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2 minutes ago, Almagnus1 said:

Hmm... a closed mind on the matter...

Let me ask you this, why were so many of the historical European scientists Christians?

You are quoting from the Bible and use it as evidence of positive influence.

I say, quoting from a book of fiction is like me saying Eru exists because the Silmarillion states that he does.

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4 minutes ago, LordVorontur said:

You are quoting from the Bible and use it as evidence of positive influence.

I say, quoting from a book of fiction is like me saying Eru exists because the Silmarillion states that he does.

^^this.  so much, this!

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26 minutes ago, LordVorontur said:

You are quoting from the Bible and use it as evidence of positive influence.

I say, quoting from a book of fiction is like me saying Eru exists because the Silmarillion states that he does.

I answered with the Sistine Chapel as that image should be enough to demonstrate the scope of positive influence. I didn't reply with more as you are obviously not open to any information contrary to your views and to answer more would constitute "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" Mathew 7 vs.6. Or, to put it in more modern terms, "don't feed the trolls".

But... to state the obvious... and, I believe, have it disregarded...

To state that religion has had absolutely zero positive influence is the equivalent of saying human progress and civilization has had absolutely zero positive influence as the two are inextricably tied together. In my opinion your statement is pure atheist dogma and made without thoughtful consideration. It provides zero positive influence and is unworthy of you.

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22 minutes ago, LordVorontur said:

You are quoting from the Bible and use it as evidence of positive influence.

I say, quoting from a book of fiction is like me saying Eru exists because the Silmarillion states that he does.

And history has shown that books can influence the real world.

I could also say that The Prince is a work of fiction, and claim that it has no influence on society.  Or (more generically) <insert work here> is fiction, and has had no influence on society.

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1 hour ago, LordVorontur said:

You are quoting from the Bible and use it as evidence of positive influence.

I say, quoting from a book of fiction is like me saying Eru exists because the Silmarillion states that he does.

OK... expanding on my reply above... I'll get personal which is something I don't like to do online... the whole "pearls before swine" thing is part of that but only part.

I recall you posting in the past, LV, that you worked for a sort of public advocacy organization that helped people navigate the maze which is the modern social safety net of government programs. Generally this sort of occupation is underfunded and overworked but has some personal rewards associated with it beyond the weekly paycheque.

We may have similar clientele...

My background is I am a retired programmer, systems analyst and IT consultant... but... as I am typing this I have another tab open where
I am researching a Bible study course outline. This is new and uncertain territory for me and I will be reaching out to people from a wide variety of needs from drug/alcohol abuse, psychological and physical challenges. Let me say I have not had much experience with this element of society other than driving through the neighborhoods without stopping and giving donations to the Salvation Army... until recently. I really don't know what to expect or even what goals to set other than to "help". THIS sort of thing is the very marrow of Christianity and NOT the Inquisitions and power struggles your belief system would have you focus on. Look at the imperfect and uncertain Christian individuals trying to find their way in the darkness of this world by Faith rather than lumping the whole thing into an organized corporate entity.

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the Islamic London protest was in front of the Syrian embassy, consider it a bit of theater given the larger developments.  call for Caliphate & the usual incoherent rhetoric aside; it managed to go off without violence...  i find it more curious how so many assembled in such organized fashion, how was it coordinated?  regardless, it was for show regarding recent developments in Syria.

that said...

- an assassination in Turkey.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/19/russias-ambassador-turkey-shot-assassination-attempt1/

- Truck violence in Germany killing (the latest is12),  injuring dozens more.  already linked above, but Polish vehicle hijacked by Pakistani immigrant & ISIS already claiming responsibility.

- mysterious bus fires in Sweden.

- public mall Christmas tree vandalized in Italy.

- Paris streets become garbage filled ghettos.

nothing to see here folks, just head home & be safe & avoid displaying Christmas decorations, or national flags, or any signs of European culture that might provoke.

i am sure importing more migrants won't make things even worse...

everything is completely normal.

