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Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

I'm a Christian, but not quite sure what denominational label to slap on myself at the moment. Due to a recent cross-country move and subsequent pandemic, I'm not actually a member of a church at the moment. I would like to change this, but it'll have to wait a few months. Generally you would not go far wrong if you pigeonholed me somewhere in the traditional Baptist/nondenominational Protestant camp. Over the last few years I have grown alarmingly Orthodox-curious, but given my geography this is not something I've really been able to explore seriously.

I always read the thread, but I only post from time to time. Because I'm right-wing politically and a firebreathing lower-case-o orthodox Christian (or whatever the tweedy academic/INTP version of "firebreathing" is), it's hard for me to say anything of substance about religion or politics without being very much contrary to the SA zeitgeist. Still, this is a good thread. It's full of good people, and I hope it stays an island of affable calm on these forums.

But if you really want to know what the other side thinks, I'm around.

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Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Hiro Protagonist posted:

Has anyone else had an experience where a deeper exploration of Christianity or Christian History challenged their beliefs?

Yes, to an extent. I was raised creationist, literalist, inerrant-ist, premillenial dispensationist, and so on. But I was also a very scientifically literate kid, and by the time college rolled around it became pretty clear that in fact the universe was old, life evolved, the archaeological record doesn't map well to things like the Exodus, and other issues. Since the typical authors in that particular Christian milieu tended to have a very binary "you have to choose our worldview or you might as well be an atheist" outlook, that was hard for me.

As I broadened my horizons though, I learned that Christianity was not new to these problems. Some of the theological issues like the age of the universe were thought about and discussed a thousand years before modern cosmology. In fact many of these seeming problems were artifacts of the particularly unusual strain of American Protestantism that I was raised in. Christianity can and should and often does have a symbiotic relationship with science.

All that said, I am if anything much more orthodox in a historical sense now than before. There are things that I strongly disagree with purely secular scholars about, and no doubt they will come up in this thread from time to time.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

ThePopeOfFun posted:

I would like to read about this! What's your source(s) you're referring to?

In general if you asked the church fathers how old the earth was, they'd have probably shrugged and given you a young figure based on the geneaologies in the bible. From their writings, they would not have been particularly dogmatic about it. Often the issue was more "did creation take six literal days, or was it instantaneous?" With no science to speak of and the salvation of souls not depending on the answer, it wasn't something they worried about much. What they did care about was that the world was created, and cutely enough this caused some science/church friction when it was discovered that the universe did in fact began to exist (as the church had maintained) as opposed to the universe always existing as was the general secular scientific opinion before the big bang theory was originated (by a Catholic priest!) But certainly ancient Christian figures like Origen and Augustine of Hippo noticed many things like the Genesis account discussing days, evenings, and mornings before the creation of the sun and concluding that the account was deeper than a dry recounting of events.

Here's a long quote from Augustine of Hippo, in a work called "On the Literal Meaning of Genesis". I don't claim that he taught an old earth (he didn't), but that he was more than willing to be open to deeper meanings in the text.

Augustine of Hippo posted:

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

White Coke posted:

I'd also like to hear more conservative peoples' opinions on matters of theology out of curiosities sake, but I know that for some people there are opinions that given even a chance to be heard are very hurtful and alienating so I don't know how free ranging such discussions could be.

Fundamental disagreements about the deepest parts of the human experience are likely to be hurtful and alienating from time to time. This thread has been able to handle those disagreements in a pretty genial live-and-let-live way. Why not continue? If it's too intense for some, there's always every other thread on the forums.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

GreyjoyBastard posted:

Shiva calls his minions together. "Alright, folks. This is a vital, top secret, and extremely urgent mission. I want you guys to go find the head of a living creature and bring it back to me. PROMPTLY." The first of his minions to return has an elephant head in hand and he rapidly attaches it to the body of the son he inadvertently decapitated, as his wife emerges from her bath. "See? Good as new!"

Shoudn't it be the body of a living creature?

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Depending on just how hardcore the Calvinist is, it's not so much "God knows who will be saved" as "God affirmatively wills that Bob Smith will be saved. Bob has no choice in the matter." Double predestination is similar, except replace "saved" with "damned".

