do?
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Well, maybe it doesn't require great sophistication, but it does at least require some explanation and internalisation - and action. The decline of organised Christianity in much of Europe suggests that this blend is missing in very many cases.

That doesn't follow. You're making the assumption that the decline of organised Christianity (presumably measured by changes to identity) is down to a lack of evangelism. I think it's down to social changes that have led to a decline in respect for authority, along with the churches having been shown to have feet of clay (particularly when it comes to child abuse) and the broader decline in membership of all organisations. This may be linked to the rise of broadcast media providing entertainment in the home.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Well, maybe it doesn't require great sophistication, but it does at least require some explanation and internalisation - and action. The decline of organised Christianity in much of Europe suggests that this blend is missing in very many cases.

That doesn't follow. You're making the assumption that the decline of organised Christianity (presumably measured by changes to identity) is down to a lack of evangelism. I think it's down to social changes that have led to a decline in respect for authority, along with the churches having been shown to have feet of clay (particularly when it comes to child abuse) and the broader decline in membership of all organisations. This may be linked to the rise of broadcast media providing entertainment in the home.
I agree with the gist of what Arethosemyfeet said. Plus some churches--just like many other groups--just aren't welcoming. They only want to talk to themselves, even at coffee hour and volunteer days.

Why should anyone be interested in church or Christianity, given all the above and lots more?

I could see someone becoming Christian or joining a church if they felt drawn to it, on a "there's Something there" basis.

But...think about it...if you heard about a group that claimed to have the answers to Life and had done some really good things; but also had all the problems above, was rotten to the core with some of them...would you get anywhere near them? Would you feel immoral if you did?
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Well, maybe it doesn't require great sophistication, but it does at least require some explanation and internalisation - and action. The decline of organised Christianity in much of Europe suggests that this blend is missing in very many cases.

That doesn't follow. You're making the assumption that the decline of organised Christianity (presumably measured by changes to identity) is down to a lack of evangelism. I think it's down to social changes that have led to a decline in respect for authority, along with the churches having been shown to have feet of clay (particularly when it comes to child abuse) and the broader decline in membership of all organisations. This may be linked to the rise of broadcast media providing entertainment in the home.
The scholarship I've come across claims that church decline (in the British case) set in long before the particular social changes that you mention here. The latter sped up a process that was already taking place.

IOW, changes in the religious environment (of which changing attitudes towards evangelism are said to be a part) preceded changes in the wider social environment.*

This does make sense to me, I have to say. But I can see how it might seem unlikely to you if you live in an area where church life has exhibited few signs of decay until relatively recently. Also, some denominations experienced these changes sooner or more severely than others.


(References are available.)*
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The scholarship I've come across claims that church decline (in the British case) set in long before the particular social changes that you mention here. The latter sped up a process that was already taking place.

IOW, changes in the religious environment (of which changing attitudes towards evangelism are said to be a part) preceded changes in the wider social environment.

The last blasphemy execution in Britain was in 1697, so yes, the decline has been a long one. Whether this is regarded as a bad thing is another question entirely. Still, if you consider toleration extended to "perverse" religious beliefs to be a sign of decline, it's been a long process indeed.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
The toleration or otherwise of blasphemy wasn't on my mind at all! In my last few posts I've been focusing on changing attitudes towards evangelism.

But FWIW, I'm of the view that the state would do well to remain relatively neutral regarding religious matters. I'm attracted to the supply-side theory of religious activity, which emphasises the value of a diverse supply of religious expression. Blasphemy laws clearly can't protect every religion, or everyone's understanding of God, so I have no reason to approve of them.

Indeed, it could possibly be argued that blasphemy laws help to decrease religious vitality, because they repress people's ability to produce their own religious (or, of course, irreligious) ideas.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The toleration or otherwise of blasphemy wasn't on my mind at all! In my last few posts I've been focusing on changing attitudes towards evangelism.

The basic premise behind blasphemy laws is evangelism. Specifically, making things bad enough for non-believers (i.e. blasphemers and heretics) so that they change over to the approved religion. The fact that you don't seem to regard religious oppression as a valid evangelical tool, whereas prior generations would have been just fine with it, is indeed a good illustration of "changing attitudes towards evangelism".

quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
But FWIW, I'm of the view that the state would do well to remain relatively neutral regarding religious matters.

Isn't that the "secularisation" you've been warning about?

quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Indeed, it could possibly be argued that blasphemy laws help to decrease religious vitality, because they repress people's ability to produce their own religious (or, of course, irreligious) ideas.

Can you make up your mind? First you claim that secularism (not having a de facto or de juris official religion) is a threat to religion (or at least Christianity specifically), now you're claiming the same about sectarianism (having a de facto or de juris official religion is a threat to religion).

[ 06. November 2017, 20:40: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I'm not talking about 'secularism' but secularisation. Secularism is about having a religiously neutral state. Secularisation is a process by which religion loses its relevance to large numbers of people. Those are two different things.

Consider, after all, that the USA has no official state religion, yet is by Western standards a highly religious country. Meanwhile, England has a state church yet is much further along the path of secularisation.

A religious person, let's say a Muslim, might happily live in a Western country that doesn't officially impose Christianity upon him, yet also feel sorrowful that religion has lost its currency to many of the people around him.

And I have to say, I don't see much connection between blasphemy laws and evangelism. To my mind, threatening to criminalise people because they don't take follow the state's prescribed theology isn't the same thing as trying to influence their spiritual condition. The former is about controlling their behaviour; their hearts and souls are another matter.

It's clear that many religious groups have promoted their beliefs on their own and in their own way without expecting the state to do their work for them. To my mind that's the best way to avoid getting knotted up in the state's political agendas.
 
Posted by Gramps49 (# 16378) on :
 
Svitlana posts

quote:
A religious person, let's say a Muslim, might happily live in a Western country that doesn't officially impose Christianity upon him, yet also feel sorrowful that religion has lost its currency to many of the people around him.
I think a crucial aspect is whether there is an enforced secularization, such as in France, or a benign tolerance to religion as in Canada. Canada has had relatively few terrorist attacks than, say France. Even in the case of the United States it is said one of the reasons why Islamic terrorism has not gained a foothold is because it is more tolerant.

Our problem in the United States, as has been proven once again this weekend, is not religious oriented terrorism but domestic (read, white) terrorism, but that is getting off topic.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
It still gets a terrorist response due to its foreign policy.

Current and recurring military operations:

Middle East

Operation Jade – Contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East
Operation Gladius – Latest stage of Canada's long-standing participation in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria.
Operation Calumet – Canada's participation in the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), an independent peacekeeping operation in the Sinai Peninsula.
Operation Metric – Periodic participation in international efforts to enhance security in the eastern Mediterranean region, specifically the Middle East and North Africa.
Operation Proteus – Canada's contribution to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) in Jerusalem.
Operation Foundation – Contribution of headquarters and liaison staff to United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) to support operations in its area of responsibility, which extends from Egypt to Pakistan and includes the Middle East and southwest Asia. Supports Canada's efforts in the Middle East and southwest Asia, and promotes Canadian values through regular presence and exchange with military allies, foreign armed forces, and governments in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility.

Recent:

Southwest Asia and Middle East

Operation Accius – Contribution of two senior Canadian Forces officers to the Military Advisory Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from November 2002 to June 2005)

Operation Altair – Canada's contribution of warships in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea from Jan 2004 to Oct 2008)[53]

Operation Angora – United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

Operation Apollo – Operations in support of the United States in its military operations in Afghanistan. The operation took place from
October 2001 to October 2003

Operation Argus – Strategic Advisory Team Afghanistan (SAT‑A) from September 2005 to August 2008

Operation Archer – Since July 2005 to July 2006, Canada's participation in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has been conducted under Operation Archer

Operation Augmentation (Canadian naval deployments in support of enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iraq in the Persian Gulf from June 1999 to October 2001)

Operation Athena (Canadian deployment with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan)

Operation Danaca (Canadian contribution to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights from 31 May 1974 to 23 March 2006)

etc

Example response:

October 22, 2014 - Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam, fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, and then forced his way into Canada's parliament building, where he had a shootout with parliament security personnel. He was shot 31 times and died at the scene.

Zehaf-Bibeau made a video prior to the attack in which he expressed his motives as being related "to Canada's foreign policy and in respect of his religious beliefs."
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
The basic premise behind blasphemy laws is evangelism
The basic everything about blasphemy laws is that there is a state religion that uses the power of the state to impose the religion's standards. In such a situation evangelism doesn't really exist because everyone is assumed to belong to the religion unless and until they positively apostasise.

In more modern times this has got a bit more confusing in societies like the UK with an established religion but a lot of toleration of other beliefs.

From a Christian viewpoint ALL non-Christian religions are 'perverse'. And to other religions and philosophies, Christianity is 'perverse'. In a plural/religiously neutral society, this shouldn't be a problem. We discuss it and try and convince each other - Christians call that 'evangelism'. And they're supposed to do it by the power of the Spirit, not by the power of the state.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

From a Christian viewpoint ALL non-Christian religions are 'perverse'. And to other religions and philosophies, Christianity is 'perverse'. In a plural/religiously neutral society, this shouldn't be a problem. We discuss it and try and convince each other - Christians call that 'evangelism'. And they're supposed to do it by the power of the Spirit, not by the power of the state.

