Basically, all "deconstruction" is about is examining every belief you have for the reason why you hold those beliefs. If its a belief based on what you've been told by "an authority figure", that's not good enough. Beliefs should be rooted in one's personal experiences, knowledge and interests. I'm not talking about whether someone believes George Washington existed or not...but the kind of beliefs that one would stake his or her life on, which is the root of who you are.
So...what is this "radical and revolutionary" new idea this evangelical minister is proposing? Why, its the idea that a perfect, all-knowing God would not require a blood sacrifice in order to forgive the sins of humanity. Like I said, this idea is considered too blasphemous by some Christians to even ponder because they've been indoctrinated since childhood that Jesus' sole purpose on earth was to die for our sins so that we might have everlasting life. To suggest that Jesus' purpose might be something other than a blood sacrifice to appease an angry God is just too scary for these people to contemplate. And anyone who rejects the idea of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice is automatically deemed a heretic, not a Christian, or even "evil."
I've long had trouble believing in the "Jesus as atoning sacrifice" concept since elementary school. It never made sense to me. Rejecting this idea was easy to do and my life is better as a result. I guess many are too afraid to make that step because they still believe in a wrathful, vengeful, jealous God who will send lightning bolts their way if they question what they've been taught all their lives. Once you've freed your mind from brainwashing and indoctrination, you feel a great sense of liberation and freedom. There is no way I could return to the mental slavery of that Christian dogma. I'm glad that there are evangelical types slowly breaking free of this ancient, yet illogical view of the point of Jesus' life. More evangelicals need to rise up and speak out against this falsehood surrounding the meaning of Jesus. Its not blasphemous to reject ancient men's interpretation.
SusanHer view reflects a common view among Evangelicals that if we don't interpret Jesus as "the atoning sacrifice for the sins of humankind", then his life had no real meaning. That's a ridiculous argument, though...because I don't see many people actually striving to live the kind of life Jesus lived. He lived a spiritually pure life that is virtually impossible for most people to achieve, so how is it belittling Jesus by rejecting the obscenity of the blood sacrifice?
If jesus is not the only way to salvation than we miight as well all just throw our bibles in the trash. Jesus IS the ONLY way! The Truth & the Life! Jesus warned us about people like this in Matthew...they're called FALSE PROPHETS
I've thought that for years...in elementary school as a matter of fact. It takes nothing away from Jesus to believe that he's not our ticket to the everlasting.
Nicholas, since Jesus' purpose was to save his people from their sins, then taking that away from Him gives his life no purpose.
Hmmm..."pretty sure"?!? You're pretty sure because you were an eyewitness to these events many centuries ago? Its not possible that these ancient writers weren't biased or had ulterior motives and agendas to write what they did? More importantly, why would an all-knowing God hold modern people to the bigotry, sexism, intolerance, and ignorance of ancient men? Wouldn't an all-knowing God value each person's unique experiences in life, rather than requiring us to believe things we did not witness nor could ever really know the truth about? I'm not willing to stake my life on events that may or may not have happened 2,000 years ago. But I will stake my eternal life on what I experienced in my 38 years of life on earth (in this incarnation).
You are 100% right Susan. Jesus is the Truth and the light. The only way to Salvation is accepting him as Savior. He accomplished this by living a perfect life and dying on the cross for all of us.
I don't believe Jesus's purpose in life was to save people from sin. He wanted to bring true spirituality back, as the Jewish authorities were too rule based that it stifled the authentic expression of God. He wanted to reform Judaism, not create a new religion. And he allowed himself to be crucified because he was too much the pacifist. He probably also knew there was real power in being a martyr for his beliefs.
I've met Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and atheists who all admire Jesus as an authentic spiritual being. None of them believe that his life's purpose was to die for the sins of humankind. He may have died because of our sins, but not for our sins.
Well, I suppose you can believe what you want, but the Bible says that Jesus' purpose was to save his people from their sins.