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Nessus posted:

The predestination stuff got me thinking in the shower, so here's a question in general: Can God change the past?

William Lane Craig has written on the philosophy and theology of relativity. I haven't read it and have no idea if it's any good. One of these days I'll have to fix that. Certainly it's interesting that God seems to have made a universe where simultaneity is not a fixed property of events.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Liquid Communism posted:

An omnipotent and omniscient creator can foresee the results of his creation without needing to actually bring it into existence, and as he sets the parameters of existence has no constraint to create imperfectly unless he desires to do so.

This doesn't strike me as at all obvious. Men are created in his image, with what amounts to some of his power. I'm not sure why it should be logically feasible to create a universe with no possibility of evil and still have anything resembling persons with moral agency, creative ability, and an ability to relate to him. Not to be too Panglossian, but a human understanding of "omnibenevolent" that excludes all evil from first principles might well require deleting universe.exe shortly after the bang.

From a very explicitly Christian perspective of course, he clearly cared enough about the project to show up in person and promptly get tortured to death in order to give the rest of us life.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

CarpenterWalrus posted:

In the last office job I worked at, I was pulled into HR to discuss my pentagram ring and my response was, "what religions are employees allowed to have here?" The official company response was that religious iconography was banned from the office, but was never enforced, and no one ever bothered me about it again.

It's worth being aware that such a ban is illegal in most circumstances.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Reading the statement, I don't think it absolutely prohibits the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It strongly advises that you should get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines instead if at all possible. That's pretty much my plan, given that I have the relative luxury of being both low-risk and able to live a lifestyle that presents very little risk of transmission to others.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Well, she gets credit for originality.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

White Coke posted:

But if the planet, and also the universe, is demonstrably the same age that a particular religion says it is, why would that not prove their account is correct?

I mentioned this a while back, but this has been an live philosophical and theological issue. The question was not the specific age, but whether it had a finite age or was eternal? To a lot of secular Hoyle-era astronomers, the big bang was alarmingly Abrahamic and the theory took a lot of flak for just that reason.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Civilized Fishbot posted:

You're misunderstanding BattyKiara's post. Most literal-minded Christians believe that all living humans are descended from Adam and Eve, and you assume this woman believed that as well. But she didn't; she believed that most of humanity evolved naturally, and then 6000 years ago Adam and Eve were placed on the Earth to join the rest of humankind. But Adam and Eve were REAL JEWS and their patrilineal descendants are REAL JEWS while everyone else is just an ordinary dumb human.

Even so, there's a mathematical phenomenon in ancestry where if you take any person in the remote enough past, it turns out that if they have any living descendants in the present day, all people in the present day are descended from them.

Restricting it to patrilineal descent complicates things, but in this "Adam gets airdropped into the ancient near east 6000 years ago" scenario, it's plausible that he would already be a direct patrilinear ancestor of many, many men. 6000 years is not long enough for it to be everybody, but it would be a gigantic number of people, and certainly not identifiable with a specific ethnic group. In the real world, all men prior to about a quarter million years ago are either direct patrilinear ancestors of everyone on the planet, or have no living descendants.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Civilized Fishbot posted:

This is not true. You are vastly underestimating how much "restricting it to patrilineal descent complicates things." And it's not really that it complicates things, but that it so much limits the chain of descent that one's descendants can't grow exponentially.

Thanks for the correction, yes, I was mistaken. I was working off what I knew about most recent common ancestors and hadn't properly thought through the changes that result from restricting to the patrilineal (or matrilinear) line.

In that case, as I now understand it, any given male's direct male line can last a long time but will inevitably go extinct as various sub-lines are extinguished when a male descendant has only daughters. My father's father's father's... father line, traced far enough, will eventually hit Y-chromosomal Adam (name coincidental and unrelated to present discussion). So will the line of every other living male, and beyond that point all our ancestral paternal lines will be identical. Other men alive at that time may have plenty of modern descendants, (in fact, all living humans), but none with a direct male line leading back to them. Is that about right?

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

I have a soft spot for some of these folks. I spent most of college attending an Assemblies of God student group. So this is not coming from a place of scoffing.

