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Comments

Danyl Mclauchlan

As usual the Bible holds many layers of meaning.

Which is really just a complicated way to say 'the Bible means whatever I want it to mean'.

The passage is a perfect example of Ryans original thesis - that people see their own values reflected in Jesus and interpret whatever he says to flatter their own values.

Christian Anarchists (such as Dorothy Day) argue that 'Render Unto Caesar' means that good Christians should live a life of poverty and cast off all their material possessions so they can give of themselves more fully to God.

"The less you have of Caesar’s, the less you have to give to Caesar."

On the flip side, many right-wing Christians in the US cite the passage as an argument against paying any taxes - they feel that Jesus wants them to be as rich as possible and that their income belongs to God, so they shouldn't have to 'render unto Caesar'.

To my mind that's one of the fundamental problems with using a collection of bronze-age superstitious stories as a basis for a political or moral philosophy - any teaching that can effortlessly be interpreted to have totally opposite meanings is effectively worthless.

dad4justice

I will pray for you Danyl, as you seem spiritually dead .

peter

Ryan and Danyl .. Your words are ringing in my ears and no doubt the ears of others - as perfect leading into a new year. Thank you Andrei for reminding us of the immortal text of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" along the same lines. Man does create God in his own image, women the same.

Paula thanks for your question to me. You say among other things:

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

Sorry to disappoint you Paula, but it is actually YOUR PERCEPTION of the image of Jesus that you may be morphing towards, not an absolute image.

You see you use your own conscience, values and culture to evaluate the scriptures, to emphasise what best meets your needs and to de-emphasise much other material in the complete bible.

IF God defines in the Bible an absolute morality, then as we know much intemperate action of God when angry and over-reacting is thereby set up as a model for today. e.g. Nobody today would want to punish entire tribes or nations for the unwanted actions of a few.

This means that we must all bring our own definitions of morality to the exercise of studying the scriptures - and to use what we can use, and also ignore what is happiest to ignore.

The proof of what I say is seen in the many contrasting forms of Christianity that continue to proliferate - leading to believers as contrasting as Roman Catholics, Methodists, Exclusive Brethens, fundamentalist Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists and all the rest.

And as has been said before, the greatest odds are that a particular believer will be sufficiently indoctrintated when young to adopt the family belief if any belief at all. Great for family unity too!

But as we know, educated new generations are increasingly skeptical. They want to fashion a philosophy on what they believe, not what they are expected to believe.

2008 promises to be a good year for deism, agnosticism and atheism. Theism will continue to slide away.

Happy New Year to you all on that basis.


peter

Daddy 4 - read about Mr Phelps and co..

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7154551.stm

But do read the whole thing, won't you. Fundamentalists - the outskirts of town are for you in 2008!!!

Paula

Happy New Year to you Peter, and everyone else.

Ryan Sproull

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

Ask him who I'm voting for, then tell me what he says. I'll let you know if he was right. Also, ask him what number I'm thinking of right... now.

andrei

Ask him who I'm voting for, then tell me what he says. I'll let you know if he was right. Also, ask him what number I'm thinking of right... now

Ryan, Jesus does not do conjuring tricks.

As for deciding who to vote for, I think I have made it clear that my thinking is that this is not a religious question per se . Of course where I believe that proposed policies are in direct contravention of God's laws I will vote accordingly.

and I would certainly be attracted to candidates who were openly conservative Christians in the hope that their thinking and voting patterns would reinforce our christian heritage.

But for example there may be some conservative Christian politicians who may try to legislate God's laws with criminal penalties for violating them. Something I would not support at all.

For example the one that has exercised our minds in recent times is Homosexuality. I don't think that Civil laws should outlaw such things between consenting adults and would not support a politician who proposed such a law. It is however against God's laws and those who violate them will have to front up on the day of judgement (we all will when alls said and done) -but that is not something to be judged in a criminal court IMHO.

robk

Ryan

"Ask him who I'm voting for, then tell me what he says. I'll let you know if he was right. Also, ask him what number I'm thinking of right... now."

Fortunately, as Andre says, God is not inclined to pamper me (or you) like the court jester...

I tend to agree with all of what Andre said above, but at the same time I have been explicitly guided by God to do things, and to be in certain places (for example) for me to be confident He is well able to help me see through the brainwashing and lies of party politics. He guides me to vote for candidates with the most integrity or best policies available.

P.S. Right at this micro second, you are thinking of the number... TWO! :-)

peter

Robk

Did God manage to come up with a recommendation of whom to vote for at the 2005 election?

robk

Peter

Nothing objective, on that occasion.

peter

I still think that the Aqualung Code has a lot going for it.

Was celebrating New Year up in Auckland and as part of that went to the DARWIN exhibition. I commend this to everyone and especially Christian fundamentalists. Comment is made on Creationism and Intelligent Design and I think you should have a look at it - funded as it is by you the ratepayers! (Ha Ha Ha?)

You have to admire the work of Charles Darwin .. to put together all sorts of things like geology, botany, zoology and even discussion with his hairdresser - to produce the theory of evolution with natural selection.

Did you know that there are about 250,000 species of beetles alone! No wonder creationism had to be abandoned by Christians.