Have you read Paul? Only he doesn't seem to think that other religions - or Greek philosophy - is perverse.

Once again you are simply declaring things that you believe to be something that all Christians believe. They don't.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Have you read Paul? Even as basic a passage as Romans 1 with its analysis of the failure of paganism and its idolatry?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Paul does not think Judaism is perverse, hence he uses an argument with Jews based on Judaism. It'd be a completely different thing if he started his epistles with the idea that Judaism was perverse.

Similarly he takes an idea from Greek philosophy and expands on it.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
Paul does not think Judaism is perverse, hence he uses an argument with Jews based on Judaism. It'd be a completely different thing if he started his epistles with the idea that Judaism was perverse.

Similarly he takes an idea from Greek philosophy and expands on it.

Paul clearly does not think Judaism per se to be 'perverse' - he would after all see it as directly from God through Abraham, David, etc., and Christianity as derived from and continuous with Judaism. Since he believes that about Judaism of course he uses arguments from Judaism when dealing with Jews - as, if you think about it, Jesus himself did.

I think it fair comment that since Paul believes Christianity to be the fulfilment or completion of Judaism, he considers it a lot less than ideal - ie, effectively 'perverse' - that there are Jews who reject that advance in faith and want to carry on with the pre-Jesus version of Judaism; and also a lot less than ideal that there was a faction of Jewish Christians, the 'circumcisionists', who hadn't quite grasped how big a change Jesus had made by fulfilling the promises of the OT.

And of course Paul uses and tries to connect with Greek philosophy (as does John with his use of the 'Logos' idea). Why not? As one must in evangelism, he goes to where people are and tries to build on the best of their thoughts to lead them on to better ideas still. He will still have considered Greek pagan religion perverse....
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Steve, Paul's seeming polemic against paganism in the letter to the Romans is a rhetorical device. He is parroting the Jewish criticisms of paganism, then turning around and telling his audience, " Think you're any better?" (Not my idiosyncratic reading, by the way, but that of NT profs much smarter than I am.)

Also: Are you interpreting "perverse" to be synonymous with "wrong"? An idea can be wrong without being perverse. At least in my world.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
Steve, Paul's seeming polemic against paganism in the letter to the Romans is a rhetorical device. He is parroting the Jewish criticisms of paganism, then turning around and telling his audience, " Think you're any better?" (Not my idiosyncratic reading, by the way, but that of NT profs much smarter than I am.)

Also: Are you interpreting "perverse" to be synonymous with "wrong"? An idea can be wrong without being perverse. At least in my world.

Dealing with the second point first, I guess actually the word perverse is nowadays carrying a lot of 'baggage' from its use in relation to sexual conduct. I'm using it in a less loaded sense. It's a bit more than just 'wrong' when Jews reject the divine Messiah and crucify him. And in the context of the whole world, paganism compared to theism is decidedly perverse, again a bit more than just wrong.

On your other point I'm aware of it. I frankly find it just doesn't work. The traditional interpretation, which sees the critique of paganism as genuinely Paul's view, has always interpreted it that Paul then turns to his Jewish readers and says "Don't think you're any better", building to the declaration that "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God". I don't see that anything is gained by supposing that Paul himself doesn't agree with the critique of paganism.

It's also hard to see why Paul would supposedly object to that critique of paganism. Almost everything objected to in that passage is stuff I'm pretty sure you'd also object to and regard as sinful. And Paul uses the material in a distinctive way - he doesn't just say "Look at the terrible evil pagans"; he makes it an analysis of how the evil comes from the combination of humanity rejecting the real God and effectively trying to be their own God. In the context it reads perfectly well as Paul's own view of human sinfulness, and all the 'connectives' are in the right places for it to be just that. Why would anybody need it to be anything other?

In the Reformation context a secondary interpretation was developed which suggested that in many ways the RC church was taking the same attitude as the NT period Jews, and that nominally and superficially 'religious people' could be subject to the same critique as thinking themselves better than others - think Mary Whitehouse and similar.... That doesn't supercede the original meaning, it's just seeing the underlying principle and giving it a further application to a new situation.

Going back to the OP, obviously thinking Judaism 'perverse' has all kinds of nasty implications in a society which is formally and legally Christian and may persecute dissent. It's a bit different if the NT teaching on 'church and state' is accepted and it is therefore understood that Christianity isn't meant to use state power to enforce its ideas on those who disagree.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Dealing with the second point first, I guess actually the word perverse is nowadays carrying a lot of 'baggage' from its use in relation to sexual conduct. I'm using it in a less loaded sense. It's a bit more than just 'wrong' when Jews reject the divine Messiah and crucify him. And in the context of the whole world, paganism compared to theism is decidedly perverse, again a bit more than just wrong.

I imagine that the definition most people would be associating with the description perverse in this context is this (from dictionary.com - other online dictionaries are available)

quote:
turned away from or rejecting what is right, good, or proper; wicked or corrupt.
Which when discussing Christianity vs other belief systems implies that they (the other religions) are wrong, turned away from the truth, wicked or corrupt.

Or, to perhaps oversimplify, they have no truth in them. They're dead wrong.

Now, the interesting thing is that the epistles, and by implication Paul, never actually quite get to that point.

In fact it appears that the epistle writer (or writers) actually see a lot of positives in various other beliefs but see Christianity as building on those truths - and that they point the way to Christ for anyone who is seeking the truth.

The obvious example is Judaism. But it is also possible to construct a decent argument that Paul (and/or the "epistle writers") sees a lot of truth in Greek philosophy and so starts from a position of accepted truth when making an argument for Christ to those versed in Greek philosophy.

Take Acts 17, for example. Not so much Paul saying that Greek philosophy was perverse, but quite the opposite - it is interesting and here is a truth that you accept that I'm going to expand upon to help you see how Christ completes your ethical thinking.

Various other parts of the epistles either seem to borrow directly from works of Greek philosophy and poetry for their ideas or seem to be developed as ideas from Greek philosophical texts.

If one really thought that the pervasive ideas of Greek philosophy were "perverse" in the sense of being wholly wrong would you use poetical ideas from them in your letters? Wouldn't you come up with other, entirely different, idioms and ideas that cannot possibly be mistaken for Greek philosophical ideas?

Would you go to talk to the Greeks and start off by saying "I see that you have an altar to an unknown god; well I'm here to tell you a story about that god.."?

If it was perverse and wrong you'd surely say "oh you Greeks have got it totally wrong with all these stupid deities. Listen, you need to get rid of this lot and instead focus on the one, real, God and his son Jesus Christ.."

But no, that's not what happened.

Paul didn't think Judaism, Greek philosophy or even Greek gods were perverse.

quote:
Going back to the OP, obviously thinking Judaism 'perverse' has all kinds of nasty implications in a society which is formally and legally Christian and may persecute dissent. It's a bit different if the NT teaching on 'church and state' is accepted and it is therefore understood that Christianity isn't meant to use state power to enforce its ideas on those who disagree.
I'm not sure that we're talking about your bugbear of Christendom right now. You are claiming that Christianity always saw other religions as perverse - nothing to do with the development of Christianity and the Empire.

I suggest to you that Christianity has almost never considered itself to be the only source of truth and that all other ideas were hopelessly perverse and broken. Rather I think Christianity has almost always been open to engage with other ideas, believing that truth is truth wherever it comes from and that Christ is the ethical pinnacle of all goodness.

Others can disagree with the latter of course. But it has only been latter interpretations of Christianity which claimed that Truth only and uniquely resided within the pages of the bible and that all other ideas and thoughts could simply be dismissed as perverse.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy
quote:
I imagine that the definition most people would be associating with the description perverse in this context is this (from dictionary.com - other online dictionaries are available)

quote:

turned away from or rejecting what is right, good, or proper; wicked or corrupt.

Which when discussing Christianity vs other belief systems implies that they (the other religions) are wrong, turned away from the truth, wicked or corrupt.

Or, to perhaps oversimplify, they have no truth in them. They're dead wrong.

Now, the interesting thing is that the epistles, and by implication Paul, never actually quite get to that point.

Yes you're definitely oversimplifying. I was with you up to that sentence. People often make a similar mistake in understanding the Calvinist doctrine of 'Total Depravity'.

And of course Paul doesn't make that mistake, and neither do I, so we don't get to the point you're suggesting of thinking there is no good at all in other religions. But in that Romans 1 passage he comes pretty close to the dictionary definition you give, since he essentially blames pagan religion on a decidedly perverse/sinful rejection of the true God.

So both Paul and I see that there is good in other religions and philosophies and would seek to use that good to persuade people back from their perverse and sinful positions.

Judaism is a decidedly different issue to paganism, since it is of course the foundation of Christianity and Christianity in turn the fulfilment of the promises of Judaism. So of course Paul uses arguments from Judaism/the OT to try and persuade his fellow-Jews to accept their Messiah.

Thing is, from a Christian viewpoint, after Jesus came, there can be no valid form of Judaism that rejects Jesus as the God-sent Messiah. It was precisely the point of Judaism to lead up to Jesus' salvation, and if Jewish people reject that they have just monumentally missed God's point.

by mr cheesy
quote:
I'm not sure that we're talking about your bugbear of Christendom right now. You are claiming that Christianity always saw other religions as perverse - nothing to do with the development of Christianity and the Empire.

