Reality: Measured Distance – Arm’s Length Puh-leeeze!

Comment taken from Naked Pastor’s ‘Cartoon: A Measured Distance”

I would like to say Caroline…ever think of converting to Judaism? (lol)

It’s weird to me how vehement Christian denoms are about this issue without any real evidential background to build from. I just pointed out how 3 of 4 branches within Judaism (excluding orthodox – which is not the biggest branch in Judaism) are looking at those texts and arriving at conclusions concerning the rights of gay people/couples. Christianity will hold up orthodox Judaism as some ‘flag-bearer’ for real Judaism – but they aren’t – Conservative would be the biggest – closest category to deserve that title (and they allow gay marriage).

Throw the law out and what do we get – Gentiles running around like a chicken without a head concerning texts they know little about (namely concerning interpretation). The question I saw posed made sense ‘is this a chosen lifestyle or not?’. Because if being gay is not ‘chosen’ then by ‘law’ you cannot force someone to do that with which they are not able (thus Jewish denoms changing their tune on gay marriage and rights – since 1977).

In Christianity, we do not debate like Judaism – it’s never an ‘either/or’ thing – but more a ‘yes/no’ thing – on any and all things – no 2 ways to view something for some reason. Which leads me further to believe – did this faith really come from Judaism or just some co-opting rip off version of the ‘real article’? Where is our safe debate on such topics and reference to Judaism and it’s views when we debate issues like ‘gay marriage’? If they are the fore-runners then I think they earn a voice.

But I am coming to believe Judaism and Christianity have nothing in similar except a few concepts (ie: messiah) – and even then – it’s so heavily skewed to make the comparisons useless.

What does it mean? It means people like Fishon and Steve can ignore Judaic commentary on a Christian (Gentile) subject – because it really has no bearing on the wealth of knowledge Chrstianity has concerning the scriptures (including the Jewish Tanakh – written in Hebrew – an original language of Jewish people; side note – Greek was what culture’s main language?). So they can ignore this and that rabbi – no matter the denom and wealth of knowledge/study they bring to the table on a law issue like ‘gay marriage’…because Paul said so!

Note – Jesus says nothing on gay rights or marriage – leaving this an actual gray area in the gospels. The one passage used is the ‘2 become 1′ passage – and yes this seems to exclude gay couples on a physical/reproduction front – it does not exclude them in the relational aspect of that idea (2 people sharing their lives as 1).

My apologies (and my heart goes out) to Caroline for the absolute ignorance within Christianity.

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45 thoughts on “Reality: Measured Distance – Arm’s Length Puh-leeeze!

  1. My other important comment prior to this one:

    “Since you are so into Jewishness——- Rabbi Lerner says, Cohabiting couples / pre-marital sex violates Jewish law – from the laws of modesty through all laws of sexual relations.” (Fishon)

    “According to traditional Jewish law, such egalitarian ketubot (traditional wedding contract) do not create legitimate Jewish marriages, although their proponents argue that Jewish law recognizes the marriages anyway, via the “common law” route of cohabitation. (The Mishnah, an early Jewish law code, states: “A woman is acquired by money, by deed, or by intercourse,” although the Talmud expressed some disapproval of acquisition via intercourse.)” (From myJewishlearning.com – on the contract of marriage)

    “Because Jewish law effectively recognizes common-law marriage, even the most traditional communities, they assert, need to recognize these arrangements as marriage, even if a ketubah (marriage contract) is not included” (Rabbi Daniel Gordis – The Ketubah: Evolutions in the Jewish Marriage Contract)

    Rabbi Leifer (not Lerner) only stands against the idea based on the fact it does not keep in tradition or as he says “It is my conviction that change is effected through the creation of new alternative and rival Jewish rituals and halakhic forms which will ultimately effect and bring about change in the traditional forms and the traditional community” (from Grodis’ piece on Ketubah). Leifer may not even be against ‘common law’ marriages but the new avenues proposed by Reform and other movements…

    “The prevalent view among Jews had been to regard homosexual intercourse as sinful, arguing that it is categorically forbidden by the Torah. This remains the current view of Orthodox Judaism, but not of Reconstructionist Judaism and Reform Judaism. Conservative Judaism’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, which until December 2006 held the same position as Orthodoxy. {From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia}.” (Fishon)

