For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
Because of the complexity of the following discussion, I’ve departed from the usual last-in-first-out order, and posted the comments so they can be read straight through.
OldManMontgomery – Mr. McKay, I asked you a rather direct and specific question: From where do you obtain your knowledge of Jesus, the Christ? You seem to have missed that in your reply. You simply present more nonsense based on your own feelings of ‘how things ought to be’. Clearly, you cannot answer the question I posed, but you are not honest enough to admit you have no source – other than your own imagination.
Christianity is very, very easy to comprehend: Christianity is a relationship with and obedience to the person of Jesus the Christ (or Messiah in the Hebrew). He is (not was) totally man and is (not was) totally God – the singular, only God of creation. You do not understand that in the least. You have created – in your mind – a rather tame and mediocre ‘prophet’ sort of Jew who lived and died about two thousand years ago.
You blather the humanist viewpoint of God. A construct of sorts, perhaps some minor amount of truth in the form of ‘someone, out there somewhere’. But you have no relationship with Almighty God, nor do you want such. You do not trust in the same God as I do. You trust in yourself to describe a god as you want him to be. You’re not the first, you know.
You claim there are many who respect or even cherish your contributions, but are unlike Christians. I am sure that is correct. Just as I am sure there are no (or very few at the most) Christians who both understand what you claim and accept your claims as Christian thought.
Where is the harm? It is in your self-deception. You pretend to be Christian, when you are really deny the Deity of the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit – the single God who created and sustain all. In deceiving yourself, you deny any possibility of actually meeting God and having a real relationship and understanding of Him. Quit kidding yourself. You’re not kidding me at all.
Wow, when you get wound up, it’s a little scary.
I’m sorry but….
First, I don’t claim to be Christian (at least not specifically).
Second, I will go to God first for my inspiration, not you.
Third, there is only God. Not your god or my god.
Fourth, my relationship with God is just that, and takes the form that I have outlined. Yours is your’s and apparently takes that extreme proprietary form that causes crusades, wars, forced conversion, and Holocausts in general.
Anyway that’s enough counting for now.
Maybe a question or two:
What are your thoughts on the Nag Hammadi Library?
Will you get to have guns in heaven?
If you met someone as strident and overbearing as yourself, would you give much credence to their vision of salvation?
What about the Holy Ghost? Was Jesus just talking through his hat? I can’t quote you scripture, but I’m sure you ’ve heard about it. Don’t need the Bible after all do we?
OldManMontgomery – You don’t claim to be a Christian? Odd, you wrote like you know all the secrets and deep mysteries and you were enlightening me about it. Why do you think you can dictate the terms of ‘a belief’ of which you are not a part and know next to nothing? I don’t tell Hindus which of them are correct and which are not in their belief? Do you instruct other than Christians in their tenets?
Inspiration. Good luck with that. I know it sounds sarcastic, but I mean it.
Third. It depends on context. Yes, there is only one Creator and Sustainer in all of our Universe and Eternity; the Lord God of Hosts. The One who revealed Himself to mankind after mankind rejected Him. However, there are all sorts of ‘gods’ to which people offer fealty, obeisance and graft. Far too many people deal with ‘gods’ of their own design. So there is ‘my God’ (in the sense that I’m His person) and ‘those gods’ who are fraudulent in their claims.
Fourth. That is your relationship with yourself. And your cheap cracks about crusades and such are very thin and really getting annoying. It’s the people who deny the reality of God who have caused all the problems. But you cannot face it, can you?
Question One: None, by that name. Okay, you’re referring to the collection of odds and ends loosely known in secular religionist circles as the ‘lost books of the Bible’.
They’re not ‘lost’. They were rejected from the canon of the Bible for any one (or more) of several reasons. Those reasons being: Not of sufficient providence, not of authentic authorship, contradictory to established scripture, or not germane to the message of the Bible (duplicative or superfluous). I suppose they are ‘interesting’ from some aspects – I believe I’ve read most of them – but they have no value in terms of doctrine.
Question two: I really don’t know. I have considered the question; one part of me says “How could it be Heaven without guns?” and another part of me knows they won’t have any purpose – as far as I can tell. Of course, my understanding of Heaven is rather limited, other than it will be a grand place, in the presence of God and more satisfying than I (or anyone else) can imagine. There are a number of ‘positions’ about Heaven which seem contradictory, but that’s because God saw fit to not provide many details. I think I’m just going to have to wait to find out.
Three: Have you ceased to beat your wife?
Seriously, you don’t like my answers to your comments, I don’t buy your ignorant (classic meaning of word) presumptions about Christianity and THEREFORE, I am ‘strident and overbearing’? If you met someone as ignorant and arrogant as yourself, would you give them much credence? (Silly question; of course you do, that’s why you’re not a Christian.)