The OP was talking, if I remember rightly, about Luther's attitude to Jews; I'm making the point that because Luther was thinking in 'Christendom' terms, that could have tragic results for Jews as dissenters in a Christian state. The situation would have been different had Luther realised that the Christian country concept was wrong and that the proper Christian attitude to other religions did not include putting Christianity itself in a privileged position and persecuting those who disagree.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by mr cheesy
Yes you're definitely oversimplifying. I was with you up to that sentence. People often make a similar mistake in understanding the Calvinist doctrine of 'Total Depravity'.

And of course Paul doesn't make that mistake, and neither do I, so we don't get to the point you're suggesting of thinking there is no good at all in other religions. But in that Romans 1 passage he comes pretty close to the dictionary definition you give, since he essentially blames pagan religion on a decidedly perverse/sinful rejection of the true God.

I think you are using the word in the wrong way. What you are describing is that other religions are wrong, not that they're deprived.

And let's not get back into this whole stupid debate about "validity". That's beyond ridiculous.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy
quote:
I think you are using the word in the wrong way. What you are describing is that other religions are wrong, not that they're deprived.

And let's not get back into this whole stupid debate about "validity". That's beyond ridiculous.

I take it you meant 'depraved'. A lot of what 'other religions' do is depraved. IS for example....

And mention of IS shows that 'validity' is anything but a 'stupid debate' - as I understand it you wouldn't consider IS a 'valid' form of Islam.... Far from being 'stupid' the debate on validity is truly essential.

And I still think that Paul in Romans 1 and elsewhere portrays pagan religions as more than just 'wrong'. And you're not addressing the point that Judaism is in a different category to paganism because of the way it is the cradle of Christianity, not a completely separate religion.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I take it you meant 'depraved'. A lot of what 'other religions' do is depraved. IS for example....

And mention of IS shows that 'validity' is anything but a 'stupid debate' - as I understand it you wouldn't consider IS a 'valid' form of Islam.... Far from being 'stupid' the debate on validity is truly essential.

No it isn't. Words have meaning.

Validity means that if you are given certain information, then a certain conclusion is within the bounds of reasonable possible understandings.

IS is a valid way to understand Islam, it isn't invalid it is just wrong.

Any other explanation is reinventing the concept of validity.

quote:
And I still think that Paul in Romans 1 and elsewhere portrays pagan religions as more than just 'wrong'. And you're not addressing the point that Judaism is in a different category to paganism because of the way it is the cradle of Christianity, not a completely separate religion.
Paul think they are valid, because if he thought they were invalid then there would be nothing to talk about.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy;
quote:
Validity means that if you are given certain information, then a certain conclusion is within the bounds of reasonable possible understandings.
Yes - so given the information that Christians believe Jesus to be the promised Jewish Messiah, then from a Christian viewpoint Judaism that rejects Jesus as Messiah is not really a possible understanding, and so is invalid. Why is that so difficult for you?

by mr cheesy
quote:
by SL
quote:

And I still think that Paul in Romans 1 and elsewhere portrays pagan religions as more than just 'wrong'. And you're not addressing the point that Judaism is in a different category to paganism because of the way it is the cradle of Christianity, not a completely separate religion.

mr c response; Paul think they are valid, because if he thought they were invalid then there would be nothing to talk about.
Seriously confusing....

What exactly does Paul think is valid in the two distinct issues raised in my words there? And even if something is thought 'invalid' that is in itself 'something' to talk about - what makes it invalid, what is a valid answer, etc.

Paul in Romans 1 Deals with paganism in a way that suggests he thinks it not just logically wrong but a product of human sin and so 'perverse'.

He deals with Judaism differently because he thinks Judaism basically true; but he also thinks that Jesus coming and fulfilling the promises of the OT makes a difference such that it is mistaken to attempt a continuing version of Judaism that rejects Jesus' Messiahship.

In both cases there is plenty to talk about. Why aren't you talking about it?

And oh yes, given the information that Jesus rejected the idea of a 'kingdom of this world' for himself, and clearly chose a different way of proceeding, 'Christendom' is not a conclusion "within the bounds of reasonable possible understandings" and is invalid.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Yes - so given the information that Christians believe Jesus to be the promised Jewish Messiah, then from a Christian viewpoint Judaism that rejects Jesus as Messiah is not really a possible understanding, and so is invalid. Why is that so difficult for you?

It is valid not to be a Christian. It is a reasonable, understandable, explicable response to the information.

Judaism is therefore not invalid.

quote:
Seriously confusing....

What exactly does Paul think is valid in the two distinct issues raised in my words there? And even if something is thought 'invalid' that is in itself 'something' to talk about - what makes it invalid, what is a valid answer, etc.

Paul in Romans 1 Deals with paganism in a way that suggests he thinks it not just logically wrong but a product of human sin and so 'perverse'.

He deals with Judaism differently because he thinks Judaism basically true; but he also thinks that Jesus coming and fulfilling the promises of the OT makes a difference such that it is mistaken to attempt a continuing version of Judaism that rejects Jesus' Messiahship.

In both cases there is plenty to talk about. Why aren't you talking about it?

And oh yes, given the information that Jesus rejected the idea of a 'kingdom of this world' for himself, and clearly chose a different way of proceeding, 'Christendom' is not a conclusion "within the bounds of reasonable possible understandings" and is invalid.

Rubbish. Now you're trying to tell us that only your explanation is reasonable and valid. That's nonsense.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
Steve, just so you know, my entire working life has revolved around using words. I'm pretty good at understanding what words mean. And I am fully aware that both "perverse" and " depravity" can have different shades of meaning. I rather suspect that Mr. Cheesy is equally as proficient in English usage, and probably more so, than I am.But thank you for trying to be a helper.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Dealing with the second point first, I guess actually the word perverse is nowadays carrying a lot of 'baggage' from its use in relation to sexual conduct. I'm using it in a less loaded sense. It's a bit more than just 'wrong' when Jews reject the divine Messiah and crucify him.

There's always been a strong Christian belief that Jews all really secretly know that Jesus is God, but are being intellectually perverse by maintaining the pretense that they reject this position. In that sense Christian anti-Semitism and persecutions of the Jews are, from the Christian perspective, not about crushing dissent or trying to change minds, it's about getting Jews to publicly admit what they "really" believe; that Jesus is God and the only true faith is Steve Langton-style Anabaptism.

[ 09. November 2017, 15:55: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
There's always been a strong Christian belief that Jews all really secretly know that Jesus is God, but are being intellectually perverse by maintaining the pretense that they reject this position. In that sense Christian anti-Semitism and persecutions of the Jews are, from the Christian perspective, not about crushing dissent or trying to change minds, it's about getting Jews to publicly admit what they "really" believe; that Jesus is God and the only true faith is Steve Langton-style Anabaptism.
There is in that a major logical slip. "Christian anti-Semitism and persecutions of the Jews" have been about coercing Jews to believe that "the only true faith" is the Christendom version of Christianity with its coercive approach. Anabaptists do not do persecution, just disagreement to be resolved by argument, not by physical coercion.

Anti-Semitic is a dubious term; it refers not only to Jews but also to lots of other people with a language in the 'Semitic' family - Arabs and others. Ethnically/racially anti-Jewish is more accurate albeit a bit clumsier.

It is I think true that early Anabaptists tended to share much of the racial anti-Jewishness of the surrounding European culture, and that may still be true of some of the more isolated groups. It does not appear to be true of modern Anabaptists and would certainly not be accepted in the UK Anabaptist Network. AIUI modern Anabaptist theologians have led the way in exploring Jewish thought and culture for fresh explanations/understanding of Christian ideas.

With Jesus, Paul and a lot of other biblical figures being Jewish, no Christian should ever be racially anti-Jewish. But of necessity we are what I call anti-Judaist - regarding a continuing Jewish religion that rejects Jesus as defective. Judaism simply cannot offer what Christianity does.

There can be a bit of a perception problem here; Judaism is so emphatically the religion of one ethnic group that it can be difficult to be critical of the religious ideas without being accused of racial anti-Jewishness. A similar problem is seen in attempts to criticise the conduct of modern Israel as a nation. People who think they're simply criticising conduct they wouldn't accept from their own government find that because they're criticising Israel they get tarred as 'anti-Semitic'.

Which gets us back to the idea that "Jews all really secretly know that Jesus is God" and so on. I don't think it's anywhere near that simple.

BUT - the problems over 'the Land', the return to Israel, shows something rather unsatisfactory in Judaism. Is it really the case that the God of the entire Universe is 'about' one nation owning a patch of otherwise ordinary ground on our planet? And doesn't it often appear that in following that goal the Zionist Jews are effectively showing a rather nasty pro-Jewish racism?

At the same time, can Judaism consistently carry on without that promise? And what about the Temple and the sacrifices, effectively abandoned for centuries after losing the war with Rome? What kind of Messiah can now be expected?

And is detailed observance of the Torah by Jews really achieving anything?

Christianity has effectively had better answers to those questions for nearly 2000 years. A Messiah who fulfilled the OT and showed a different point, showed why Israel existed, how it existed for the world and not just for itself.

