Social Degradation and Religious Decay (Split from "Life on Europa")

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AuthorTopic: Social Degradation and Religious Decay (Split from "Life on Europa")
? Man, ? Amazing
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Prophecy is a strong line of evidence, logic, honesty of the penmen, harmony of 40 different penmen over 1600 years, and practical value even though ancient are some other proofs that convinced me personally in the biblical message.

I believe Alorael is pointing out a 400% increase in anecdotal evidence available to Hindus compared to Christians. Which does that make more right?

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by Drew:

Almost every major world religion is just about as old as Christianity, and has had its own prophesies that they claim have been fulfilled
I didn’t know this. Can you give me a couple you kn ow of? Exclude Hebraic prophecies because I of course accept those.

Again, your ignorance is shocking. Just check the usual source for prophecy and you'll find such statements as, "Cultures in which prophecy played an important role include the Persians, Assyrians, Celts, Chaldeans, Chinese, Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Indians, indigenous North Americans, Mayans, Tibetans, and many in the Christian and Muslim traditions, among others."

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Kelandon, I'm shocked that you continue to be shocked by the depths of my ignorance at this point. I know practically nothing about everything.

I knew that some traditions had prophecy but I didn't know it was as important in "almost every major world religion" as it is in Hebrew/Christian faith. The page you listed doesn't have any specific prophecies. I thought Drew might enlighten me. Or maybe we can call on your expertise as you know something about everything. Can you give me a prophecy or two that we can check historically to see the fulfillment?
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I am not a religious scholar, but then, neither are you. Herodotus mentions Delphic prophecies that were fulfilled, and you can use Google just as easily as I can.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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I never claimed to be a religious scholar.

I found nothing by googling "delphi prophecy." I'll just wait on Drew, because he dismissed biblical prophecy based on the prophecy of other faiths so I know he must have done some investigation. I'd be curious to know what he came up with.

Which brings up an interesting quesion about his reasoning: The only reason I could think of to dismiss prophecy would be if it were false, postdicted, or self-fulfilled. Why would prophecy be dismissed because other people have it?
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It wouldn't necessarily, but it would at least cast doubt on the source of the prophesy if one comes from a deity claiming to be the only god, while other fulfilled prophesies claim to come from a completely different god or from one of a group of gods.

[ Friday, July 27, 2007 18:19: Message edited by: The Almighty Do-er of Stuff ]

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Which brings up an interesting quesion about his reasoning: The only reason I could think of to dismiss prophecy would be if it were false, postdicted, or self-fulfilled. Why would prophecy be dismissed because other people have it?
For one thing, it would suggest that perhaps it's easier to make a few lucky guesses than you would have us believe.

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Delphic prophesies were known for being deliberately obscure with multiple meanings so that later it could be shown that they were right but just misinterpreted by the person asking. Like "if you go to war you will destroy a great empire," where the war destroyed the empire of the king asking and not his opponent.

The Gordian knot was supposed to give a great empire to whoever could untie it. Alexander the Great used his sword to cut it and went on to create his empire.

I don't remember others off hand.
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quote:
Originally written by The Almighty Do-er of Stuff:

It wouldn't necessarily, but it would at least cast doubt on the source of the prophesy if one comes from a deity claiming to be the only god, while other fulfilled prophesies claim to come from a completely different god or from one of a group of gods.
The only God in the absolute sense, but not the only supernaural being. There are many of those. I guess what you'd have to figure out is was the prophecy actually given inadvance, how detailed was it, is a human capable of knowing that type of detail in advance, could a human have manipulated things so that the prophecy was fulfilled. At least that's what I would expect of someone who wanted to know the truth as opposed to simply disqualifying phenomena if they don't fit their world view.
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You make the argument, "Christianity has all sorts of fulfilled prophecies!" The response you get is, "Yeah, so does pretty much everything else. What makes Christianity's prophecies special?"

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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It is also entirely possible that facts were "massaged" after the fact to fit with prior important prophecies. For example, the whole tracing Jesus' linneage back to David thing. Or really, most of the birth story. But whatevs.
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I know practically nothing about everything.

Yes, and this is unfortunately becoming more and more aparrent as your post count increases.

The significance of prophesy in a religious and cultural sense is twofold.
First, at the time that it is given, it serves as a warning or encouragement to those for whom it is given. They are to plan accordingly.
Secondly, and more relevant to us, a fulfilled prophesy confirms the power of the prophet (or the god whom the prophet represents) to see the future, or influence events in the future.

