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Author Topic: Crisis of faith or is it over?  (Read 1103 times)
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Knightshade Dragon
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« on: September 26, 2014, 09:52:56 PM »

I was raised "platform agnostic" but lean more Baptist than anything else.  I've found that as an adult my philosophy with martial arts and my time in the military had an interesting effect on my faith.  Reading and re-reading the bible, watching documentaries from all sides, and watching the absolutely vile people who call themselves Christians but then go very far out of their way to cast aspersions and judgements on their fellow humans have driven me down a path where I feel like I only believe in the general concept of Christianity lately.   I thought maybe crisis of faith, but it isn't passing.  I still believe in God, or a higher power that put all this random shit together, but there are too many unanswered things on both science and religion to fully accept and believe either.   I think I'm a good person, but I find myself having less and less in common with anyone who would call themselves "religious". 

Interested to hear what you folks have to say...
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 10:36:10 PM »

It sounds like you are trending toward a generic spirituality or mysticism -- deism, animism, or some other paganism -- rather than a religion. Religion is about answers based on revealed truth, not questions. That makes it the opposite of science. Science thrives on "unanswered things" and does not ask you to believe in it except as a powerful method of investigating and understanding the material world.

While I think all religions can be philosophically illuminating, none of them are as "true" as they think they are, and none are worth joining or following unless you crave the social inclusion.

I don't believe in any religion (obviously) nor am I very spiritual, so this probably isn't the perspective you're looking for.
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« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2014, 03:20:01 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on September 26, 2014, 10:36:10 PM

It sounds like you are trending toward a generic spirituality or mysticism -- deism, animism, or some other paganism -- rather than a religion. Religion is about answers based on revealed truth, not questions. That makes it the opposite of science. Science thrives on "unanswered things" and does not ask you to believe in it except as a powerful method of investigating and understanding the material world.

While I think all religions can be philosophically illuminating, none of them are as "true" as they think they are, and none are worth joining or following unless you crave the social inclusion.

I don't believe in any religion (obviously) nor am I very spiritual, so this probably isn't the perspective you're looking for.

On the contrary, it's exactly the perspective I'm looking for - a rational one.  I guess that's the part that sticks in my craw; the revealed truth.  Truth hasn't been revealed to me, I have to buy into it.  I'd rather my belief not resemble a magic trick where I have to believe hard enough to make it real.  There are entirely too many things out there that can't be explained away by science or religion that make it where I can't let go of "God" (or whatever powerful force created us little ants) but I can't look at, for instance, the Bible and say "Yea, everything in there?  Totally real."  I'm sure I'm "going to Hell" and all that at this point, but I think it's more important to be as good a person as I can rather than ascribe to a religious dogma. 
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2014, 07:17:01 PM »

Well, it's quite possible to be spiritual without being religious. I'd even call that normal among my circle of acquaintances.
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« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 07:40:35 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on September 27, 2014, 03:20:01 PM

I think it's more important to be as good a person as I can rather than ascribe to a religious dogma. 

That's pretty much the manta I live my life by.  If it means I can't get into some sort of exclusive afterlife club because I didn't happen to do it "in the name of Jesus", then so be it.
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 09:39:30 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on September 27, 2014, 07:40:35 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on September 27, 2014, 03:20:01 PM

I think it's more important to be as good a person as I can rather than ascribe to a religious dogma. 

That's pretty much the manta I live my life by.  If it means I can't get into some sort of exclusive afterlife club because I didn't happen to do it "in the name of Jesus", then so be it.

I don't know if there are gods or souls or an afterlife or any of that. Probably not, but could be. I'm confident, though, that those things will get along fine regardless of what I do or don't believe. If it turns out that my eternal fate (if any) depended on observing particular rituals or saying magic words during my brief time on earth then I'm going to demand to see the management, because that's a petty way to run a cosmos.
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 01:16:46 PM »

People.  People are the problem.  Never underestimate their ability to warp even the most innocuous of things into a justification for ethnic cleansing, murder, rape, and subjugation.

That being said, I'm hearing good things about Scientology!  If you have 15 minutes and 1200 dollars, I'm betting they'll talk to you!
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 06:37:06 PM »

I'm in a similar boat. I don't know if God exists, and frankly, even if he/she/whatever the fuck does, it doesn't change how I'm going to live my life: Be a good person, help others, raise my children right. If that's not good enough for Floaty Space Guy, then he can suck my dick.

Wow, that turned out more profane than a normal religious comment should, I think.
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 07:15:16 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on September 27, 2014, 07:40:35 PM

That's pretty much the manta I live my life by.  