I could go on for a long time on some of these themes - but I do think I'm seeing in the modern world increased disillusion among Jews. Not just the Zionists, others as well. It may not be as simple as they "all really secretly know that Jesus is God", but just the considerable number of 'Messianic' Jews following Jesus indicates a sense of some emptiness in the Jesus-less version of Judaism.

You've sneered at ' Steve Langton-style Anabaptism', Croesos. Well in the first place Anabaptism is far from just me; but also which do you prefer - Anabaptism or the violence of Zionism?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Anti-Semitic is a dubious term; it refers not only to Jews but also to lots of other people with a language in the 'Semitic' family - Arabs and others. Ethnically/racially anti-Jewish is more accurate albeit a bit clumsier.

If you want to play semantic/Semitic games, you could use the distinction outlined by David Nirenberg of referring to being against the Jews as a racial/ethnic group as "anti-Semitism" and being against the Jews as adherents of a particular religion as "anti-Judaism". These are, of course, not wholly independent of each other. A long-form review of Nirenberg's 2013 book on the latter can be found here. It's well worth the read.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Christianity has effectively had better answers to those questions for nearly 2000 years. A Messiah who fulfilled the OT and showed a different point, showed why Israel existed, how it existed for the world and not just for itself.

This seems to be near the root of most Christian anti-Judaism: the Jew's stubborn refusal to acknowledge what Christian's regard as the self-evident superiority of Christianity over Judaism (and likewise the superiority of Christians over Jews). It's simply infuriating the way Jews keep on failing to acknowledge the inferiority of their own faith in the face of the obvious paradise the coming of the Messiah has made of the world. They simply refuse to say a simple "thank you" for all the pogroms and Crusades and ghettoization that Christianity has so thoughtfully and generously provided them.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
You've sneered at 'Steve Langton-style Anabaptism', Croesos.

Actually I've sneered at the arrogance of claiming to be the true prophet of the one true faith, and that this one true faith is so self-evident that the only possible explanation for anyone believing any differently is intellectual dishonesty.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Well in the first place Anabaptism is far from just me; . . .

Hence the modifier "Steve Langton-style". Far be it from me to ascribe your very unique set of beliefs to a much wider group.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Anabaptists do not do persecution,

We've been down this road. They just got beat down hard enough to prevent a comeback.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
you could use the distinction outlined by David Nirenberg of referring to being against the Jews as a racial/ethnic group as "anti-Semitism" and being against the Jews as adherents of a particular religion as "anti-Judaism". These are, of course, not wholly independent of each other.

As you'll note, I did use the distinction of referring to 'Anti-Judaism'. And I made myself the point that when a religion is so emphatically about one race it's not easy to separate the two concepts. But unless you're proposing to somehow put Judaism and its teachings beyond criticism, surely questioning of the teachings has to be allowed just as criticism of Christianity is allowed.

by Croesos;
quote:
They simply refuse to say a simple "thank you" for all the pogroms and Crusades and ghettoization that Christianity has so thoughtfully and generously provided them.
And of course as an Anabaptist I thoroughly disapprove of "all the pogroms and Crusades and ghettoization" and very much understand why Jews would object to it - the same people did much the same to the Anabaptists, after all. I'm therefore very much concerned to create a new way for Christians to approach Judaism - obviously if I'm agreeing with Jesus I won't be agreeing with that continuing 'Judaism without its Messiah', but a peaceable approach rejecting Christendom's atrocities must be possible.

Again, since you know I'm Anabaptist you should have realised that that particular criticism wouldn't be applicable to my position - another major slip in your logic I fear.

By Croesos.
quote:
Actually I've sneered at the arrogance of claiming to be the true prophet of the one true faith, and that this one true faith is so self-evident that the only possible explanation for anyone believing any differently is intellectual dishonesty.

What's really odd about this is that I make no such claim and the idea that I do is simply a product of your overheated imagination (you'd better settle for that rather than the idea that you're deliberately dishonestly misrepresenting me). What I do is simply put forward for discussion the things I believe true after investigating to the best of my ability. I welcome discussion and evidence and being proved wrong if I have got it wrong. I suppose it's easier to appear to win a point by accusing me in that way than to actually win it by engaging with my arguments.....


quote:
Hence the modifier "Steve Langton-style". Far be it from me to ascribe your very unique set of beliefs to a much wider group.
I think if you were more aware of the realities of modern Anabaptism you'd realise I'm not so very unique. It is true that we UK 'Anabaptist camp followers' have brought some new ideas to the traditional bodies; or in some cases actually revived old ideas which had been neglected in the traditional bodies. There's nothing really unusual in that when people seek to follow the Bible....
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Anabaptists do not do persecution,

We've been down this road. They just got beat down hard enough to prevent a comeback.
We've indeed been down that road; fact is that there were pacifist Anabaptists before Munster, and for others like Menno Simons it was not that they were 'beat down hard enough to prevent a comeback' but that they really understood the anomaly of such violence in the name of Jesus and realised that the Bible simply doesn't teach that kind of thing - and please note, were willing to face persecution and death for that principle.

Munster was just one of many events in the relative chaos of the Reformation era where people discovered part of the truth but didn't quite get round to others. In the case of Munster they saw the truth about baptism but didn't work out the pacifism thing. The Mainstream Reformers had a similar problem in another area - they got so much right about what was wrong with the RCC but didn't quite get round to rejecting the idea of Christian states.

One of the big ironies of the Munster situation is that the RCC and Protestant opponents of Munster were objecting to the feature where they and the Munsterites were in agreement - the setting up of a Christian state supported by worldly violence. All three bodies - RCC, Protestants, and Muinsterites - were wrong at that point; the pacifist Anabaptists were biblically right.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
We've been down this road too many times before as well. This thread is not about Steve Langton's theology but the perversity, or otherwise, of other faiths. To avoid yet another derailing, please feel free to take that tangent to Hell if you find it sufficiently annoying. But please drop it here. There have been previous Host and Admin actions to prevent such derailing.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Well anyway - what I think is interesting is that we (maybe, possibly) have evidence of a Christian faith from the epistles that sought to engage with philosophies and ideas that were around at the time. This whole idea of casting other ideas out to replace them with the truths of Christianity seem to me to be a later concept.

Of course, I don't know how much later. And I accept that this is just one of many (valid) ways to read the epistles.

But it is an idea that I find attractive - a long time ago I heard someone say that the difference between Jesus and the Pharisees was subtle but important: the pharisees made everything into a religious issue, and yet Jesus made a religious issue out of everything. Here is a stone, a grain of wheat, a mustard seed, a fig tree. A person gardening, someone growing grapes, someone waiting for a wedding groom.

The Pharisees might have been able to point at reasons why all these people and examples were sinful and wrong. Wrong clothing, wrong crop grown in the wrong place, wrong day of the week, wrong time of day, wrong gender etc and so on.

And yet Jesus is depicted as using all these wrong things and bad examples for the good.

I think we see the echoes of that in the epistles too.

I think Jesus is much more likely to meet someone of a different religion and say "hmm, that's interesting let me tell you what I think about that" than "no, that's an evil, depraved, perverse and wrong idea - you need to stop immediately and do this other thing"

Yes there are evil, depraved and perverse ideas. But I don't think any of those things are uniquely within the class of "non-Christian religion" (or the adherents thereof) and in fact in almost every religion there is something noble, interesting, worthwhile and worth believing in.

That doesn't mean that I agree with them. But that I have some general understanding of what it means to believe something, that I can see (if vaguely) why they might find the idea attractive and that they're not complete fools just for believing it and/or refusing to believe in Christianity out of perverse stubbornness.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I've replied to Barnabas 62 in Styx.

I'm out for the afternoon and will respond to mr cheesy's post above later.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

I'm out for the afternoon and will respond to mr cheesy's post above later.

I really don't need hourly updates of your forthcoming posts. I'm not really that interested.
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

Did you miss the host post above? Take personal disputes to Hell where they belong. There's plenty else to discuss here, as you yourself have demonstrated.

/hosting
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
Yes sorry I had a rant brewing and was struggling to keep a lid on it.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
Looking at Paul's attitude to paganism, can I point out that he both makes an extremely critical analysis of paganism in Romans 1, clearly saying that it's a product of sinful rebellion against God and effectively 'perverse', and still takes a much more sympathetic approach to actual pagans eg in Athens.

Can you not understand that these are not mutually exclusive positions/approaches?

It is perfectly possible and reasonable to have a fairly strong view of how bad paganism in general is, or the problems of a particular paganism, and still treat a particular pagan as an individual and discuss with them how they see it.

And it is also perfectly possible to have a strong view of paganism and still understand that there is good as well as bad in it - well mostly anyway - and that you must recognise that. All may have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and even the superficially good may - as was particularly obvious with the Pharisees - be somewhat vitiated by the sinful motivation; but it's rarely fully 'black and white'.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I'll remind you of your 'It's rarely purely black and white' comment the next time you post a comment that's as binary as a zebra crossing ...

On the attitude of the early Church towards paganism, I don't think anyone would say it was positive - any more than the Jewish view of paganism was positive ... But it was certainly more nuanced than some claim. The issue the apostle Paul was addressing was idolatry.