The implications? Fulfilled prophesy on its own means nothing. I predicted most of the scenes of the final episode of this last season of Lost, in order, with what my friends determined to be 87% accuracy (I cannot confirm this number). This does not make me a god, this simply confirms that I'm good at reading details and understanding stories.
The significance in prophesy is the success rate. Anyone can make a prediction, but in theory, only a god can make fully accurate predictions.
Even more convincing is the distance into the future that the prophetic events are made, and the detail into which they are made.

So, Stillness, the challenge is not finding fulfilled prophesy. The challenge is finding prophesy that was not fulfilled, and comparing that to that which has been; and then comparing the depth and difficulty a prophet or deity would have in having that prophesy pulled off.

For example, I finished IMing my final predictions for the Lost show during the first ten minutes of the show. Not all that hard for me to be 87% correct, especially after watching the pre-show recap: the director let a lot of information slip. But 87% is not 100%, which is what YHWH claims to have, and with several months, years, centuries in advance... you find a single prophesy of God's that is clearly unfilfilled or diregarded, and you can throw them all out, because that destroys God's claims of omniscience, and if you can't trust that, you can't trust anything.

Then, Stillness, you go and ask our Google-happy friends to outright prove that one single prophesy was not fulfilled correctly. And wait to see what happens.

(Hint: you get a lot more done when you aren't on the defensive.)

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The Silent Assassin predicts that a guy named Suul will walk into my office in about two years, do the Hokey Pokey, spill a cup of watermelon juice on the floor, and then walk out without cleaning it up.
I'll consider believing it once he finds a guy named Suul.

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quote:
Originally written by Lenar:

Then, Stillness, you go and ask our Google-happy friends to outright prove that one single prophesy was not fulfilled correctly. And wait to see what happens.
That's kinda hard to do, since most prophecies tend not to come with time limits. Matthew 16:28 is a bit of an embarrassment, though, unless you believe in the Wandering Jew.

[ Saturday, July 28, 2007 15:13: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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So, I've been out of the loop intentionally for a week while I read Harry Potter, since at least one spoiler showed up in the first sentence of a post I saw at a quick glance on the Active Topics page, much to my irritation.

I see this topic shows no signs of slowing. Paron my tacking onto this post as I catch up on several pages of new material. These comments begin in response from around page 10.

Stillness, I can argue against the tradition of hell from either within Scripture or outside it. You're right, according to Scripture, hell is figuratively cast into a lake of fire and destroyed in Revelation, showing that the lake of fire is not the same thing as hell, and that what it does is destroy what hell is/does. To believe any of these things is literal, rather than metaphorical of experience and state of the soul I think is unfortunate at best. The common take the mystical and drag it down into the concrete where it becomes fearful and binding. So it has always been.

I would fully agree that America and western civilization in general is in a decline of sorts, and yet at the same time, we are shedding so much of the hangups and constrictures which we also need to let go of. You can run a police state and largely control behavior like Christianity attempted to with its moral terrorism, but this does not change a person from the inside out, or leave anyone free and happy. America in particular is clearly in a state of growing decadence that comes with the affluence and unfortunate spirit of individualism/selfishness that we have so strongly promoted. America is not likely to long be on top of the world much longer. That position will probably fall to China. As population and city density increases, along with better media coverage, we do get more shootings and violence than before, but not necessarily more per capita. It seems like more because there are many more of us than in the past.

But I can also see the detachment, disillusionment, and isolation that our new generations are suffering. We are doing lousy parenting in this country, because we pursue materialism over relationship and family as a whole. The Hispanics are much more family oriented in America than caucasians. They have more children and stay closer together. They will be the majority by mid-century as a result. Caucasian population in America and Europe is in net decline because we have so few children, being so busy indulging ourselves instead, and seeing children as a cramp on all our glories intentions for what we expect to get out of our lives.

So, I would wager we are more in agreement about the decline of the west at present than you might think. I don't attribute it to the failing of Christian dictatorship morally though. I see it as the inevitable messy period of anarchy as spiritually, we in our adolescence shed the childish bonds of the past and explore haphazardly until we find our true path in liberty and mature wisdom. The world may get messier for a time before we grow up another step, but like adolescence in real life, it's the only way to get there. It's a promise for better things to come instead of a failing. The childhood state of Christendom brought the stifling Dark Ages to Europe. The sooner we shed ancient superstitions and fear-mongering to get on with adult life, the better.

