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Christian freedom - an oxymoron?
Posted: 02 May 2007 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to .... proclaim liberty to the captives .... to set at liberty those who are oppressed." Luke 4:18

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." John 1:12

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31-32

"And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:35-36

"No longer do I call you servants .... but I have called you friends ..." John 15:15

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

Christianity is not perceived by many people (Christian or non-Christian) as a religion of freedom, mainly due to the very poor job his followers have done.  In fact, the Bible presents Christ as coming bring freedom from all the things that enslave us - from the spiritual to the physical.  The subject of this thread is "Christian freedom - an oxymoron?" I will keep my initial post short and simple. I am interested in knowing how atheists with past associations with Christianity react to the concept of Christian freedom.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]Wouldn’t you have to exterminate both ideologies, since they are both incompatible - with each other?

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Exterminate it in yourself. You say you come here to discuss your “faith”. I disagree. You come here to announce it. I say it’s hogwash, but you do not seem to want to understand why I say that. The thing that is really detestable about your approach is that you are not interested in other people’s views. You are here to tell me what your faith means to you. And along the way, you step over the line and, for example, say things which suggest you know what is in other people’s minds. Christianity contaminates your discourse from the inside out. You are unable to avoid sending these messages. Of course, you’re free to express yourself, but you are not free to demand sympathy. You’re free to announce your faith, and we’re free to reject it. What’s the point? Are you trying to expel some psychological turd from your brain? To squeeze out the next repetition of what your faith in God commands you to do?

You regularly cross the line to telling us what your faith in God commands us to do. You converse too much in first person plural.

In my view, we all give an account to the Judge at the end.

As we learn to live in this new nature in which the image of God has been restored, we learn to use our freedom in a way that is consistent with the nature of God, which is love. I know that freedom terrifies you, but you have nothing to fear from me.

The fact that you say we, we, we, all the way home is what terrifies me.

In fact, the Bible presents Christ as coming bring freedom from all the things that enslave us - from the spiritual to the physical.

Oops. There you go again. You seem incapable of simply presenting your faith without including me in it. That and that alone is what offends me. Christianity, whatever your conception of its freedom, is the most disgusting ideology on the planet. Not the most dangerous, maybe, but surely the most disgusting, if only for its transcendent smarminess.

Speaking in the first person plural is nohow about freedom.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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You poop on every concept imaginable:
You pervert the concept of freedom, you have not the slightest idea what love is (to you, it is just another four letter word), neither philosophically or in your personal life, and you are logically unhinged.

Cave-men like you should be removed from ordinary social discourse, since by your very presence, you disrupt it.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Christianity is a religion of slaves. Always has been.

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All Christians should be sent to heaven immediately.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]You seem incapable of simply presenting your faith without including me in it.

You’re right. Apparently I can’t. I’ve tried and failed. Maybe it’s the nature of the faith, maybe it’s just me. I can’t seem to avoid universalizing it. It is something wonderful to me, and personal, so I guess I just can’t discuss it objectively. I’m sad that something that seems so beautiful to me seems so ugly to you. But, c’est la vie and que sera, sera.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]You seem incapable of simply presenting your faith without including me in it.

You’re right. Apparently I can’t. I’ve tried and failed. Maybe it’s the nature of the faith, maybe it’s just me. I can’t seem to avoid universalizing it. It is something wonderful to me, and personal, so I guess I just can’t discuss it objectively. I’m sad that something that seems so beautiful to me seems so ugly to you. But, c’est la vie and que sera, sera.

Child molestors have the same problem.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Jefe”]Since the underlaying premise behind the religion is submission and surrender to god (YHWH or Yeshuah) I will simply agree that christianity is not about freedom.

As a social construct, like any other religion, it promotes in-group/out-group mentalities, is prone to dogmatic ignorance, and bases its ‘truth’ on ‘unknowable, unmeasurable, unfathomable, unobservable, undiscoverable, inviolate, invisible, inscrutable mythological figureheads’.  These items all add up to a group-illusion that does not stand up under scrutiny.

Don’t we have to submit and surrender to SOMETHING in order to be free? Isn’t it just a matter of what we submit and surrender to?  We submit to parents to gain the freedom to grow up; we submit to teachers to gain the freedom of knowledge; we submit to the law to gain the freedom that comes from order and safety; we submit to each other to gain the freedom that comes from cooperation in any worthy enterprise.  Why would it seem antithetical to the concept of freedom to submit to a supreme being (if he exists)?  If he himself is free (as free as an absolute monarch can be), would he not be the primary resource for ultimate freedom?  If your “mind is not for rent, to any god or government”, then you are a slave to yourself, even though you consider yourself a today’s Tom Sawyer.  You have cut yourself off from liberation by any exterior entity, whether divine or human.  I think every man needs a Moses to lead him through his own Red Sea.  It’s just a matter of who the leader/prophet/master will be.  “You gotta serve somebody” as the Poet said.

If I do have to serve somebody, Jesus is the best option. He promises freedom, along with a multitude of fringe benefits.  Just tonight, in a worship service, I experienced the euphoria again - the inward, liberating euphoria of his presence. So for me personally, Christianity is freedom.  What I think Stephen Hawking experienced in his moment of weightlessness, I experience inwardly in communion with God.  We all need to be liberated from our wheelchairs from time to time.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
Don’t we have to submit and surrender to SOMETHING in order to be free? Isn’t it just a matter of what we submit and surrender to?

God’s free, right?