    So 3 of 4 branches within Judaism do not hold to ‘homosexuality as a sin’ is basically what you are saying? The rabbi I said married gay couples was ‘conservative’. But to help clarify what fishon is saying here (see below – and he is partly right):

    “Many who seek to establish full religious rights for gays and lesbians employ the research that points to the involuntary nature of homosexuality. The halakhic (legal) term ahnoos refers to someone who, though commanded to do something, does not really have a choice in the matter. In Judaism, one is only responsible for religious obligations that one can freely choose to fulfill. Thus some Jewish authorities have argued that since homosexuality is not chosen, its expression cannot be forbidden” (MyJewishLearning – Jewish Views on Homosexuality)

    “Indeed, the Reform movement does not condemn homosexual sex, and openly gay people are eligible for admittance into Reform rabbinical schools. In addition, the Reform movement approves of rabbinic officiation at same-sex marriages and commitment ceremonies…Similarly, in Reconstructionist Judaism same-sex marriage is considered a religious value…In December 2006 the Conservative Movement’s Law Committee voted to accept two contradictory teshuvot (positions) on homosexuality in halakhah—one reaffirming the status quo, and one affirming change. The result of the vote is that rabbis, synagogues, and other Conservative institutions may choose to continue to not permit commitment ceremonies and not hire openly gay or lesbian rabbis and cantors, or may choose to do so. Both positions are considered valid.” (My Jewish Learning – Jewish Views on Homosexuality)

    Question Jewish rabbi’s are asking is ‘that since homosexuality is not chosen, should it’s expression be forbidden?’ All this with 2 of the toughest most condemning sounding texts in front of their face – Lev 18:23 and 20:13 – which means – the law is not soooo rigid as we are made to believe.

  2. For the Christian, the Old Testament is interpreted through the New Testament.

    The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.

    So what? Everything we do aside from faith in Christ, is a sin. There are plenty of them.

    I do not have a Jewish view of sin made right by our cooperation in atonement, or sacrifice.

    I have the Christian view that Christ and Christ alone is the sacrifice for all sin.

    We don’t advocate our sins, whatever they may be.

    The church is not a place to promote sin. it is a place for sinners to come and hear the Word of forgiveness and receive the sacraments.

  3. “For the Christian, the Old Testament is interpreted through the New Testament” (Steve)

    That’s the thing right – what interpretation we gleam from a bunch of Jewish writers of the NT – would it really be that different then Jewish viewpoints – unless the writer’s are not Jewish nor care for the affiliation.

    As a Christian (myself), I find the approach I use is very refreshing and quite realistic. I don’t downplay the validity of the NT texts (i use them actually as the Christian basis) – however – it needs to be strongly noted that Christians do use the OT a lot. I really see little problem with going to Jewish sources on books (39 in total) they have an expertise in.

    “The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin” (Steve)

    Homosexuality, as a term, did not even exist until the 19th century – so in one sense – homosexuality was not being used a terminology. However, I can state uncategorically the bible (the Tanakh portions from law) do not state this. Even with the 2 Leviticus passages as part of the law – the question still remains that has 3 of 4 Jewish denominations allowing gay marriage or rights – ‘is this something they cannot change?’. If it something they cannot change (born that way) – then the law cannot force someone to do something they are not able to do (thus the rulings seen in my above comments). For some reason, they get ignored – but oh well – I know what I have read and studied.

    “I do not have a Jewish view of sin made right by our cooperation in atonement, or sacrifice.” (Steve)

    Sure you do – what about the idea of ‘repentance’ or ‘charity’? Does not Christianity include such ideas as part of their theology – and I can even 2 places in Matthew that explicitly tie both those actions to participation in the kingdom of heaven/God. Heck Jesus’ very first words in Matthew to his followers was…hint: it includes ‘repentance’ right in the sentence.

