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D&D Theology's "Ask About Christianity" Thread MKII watch

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    As before...

    This thread is about people's love of pina coladas.

    (Original post by Aula)
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    (Original post by yawn)
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    New thread. Cracking.

    I gather that somebody was asking about the Trinity in the previous thread. I'm with St Augustine: it's all a mystery.

    But the position taken by some Roman Catholic theologians after the introduction of the filioque is wrong. :P All this dual procession humbug...

    I think that Ware's The Orthodox Way covers the Eastern Orthodox position on the Trinity fairly well. It's worth glancing into if you can get hold of it.

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    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    I think that Ware's The Orthodox Way covers the Eastern Orthodox position on the Trinity fairly well. It's worth glancing into if you can get hold of it.
    I have that book on Kindle, it's quite a joy :^_^: Orthodox books often seem to be the most edifying for me, they're wonderfully mystical. I want to get an Eastern Orthodox study Bible but alas it's too pricey at the moment.

    -Random question time then! Due to the recent thread on the OT/NT God I was thinking about my own belief on how the people of the time distort God to fit with society (i.e. to approve of war or explain natural phenomenons). Anywho there's a quote on wiki which puts my question in better words: 'Michael Coogan writes in regards to both Ecclesiastes and Job that “Both take positions opposed to the mainstream of the wisdom tradition in the Bible, as exemplified in the book of Proverbs…”Job, along with Ecclesiastes is part of the dissenting or speculative group of wisdom literature within the Old Testament'.

    If we are to take a stance and say that they are works of speculative fiction/a dissertation on wisdom, should we put as much stock into what they say as the other, more 'factual' orientated books in the OT? I was just wondering as while I view Job as a work of (admittedly wonderful) fictional poetry, it does provide a lot on the coming of Christ so should it be as 'authoritive' on typology and the prefiguring of Christ than say, the Book of Isaiah? And should we take their portrayal of God to be completely accurate?
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    (Original post by IMakeSenseToNone)
    I have that book on Kindle, it's quite a joy :^_^: Orthodox books often seem to be the most edifying for me, they're wonderfully mystical. I want to get an Eastern Orthodox study Bible but alas it's too pricey at the moment.
    The OSB is a good idea, but I'm told that there are some screaming errors in it.

    You like Orthodoxy, eh? I can recommend it! Careful, though. It will snare you!

    Schmemann's For the Life of the World is excellent, as is Tito Coliander's Way of the Ascetics. Lossky is worth reading, but I find it like wading backwards through treacle with my legs tied together. Robin Amis's A Different Christianity is also highly recommended, but I am friends with Robin, so I would say that.

    The Penguin editions of the Apostolic Fathers and the Desert Fathers are well worth reading. I can't recommend them highly enough.

    If you never read another Orthodox author, though, you must read Elder Porphyrios's Wounded by Love. It's one of the most wonderful books ever written.


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    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    The OSB is a good idea, but I'm told that there are some screaming errors in it.

    You like Orthodoxy, eh? I can recommend it! Careful, though. It will snare you!
    Many thanks for the recommendations! I think I have The Penguin books dotted around somewhere so i'll try and read them next once i'm done with my collection of Father Tadros Malaty's commentaries
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    (Original post by IMakeSenseToNone)
    Many thanks for the recommendations! I think I have The Penguin books dotted around somewhere so i'll try and read them next once i'm done with my collection of Father Tadros Malaty's commentaries
    Fr Tadros Malaty? Not one I've ever heard of! The surname sounds like it could be Serbian.

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    Do Christians have to believe that Jesus is God?


    Having been brought up and raised Christian, I have often wondered about this question, as I personally do not believe that Jesus is God, or the son of God. Having said that, I do still believe in the God of the Bible, and I do believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

    I ask this question because I am unsure how Christianity defines itself, after all the decision that Jesus was divine was not made until several hundred years after his death in counsel. And, excepting the Gospel of John (which was written long after the synoptic gospels, and does not follow from Markan tradition) Jesus himself is not quoted to have said that he was the Son of God.
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    (Original post by summer_blazed)
    Do Christians have to believe that Jesus is God?
    I would have to say yes..