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16 hours ago, Papi said:

This comes across as fear mongering to me.   And yes, I'm quite familiar with London.  Have the Muslims violated the rights of anyone?  Are the Muslims going through districts inflicting bodily harm and when reported, is nothing done about it?  Are you honestly telling me that someone has peacefully objected to something that the Muslim community wanted to do and was arrested for it?? Islam isn't the problem, extreme radical Islam is the problem--as is the case with most religions.  When you don't acknowledge that, you're just helping those with extreme views further their cause.

But the again, I think the world would be better off without religion so what do I know.

It would come across like that if you didn't know any better, sure. But for those of us who actually have to live with it, it's the reality around us.

Yes, Muslims have violated the rights of non-Muslims. From attacking people in the streets that they don't like (homosexuals, for example), to getting violent for people asking for pork products in their own food. There have even been cases of people in pubs getting attacked, and people coming back from nightclubs getting attacked. The so called "Sharia patrols" are the usual culprits, but many young Muslims are also to blame.

Yes, they've attacked people and nothing was done about it. There was that case recently where a girl was kicked repeatedly in the head by a gang of Muslim girls, who all got given suspended sentences because they were drunk and "not used to it".

Yes, there have been cases where people have peacefully protested, but were arrested themselves when the Muslims started getting violent. Police claimed it was for their own protection, but it was clear they just didn't want to have do deal with trying to arrest so many Muslims when a few protesters were the easier target.

The problem with "extreme radical Islam" is that there really isn't much difference between that and regular Islam. It's inherently extreme. Often, those Muslims who say terrorism has nothing to do with Islam are also the same people who want a caliphate in the UK, and sympathise with the aims of terrorists. They're the ones who want halal only in restaurants and supermarkets, or want the Islamic prayer blasted out of loud speakers half a dozen times a day. They want Islam to be the dominant religion. And it's those "Muslims" who has assimilated, who don't care about what food they eat, or what they wear, or what direction they face to pray, who are so often held up as the reasonable majority, when they unfortunately aren't.

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7 hours ago, LasraelLarson said:

That's the one event that actually scares me, because if it isn't handled correctly Turkey and Russia will start slugging it out... and that's not good for anyone involved because Turkey's a NATO member....

9 hours ago, fittybolger said:

Look at the imperfect and uncertain Christian individuals trying to find their way in the darkness of this world by Faith rather than lumping the whole thing into an organized corporate entity.

That's kinda the thing with most Christians... or at least the ones that ACTUALLY know and understand Jesus' teachings, and attempt follow them...  We don't have all the answers, and we never will.  It's also a generally good way to live as it's basically the "live and let live" philosophy - granted that's an oversimplification, but it gets the point across.

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In the words of the great philosophers Rick & Morty."Nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, everybodys going to die. Now lets go watch TV"

 

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2 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

That's kinda the thing with most Christians... or at least the ones that ACTUALLY know and understand Jesus' teachings, and attempt follow them...

Out of morbid curiosity, what exactly is it that Jesus taught that was so groundbreaking? Morally speaking, that is.

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3 hours ago, Doro said:

Out of morbid curiosity, what exactly is it that Jesus taught that was so groundbreaking? Morally speaking, that is.

haha... "morbid".

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4 hours ago, Doro said:

Out of morbid curiosity, what exactly is it that Jesus taught that was so groundbreaking? Morally speaking, that is.

A lot of it has to do with equal treatment of women, as Jesus was frequently ministering to women, and several of his actions were against the secular norm of the day.  Essentially He beat the feminists by about two thousand years, and did it in such a way that men were also uplifted (and not emasculated as they are now).

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15 hours ago, LasraelLarson said:

- Truck violence in Germany killing (the latest is12),  injuring dozens more.  already linked above, but Polish vehicle hijacked by Pakistani immigrant & ISIS already claiming responsibility.