    “I have the Christian view that Christ and Christ alone is the sacrifice for all sin.” (Steve)

    So, even if Jesus’ sacrifice (which was human in nature) breaks the commandments of the Torah (which is in the bible) – will we still allow it? I am not sure about this atonement and what it truly means either. Various views on the subject exist – meaning – holding to one viewpoint on the theory of atonement – one must be sure what is being said (cause Christianity is up for debates on this one).

    6 Various atonement theories: Ransom, Satisfaction, Substitution, Governmental, Moral Influence, and Scapegoating

    I would add in a 7th category myself…Inclusion.

    Now even if the Messiah’s role is one of the atonement theories – which one? What exactly did Jesus accomplish on that fateful day in Golgotha? Did he fulfill/satisfy some law code? Change the kingdoms? Was he a ransom to satan for our freedoms (Origen’s first view on this subject)? Did he pay a penalty as some substitution in our places? That’s a lot of stuff that he supposedly did and many Christian denoms hold to a variety of those views – is one of them actually right? Or is this the plastercine Messiah that we shape and bend to mean what is we need to have the texts say?

    “The church is not a place to promote sin. it is a place for sinners to come and hear the Word of forgiveness and receive the sacraments” (Steve)

    That’s the thing – is homosexuality a sin – even if the person has no choice in the matter? Of course Christianity would say ‘yes’ here – because we are all born with something we have no control over anyways – our sinful nature…I call this the ‘hopeless view’. **Note – this puts gay people on the same level footing as the rest of us by virtue of easy logic – all things being equal…**

    I am not saying the church has to promote sin – the question remains if homosexuality is really a sin at all? You seem to be very sure about that – I reserve my judgement on this one. Because I have grown up with people that I am sure never chose to be gay – but this was their inclination regardless of familial pressures and those from rough, isolating society. Why would a gay person ‘chose’ to be outcast from those most dear to him/her – and endure such conflict?

    So ‘no’, the church should not promote nor overlook sin – I agree. But let’s get straight what sin is and what we can do about it so as to help remedy such situations. **Note – homosexuality appears 2 times in the law – and nowhere near the 10 commandments Christianity upholds as encapsulating the Torah Law**

    Hello Walls.

  4. This comment:
    But I am coming to believe Judaism and Christianity have nothing in similar except a few concepts (ie: messiah) – and even then – it’s so heavily skewed to make the comparisons useless.

    Reminded me of one of our conversations when we first began interacting online, Jason, soon to be two years ago now! Confidence

  5. Wow – what a reminder – seems like only yesterday I met you and began this blogging escapade into unknown portions of my missing link theology. Uhm confidence – we could all use that right about now!

  6. **But I am coming to believe Judaism and Christianity have nothing in similar except a few concepts (ie: messiah) **

    And the Law. The more I delve into a Jewish perspective on all of this, the more I wonder if it’s possible to use the Law separately from Judaism itself. As soon as we attach an idea that the Law requires perfection, or the Law automatically condemns, aren’t we also critiquing the Jewish religion itself?

  7. OSS,

    I think it’s not so much a criticism of Judaism itself, but rather we (Christians) are trying to point out that the long awaited Messiah, has already come.

    We do need a Savior, and that Savior was Jesus (we believe).

  8. Theoldadam,

    But your concept of the Messiah is tied into your perception of the Law — which, as I understand you, you feel requires perfection from imperfect people, does nothing but condemn and show people how sinful they are. Jesus came to take the punishment in your place that the Law required.

    So if Judaism is wrapped around the concept of the Torah, and yet the Torah does nothing but condemn, then what exactly is being said about Judaism?

  9. “So if Judaism is wrapped around the concept of the Torah, and yet the Torah does nothing but condemn, then what exactly is being said about Judaism?” (OSS)

    I think we both the answer to that one…but I will say this…Christian theology has a schizophrenic affair with the Torah – it loves it in a crazy way, and then treats it like an affair. I guess I just got sick of people type-casting the Torah into the same category all the time so I checked into it for myself – and found I love the Torah (and dropped all the bad things I was told about it).

  10. I don’t love any set of rules or religious traditions or any religious book.

    I do love the fact that I have a Savior who is the be all and end all of my religious longings.