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    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    I would have to say yes..
    Heretic! A pox upon your family!

    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    Fr Tadros Malaty? Not one I've ever heard of! The surname sounds like it could be Serbian.
    I've no idea where he comes from sadly but there's a lot of orthodox websites out there that have free ebooks or pdfs so that's where I got him from. I has no money in case you can't tell :rolleyes:

    (Original post by summer_blazed)
    Do Christians have to believe that Jesus is God?


    Having been brought up and raised Christian, I have often wondered about this question, as I personally do not believe that Jesus is God, or the son of God. Having said that, I do still believe in the God of the Bible, and I do believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

    I ask this question because I am unsure how Christianity defines itself, after all the decision that Jesus was divine was not made until several hundred years after his death in counsel. And, excepting the Gospel of John (which was written long after the synoptic gospels, and does not follow from Markan tradition) Jesus himself is not quoted to have said that he was the Son of God.
    It seems slightly over the top to completely disregard John but we'll go with it if you wish :^_^: A lot depends on how much emphasis you put on tradition and on the wisdom of the early church fathers, for me atleast, things like the Ecumenical Council hold quite a lot of weight.

    I believe though you are mistaken in saying that the belief that Jesus was divine did not come for hundreds of years later. In his various writings it is clear that the desciples believed it, for example when Thomas touches the hands of Jesus he proclaims, "My Lord and my God!" which would certainly be blasphemy if we are to go with him not being God. Also there is the Apostle Paul who at the beginning of Romans says, "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ".

    Also as in Matthew Jesus refers himself as the 'Son of Man' which is a reference to the Book of Daniel (7:13-14), “I saw coming with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man. … He received dominion, splendor and kingship; all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.” So he is clearly aligning himself with a divine nature to say he will be served. There are of course mentions of being on the right hand of God in Mark but I guess that doesn't say with 100% certainly that he is also God the Father so we'll skip that but it's there if you're interested

    While you can make an argument against Jesus being God (although I can't say I find it convincing) it is much harder to say that he isn't 'The Son of God'. In the Book of Mark during the trail it says 'Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ,[Messiah] the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."' If he wasn't the Son of God then he would have more than likely corrected him for otherwise it would be blasphemy. There is also the belief that the 'I AM' which Jesus says a lot in John and a few more times in other books (such as the trial that I just quoted) is a reference to the burning bush in Moses where God says 'I Am that I Am' and so he is echoing his relation to God.

    I would finally point to the desciples often calling Jesus 'The Son of God', for example in Matthew 16 Simon Peter says “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Like with the trail, if this wasn't true, then I think it's fair to say that Jesus would have refuted him and state his true position. Personally for me his lack of refuting these claims is as good as him saying it himself but each to his own.


    As to if belief is essential, I can't say i'm entirely sure, most people who uphold a more conservative and/or traditional view will certainly say yes. I do wonder though if we say that Jesus isn't God, how is it that we relate to the divine if he did not appear in Human form? Although I guess we're going into Christian Existentialism here and i've rambled enough

    Anyway, hope this went someway to answering your question! Blessings be upon you.
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    Is the Bible supposed to be taken in historical context? Or as literal instruction? I guess it varies among denominations.
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    (Original post by The Angry Stoic)
    Is the Bible supposed to be taken in historical context? Or as literal instruction? I guess it varies among denominations.
    Obviously it'll be different for everyone, but for me historical context is essential. :yes:

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    (Original post by Mazzini)
    Obviously it'll be different for everyone, but for me historical context is essential. :yes:

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    Can you give an example?
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    (Original post by The Angry Stoic)
    Is the Bible supposed to be taken in historical context? Or as literal instruction? I guess it varies among denominations.
    Hey there Stoic *socially awkward wave* Hope you're having a good morning so far. Apologies in advanced as this will have to be rushed.

