Have I studied the Bible? Yes. I thought of becoming a minister once. So, yes, I have studied it and I've found way too many connections with pagan beliefs and there are, again, the archetypes that occur over and over again.
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The sermon on the mount (Beatitutes) Matt 5 is where Jesus laid down clearly for us the value-system of the Kingdom of God.
The unifying theme of the sermon is the kingdom of heaven. This is established not by counting how many times the expression occurs, but by noing where it occurs. It envelopes the Beatitudes (5:3, 10) and appears in 5:17-20, which details the relation between the OT and the kingdom, a subject that leads to another literary envelope around the body of the sermon (5:17;7:12). It returns at the heart of the Lord's Prayer (6:10), climaxes the section on kingdom perspectives (6:33), and is presented as what must finally be entered (7:21-23). Matthew places the sermon immediately after two verses insisting that the primary content of Jesus' preaching was the gospel of the kingdom (4:17,23). It provides ethical guidelines for life in the kingdom, but does so within an explanation of the place of the contemporary setting within redemption history and Jesus' relation to the OT (5:17-20). The community forming around him, his 'disciples" is not yet so cohesive and committed a group that exhortations to "enter" (7:13-14) are irrelevant. The glimpse of kingdom life (horizontally and vertically) in these chapters anticipates not only the love commandments (22:34-40) but also grace 95:3;6:12; 7:7-11; cf. 21:28-46) ....
Not less important is the location of the Sermon on the Mount so early in the Gospel, before any sign of controversies between Jesus and the Jewish leaders as to the law's meaning. This means that despite the antitheses in 5:17-48 ("you have heard ... but I tell"), these should not be read as tokens of confrontation but in the light of the fulfillment themes richily set out in chapters 1-4 and made again explicit in 5:17-20; Jesus comes "to fulfill" the Law and the Prophets (i.e. the OT Scriptures). Therefore his announcements concerning the kingdom must be read against that background, not with reference to debates over Halakic details. This framework is Matthew's; by it he tells us that whatever controversies occupied Jesus' attention, the burden of his kingdom proclamation always made the kingdom the goal of the Scriptures, the long-expected messianic reign foretold by the Law and the Prophets alike.
LensmanZ313 said:See, I have studied it. I see in it its ties to pagan beliefs, I see in it the archetypes that many other myths share, the contradicitons . . . . I also know that it has been taking out of context, especially by old farts, twisting the words to push their agendas. I know history too. I know that in the American South (even now, the "Old Times" aren't forgotten), people used the Bible to support slavery, enforce the paradigm that blacks were inferior and later used it to outlaw interracial marriage and hinder the civil rights movement.
SLAVERY. This was an important social and economic foundation of our country both before and after independence. It was an institution condoned by the founders and recognized and defended by the original Constitution (Article I, Section 2, paragraph 3; Article I, Section 9; Article IV, Section 2, paragraph 3). Slavery is also condoned in both the Old and New Testaments, but it is never condemned. On the contrary, it is codified, and made an inherited condition:
Exodus 21:4 gives rules for keeping slaves. Leviticus 25:44-46 says that heathen may be purchased as slaves, that their children become slaves, and that they are inherited as property by the owner's children forever. Other places that indicate that slavery is a hereditary condition are: Genesis 9:25, Exodus 21:4, Corinthians 7:20. Deuteronomy 20:10-14 says that when you conquer a city, if it surrenders then all people inside it become your slaves; but if it doesn't surrender, then all males are to be killed and all women and children "take unto thyself". Luke 12:47-8 shows that Jesus approves of slavery, for he describes the conditions under which one should give a severe beating to a slave. 1 Timothy 6:1-2 tells slaves to honor their masters.
In the book of Philemon, Paul sends a runaway slave, Onesimus, back to his former master. But this conflicts with the admonition in Deuteronomy 23:15 "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which has escaped..." So the Bible is on both sides of the 1857 Dred Scott case!
And here are other examples among those noted in an April report by the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State: Campus chaplains have encouraged proselytizing among the students, and younger cadets who skipped out on prayer services have been forced by their seniors to march back to their dorms in a ritual called "heathen flight."
When the spiritual love of Jesus turns into ''the dogma of Christ politicus,'' it is a dangerous moment for America. This is happening at an alarming rate and in weirder and weirder forms by the week. Somewhere along the line we hope the broader range of Christian open-minded and moderate thinking will prevail in the public discourse. The signs of the times, however, seem ominous and dark indeed.
