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The Absolute Power of Christianity!

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posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 02:24 PM
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Originally posted by saint4God
The Bible defines who is and is not a Christian just like the dictionary determines what is an electron.


Yet neither the Bible nor the dictionary are the authority on these definitions. The dictionary is a record of commonly accepted language, not the source of it. The source is those who use it.

If the Bible is the authority on what is a Christian, then clearly there were no Christians prior to the Bible, right? You accept the Bible as authority, I don't. It isn't my place to deny someone that title if they choose it. I could care less whether you deny it of them.




posted on Oct, 14 2005 @ 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham
If the Bible is the authority on what is a Christian, then clearly there were no Christians prior to the Bible, right?


That would be correct sir.


Originally posted by spamandham
You accept the Bible as authority, I don't. It isn't my place to deny someone that title if they choose it. I could care less whether you deny it of them.


Fair enough. I'll not sit here quietly when someone claims the title falsely. Surely you could understand how I feel if someone in your presence calls themselves a scientist and is not one. Or is a compassionate person and is not one. Or is an honest person and is not one. Etc.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 06:48 AM
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Originally posted by ShakyaHeir

Originally posted by junglejake

Stop forcing your beliefs on us

We've all heard it on here and in our day to day lives. Christianity, by being in the public square, is forcing its views on people. I find the use of the word "force" very interesting.



posted by ShakyaHeir: I think what people really mean when they use the word “force” is that Christians are always trying to “save” non-Christians by converting them to Christianity because they feel that if they don’t their God will send all those unsaved people (regardless of their morality, spirituality, or karma) to Hell.


My understanding is that God doesn't send a person to hell, that person goes to hell because he/she does not want to be with God for all eternity....so makes his/her own choice for hell.


posted by ShakyaHeir
Some of us would rather be good people for the sake of being good, rather than the fear of punishment for being evil.
I believe we all can agree with this statement. My understanding is that Christians are "good" because they do not want to hurt or disappoint God.




posted by ShakyaHeir: Because we can clearly see by the examples I’ve given that many people think they are receiving messages from God or carrying out “God’s will”. Though it’s unclear who’s getting messages from the “real” God, and who’s just hearing voices (or as Christians would put it “Satan’s lies”) in their head.

If one of these people is not hearing God, then isn’t it possible that they all (including you) aren’t? And if a few people really are hearing God then isn’t it possible that God can talk to everyone? Or does God only talk to Christians (even the ones that bomb abortion clinics)?
Again, it is my understanding that we are to compare "voices in our heads" etc. to scripture. If we are Christian we have a belief in Jesus and His words and commands as listed in the New Testament. If these "voices" are telling us to do something contrary to what Jesus has said, then we can be assured they are not from our God, the God Christians worship.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 08:01 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God

Originally posted by spamandham
If the Bible is the authority on what is a Christian, then clearly there were no Christians prior to the Bible, right?


That would be correct sir.


I think Paul and the several Christian churches that existed around ~50 CE would disagree with you, but you're welcome to whatever definition you choose since the definition is widely contended.


Originally posted by saint4God
Fair enough. I'll not sit here quietly when someone claims the title falsely.


Why should you? You have the same right as I to promote the definition you think is best.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham
I think Paul and the several Christian churches that existed around ~50 CE would disagree with you, but you're welcome to whatever definition you choose since the definition is widely contended.


How can there be Christians before Christ? The Bible's writings started well before his time. It's a descriptive label and means nothing unless one actually follows the teachings of Christ as the name suggests.


Originally posted by saint4God
Why should you? You have the same right as I to promote the definition you think is best.


Thank you for that. It's a nice lift to hear someone advocate intelligent evaluation and discussion.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 07:19 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God
How can there be Christians before Christ?


Obviously from my perspective, there still hasn't been a Christ, yet there are Christians. However, even from the typical Christian perspective, the Bible did not exist until the ~4th century. Paul's writings are the earliest in the NT and date to ~50/60 CE. Prior to that, how could anyone have claimed to be a Christian since the Bible (OT+NT) had not been written yet, nor had any of the writings in the New Testament even been penned?

[edit on 16-10-2005 by spamandham]

[edit on 16-10-2005 by spamandham]



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
Obviously from my perspective, there still hasn't been a Christ, yet there are Christians. However, even from the typical Christian perspective, the Bible did not exist until the ~4th century. Paul's writings are the earliest in the NT and date to ~50/60 CE. Prior to that, how could anyone have claimed to be a Christian since the Bible (OT+NT) had not been written yet, nor had any of the writings in the New Testament even been penned?