    In terms of the OT I do take the somewhat unpopular opinion among Christians that it is a collection of the Jewish tribe's history, practices, poetry, parables and the occasional prophecy but it's not fully accurate of God. Admittedly deciphering what parts are divinely inspired and what actually happened is rather hard and i'm still trying to figure that out :rolleyes: As for my reasoning, you will notice in the OT that there are conflicting ideas of who and what God is and the nature of life is which cannot both me true at once, for example in Ecclesiastes the world is seen as unjust and the evil get the same fate as the good whereas elsewhere God is often viewed as a fair judge of all people who will enact punishment on those who deserve it. I'm sure there's a part where one books says/implies he doesn't know the future where others books do but I can't find the quotes right now so apologies there :unimpressed: (I did have examples written down somewhere but I seem to have lost it, i'll try and find more if you so wish).

    As such I believe the OT to be often an interpretation of what He is like through the eyes of society and the individual, for example as a tribe who believed God was always on their side alone it is likely that they would say that God is pro their wars and some of the atrocities they did afterwards. There are things though such as the story of Abraham which i'm much more inclined to believe are divinely inspired and did actually happen, but yeah basically I believe the Bible has to be taken in historical context to understand the spiritual meanings behind it, especially books such as Genesis and the creation myth, Leviticus and Numbers where the culture and neighbouring cultures need to be considered. I also believe it's important to take into account ancient writing styles and how often symbolism is often used to demonstrate spiritual truths and not historical ones and how some books (such as Job) are written in a parable style and so should be read as such. Fair to say if you take the OT (and to a slightly lesser extent the NT) without considering the prejudices and culture of those who wrote it, you're going to come out with some weird ideas.

    As for the NT I take it much more as a literal instruction and account of the spirit of the law by which we are to live our lives as well as understand the nature of God. Although you still need to look at the historical contect of it, it's important when reading the words of Jesus to understand who it is he is talking too as well as the Jewish culture he worked in. It's also helpful when reading the Gospel of John if you know the Greek philosphy of the age so you can see the influences and in Paul's letters for instance, as you can tell when reading his works that there is a conflict between the traditional orthodox Jewish background he came from and the radical message of Christ (Imho his writing on women demonstrates this well). There is finally who he is writing to in his different letters, the Church in Romans for example had the pagan sex cults to deal with which would explain his verses on sexual immorality. Hence having an understanding of what his background is can help explain what he is writing and why, thus giving us a better picture of the meaning behind his words.

    /Why people at my old church thought I was a heretic. Sorry there's no Bible verses but my internet is working at a snail's pace ;__;
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    (Original post by The Angry Stoic)
    Is the Bible supposed to be taken in historical context? Or as literal instruction? I guess it varies among denominations.
    As I understand it, fundamentalism in its current form is a nineteenth century invention. Certainly, various early writers consider the Bible to be allegorical to varying extents. St Augustine is one, I think, as is St John Chrysostom. One of the writings included in the Penguin edition of the Apostolic Fathers (Barnabas?) includes an exposition of some Biblical allegories. As far as I'm aware, historical Christianity has understood much of the Bible allegorically. Some parts, such as the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, probably are meant to be taken literally, others perhaps not. We have to bear in mind that Jesus taught in parables, which are allegorical tales. The Bible has to be understood within the context of Tradition.

    Then, of course, you get into the magical world of contradictions. On the one hand, Jesus says in Matthew 15(?) that it's what comes out of the mouth that defiles somebody, not what goes into it. On the other, however, eating food that hasn't been drained of blood is, according to some interpretations, condemned in Acts 15:20(?). So, we have two conflicting opinions. If you try to take that literally, you'll tie yourself up in knots.

    Those Biblical references might be wrong. I know that the bits are there, but the numbers might be wrong. I'm semi-confident about Acts because I happened to look over it the other day, but, that doesn't mean I've remembered the chapter and verse correctly!

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    (Original post by IMakeSenseToNone)
    Hey there Stoic *socially awkward wave* Hope you're having a good morning so far. Apologies in advanced as this will have to be rushed.

    In terms of the OT I do take the somewhat unpopular opinion among Christians that it is a collection of the Jewish tribe's history, practices, poetry, parables and the occasional prophecy but it's not fully accurate of God. Admittedly deciphering what parts are divinely inspired and what actually happened is rather hard and i'm still trying to figure that out :rolleyes: As for my reasoning, you will notice in the OT that there are conflicting ideas of who and what God is and the nature of life is which cannot both me true at once, for example in Ecclesiastes the world is seen as unjust and the evil get the same fate as the good whereas elsewhere God is often viewed as a fair judge of all people who will enact punishment on those who deserve it. I'm sure there's a part where one books says/implies he doesn't know the future where others books do but I can't find the quotes right now so apologies there :unimpressed: (I did have examples written down somewhere but I seem to have lost it, i'll try and find more if you so wish).

