You must be born again.
Posted: 16 July 2009 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Have you ever met a Christian who wanted to be born again?  If you question them on this you will find out that, to the last man and woman, they don’t want to be born again.  They want, and expect to continue forever - the same as they are now - the same name, same memories, same relatives, same everything.  OK, maybe become young again, learn how to play the harp, and slough off some obnoxious habits, but born completely fresh and new?  Niet!  Being born again as a completely new individual is the last thing they want.  Me forever!

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 18 July 2009 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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unsmoked - 16 July 2009 06:11 PM

Have you ever met a Christian who wanted to be born again?  If you question them on this you will find out that, to the last man and woman, they don’t want to be born again.  They want, and expect to continue forever - the same as they are now - the same name, same memories, same relatives, same everything.  OK, maybe become young again, learn how to play the harp, and slough off some obnoxious habits, but born completely fresh and new?  Niet!  Being born again as a completely new individual is the last thing they want.  Me forever!

Born of the spirit, silly! Born of the SPIRIT (John 3:5-6)!!! The idea is that they can still be the same individual…..“me forever”.....as a spirit version of themselves, after the body version dies off. Get it?

Then they can place their harp right next to their electric guitar in their bedroom closet in their “mansion”, adjacent to their nightstand, upon which you will find pictures of their relatives (human AND spirit). Then, after a good night’s sleep, they can float around all day, hovering over streets of gold, reminiscing with their “spirit-born” friends about that one time on earth when they got drunk and pissed into the gas tank of their neighbor’s purple Miata.

According to John, Jesus basically said that we were “born of water” into our flesh, so now we need to hurry up and be “born of the spirit” before the flesh dies off. This makes “me forever” possible. John wrote it in his book, so it must be true….. wink

[ Edited: 18 July 2009 09:01 AM by Josh]
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Posted: 18 July 2009 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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TEMPTATION

Thanks Josh, that clarifies it.  When I was born of the flesh (95 percent water?) it took me about three years to ‘come to’, that is, wake up.  When Christians are born again in the spirit, do you think they ‘come to’ immediately?  Out of those first three years I do have two memories.  One is of several cows rushing down the hallway (called the ‘close’ in Britain), and one of throwing my empty milk bottle out of the crib, crashing it on the opposite wall - no doubt an act of civil disobedience, demonstrating against bottle feeding of infants.

Now, you might think that the cow thing is just a childhood dream, but later, when fully cognizant as a five-year-old, I saw it happen again several times.  Apparently the farmer’s dog couldn’t pass up a particular lamppost without stopping to pee on it and the cows took advantage of the moment to bolt into our close.  Once through the close and into the backyard you can imagine the mayhem of broken clothes lines, tangled sheets and underwear, dad’s best shirt trampled, whistles and shouts, the dog giving it his best shot, my mother swinging a carpet beater.  No dinner for the dog that night.  He was born again . . . but still . . . next time . . . that lamppost . . .

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 07 August 2009 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Sorry for the bump but after reading Bart Ehrman’s latest book I have to chime in.

The whole “born again” deal comes from a passage from John 3:3 where Jesus and Nicodemus have a conversation in which Jesus tells him that he must be born again. Remember that the New Testament is written in Greek. The Greek word translated “again” actually has two meanings: it can mean “a second time” or “from above” (John 19:11,23). Jesus appears to be using the latter, but Nicodemus misunderstands him and replies, “How can I crawl back into my mother’s womb?” Jesus corrects him: he isn’t talking about a second physical birth, but a heavenly birth, from above. So why is all this important to bring up? It’s important because this double entendre only works in the Greek; absent a double entendre, the conversation makes little sense. But remember that Jesus and Jewish leaders wouldn’t have been speaking Greek, but rather Aramaic. The double entendre doesn’t work in Aramaic since the word for “from above” does not also mean “second time.” So it looks as though this conversation couldn’t have happened—at least not as it is described in the Gospel of John.

So even if one removes all of the supernatural stories, this doesn’t mean that the non-supernatural stories are accurate history since there is textual analysis such as the one above that lends testimony to why there is room to doubt even events that could happen in real life.

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Posted: 07 August 2009 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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queefsr4quitters - 07 August 2009 03:30 PM

Sorry for the bump but after reading Bart Ehrman’s latest book I have to chime in.

The whole “born again” deal comes from a passage from John 3:3 where Jesus and Nicodemus have a conversation in which Jesus tells him that he must be born again.

It’s interesting to contrast the Christian ideas about being born again with passages in Zen literature.  Time after time Zen masters talk about ‘getting beyond birth and death.’

Most people live somewhere along the ‘line of being alive’, the line of time that connects their birth to their death.  Stepping off of that line makes no sense to them whatsoever.  That line, is the ME, - the personal self, our collection of memories and idiosyncrasies, habits, opinions, etc.

It’s fairly easy to see that ants don’t have this ME, or a personal self.  They don’t have birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates etc.  We can see them as cells in the larger body of ‘anthood.’  When one dies, the larger body of anthood continues.

Most of us would be horrified at the idea of becoming like an ant.  For us, ME is the beginning and the end - birth and death.  Zen masters say, “We just guide those with affinity,” meaning, those who suspect that ME is a kind of chimera spawned by the evolution of self-consciousness.

Although we are horrified at the thought of becoming ‘antlike’, we unabashedly seek relief from ‘the tyranny of the ME’ by getting absorbed in our work, by getting absorbed with sex, sports, religion, politics, movies, reading, etc. or by blitzing the brain with alcohol or drugs etc.  Very few are interested in quietly watching the ME in action and coming to understand what it is - experimenting to see if we really have to be victimized by its never-ending moods, desires, ambitions, fears etc. 

Practically every remark of a Zen master is an invitation to watch the monkeyshines of the ME - an invitation to step aside from all the angst, all the sound and fury of the thought process.  With careful scientific observation of one’s own thinking habits it’s possible to see the ME as a computer program that has given itself an identity and become the master instead of the servant.

[ Edited: 08 August 2009 10:58 AM by unsmoked]
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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 07 August 2009 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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If you aren’t a Christian and never have been, were you born the first time? Must you have been born into the Christian faith or been baptized for the first time to count? In which case, if you converted to Christianity, you must be born again and again and again. In which case, you have now become a Hindu ... a pharoah if you think you can take it all with you. Which begs the question, how many deaths do we get?

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“This is it. You are it.”


- Jos. Campbell

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