The early Church admired Seneca and the Stoics, for instance because their capacity for long-suffering and patience was seen as Christ-like to some extent.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Gamaliel
quote:
I'll remind you of your 'It's rarely purely black and white' comment the next time you post a comment that's as binary as a zebra crossing ...
I think the point is that at the 'what is the truth here?' level it is often very 'black and white'. But when you are dealing with individual examples each case tends to be different. I would for instance deal rather differently with a fanatical 'true believer' in a pagan faith and a person who is just a 'conformist' to his nation/culture.

Pagans are human - like all humans they are a mix. And simply because of the realities of the universe paganisms obviously contain much of the common recognition of 'good', and much perfectly good thought alongside the error. But the fundamental error really does amount to living against the grain of the universe and has to be challenged.

Thus as I say we deal with individuals in what can be 'grey areas' but very much against a background of certain things not being grey as far as we're concerned.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I can see what you're getting at Steve, but it strikes me that there's more 'space' and nuance in Paul's Epistle to the Romans than you are allowing for in your somewhat selective approach.

For instance, on certain readings of Romans 2 it would appear that the Apostle is holding out a 'wider hope' and indicating that it might be possible for some pagans to be saved despite their ignorance of the Truth.

Equally, we have to face the fact that there isn't universal agreement within Christianity as a whole as to some of the emphases within Romans (or the other NT epistles for that matter).

The Christian East tends to interpret certain passages that some Western Christians would consider 'self evident' in a different way, for instance.

It's not as if there is one single 'take' on Romans, whether it's a Fred Bloggs one, a Steve Langton one, a Gamaliel one ... or a whoever-else one.

What we have are various collective views that are shaped by tradition and Tradition in response to the text.

To use Romans in isolation as some kind of prescriptive last-word on the early Christian's view on pagan religions seems to me to be missing the point.

I don't think anyone here is making a case for the early Church being unequivocably positive about paganism, far from it. But they weren't necessarily negative about all aspects of it either - and as we see from Romans itself there were debates even then about individual conscience when it came to 'food sacrificed to idols' and so on.

At the risk of derailing things in the direction of your favourite hobby-horse, I'd agree that things became 'harsher' and more regulated later on - with the Emperor Justinian allegedly closing down the School of Athens in 529AD.

However, there's an interesting counter-take on that one here: http://www.bede.org.uk/justinian.htm

Whatever else we can say, I think we can say that the picture was fairly mixed.

Which is exactly what one would expect.

Just as there are different views and slants on things among Christians today.

To take just one example from popular culture: I know plenty of conservative Christians (both evangelical Protestants and some from more sacramental traditions) who rant and rave about the Harry Potter novels and insist that children should be protected from their baleful influence lest they develop an unhealthy interest in the occult.

I know other Christians - both conservative and more liberal ones - who'd find that view rather extreme and who'd insist that the Harry Potter books are harmless fun and besides Good always triumphs over Evil in these stories.

I'm sure we can think of many other examples of similar differences.

From what I can gather from my reading of Paul and from discussions I've had, the picture is mixed. The early Christians would take what they considered useful from classical/pagan philosophy and leave or reject what they considered unhelpful or harmful.

The same applies today, of course, when it comes to Christian responses to various political ideologies and philosophies.

None of us are operating in a hermetically sealed vacuum. Thank goodness.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
I think you're at some risk here of what Hosts would consider a derailment.

Harry Potter basically good; fantasy generally not a problem (see JRRT).

Lutheran Chik's original post was about
quote:
Luther's anti- Semitic attitudes and writings and their negative influence in history.
I've tried to address that in various aspects.

As the OP pointed out, Luther's approach produced problems in later history including probably helping Hitler in his anti-Jewish acts. And I think it's relevant to say that a lot of that is down to Luther never quite accepting that Christianity shouldn't be a state religion.

I also pointed out the considerable difficulty in dealing with this when Judaism is so identified with one ethnic group; it's hard to criticise the religion without appearing racist. And made the point that I'm emphatically not ethnically/racially anti-Jewish; but from a Christian viewpoint (a crucial qualification) the continuance of Judaism as a separate religion which rejects Jesus as Messiah is unsatisfactory to say the least. There is an aspect there which has to be open to discussion and questioning of the Judaist religious stance.

Is Judaism - in that sense of the continuing separate religion - 'perverse'? Clearly pre-Jesus Judaism is anything but perverse, it effectively was the one true faith in the one true God; but also I's submit clearly in some ways incomplete and looking forward to the fulfilment of promises like that of the Messiah.

Part of my feeling about the 'perversity' is based on looking at some of the immediate consequences of rejecting Jesus. As in, by instead following the kind of Messiah they preferred, and the view of Jewish destiny they preferred, the 1st and 2nd century Jews effectively inflicted on themselves two disastrous wars with Rome at huge cost in lives and in other ways. The Jewish people have in a sense never recovered and modern Israel looks to me somewhat problematic as fulfilment of the OT promises. Widespread acceptance of Jesus' kind of Messiahship would surely have prevented that....

Back to paganism; the Christian analysis is that paganism is a product of sin, of human self-centredness and rebellion against God - whether 'idolatrous' in the limited sense or whether a wider worshipping other than the true God in whatever form, because it results from sin it is 'perverse'. Doesn't mean everything about it is wrong; doesn't mean Christians shouldn't use the good to make fruitful contact with pagan minds.

Paganisms vary from human sacrificing Druids and Aztecs to Roman and Greek philosophers who often seem to sit very light to the religion and sometimes seem to believe in a single god behind the mythical gods. Obviously Christians will deal differently with those different levels....
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
hosting/

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I think you're at some risk here of what Hosts would consider a derailment.

I think you're at some risk here of what Hosts would consider junior hosting.

What is more, you have already drawn attention to yourself by posting in the Styx to, apparently, appeal a hosting decision not directed at you. You have been advised to stick to the thread theme. Do so or expect consequences - that applies to everyone.

/hosting

[ 11. November 2017, 13:27: Message edited by: Eutychus ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Steve Langton, I would suggest that the NT is actually more nuanced on those issues than you might allow it to be.

However we understand Acts 17:26-27 it appears to imply that God can be sought and found, even from within an originally pagan base:

http://biblehub.com/acts/17-27.htm

And of course, that's what seems to have happened with Abraham. At some point the early Hebrews moved from polytheism to monotheism.

That doesn't 'condone' pagan beliefs, it simply acknowledges them as a transitory phase perhaps.

The point I'm trying to make is that it isn't as simple as saying that religiosity of any kind (other than 'True Religion') is somehow a product of humanity's fallen state.

In Athens, Paul didn't condemn the Athenians for their religiosity - 'I see that in every way you are very religious' - rather he sought to direct those tendencies in a more appropriate direction - 'What you worship as Unknown I now declare to you ...'

That's the point I'm making and one you appear to misunderstand.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Looking at Paul's attitude to paganism, can I point out that he both makes an extremely critical analysis of paganism in Romans 1, clearly saying that it's a product of sinful rebellion against God and effectively 'perverse', and still takes a much more sympathetic approach to actual pagans eg in Athens.

Can you not understand that these are not mutually exclusive positions/approaches?

I think you are misrepresenting what happened. Paul is not so much condemning Paganism and uplifting individual Pagans as taking one Pagan idea and talking about how it is bad and taking another and talking about how it isn't bad.

I'm in no sense saying that everything about every religion is good. Religion is frequently very bad in many ways.

But I'm more saying that I don't think religions are "perverse", that there is often some common ground upon which one can talk about stuff. And as Paul and Jesus showed, the basis for that conversation is frequently outrageous to the religious of their time.

quote:
It is perfectly possible and reasonable to have a fairly strong view of how bad paganism in general is, or the problems of a particular paganism, and still treat a particular pagan as an individual and discuss with them how they see it.
I don't that it is really. If I come up to a Muslim and say that I think their religion is depraved and perverse, I don't suppose there is anything further to talk about.

If I come up to a Muslim, visit his mosque with a respectful attitude, listen to something that has meaning for him and then talk about similaries and differences between our beliefs, I'll probably get a smoother hearing.

I suggest that this simple overlap you are using between right/wrong and depraved/true is incredibly unchristian and unhelpful.

But hey, I don't really think I'm going to persuade you.

quote:
And it is also perfectly possible to have a strong view of paganism and still understand that there is good as well as bad in it - well mostly anyway - and that you must recognise that.
The "well mostly" is very interesting. You don't really believe that do you.

quote:
All may have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and even the superficially good may - as was particularly obvious with the Pharisees - be somewhat vitiated by the sinful motivation; but it's rarely fully 'black and white'.
I think we fundamentally disagree. I think the role of the Christian is to be a fellow traveller with others who are asking hard questions. To come alongside, to share when asked, to think and engage and expand generously with others. It is to point with anger at the hard things (including idols) within our own lives not at others.

But that's all I'm going to say on this topic now.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy
quote:
quote:

(Quoting from SL)It is perfectly possible and reasonable to have a fairly strong view of how bad paganism in general is, or the problems of a particular paganism, and still treat a particular pagan as an individual and discuss with them how they see it.

I don't that it is really. If I come up to a Muslim and say that I think their religion is depraved and perverse, I don't suppose there is anything further to talk about.

