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A Passion for Pain
The Autonomist ^ | Feb. 26, 2004 | Reginald Firehammer

Posted on 02/26/2004 6:03:26 PM PST by Hank Kerchief

 
A Passion for Pain

There is a peculiar aspect of all religions that glorifies and embraces pain, suffering, and torment as virtues. The glorification of suffering is certainly not missing from the Christian religion, recently and wonderfully illustrated by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

In my criticism [Passion Prattle] of Rebecca Hagelin's praise for the film as an, "artistic achievement beyond any scale you could imagine," I compared the brutality of Gibson's created images to the real thing depicting the atrocities of Sadam Hussein and the Taliban to point out how the religious, revolted at images of today's sadistic murderer's excesses, are positively delighted at watching hours of much worse.

"The center-piece of the movie is an absolutely disgusting and despicable piece of sadism ... It shows a man being flayed alive - slowly, methodically and with increasing savagery. We first of all witness the use of sticks, then whips, then multiple whips with barbed glass or metal. We see flesh being torn out of a man's body. ... Then we see pieces of human skin flying through the air. ... We see blood spattering on the torturers' faces. We see muscled thugs exhausted from shredding every inch of this man's body. And then they turn him over and do it all again. It goes on for ever. And then we see his mother wiping up masses and masses of blood."

This is how Anrew Sullivan graphically describes this, "artistic achievement beyond any scale you could imagine." [We do not often agree with Andrew Sullivan, but thank him for this honest description, and for having the fortitude to watch this horror in order to provide it.]

This pathological fascination with suffering in religion is not an anomaly, it is fundamental to the whole superstitious perversion which are "religious" values. Pain, suffering, and human torment are regarded as positive values, to be embraced and fostered.

I do not know Scott Holleran, but was surprised to see this astute observation in his article,"Jesus Christ Superscar" from Box Office Mojo:

"... Actors have always used celebrity to promote their principles. Redford's environmentalism – Cruise's Scientology -- animal-loving starlets (Bardot, Hedren, Novak, etc.) -- what's the point of fame if you can't use it to apply your ideals?

"In Gibson's case, that means spreading religion in its fundamental sense. The Passion of the Christ's theme is that suffering, not joy, is man's proper fate." [Emphasis added.]

Pain Lovers

This despicable inversion of values, that evil (pain and suffering) is good and good (pleasure and joy) is evil, colors the Christian's perspective on everything. H. L. Mencken once defined puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." The Christian perspective is worse than that, they are terrified by the suspicion that someone, somewhere, might not be suffering and actually enjoying their life.

Worse than Marx's perversion that based the value of things on the labor required to produce them, the Christian regards the source of value of all things, not the human pleasure they give or suffering they relieve, but very opposite; the value of a thing in the Christian value system is how much pain, suffering, and self-deprivation it requires.

Recent comments to my previous article illustrate this perverted view. "It is apparent," one commentator said, "that the writer knows absolutely nothing about Christianity or faith or sacrificial love. Parents endure pain and suffering all the time for their children - if they truly love them," as thought it were the "sacrifice," "enduring pain," and "suffering," that made the love real and valuable.

It evidently does not occur to Christians, it is not the cost of what one provides one's children that determines its value, but how much real benefit it is to the children. There is something sinisterly evil in the view that the measure of love is how much pain and suffering it costs. There is hardly any other way Christians measure the value of anything. Consider what they "value" in, The Passion of the Christ.

Pain Promoters

Another comment was this: "It's not exactly a Christian discovery that good and virtue are frequently paired with the enduring of pain and suffering. Considering the way everyone of us comes into the world, that shouldn't come as a surprise to even the most secular minded."

It is certainly no surprise that Christians are opposed to anything that relieves suffering in this world, and if Christians had there way, not even the suffering accompanying childbirth would ever be relieved.

Ronald Bruce Meyer, in "Religion v. Anesthesia" records, "The controversy over the use of anesthetics has a sad history of clerical opposition, especially when suggested for women in childbirth. The clerical prohibition issues from the Bible, Genesis 3:16, and from the very mouth of God: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children."

The article, The Under-treatment of Pain - Part I, some history records, "This divine curse [Gen. 3:16] was taken so literally by religious fanatics that in 1591 King James VI of Scotland had burned at the stake a gentlewoman named Euphanie Macalyane who secretly used a remedy to relieve her pangs of childbirth." An example of Christian "compassion" and intolerance for anything that relieves the human suffering they worship.

If you are tempted to think this hysterical hatred for anything that relieves human suffering or provides human pleasure is limited to history, remember the disaster that, the mostly Christian driven, prohibition of alcohol foisted on this country, or worse, consider the untold suffering the so-called, "war on drugs," wreaks on the innocent today. Whatever their motives, it is not concern with human suffering.

"Torture, despair, agony, and death are the symptoms of "opiophobia," a well-documented medical syndrome fed by fear, superstition, and the war on drugs," begins this article, "No Relief in Sight" from Dr. Alexander DeLuca's WEB page.

"Superstition," is the author's kind word for religion. Here are the stories of real living human beings with chronic intractable pain, suffering continually and unnecessarily, many driven to suicide, by the grace of the Christian driven WOD. This is real horror, not a movie creation.

