The Young Man & Jesus – Commandments Questions?

Did not the man ask what else does he need to do to get into heaven and stated that he followed all of the laws?” (Xander)

Interesting question actually. Maybe the kid didn’t know heaven was a possibility (Sadducee’s didn’t believe it for example)? But what was he asking:

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” (Matt 19:16)

He wanted to earn his way into heaven or thought there was some trick to this process – like ‘one thing’ he could to do ensure his entrance into eternity.

Jesus’ answer “And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt 19:17)

Jesus makes this crystal clear here: (a) God is the only good One (not himself); (b) keep (follow) the commandments to ensure eternity

The young man admits to following the commandments but then asks “what am I still lacking?” (Matt 19:20)

Jesus’ response ““If you wish to be complete/perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt 19:21)

If the young man wishes to be ‘complete or perfected’ in his journey – sell it all, give it away (to the poor), and then invites him to join his group that is doing the same. What will he receive if he does this? Treasures/rewards in that eternity.

Matt 19:22 “But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property

I think the young man knew the trade-off – riches now or later – and this was not worth the risk. In essence, his reaction shows he did not follow the commandments of God – at least – not completely (but partially) and the main one’s he admits to following in the passage may have been the very one’s he was breaking – including: murder, adultery, theft, lying (perjury), dishonoring his parents, and not loving his neighbor.

Why did Jesus pick those laws (has to be a reason)? Maybe this person was ripping off people or hurting them to gather his wealth.

Two Interpretation Epiphany’s

Wherever there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air, Look for me ma’, I’ll be there.” (Rage Against the Machine – Ghost of Tom Joad)

Compared to…

“‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’” (Matt 25:40)

It dawned on me after listening to RATM and working out what Jesus was saying the parable of the sheep and the goats. It seems to me Jesus is saying in the helping of the downtrodden ‘he is there’ (or what you did you did it to him). It’s like the Rage line – not that when oppression or suffering are happening that Zack de la Rocha is actually there – but he does the same thing and he supports those causes. Likewise in the sheep and the goats – when you help someone that is in the same conditions, that Rage preach about constantly (poor and broken), you’re helping Jesus because that is what he would do (and did) in the same scenario.

 But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money” (Matt 25:18)

This hit me this morning. The dude with the one talent in the story just hid it and did nothing with it – and was severely reprimanded in the story (cast out even). What went wrong? Selfishness. You see he took what he was good at it and decided to do nothing for those around him at all, in fact he had one talent when some have none, and he’d rather just keep it than help anyone around him. He seen problems and issues in his community and decided that with his ‘gift’ he would use it to move himself forward and not help.

It dawned on me because I was thinking about how charities work and how some people (including myself) have a lot of stuff but do nothing to help others (or not enough I feel). Instead, we keep our talents to ourselves and make a good life for ourselves (which is a good thing in and of itself) but we don’t bless others with what we know and how we got there (or what we have). And that’s like being given a gift and hiding it away – for only yourself to use.

Making Up Belief(s) – Christian Doctrine

Here is a great question:

If what you are saying is true (about atonement and Jesus’ blood covering us all) and is what is being taught by Jesus (or the disciples) – how come the gospels never lay the story out the way churches teach it? How come the theology is always a patchwork of teachings (from various letters and books) that make an interpretive deliverable that benefits the church doctrine/belief?

Reason I bring this up is because there are a variety of Christian beliefs, codified by church belief statements and dogma, that support the very grounding and integrity of that church. I find most of them developed belief systems that are supported by patchwork theological beliefs from various places in letters and books, and in some cases, are not verifiably true of the total 27 texts of the NT or 66 texts of the whole bible. In essence, an interpretation is serving as truth.

Some examples:

  • Virgin birth – misinterpretation of Hebrew from Isaiah 7:14 to Greek – about ‘young woman‘ and ‘virgin‘. Only found in 2 of 4 gospels, not in Acts, nor in the letters (Paul skips over this crucial idea all the time for some reason). In fact, the evidence is so scant for this belief yet it makes for good narrative so the uses in Matthew and Luke (likely both additions from a myth) that it’s inclusion makes all the sense in the world – makes Jesus ‘sensational‘.
  • Trinity – not found in the gospels (except for the one mention in John 8) and not a belief Jesus even followed (according to Mark’s gospel and his Jewish tradition). This is a patchwork of passages from a variety of places and sewn together to make it seem like a key and easy belief to follow – maybe mentioned a handful of times making up maybe .005% of total passages in the NT. How this became a key element of faith is beyond – oh right – church voting made it legit (‘rolls eyes to back of his skull‘).
  • Atonement – the idea that Jesus shed his blood to pay for the sins of all humanity – found in the letter of Hebrews (which may not have been written by Paul and has a huge Gentile slant to it). This idea seems to be read backwards from that letter (date uncertain – some think 60’s – some think 100’s+) into the gospel texts, letters, and Tanakh. It’s a scapegoat theory that leads to the idea you can be forgiven for everything you’ve ever done – past, present, future – just by accepting this blood sacrifice to ‘wash your sins away‘ (or like Carrie – be bathed in blood). In fact, it lets the sinner off the hook and runs counter to much of what Jesus taught concerning ‘accountability‘ for one’s actions.