 

Current reports suggest that the man arrested last night might not be involved and that the perpetrator may still be at large and also be armed.  Too many people had him guilty before any information was released.  People need to wait and see what comes of the police investigation before blaming anyone for this.  Stop jumping to conclusions

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4 hours ago, cossieuk said:

Current reports suggest that the man arrested last night might not be involved and that the perpetrator may still be at large and also be armed.  Too many people had him guilty before any information was released.  People need to wait and see what comes of the police investigation before blaming anyone for this.  Stop jumping to conclusions

I'm hoping Trump gives the US military carte blanche to deal with ISIS... that would solve a lot of these problems very, very quickly.

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1 hour ago, Almagnus1 said:

I'm hoping Trump gives the US military carte blanche to deal with ISIS... that would solve a lot of these problems very, very quickly.

ISIS isn't the main source of these problems.

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12 hours ago, Laurinaohtar said:

In the words of the great philosophers Rick & Morty."Nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, everybodys going to die. Now lets go watch TV"

what a load of twaddle!

5 hours ago, cossieuk said:

Current reports suggest that the man arrested last night might not be involved and that the perpetrator may still be at large and also be armed.  Too many people had him guilty before any information was released.  People need to wait and see what comes of the police investigation before blaming anyone for this.  Stop jumping to conclusions

well i was right about the hijacking:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4049822/Was-truck-HIJACKED-Cousin-driver-registered-Polish-lorry-claims-making-drop-Berlin-s-revealed-haulage-firm-lost-contact-moments-crash.html

the now released 23 year old Pakistani asylum seeker was known to police & had been in an out of trouble since arrival in 2015...

as for jumping to conclusions...  i am completely comfortable calling this a terrorist attack by a Muslim.  yet with each new incident, over and over the complicit media & officials regurgitate the hollow mantra, "don't jump to conclusions."

& the Christmas season isn't over.  how much more...

before Germans finally give this accomplice & her policies the long overdue boot?

 

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6 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

A lot of it has to do with equal treatment of women, as Jesus was frequently ministering to women, and several of his actions were against the secular norm of the day.  Essentially He beat the feminists by about two thousand years, and did it in such a way that men were also uplifted (and not emasculated as they are now).

Which Plato also did 400 years before Jesus. Are we to all label ourselves as Platoists simply because we agree with a message given, or can we live at the "buffet of morality", where we can pick what we like without having to tie ourselves down to believing all the claims of a religion? Unless, of course, we can admit that those who call themselves Christians are not just about a message that had merely been repeated by Jesus, but also believe the Bible through and through, in which case it is no longer about morality and rather beliefs about reality.

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1 hour ago, FundinStrongarm said:

ISIS isn't the main source of these problems.

Yeah, it's just a symptom... however, it's a symptom that needs to be dealt with swiftly and harshly before even more shit happens.

That's also why I'm hoping we leave the Middle East alone, as our meddling in other country's affairs has created most of these terrorist organizations because we've united people that'd normally be at each other's throats against us.

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1 hour ago, Doro said:

Which Plato also did 400 years before Jesus. Are we to all label ourselves as Platoists simply because we agree with a message given, or can we live at the "buffet of morality", where we can pick what we like without having to tie ourselves down to believing all the claims of a religion? Unless, of course, we can admit that those who call themselves Christians are not just about a message that had merely been repeated by Jesus, but also believe the Bible through and through, in which case it is no longer about morality and rather beliefs about reality.

That's just it though, the beliefs define the morality.

The other thing that most probably didn't get is that Jesus largely reinforced the message of the Old Testament and fulfilled the Law of Moses - so most of His message was actually straight up Judaism, despite how much the Jewish clergy wanted Jesus dead for also calling out their BS.  There's more to it theologically speaking, but I'm trying to stay light on those particular points given much of the present company.

One thing to consider, though, is that the Romans were practitioners of infanticide, so a lot of the early growth of the Christian church came from Christians essentially adopting babies left for dead, and then raising them in the faith.  When you really start to dig into a lot of what Jesus had said, there was some peaceful passive-aggressive resistance that was taught (turn the other cheek, love your enemies, etc), but it was generally done in a God-focused manner, but not in a way that allowed carte blanch on behavior.