This is not to promote amorality. I believe in precisely what the Jesus guy appeared to be describing-the inner rule of love through spirit within the heart/soul, rather than externally by control through laws, religion, priesthood, ordinance. The degree to which Christianity was unable to embrace this true "liberty in Christ" that Paul raved about, and went on to fashion Judeo-Christianity with a lot of law and new law mixed back in, is the degree to which Christendom came to inflict the world as much as it blessed it. It has served its purpose, and the light is moving on, as I see it. The bathwater is very sullied. Time for some new water.

A lot of prophecy in the Bible speaks of ages to come in which fresh water (symbol of the Spirit) flows out into all corners of the earth. Astrologically, some speak of the Age of Aquarius beginning on the earth. If you want to see that as correlation, the earth shifts into a time of Aquarius, the pouring out of water upon the earth. I see this as a very messy, necessary time of transition for us, and therefore both scary and very hopeful. The typical Christian, as ever, sees doom and gloom and things just getting worse.

quote:
Originally written by Alorael.:

That raises another question, I think, although it's really one as old as religion. Why exactly should one endeavor to behave as God wishes? God is presumably the one everyone should want to please, but let's say you don't. What incentive do you have if there's no everlasting torment awaiting you?
Exactly! If God is a god of Love, then God should and wants to be served out of love for his lovely qualities, not out of fear or tyranny. Christendom made God into a tyrant of fear. I believe the God originally apprehended (and vice-versa) by someone like Paul, was true to this characterization. The best picture of God is a family, with family roles, I think. If God is our spiritual father, so to speak, then He has a positiion of authority and responsibility for us. Good fathers instill love and loyalty in their children not by brute control and fear and inducing pain, but by setting a living example of the wisdom of their words and instilling them actively. Loving your children includes wise, but not excessive discipline. Being a father means you would never give your children up for dead, and would always be willing to see their return to your good graces. It also means tough love where necessary. The absurd concept of hell flies in the face of what good fathers actually do. If I can be a better father than the traditional Christian God-Tyrant, then the theology got screwed up. It is useful to note that little children often see Daddy as a nonsensical spoiler of their fun and freedom. I find it amusing that the little children of Christianity are obsesses with their sense of their free will and all the choosing they do, when God is portrayed as a Father and Hound of Heaven who apprehends us and shepherds us.

There is a Scripture quoting Jesus foreshadowing his death on the cross where he said, "If I be lifted up (on the cross), then I will draw all men unto me." The word "draw" in Greek literally means "drag." It's a forceful word. Jesus was saying something spiritually compelling was coming, and he was always pointing to the "Father."

As I see it, God does not punish, but God exists purposefully as our father in some spiritual context, and He is deeply loving and intentional on behalf of all his spiritual children. These are metaphors. In reality, I don't know exactly what, how, or where God is, but we have the earthly reality to shed light on the qualities of it. God is a family, and as a Father with authority and the bonds of unending love and mercy and good will toward all His children, something very good is to come of all of this for all of us ultimately. So I perceive. So I believe. There is a lot at the heart of Christianity I love and embrace. But man, they screwed the religion up subsequently. Good daddies don't roast their children or obliterate them for their childish rebelliousness and foolishness. They patiently craft the means to help their children learn wisdom and outgrow it, and they model healthy, loving behavior and are a living witness of the results.

Love sells itself ultimately. You don't need laws, morals, rules, dictators, punishment, or hell, to have someone love their spiritual Father. You just have to get to know Him and your heart will sell itself willingly. Love is the strongest binding force in the universe which nothing can destroy. Fear and tyranny can, and inevitably, always are destroyed. Why Christians had to go and make a tyrant out of the Father just betrays their childish age more than anything else really. We'll grow up and see it and Him better.

-S-

[ Saturday, July 28, 2007 17:20: Message edited by: Synergy ]

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I'd just like to point out that Social Degradation and Religious Decay (Split from "Life on Europa") is not an accurate description of all life in this continent.
Now you may return to the debate.

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You pwn once again.

