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smile-love-shine said: I’ve read parts of the Bible, and get surprised by all the interpretations that I couldn’t come up with on my own. It’s amazing to me. Like, it’s not something you can read once and go “lol I’m a bible expert now”
I know, right? So much of it is intentionally left out, because of cultural changes. You can get some things, but you really have to study the history and interpretation to understand most.
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Anonymous asked: yeah "i read the bible genesis to exodus" and then trying to act like an expert interpreter of its events is kind of like saying "i've read the first page of 'war and peace'" and trying to do the same
Lol, yeah. I thought maybe it was a careless mistake, but way to undermine your own credibility.
Just reading it doesn’t tell you much, though, even if he did make it past Exodus. But people like that, if you admit you don’t know why God did <x>, you’re ignorant of your religion… and if you do know, you’re an apologist for genocide. <shrug> It’s not about honesty or facts, just about attacking anyone who disagrees with them.
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and then there’s also the fact that it’s ‘whatever you pray according to His will’…so sincere prayers are answered at the right time and in the right way but maybe not always in the way desired (which is sometimes different from what’s needed)
Right. Part of the misunderstanding about prayer comes from cultural differences with the biblical authors. There’s many passages in it where people tell a guest, ‘anything of mine is yours, my children are available for your pleasure, you can have up to half my kingdom, etc’, and it’s a way of showing respect. However, it would have been disrespectful for the guest to actually demand, say, half the kingdom… and they would have known better than to do so.
Same with prayer: When the authors of the bible say God will grant all our requests, they mean it in the same way. Anyone who truly respected/had faith in God would know better than to ask for trivial or ridiculous things. But when something is genuinely needed, and it is right to ask, God will grant it. There were people believed to always have their prayers answered, but the reason why was not because they were so favored by God, necessarily, but because they were wise enough to know when and what to ask for.
Still, there’s a value to prayer itself, even if the request isn’t granted- As long as it’s not a substitute for taking any action ourselves. If something is important enough to pray for, it’s important enough to work for.
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Anonymous asked: Do you believe prayer is effective?
Depends on what you’re hoping to get from prayer. If you view God as a magic genie, then no, prayer is not effective.
If you view prayer and God as salvation, then it is. It is the final hope for deliverance when all human effort has failed, when you’re asking for a single light out of the darkness. That’s not to say that you should never expect miracles from prayer, but that if you’re praying for the right reasons, whatever the result is will be miraculous.
So, I believe God answers all sincere prayers, but not all prayers are sincere. And sincerity requires both faith and the knowledge of what is appropriate to ask for. For anything else, do your own work.
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killyourstrollers asked: Just curious, what denomination are you? I was raised in a very liberal Presbyterian church and I loved it. We were taught that the Bible was a tool, but not verbatim truth, we were encouraged to love one another and our (ordained) Minister of Music was gay and married for 30 or so years. We still read from the Bible and sang traditional hymns accompanied by the organ, but we were pretty progressive. Just curious about other liberal demoninations
Episcopal, and they teach that a person needs a balance of Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience. You focus on anything exclusively, or exclude one of the pillars, and you become unbalanced. So, we believe that the Bible is one tool of four, and should be read in historical context. Most of the rituals and theology is similar to the Catholic church(nickname Catholic-lite), and a lot of the tradition mixes ideas from Protestantism, too. The church was created by people who insisted on being right in the middle, and I think that’s awesome.
Episcopalianism itself is wide mix of far liberal to moderately conservative, depending on the diocese. My own is rather conservative, this being Texas, but in other areas they ordain gay and lesbian Priests. The conservative branches aren’t necessarily opposed to it, but often feel that other issues are more important.
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Anonymous asked: What do you think of Satan being the courtier of God? Like I've heard in some cases that Satan was the courtier of God, and not his enemy.
Honestly, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Satan or wondering what he’s like- in my fantasy novels about heaven and hell, he’s not even a character. Poor guy.
