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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Matthew Shepard

The “but”? How is a cathedral a suitable resting place? The Bible says Gay men SHOULD be killed. His parents feared desecration. Surely this is the worst kind, interring him in a place that represents the very core of hatred of Gay people.

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 11:17am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The hypocrisy of it all!
If not for "God's" writings a lot of hate for many groups may have never existed.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 11:26am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

No, it was and always will have been still a horrible and sad ending, the tip of an iceberg we can never know I suspect. :^(

“God can take something very, very bad and make something good come out of it,” Bishop Robinson said.

“It is a noteworthy place to be at rest," Mr. Shepard’s friend Jason Marsden said.

Strange magical thinking. I understand it not. Like the bit where millions of people throughout history just decide to sin by being gay I guess. Y'know, just to irritate those straight people of 'faith' who never have to deal with or think about any of that stuff outside their self-absorbed center of the universe-ism in any depth. But it does seem to say Shepard liked the church. Next they will find the ashes of some 'witches' burned by the church people to intern and make it all good/great 'again' like it used to be... :^(
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

"If not for "God's" writings a lot of hate for many groups may have never existed."

That's simplistic too though, I think before there were organized religions people still committed evil and stupid acts against foreigners or the different... blaming God or a devil is all the same kind of magical thinking, don't let them off on that, please. The evil comes first and the act is justified with God or something else after the fact.

Communist countries outlawed religions and there were higher death tolls than ever! It's from inside not from outside books or voices... I can read Mein Kampf or watch the Texas Chainsaw massacre and like a majority of people not go out and presecute/blame some group for everything in 'my' world being imperfect, nor cut skins off of others and wear them.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"That's simplistic too though,..."

...

Yeah, I knew it the second I wrote it, but hypocrisy puts me in the state of blurting things out. And I did say "may".


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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I wouldn't call it simplistic. The Bible is page upon page of hate speech.

Currently I am reading DRUNK WITH BLOOD, by Steve Wells. It documents God's killings in the Bible, all 25,000,000 of them. People -- men women and children, even babies -- slaughtered for "wrong thinking". Yet how can they even have these "wrong" thoughts, except by using the brain God gave them?

Several years ago I met a Gay couple, one of whom was a minister. I asked him, as politely as I could, how he could not only belong to, but actually represent a "club" that wanted him and his husband killed. He said he believed God had made him what he was.

I honestly had no answer for that. It's the "God did it" argument that beats all others, including arguments based on the teachings of their own faith!

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 1:48pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion recounts a study by Israeli psychologist George Tamarin in which 1000+ Israeli schoolchildren , between the ages of 8 and 14, were presented with a passage from the Book of Joshua about the destruction of Jericho and how they 'utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old' and then asked 'Do you think Joshua and the Israelites acted rightly or not?', with a choice of (a) total approval (b) partial approval and (c) total disaproval. 66% indicated total approval.

A different group (of 168 Israeli children) were then given the same text but with Joshua's name replaced with 'General Lin' and Israel changed to 'a Chinese kingdom 3000 years ago.' With this group, 75% disapproved.


Edited by Peter Martin on 11 October 2018 at 1:49pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 4:54pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

'God did it' wouldn't stand up in a court of law, at least not a sane one. Plus there's the question of which god. There seem to be a few different ones involved in the collection of writings called The Bible.

I'm sceptical about a God inspiring someone to commit violent acts all that much, like if there was no writings or 'teachings' the violence would never have occurred to them or happened, not going to say never, but they sure do justify their hateful and violent acts with 'him' skipping the 'thou shalt not kill' bit which should figure pretty large... from supposed Christians lynching minorities to an African tribe where they kill albinos for good luck and abundant crops according to a spiritual leader's 'wisdom' (ancient Celts appear to have buried parts of men for protection way back, and Aztecs fed blood and fresh hearts to stone 'Gods').

