Deep, Esoteric Theological Debate

[waves at @tomchick]

True, and that argument should have force for Luther given his doctrine of sola scriptura. Catholicism doesn’t have to treat all words in the Bible the same way, but interprets them in light of tradition. The notion that communion involves the real presence of Jesus started very early in Christian worship, could reasonably have come from the apostles, is bolstered by the later Gospel of John (“unless you eat my body and drink my blood”) and by Paul, and was passed on through many centuries until the Reformation.

(Tagging @legowarrior in case he has anything to add/refute)

I know it’s my weird upbringing, but I have never been able to separate the tradition of communion from the Martian practice of eating and grokking the dead that I read about in Stranger in a Strange Land as a young child.

Sacrilegious Ackbar:

It’s a snack!

Which is at least more honest than the philosophy of inerrant biblical literalism of mainstream evangelical thought, which conveniently ignores the numerous factual flaws that would arise from such a strict interpretation. Because otherwise you reach a flat earth supported at 4 literal corners, which the sun travels around. Among other things.

Besides the Trumpism of white evangelicism clearly missed the Paulian formulation of following the Abrahamic laws. Mainly that strict adherence to a list of do and do not was flawed and fallible, and that relational and compassionate understanding of others was far more important. Serving shellfish to someone following the Jewish law was bad because it showed lack of consideration. But inversely if a non Jewish person was hosting and offered you shellfish and declining would cause offense? Then take the shellfish because to insult them by rejecting hospitality was bad.

White evangelicals really miss the point on that one.

Arguably no denomination in Christianity has ever figured out really what to do with the Old Testament, because even today there’s more or less a never ending disagreement as to what the OT means to Christians.

I guess I have always seen God as embodiment of Love. So, if the bible needs to be interpreted (and considering how translation and time impact meaning, it sure does), it should always start from the stand point of what would a Loving God want.

Also, it helps to look at the Christian Right, and their interpretation, and say “not that”

Arguably seeing God as Love - which is adjacent to seeing God as Omniscient and Omnipotent - is basically contradictory and, one would argue, not actually biblical. #appletoss

Basically correct approaching 100% of the time.

I mean, then you have to figure Free Will and all that.

Basically the problems of Free Will and Evil go away once you cede at least one of the three between Love, Omnipotence or Omniscience.

If you try to keep them, well, you’re going to be writing some long books / posts!

I think that disagreement is actually much MORE pronounced in contemporary times than in the past, thanks to fundamentalism. (Until you get back to that heresy that rejected the OT entirely… which Google tells me is Marcionism, around 200AD.)

A lot of the Church Father era heresies were actually rooted in a deeper understanding of the contradictions in scripture than most modern readers understand. Gnosticism for ex. saw Christianity primarily through the dualist lens of Jesus casting out spirits and being tempted, Arianism saw the contradictions of Jesus calling out to God as father, ect. Donatism is maybe the most annoying heresy of all time where the “bad” guys are the most sympathetic - basically the people that were martyred were “wrong” and the people who betrayed and saved themselves were “right”.

I guess it depends on the value of life vs the after life.

I mean, school sucks for my kids, but I think they’ll be better for it when they are done. Does that mean I don’t love them? I could take them out of school and let them play outside and watch TV and do all sorts of things. But I make them go to school. I get them to do their home work.

Now, I’m not omnipotent, nor omniscient. All I know is that I love my children without condition, and even knowing that, I still make them do things that aren’t fun. They still do things that might hurt (they where not happy when they went to the dentist, and they will not be happy when they finally are able to get vaccinated).

For all we know, life is just preparation for a better Afterlife.

Or its not.

In either case, we live in the world we live, and I still admire the teachings of Jesus Christ, and will continue to follow his teachings.

Oh, i wasn’t trying to argue your faith with you! Just that these philosophical issues are interesting abstractly.

My deeper point is that actually a lot of these issues like “omniscience” aren’t actually necessarily as biblical as people assume, but were philosophical “conclusions” that theologians eventually accepted in theological and philosophical debates which still happen today. You basically don’t see any theologians today arguing against omniscience or omnipotence.

I’m sure this thread will be a ton of fun! :) And for the record, although I have a ton of respect for religion, theology was never my bag. Theology is basically the more erudite and culturally entrenched version of people arguing about who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman.

But, hey, here’s my contribution to the thread! I just discovered one of my favorite recent movies about religion:

Hollywood makes movies about religion like Saint Maud, which honestly isn’t about religion at all even though it features a putatively religious character. But for movies about the actual role of religion in people’s lives, about actual religious principles and experiences and struggles, it takes movies like Corpus Christi from Poland, Cavalry from Ireland, or Leviathan from Russia. Those are the movies by filmmakers who have something meaningful to say about religion, all of them from places where religion means a lot more than going to church on Easter and Christmas.


Nah, I’m cool with questioning. Faith should not be so brittle as to attack people with legitimate questions. Faith should be robust, but also open. It shouldn’t be a wall, but maybe a comfy blanket, that can change with time, as we grow and gain new insights.

In any case, I’ve always been more convinced by the example of what Jesus did and wanted his followers to do, rather then the more ‘show biz’ side of Christianity.

Even if there is no God, I’m happy with the path I’ve taken in life and the ideals I cherish.

I’m going to have to challenge this statement, because I don’t think I agree.

Simply put the USA has one of the highest rates of religious engagement (as based on regular attendance and self reported importance) of any nation outside of Africa. In fact it is right in line with what we see from Latin America, and far higher than almost any European country. Poland, based on stats I’ve seen, is right in line with the USA at ~41% attending weekly. African nations tend to be double that, FWIW, while most Latin America countries are in the 40-60% range. Poland is the sole European country that is even close to that.

There is certainly a historical legacy there, but on the day to day level, and within the public spheres, religion is a far less all encompassing element today.

Wait a minute, what do they teach at Harvard Divinity School?

This is the one of the biggest problems with Christian ethics: the idea of retributive justice pushed out to a nebulous afterlife, that has its roots in Hebrew anguish over endless decades in Babylonian captivity. (The other biggest problem is body/soul dualism.) The problem is this: if it will all be made good in the afterlife, then what’s the point of trying to solve problems now? The poor will be given the Kingdom of Heaven, so why try to make their plight better now? The Taken to an extreme, you get Jonestown.

Pfffft. The OT is super useful to christians. They can use it to cherry pick out sections to justify whatever socially regressive norms they are trying to reinforce.