I'm not sure I understand. I haven't read anywhere in the Bible that says "you must have the label 'Christian' to get to heaven". The requirement is in John 3:16. I'm sure there are lots of Followers of the Way or whathaveyou who met these qualifications. Jesus spoke John 3:16 well before Paul's writings. Even further, I'm sure there were many who believe Christ to be the son of God before he stated this requirement. The title "Christian" means nothing unless one accepts John 3:16 as truth.



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 09:23 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God
I'm not sure I understand. I haven't read anywhere in the Bible that says "you must have the label 'Christian' to get to heaven". The requirement is in John 3:16.


This subdiscussion came from your claim that there were no Christians prior to the Bible. I'll take this response as a recant of that claim.



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
This subdiscussion came from your claim that there were no Christians prior to the Bible. I'll take this response as a recant of that claim.


If your goal was to confuse me, consider it achieved
. I don't know what claim is being recanted. Would anyone else like to clarify this for me?



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 04:06 PM
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Before the Gospel, the biography of Christ's ministry and His Passion, there were no Christians. After He was crucified for us, there still were no "Christians", but a sect of Judaism. It was not until about 150 AD that the followers of the Christ began to refer to themselves no longer as Jews, but as Christians. The gospels were already written at that point, as were the epistles Paul wrote to the various churches in the area, and the other epistles, as well. They were, at the time, considered the basics of Christianity, and, with the exception of 7 of them, were accepted immediately into the "canon". It wasn't for several years of deliberation that the other 7 books were added. The 4 gospels were not included among those 7 books, though. They were accepted because many teachers had them memorized (as it was a largely illiterate people at the time, and they focused on memorization of the gospels, rather than writing them down).

So there really were no "Christians" before about 150AD, but there were people being saved. Salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ, not a title you give yourself or your fellow group of believers.



posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 09:33 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
So there really were no "Christians" before about 150AD, but there were people being saved. Salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ, not a title you give yourself or your fellow group of believers.


Act 11:25-26
And he (Barnabus) went forth to Tarsus to seek for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people, and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

It would seem the term "christian" (christianos in the Greek) was first used when Barnabas went to Antioch to find Paul, which according to 12:1, was during the reign of Herod.

12:1
Now about that time Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church.

It doesn't say which Herod, but we'll assume Herod Antipas (4BCE to 39 CE) rather than Herod the Great (37 BCE to 4CE). So, if we accept this portion of Acts at face value, that means the term "christian" was in use no later than 39 CE, which preceeds even Paul's writings by a good 10 or more years. Come to think of it, it is rather interesting that neither Paul nor the Gospel writers used the term "christian", yet Acts claims it was in use (at Antioch with Paul no less!) no later than 39CE. Hmmmm.
[lifting pinky to mouth in best Dr. Evil impersonation at the realization the evil athiest spam may have just stumbled across yet another argument against the veracity of Acts]

Not only do we have multiple churches prior to 39CE (according to the Bible), but the term "christian" had been coined by then as well.

I don't accept these claims at face value, but for those who put stock in the history the Bible contains, you must accept that there were Christians before any of the entries in the New Testament had even been penned.

I really don't see why even the most fundamentalist Christian (other than KJV inerrantists) would have an issue with Christians existing prior to the penning of the New Testament. Surely you realize the penning of the books of the New Testament was not the first time anyone thought about Christ or Christianity dont you? Don't you?



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 06:49 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
Act 11:25-26


Thanks spamandham for having me open my Book again. Yep, says Christians in my Book.

Thanks also to JungleJake, I really am enjoying this part of the exchange in particular. You've made a really good point about oral memorization tradition. That's hard to conceptualize since we're so socialogically technology-dependent that we can't remember to take our keys out of the car when we exit unless there's a "dinging" noise to remind us.


Originally posted by spamandham
Surely you realize the penning of the books of the New Testament was not the first time anyone thought about Christ or Christianity dont you? Don't you?


Who knows? I'd say most likely it was used post-gospels, pre-Acts penning or the beginning of Acts. Kinda splitting hairs though. As in, who c(hair)s? Just my perspective though.

As interestingly informative as this debate is, Bible-bickering (my new term ^_^) is fun and fine for a bible study group, but won't help anyone experience the absolute power of Christianity. That is, in receiving the gift of eternal life. I don't know about anyone else, but that's what I was interested in B.C. (



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 09:39 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God
As interestingly informative as this debate is, Bible-bickering (my new term ^_^) is fun and fine for a bible study group, but won't help anyone experience the absolute power of Christianity.


Perhaps, but I'm not here to help anyone experience that. I'm here to help people experience critical thinking (myself included), and to expose my views to those who oppose them, to see if they can be torn down. This exchange about the usage of the term "christian" ended up adding another entry to the argument against the veracity of Acts. These exchanges can be productive even if they are focused on minutia.