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1 Point For Thuryl.
My first inclination on that one is the 'coming of the kingdom' is the Ascension; but you're right, something doesn't quite sit right there.
I'll have to look into that.

quote:
Originally by Synergy:
The typical Christian, as ever, sees doom and gloom and things just getting worse.
Quoted for sad, ironic, and somehow delicious truth.
Best part is, said typical Christians don't do a thing to try to fix it.
Except for voting for the pro-life candidate, of course.

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What's the incentive to be Christian and perky? All the "good things" come when you die.
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Well, in regards to what happens after life... I have hope, you don't. Ha ha. :P

In regards to an incentive to be "perky"... the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life leads toward a change in the Christian's character, increasing the presence of virtues such as peace, joy, love, etc.
According to many of my pastor friends and theology teachers, this is supposed to come naturally. But it has nothing to do with perkiness.

Perky Christians are a social construct created by a generation of Personality Type-A youth pastors who rebelled against their dour, pious, boring parents.
Someone got it into their head somewhere that being perky and positive and encouraging and excited for God makes people like you , and that is the popular view held by most Christians today, and is continued through the unfortunate development of popular Christian media.

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The Silent Assassin gets violent when I'm not perky.
Suffice to say, there's a reason why I send him out of the house a lot.

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What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
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quote:
Originally written by Drew:

What's the incentive to be Christian and perky? All the "good things" come when you die.
The idea of a good afterlife was a medival church concept to make the peasants more obedient. Their reward for hard work and suffering in this life for the church and nobles would be a better afterlife. After all no one came back to contradict the church.
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By Thuryl:
quote:
That's kinda hard to do, since most prophecies tend not to come with time limits. Matthew 16:28 is a bit of an embarrassment, though, unless you believe in the Wandering Jew.
The most common explanation of Matthew 16:28 is that it refers to the Revelation to John. But, yeah, the time limit comment is true, though there are a few prophecies with time limits on them. Mahershalalhashbaz, anyone? ;)

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quote:
Originally written by Lenar:

Well, in regards to what happens after life... I have hope, you don't. Ha ha. :P
Who says I don't have hope? I just think your faith in the evidence supporting the Christian paradigm is misplaced.
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I ponder little matters such as the simple fact that no here alive knows what God really is, what happens after you die, or what God may or may not have done in the ancient past. It is increasingly amazing to me how much we are willing to place absolute faith in someone else...that God or the gods communicated some Truth about reality to someone somewhere and you can subsequently live your entire life depending upon it. Considering how many such beliefs conflict with most others, simple logic tells us that most, if not all people are going to be wrong and disappointed having spent an entire life based upon faulty belief. What a waste.

The real challenge to life is finding and making your own meaning, rather than relying upon any other "authority." Spirituality is, and should be the sort of thing you base only upon your own experience and illumination, if you will, and not on the supposed revelation of any other. Christendom is the result of gazillions of people for many centuries believing what the previous generation did about God becaues so many people had for so long. It doesn't make a lie or error any more true.

Again, what a waste. All I know is I have the sense and belief that the reality of God/the universe is all a lot different, better, and largely unknowable to me in this lifetime, and that's okay. Religion is basically lazy: a belief system/spirituaity borrowed from another, handed to you or dictated by another. Why and how can people blindly trust people they never met and who have been dead thousands of years and may have been flakes, liars, misguided, or subsequently badly interpreted and represtented?

Does anyone who is religious ponder these aspects of simple reality and humanity? When I was, I didn't. That's just it. You can shut down your brain and focus on theology and doctrine and aligning all your beliefs in the walled camp of your mind and your faith. It's safer than facing the painful reality of how much is unknown and uncertain.

-S-

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Responding with links!

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

That's kinda hard to do, since most prophecies tend not to come with time limits
Time is not the only limit. Eschaton is approaching fast! Or not. I'm holding out hope that Kurzweil is right and two popes will last us a good long while.

quote:
Originally written by Drew:

What's the incentive to be Christian and perky? All the "good things" come when you die.
Maybe not. Reason triumphs once again!

[Edit: Still not good at this tags thing.]

—Alorael, who is pretty sure that everything will work out for the best in the end as long as he has his potato.

[ Monday, July 30, 2007 13:39: Message edited by: Gravitas ]
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The synoptic gospels have the fulfillment of Jesus statement immediately after which is why in Mark's and Luke's accounts we find the words "accordingly" and "in actual fact" linking the prophecy and the account of the transfiguration.

I have much more to say but am extremely busy atm.
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