Is Christianity redeemable?

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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Rian » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:13 pm

Hey Mitch, of course you don't need to answer this if you don't want to, but I'm interested in your educational background, too, just because I admire you as a person and would like to know more about you. Do you have a background in the Unification Church, and is that where you went to seminary? (I really know so little about that; I need to do some reading.) I think it's a pretty cool path you've taken to get where you are, and I admire your courage in going against the very-strongly-held beliefs of your family.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Particles » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:44 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:This is closer to what I think the traditional Christian view was saying than the modern idea of a 'personal' God. It also means that Christianity can see as having more in common with Hindu or even Buddhist ideas about the absolute than some modern Christians think.


How do you define "traditional Christianity?"
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby mitchellmckain » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:34 pm

Rian wrote:Hey Mitch, of course you don't need to answer this if you don't want to, but I'm interested in your educational background, too, just because I admire you as a person and would like to know more about you. Do you have a background in the Unification Church, and is that where you went to seminary? (I really know so little about that; I need to do some reading.) I think it's a pretty cool path you've taken to get where you are, and I admire your courage in going against the very-strongly-held beliefs of your family.


Yes Chapabel is quite right in his suggestion. I graduated from the Unification Theological Seminary. But it was a state accredited school with a faculty from many different faiths just as I said. However, there was only one student there at the time who was not a member of the Unification church and it can be argued that the administration and student body also make for some bias apart from the faculty. I would also say that I think the school has gone downhill since I was a student for when I checked their current faculty and it looks like they no longer have as much diversity which it had before. I am willing to bet that this is somewhat due to economic difficulties.

So I guess it is question of the personality of the particular student. Was I one to tow the line? I was considered one of the troublemakers. LOL

It was actually while I was at this seminary that I began to understand the words of Paul, and soon afterwards started calling myself a Pauline Christian. After I graduated I began going to evangelical churches and looking into the theological differences.

So of the three groups, Mormon, Jehova Witness and Moonie, you can definitely say that I have the most familiarity by personal experience with the last of the three. But it doesn't change the fact that I do not agree with them just as I do not agree with other two.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby spongebob » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:44 pm

Chapabel wrote:The SBC stands by the Biblical definition of marriage. God's intention for marriage is one man with one woman. What the SBC opposes are unions contrary to the word of God.


That's fine for a Southern Baptist, but what about people who aren't? Why does the SBC get to define marriage for everyone?

And to head you off, no, Liberals are not defining marriage for everyone either. We only seek to expand the definition. I have no problem with your definition, for Baptists, but I'm not a Baptist, so why should I be limited by your definition? How does it hurt your or other Baptists in any way?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Particles » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:07 pm

The legal definition doesn't impinge on the religious definition anyway. Religions can believe anything they want about marriage regardless.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Rian » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:33 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:
Rian wrote:Hey Mitch, of course you don't need to answer this if you don't want to, but I'm interested in your educational background, too, just because I admire you as a person and would like to know more about you. Do you have a background in the Unification Church, and is that where you went to seminary? (I really know so little about that; I need to do some reading.) I think it's a pretty cool path you've taken to get where you are, and I admire your courage in going against the very-strongly-held beliefs of your family.


Yes Chapabel is quite right in his suggestion. I graduated from the Unification Theological Seminary. But it was a state accredited school with a faculty from many different faiths just as I said. However, there was only one student there at the time who was not a member of the Unification church and it can be argued that the administration and student body also make for some bias apart from the faculty. I would also say that I think the school has gone downhill since I was a student for when I checked their current faculty and it looks like they no longer have as much diversity which it had before. I am willing to bet that this is somewhat due to economic difficulties.
Looking back, IYO what percentage (roughly) of what they taught are you OK with now? I imagine (correct me if I'm wrong) that there would be some things that you would now consider to be wrong, some that you think is still right, and some that is "neutral".

So I guess it is question of the personality of the particular student. Was I one to tow the line? I was considered one of the troublemakers. LOL
I'm not too surprised ;)

It was actually while I was at this seminary that I began to understand the words of Paul, and soon afterwards started calling myself a Pauline Christian.
God works in very unique and unusual ways!

After I graduated I began going to evangelical churches and looking into the theological differences.

So of the three groups, Mormon, Jehova Witness and Moonie, you can definitely say that I have the most familiarity by personal experience with the last of the three. But it doesn't change the fact that I do not agree with them just as I do not agree with other two.
I think that in the CL, people should honor what others choose to call themselves, and you call yourself a Christian. I've read a lot of what you've written here, and I would agree with you, although I don't agree with everything you say (and vice versa, I'm sure!) Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:50 am

Rian wrote:Looking back, IYO what percentage (roughly) of what they taught are you OK with now?

It is a problematic question for a number of reasons:
1. Like the Mormons, but perhaps even more so, they put on a very Christian face or slant on things to begin with. It was when they tried to shift their message and practices away from what was Christian to things that clearly were not compatible that I parted ways with them. So even to estimate a percentage that I think was Christian would be difficult. I cannot say that this was entirely intentional because as a new religion there was a great deal that wasn't set in stone. So interpretations from person to person tended to vary a lot.
2. A lot of what they taught was straight out the Bible. I still agree with everything that was actually in the Bible.
3. Like many comparisons between religions, the difficulty is that a big part of the difference isn't a disagreement on issues, but about what they think is important. If you measure it that way, I could say that easily 99% or more of what they taught is not something I consider of any importance.
4. You should know by now, I disagree with details all time with everyone. So any measure of agreement is going to depend on how precise an agreement counts as an agreement. The same would go for coming up with a percentage for agreement between Christianity and the Jehova Witnesses and Mormons. On a course grid, the Moonies, like the Jehova Winesses and Mormons, look Christian. You go to a fine enough grid to distinguish them, then any agreement I have with any of these disappears.