The thing is it's 'faith' based, not logical, it's your basic magical thinking or even confidence trick writ large (there will be pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by if you obey, don't think). Where people credit a 'faith' with getting off substances or striving to reform (repent) from past negative ways that would be the good side, or to do seemingly altruistic acts of charity (though they get pie later). Even if you want to throw it all out it's not going to happen, can't be erased, and may be something inherent to a large percentage of human beings. Good as well as bad behaviour have been justified and inspired by spiritual beliefs, but dogma and absolutism are always negative. Besides the destruction of Sodom "The scent of burning oxen flesh is pleasing to the Lord" is in the Bible too, so that kind of sums it up as a source for anything very practical. Sodom was like Jericho a real place that suffered calamity and then some very human person made use of it to justify their prejudices with a Kiplingesque 'just so' story. Why did the crop fail this year? Because Baal is a false god, because Chitlokulichan craves blood, because the Pharoah failed to receiver proper obedience, because Matthew Shepard sinned.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 5:11pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I wouldn't call it simplistic. The Bible is page upon page of hate speech.
________________

You don't think that the New Testament and Jesus' emphasis on "Love your enemies," "Turn the other cheek," and "Do not judge others" for the last 2,000 years somewhat mitigate the Old Testament's harsher dictates--rules given to a fairly primitive people in a violent time and place?

I would point out that the last billion people who have read the Bible read it AFTER the Old Testament was closed and Jesus redirected God's followers (who were listening) to self-sacrificial love and peace.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 5:52pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Unless you think we are currently living in the Kingdom of Heaven, that Old/New argument doesn’t wash. Jesus said he came to change nothing, that not one jot, not one tittle of the Law (the OT) would change before Kingdom Come.

Or you can accept Jesus as a false prophet. That works, too.

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Jesus also said that He came to FULFILL the Law (fulfilling the punishment for mankind's sins by taking the death sentence for same Himself on the Cross) and the "Kingdom of Heaven is upon you" (or "in your midst"), meaning wherever the King (Jesus) rules (like in the hearts of believers; you've heard "Jesus is in my heart"), there is the Kingdom.

Edited by Eric Jansen on 11 October 2018 at 9:51pm
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 11 October 2018 at 9:57pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

You don't think that the New Testament and Jesus' emphasis on "Love your enemies," "Turn the other cheek," and "Do not judge others"
----------------------------------------------------
"Love your neighbor as yourself" comes from the book of Leviticus, just a stone's throw (pun somewhat intended) from the regulations on human sexuality that began this thread.

Not interested in having an argument here, but I feel like once in awhile somebody needs to stick up for the God whom the Jews still worship.  Its not just that the New Testament maintained the 'bad stuff' from the Old.  The 'good stuff' from the New Testament actually comes from the Old.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 12:02am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

"Love your neighbor as yourself" comes from the book of Leviticus, just a stone's throw (pun somewhat intended) from the regulations on human sexuality that began this thread.

——

Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Arguably, “neighbor” in this context means “your people” and is a statement of nationalism. The Israelites need to stick together.

This was the question posed to Jesus of “Who is your neighbor?” when he told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and he’s the one who transformed it into a statement of universal love. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 5:56am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Jesus also said that He came to FULFILL the Law (fulfilling the punishment for mankind's sins by taking the death sentence for same Himself on the Cross) and the "Kingdom of Heaven is upon you" (or "in your midst"), meaning wherever the King (Jesus) rules (like in the hearts of believers; you've heard "Jesus is in my heart"), there is the Kingdom.

••

That's not an interpretation that would have made much sense to the people Jesus was (allegedly) talking to. They'd been taught to expect a LITERAL MANIFESTATION of the Kingdom of Heaven, right here on Earth.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:03am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Meanwhile, there's that vexing pronouncement from Jesus in Luke 14...

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Believers have tied themselves in all kinds of knots, trying to make it say something other than what it says. Take the word of God.Jesus literally -- except when you don't!

