Posted: Apr 14, 2019 1:39 pm
by Rumraket
willhud9 wrote:
Rumraket wrote:
willhud9 wrote:Quite simply he states that moderate Christians aren’t exactly Christians because they cherry pick their verses.

Oh and, isn't that essentially right? Is there no end or limit to what a Christian can be? What is a Christian then, what does the word refer to? If there is no limit to how far one can depart from Christian scripture and yet remain a Christian, then it is a word without meaning. A category that has the potential to encompass literally everything. One could be an ISIS muslim, or an atheist, or not exist at all, and still be a Christian.
A Christian is someone who identifies as Christian.

So literally everyone can be a christian, they just need to say that about themselves. A category with no defining attribute besides the label itself.

willhud9 wrote:The difference of theological beliefs vary staggeringly between someone who identifies as Roman Catholic vs Southern Baptist vs Mormon vs. Presbyterian vs. Coptic vs. Unitarian.

It varies, sure. "Staggeringly" is subjective.

There are commonalities though. The most obvious is they're all theists who believe in a personal God. Then there's the Bible from which they either outright get most of their theological views, or inspires them. They might emphasize or downplay different parts. Generally there's a message of salvation and promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

willhud9 wrote:Which is why when atheists try to throw their lack of knowledge about theology to score “rationality points”

Can I win money with enough points? Where do I sign up?

willhud9 wrote: by saying Christians contradict each other, or Christian theology is full of contradictions, well no shit. There are so many view points, theological interpretations, etc. that you cannot possibly narrowly constrain or define Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, or many other major religions of the world.

How narrow is "narrowly"? You can certainly find areas of agreement and commonality. The bible is a good place to start.

Yeah, you can certainly narrowly define christianity, and the implication that it can really mean or be anything at all is both absurd and implausible. The fact that there are people who disagree doesn't make the claim that christianity is essentially defined as some collection of central theological claims, false. Just like the roundness of the Earth isn't contingent on some universal consensus.

You seem to have thrown yourself entirely into the camp that the mere fact of disagreement means nobody can be right or wrong on the matters of what some particular religion is or says. You don't have to think the religion is true to be able to see that somebody can be wrong about what the religion says.

willhud9 wrote:Which then makes the quest for the “moderate” Christian that much more unreasonable. Moderate as compared to what?

That makes zero logical sense. You're saying there is no such thing as a moderate, and that all interpreations are equally valid and plausible? Where does this end? Do you apply this standard consistently in all areas of your life?

willhud9 wrote: You have Christians who think the entire Bible is a book of wisdom but not God inspired.

You probably also have people who describe themselves as Christians, but who think the whole thing is both false and bullshit with a negative societal impact, but who keep their mouth shut and bow their heads and apologize for their mere existence just because they don't like to be confrontational and think religion is somehow a protected class socially exempt from criticism.

willhud9 wrote:You have Christians who believe in sola scriptura as if it’s infallbile. Two opposite sides of the spectrum. Why is one considered non-Christian and the other a Christian?

Well they claim to get those view from the Bible itself, so one could read it to see if that is in fact a plausible reading of what it says. You know, do actual Biblical study and scholarship. There are actual words in the damn thing, and those words do in fact mean something. And written words can in fact be misunderstood. That doesn't mean any and all interpretations are equally plausible or valid. Perhaps you disagree and think they are, but why should it be true of the Bible or religion, yet not true of other works of fiction? Is Voldemort actually in the Harry Potter books or not? Is there a fact of the matter about what Rowling wrote in the damn books, or meant to say, or is it maybe a book about gardening, coffee brewing, or astronomy?

With respect to the people who say the Bible is a book of wisdom, but not God-inspired, yet who would describe themselves as Christian, there is an obvious sociological explanation for this fact which does not entail the absurdity that Christianity can be anything and everything imaginable. They have taken this position because they feel at least in part it is less confrontational and have some sort of emotional connection either to the religion itself and therefore can't fully let it go, or with believing friends and family members. As an atheist I would obviously agree with them that the book isn't actually inspired by any God, and at least in some places contain some wisdom, but there is a fact of the matter about whether that is what the book claims for itself regardless of how many people we can find who disagree.

willhud9 wrote:Wouldn’t a moderate Christian therefore then be (at least if our basis was scriptural authority, like I said we could do this with any theological position) a Christian with a blend of beliefs?

You are confusing what happens, culturally and sociologically, with what the definition of a Christian actually is orr should be. The fact that there is a discrepancy between any one of many possible definitions of Christanity, and how Christianity manifests through it's adherents still doesn't mean we have to consider all possible definitions of Christianity equally valid, plausible, or sensible.

I get why you would want to do that for it's apparent non-confrontationalism and spirit of solidarity and coexistence. That doesn't mean it's actually true.

willhud9 wrote: Genesis is believed to be poetry. Moderates don’t believe God literally created the Earth the way described in the beautiful prose of Genesis.

Yes and we know why. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Genesis started to be reinterpreted as allegory, metaphor, or "poetry" when it became clear it was bullshit. This way it can still be true without conflicting with science if we just take all the words to mean something else than what they normally mean. So a desire to preserve Biblical inerrancy is overruling accepting that the book contain falsehoods, even for moderates.

willhud9 wrote: But they do believe in the authority the Gospels may have in recording Jesus’s words/teachings or Pauline theology. Therefore they take those passages, and verses with more seriousness. That’s not cherry picking.

What a strange statement. They don't ignore genesis, instead they just reinterpret it, so they're not cherrypicking. Perhaps in that instance they're not. Ask them about Deuteronomy 13:6-16, or about laying with a man as if you would with a woman. And dusins of other grotesque examples of cruelty, and suddenly it's a book of wisdom and a book of... wisdom for another time that we can now today conveniently ignore and forget because it was just totally meant for another time. So it's not cherrypicking. It's something else, but it isn't cherrypicking. It's totally valid, we need to respect the moderates.

Let's all bow our heads in shame, apologize for our atheist militarism, and spread our buttcheeks.

willhud9 wrote:There is no instruction manual for Biblical hermeneutics to say accept all of this or none of this.

There certainly isn't, and as an atheist I would use that argument to undermine the plausibilty of the religion as truly being inspired by an omnipotent God. You'd think such an entity could communicate more clearly. But this is not to say that none of it can be made sense of, and that therefore all readings are equally plausible and valid. They aren't. And we know perfectly good sociological and psychological explanations for why some messages are reinterpreted and others aren't, and still others are forgotten or ignored. Because they conflict with surrounding culture, and with science, or with the readers own views and emotions. That really just mean we can actually some times say that someone is in fact wrong about how they understand it.