However, as the church is comprised of humans, and humans do stupid, selfish things, the history has been anything but clean - as we should be rightfully pissed off at all the stupid things that have been done in the name of Jesus throughout history.  Even now, you can swap out "the name of Jesus" for <insert ideology here>, and have people justify atrocities like what's essentially happening with ISIS.

The history of humanity is quite bloodstained, and none of it is excusable.  One can only hope we learn from the past...

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18 minutes ago, Almagnus1 said:

That's just it though, the beliefs define the morality.

That's what I'm getting at. Either, you gather your morality from a variety of sources (even from your own thoughts) and it's all good, or you believe everything in the Bible and only happen to agree with its teachings because they were in there. Which leads me to the idea that religious morality isn't true morality, rather the result of cognitive submission to scripture.

But surely you also believe things that aren't in the Bible, right? And there are surely things in the Bible you also disagree with. My point is why limit yourself to the label of Christian, when there's a much wider world out there with much more to offer?

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3 hours ago, Doro said:

That's what I'm getting at. Either, you gather your morality from a variety of sources (even from your own thoughts) and it's all good, or you believe everything in the Bible and only happen to agree with its teachings because they were in there. Which leads me to the idea that religious morality isn't true morality, rather the result of cognitive submission to scripture.

If you're being cognitively submissive to scripture, you are doing it wrong...

3 hours ago, Doro said:

But surely you also believe things that aren't in the Bible, right? And there are surely things in the Bible you also disagree with. My point is why limit yourself to the label of Christian, when there's a much wider world out there with much more to offer?

We have minds to think with for a reason...  Why would a God give me one if He didn't intend me to use it?

Also, that's where the theological notion that we're all unique creations, all brothers and sisters in Christ, comes into play.  We're all inherently different, and those differences are to be understood and celebrated (provided they aren't dividing us, that is).

That's why I look at the world around me and appreciate the vast difference in everything because that's the very spice that makes our existence interesting.  Granted, I don't have to agree with everything... because that would be boring.

That's also one of the reasons why I dislike Mormonism, because they homogenize everyone involved with that faith.  There's other theological reasons there as well.

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25 minutes ago, Almagnus1 said:

If you're being cognitively submissive to scripture, you are doing it wrong...

We have minds to think with for a reason...  Why would a God give me one if He didn't intend me to use it?

Also, that's where the theological notion that we're all unique creations, all brothers and sisters in Christ, comes into play.  We're all inherently different, and those differences are to be understood and celebrated (provided they aren't dividing us, that is).

That's why I look at the world around me and appreciate the vast difference in everything because that's the very spice that makes our existence interesting.  Granted, I don't have to agree with everything... because that would be boring.

That's also one of the reasons why I dislike Mormonism, because they homogenize everyone involved with that faith.  There's other theological reasons there as well.

To call yourself Christian is to be submissive to scripture. It implies you agree wholeheartedly with everything it teaches, regardless of whether it is valuable or not. And when it comes to morality, it means you only have certain morals because of a book, as opposed to them being a natural part of you. So we end up with Christians who don't believe half of the Bible, but call themselves Christian because some things line up.

With God and minds, it's one of those classic paradoxes. God gives us free will and then punishes us for eternity for using that free will in a way he didn't like. And sometimes that's as simple as a person looking at a book of contradictions, evil, and a few tidbits of good advice, and deciding it isn't how a celestial being would try to convince us of his existence. It doesn't help that God supposedly knows everything that will happen anyway. If he knows he's set people up to not believe in him, then letting it happen is an exercise in futility.

Ultimately, I feel organized religion is a funny concept. It makes spirituality a bureaucratic process, instead of a naturally evolving one. It's putting limits on something that doesn't need it.