Satan seems to play that courtier role in stories like Job, but the main point of using him is as a literary device: We, the audience, are told that Job did nothing to deserve his misfortune, so we know in advance that his friends are wrong. The word ‘satan’ itself doesn’t necessarily refer to The Devil, but to anyone who is accusing you before God(the accuser).
If he exists at all, I don’t view Satan as being an enemy of God in the sense that they’re on an equal playing field. Nor would I think they’re working together in any real sense. Satan is better understood as a symbol of evil in the world, and a rejection or absence of God. The literal character is less interesting than the philosophical one.
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Anonymous asked: isn't the Catholic philosophy of only having sex when you're open to the idea of having children in a way a population control? God's Heart is Love, and God creates life. In human terms, love leads to sex, which hopefully leads to babies. I kinda think that if you can't handle the responsibilities that comes with having a child then maybe you don't deserve the pleasures that comes with sex.
It might be, but it’s an unrealistic form of population control. It also ignores the problem of coerced sex and abuse, and you can’t claim to be pro-woman or pro-life if you don’t consider those problems.
I don’t believe that the sole purpose of sex is for procreation… and neither does the Catholic church. Despite their anti-birth control policy, they acknowledge that it’s important for husbands and wives to be having sex with each other. It’s good for their relationships, and it’s good for them, personally. The Church only needs to recognize that there is little practical difference between Natural Family Planning- which is the sexual practice of avoiding pregnancy until a desired time- and chemical or barrier methods of birth control that avoid pregnancy far more reliably.
If you don’t deserve the pleasure that comes from sex, seems like from that perspective then neither do you deserve the pleasure of being in a committed relationship. Even as someone who’s celibate, that just seems cruel.
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ovechkin asked: Maybe the second and third parts of the movie, but the first part of it, the part about religion. Oh yes, that is all very accurate.
You are a silly child if you think that 2/3rds of a movie is loaded with reactionary propaganda but is somehow accurate for the remaining 1/3rd. Amazingly coincidental that the 1/3rd happens to agree with your preconceived notions about religion!
For anyone interested:
Conspiracy theories are ridiculous and the complete opposite of rational thinking or skepticism, whether they come from the right or left. If you can’t embrace religion, I hope someday you come to embrace a logical analysis of it. God bless.
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There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the intentions of the New Testament and what laws Christians are supposed to follow. People often make the argument that Christians don’t follow all their own laws, or do so selectively, or even that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to follow even just the New Testament laws.
And they’re right. What they ignore is that that’s the point. When Christ preaches the sermon on the mount, he’s not saying, “Do all these things and you’ll go to Heaven.” He’s saying, “None of you do all these things… that’s why you need God for salvation.” If all Christianity came down to was a list of rules, it would be incredibly simple. At it’s core, though, it is a rejection of that very idea that the Pharisees were following.
That’s why I say that this is something all Christians should follow, but that, generally, liberal Christians take it too far and conservative Christians don’t take it far enough. Conservatives tend to want the law, to have a baseline standard for what good behavior is- and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that desire. We should embrace some moral standards. But Christianity denies that as the path to salvation. On the other hand, liberals tend to want to ignore law altogether, claim that it’s up to the individual to choose for themselves what morality is. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, either, and we should embrace moral laws because we agree with them, not because we feel we have no choice… but the laws given in the New Testament, if you’re a Christian, are still the moral ones. Choosing a path that’s in complete contradiction to them is not morality, it’s self-indulgence. It is placing the self as the ultimate source of authority, replacing God.(Arguably, conservatives replace ‘God’ with the ‘law’).
The intention is to depend on God for salvation: not yourself, and not a list of rules. At the same time, we should wrestle with the moral ideas in the Bible, but debating them doesn’t automatically lead to rejecting them. If Christian morality is forced, it is meaningless… but equally meaningless if it’s too easy.
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Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
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