Seems pretty fishy to me.

Quote from: Gratch on September 27, 2014, 07:40:35 PM

If it means I can't get into some sort of exclusive afterlife club because I didn't happen to do it "in the name of Jesus", then so be it.

I bought the Collectors edition, so I also get a bevy of other benefits including a pet zergling that follows me around.
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 08:38:25 PM »

Good lord, Purge.  You're wasting away in your avatar.  Someone's been hitting the gym, haven't they?  

...and it's not me.  I can never find a place to put my ashtray and beer cozy.   icon_cry

Lookin' good, my man!
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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 03:29:50 PM »

I'm down to 230, and have gotten much stronger. My one-push max on bench is 4 plates (405lbs) or about 4-5 reps of 365 (my starting bodyweight in 2002). I'm about 7 lbs lighter than I am in that pic (given it was taken more than a month ago).

But that isn't faith. It is revealed and therefore faith is not necessary. Tongue

My faith is that there is a cosmic energy source, of some sort, that responds to positivity. I have faith that good things will happen, and the more I am positive, grateful and optimistic, the more frequently it manifests. I have faith that this is true, and truly forgive others (using compassion) to accept their mistakes, so I don't carry about me their problems.
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 02:29:27 PM »

It breaks my heart to see threads like this.

I know the power of Christ and what He can do in people’s lives and it brings me great sorrow that the Church He cares for has degraded to such a degree that we have reactions like these.

Sinners would rather embrace teachings and lifestyles that make them believe they are nothing and of absolutely no value in the scheme of things rather than the truth. 

The sin nature plays a huge part of that and the deep seeded penchant for rebellion as well, but seeing people proclaim Christ with their mouth and then deny them with their actions does great damage.

I am in that category a lot because of my own flaws that I battle daily... I think back to some of the wars I used to engage in on these very forums and while I admire my passion to bring those to the Lord, my methods were heavy handed and unloving…and without love we are nothing.

I've swung too far the other way now, not willing to dive in here any longer because it truly is a waste of words and effort. I’m not convinced that many of you are willingly seeking God other than to mock him and those who espouse him. But not trying is not loving either.

I pray for you guys. Not consistently but I do and have and always will.  I know that if I could come to faith God can lead you to himself as well.  But you must be willing to sincerely seek.
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 04:45:41 PM »

I'm glad that you have found things that work for you, ATB.  Most would not attempt to dissuade you from your faith.  but there are many others that have chosen a different path, one that does not rely on organizations that use emotional arguments and threats of pain, separation, and loss as motivations to bring them into the fold.  The scriptures, even the words of Christ, reinforces the idea that you are nothing without him, that they are of no value unless they believe.

Those that go on a path without faith find meaning in their own lives, accomplishments, and family, choosing to make the most of their time in this world.  Even if the faithful believe that we were placed here with special purpose, why seek to deny the opportunities and joys that this world brings?  In the mind of the religious, did he not place this world here for that purpose, or is it one giant test of asceticism?
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2014, 05:04:39 PM »

Quote from: ATB on October 08, 2014, 02:29:27 PM

I’m not convinced that many of you are willingly seeking God other than to mock him and those who espouse him. But not trying is not loving either.

There's no seeking of God from me, mocking or otherwise.  I feel I live a very purpose-driven life without the need to justify behaviors to a higher power.  I've also found the about the guilt-driven aspects of religion (i.e. Do it this way...OR ELSE!!) to be very...distasteful.

I'm glad that a belief in God/Jesus/whatever strengthens folks like ATB, Arclight, and most of my immediate family (who are very religious).  As long as it isn't used as a justification to persecute or remove the basic rights of others, I've got no issue with religion and would never try to dissuade anyone from it.  I've just personally never felt any need for it.  
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 05:05:03 AM »

I believe in something spiritual. Just not sure what. Definitely don't lap up the shit people try and push on me. Religion. Oh. Yeah.
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2014, 05:39:34 PM »

Conservative Christians are destroying Christianity. A religion that hates gay people, denigrates women, denies science, etc, has no future because it has no truth or grace in it. Liberal Christians aren't doing enough to stop the right-wing hijacking of our religion, though it does seem some of us are finally waking up to this.

