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Comments

Ryan Sproull

I appreciate the counter-example, though I think some revision would account for it.

1. People who believe in Jesus believe that he knows best.

2. People believe their own values are correct.

3. Therefore, people who believe in Jesus believe that Jesus is the perfect embodiment of their own values.

4. In other words, people who believe in Jesus believe they imperfectly strive towards the perfection embodied in Jesus.

5. People who believe in Jesus and see political stances as a type of moral stance will believe that Jesus would embody their own political views, were he alive today.

Note: I say "were he alive today", because talking about Jesus the man's political views inevitably ends up talking about his personal context as a Jew living in Roman-occupied Israel. "How Jesus would vote in NZ today" is a different question from "how Jesus wants me to vote in NZ today" - and it's the latter that illustrates my point, for those who think that voting is a moral matter.


It seems to me, Andrei, that if you believe Jesus embodies goodness, and you think you and he would disagree on politics today, then you don't believe that politics are a matter of moral goodness, which would account for your difference of opinion.


I also wasn't asserting that man created God, just that the nature of people's different opinions and the representation of God/Jesus as the Perfect Good mean that people's ideas of God - whether or not he exists - tend to be exaggerated versions of their own values. Which is to say, they see themselves as imperfect embodiments of the values they believe were perfected in Jesus.

Take the example of the KKK racist, who believe that Jesus is on his side in wanting a purely white America. Then he has an epiphany, a sudden change of heart on the issue. Perhaps he is convinced by someone that Jesus is not racist, or perhaps he has a strong personal emotional/spiritual experience that leads him to believe that Jesus is not racist. His change in values is mirrored by the change in his conception of Jesus. As he changes what he believes is right, he changes what he believes Jesus thinks is right. He looks back on his past racism as morally wrong, and looks back on his past notion of Jesus as factually incorrect. He expresses the conversion as realising or discovering that Jesus had always been non-racist, just as the KKK guy is, now, non-racist.

Whether or not Jesus exists and was responsible for the conversion doesn't matter here. Just that at each stage, what Mr KKK said about Jesus told us more about Mr KKK than it did about Jesus.

dad4justice

" If you're a Marxist, Jesus would be a Marxist."

Wrong again Ryan as didn't Stalin say "God must be out of Russia in five years ." Or was it Lenin ?

Your KKK illustration leaves me in no doubts that you thrive on incongruous illusions and have a total fixation on perceiving absurdities .

Andrei , great post and Jethro Tull is in the group of original masters of rock, but then again I am thick as a brick .

Ryan Sproull

D4J,

As I said, my statements are only applicable to people who believe in Jesus. There are Christian Marxists, but I do not think there are any Christian Stalinists.

fletch

Hmm OK Ryan, but still whatever my or your (or the KKK man's) conception of Jesus, if you're a Christian then God and Jesus are the absolute standard of morality.

There *is* a standard, and if you're a Christian it is your job to discover and follow that standard.

Jesus left us his Holy Spirit, his Word and his Church to guide us as to the way we should go.

Ryan Sproull

I agree, Fletch. If you believe in absolute morality, whether or not you're a Christian, it is your task to discover what is Good, refine your own values so that they are in accord with the Good.

Paula

Well I'm afriad I still agree with Ryan.

'Rather it is a sympton of our fallen nature'.
To me that is the EXACT reason man creates God is his own image, the word calls it 'carnally minded'

I know Christians who are liberals, BECAUSE they have crated God in THEIR image, they think He is (their version of love) NOT His version of love)

Their version is all grace
and I will give to you, because you can't love someone to much, after all God is love.

BUT because they judge Him according to THEIR view of love (therefore creating Him in their image) they
do not/will not conceive that this same God loves us enough to discipline us.
These same people usually say.
'Oh no God would NEVER do this or THAT'

They only have one aspect of His nature, and choose to totally ignore other aspects.

robk

Bear in mind there are those who call themselves Christians who really don't want Jesus as Boss of their lives. These folk certainly fit the general picture Ryan is painting.

Others, the Christians Andre seems to be talking about, are seeking Jesus as He is and will be working towards pleasing Him. Since Jesus is, in fact, alive - these believers are hearing Him and being changed into HIS likeness.

The fake Christians do not hear Him, and carry on "creating God in their own image".

KevOB

What is our image? We were created in God's. It was His free will we inherited. With that, we rebelled, which is the exercise of our will outside God's mandate for us. We were made for the purpose of fellowship with God and to worship Him. Creativity is bounded by God's will for us. So we can do as we please but there will be consequences. To expect that our conduct is in alignment with God's will is prideful. It may sometimes be there; otherwise we are presuming that we are God and that He is determined by our self. His sovereignty, omnipotence and omnipresence provides the Light of the World in which we exist. All we can do is to seek Him in truth.