Juss saying – if any of this is true – how come no one in the disciples or Paul don’t just ‘lay it out there’ for all to see clearly.

American Family Association – Christian Values Gone Crazy

The American Family Association is a conservative Christian organization, headed up by Fischer, who said on CNN: “It’s an attempt to push the normalization of homosexual behavior in public schools and to eventually punish students who would express a Judeo-Christian view of sexuality.” – American Family Association Compares ‘Mix It Up at Lunch Day’ to “Poisoned Halloween Candy”

If you read the story the ‘Mix It Up‘ campaign is to get students to meet other students and switch seats in the common eating area during lunch – to promote inclusivity. But the Evangelical think-tank that is the American Family Association see’s a whole other agenda – which is ker-azy!

Who are the AFA?

Here is there Belief Statement:

AFA STATEMENT OF FAITH

1.  We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

2.  We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3.  We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

4.  We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

5.  We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

6.  We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost;  they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

7.  We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

They really are not any different than any Christian church I have seen and read belief statements about. Yet, and I am pretty sure this will be the case, Christians will say they are not part and parcel with this group and it’s ideas…yet these 7 statements they will agree with.

Truth is, and some people in these churches are more progressive, this is the kind of things Evangelical churches do on a daily basis – from your local church in your neighborhood to across the country. I think it’s best we dialogue them on some of this.

Religious Texts Presuppose There is a System of Faith

“but if there was a system in place where man through his actions alone could become holy and righteous then man would not need God…” (Xander)

Speaking of ‘systems in place for man’s actions’ – what are Judaism and Christianity’s roles then? They offer advice on how to live in a holy and ordained way so as to access and be closer to God – no? Are they not dependent on your actions – concerning your closeness to God and the such?

Also, Judaism, the fore-runner to Christianity, was designed by God for humans to follow to get closer to God (not by man per se – as is also the Christian claim about their scriptures). God designed it, not humans so your point about ‘man trying to do it on his own’ is faulty – because you pre-suppose man created the system (ie: religion) whereby he gets nearer to God – this is not the case in either Judaism or Christianity.

Problem: Pre-supposition that humans following their religious texts are being too legal about their beliefs and not following God. However, if the texts were ‘God-breathed’ isn’t it sensible for those followers to adhere to the texts quite closely?

 

The God I Know/Make

So I was just having a fruitful discussion with a few people on Facebook about the fact I sort of invent Jesus or God into my own image (in some ways)…and I think we all do.

I find it funny when a Christian tries to tell me how well they know God (or Jesus) and what was meant within the scriptures. I don’t have much of an issue with that – each to their own about how well they think they know a deity they cannot even prove, nor see, nor have met (including me). Nonetheless, the scriptures are used for justification about it and/or other church beliefs/practices.

My issue is simple: how can you be sure you are not inventing a version of Jesus (or God) based on what your church believes or your own preconceived notions shaped by the 20th and 21st century? How sure, on a scale of 1-100%, can you be about what you perceive Jesus to be?

Ok let’s get into some small things to consider on this topic.

(1) Jesus – followed Judaism or invented a new faith called Christianity?

(2) Jesus – believed himself to be God or believed himself to be messiah/christ? Can you see the difference?

(3) Mary – virgin or not? And if so, why is that necessary?

(4) God – a trinity or One? Can you actually see the qualitative difference between the numbers 1 and 3?

(5) God – does he/she/it have a name? If so, what is it?

(6) Faith – Do Gentiles follow the Jewish faith or not? If not, what are they asked to follow from the disciples? Why do we use the Tanakh (OT)?

(7) Faith – How come Christianity has sprung up so many various strands of denominations (and other faiths) if it is so easy to define? How can you be sure you’re faith is the correct one?

I find it rather funny that any Christian could say, with 100% certainty, they have there ‘beliefs’ correctly managed.

Empowerment Conundrum

The thing I like about faith is the same thing I hate about it: empowerment.

Christianity can help people build a foundation for their lives, develop new goals and pathways for living, and pretty much cheer up a blah existence. It works, seen it happen.

On the flip side, it also destroys with the same empowerment. It empowers an institution, and leaders, to have control of your life and pry into it’s many details…somewhat trapping the person in a constant cycle of obedience via fear & paranoia.

Fear & paranoia = guilt; must obey those leaders or you let God down as well (since the leaders represent Christ’s bride – the church)

But is it healthy to have that fear, paranoia, and guilt? Is this what good faith should look like? Is this the foundation you started with? Why do church people choose to build on these inferior emotions?

It’s really a tad strange when you think about it. Something with such promising beginnings (faith and hope and love) becomes something worth forgetting (guilt and fear and superstition). What happened and where did it happen?

Church blames the people, they doubted, they lacked faith, they fell into satan’s trap, etc. But when you examine it, the institution is the one that don’t change and demands you to. The institution don’t grow, yet you do (emotionally, mentally, and spiritually). Is it possible we can outgrow the church?