Virtue is What Virtue Does

While the Christians talk about compassion and, "real love," they promote the very policies that punish those who are actually doing something about human suffering. Katherine Eban Finkelstein, in "Deadly Morals", subtitled, "The DEA is Busting Doctors for Prescribing Drugs - and Patients are Dying in Pain," describes the persecution and prosecution of those truly compassionate doctors who risk their professions and freedom to help those suffering chronic and debilitating pain. Include in that number of persecuted, Dr. Bruce W. Wilkin, a rural physician in Nevada, whose ordeal I noted in my article, "Doctor Faces License Revocation."

All this human suffering and persecution of the innocent is the direct result of that ideology that glorifies suffering and hates human happiness, that psychology that can watch hours of crafted unspeakable horror which they call "uplifting," and "inspiring."

Evil is What Evil Does

While Mel Gibson's film may be shocking to some and bewildering to others, who cannot understand how Christians, who claim the moral high-ground and concern for the welfare of others, can take such delight in such horrid depictions of gratuitous bloody and sadistic cruelty, it should not be surprising at all.

My mother used to say, "if you want to know what people really believe and truly love, don't listen to what they say, watch where they spend their time and money." Those who really believe in human happiness and truly love what is good and wholesome and benevolent will not be wasting their time and money on that glorification of torment and suffering called The Passion of Christ. You know who will.

—Reginald Firehammer (2/26/04)


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Moral Issues; Other non-Christian; Religion & Culture; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: 48; aha; decency; jm; suffering; thepassion; values; virtue; wod
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Which are you? A lover of humanity or a lover of human suffering?

Hank

1 posted on 02/26/2004 6:03:26 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
How many times are you going to post this? WHy didn't you just bump your previous posting of this article?

Or, did it get bounced?

2 posted on 02/26/2004 6:05:24 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: sinkspur
How many times are you going to post this? WHy didn't you just bump your previous posting of this article?

It has only been posted once, so far. Do a search.

(Maybe it is similar to another post.)

Hank

3 posted on 02/26/2004 6:27:31 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Fzob; P.O.E.; PeterPrinciple; reflecting; DannyTN; FourtySeven; x; dyed_in_the_wool; Zon; ...
PHILOSOPHY PING

(If you want on or off this list please freepmail me.)

Not exactly philosophy, but there are definitely philosophical questions raised by this article.

Hank

4 posted on 02/26/2004 6:30:27 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: sinkspur
Which are you? A lover of humanity or a lover of human suffering?
Hank
1 Hank Kerchief


_____________________________________




How many times are you going to post this? WHy didn't you just bump your previous posting of this article?
Or, did it get bounced?
2 sinkspur



______________________________________



In his fervor to shut down heresy, sinky inadvertently answers your second question in the affirmative.
5 posted on 02/26/2004 6:58:55 PM PST by tpaine (I'm trying to be 'Mr Nice Guy', but the U.S. Constitution defines conservatism; - not the GOP. .)
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To: tpaine
See rock?

Crawl under.

6 posted on 02/26/2004 7:00:12 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: sinkspur
I had to pick it up to read your hidden message.
7 posted on 02/26/2004 7:02:42 PM PST by tpaine (I'm trying to be 'Mr Nice Guy', but the U.S. Constitution defines conservatism; - not the GOP. .)
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To: per loin; cripplecreek; smith288; Rutles4Ever; Shermy; Mamzelle; joesnuffy; dukeman; AAABEST; ...
"More blood, more pain, more suffering. Ah, that's the thing, isn't it?"

"But, I do not like to see suffering. I want people to be happy." the girl in white said.

"You must not be a Christian, then."

LC

8 posted on 02/26/2004 7:15:11 PM PST by Charles Dodgson ("Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast," said the queen.)
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To: Hank Kerchief; tpaine
You're so caught up in love of your philosophical self, that you love your sophet. Philo-sophic.

You haven't even learned lesson #1 though. That part of love is sacrificing for others. You want false happiness that doesn't exist, an illusion.

Love is a verb that requires pain.

Loving others is painful, you always have to sacrifice whether you're putting your kids through college, feeding the poor, cleaning up after somoeone, putting up with an idiotic internet poster or dying for others because you love them dearly.

You love yourself and want to be happy, though you're not. You hate Christianity and can't even take the pain of leaving your brothers and sisters alone.

Your philo-sophy is not very attractive.

9 posted on 02/26/2004 7:17:49 PM PST by AAABEST (<a href="http://www.angelqueen.org">Traditional Catholicism is Back and Growing</a>)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Which are you? A lover of humanity or a lover of human suffering?

A lover of God.

10 posted on 02/26/2004 7:21:34 PM PST by mhking
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To: AAABEST
Love is a verb that requires pain.

Wow, that's exactly what the article said you would say.

Thanks for the confirmation that Christians worship pain.

Hank

11 posted on 02/26/2004 7:28:54 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: AAABEST
I pity you for your hatred of your fellow man, and I pity your family & acquaintances, who must suffer your martyr-ism.
12 posted on 02/26/2004 7:31:08 PM PST by tpaine (I'm trying to be 'Mr Nice Guy', but the U.S. Constitution defines conservatism; - not the GOP. .)
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To: mhking
A lover of God.

Which God? Allah, Jehovah, Zeus?

Hank

13 posted on 02/26/2004 7:32:43 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
Which God? Allah, Jehovah, Zeus?