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11 hours ago, Doro said:

To call yourself Christian is to be submissive to scripture. It implies you agree wholeheartedly with everything it teaches, regardless of whether it is valuable or not.

That also means you know how to interpret said book, and it's theological structure.  Once you understand the latter, a lot more of the things people tend to poke at fall by the wayside as you realize that people are arguing over whether or not a pine tree is part of the forest.

90% of most of the issues with Christians have been people who try to take the literal interpretation of poetry (or the exaggerations the ancient Jews tend to use waaaay to frequently), and then try to beat us over the head with something pulled out of historical and Biblical context.

The same can be said with interpreting Plato, for example.  To really understand what Plato was writing when he wrote Republic, you'd have to understand what was going on during the writing of the work, as well as understand who Plato was.  Otherwise you open the door to grossly misinterpret what Plato had said, because you can't apply modern values to a work that's over two thousand years old and expect to follow the author's intent.

11 hours ago, Doro said:

And when it comes to morality, it means you only have certain morals because of a book, as opposed to them being a natural part of you. So we end up with Christians who don't believe half of the Bible, but call themselves Christian because some things line up.

I've largely been side stepping that one, but there's nothing as far as morality goes within the Bible that I find objectionable.

11 hours ago, Doro said:

With God and minds, it's one of those classic paradoxes. God gives us free will and then punishes us for eternity for using that free will in a way he didn't like. And sometimes that's as simple as a person looking at a book of contradictions, evil, and a few tidbits of good advice, and deciding it isn't how a celestial being would try to convince us of his existence. It doesn't help that God supposedly knows everything that will happen anyway. If he knows he's set people up to not believe in him, then letting it happen is an exercise in futility.

This can't really be avoided on this point....

<theology>

I wonder how much of what the general population knows about Hell came from Dante, and not from the Bible.  There's not really a concept of "Hell" in the Old Testament... just Sheol, which is more akin to something like what we'd think of for Hades of the Forgotten West... a place where souls reside after they die, and little more.  We don't see a more formal definition of Hell until Revelations.

Personally, I think Hell is something that's largely self-inflicted, as you come face to face with God when you die, and you have to spend the rest of eternity with that knowledge, and the knowledge of what you did while you were on Earth.  The separation from God (Hell), is largely self inflicted at that point.  The other alternative that makes sense is cessation of existence, or more akin to the potter baking a pot, realizing that it's just unfit, and then destroying it.  I mean, if God is an eternal being, and we are temporal, gaining the ability to be eternal would be considered Heaven in that case.

</theology>

11 hours ago, Doro said:

Ultimately, I feel organized religion is a funny concept. It makes spirituality a bureaucratic process, instead of a naturally evolving one. It's putting limits on something that doesn't need it.

That's why I'm a non-denominational protestant...

Much of the bureaucratic nonsense is also what Jesus was railing against, as the Jewish rabbis of the time had done just that with the Law of Moses and calling them out on that is one of the contributing factors to His crucifixion.

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8 minutes ago, Almagnus1 said:

That also means you know how to interpret said book, and it's theological structure.  Once you understand the latter, a lot more of the things people tend to poke at fall by the wayside as you realize that people are arguing over whether or not a pine tree is part of the forest.

Given there are over 40000 denominations of Christianity means that the Bible can be interpreted many way, and each group says theirs is the correct way and the others are wrong

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3 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

That also means you know how to interpret said book, and it's theological structure.  Once you understand the latter, a lot more of the things people tend to poke at fall by the wayside as you realize that people are arguing over whether or not a pine tree is part of the forest.

90% of most of the issues with Christians have been people who try to take the literal interpretation of poetry (or the exaggerations the ancient Jews tend to use waaaay to frequently), and then try to beat us over the head with something pulled out of historical and Biblical context.

The same can be said with interpreting Plato, for example.  To really understand what Plato was writing when he wrote Republic, you'd have to understand what was going on during the writing of the work, as well as understand who Plato was.  Otherwise you open the door to grossly misinterpret what Plato had said, because you can't apply modern values to a work that's over two thousand years old and expect to follow the author's intent.