So what does God submit to?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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In this short thread, Christians have been compared to cavemen and slaves. I don’t follow. Are slaves lesser beings because they have been enslaved. You sound like slave owners. Secondly why do cave men get such a bad reputation. Its not like any of us invented the technology that gives us the comfort we enjoy. I mean we may have more information then the ancients but do you really believe we are smarter. We should cherish the caveman as an envirofriendly ancestor and not malign him as a misogynistic brute. Hurrah cavemen Hurrah beer.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”] I mean we may have more information then the ancients but do you really believe we are smarter.

Yes.  Cavemen didn’t have public education.

And this sounds like a good excuse to repeat my favorite line from the best Rock Opera ever:

[quote author=“Judas”]Why’d you choose such a backward time in such a strange land?
If you’d come today you could have reached a whole nation.  Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication.

[quote author=“frankr”] Hurrah cavemen Hurrah beer.

Hurrah beer indeed.  But let’s leave the drunken ramblings to the professionals (e.g., Christopher Hitchens).

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”][quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
Don’t we have to submit and surrender to SOMETHING in order to be free? Isn’t it just a matter of what we submit and surrender to?

God’s free, right?

So what does God submit to?

Remember, God (under my view) is triune - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  God IS a relationship, and God submits to himself - The Son to the Father, the Spirit to the Son, etc.  God IS a relationship of mutual voluntary submission; i.e., God is love.

And Israel in 4 BC didn’t need any mass communication - the Bible is still the best seller of all time, so the message got out.  All Israel heard it, and now all the world has heard it. Don’t you get me wrong, don’t you get me wrong - He is the Superstar.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
Remember, God (under my view) is triune - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  God IS a relationship, and God submits to himself - The Son to the Father, the Spirit to the Son, etc.  God IS a relationship of mutual voluntary submission; i.e., God is love.

Submission to oneself is not submission.  Feeling like I am submitting is not the same as submitting.  Wittgenstein . . . . . . Oh, never mind.

And Israel in 4 BC didn’t need any mass communication - the Bible is still the best seller of all time, so the message got out.  All Israel heard it, and now all the world has heard it.

And now the world has interpreted it in thousands of different ways (most of them wrong, according to you).  If Jesus had come today, he could have his own show (probably not on FOXNews, He’s too liberal).

Don’t you get me wrong, don’t you get me wrong - He is the Superstar.

[quote author=“Judas”]But every word you say today gets twisted round some other way.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”][quote author=“waltercat”][quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
Don’t we have to submit and surrender to SOMETHING in order to be free? Isn’t it just a matter of what we submit and surrender to?

God’s free, right?

So what does God submit to?

Remember, God (under my view) is triune - Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  God IS a relationship, and God submits to himself - The Son to the Father, the Spirit to the Son, etc.  God IS a relationship of mutual voluntary submission; i.e., God is love.

And Israel in 4 BC didn’t need any mass communication - the Bible is still the best seller of all time, so the message got out.  All Israel heard it, and now all the world has heard it. Don’t you get me wrong, don’t you get me wrong - He is the Superstar.

Bruce, you clearly have found what you consider to be your spiritual home and I say good for you.  But the way you post, you make it sound as if that is the only one there is.  What is your view on Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and other religions?  Are they misguided, dead wrong, foolish followers of false faiths?  Or do you acknowledge these other religions as legitimate spiritual paths as well?  And if so, what about the philosophical and metaphysical paths?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]Submission to oneself is not submission.  Feeling like I am submitting is not the same as submitting.  Wittgenstein . . . . . . Oh, never mind.

Now, don’t give up on me. If you have a Wittgenstein insight that is relevant, give it to me.  What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happenin.

[quote author=“Judas”]But every word you say today gets twisted round some other way.

Yeah, but I know how to love him, and he is not just a man.  (I’m sure this can get twisted round).

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”] Bruce, you clearly have found what you consider to be your spiritual home and I say good for you.  But the way you post, you make it sound as if that is the only one there is.  What is your view on Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and other religions?  Are they misguided, dead wrong, foolish followers of false faiths?  Or do you acknowledge these other religions as legitimate spiritual paths as well?  And if so, what about the philosophical and metaphysical paths?

Hi Burt - I have profound respect for your insightful posts. I am in no position to judge another person’s religious, metaphysical, spiritual experience or lack thereof. I only know what I have experienced. But if I decide that I am going to follow Jesus, then I’m going to follow him as completely as I can in my limited capacity. That means accepting his teachings. Assuming that the NT gives an accurate record of his teachings (and it is the only record I have), then Jesus himself tells me that he is the only way. So I accept that teaching.  I have had no experience with the gods of the Muslims, Hindus, etc., so I “dance with who brung me.” However, I am not going to condemn anyone else for having a different faith than me, or no faith at all.  The only thing I think I know about God is what I think/believe he has revealed to me, so I have no basis for judging others.  I don’t acknowledge that other religions/philosophies are on the same level as Christianity, but I don’t condemn those who follow other paths, because I only know what I think/believe has been revealed ot me. Everyone has to walk according to the light she/he has.  Ultimately, we are at the mercy of whatever entity is “out there” to reveal him/her/itself to us. So far, the only one who has made any contact with me (in my interpretation of my subjective experience) is Jesus - so he’s the Man.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”][quote author=“waltercat”]Submission to oneself is not submission.  Feeling like I am submitting is not the same as submitting.  Wittgenstein . . . . . . Oh, never mind.

Now, don’t give up on me. If you have a Wittgenstein insight that is relevant, give it to me.  What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happenin.

Ludwig will have to wait for tomorrow. 

I need sleep and also to consult my Philosophical Investigations  Maybe I’ll confront him in my sleep and ask, Show me just a little of your omnipresent brain.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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