If I come up to a Muslim, visit his mosque with a respectful attitude, listen to something that has meaning for him and then talk about similaries and differences between our beliefs, I'll probably get a smoother hearing.

Again you're confusing things a bit. Although medievals called Islam 'pagan', it is not 'pagan' in the same sense as Himduism/Shinto/Druidism or classical Greek/Roman beliefs. Islam is part of the 'Abrahamic' group of faiths alongside Judaism and Christianity. It's not quite as straightforward a relationship as Judaism to Christianity, but the relationship is definitely there. So I wouldn't be applying the same ideas in the same way to dealing with Islam as to dealing with 'pagan' ideas.

Of course in a sense Paul's analysis also applies to Islam; but again, not as simply as to polytheistic paganism. Different religions do know we disagree with them, you know; we can't go in pretending otherwise. It's still possible to be sympathetic even so.

Gamaliel, I don't think I'm disagreeing with you - well not a great deal anyway - it's just that the progress of the discussion has me emphasising some particular points.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
I get that, Steve, but I suspect your position is more censorious than you take it to be.

But that's simply speculation on my part based on the tone of your posts.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And made the point that I'm emphatically not ethnically/racially anti-Jewish; but from a Christian viewpoint (a crucial qualification) the continuance of Judaism as a separate religion which rejects Jesus as Messiah is unsatisfactory to say the least. There is an aspect there which has to be open to discussion and questioning of the Judaist religious stance.

Is Judaism - in that sense of the continuing separate religion - 'perverse'? Clearly pre-Jesus Judaism is anything but perverse, it effectively was the one true faith in the one true God; but also I's submit clearly in some ways incomplete and looking forward to the fulfilment of promises like that of the Messiah.

Part of my feeling about the 'perversity' is based on looking at some of the immediate consequences of rejecting Jesus.

This is a fairly good summary of Christian ideas about Jewish "perversity". It mostly revolves around Jews' stubborn refusal to play their proper role in Christians' self-narrative. The way Christians think it should go is that they explain to the Jews about who this Jesus person was, and the Jews break down in grateful tears, rejecting the faith of their ancestors and the Covenant of Abraham. This is seen as "perverse" by many Christians who start with the assumption that Christianity is self-evidently true so that anyone rejecting this self-evident truth is doing so from bad faith or pure intellectual perversity. The refusal of Jews to play their "proper" roles in Christians' heroic self-narratives seems to be the source of a lot of anti-Judaic resentment.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And made the point that I'm emphatically not ethnically/racially anti-Jewish; but from a Christian viewpoint (a crucial qualification) the continuance of Judaism as a separate religion which rejects Jesus as Messiah is unsatisfactory to say the least. There is an aspect there which has to be open to discussion and questioning of the Judaist religious stance.

Is Judaism - in that sense of the continuing separate religion - 'perverse'? Clearly pre-Jesus Judaism is anything but perverse, it effectively was the one true faith in the one true God; but also I's submit clearly in some ways incomplete and looking forward to the fulfilment of promises like that of the Messiah.

Part of my feeling about the 'perversity' is based on looking at some of the immediate consequences of rejecting Jesus.

This is a fairly good summary of Christian ideas about Jewish "perversity". It mostly revolves around Jews' stubborn refusal to play their proper role in Christians' self-narrative. The way Christians think it should go is that they explain to the Jews about who this Jesus person was, and the Jews break down in grateful tears, rejecting the faith of their ancestors and the Covenant of Abraham. This is seen as "perverse" by many Christians who start with the assumption that Christianity is self-evidently true so that anyone rejecting this self-evident truth is doing so from bad faith or pure intellectual perversity. The refusal of Jews to play their "proper" roles in Christians' heroic self-narratives seems to be the source of a lot of anti-Judaic resentment.
All of which is massively arrogant.
I get believing that whatever philosophy one has chosen* is the correct one. It is not recognising that, not only do other people feel the same for theirs, but that one mightn't be right about one's own choice that is arrogant and ridiculous.

After all, when everything is said and done, they are all beliefs not facts.


*For varying degrees of choice.

[ 13. November 2017, 17:47: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
And made the point that I'm emphatically not ethnically/racially anti-Jewish; but from a Christian viewpoint (a crucial qualification) the continuance of Judaism as a separate religion which rejects Jesus as Messiah is unsatisfactory to say the least. There is an aspect there which has to be open to discussion and questioning of the Judaist religious stance.

Is Judaism - in that sense of the continuing separate religion - 'perverse'? Clearly pre-Jesus Judaism is anything but perverse, it effectively was the one true faith in the one true God; but also I's submit clearly in some ways incomplete and looking forward to the fulfilment of promises like that of the Messiah.

Part of my feeling about the 'perversity' is based on looking at some of the immediate consequences of rejecting Jesus.

This is a fairly good summary of Christian ideas about Jewish "perversity". It mostly revolves around Jews' stubborn refusal to play their proper role in Christians' self-narrative. The way Christians think it should go is that they explain to the Jews about who this Jesus person was, and the Jews break down in grateful tears, rejecting the faith of their ancestors and the Covenant of Abraham. This is seen as "perverse" by many Christians who start with the assumption that Christianity is self-evidently true so that anyone rejecting this self-evident truth is doing so from bad faith or pure intellectual perversity. The refusal of Jews to play their "proper" roles in Christians' heroic self-narratives seems to be the source of a lot of anti-Judaic resentment.
Been trying to figure out how to put it (and I don't want to sound like the Christian equivalent of "not all men"), but I found Steve's wording here troubling as well. I believe Jesus to be Messiah, the one who fulfills the hopes of (some of) those of his time - and his faith... but I really, honestly cannot see how that gives me any right to say that the continued existence of Judaism, or any other religion for that matter, is "troubling". I might disagree profoundly with Jews who do not accept Jesus as Messiah; but it's not my call from that to call into question whether or not Judaism as a separate religion should continue to exist.

It also seems to be suggesting that Jews should only consider the validity of their faith from a Christian frame of reference, which is hugely arrogant.

(And I know this is a question Paul wrestles with from time to time in his letters, esp. in Romans 9-11; but that always strikes me as a debate within Judaism about why or why not people accept Jesus as Messiah, not as people from one faith telling people of another faith that their continued adherence to that faith is problematic.)

I'm tip-toeing around the "anti-Judaic" angle because I don't want to look like I'm accusing Steve of that - I'm genuinely not! - but I do think we have to be extremely careful when using language like this about Judaism, especially from within Christianity given, as Croesos points out, Christianty's tarnished reputation and poor history in this regard.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Croesos;
quote:
the Jews break down in grateful tears, rejecting the faith of their ancestors and the Covenant of Abraham.
Of course from a Christian viewpoint Jews who become Christians are not asked to reject the Covenant of Abraham, but to participate in what amounts to a massive enlargement of the Covenant with added blessings.

I agree that Christianity is not completely self-evident. I know we have to convince people of it - but emphatically not coerce.

Logically if Jesus truly is the promised Jewish Messiah, then a continued Judaism rejecting Jesus is problematic. And double problematic when, as now, so many are asserting on the basis of their religion, that right to 'The Land' which has created modern Israel and created huge problems for the world in the process. Jews following Jesus would neither need the Land nor be willing to fight for it. And Jews not following Jesus are effectively in breach of the Covenant and not entitled to the Land.

That conflict has been the background of my whole life. And I care about the suffering and I want it to stop - which it basically can't while Judaism carries on as it has been since rejecting Jesus.

Of course the likes of Croesos and lil Buddha would rather sneer at me than look at the bigger picture.....

Stejjie, "Christianity's tarnished reputation and poor history" in relation to Judaism is a product of the Constantinian thing. Without that the proper Christian attitude to Jews is that of Paul, who would have been willing to lose his own salvation, if that were possible, to save his people. And without that improper entanglement of Church and world, and if we clearly repudiate it, we should feel free to preach the Christian view undiluted.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Of course from a Christian viewpoint

Let me just stop you there. What you meant to type was the following:

quote:

Of course from my own viewpoint

Kindly stop talking as if your viewpoint is shared by everyone - when self-evidently it isn't.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Of course from a Christian viewpoint

Let me just stop you there. What you meant to type was the following:

quote:

Of course from my own viewpoint

Kindly stop talking as if your viewpoint is shared by everyone - when self-evidently it isn't.

As usual the response is don't just make vague remarks about it - if you think there is some other viable Christian viewpoint, state it and defend it.

The NT has quite a bit to say about the relationship between Christianity and Judaism and thus far I've found nothing that contradicts the point I made.

Seriously everyone is putting their own viewpoint, including you. And you've made more than a few statements absolute enough to have deserved a similar response to what you've given me here. Only instead of going into sneer mode, I prefer to simply discuss what is/isn't right.

And anyway,I said "A Christian viewpoint", not 'the' Christian viewpoint.
What I said is definitely a Christian viewpoint and is/has been the view of many,many more Christians than just me.

What alternative viewpoint are you suggesting here? If any? Remember it is pretty much fundamental to Christianity that it is not a standalone religion but a successor/continuation of Judaism. What I stated is part of that continuity....
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
As usual the response is don't just make vague remarks about it - if you think there is some other viable Christian viewpoint, state it and defend it.