    As such I believe the OT to be often an interpretation of what He is like through the eyes of society and the individual, for example as a tribe who believed God was always on their side alone it is likely that they would say that God is pro their wars and some of the atrocities they did afterwards. There are things though such as the story of Abraham which i'm much more inclined to believe are divinely inspired and did actually happen, but yeah basically I believe the Bible has to be taken in historical context to understand the spiritual meanings behind it, especially books such as Genesis and the creation myth, Leviticus and Numbers where the culture and neighbouring cultures need to be considered. I also believe it's important to take into account ancient writing styles and how often symbolism is often used to demonstrate spiritual truths and not historical ones and how some books (such as Job) are written in a parable style and so should be read as such. Fair to say if you take the OT (and to a slightly lesser extent the NT) without considering the prejudices and culture of those who wrote it, you're going to come out with some weird ideas.

    As for the NT I take it much more as a literal instruction and account of the spirit of the law by which we are to live our lives as well as understand the nature of God. Although you still need to look at the historical contect of it, it's important when reading the words of Jesus to understand who it is he is talking too as well as the Jewish culture he worked in. It's also helpful when reading the Gospel of John if you know the Greek philosphy of the age so you can see the influences and in Paul's letters for instance, as you can tell when reading his works that there is a conflict between the traditional orthodox Jewish background he came from and the radical message of Christ (Imho his writing on women demonstrates this well). There is finally who he is writing to in his different letters, the Church in Romans for example had the pagan sex cults to deal with which would explain his verses on sexual immorality. Hence having an understanding of what his background is can help explain what he is writing and why, thus giving us a better picture of the meaning behind his words.

    /Why people at my old church thought I was a heretic. Sorry there's no Bible verses but my internet is working at a snail's pace ;__;

    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    As I understand it, fundamentalism in its current form is a nineteenth century invention. Certainly, various early writers consider the Bible to be allegorical to varying extents. St Augustine is one, I think, as is St John Chrysostom. One of the writings included in the Penguin edition of the Apostolic Fathers (Barnabas?) includes an exposition of some Biblical allegories. As far as I'm aware, historical Christianity has understood much of the Bible allegorically. Some parts, such as the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, probably are meant to be taken literally, others perhaps not. We have to bear in mind that Jesus taught in parables, which are allegorical tales. The Bible has to be understood within the context of Tradition.

    Then, of course, you get into the magical world of contradictions. On the one hand, Jesus says in Matthew 15(?) that it's what comes out of the mouth that defiles somebody, not what goes into it. On the other, however, eating food that hasn't been drained of blood is, according to some interpretations, condemned in Acts 15:20(?). So, we have two conflicting opinions. If you try to take that literally, you'll tie yourself up in knots.

    Those Biblical references might be wrong. I know that the bits are there, but the numbers might be wrong. I'm semi-confident about Acts because I happened to look over it the other day, but, that doesn't mean I've remembered the chapter and verse correctly!

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    (Original post by OurSeaBee)
    x

    Ah there's nothing like an orthodox to make you feel bad about how little you know about early church fathers :holmes: Any recs for inidividual people and their theology is explore? So far the only ones I have any level of knowledge on who I like is Origen and Greggory of Nyssa. My current knowledge is focused more on later european philosophers/Christian existentialists and sadly getting to explain the trinity and persons of God through Heidegger's view on art, isn't something that comes up often
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    Who invented Christianity?
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    (Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
    Who invented Christianity?
    No-one invented Christianity.
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    (Original post by greeneyedgirl)
    No-one invented Christianity.
    I'd say the council of Nicaea did to an extent, sorting various books to remove those of questionable origin in order to compile the bible? :dontknow:
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    (Original post by TheKingOfTSR)
    Who invented Christianity?
    Imagine if I asked you who invented Islam.
 
 
 
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