You mean...disciples of Jesus who wrote their testimonies decades after he was crucified? The Council at Nicea in 422 A.D. set the rules on what was included in the Bible and what wasn't. I'm not willing to put my faith in the hands of fallible human beings who have distorted Jesus' life for their own agendas of empire building and church control over the lives of the people.
So Ghandi is condemed to hell as well as the Dalai Lama? God seems so heartless and what about the little children in Ghana who didn't get to accept Jesus as his personal savior yet? Just asking.... I don't know these answers.
My favourite Gandhi quote is: "I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." We need to understand the cultural differences. Most people are the religions they are because they were born in a place where everyone around them are the same or similar religions.
Tamara is right. Why would a loving God condemn whole groups of people to hell because they prefer another spiritual tradition...particularly one that everyone they know is part of?
I'm pretty sure it was God who set the rules for what was included in the Bible. The writers wrote what they were inspired to write and the compilers compiled what they were inspired to compile. You are free to leave God out of each of these relationships, but I believe that He is powerful enough to accomplish what He wishes to accomplish.
T, the writer of Romans says that the law is written on our hearts, so even if we have never heard of Christ, but believe that God has a plan and live for that plan, that is is accredited to us as faith, so I'm not so sure that Gandhi or the Dalai Lama won't be in heaven.
God is not a writer. If God wrote the Bible, there are a lot of contradictions in there. Is a perfect being hateful, smiteful, and jealous?
Writers who were inspired to write their interpretations of the Bible does not mean that its right or accurate. Many people have been killed because some charismatic "religious" leader convinced followers that he spoke for God.
If people aspire to live the life Jesus advocated, then they have nothing to worry about. Whether Jesus died for our sins or died because he was a pacifist ... doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.
The imperfections of the "followers" does not necessarily translate into imperfections in the creator, or those who wrote what they were inspired to do. That is a common fallacy that leads people away from the Bible and it's teachings rather than to Christ.
And yet, as a Christian, I reject most of the Bible as being the imperfect testimonies of people who had erronous beliefs about God.
Given the choice between my own experiences or those experiences written between 2,000 to 5,000 years ago, I have a greater faith in my own experiences. Our world is a lot different and we have more knowledge about how the world and universe works. I wish more Christians would adopt a universalist view of humanity instead of keeping their religious chauvinism. Our world is too small to keep holding onto the bigoted views of ancient man.
If you reject the bible than you (according to the bible..which IS the Word of God) than you reject Christ.
"Reject" is too strong a word. I should have said: The Bible is an interesting book, but I'm not going to base my testimony of God on it.
Why do you have more faith in your own experiences than in the experiences of those who knew and walked with Christ?
What do think about everyone else's experiences when they differ from yours and/or the Bible's? Do you not see why a common denominator needs to be present, or do you feel that God gives everyone a different message, which ultimately ends up as "I'm OK/You're OK, and there is no greater truth?
We just disagree on this.
Why I trust my experiences more than some ancient book written by ignorant, bigoted, and misogynistic men? Well, since elementary school, I've been friends with other children who were Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, and atheist. All were ostrasized by the Christian majority. Evangelical Christians have also been cruel, abusive, and intolerant towards me because of my racial diversity...so yeah, if I can accept a non-Christian without wanting to converting them...does that make me more tolerant and accepting than God? No...I believe that God is perfect, so God created diversity. Its bigoted Christians who have the problem. That's why I trust my experience over some ancient book.
Susan, what about the children say in remote parts of the world that haven't yet heard of the Bible... do you agree with Dawn on this that it is written on their hearts and that God wouldn't throw them into the lake of fire for eternity? Help me understand your thought process.
Dawn, I have so much missed your discussions. I am glad to "see" you again.
I've read a couple of McLaren's books this year and I don't disagree with much, if anything. I think Western Christianity is midstream in the process of shifting from a pursuit of "Right Beliefs about Jesus and God" to a pursuit of "being right in our relationships", including God, and sister/brother, neighbor, and enemy. There is overlap and tension in this, and that will hopefully bring Christianity needed honesty and depth and blessings yet to be discovered as we actually LIVE it. imo.