The NT has quite a bit to say about the relationship between Christianity and Judaism and thus far I've found nothing that contradicts the point I made.

Just because you don't understand it, don't believe it, can't hear it doesn't make your view by default the Christian one.

It is actually perfectly simple: there are a range of reasons for rejecting Christianity which range from the ridiculous the the nuanced. A Jew who rejects Christianity because it does not add up to what they understand from their religion is not perverse, is not illogical, is not being obstinate or depraved. They're simply saying it doesn't work in their opinion and they've rejected it.

Plenty of Christians accept that people reject Christianity (particularly if they're adherents of some other belief) for the most understandable and logical reasons. There is no obligation whatsoever to consider everyone who has a counter belief as perverse.

quote:
Seriously everyone is putting their own viewpoint, including you. And you've made more than a few statements absolute enough to have deserved a similar response to what you've given me here. Only instead of going into sneer mode, I prefer to simply discuss what is/isn't right.
But there is nothing to discuss with you: discussion is actually near impossible. Because you seem to think that the only measure of what is true is what makes sense to you - just as the only measure of what is or isn't "true Islam" (in a long and annoying thread from some months back) was you.

Well it isn't.

quote:
And anyway,I said "A Christian viewpoint", not 'the' Christian viewpoint.
What I said is definitely a Christian viewpoint and is/has been the view of many,many more Christians than just me.

Right. One shared by many people throughout history, including those who you repeatedly castigate for using the mechanisms of the state to force their beliefs onto your anabaptist forefathers.

Most sensible people today accept that other people exist, other worldviews exist, things that make sense to me do not make sense to others.

Only very very stupid Christians insist that only their view is valid and therefore anyone else who has come to any other conclusion is stupid, ridiculous, deprived, perverse and all this other language.

What you've actually expressed is not a "Christian view" at all.

quote:
What alternative viewpoint are you suggesting here? If any? Remember it is pretty much fundamental to Christianity that it is not a standalone religion but a successor/continuation of Judaism. What I stated is part of that continuity....
As above. Just because this is what you believe does not mean that everyone else who believes anything else is.. [insert list of stupid words]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
"A Christian viewpoint", not 'the' Christian viewpoint

Your phrasing was very much open to the charge of claiming to represent a Christian viewpoint (as opposed to any other).

Presenting your views as yours and not representative of, dare I say it, Christendom, or indeed anybody other than yourself, might lower the temperature of debate considerably.

[forgot to "add reply"]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by Stejjie;
quote:
I'm tip-toeing around the "anti-Judaic" angle because I don't want to look like I'm accusing Steve of that - I'm genuinely not! - but I do think we have to be extremely careful when using language like this about Judaism, especially from within Christianity given, as Croesos points out, Christianty's tarnished reputation and poor history in this regard.
What exactly do you mean by 'anti-Judaic'?

Look as far as I'm concerned a person of ethnic Jewish descent is just another human being like all the others. A person holding the Jewish faith is however a person who holds definite opinions which furthermore impact others in the real world; and particularly where those opinions include the stuff about the Land of Israel, impact in a literally life and death way. Those opinions have to be open to challenge and nothing should prevent anyone from making the challenges.

Christianity is in one sense also Judaism - if Christianity is true then Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and those who follow him are fulfilling the Jewish faith, while Jews who don't follow him are basically up a cul-de-sac, an unhelpful and unprofitable dead-end. Is it love to leave them there?

I am not ethically/racially anti-Jewish - followers of Jesus definitely should not be that. I am 'anti-Judaism', disagreeing with the attempt to continue the OT faith without the blessings brought by the Messiah.
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
OOPS - slightly too late for the edit window - that should have been 'ethnically' anti-Jewish....
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
If I come up to a Muslim and say that I think their religion is depraved and perverse, I don't suppose there is anything further to talk about.

OTOH, if you were engaging in a debate where each party was as conservative as the other then talk about 'perversity' might just be par for the course. You'd give as good as you got, so why would anyone be offended?

But ISTM that most Christian/Muslim interaction in Britain is relatively tame. It's usually a matter of people who don't know each other very well trying to be polite. Interfaith work seems to involve a few relatively moderate Christians and Muslims, and few British Christians seriously try to convert Muslims, no matter how 'perverse' they may think Muslims are. So there's not really a great deal of talking going on at all, AFAICS.

Interestingly, in my city, we've started to get Muslim and Christian street proselytisers working side by side, as it were. Cacophonous, but fascinating in a way. There's an element of competition, especially from the Christian side. This is hardly surprising, since Islam is the more dynamic of the two religions here, and probably has the most active participants of all religions in the city.


quote:

I think the role of the Christian is to be a fellow traveller with others who are asking hard questions. To come alongside, to share when asked, to think and engage and expand generously with others. It is to point with anger at the hard things (including idols) within our own lives not at others.


This sounds like something that a terribly right-on vicar would say, but I'm not sure that most Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or others are generally very interested in Christians 'coming alongside' to help them with their 'hard questions'!

Indeed, my impression is that it's Christians above all who have the most anxiety over unanswered questions, and the cynic in me would say that Muslims in particular should avoid coming to us with 'questions' unless they want to become as anxious and uncertain as we are....

[ 14. November 2017, 11:47: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]
 
Posted by Steve Langton (# 17601) on :
 
by mr cheesy
quote:
Right. One shared by many people throughout history, including those who you repeatedly castigate for using the mechanisms of the state to force their beliefs onto your anabaptist forefathers.
Quite. Indeed a view shared by probably the vast majority of Christians throughout history. And of course it's perfectly possible for people who are wrong on one area to be right in another - that's why it's so important to make the rightness and wrongness the primary issue, instead of going off into these "It's only your opinion" tangents which are a dead end for any kind of productive discussion.

And BTW, I also castigate those representatives of Christendom for "using the mechanisms of the state to force their beliefs onto" those of the Jewish faith.

So what actually concrete alternative are you offering to the traditional view, going pretty much back to Jesus and Paul, that Christianity fulfils rather than rejects the Covenant with Abraham? After all, whatever your view is on that is the view you'll be taking into discussions with Jews.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
This sounds like something that a terribly right-on vicar would say, but I'm not sure that most Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or others are generally very interested in Christians 'coming alongside' to help them with their 'hard questions'!

Well I'm not any kind of vicar, but have had the opportunity to drink coffee with Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and others and to listen to them talking about things that matter to them.

I've heard a prominent Muslim politician talking about the difference between a Muslim woman who chooses to wear a Burka and another Muslim woman who is forced to wear it.

I was privileged to witness a group of Muslim met wetting themselves after watching the Chris Morris film Four Lions and discussing the difficult and relevant issues for their religious community.

I've been around groups of Jews as they debate Israel and Palestine and Zionism.

In all of these situations, I could have held up a hand and raised my voice to say "Well, as a Christian, I'd just like to say that.. blahblahblah.. accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.."

It wasn't appropriate. What these groups needed at the time was the support of others as they struggled to come to terms with these things that had meaning for them - not a white, middle-aged man telling them what the "correct" thing was to think.

I don't really see why this is so controversial.

quote:
Indeed, my impression is that it's Christians above all who have the most anxiety over unanswered questions, and the cynic in me would say that Muslims in particular should avoid coming to us with 'questions' unless they want to become as anxious and uncertain as we are....
This is utter crap. There are a very small number of loud Evangelistic Muslims at places like Speakers' Corner in London. The vast majority of Muslims, including those I've encountered on several visits to several countries in the Middle East are welcoming, generous and interesting.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by mr cheesy
Quite. Indeed a view shared by probably the vast majority of Christians throughout history. And of course it's perfectly possible for people who are wrong on one area to be right in another - that's why it's so important to make the rightness and wrongness the primary issue, instead of going off into these "It's only your opinion" tangents which are a dead end for any kind of productive discussion.

Not at all. And you've just illustrated how binary your thinking is and how lacking in appreciation of other religious views.

It is only your view that other religions are depraved. Nothing to do with Christianity, everything to do with a myopic understanding of the world that thinks that because you have determined something to be true, it is true - until someone can persuade you of another position. Which just ignores the fact that other people exist and think differently to you.

[ 14. November 2017, 12:30: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I'm not any kind of vicar, but have had the opportunity to drink coffee with Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and others and to listen to them talking about things that matter to them.

I've heard a prominent Muslim politician talking about the difference between a Muslim woman who chooses to wear a Burka and another Muslim woman who is forced to wear it.

I was privileged to witness a group of Muslim met wetting themselves after watching the Chris Morris film Four Lions and discussing the difficult and relevant issues for their religious community.

I've been around groups of Jews as they debate Israel and Palestine and Zionism.

In all of these situations, I could have held up a hand and raised my voice to say "Well, as a Christian, I'd just like to say that.. blahblahblah.. accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.."

It wasn't appropriate.

I agree that this response would have been inappropriate. It would also have been pointless.

Insulting random people certainly doesn't make any sense.

quote:
Indeed, my impression is that it's Christians above all who have the most anxiety over unanswered questions, and the cynic in me would say that Muslims in particular should avoid coming to us with 'questions' unless they want to become as anxious and uncertain as we are....
quote:
This is utter crap. There are a very small number of loud Evangelistic Muslims at places like Speakers' Corner in London. The vast majority of Muslims, including those I've encountered on several visits to several countries in the Middle East are welcoming, generous and interesting.