Now the question becomes how, what, and why you decide something is now just poetry/exaggeration. In most cases, people place all the stuff that can now be argued against in the category of metaphorical, but they keep the things like God (not the part where they say there are multiple Gods, though, that is metaphor for "reasons"), and Jesus being magic, and various other "miracles" that should really belong in the same category.

The reason that they keep this stuff is that without the weight of claiming that the creator of the universe is real and he turned himself into a Jew in a desert for our sins, the religion goes from trying to be an authority to just being another book to add to the shelf. Obviously not something Christians would be willing to accept, since it makes the whole thing look like a farce. And it doesn't help when even the Bible says it's wrong and corrupted by the people who wrote it.

4 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

I've largely been side stepping that one, but there's nothing as far as morality goes within the Bible that I find objectionable.

Well, I would bring up a whole host of immoral things from the Bible, but most can be waved off as "poetry" or being from the Old Testament (even though Jesus said he wanted to uphold the Old Testament), but let's just bring up some stuff from Jesus himself.

He demands (multiple times) people give up their worldly possessions, abandon their families (in fact, he wants them to hate their families), neglect themselves physically, and live life as a homeless scrounger, going door to door asking for food and shelter (and anyone who refuses them will be punished eternally for it). Doesn't that seem a little objectionable? After all, the vast majority of Christians don't do this. I'm guessing they brush this off as poetry, since it's undesirable.

There's also repeated mention of him not bringing peace, but division or even a sword. He wants to burn the Earth and wishes it was already kindled. He wants to pit families against each other. Not particular moral, either.

Or the very concept of "the sacrifice", where it takes the suffering of someone else to clean your sins, instead of yourself? That sort of scapegoating is hardly agreeable (not that the sin is particularly deserved anyway).

And there's loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, and leaving everything until after you die, because that's when you'll get revenge. A strange disconnect between when Jesus told his followers to buy swords, but there it is. It seems he has some sort of dual personality going on throughout the NT.

That's a few to start with.

4 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

This can't really be avoided on this point....

<theology>

I wonder how much of what the general population knows about Hell came from Dante, and not from the Bible.  There's not really a concept of "Hell" in the Old Testament... just Sheol, which is more akin to something like what we'd think of for Hades of the Forgotten West... a place where souls reside after they die, and little more.  We don't see a more formal definition of Hell until Revelations.

Personally, I think Hell is something that's largely self-inflicted, as you come face to face with God when you die, and you have to spend the rest of eternity with that knowledge, and the knowledge of what you did while you were on Earth.  The separation from God (Hell), is largely self inflicted at that point.  The other alternative that makes sense is cessation of existence, or more akin to the potter baking a pot, realizing that it's just unfit, and then destroying it.  I mean, if God is an eternal being, and we are temporal, gaining the ability to be eternal would be considered Heaven in that case.

</theology>

Oh, don't you worry, I'm well-versed in Biblical inaccuracies. The number of times I've had to point out that Lucifer was never connected to the Devil in the Bible makes me yawn.

However, Hell has been mentioned in the Bible (strangely enough, in the NT, where Jesus turns up) as a place of punishment, especially in reference to a place of never-ending fire. I recall something about furnaces, eternal fire, and gnashing of teeth (something they really liked using as a description, for some reason).

4 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

That's why I'm a non-denominational protestant...

Much of the bureaucratic nonsense is also what Jesus was railing against, as the Jewish rabbis of the time had done just that with the Law of Moses and calling them out on that is one of the contributing factors to His crucifixion.

But you're still a protestant. It's still a specific theological grouping, with specific beliefs that separate them.

Actually, that's another thing that I often find amusing. Jesus said that if people want to pray, they should go do it in private. He was all anti-property (for his followers, at least), and anti-establishment, and all that jazz, but we have things like the Vatican, and churches, and donations asked of congregations, etc. How do Christians handle that disconnect?

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