  11. I wish he were the end all be all of my religious longings. In the meantime I have to have faith that my longings will be met after this life. That’s where the tension is, and there’s the rub.

  12. The rub is that Jesus has done it…every bit of it…on the cross.

    Some believe it (that “He is the end of the law for righteousness to all who have faith.” Romans 10:4)..and some don’t.

    I do know that it is quite liberating to be free of the religious project. The freedom it gives is really wonderful.

    I guess that is why it is called “The Good News”.

  13. “I do love the fact that I have a Savior who is the be all and end all of my religious longings.” (Steve)

    And that’s totally cool Steve – I am sure that savior also loves u back. What is at stake here is the love for ‘our neighbors’ – also very important in Jesus’ commands – so important he coined it as part and partial to the first commandment (ie: one cannot actually love God unless they love their neighbor – as John would point out in a later letter).

    You see, God really has little problems I think – maybe even none as far as I know. But humanity has plenty – and needs their neighbors to help them out when and where they can – along this path of life. We all have input that means something, somewhere, to someone – the circle of collective life more or less – and God is concerned with this tantamount to what He is concerned with people Loving Him (if the commandments Jesus gave are accurate).

    So even if God loves us (a lot) – there is still the 2nd part of that commandment that truly fills in part 1 of that commandment – our love for one another. Now if Judaism or any other person in any other persuasion unlike us gets ‘discriminated’ against or treated ‘less than’ by us – we have as our duty (command actually) to turn that around and love them like similar to how we love God. This is my concern in life – more or less.

    Because Jesus is ‘finished’…not my words…his own. But we are not ‘finished’ – we live presently and have a life to lead – and how we conduct ourselves means something to God (it’s the 2nd commandment – tied to the 1st – both null and void unless both are adhered to). I would even go so far as John would with this one – one cannot love God unless they are able to love their brother (their neighbor) first! Paul even sums up the great commandment with simply ‘love your neighbor’.

    As simple as this all sounds – Christianity leaves the 2nd part of that commandment on the back-burner thinking if they get the ‘love God’ part down it will all fall perfectly in line – but that’s actually backwards – you need to be able to love and accept those whom we can see to love that which we cannot (so as to prove we are loving the unseen by proof of the seen). This is why in Christianity we can have people that act in unbecoming ways to one another – because ‘loving our neighbor’ is not a priority nor truly fleshed out.

  14. I really think the rub is that there is a lot of pain this side of heaven and believing that Jesus will meet my longings is a struggle sometimes.
    It’s painful for people to say that it’s as easy as just believing, because I think a good deal of struggle is in the believing and having faith. I also think that when we aren’t struggling with God in some way, we aren’t in relationship with him.
    I think that people who think it’s as cut and dried as all that don’t have a reference point for other people’s pain. My dad is a pastor and on staff with the Navigators for 35 years, and he and my mom disowned me and my brother and sister three years ago. Even though I’m in my 30s it’s incredibly painful and I struggle all the more to know that my heavenly father won’t tell me he never wants to see me or talk to me again.

  15. Jason,

    Since we flat out refuse to live the way that God (or that Jesus commands ) wants us to live, what is at stake is our salvation.

    We need a Savior because we are sinners.

    Jesus is that Savior and His death on the cross and His accompanying forgiveness for us is what is at stake.

    Those who believe their sins are forgiven and trust that Christ has done it all understand that THIS is what it is all about…faith.

  16. Stephy,

    I think what your father did to you and your brother is just awful.

    I have a som who spends most of his time in prison and who is a drug addict and a thief and although I am not happy with what he’s done with his life, I love him like crazy and welcome him back each time he gets out of prison.

    That’s what parents do.

    Your Heavenly Father does loves you no matter what. Even if you abandon Him…He loves you.

  17. Thanks for doing that for your son. I think that’s what unconditional love looks like. My parents disowned us after we said we wanted to attend counseling with them. Ugh.