Not "A" god, but of God.

Certainly my perception and personal relationship with God is different from yours, though. And I would not presume to push my personal relationship with God off on you.

14 posted on 02/26/2004 7:42:24 PM PST by mhking
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To: Hank Kerchief
The Passion of the Christ's theme is that suffering, not joy, is man's proper fate."

Sigh..., wishing this to be true does not make it so. Demonstrate the veracity of the above statement from the article by citing; Christian Scripture or other Christian dogma universally held. Please provide links to sources.

Thank you

15 posted on 02/26/2004 7:45:25 PM PST by conservonator (To be Catholic is to enjoy the fullness of Christian faith.)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Jesus said he came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. To say that Christianity is a religion that promotes suffering is completely wrong. I suffered far more pain when I was in Satan's fold. The passion of Jesus was inflicted by unbelievers, their sole purpose to be rid of this Christ. God, in his gracious and brilliant mercy, allowed this act of theirs to expiate the sin of mankind, the just one tasting death for everyman. The actions of Jesus were obedience to God, but God did not murder his Son; those who delivered him up were guilty of his death, the suffering clearly inflicted by them.
16 posted on 02/26/2004 7:50:20 PM PST by man of Yosemite ("When a man decides to do something everyday, that's about when he stops doing it.")
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To: Hank Kerchief
one who loves God -- no one in their right mind can possibly love humanity in it's sinful, fallen, and depraved state, which fails to even comprehend the nature of God, His Righteousness, His Justice, and His Mercy. Your article clearly demonstrates this total lack of comprehension by fallen and unredeemed mankind.

Or to put it more directly here is the way St Paul put it in the first chapter of his first letter to the Church at Corinth :




20Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.




please understand this clearly: it does not matter whether you mock it; it does not matter if you hate it; it does not matter if you choose to ignore it, it does not matter if you reject it - none of that matters, because you see, in the end, the universe functions by God's rules, not yours.

17 posted on 02/26/2004 7:50:31 PM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Christians worship pain?

Wow. I've never in my life seen somebody so completely not get it before.

But I'm wasting my breath, aren't I? I guess it's pretty clear that you just like to stir the pot but not ever really take a taste for yourself.

Enjoy...
18 posted on 02/26/2004 7:59:39 PM PST by Ramius
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To: conservonator
The Passion of the Christ's theme is that suffering, not joy, is man's proper fate."

Sigh..., wishing this to be true does not make it so. Demonstrate the veracity of the above statement from the article by citing; Christian Scripture or other Christian dogma universally held. Please provide links to sources.

You expect there to be a Scriptural reference that explains the theme of Mel Gibson's film?

The statement is about the theme of the film, not the theme of the Bible. But, if you are asking if that is the theme of the Bible, how about these?

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

2 Cor 12:9 ... Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

While Christians universally use such passages to promote the idea that human suffering is a virtue, I personally do not believe that is the intended meaning of these verses.

Hank

19 posted on 02/26/2004 8:08:54 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
"While Christians universally use such passages to promote the idea that human suffering is a virtue, I personally do not believe that is the intended meaning of these verses."

You keep posting on this subject, but I don't see that you are willing actually to address the central issues.

Many of us see where your logic leads you astray, and would be glad to tell you, but you don't have ears to hear.
20 posted on 02/26/2004 8:16:54 PM PST by dsc
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To: ahadams2
no one in their right mind can possibly love humanity in it's sinful, fallen, and depraved state

Wow, that is a very interesting statement. If it were true, it would mean Christ was not in His right mind:

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Are you sure that's what you meant to say?

Hank

21 posted on 02/26/2004 8:17:31 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
no human in his right mind can love fallen humanity. I mean exactly what I say, and it does not contradict Scripture.
22 posted on 02/26/2004 8:19:21 PM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: Ramius
Enjoy...

I am, thank you.

Do the same.

(You are not far from the truth. Watch.)

Hank

23 posted on 02/26/2004 8:20:56 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
I am not far from the truth, eh?? *do tell*... :-)

I'm sure you're having big fun, but just in case...

I guess I'm not real clear on your obsession with suffering and pain as some kind of spiritual objective. It isn't. I feel like I'm painting the obvious here, but it isn't that suffering is the objective. Spiritual clarity is the objective. Sometimes, this happens during periods of suffering and pain, just as fire sometimes burns away the wood to reveal the steel beneath.

It's not about the suffering. It's about the spiritual clarity. Sometimes people even reach such clarity without the suffering. With some, you don't get their attention without it. Dunno why. Not my problem.

24 posted on 02/26/2004 8:32:34 PM PST by Ramius
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To: dsc
Many of us see where your logic leads you astray ...

Please, to not be reticent. No one is preventing you from presenting the truth.

If you deny that suffering is a virtue and know that, the purpose of Christ is, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly," (John 10:10) and that, the "living God, ... giveth us richly all things to enjoy," (1 Tim. 6:17) why do you not say so. Why do all these Christians defend the view that suffering is a virtue, then claim the article is wrong, since that is all the article says, that it is what Christians believe?

Hank

25 posted on 02/26/2004 8:32:41 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: ahadams2
no human in his right mind can love fallen humanity

While I totally reject the Augustinian heresy of the fallen nature of man, even if it were true, your statement would require you to reject either the humanity of Christ (plainly taught in Scripture) or that He loved fallen humanity.