I'm a Sunday school teacher, active in my local parish, and obviously I'm not going anywhere. But I see my friends, particularly my gay friends, being driven further and further away from religion because they increasingly associate with nasty, bigoted people like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, or charlatans like Joel Olsteen. What's bad about American Christianity is so toxic, it makes the far greater part of it that is good harder to acknowledge.
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2014, 02:13:59 PM »

Quote from: Fireball on October 13, 2014, 05:39:34 PM

Conservative Christians are destroying Christianity. A religion that hates gay people, denigrates women, denies science, etc, has no future because it has no truth or grace in it. Liberal Christians aren't doing enough to stop the right-wing hijacking of our religion, though it does seem some of us are finally waking up to this.

I'm a Sunday school teacher, active in my local parish, and obviously I'm not going anywhere. But I see my friends, particularly my gay friends, being driven further and further away from religion because they increasingly associate with nasty, bigoted people like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, or charlatans like Joel Olsteen. What's bad about American Christianity is so toxic, it makes the far greater part of it that is good harder to acknowledge.

Ummm, I pretty sure the things you have issues with were that way long before there was even an "America" or American Christianity whatever that is.

Must be all those American Popes..............

If anything Christianity has been hijacked by liberals not the other way around. Not that such is a bad thing, just noting that Christianity is far less "right wing" today than it ever has been which makes accusations that it has been hijacked by conservatives almost laughable. The views of today's "conservative Christians" would be the views of the bleeding heart leftist Christians just a few decades ago.

 If you want to discuss a religion that has been hijacked by conservatives let's talk about Islam.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2014, 08:20:22 PM »

Narrowing the focus on America, because I don't know much about Christianity in many other parts of the world outside of Catholicism, Anglicanism and Orthodoxy, there has definitely been what you could call a takeover of many branches of Christianity by movement conservatives. Forty-five years ago the Southern Baptist Convention, to name a prominent example, was a middle of the road denomination that was not expressly opposed to abortion. In the 1970s a concerted effort by conservative political activists fundamentally changed the SBC and other congregational churches into a toxic breeding ground of right-wing political ideology. The notion that churches would be leading the charge against social services to poor people and championing the most cut throat notions of American capitalism would shock Christians from 50 years ago.
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2014, 08:50:35 PM »

Quote from: Fireball on October 14, 2014, 08:20:22 PM

Narrowing the focus on America, because I don't know much about Christianity in many other parts of the world outside of Catholicism, Anglicanism and Orthodoxy, there has definitely been what you could call a takeover of many branches of Christianity by movement conservatives. Forty-five years ago the Southern Baptist Convention, to name a prominent example, was a middle of the road denomination that was not expressly opposed to abortion. In the 1970s a concerted effort by conservative political activists fundamentally changed the SBC and other congregational churches into a toxic breeding ground of right-wing political ideology. The notion that churches would be leading the charge against social services to poor people and championing the most cut throat notions of American capitalism would shock Christians from 50 years ago.

I bet it wouldn't shock them half as much as realizing that their organization that once was a cornerstone of race discrimination now had a black president.

I am sure they would be aghast at the conservatives allowing such a tragedy to occur.   slywink

Quote
In 1995, the Convention voted to adopt a resolution renouncing its racist roots and apologizing for its past defense of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy. This marked the denomination's first formal acknowledgment that racism had a profound role in its early and modern history. The convention recognized that the demographics of the United States were changing and has subsequently made an effort to recruit new members among minority populations.

Quote
Into the 1960s and the Civil Rights era, most Southern Baptist pastors and most members of their congregations rejected Racial integration and accepted white supremacy, further alienating African Americans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Baptist_Convention#cite_ref-The_Southern_Baptists_2012_34-3
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2014, 05:25:40 AM »

Hate to point it out, but some of what's going on in this thread is the cause for my crisis of faith.  It's become a polarizing political issue more than one about a relationship with God.
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2014, 04:07:02 PM »

The more things change...

Look at the history of religion.  What you believe is determined primarily by your parents, your country, and the time frame that you were born in.  There were no spontaneous Jewish communities that were found in the Americas when it was explored.  There were no adherents to the Aztec religion in the Old World. 

Religion was spread peaceably through missionaries and through fire and sword.  But the spread was always performed by man.  The consolidation and fragmentation of doctrines were performed by men.
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2014, 04:21:51 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on October 15, 2014, 05:25:40 AM

Hate to point it out, but some of what's going on in this thread is the cause for my crisis of faith.  It's become a polarizing political issue more than one about a relationship with God.
Most definitely.  Politics and religion don't match well in my opinion.  Both sides tend to solidify and it becomes a fight over beliefs.  One of the reasons I don't ascribe to any one belief or political party. 
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2014, 05:55:53 PM »

Quote from: Caine on October 16, 2014, 04:21:51 PM

Politics and religion don't match well in my opinion. 

