Previously - M wrote: let me get this right...you think that the Bible's beauty lies in the way it is written to 'get to the heart of a Christian's heart'.
You think this is a clever way for God to know what is in a person's heart?
AS: No. Not God so much as other people.
M: ??? but, but...
AS earlier: What a clever way for a God to know what is in a person's heart than to give him some commandments. ..then write a book with all types of stories..and sit back and see what the person does.
AS: Meaning, it is written in such a way, that there can be many different interpretations…So that, the interpretations of the bible are not so much the problem as the hateful interpretations…The only thing we can do if follow our heart and mind. I am talking about accountability on a personal level.
M: ??? follow??? No. As has been said before – people can follow what is in their heart and minds to commit atrocities. Accountablity: is where we are required to or expected to justify actions or decisions. This is done from an early age and operates within our human system, not a divine one.
Had to quote all of that above to clarify what I am getting at. This is the reason I wanted to keep this thread about 'how Christians can tell right or wrong. I am not coming from the place that there is no God, here in this thread. I am coming from a place that, if there is a God, and it is like most Christians say...that He is a good God, then the stories in the bible (Christians believe the stories where divinely inspired by God) are there for us to know Him better and how he wants us to behave.
As a child, I was indoctrinated with Christianity. I was brainwashed, pure and simple. Now that brainwashing, coupled with the fact that when I became aware of right and wrong, I had a desire to understand myself, in relationship to God. I think most Christians do this...in their own minds. Try to sort out what God is telling us. It has never left me entirely, and this is the thing atheists don't understand about Christians. That having faith is not our fault, nor is it us wanting to blow smoke up the atheists skirt. It just is...it is always present in our minds. The God thing is apart of us. And while I can't tell you my beliefs are true, as I don't know that they are...I might just have mental issues caused christian childhood trauma...I still pray to a God I don't know is there. everyday. Sometimes with gratitude and sometimes just with the lord's prayer. Please don't be like most atheists and be cynical or suspicious about that. I do not do it in an attempt to be better than anyone, or to guarantee me a spot in heaven or whatever else pisses off atheists. I do it simply because that is how my mind has been trained to think. I can't help it...it is ALWAYS present. Even if I can step aside and truthfully admit. I have not seen God. I don't know if there is a God. The feeling I have inside just might be a mental illness. I DON'T KNOW! All I know is I feel alone and the running conversation, in my head, makes me feel less alone. No reason or rhyme to it. It just does.
This is why I come from a christian perspective. because I am aware that atheists don't have this running commentary in their heads. How could they know what it is to be Christian? I don't expect them to know. I do, however, expect Christians to know (At least the ones who have been taught God is a good God).
Okay so that was that explanation. Now onto the other point of the above quote. Okay, so...as a person, who was indoctrinated with Christian values, I, still being an inquisitive human, took those values very seriously as a youth. I wanted to understand what God was telling me to do, as I did not want to go to hell. And I totally 100% believe what they told me in Sunday school when I was a kid (meaning this is how i fell...hook line and sinker) ...that 'God was Good'. Now imagine my fear when I got a little older and they stopped telling me God was good and switched to, God will make you burn in hell if you so much as masturbate (seriously...they took us to bible camp and this is what they preached) well, I figured was done...I was definitely going to hell! Who the fuck can not masturbate? Not me, certainly! LOL Anyway, I just started thinking the church was fucked up to believe in a God so mean he could give a person a desire for pleasure, and then send them to hell for it. It just didn't make sense. So, in my head, I decided to read the bible from the viewpoint of "God is a good God". From the viewpoint of Christianity, that he is is better than me who is a wretch....and I thought about the scriptures in a different way. I was coming from the place of "God said this, how can I interpret with the knowledge that God is good...i.e. better than me. It lead me to purity of heart is to will one thing...basically. That the world was not going to cave in if I loved a sinner. If I only wanted fair play and good things for , say, mexicans and blacks, I don't think God would send me to hell for that. If I only wanted equal rights for homosexuals, I don't think God would send me to hell for that. If I wanted my atheist friends to go to heaven, I don't think God would send me to hell for that...do you see the pattern? It was the only way I could cope.
It is still the only way I can cope, internally, with the words of God in my head. I am sorry if you think it's rubbish...it might just be. But I can only be as honest with myself as I can be, right? I mean , it is impossible to be as honest as you think I should be. right? At least until I become aware that I am wrong and even then, it's hard to change. But at least one has more to think about.