Hank

26 posted on 02/26/2004 8:36:57 PM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
It is curious to me that you seem to care so much about something you reject.

Me, I would move on.
27 posted on 02/26/2004 8:39:04 PM PST by Ramius
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To: Hank Kerchief
And then we see his mother wiping up masses and masses of blood.

Sullivan's full of crap. The amount of blood depicted in that scene might be a pint or so -- it ain't "masses and masses."

28 posted on 02/26/2004 8:41:49 PM PST by Sloth (We cannot defeat foreign enemies of the Constitution if we yield to the domestic ones.)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Once again Hank, the virtue is not in the suffering, it's in how we deal with the suffering. A concept devoid of meaning to "Brights" who serve no one but their own ego. And I might point out that instruction on bearing suffering patiently hardly demonstrates that suffering is man's prescribed "proper fate" either in the movie or scripture. The author’s opinion does not render fact.

Christianity is not the root of all evil, contrary to the author’s opinion. If that were true, atheistic regimes would be paradise by comparison. If you want to see a system of suffering as a prescribed fate look no further than material liberalism: suffering in action. Atheism is the ultimate expression of material liberalism. Talk about suffering, you must believe that this is as good as it gets. What a burden, what a cross to bear...

Hank, you've traded an imaginary reverence for physical suffering for a very real worship of mental and even spiritual suffering. This is as good as it gets and as bad as that may be it's made worse because you have traded slavery to your own Id for slavery to the collective superego. All so you can be rewarded with what ever the collective decides to leave you as payment for your labor and submission to the collective will. And in the end you die...Congratulations on your ability to see this as superior to the Christian belief of and eternal joy.

29 posted on 02/26/2004 8:46:33 PM PST by conservonator (To be Catholic is to enjoy the fullness of Christian faith.)
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To: Hank Kerchief
Whether this man knows anything about the movie, I don't know. I haven't seen it yet.

That this man know nothing about Christianity is obvious. At least not the Christianity I know.

Christianity is not about suffering. Sacrifice, perhaps, but sacrifice is not the same as suffering.

30 posted on 02/26/2004 8:54:04 PM PST by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Hank Kerchief
LOL! first of all the fallen nature of man is clearly demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments. So let's be clear on this - you aren't rejecting *Augustinian* theology, you are rejecting Biblical theology viz:




Romans 7:14-25

14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.




So before we go any further we need to make a determination. It's quite simple, really, either Holy Scripture is the inerrant Word of God written (where all apparent contradictions are due merely to the limits of our human intellect and attribute no fault to the original texts) or it is not. Obviously I hold to the former view - the question is do you? If you do not, then there is no further point in continuing the discussion, since we have no common ground on which to argue. Note carefully, I did not say that one could never find apparent difficulties in Holy Scripture, but rather that those apparent difficulties are due to the fallen and limited nature of our (that's yours and mine) intellects; nothing more.

However, so as not to attempt to predict your answer one way or the other let me explain your mistake about the dual nature of Jesus Christ.

Your mistake is in assuming that Jesus, being the only sinless one, and yes both True God and true Man was limited by the same fallen nature we have in ourselves. That's your point of error. Certainly He could and did Love fallen humanity enough to die for us and rise again from the dead. However because of *our* fallen and sinful human nature (which Paul so well describes in the passage above) we are in and of ourselves as human beings completely unable to love others, most especially in the manner in which Christ calls us to love them. Indeed it is only by the Power of the Holy Spirit within a Christian that he may ever love *anyone* in the manner Christ intended. Again please note carefully that I did NOT say that no human ever tries to love another, nor did I say no human being ever tries to show love for another. Rather, it is that no human being, fallen and sinful as we are, can even hope to comprehend how Jesus Loves us and how He wants us to love others, without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit who comes into our hearts when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Indeed those who have not accepted Him, and yet claim to love fallen humanity in the way He intends for us to love them, are only fooling themselves.
31 posted on 02/26/2004 9:01:04 PM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: ahadams2
Questions:

Isn't it true that humans are so innately sinful that they need an outside sinless agent to redeem them from sin?


What are the implications of the Christian doctrine of original sin?



Go here and click on the questions to get the answers.

http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/faq-os.html











32 posted on 02/26/2004 9:12:00 PM PST by 1 spark (check out messiahtruth.com)
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To: Hank Kerchief
The Passion of the Christ's theme is that suffering, not joy, is man's proper fate.

I'm sorry, but that's just the stupidest thing I've seen here in a long time.

The point of the movie is that God's beloved son endured unspeakable pain in order to free mankind from sin and death.

The warped minds you admire don't know the difference between that and "worshipping suffering". That, far from being a key to "joy", I find truly sad.

"Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by his death, and on those in the tombs, bestowing life."--Easter Troparion, Byzantine Rite

33 posted on 02/26/2004 9:13:24 PM PST by Campion
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To: 1 spark
It is absolutely true Jesus the Messiah, conceived of the Holy Spirit, by the Virgin Mary; being without sin and both True God and true man was (from the perspective of the sinful and fallen universe in which we live) 'an outside agent'...both in the sense of His Dual Nature, and in the sense of His Sinlessness.