For millennia, and in many places even today, they're inseparable.
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2014, 09:25:23 PM »

What ever happened to just being cool? I neither believe nor disbelieve in God. I actually don't give it any thought at all. I do, however, try to treat people well. I watch out for my family, my neighbours and my friends. If I have more than I need, then I try to kick a little over to those who don't.

I have faith in myself and in the better nature of people. Folks can often be greedy, short sighted and foolish, but mostly every person just wants the same things, health and happiness and a little bit of security. I think that maybe if you stop worrying so much about the big picture and pay more attention to the smaller details, then everything else takes care of itself.

If there is a God, I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna get a high five when I die. I'm kinda aiming at a cosmic high five.
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« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2014, 02:11:38 PM »

Religion is as much a vehicle for control as anything else. 
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« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2014, 03:54:44 PM »

Quote from: WorkingMike on October 16, 2014, 09:25:23 PM

What ever happened to just being cool? I neither believe nor disbelieve in God. I actually don't give it any thought at all. I do, however, try to treat people well. I watch out for my family, my neighbours and my friends. If I have more than I need, then I try to kick a little over to those who don't.

I have faith in myself and in the better nature of people. Folks can often be greedy, short sighted and foolish, but mostly every person just wants the same things, health and happiness and a little bit of security. I think that maybe if you stop worrying so much about the big picture and pay more attention to the smaller details, then everything else takes care of itself.

If there is a God, I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna get a high five when I die. I'm kinda aiming at a cosmic high five.

Well said Mike.   thumbsup
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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2014, 08:12:33 PM »

I appreciate all of your feedback, everyone.  I think my faith in people's interpretation of religion is really what is failing.  Also, since that cart is hooked to politics on both sides, that creates an even heavier burden.  I think I'm gonna keep doing what I'm doing - being the best person I can be and not worrying about what anyone else thinks about it....
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« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2014, 10:30:05 PM »

High five Dragon!

Faith is a blanket that only keeps you warm. That other person's blanket might look comfy, or maybe kinda ratty, but it's theirs and doesn't do shit for you anyway.

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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2014, 08:23:41 PM »

Quote from: Rip on October 14, 2014, 02:13:59 PM

Quote from: Fireball on October 13, 2014, 05:39:34 PM

Conservative Christians are destroying Christianity. A religion that hates gay people, denigrates women, denies science, etc, has no future because it has no truth or grace in it. Liberal Christians aren't doing enough to stop the right-wing hijacking of our religion, though it does seem some of us are finally waking up to this.

I'm a Sunday school teacher, active in my local parish, and obviously I'm not going anywhere. But I see my friends, particularly my gay friends, being driven further and further away from religion because they increasingly associate with nasty, bigoted people like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, or charlatans like Joel Olsteen. What's bad about American Christianity is so toxic, it makes the far greater part of it that is good harder to acknowledge.

Ummm, I pretty sure the things you have issues with were that way long before there was even an "America" or American Christianity whatever that is.

Must be all those American Popes..............

If anything Christianity has been hijacked by liberals not the other way around. Not that such is a bad thing, just noting that Christianity is far less "right wing" today than it ever has been which makes accusations that it has been hijacked by conservatives almost laughable. The views of today's "conservative Christians" would be the views of the bleeding heart leftist Christians just a few decades ago.

 If you want to discuss a religion that has been hijacked by conservatives let's talk about Islam.

Christianity is based on the word of God, as given to us in the Bible.  It's a defining characteristic of being a Christian - you follow the words of Christ, which are in the Bible.  Christ extensively quotes the Old Testament, the prophets and law all point to Christ, it's all in the Bible.  Therefore it would be absurd to want to be a 'Christian' and yet not believe in the Bible and want to live the way the Bible and Christ teaches.  If you are such a Christian, what defines your religion?  Certainly not Christ - he pointed to the Bible, including the OT law and prophets, in everything he taught. 

So if that's a given, it follows that all the 'conservative' things that Christians believe should be tested against the Scriptures.  Likewise for the 'liberal' things.  When you do that, as Rip said, it's far more likely that today's church has been hijacked by liberals, not the other way around.  Abortion wasn't something people would have ever considered prior to the sexual revolution, so of course the church 100 years ago didn't have a formal position on it.  Today (aka the last 50 years or so) we need to, so the church looks at what the scriptures say and decides it's position.  The church has always however talked about the sin of homosexuality, the roles of men and women, the relationship between science and faith, and our utter dependence on Christ as our only salvation.  It's a fallacy to say these are things that conservatives have added to the agenda.  As our western culture has changed, the church has come under fire for different things that no longer jive with the popular culture, and parts of it have splintered off to appease the more liberal mindset.  This has happened throughout history, and I'm sure will continue for the rest of history.