But you look at the finches' beaks, the skeletons of human beside monkey, the evolution of human skulls on a timeline diagram.

Interesting that early influences and encouragement came from CHURCH people like Rev Thomas Malthus and Rev Henslow (at university). And once his theory was published, the science community were rapid adopters of the theory and the vast vast majority have stayed on track ever since.

So yes, God is created AND MODIFIED to match the image held by humans like you and me. It has always been the same.

mickmac

Peter
I asked God what I should reply to you and He said

" Don't bother he isn't really interested at getting to the truth.

We'll (you and He)have a discussion on the last day and it will all get sorted then.

Get on with worthwhile discussions with people who actually want to know and understand ".

So wishing you an enlightening 2008 and the very greatest blessings God can give you.

peter

Sadly it is a person like you that avoids the truth micmac. Go to the Darwin exhibition - it is all there.

There is no reason on earth why a god would want to oversee 250,000 species of beetles (to give one example) It surprises me that what was so obvious to thinking people 150 years ago still struggles for acceptance in a few isolated quarters today.

A "god" is simply saying to you what you want to hear - flattery. Believe me.

robk

Peter

"There is no reason on earth why a god would want to oversee 250,000 species of beetles "

That's lame...

peter

Robk

Please clarify the lameness comment.

robk

Peter

A cursory read of ID or Creationist literature would show that In the beginning there were fewer 'species' of beetle. The inherent potential for diversity in every living being's DNA allows them / us to adapt to our environment, resulting in a wide array of 'species' with no addition of genetic information, rather a loss. Beetles & birds can lose the genes that give them wings. Finches get wonky beaks

That's the first thing.

Secondly: How on earth would you know how many species of beetle "a god" would "want to oversee"?

Peter, I've had forty years of having Darwinism brainwashing thrust in my face. I don't find the arguments at all compelling, although there are some puzzling things.

Your beetles and finches, however have all changed ('evolved' if you must) from a common ancestor beetle or finch without the addition of a single NEW (not pre-existing) gene to the DNA. The genetic information was already right there in every cell.

Just the same as the genes to make a Chihuiahuia and Great Dane were all right there in the original dog / wolf ancestor

You likely won't find this information trumpeted in the Darwin Exhibition.

Ryan Sproull

Ryan

"Ask him who I'm voting for, then tell me what he says. I'll let you know if he was right. Also, ask him what number I'm thinking of right... now."

Fortunately, as Andre says, God is not inclined to pamper me (or you) like the court jester...

I dunno. Isn't his continued game of hide and seek more like a court jester than anything else?


I tend to agree with all of what Andre said above, but at the same time I have been explicitly guided by God to do things, and to be in certain places (for example) for me to be confident He is well able to help me see through the brainwashing and lies of party politics. He guides me to vote for candidates with the most integrity or best policies available.

This is my point. I say that God personifies your personal ideals - ie., that you see yourself as imperfectly attempting to live the ideals you see in God. That's why "who Jesus would want me to vote for" is the same as saying "who I should vote for".

So you say that Jesus is alive and communicating with you, and he can tell you how to vote. But then, when pressed, it turns out that Jesus doesn't talk to you in actual words, but rather "guides" you in a vaguer sort of feeling kind of way. My point is that this is indistinguishable from God personifying your values.


P.S. Right at this micro second, you are thinking of the number... TWO! :-)

Well, it was 47 at the time, but NOW I'm thinking of two, thanks to you. That's what ya call a self-fulfilling prophecy :)

Ryan Sproull

Just the same as the genes to make a Chihuiahuia and Great Dane were all right there in the original dog / wolf ancestor

Yes. They're all the same species. No one's trumpeting that information because it's obvious. It would be like saying, "Don't tell anyone, but Asians and Caucasians can interbreed!"

Dogs and bears, on the other hand, both evolved from a common ancestor and are now different species.

robk

Ryan

That's why 'species' is not a very useful term. chihuahuas and Great Danes would not normally interbreed, and I bet if you saw them for the first time you would say they were different 'species'.

Did you know Lions and tigers can have offspring? And donkeys and zebras? Whales and Dolphins? Yet they are all different 'species'.

Dogs and bears are probably not just different species but different genera, a term much closer to the biblical 'kind'.

Dogs and bears evolving from a common ancestor is, of course, speculation as is any proposed lineage based on the appearance of bones and teeth...

robk

Ryan

"So you say that Jesus is alive and communicating with you, and he can tell you how to vote. But then, when pressed, it turns out that Jesus doesn't talk to you in actual words, but rather "guides" you in a vaguer sort of feeling kind of way."

Here's an example:
One day my dad said to me "You should put your house on the market and build a new house." Not being normally given to rash impulses, I said "I'll discuss it with my wife and ask God".
I went home and my wife & I prayed "Father God if you want us to sell please show us and we'll do it".

Two hours later I was finishing one job, and I 'felt' I should go to a previous finished house to collect some gear. As I entered the empty house, I picked up a loose piece of paper from the doorstep, and opened it. It read: "Are you thinking of selling your house?" It was a real estate flyer.

It could have been chance but the timing was critical. I had never seen one on a doorstep, and haven't seen one since. We took it that God was 'speaking to us'.

My dad did once hear God speak audibly, though. It's really up to God to choose how to communicate...

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