I wasn't implying that Muslim's aren't 'welcoming, generous and interesting'. Just that they don't particularly need Christians to help them with 'hard questions'.

You make it sound as if they come to you with their problems, as if you're some kind of wise old man who can show them the way. Maybe you are! Or perhaps you're just a mate, and they can have a good old grumble with you. Does it really matter to them what religion you are?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I wasn't implying that Muslim's aren't 'welcoming, generous and interesting'. Just that they don't particularly need Christians to help them with 'hard questions'.

I think good neighbours help when they're asked to. I think people respect people who are respectful and who are present and who are not simply "broadcasting" their views.

quote:
You make it sound as if they come to you with their problems, as if you're some kind of wise old man who can show them the way. Maybe you are! Or perhaps you're just a mate, and they can have a good old grumble with you.
Not at all. I didn't have much to contribute to the discussions I've mentioned above as none of the issues were anything I knew about or had really thought about.

But I genuinely think we have better communities when people who are different are comfortable talking about things that matter to them in a supportive atmosphere.

I've been to a mosque and heard a little bit from a Muslim community about some of their struggles with the building regulations. I've visited other religious communities who have told me of their worries about being scapegoated by society at large.

Again, I don't have any answers to this - but I do know that if I'd blundered into these situations with an attitude that my faith was truth and that all these other people are just wrong then those conversations wouldn't have happened.

As it is now, I have some appreciation for how different communities feel that things like the building regulations don't really seem to be fit-for-purpose and how some communities see them as unfair. I have some appreciation that there are religious communities who are keeping their heads down because they're worried about the impacts of publicity.

I don't agree with them on various points of theology. But I no longer feel that I'm blind to the reality of a building regulation system which is comfortable with new churches but struggles with new mosques.

quote:
Does it really matter to them what religion you are?
It matters to me. I'm supposed to be being a good neighbour and being light in the world. That's what (in a pretty crappy and imperfect way) I'm trying to be with my neighbours who are different to me.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
the Jews break down in grateful tears, rejecting the faith of their ancestors and the Covenant of Abraham.
Of course from [my own] viewpoint Jews who become Christians are not asked to reject the Covenant of Abraham, but to participate in what amounts to a massive enlargement of the Covenant with added blessings.
I seem to recall that there was some kerfuffle or other about male circumcision (i.e. the symbolic sealing of the Covenant of Abraham) within the early church. Abandoning the outward token of Abraham's covenant with the Almighty sure seems like abandoning that covenant.

quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I agree that Christianity is not completely self-evident. I know we have to convince people of it - but emphatically not coerce.

Logically if Jesus truly is the promised Jewish Messiah, then a continued Judaism rejecting Jesus is problematic.

The question is not whether or not you have a "problem" with the continued existence of Judaism, but whether Jews are maintaining their three thousand year old faith out of sheer perversity. If "Christianity is not completely self-evident", then it would seem to be the case that Jews continue to practice their faith for reasons other than simply to spite you.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
mr cheesy

I understand what you're saying, and it's very reasonable. I certainly respect neighbourliness, and have experienced that quality from Muslim neighbours.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

Logically if Jesus truly is the promised Jewish Messiah, then a continued Judaism rejecting Jesus is problematic.

Logically, thinking the all powerful, all knowing, loving God most Christians describe gives a flying fuck who believes in him is problematic.
Rejecting is a loaded word. But if want to go there, from a Jewish perspective, Christians rejecting that Jesus isn’t the messiah is problematic.
Anyhoo, perversity would require that non-Christians believe that Jesus is what Christians claim, but choose to ignore it.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Logically, thinking the all powerful, all knowing, loving God most Christians describe gives a flying fuck who believes in him is problematic.

And yet, if God doesn't care who believes in him, then why all the fuss about Jesus? Wasn't that whole episode more or less a waste of everyone's time?

ISTM that the Christian religion exists in a state of deep tension. There's a God who requires nothing of us, yet also requires effort and sacrifice. He doesn't need our love, but because he loved us first, our fulfillment comes in loving him back. And he's a God who both gives and takes away. He's a judge, but he also has mercy. Etc.

Also, on a practical level, Christianity is a religion that seems to require a mixture of revivalism, evangelism, tolerance and strictness, nominalism and engagement, in different times, places and circumstances. Too much cuddly latitude and nothing gets done. Too many demands and most ordinary people won't be able to get involved.

Perhaps Western Christianity will gradually become a philosophy rather than a religion. It's adherents will be a very small, sophisticated group. People who need the hope and guidance of a religion may have to look elsewhere, especially if they have energy and passion to give.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Svitlana:

quote:
Perhaps Western Christianity will gradually become a philosophy rather than a religion. It's adherents will be a very small, sophisticated group. People who need the hope and guidance of a religion may have to look elsewhere, especially if they have energy and passion to give.
I thought that began a long time ago, at least since the French Revolution, and then onto Marxism, where you get a kind of secular idealism and apocalypticism, the sense of new beginnings and new worlds. I guess that there are some things missing here, for example, an individual sense of the numinous.
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
I think all faiths involve paradoxes. In that way they mirror the universe in which we find ourselves. Mystery is not escapist, it seems unavoidable as we try somehow to engage with our world.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Logically, thinking the all powerful, all knowing, loving God most Christians describe gives a flying fuck who believes in him is problematic.

And yet, if God doesn't care who believes in him, then why all the fuss about Jesus? Wasn't that whole episode more or less a waste of everyone's time?

ISTM that the Christian religion exists in a state of deep tension. There's a God who requires nothing of us, yet also requires effort and sacrifice. He doesn't need our love, but because he loved us first, our fulfillment comes in loving him back. And he's a God who both gives and takes away. He's a judge, but he also has mercy. Etc.

Also, on a practical level, Christianity is a religion that seems to require a mixture of revivalism, evangelism, tolerance and strictness, nominalism and engagement, in different times, places and circumstances. Too much cuddly latitude and nothing gets done. Too many demands and most ordinary people won't be able to get involved.

Perhaps Western Christianity will gradually become a philosophy rather than a religion. It's adherents will be a very small, sophisticated group. People who need the hope and guidance of a religion may have to look elsewhere, especially if they have energy and passion to give.

Without Jesus I have nothing but the Kalam Cosmological Argument: God is the ground of being, the exister, because there are beings, things that exist. In Jesus I have the ultimate claim, of, by God. Therefore all will be, is well.

[ 17. November 2017, 13:38: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Ah, blessed kalam. Time was, when throngs would crowd around local churches, uttering the strange and plangent cry, 'kalam, kalam, kalam', and then the local vicar would pop out his head and acknowledge the thunderous applause. But those days have gone, now we only hear, 'Chelsea, Chelsea' and the like.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
quetzalcoatl

I was thinking of a philosophy that would identify itself specifically with Christianity. I don't know if Marxism ever did that. The connection doesn't seem to have lasted very long if so - but I could be wrong.

As for the numinous, to what extent are Europeans in general into that? There may be something there, but it's getting ever 'fuzzier'. Organised religion and New Age spirituality seem to have an input, but by themselves they don't seem to provide exactly what people want, if they want anything at all.

Christian sociologists sometimes insist that spirituality remains a strong force in the personal lives of Europeans. I suppose this is an example of what I was talking about: unaffiliated (or nominal/private/postmodern, etc.) spirituality as 'belonging' to and being necessary for Christianity under the current circumstances of extreme secularisation.

Similarly, good relationships between Christians and people of other religions are going to depend considerably on circumstances. Some Christians talk about how they get on better with Buddhists/Jews/Muslims, etc., than with other Christians.

Conversely, I find it hard to imagine that the average American evangelical con-evo congregation has much interaction with Muslims, etc. They don't actually have to deal socially with the people whose beliefs they may think of as perverse because the Muslim population is so much smaller in the USA than in, say, the UK.

British churches whose members routinely have Muslim grocers, dentists, doctors, restauranteurs, colleagues, neighbours, etc. are likely to be less insistent on the 'perversity' of Islam.

IOW, local conditions play a large part in creating our theology, I think.
 
Posted by beatmenace (# 16955) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
The refusal of Jews to play their "proper" roles in Christians' heroic self-narratives seems to be the source of a lot of anti-Judaic resentment.

As I understand it , thats pretty much what turned Martin Luther into a raging Anti-Semite.

Thats about where we came in.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Logically, thinking the all powerful, all knowing, loving God most Christians describe gives a flying fuck who believes in him is problematic.

And yet, if God doesn't care who believes in him, then why all the fuss about Jesus? Wasn't that whole episode more or less a waste of everyone's time?
Perhaps I should have said more problematic. Teaching is worth the fuss, I suppose. One needn't understand Newton's laws of motion for a seat belt to save their lives. But it can help to understand the benefit of using them. Not a perfect analogy, of course.
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I think all faiths involve paradoxes. In that way they mirror the universe in which we find ourselves. Mystery is not escapist, it seems unavoidable as we try somehow to engage with our world.

I would agree with this, but add inherently before escapist. I would also add that Mystery is not an excuse to not try to make most reasonable assessment of one's faith.
 


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