:-) I have to grin at your question about the question of original sin, since books have been written on just one small portion of that question. Bottom line, though, is that *all* of creation is fatally corrupted by sin and only throught faith in Jesus Christ's Atoning death on calvary, completed in His is Resurrection and victory over Sin and Death, can anyone have hope to escape the final and just punishment of Almighty God.
34 posted on 02/26/2004 9:38:44 PM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: Hank Kerchief
A truly offfensive, severely myopic article which deliberately misrepresents the Christian message.

Real garbage.

35 posted on 02/26/2004 10:05:42 PM PST by beckett
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To: Hank Kerchief
"Please, to not be reticent. No one is preventing you from presenting the truth."

Well, I guess I'll start with what I posted before. The remarks in quotation marks are yours.

"suffering is evil."

That is absolutely incorrect. Suffering is as morally neutral as a paperclip.

It is only the circumstances surrounding it, and the sufferer's reaction to it, that impart any moral quality to suffering. That character can be good as easily as it can be evil. For that matter, it can be both at the same time--having an evil effect on the soul of an inflicter, and a beneficial effect on the soul of the sufferer. Or even vice versa.

"Pain and death are not virtues, they are the opposite of all human life is about."

To quote notorious potty-mouth junkie Lenny Bruce, "For a Catholic, death is a promotion."

What human life is about is passing this course and getting promoted. Getting promoted, of course, means spending eternity with God. Viewed against the backdrop of eternity, our suffering in this world and our deaths don't amount to a single grain of sand on a beach.



Now, as to the rest of this latest post...

"If you deny that suffering is a virtue"

I don't think you understand the nature of a virtue. Neither pain nor pleasure could possibly be virtues. In "Introduction to the Devout Life," Saint Francis de Sales does a great job of describing just what a virtue is. I recommend it.

A *response* to either pain or pleasure can be virtuous, vicious, or neutral, but pain and pleasure are experiences, not virtues.

"Why do all these Christians defend the view that suffering is a virtue"

Nobody is doing that. You are insisting that there are only two alternatives, and when people try to introduce you to a third, you refuse to understand.

What suffering *can* be is redemptive. When I am in discomfort, I try to remember to ask Our Lord to accept that pain or discomfort in reparation for my many sins.

If you are voluntarily suffering for a good cause--for instance, donating a kidney to save a life--your action in accepting the suffering is virtuous, and the suffering itself can be redemptive, but no one would argue that the suffering itself is virtuous.

You are arguing, quite conspicuously and flamboyantly, against a proposition that is a gross oversimplification embraced by no one. That you apparently think this gross oversimplification to be the entirety of theology on the point shows only one thing: you are woefully uninformed about what you seek to oppose.

Here's a little something from C. S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity," that I think is to the point.

"A child saying a child's prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and good. But if you are not - and the modern world usually is not - if you want to go on and ask what is really happening - then you must be prepared for something difficult. If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.

Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy Christianity. ***Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a child of six and make that the object of their attack.*** When you try to explain the Christian doctrine as it is really held by an instructed adult, they then complain that you are making their heads turn round and that it is all too complicated and that if there really were a God they are sure He would have made 'religion' simple, because simplicity is so beautiful, etc.

You must be on your guard against these people for they will change their ground every minute and only waste your time. Notice, too, their idea of God 'making religion simple'; as if 'religion' were something God invented, and not His statement to us of certain quite unalterable facts about His own nature.

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go round the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match - all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go further from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed."
36 posted on 02/27/2004 12:00:46 AM PST by dsc
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To: ahadams2; Hank Kerchief
Are you sure you're not confusing Faith and Reason? Pope John Paul II wrote an excellent encyclical called 'Fides et Ratio' (Faith and Reason) which attempts to delineate the role of Philosophy as compared to the role of faith. I do not think one should ever eliminate the need for the other. Regardless of how strong one's faith is.
37 posted on 02/27/2004 2:20:21 AM PST by dyed_in_the_wool ("For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible" - GWB)
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To: Charles Dodgson
I have never, never seen an essay more breathtakingly ignorant or hateful. How sad.
38 posted on 02/27/2004 6:11:10 AM PST by dukeman
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To: Hank Kerchief
Pain and suffering are part of humanity.To love humanity is to love all parts of the human experience, which includes pain and suffering. Great love comes with great suffering.They are two parts of a whole. I don't enjoy suffering, but I have learned things about myself, and God, that simply couldn't have been learned any other way.That learning is what life is all about. Therefore, I don't try to run from suffering, nor do I help others run from it, nor does God. That would be a grave diservice to humanity.
39 posted on 02/27/2004 6:38:32 AM PST by Red Boots
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To: Hank Kerchief
...This pathological fascination with suffering in religion is not an anomaly, it is fundamental to the whole superstitious perversion which are "religious" values...

The author, presumably based on nothing more than a presupposition of the totality of random, impersonal evolution as the source of all things, gives no accounting for his use of such words as "pathological", and "perversion" in the first place. Without a coherent accounting of such notions his moral judgments and outrage are laughably self-refuting.

... It is certainly no surprise that Christians are opposed to anything that relieves suffering in this world...

A statement that is flatly false on its face. I could go on, but it's not worth it.

Cordially,

40 posted on 02/27/2004 7:47:14 AM PST by Diamond
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To: ahadams2
ahadams2,

The sinful nature doctrine was the invention of Augustine, not found in any of the early church fathers before his sycretistic inclusion of those neo-Platonic and Manichean pagan ideas.