  18. Thanks. What really sucks is that I keep going through it, every day! Every day that I know they’re alive out there and not speaking with me or my brother or sister, and yet they’re holding bible studies and doing “God’s work.” It hurts my heart so badly it makes me actually feel sick. I feel like I can’t write them off, that God could work a miracle or their hearts could change at some point before one of us dies. I hope it happens sooner than later. It’s hard to hold out the hope, because it doesn’t seem likely, but I think I’d be killing off a part of myself if I stopped hoping.
    Anyway, if you think of it, say a prayer? Thanks.

  19. “Those who believe their sins are forgiven and trust that Christ has done it all understand that THIS is what it is all about…faith.” (Steve)

    Faith, is it a verb (action word) or a noun (person, place, or thing)?

    I have one question – is God a judge?

    Now I know God is a ‘father’ – knowing this since I never had one and this faith in God pulled me to this idea (and I see it’s validity). But even a father can only save a son so much from the strength of the law (in the breaking of the law). Is it not true – if your son breaks the law he is punished? So even if God is a father – is he also a judge?

    This is where it all gets interesting for me – what is God going to judge? Is there a literal courtroom in God’s kingdom we all have to answer to? Stuff like that intrigues me.

    I think God is very merciful mind you – but are we is the real question? God will treat us as we treat others – and this shouldn’t shock anyone – it’s the summation of the law according to Christians.

  20. Stephy,

    I hope and pray that someday the Lord will soften their hearts that they may realize the terrible thing that they are doing.

    I’ll pray that you are comforted through your pain, Stephy.

    I have a taste of that pain, quite often, when my son will not call or write me for months or years. It is the absolute worst.

    Hang in there. It was just for these terrible, unjust, often crushing circumstances of life…that our Lord hung on that cross.

    He will make all things right and true again. But for now…we suffer.

  21. Jason,

    God has judged all things on that cross.

    He has found the entire world guilty, and He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. he paid the price and annouced that he forgives us. The war is over.
    We are reconciled to Himself because of what he has done for us.

    Faith is an action word (I believe). ‘Faither’ would be correct. It is an active relationship. He gives us faith. That faith produces a certain confidence and that produces action (for the sake of our neighbor)

    But God is the force behind it all.

  22. “Every day that I know they’re alive out there and not speaking with me or my brother or sister, and yet they’re holding bible studies and doing “God’s work.” It hurts my heart so badly it makes me actually feel sick” (Stephy)

    Why did they abandon you? Here is something to note – they are not doing God’s work – to treat one’s own family like this was ripe for firing in Paul’s letters (treating your kids like ‘infidels’). So the work they are claiming to do is meaningless – they can have 4000 bible studies a month, pray for 22 hours a day, and attend 400 services in a month – but if they cannot love then so what…its a bunch of clanging cymbals making no sense!

    I find this a lot though Stephy – faith can make some people do some of the stupidest things in the name of the Almighty (may He not be shamed by them). They feel some level of justification (somehow) for their ‘bad behavior’ because for some reason – God approves of it. Now Steve – this is exactly what I am pointing out when I say someone’s faith and actions can be disconnected in this faith (happens all the time)…also about the 2nd commandment not being used.

    Stephy, take heart – they will come around…a parent (namely a mother) cannot let go of the very children that she birthed (the father – another story). At some point – if your parents are truly following God and not their own passions for power – they will hear that still small voice even through their loud clammoring – calling them to welcome home their children and make ‘things right’! I know what u are going through – I was abandoned at a young age (10) – and never really got things ‘right’ with my mom until I was in my late 20’s – even now in my 30’s the relationship still repairs…you have hope.

  23. “He has found the entire world guilty, and He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. he paid the price and annouced that he forgives us. The war is over.
    We are reconciled to Himself because of what he has done for us.” (Steve)

    So all are forgiven – no matter what they do or profess to live by? A klan member who promotes racism and actively promotoes the violence on African Americans – heaven? Charles Manson – never repented and never cares to – assisted in the murder of 5 innocent people in very shameful ways – heaven? Or what about the Al Qaeda terrorist who kills 100’s of innocent people in a building by flying a plane into it – heaven?

    Jesus may have died for all – but all are not willing to give a sh*t concerning any change in their motive operandi. The war is not over – violence and death still reign supreme and continue to this very day in places like Iraq to Sudan to inner-city gangs.