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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2014, 11:56:58 PM »

Historically, the Christian religion has been defined by the great traditional Creeds, most importantly the Nicene Creed. The books of the New Testament were selected in part because of their adherence to the Creeds. What is a Christian? It is someone who can profess this:

WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.
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« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2014, 08:13:47 PM »

Completely agree, but I don't see a conflict with what I wrote in my other post, if that's meant to be the implication.  The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Anathasian Creed are foundational, and spell out the most basic beliefs of the church.  Most churches post Reformation also use one of the Heidelberg or Westminster confessions as well, and often the Canons of Dort.  All of these are attempts to define doctrine as it's taught in the scriptures, and refute errors or heresies that have arisen and caused splintering or confusion within the church over the centuries.  But in the same ancient tradition, they are of course summaries of what the Bible and Christ teach.  None of them are meant as a replacement for God given scripture.  To suggest that the creeds are more important than the Bible would be backwards.  In fact, the clause 'He has spoken through the prophets' in the Nicene creed emphasizes that God speaks to us through his word.  2 Timothy 3:16 - "All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness." 
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kronovan
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« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2014, 08:38:39 PM »

Nice try Fireball, you quoted the Creed as defined by the First Council of Constantinople of 381 not the Nicene. It's worth noting the difference between the 2 in regards to the reference to Catholicism. Here's what's actually stated at the end of the Nicene Creed of 325:

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"But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'—they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church."

In other words, here forth adhere to Catholicism's definition of the Holy Trinity or pay the price - persecution or worse.  Wow talk about a thread crap, you make a statement about who is and isn't Christian in a roundabout way, then drop in something as irrelevant as the Constantinople Creed verbatim and go on to falsely claim it's the Nicene. If your goal is to to sell Catholicism, a little bit more honesty and relevance might help.
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« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2014, 06:01:54 PM »

I'm not Catholic. What I posted is directly from the Book of Common Prayer. You may not consider it the Nicene Creed, but that is how that Creed is referred to.

The Creed defines the faith. Christianity is a creedal religion, not a book religion. The New Testament hadn't even been codified at the time the two Councils, Constantinople and Nicea, authored this Creed. It is the historic profession of the Christian faith.

You have to draw a line somewhere about what separates orthodox Christianity from religions that are closely related to, but distinct from, historic Christianity. I feel the creed draws that line appropriately. 
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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2014, 11:52:29 AM »

I am a positive person - I am grateful for my life, both for successes and challenges.
I am open to the world, and push positive energy out which reflects and comes back to me. I have faith that these good things will happen (without evidence to prove they will).

God, the universe, the life force, whatever you call it, it reacts to the frequency of your life - the higher the frequency, the better it is.

My faith requires no history lessons, or the indoctrination of my children. Just as both plants and animals which are loved and fed as they grow, feeling and living and loving, the moment we live in is the solely the present.  since we have no tardis to examine the events or motivations of those who've crafted the faiths we hold so dear, I've release myself of the baggage and bondage to the words and ideas of the past.

I have faith that this is the right thing to do.

(my 2c)

« Last Edit: October 27, 2014, 11:55:30 AM by Purge » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2014, 11:59:38 AM »

Quote from: Purge on October 27, 2014, 11:52:29 AM

I am a positive person - I am grateful for my life, both for successes and challenges.
I am open to the world, and push positive energy out which reflects and comes back to me. I have faith that these good things will happen (without evidence to prove they will).

God, the universe, the life force, whatever you call it, it reacts to the frequency of your life - the higher the frequency, the better it is.

My faith requires no history lessons, or the indoctrination of my children. Just as both plants and animals which are loved and fed as they grow, feeling and living and loving, the moment we live in is the solely the present.  since we have no tardis to examine the events or motivations of those who've crafted the faiths we hold so dear, I've release myself of the baggage and bondage to the words and ideas of the past.

I have faith that this is the right thing to do.

(my 2c)


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« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2014, 02:34:53 PM »

I said this a while back on these forums when a similar discussion was started, but I think it bears repeating:

I will worship anything you put in front of me.  I like hedging my bets.
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