The doctrine cannot be found in Scripture without wholesale corruption of the plain meaning of all those passages which are used to support it. Having dominated the doctrinal teaching of Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, for so many centuries, there is hardly a Christian today who can read the Bible and understand it.

I do not have time to address the passage in Romans 7, which has nothing to do with a sinful nature, and only with the experience of one who has, "sold themselves into slavery to sin," (See John 8:34, Rom. 6:16) by choice.

Nor do I have time to address the great harm the sinful nature heresy does to the doctrines of the nature of sin itelf, the atonement, and salvation.

Since you mentioned the nature of Christ, another doctrine perverted by this heresy, I have addressed that issue directly by including part of a much earlier discussion I had about this question.

I have no intention of convincing you, only of demonstrating, I do not come by My opinions lightly.

Jesus' Nature

(From an early and agreeable online debate.)

I contended that the Bible teaches that Jesus had exactly the same kind of nature that we have, which would mean, if we have a sinful nature, Jesus had a sinful nature, which flatly contradicts Bible teaching.

My opponent made the following remark:

"After all, if He is exactly like you and He lived without sin it would mean you too could live a sinless life had you chosen right?"

The following is my response to that remark:

I did not say He was exactly like you or me. I said his human nature was exactly like all other human nature, because that is exactly what the Bible teaches.

Before I explain how this is true from the Scriptures, however, I want to say something about your contention that if our nature were exactly the same as Jesus' nature, it would mean we could live without sin. This, I believe is true. The Bible says, "all have sinned," but it does not say all are "made to sin," or, "caused to sin," (by their nature or anything else) because, in fact, if something "made" or "caused" someone to do anything, it would not be sin. The Bible always represents sin as something chosen, not caused or the result of something not chosen, like nature.

Christians falsely assume, if human beings did not have a sinful nature, they would not sin, and, furthermore, that they could save themselves. There is no reason to believe that, and the evidence is all to the contrary. Neither Adam or Eve were not born with a sinful nature. They both sinned without benefit of it. Neither Adam or Eve could save themselves, even though they were not born with a sinful nature. They sinned for the same reason and in the same way that every human being sins, they chose to, freely, and that is why they were guilty of it.

The point of Jesus having the very same kind of nature all human beings have and being tempted in exactly the same way all other human beings are is to prove the man could live without sin, but absolutely none will.

Now for the Scriptural proof:

Jesus All Man

Jesus was all man and all God. Any other view is considered heresy.

If His human nature, then, must be exactly the same as any other human being's nature. If it is not, he is not all man.

Calvinists are very close to holding the heresy that says Jesus was not really a man. But the Bible makes it clear that as a man, he had exactly the same nature we have.

Heb. 2:10-18 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Consider:

"For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one..." All one what? Why, one nature, of course, as is explained.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." The same what? Why, the same flesh and blood with the same nature, because if it had a different nature, it would not be the same flesh and blood.

"he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. See, he's talking about nature here and plainly states that nature is the nature inherited from the seed of Abraham. Some Christians make much of the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin, and since he had no human father, did not "inherit" the sinful nature. But this produces the peculiar idea that, somehow, the sinful nature is genetically, "sex-linked," which is absurd on the face of it, but denied in any case by the Scripture that specifically states the nature of Jesus was inherited from the "seed of Abraham," a male.

"in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." That's all things, including their nature, or it is not all things. If it did not include their nature, He would only have made like his brethren in "some" things.

This is exactly what is taught throughout Scripture. For example:

Rom. 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

Now compare this to:

Phil. 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

Here are two very interesting verses. They say Jesus was made "in the likeness of sinful flesh," and "in the likeness of men." Now you might want to get out of admitting the Bible teaches Jesus had the same kind of "sinful flesh" all other men have by claiming it says Jesus flesh was only "like" sinful flesh, but not really sinful flesh because is says "in the likeness of." If you do that, however, you are also going to have to say Jesus was only "like" a man, but not really a man because it says, "in the likeness of men." But of course you won't do that, because you know Jesus was a man and had exactly the same kind of nature all men have.

(Added note: The expression, "sinful flesh," does not mean that flesh, itself, is sinful, in its nature. If it did, Paul could not have used "love of flesh" as a picture of a man's love for his wife, or Christ's love for the church in Eph. 5:28-29, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. The words "carnal" and "flesh" refer to the fact that sin is yielding to temptation that comes from the physical desires. They that yield to desires against what they know is right are "carnally minded." Rom 8:7 "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" and, Rom. 8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.")

This is the whole point of Jesus temptation. If he was not tempted in exactly the same way we are, then it was a fake and meaningless. The point of His temptation was to demonstrate that we are guilty and have no excuse for sin, such as a sinful nature that makes us sin, or temptation being "too great" for us to resist which Scripture plainly denies: (1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.)

Heb. 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jas. 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

First, something about the word "lust." The word means "desire" and nothing more. It does not mean, as is commonly supposed, "sinful desire." It is the very same word used in Luke 22:15, "And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," and could have been correctly translated, "... with lust I have lusted to eat this passover with you...." The word used by James and translated "lust" is the very same word translated as "desire" in Luke 22.