    You seem to forget our messiah (this Jesus of Nazerath) has to come again and actually finish the job (ie: world peace and what have u). Luke was quick on the draw if he thought ‘sin was finished’ in his book…because I can attest it is not. Sin still is the problem that we need to deal with.

    Steve, it’s good theology to believe faith will take care it all – but if faith is an action word – then we need to do something about our faith and make some serious differences in this world…forget the next – it has forgotten us apparently.

    I just cannot believe all is forgiven – even if it is – I have a tough time forgiving murderers that kill for fun – wasting human life for the sake of their own pleasures. Nowhere in scripture can I find the God who would even touch that. Yet you claim that God is in there.

    Possibly you are taking the generic words of the gospels too far?

  24. Jason,

    ALL are forgiven.

    The Bible says that He died for the sins of the world.

    Not all will come to Him. Many will reject Him.

    But all are forgiven. EVEN you and me!!

  25. “I just cannot believe all is forgiven – even if it is – I have a tough time forgiving murderers that kill for fun – wasting human life for the sake of their own pleasures. Nowhere in scripture can I find the God who would even touch that. Yet you claim that God is in there. ” (Jason)

    I have been wrestling with this for months. Grew up in a fundy church which essentially teaches that you have to jump through this hoop and this hoop and this hoop to be “saved.” But that sure is not modeled by the grace which Christ displayed for everyone in his acceptance of all. He didn’t list a bunch of hoops. It seems to me that either everyone is forgiven or you have somehow earn your acceptance with hoop jumping.

    I’d really like Luke’s input on this because I think he does for sure believe in universal salvation.

    Doug

  26. While I believe that all are forgiven, I do not subcribe to universal salvation.

    Many will reject Christ (Jesus Himself tells us that).

    We are saved by grace through faith. Many wuill come to faith and many will reject it.

  27. OK. I can accept that. But why then do we limit that choice to here and now? Wouldn’t a gracious God continue to offer a choice beyond possibly, maybe even face to face with him. If you stand there and reject him, fine, he will let you do what you want. I guess the problem that I have is how we have turned a relationship with God into a list of things to do in the proper order and then we will be accepted. Jesus says nothing about that to my knowledge. No sinners prayer. No 4 spiritual laws. No list of church activities. No need to be a sinless perfectionist like my Nazarene heritage taught me.

  28. I dont think there was every a need for salvation. This is definately in my mind a way for man to deal with the inequities of life. Dont get me wrong, you still get consequence for your actions, but I dont think its as simple as Saved(youre in), Unsaved(youre out).

  29. The Bible shows us our need for a Savior, and and the Savior we need. (if you believe it)

    This is where it hets sticky.

    The Bible tells us that faith is a gift of God.

    Why do some come to faith and some not? Who knows? God knows.

    Why has God decided that His Word (the gospel) in preaching and teaching and the sacraments would be the vehicle by which He gives faith to some? Who knows? God knows.

    He has chosen to do it this way.

    When we get up there, we can talk to Him about His methods. 😀

  30. Well you get into lots of problems though when you start thinking that the bible is the only way God communicates with people and that it is our job to preach and teach so that he can be exposed to others. That sounds a lot like us trying to place ourselves in a position of earning something that we can’t earn.

  31. I see your point.

    I’m a Lutheran (nowadays that doesn’t mean what it used to). There’s no way I’m going to believe that we can earn anything..at all.

    Not me. For my money (2 cents)…God has done, is doing, and will yet do, all that is needful for us.

  32. “But that sure is not modeled by the grace which Christ displayed for everyone in his acceptance of all. He didn’t list a bunch of hoops. It seems to me that either everyone is forgiven or you have somehow earn your acceptance with hoop jumping” (Doug)

    I believe in full acceptance myself – and everyone has the ‘option’ of being forgiven and turning from their ways (forgiveness without change is rather useless and in vain).

    Think of heaven as your house if you will. You rule your house and you invite and keep whom and who you will as company or guests (correct?). Now let’s say Madonna wants to come over – will you let her? Probably – she seems nice enough. Now let’s say the dude that just shot and robbed your neighbor down the street for fun wants to ‘stay over’ – you open the doors and rooms for him? If not, why?