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 6:58am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

That's not an interpretation that would have made much sense to the people Jesus was (allegedly) talking to. They'd been taught to expect a LITERAL MANIFESTATION of the Kingdom of Heaven, right here on Earth.
______________

Well...YEAH!  That's why they crucified Him!  They were expecting a warrior/conqueror to deliver them from Roman rule, not a manifestation of peace and love!  (Of course, that's only because the teachers of the Law at the time took things out of context and ignored all the prophecies of God's "Suffering Servant," who indeed would show God's love.)
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:07am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Meanwhile, there's that vexing pronouncement from Jesus in Luke 14...

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Believers have tied themselves in all kinds of knots, trying to make it say something other than what it says. Take the word of God.Jesus literally -- except when you don't!
______________________________

Well, no.  We just don't take things out of context.  If Jesus talks about love over and over and then says ONE thing about "hate," the reasonable student would think "Hmm...there's probably a deeper meaning here."  Or not even that deep--common sense would lead anybody reading that passage to realize that it's by COMPARISON, we should "hate" anyone or anything that is not God our Creator, who deserves our complete and total love (worship).  But if one needs to go deeper, the word used there is "miseo" which means "regard less than" (not the malicious version of "hate" a modern English reader first thinks of).

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:49am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

If Jesus talks about love over and over and then says ONE thing about "hate," the reasonable student would think "Hmm...there's probably a deeper meaning here."

••

Like I said -- take it literally, except when you don't.

A decidedly fuzzy system, given that the eternal salvation of people's SOULS is in the balance.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Of course, that's only because the teachers of the Law at the time took things out of context and ignored all the prophecies of God's "Suffering Servant," who indeed would show God's love.

••

Except the "suffering servant" in the ORIGINAL CONTEXT is the Nation of Israel itself*. In no way did the ancient Hebrews interpret it as a reference to the/a Messiah. (By the time Jesus showed up, most had given up on the Messiah story completely. Like so many OT "prophecies" it had shown no signs of coming true.)

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* That's the Jewish interpretation, and, hey! It's THEIR STORY, right?

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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

In no way did the ancient Hebrews interpret it as a reference to the/a Messiah.
_______________

You're throwing a lot of people under the same umbrella.  In the Gospels, we clearly see different factions all with their own set of beliefs--the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots, and the followers of John the Baptist, and there are also mentioned others claiming to be the Messiah, and they had followers.  One of the beliefs of the Pharisees (and Jesus had plenty of problems with them) was that God was sending a Messiah to rule the world from Israel.  So, obviously, you can't say that there was one interpretation of the Suffering Servant idea or that the people had given up on their Messiah.  And even if the "Israel as Suffering Servant" idea was prevalent, that doesn't make it right.  A cursory reading of ISAIAH 53, the main Suffering Servant text, would seem to lean towards it being a single person--a prophet, king, or judge.  With its history of falling away and isolating, it's hard to believe that Israel as a whole would see itself in many of these verses:

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’swill to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.


(And, of course, there are at least fifteen prophetic references here that Jesus ended up fulfilling, 700 years later.)

 



Edited by Eric Jansen on 12 October 2018 at 9:01am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:02am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

It certainly is lucky you Christians came alonge to show the Jews they were getting their own mythology wrong.

Well, not lucky for THEM, of course.

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I don't know. All I'm certain of is that I'm becoming less and less inclined to believe as I grow older, because too much of the Bible is savage, cruel, contradictory, and packed with nonsense that supports the status quo (whatever it might be) over the downtrodden.

Edited by Andrew Bitner on 12 October 2018 at 9:30am
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I think that there is *something* out there but I also believe that human religion has nothing at all to do with it, much less offering any way of understanding what it might be.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 9:51am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

The truly mind boggling thing in all of this is that there doesn’t need to be “something out there.” The whole Universe could literally have sprung into being from nothing. In fact, it really didn’t have any other options!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 October 2018 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Mr Byrne, what if the universe is akin to Eternity from Marvel Comics? ;-)
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