With that understanding, we can see James is describing how all men are tempted. It begins with desire, not sinful or evil desire, but perfectly natural God-given desires like the desire for food, or beauty, or comfort. Now these are the source of temptation, but not always, and even when they are, they are not sin in themselves. It is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted.

The God-given natural desires for food, for beauty, for knowledge, and for pleasure were all desires Adam and Eve freely indulged and enjoyed in all the blessings of paradise without sin, nevertheless those same desires became the source of temptation when their object was the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Was there anything "sinful" about the desires for the food, beauty and wisdom the fruit of the tree offered? Of course not. Then how could indulging them be sin? Because indulging them required disobedience. The temptation consisted entirely of this: there was a perfectly natural desire for an object, there was the knowledge that particular object was forbidden, (and, therefore, that it would be wrong to fulfill that desire), and they had the ability to choose. It was temptation because, to not sin they had to choose what they knew was right against what they desired and wanted.

James explains that this is always how temptation works. Nothing has changed. All desires spring from our natural God-given desires. (We only here refer to the natural passions, not "intellectual" desire based on values and goals. In themselves, these can never alone be the source of temptation, that is, if there is no accompanying desire in the "feeling" sense.)

When the object of those perfectly natural God-given desires are those things which one may rightly enjoy, fulfilling them is not sin, and is in fact their purpose. When the object of those same natural desires is for something forbidden, fulfilling the very same desire becomes sin. It is not the desire that makes it sin, but the object, and the fact that it is forbidden. (Sexual desire within marriage and outside of marriage is a typical example. The very same desire fulfilled within marriage is blessed, outside of marriage is sin.)

It is necessary to make this clear if we are to understand that Jesus was tempted in every way exactly the same we are. If there is anything about our nature that makes temptation greater or different than it was before the fall, Jesus' nature must also have had this same difference, else he would not have been tempted, "in all points," and "like as we are." Since all desires spring from our natures, and all temptation is the result of desire, and Jesus was tempted in exactly the same way we are (or the whole thing is only a sham), He had to have the same kind of nature we have.

Finally we must examine this verse:

Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

I usually refrain from saying this, because it is so painfully obvious, I am embarrassed to have to point it out. But, I think it is needed here.

This passage is frequently used to show that man has a sinful nature based on the idea that death is the result of sin, and since death is the result of Adam's sin, and death has passed on to all men (we are mortal), than sin must have passed on to all men as well, in what is called the "sinful nature."

On the basis of this view, every human death is, supposedly, proof of the sinful nature. (I have actually seen this statement made.) Now, the obvious and absolute refutation of this is the fact that, JESUS DIED.

To die, Jesus, had to have the same kind of nature we have, that is, not sinful, but mortal.

Final Remarks

The original has the following remarks added:

Adam and Eve, and all the angels were created sinless, and Adam and Eve, and probably 1/3 of the angels sinned without benefit of a sinful nature.

After the fall, man became "physically" depraved, mortal, and subject to disease and easily inflamed desires in a world also under the curse. If man could not keep from sinning when in perfect health, in paradise, walking daily with God, why do you suppose he would be able to keep from sinning in the imperfect state he now finds himself in? Physical depravity is not sinful depravity. The animals also grow old and die, as even the world itself does, and we do not accuse them for it of having a sinful nature.

Temptation is not sin. After the fall, temptation became much greater than before, and Jesus suffered that same temptation, proving that a man could resist it if he chose to. However, Jesus is the only man who ever did resist it, and the only one that ever will choose to do so, if the Bible is true.

When I first discovered this Bible truth, and began to question so-called authorities, I was dismayed at the outright lies and deceit used to defend this sinful nature heresy. Nothing has changed.

I do not blame any Christian for believing in the sinful nature, it is what they are taught by those they trust. I do blame the teachers.

Hank

41 posted on 02/27/2004 8:13:02 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Red Boots; dukeman; Diamond
To love humanity is to love all parts of the human experience, which includes pain and suffering.

That seems an odd way to put it. I could understand loving humanity, meaning, wanting to relieve whatever pain and suffering humanity experiences, but to love them "with the pain and suffering," sure sounds like one is in favor of it.

So, please clear it up. What is your position on the WOD, are you for all the suffering it causes the innocent, or opposed to it?

Hank

42 posted on 02/27/2004 8:23:07 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
I think if you want someone to follow certain religious tenets, then it's not supposed to be too easy. I believe it has to be very hard to achieve, otherwise, you wouldn't get the awe that is associated with religious beliefs. Once you get someone to believe in certain things that are impossible to reproduce, then you have achieved the ability to get people to follow practically anything you say. Human nature has it that the harder you work for something, the more valuable it is...God put that little 'gotcha' in us. I believe part of human nature really wants to know there is something better, because we are afraid of death and the unknown. Christianity is my example because it's the one I'm most familiar with. If you can get people to believe in something like virgin birth, the Trinity, resurrection, walking on water, etc. then you can convince them of anything.

Personally, I have any number of thoughts on the concept of religion...one, if there is such a thing as original sin, then perhaps religion is the punishment...something to make man think and fight over, without ever getting an answer....two, it's just one of the ways God created for societies and mankind to function together....three, it could just be His little joke to give us something to do.

Myself, I think it's probably the same for everyone after death, because, when one tries to comprehend God, the universe, infinity...then our pitiful 70 or 80 years here on this planet, are extremely insignificant.