M: So basically, each person can make his own mind up about the contents of the Bible; and how it might tell them the difference between right and wrong. However, understanding this man-made ‘Word’ or text is different from any ‘knowledge’ you believe was implanted in your heart/soul/mind by something you call ‘God’. You might be authentic about following this feeling or knowledge [of what is right and wrong]. However, this knowledge, and its source, can clearly be questioned.
Yes. basically each person can make up his own mind, and does. This is why all the fighting among Christians. If there was a consensus then Christians would not look suspiciously at each other. They would not even think, "God said, I will know them by their fruits..." when it comes to other Christians. This is my whole point about Christianity. If a christian can take that statement and truly believe that it meant that God wants us to judge others, then it is not in keeping with their other thought, "God is good'. Because a Good God would not want us to point fingers. It says as much in the bible. I think a good god would instead want us to take a look at our own fruit first. How are christians to know who (others) thinks right or who thinks wrong...(on a christian scale...not talking about the secular law here) except for by the bible. And how else to interpret the bible, with all it's complex ideas/stories, than with the 10 commandments and the quiet contemplation of what God would think of our thoughts and actions on judgment day.
Then you get a confusing story, like Abraham and Issac, which blatantly shows they confusion in Christian thought. The fact that Christians hold this story as an good story of obedience, when in reality...if they looked upon a person nowadays, who said, I must kill my son cause God told me to, they would think that person either evil or nuts. The fact that they believe a good God would tell someone to kill in his name, but that a good god wants us to stop evil when we see it, are in conflict of each other. It's those 2 opposing thoughts that give Christians the 'fear and trembling. As in God has placed upon us an impossible task. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't.
The thought that a good god would ask us to kill a person, but at the same time a good god would want us to stop a person from killing a child, is merely one little tiny story in the bible that leads to misunderstanding depending on who is doing the reading. The insanity of obedience as an absurd ideal , is present, in the back of most Christian minds. It is the natural 'logic' of man that nags at them.... that the story of a good god, AND, an Abraham (mean) god can't quite mesh. And it is in this application of Christianity, that begets the christian lie, that no matter what god does, he is good. When if they really believed God was good, then they must believe any wrong doing would be a consequence of free will. As in ...evil...is a man made construct. As most Christians, who believe the bible is the word of God, also believe that God is not capable of evil. So, if a story in the bible, makes a christian believe that it is okay to , not love thy neighbor...then by their very own account of God, they must be reading the bible wrong!
So is it any wonder, that when a christian will interpret the bible to say, jesus wants me to 'hate' (The homosexuals, athiests, mexicans, etc.) Oh, but I forgot...they use their double speak.,...and say...'hate the sin, not the sinner' but if that was the case, then they would not actively campaign against the people...instead they would love the people but campaign against the sin. Which means, Christians should want to help the people by giving them the same rights as Christians enjoy, as God gave everyone free will, or so Christians believe,but they don't, they actively campaign for unequal rights. which is akin to a punishment for the sin. But only other's sins...Christians rarely campaign for unequal treatment for themselves...i.e. to be punished for their own sins. Have you ever seen a christian hold a sign that read "No marriage for me because I have sinned!" No.
AS: I agree that I am accountable for this behavior. And this is why everyone and I always joke I am going to hell. Because I think I am the only person I know that pretty much wears on her sleeve her sin. I hold myself accountable for my sin. I think it is impossible for me not to sin. I'm a huge sinner.I know this precisely because , I know how to tell right from wrong.
M: I’m tempted to write what rubbish you talk. But that would be wrong. What do you mean by ‘sin’? One meaning ( from OED) is: an immoral act considered to be a digression against divine law’. Or: ‘ an act regarded as a serious offence’.
Some might say that sin like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, the Bible might contain a certain beauty or beauties but not if written to mislead in the way you appeared to suggest (but now deny). I interpreted your words as: Lulling people into following certain rules, then on their Judgement Day telling them they are going to hell because they have been dicks.
Anyway, I’m beginning to tire of all this…fascinating as it is. It takes me forever to read and reply.
What I mean by my sin, is whatever I think is sin to me in my head. I was having 2 separate thoughts, of the inner voice in my mind as opposed in the inner voice in other people's mind...lol. I can be privy to mine but not to theirs unless they tell me. Does that make sense? So if I believe something is wrong...that's just my thing. I am not going to make you believe it too. I am not trying to lull here or talk rubbish...only trying to relate my inner thoughts in relation to my experience as a Christian and possibly discuss why I think this or that using the christian bible...do you see how that can't work in a secular world? It can only work in a christian world because Christians know and believe what it says in the bible...or at least should know enough to talk about and defend what they believe. I am not advocating my thoughts about God for a secular world. Sorry if I gave that impression. It's hard to discuss Christianity.
*edited for clarity