Let me pose a question that will answer your question: If you met a person who claimed to know all about your chosen field (I don’t know what you do, so you’ll have to fill in your own blanks here) and that person then proceeded to tell you something very, very basic to that field and was completely wrong; would you consider them expert? Something on the order of “Water in an automobile gas tank will work just as well as gasoline. I’ve done it many times.” You’d simply say, “Well, if you really believe that…”
“Holy Ghost” is the 17th Century term in English. The current (English) translation is ‘Holy Spirit’. The nominally ‘Third’ Person of the Trinity. (All three Persons of the Trinity are of equal importance, and all are in fact, One.) I’m not sure what your question entails. Yes, I believe He exists and works in my life. However, the Holy Spirit is not a publicity hound, so He works behind the scenes. Your non-sequitur about needing the Bible is pointless. All Christians need the Bible for direction and instruction in living properly. All non-Christians need the Bible in order to be found by God.
Thank you for the parts of your comments that are not personal attacks on me. From these I can learn.
The rest, I will point out are as full of assumptions as anything I could have come up with. (Whether, I actually have or not.)
“Fourth. That is your relationship with yourself. And your cheap cracks about crusades and such are very thin and really getting annoying. It’s the people who deny the reality of God who have caused all the problems. But you cannot face it, can you?”
What am I suppose to make of this? I deny the reality of God? Sorry but at the risk of annoying you even further, you just prove my point. What I have resisted is “your” ownership of any aspect of “my” relationship with and “provisional” understanding of God. Anything less on my part would be in fact, “denial of the reality of God”.
Returning to my original support for the un-fundamentalist Christian community I find at JohnShore.com. I have advocated for them because they seem to me much more aligned with the teachings of Jesus than you made them out to be. This is a matter of viewpoint, of course. And the processes of both your and my spiritual evolution will sort it out.
My point about the Holy Spirit (as you wish it), is that this aspect of the One God, is what the Hindus would call the Guru effect. God as teacher and guide. Always available. For ever and ever. If but the devotee seeks guidance. Knock and you shall be received.
As for God needing me to read the Bible in order to find me? I just don’t get it. Sorry. Where did Jesus say that? Why would God be so feeble? It doesn’t make sense to me. Therefore I can not co-operate with you in perpetuating it.
OldManMontgomery – I note you were careful to avoid any of the questions I asked you.
Yes, you deny the ‘reality of God’. What you claim is a belief in ‘a god’, but one that does not correspond to the self-revealed Creator depicted in the Bible. You agree with my comment here, as you deny the authority and accuracy of the Bible.
You think John Shore, et al, are “…more aligned with the teachings of Jesus…” than my viewpoint. Please feel free to point out the teachings of Jesus that support that claim. You should have noted I used a number of citations from the New Testament (that’s the part with Jesus’ direct teachings); let’s see what you cite on the matter.
The Holy Spirit does indeed serve as teacher and guide. However, you’ve missed some of the requisites and conditions for such service. One such condition is the Holy Spirit will never contradict the doctrine and teaching of the Bible. One such requisite is the individual must FIRST have a relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus – who is God. (You remember, that thing about Jesus being the only way to God the Father?)
Yes, you need the Bible. God seeks you (and everyone else), to forgive your (and everyone else’s) rebellion and effect a proper relationship. But you (and everyone else) need to understand the problem and the solution – which is contained in the Bible.
I am not a Christian because God was so impressed with my charitable nature and saintly conduct that He could not go on without me. God in His wisdom knew I was and am a horrible person and a degenerate sinner; in His live, He arranged for Himself to pay the penalty for my sin – death. The only ‘catch’ (if catch it is) requires the beneficiary of such vicarious penalty to recognize and admit their own sinful, rebellious nature. That is why you need the Bible.
I have to decide if this conversation is worth pursuing. It has arrived at an impasse very similar to discussing the existence of God with rigid atheistic empiricists. i.e. their insistence that I prove the existence of God in terms of empiricism. Their rules only! And their rules are not even relevant to the question.
The way I see it, and why I prefer the un-fundamentalist and probably the progressive Christian understanding of “Father/Son/Holy Spirit”, is that they have evolved. They no longer need to place their religion into the game as a surrogate for God. They have not made the Bible into a Golden Calf to be worshiped in lieu of the infinite God.
The religion that you have described is a primitive form of worship relying on Human Sacrifice and secret handshakes. Magic formulas and incantations. A “Get out of Hell Free” card if you just use these words. No need to actually do the work of spiritual reconciliation yourself. Just live by a 2000 to 4000 year old litany of good and bad behaviors and you get to go to a happy place in the sky when you die.
You tell me that I worship a god of my own creation. I tell you, that much like the Islamists, you memorize and worship a recipe for salvation created by stone age ancestors.
I have no god. What I do is contemplate and open myself to the infinite God. A daily practice that changes constantly as my understanding gains accuracy. The secret, is honesty and wonder. Awe and Love. The relinquishment of ego attachment, in exchange for the seamless awareness of non-separation, that is the singularity. The I Am.
And, that is probably all I have to say about it. I will read any reply but will try to resist responding, unless my words have miraculously found traction. I’ll give you the last word, since it is your blog.