But of course, no one knows...it's all faith and hope. I don't think mankind is inherently good, or inherently evil, he just is the way God individually made us...part of His plan. So bottom line...I'm for humanity.
43 posted on 02/27/2004 8:39:22 AM PST by stuartcr
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To: Hank Kerchief
sorry but your revisionist theology does not sell here - I note your complete inability to answer to the simple quote from St. Paul I posted last evening. That speaks volumes in and of itself.

I do not hold revisionists such as yourself totally responsible for your cut and paste heresies since that's obviously all you've been taught (on the other hand, God judges each person individually, so you've still got a problem. I recommend that don't pretend you take the Bible as the inerrant Word of God written - it doesn't suit you and your own arguments destroy any such claim you might make.

sorry, no sale.
44 posted on 02/27/2004 9:49:30 AM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: ahadams2
I do not hold revisionists such as yourself totally responsible for your cut and paste heresies since that's obviously all you've been taught ...

Hardly. My theological background is Reformed and Lutheran, but I have studied all theologies in depth with the exception of the Eastern traditions. (Interestinly, the only "modern" theologian these teachings have any similarity to is Charles Finney, once very popular and successful, but, today mostly repudiated by all mainline denominations.) They are also accused of being Arminian, but Arminius also accepted a great deal of Augustine.

If you mean the Romans 7 passage, I did answer it. I suspect you did not read what I wrote, which, by the way, was "cut and paste" only from my own writing.

I am also hardly a revisionist. Augustine was the revisionist. I described what was taught before his heresies were introduced.

In any case, none of it matters to me, because I reject the whole lot of human bumbling called theology and all organized religions. There is not one that is rationally defendable, and they all admit it.

Hank

45 posted on 02/27/2004 10:17:36 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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To: Hank Kerchief
"There is not one that is rationally defendable, and they all admit it.

Not all. Genesis simply states that man has the capacity to know and choose between good and evil.

"The Passion of the Christ's theme is that suffering, not joy, is man's proper fate."

It does not. He came here to teach and some folks gave Him a hard time. He did not teach that suffering was a good thing. He sought and brought joy into the world and in Heaven.

46 posted on 02/27/2004 10:40:11 AM PST by spunkets
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: Hank Kerchief
LOL or to format that a bit better (due to my foolishness attempting to play with html):

I understand that you find this discussion frustrating, and perhaps some times, even foolish. The reason for that is because you do not have the Holy Spirit within you, and without His Presence there is no way to truly comprehend Jesus Christ.

It's really not all that strenuous though, all you have to do is surrender your life to the One Who came that we might have Life. He's calling to you, indeed He's near you even now - that uncomfortable feeling you have whenever you get into a discussion like this is that Still, Small Voice letting you know that the emptiness you so ardently defend need not remain empty forever.

Oh yes, the emptiness - I've been there myself and I know how that feels - when one finds one's self staring at the ceiling at 3 AM thinking 'is this all there is'. Indeed if you were not searching (and quite ardently, too) to fill that emptiness, you wouldn't even bother with posting to the Religion board.

The Good News is that this wretched fallen world is NOT all that exists - this is NOT 'all that there is'. There is a Loving God Who is both Willing and Able to Fill you with His Love and His Power, and all that is required is for you to accept Him, and allow Him into your life.

No it's not easy. Since being God, He demands that you meet Him on His terms, and that can take some struggle on your part since surrender to His Will by definition means letting go of your own. But He is right there next to you, even now, and He is more than Willing to Help you with that struggle - all you have to do is ask Him.

One of the amazing elements of His Love for you is that, although He Could, He will not force you to accept Him. Rather, He Waits for you to incline yourself in His direction - in fact He is the One (the only One) Who can Empower you to choose Him, and He is Willing to provide that Empowerment to you, whenever and where ever you are, right now.

Remember that neither your intellect nor your will are sufficient to deal with this issue, but God is right there, to Provide that which is needed, which you must have, in order that He might Save you. The decision is yours.

As Michael Card put it:

So come lose your life for a carpenter's son

For a 'madman who died for a dream'

And You'll have the faith His first followers had

And you'll feel the weight of the beam

So surrender the hunger to say you must know

Have the courage to say I believe

For the power of paradox opens your eyes

And blinds those who claim they can see

We in our ignorance thought we were wise

He played the fool and He opened our eyes

We in our weakness believed we were strong

He became helpless to show we were wrong

So we follow God's own Fool

For only the foolish can tell

Believe the unbelievable,

come be a fool as well

- Michael Card, "God's own Fool; or to put it more succinctly:




1 Corinthians 1:18-25 18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

20Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

22For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.



48 posted on 02/27/2004 11:39:48 AM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: ahadams2
due to misformatting on my part, I reposted #47 as #48 and asked the admin mods to pull #47.
49 posted on 02/27/2004 11:52:20 AM PST by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: ahadams2
I believe Jesus was born just like the rest of us...and he was a true man. I do not accept that, "God created humankind with free will and the ability to sin then demanded superlative perfection from this imperfect being that He created. Then God took on the guise of humanity in the form of Jesus in order to rescue His imperfect creation. "

I believe that we all sin...but that genuine repentence makes us right with God.

Thanks for your reply.
50 posted on 02/27/2004 12:49:41 PM PST by 1 spark (check out www.messiahtruth.com)
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