As time went on what they were teaching and practicing was looking more and more like salvation by works while I was shifting in the opposite direction to believe more and more in salvation by grace.

Hmmm... I tried comparing the things I pointed out worth keeping and things to discard in Christianity and it didn't work because they didn't speak those issues. I think it would be more helpful to point out issues I can think of where I disagree and where I agree with them.

1. I don't agree with their Christology which is adoptionist rather than Trinitarian.
2. I don't agree with their "95% God and 5% man responsibility" for salvation teaching.
3. I don't agree with their explanation of the fall as a sexual relationship between Eve and Lucifer.
4. I don't agree with their analysis of biblical and church history in terms of "conditions" (46% of the content of their teaching).
5. I don't agree with their ideas about the second coming of Christ.
6. I don't agree with their ecclesiology.
7. I don't agree with their stand on evolution.
There are a lot of other things I don't even know what their position is, but I highly doubt that they would agree with me on them.

1. I agree with viewing God in the role of a Parent to human beings.
2. I agree that the resurrection is to a spiritual body rather than to a physical body.
3. I agree with rejecting a literal interpretation of the Garden of Eden story.
4. Very minor point: I agree with them that John the Baptist did not do well (i.e. that that in Matthew 11, Jesus is making a very harsh criticism and denunciation of John the Baptist).
Last edited by mitchellmckain on Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:28 pm

Particles wrote:
Moonwood the Hare wrote:This is closer to what I think the traditional Christian view was saying than the modern idea of a 'personal' God. It also means that Christianity can see as having more in common with Hindu or even Buddhist ideas about the absolute than some modern Christians think.


How do you define "traditional Christianity?"

Christianity as it was understood and practiced in the pre-modern era, basically whatever is before Descartesand what stands in continuity with that. In these views the otherness of God is emphasised and the idea of God being personal is not taken literally.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Particles » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:38 pm

Before Descartes and beginning when about?
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:59 pm

Particles wrote:Before Descartes and beginning when about?

Since the 17th century but this is not an instant thing and there are other possible influences. People tend more and more to treat theological ideas very literally.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Particles » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:43 pm

I meant how long before Descartes did traditional Christianity begin. Do you mean it started right around Descartes? What are the start and end dates?
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Moonwood the Hare » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:58 pm

Particles wrote:I meant how long before Descartes did traditional Christianity begin. Do you mean it started right around Descartes? What are the start and end dates?

Well the underlying approach to reality I think is very old,there'san awareness of the otherness of God that reaches way back,for the origins of that maybe read Rudolf Otto, so I don't think there is a start date. Then there is the development of a theology which is rational and coherent but preserves that sense of the otherness of God, and Ithink that is preserved intact even in late medieval western theology but what you do get in the west is a split between theology and experience, between cloisters and schools. Protestantism is largely a reaction against what was going on in the schools towards the end of that era, and say Luther is looking back to the more experiential theology of early Cistertians like Bernard of Clairvaux. And then there is in both Catholicism and Protestantism a growing rationalist tendency, but I don't think there is an end date. What you get even within Protestantism is a revival of mysticism in people like Boehme or in a way Law who then influences Wesley and coming out of that Wesleyan tradition you get Pentecostalism, but it's still part of this very divided sensibility,where the critical and the mystical have split apart.
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Re: Is Christianity redeemable?

Postby Particles » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:33 pm

Moonwood the Hare wrote:
Particles wrote:I meant how long before Descartes did traditional Christianity begin. Do you mean it started right around Descartes? What are the start and end dates?

Well the underlying approach to reality I think is very old,there'san awareness of the otherness of God that reaches way back,for the origins of that maybe read Rudolf Otto, so I don't think there is a start date. Then there is the development of a theology which is rational and coherent but preserves that sense of the otherness of God, and Ithink that is preserved intact even in late medieval western theology but what you do get in the west is a split between theology and experience, between cloisters and schools. Protestantism is largely a reaction against what was going on in the schools towards the end of that era, and say Luther is looking back to the more experiential theology of early Cistertians like Bernard of Clairvaux. And then there is in both Catholicism and Protestantism a growing rationalist tendency, but I don't think there is an end date. What you get even within Protestantism is a revival of mysticism in people like Boehme or in a way Law who then influences Wesley and coming out of that Wesleyan tradition you get Pentecostalism, but it's still part of this very divided sensibility,where the critical and the mystical have split apart.


So, traditional Christianity as you define it may not go back to the church fathers, and may be from much later. But I still don't see when this "transcendent ground of existence" was ever the dominant view in any of the times you're talking about. Well if it ever was, I see it as contradictory to the how Christianity has been practiced.

Let me just ask about your practice and belief. Presumably, you accept the Nicene Creed. How does "transcendent ground of existence" square with the Jesus narrative? How does it square with divine interventions described in the Bible and believed to occur still today? A transcendent ground sounds very impersonal compared to the very personal Christian story.
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