Whatever speaking in tongues is, it's not a language. At least not in the sense of consistent vocabulary and syntax. Ecstatic utterances as a legitimate form of worship, sure. An interpretable language, no.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Her thread sounds about right: the deep end of Calvinism asserts a lot of things that might charitably be described as counterintuitive. That said, it's also true that Calvinism's fatalism doesn't in my experience lend itself to going out and fixing the world, whether by good works or going out and murdering sinners. It's very passive - God does the electing, not them.

This sentence in particular in the article she links misunderstands things in the typical "gorillas in the mist" vein of reporting on Christians, and it's probably part of what she noticed:

quote:

Experts this week have said the mentality Bayless described is common within evangelical “purity culture,” which teaches that sexual desire outside of marriage is sinful and those who fail to control their lust are sometimes considered “sex addicts.”

Ah, "experts". I have never heard anyone, from the mainstream to the most insular Duggar-esque purity ball types, call sexual desire outside of marriage sinful as such. Sexual activity, sure. Overly dwelling on sexual thoughts, ok. Being a person who wants to bone? That's not sin. That's how you get married in the first place. I have also never heard "sex addiction" used unironically in the purity culture context. That would be viewed as a implausible or even contemptible attempt to shift blame away from a person who is guilty by their own free choice. Whether this is healthy or not I leave to the reader, but "sex addict" is definitely a concept that evangelicals would explicitly reject.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Spacegrass posted:

I read the Koran, even though I'm Christian. In a lot of that book they use the word "We", often. Like: "We created man, from sperm". Sometimes I think it may be Aliens that wrote some of this book. Thoughts all?

The bible does that too on occasion ("Let us create man in our image..."). There's a number of schools of thought, basically all linguistic in nature, depending on one's beliefs:

1. The linguistic "royal we".
2. A linguistic anticipation of the Trinity.
3. A linguistic holdover from an earlier polytheism.

e: at least I was the first with #2!

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

I haven't seen this case made much, but you could (and I probably would) argue that in Christianity angels and demons fit many reasonable definitions of lowercase-g gods.

Now, the argument that the trinity is polytheistic and/or that Mary is a god are clearly heretical. I'll admit that the whole Mary business in Catholicism creeps me out as a cradle Baptist, but I'll happily admit it's not worship.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Bilirubin posted:

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it, belated Passover greetings to those who celebrate that. The Baptist church across the street kicked off their weekly (recorded) bell concert for the neighbourhood with Blessed Redeemer. Its scary how quickly these hymns come back to me despite rarely entering a church since I was like 17.

Oh, I love that one. I think "Low in the Grave He Lay" is probably the definitive classic Baptist Easter hymn, and I love it too:


quote:

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord!

Refrain:
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

White Coke posted:

How much human sacrifice were pagans doing before their holidays were co-opted? Accusing your enemies of human sacrifice predates Christianity, but to say that it never happened seems like an over correction.

I suppose it depends on which pagans you're talking about. Certainly it was present in the New World when the Catholics landed, if you want an example with surviving contemporary documentation.

Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

Lutha Mahtin posted:

nope nope nope nope nope. we're gonna stop this right now. forums user thirteen orphans does not speak for all of christianity

You're quite right. In orthodox Christianity it's neither normative nor valid.

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Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

NikkolasKing posted:

Still, even Catholics soon relented and pushed for translations of The Bible into local languages. I remember reading about this when I got interested in Pascal last month.

In the Syllabus of Errors (1864, so not precisely ancient), Pius IX condemns

quote:

IV. SOCIALISM, COMMUNISM, SECRET SOCIETIES, BIBLICAL SOCIETIES, CLERICO-LIBERAL SOCIETIES

Pests of this kind are frequently reprobated in the severest terms in the Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846, Allocution "Quibus quantisque," April 20, 1849, Encyclical "Noscitis et nobiscum," Dec. 8, 1849, Allocution "Singulari quadam," Dec. 9, 1854, Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863.

What's up with the condemnation of bible societies? That stuck out to me when I first saw it, although particularly in 1864 it's fascinating to see this list lumped together as "pests of this kind".

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