Ryan Sproull

I'm talking logical necessity here, guys. Not singling out every other kind of Christian in the world besides you and saying they're a bunch of idolatrous wankers.

robk

Won't take it personally then :-)

Paula

Yes Robk

That was a good explanation
that answered well, as I understand it.

Working out our salvation...
and being transformed into His image.

When false teachers rise up, and twist the scriptures, then we follow that, and as some ...many, that teach the prosperity doctrine, because as the Word says they have covetousness in their hearts.

So, I guess they have made God in their image, as the world gets richer and richer and obtains more and more stuff, they want it to,
otherwise they are seen as
not having 'succeeded' and
rather than being seen as THAT, they quickly twist scripture, to enable them to have just exactly what the world has, so they are seen to be 'successful'
AGAIN, not how I see what Jesus said and did.

Now I did not make Jesus in my image, I was being transformed into His image.

So that, the things of the world not longer held me captive, or in bondage...
and so the process continues.

Does this make sense to you Ryan?? or Peter
You have some good in sight in a lot of things.

robk

Ryan

Looking again at your idea, in relation to genuine believers:

"1. People who believe in Jesus believe that he knows best."

Absolutely.

"2. People believe their own values are correct."

Only true if you don't really believe Jesus' words. Or if you're deluded enough to think you are 'like Christ'. A genuine believer's values are becoming more correct.

"3. Therefore, people who believe in Jesus believe that Jesus is the perfect embodiment of their own values."

Therefore this is wrong.

"4. In other words, people who believe in Jesus believe they imperfectly strive towards the perfection embodied in Jesus."

Why do you say "In other words"? This is completely different to what you say in (3), and is in fact, correct...

"5. People who believe in Jesus and see political stances as a type of moral stance will believe that Jesus would embody their own political views, were he alive today."

Nope. See answer to (2). The genuine believer will ask Jesus who is alive and communicating to them who to vote for.

Oswald Bastable

Jesus would probably say:

'Look deep into yourself and vote for who is best for you and your own'

robk

Further to my last post:

Confusion arises when people claiming to be Christians act as though Jesus were dead. They try to ascertain what Jesus wants them to do today by only reading the Bible. When there is no clear instruction in the Bible (eg. voting), the temptation is to twist scripture to suit themselves (as Paula pointed out).

Danyl Mclauchlan

The genuine believer will ask Jesus who is alive and communicating to them who to vote for.

The problem with this line of argument is that Jesus tends to tell people to vote for wildly different parties.

To take the US as an example, the black and hispanic voting blocks are deeply religious and they overwhelmingly vote Democratic while white religious voters generally support the Republican Party.

Why would Jesus tell different people to vote for directly opposing parties?

reid

When considering politics I personally apply Mark 12:17: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's"

Something that's not been mentioned above is that we are living in Satan's world and that "Satan the Devil" means in English the Slanderer and Deceiver.

Satan does a very good job in politics as well as in many other areas of life. It's part of a believer's journey is it not, to try as best we can to discern truth from the deception. What more can we do but approach the task with an open honest heart and mind, alert to wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Inevitably that grows and develops and changes over time.

Danyl Mclauchlan

When considering politics I personally apply Mark 12:17: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's"

That was a nice little semantic trick for Jesus to play when he was faced with a tricky question but not terribly helpful for his flock. Does it mean that Christians who don't like the Labour government should simply 'render unto Helen Clark'?

dad4justice

No Danyl I don't believe what you said, as a real Christian knows the value of spiritual leverage to achieve a desired object .Little vision - little provision . Big vision - big provision .Only a loving awesome God can do this ?

John Boy

Its a mistake to use the rendering unto Ceasar line when talking about life in a democracy in 2007. They were taking about a specific temple "tax". The coming Christians wouldn't need to pay it as the Genie was going to be out of the bottle so to speak and the temple would revert to being just stones which the Romans would pull down shortly anyway.

The old testament Jews got told to stop being stupid when they wanted a king simply because everyone else had one so God was saying I'm all you need. But they insisted and they paid for that choice.

Imagine, no Helen, Cullen or a bottomless pit of civil servants (sic) and bankers sucking the lifeblood out of you. Sounds great and better still I reckon its coming soon for an unlimited time.

reid

As usual the Bible holds many layers of meaning.

The passage is specific niether to a temple tax nor to the Labour Party, but Danyl, feel free to shout it out at the next party conference, if you think that's a good idea.

I look forward to reading headlines that Labour endorses all faiths and all who sincerely practice them. Perhaps at some point you may care to set the record straight on the EB who if politically misguided, nevertheless have always demonstrated sincerely faithful religious tenets. But I don't hold much hope in that happening, the Labour Party leadership being who they are.

Sorry to go on. To answer your question, Mark's passage in my imagination is referring to justice - what actually *is* the most just political solution in the circumstances?

How's your jurisprudence Danyl?

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