Witness Rev. Chan Chandler of the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina, who kicked out nine members from his own congregation because they voted as Democrats and did not support George W. Bush for president. During last year's presidential campaign, Chandler told his congregation that those who would vote for Democratic Sen. John Kerry should repent or leave his church, according to one member who was forced out.
Witness the Baptist deacon of a California congregation who told the Lakota family of Muriel Waukazoo, who wanted a drum group to accompany their mother's funeral, that the traditional Indian songs could not be tolerated because ''drumming brings the demons.''
Witness Bush getting the nod from the Catholic Church hierarchy, which essentially endorsed him when it allowed then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to urge bishops to consider the denial of Holy Communion to Catholic politicians (i.e. John Kerry) who endorsed a pro-choice position on abortion rights for women.
Witness the even more troubling case of an American Jesuit who respectfully and intelligently criticized the positions of the Catholic Church and is now ordered to resign as editor of the Catholic journal, America - forced out by no less an authority than the office of doctrinal enforcement, called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on an edict issued by - again - then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now pope.
Some Christians should practice the magnanimity of the strong rather than cultivate the grievances of the weak. But many Christians are joining today's scramble for the status of victims. There is much lamentation about various "assaults" on "people of faith." Christians are indeed experiencing some petty insults and indignities concerning such things as restrictions on school Christmas observances. But their persecution complex is unbecoming because it is unrealistic.
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1785.
April 29, 2005—America is not a Christian nation. It is a nation many of whose citizens are Christians. That’s not just a subtle turn of phrase. Understanding the difference is essential to understanding America’s constitutional principles.
Christianity itself is not monolithic, as is evident by the many Christian denominations that exist in the USA. But there are certain politicians, and backers of certain politicians, who insist that America is a Christian nation . . . their brand of Christianity, of course. And they aim to destroy our constitutional republic in order to establish a Bible-based America—their interpretation of the Bible, of course—that is
as much a theocracy as is the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are part of a political movement called Dominionism or Christian Reconstructionism.
I doubt Jesus would recognize these Dominionists, Christian Reconstructionists, or to put it more clearly, American Theocrats, as his followers. They don’t believe in separation of church and state. The Gospels of Mark and Luke suggest that Jesus did. “Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” —Mark 13:17 and Luke 20:25.
And, as for moral behavior, the plank in their political platform second only to tax breaks for the rich, a.k.a. God’s Elect, considers Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R–TX), the American Theocrats’ standard-bearer in the U.S. House. In an April 12, 2002, speech at a gathering called Worldview Weekend, DeLay said: "He [God] has been walking me through an incredible journey, and it all comes down to worldview, He is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me, He is working with me."
Either DeLay is not listening to his God all the time, or his God has a very morally questionable agenda. DeLay is so scandal-ridden, that he has purged Republicans on the House Ethics Committee, including the chairman, Joel Hefley of Colorado, who were unwilling to let him slide. DeLay replaced them with loyalists who changed the rules to make it harder to start an investigation—rules which the House overturned yesterday. He’s also trying to take the heat off himself by raising the decibel level of his attack on the courts. I suppose anything goes when you’re working for Christian domination, though I don’t think Jesus would agree with that: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. —Matthew 7:21–23
Christianity and patriotism are interwoven throughout the gathering, from Christian and American flags marched into the sanctuary, to red, white, and blue banners festooning the church complex, to a rousing "patriotic concert." Several speakers emphasize the idea that America's founders were largely Christian and that their intent was to establish a biblically based nation. (No mention is made of other influences on the Founding Fathers, such as Englightenment thinkers or issues of freedom of conscience.)
Harlequin said:First of all, you shouldn't judge the Bible by the book of Mormon. They're two different books. Second of all, that wasn't a response to Freebird's question. You say you almost became a minister. That doesn't mean you know all about the Bible. I almost became a curator. That doesn't mean I know all about history. On thge contrary. It means I'm missing something. It's a slap in the face when people make arguments and you blow them off with a one or two line post that doesn't really have much in response. Please give a reason. As I said earlier, have you thought that the Bible is similar to mythological stories because it might have actually happened? Maybe the myths took from real life? Every culture has a flood story. Maybe that means there really was a flood.
Harlequin said:If you don't believe Genesis, how do you know God created the Universe. And Radiometric dating could be wrong. Scientists aren't perfect.
Historical and modern Deism are defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. Deists reject organized religion and promote reason as the essential element in making moral decisions. This "rational" basis was usually founded upon the cosmological argument (first cause argument), the teleological argument (argument from design), and other aspects of what was called natural religion. Deism has become identified with the classical belief that God created but does not intervene in the world, though this is not a necessary component of deism.