It still boggles my mind that you don't accept the existence of christians prior to the penning of the New Testament. Did the writers of the New Testament know what they were writing, or was god moving their hands for them?



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
Perhaps, but I'm not here to help anyone experience that. I'm here to help people experience critical thinking (myself included), and to expose my views to those who oppose them, to see if they can be torn down.


To each their own goals I guess, whether purposeful or pointless.


Originally posted by spamandham
This exchange about the usage of the term "christian" ended up adding another entry to the argument against the veracity of Acts.


I see you've presented a good argument as to why the term Christianity is older than JJ says. I also see that you've helped me validate using the term "Christian" to describe my beliefs (I couldn't recall if the term was in the Bible or not right away). But, still don't see how the word being in Acts is agrues anything against the Bible's veracity.


Originally posted by spamandham
These exchanges can be productive even if they are focused on minutia.


Well, if you're getting something out of it, I guess it's worthwhile then.


Originally posted by spamandham
It still boggles my mind that you don't accept the existence of christians prior to the penning of the New Testament.


I didn't say that. I said I don't see where there were people labeled Christians before the verse you cited. Personally I don't care what people are "called", I care about who they are.


Originally posted by spamandham
Did the writers of the New Testament know what they were writing, or was god moving their hands for them?


Woot!
Now you're getting into a discussion I'd really enjoy being engaged in. I'll hold my answer for a bit, to see if we get other replies.



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 10:23 AM
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Thanks, Spamandham, for pointing that out. The date I offered was a shot from the cuff guesstimate of about when Nero reigned, and boy was I off! Thanks for calling me on that, every once in a while I need a reminder to research before I speak.

Considering Nero blamed "Christians" for the fire in Rome, we can assume the sect of Jews that believed in the Messiah were known as Christians by 64 AD.

To be clear, Christians, as we know them today, existed three days after Christ was executed. However, the term "Christian" came later, because at the time it was the impression of Christ's followers that this was just another phase of Judaism. My statement before was going from memory something I had read a while back. After reading what spam had posted, I've come to realize I really don't know when the term "Christian" was coined. I do know, though, that it came before 64 AD because Nero did blame the Christians and began what many Christians believe the apocalypse from the Revelations book.

But really, why does it matter when the term Christian was coined?



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 10:56 AM
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Originally posted by saint4God
I see you've presented a good argument as to why the term Christianity is older than JJ says. I also see that you've helped me validate using the term "Christian" to describe my beliefs (I couldn't recall if the term was in the Bible or not right away). But, still don't see how the word being in Acts is agrues anything against the Bible's veracity.


Because, Acts claims that the term was coined while Paul was present, in the early days of Christianity before any of the New Testament was written. Yet, neither Paul nor the Gospel writers used the term. Does it really make sense that this term would be invented circa 39CE, and be forgotten by the men who coined it, only to be remembered 100 years later?


Originally posted by saint4God
I didn't say that. I said I don't see where there were people labeled Christians before the verse you cited.


Ok. I misunderstood then.



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 10:59 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
But really, why does it matter when the term Christian was coined?


It's not critically important, unless of course we discover it was coined earlier than 30CE.



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
Because, Acts claims that the term was coined while Paul was present, in the early days of Christianity before any of the New Testament was written. Yet, neither Paul nor the Gospel writers used the term. Does it really make sense that this term would be invented circa 39CE, and be forgotten by the men who coined it, only to be remembered 100 years later?


No, but I'm missing the part about where there's a problem with the term benig coined in 39AD or when Acts was written. The way it was written suggests the term had been around for a little while. I don't know this for certain, but I'd say the term Christian was a sub-set of Judaism until traditional jews rejected that they were a part of Judaism at all and just referred to them a Christians thereafter. I say this because the Epistles speak of the rejection of Christianity among more traditional Jews. All speculation though, I don't think anyone can say for sure.


Originally posted by saint4God
Ok. I misunderstood then.


No worries, I know I've had a few disconnects trying to follow this particular topic myself.



posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 10:08 AM
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Sorry about the delay on the inconsistancies. I've been rather cranky while quitting smoking (again
) and realized something this week...When I'm angry, bitter, cranky, and crabby, I seem to focus more on politics and less on God...In a good mood, my focus is on God...Anyone else notice this?



posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
Sorry about the delay on the inconsistancies. I've been rather cranky while quitting smoking (again
) and realized something this week...When I'm angry, bitter, cranky, and crabby, I seem to focus more on politics and less on God...In a good mood, my focus is on God...Anyone else notice this?


Hehe, I think I've been considered more rammy than you JJ, but I think it's because people can only see my words and not the tone of voice. I'm not intending to sound cuttish at all, but I am one to be very direct. As far as smoking and politics, I think they're both habits we can live without AND you can go to God for help. Absolute power of Christianity



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