    The key thing is – heaven is a ‘home’ as most Christians would define it. I cannot find one hint where God allows such behavior into ‘His place’…if I am wrong then I will allow for that possibility – but where does God give that free pass to violent people? Or pedophiles? Or mass murderers? Heck some sins – as minut as adultery – were seen as extremely punishable by virtue of Torah law. No pass for adulterers.

    Not saying these people cannot be forgiven – hell yeah they can – but if they cannot repent of their actions (take responsibility and change) – screw them coming into my house – I gotsa to keep my family safe. (I speak as a lowly human on this subject – imagine a Great God who actually saw the damn robbery and shooting – yikes!).

    I think we want to believe God will forgive it all because that’s how we want to see it – but that’s a very callous God IMO. Some people are wronged in a very serious way and struggle their whole damn lives to forgive someone for thei horrible crime against them and their family – and we expect God to give that offender a ‘free pass’? Our court systems are more just than God – I hope not! We must account for all parties involved in a serious crime – not just the ‘free pass’ the offender gets because God forgave them even prior to there action (some 2000 years prior apparently).

    Maybe it’s just me – I am all about people taking responsibility for their actions in line with being forgiven (or acceptance of such grace on their lives). I mean, I changed everything I did and the way I thought for God because of this idea – but I realize not all do. Many if my criminal friends kept on keeping on – and some still do – doing insanly stupid things…you telling me God gives them a free pass for their behavior (evil) on an equal level to me (someone actually trying to live a good life)? If so, I got a Hustler’s ambition inside me baby!

  33. I think we want to believe God will forgive it all because that’s how we want to see it – but that’s a very callous God IMO. (Societyvs)

    This is limiting in the sense that you assume that life on here is it. You leave no room for continuation other than a Heaven or Hell. What if there are parallel universes, different worlds, repeats of life. It seems you allow the bible to dictate only one view. Pretty limiting if you ask me.

  34. “This is limiting in the sense that you assume that life on here is it” (John)

    True – but I cannot go by the supposed afterlife when all I know is we have this common 1 experience called ‘life’. Maybe God will let all have their 2nd chance – couldn’t tell ya for sure – because I have no clue what lies beyond this 1 life. So my focus goes on the temporal existence we know we have around/about us.

    Does what I say limit us – yes. But it’s a fair limitation to this one reality we know we experience. I personally believe in an afterlife and something bigger is out there – now what that is and looks like – well – that’s all suppositional (and we can all suppose what might happen).

    The bible does narrow my view – true – but it is a discussion about an afterlife based on the bible – and I am being narrow (maybe) but just asking the questions about this whole ‘free pass’ thing I see in Christianity. Not saying some things are not easily forgiveable – like stealing may be minut compared to taking a life – this is where a ‘free pass’ gets cloudy for me.

    Unless someone has been a victim of a horrible crime then they may not know what I am talking about here (that feeling – that fear – that trauma – that pure and sheer hellish horror). The victim carries way more problems after crimes than the perp – so in some sense judgment has to vary – a ‘free pass’ equal to both seems skewed to me.

    But maybe this is how God functions – maybe He just doesn’t care about something like that?

  35. but just asking the questions about this whole ‘free pass’ thing I see in Christianity.(Societyvs)

    But arent you skewed by being a “Christian”.?Youre still assuming a “free pass” as suggested by Universalism. Maybe theres another way to look at it. If we have consequence here(which by the way is never absolute, other than the death penalty), why cant consequence continue when we “pass on”? The format just changes but the essence remains the same. Reap what you sow, or what goes around comes around. That way we still learn how to be in community, rather than just having a measley 80 or 90yrs. to get it right. Doesnt that sound somewhat more logical?

  36. I like the idea of being in community for sure, and I think that it does continue beyond what we see and know here. I also understand the need for and sense of justice that we all have. It is one of the evidences for a Creator as I see it. But our sense of justice cannot be the same as God’s. We only are able to see a tiny fraction of any one thing, of any one act. The creator of all this does not. God has an infinitely broader view. So what we think is justice for “sinners” may not in truth be justice at all.

  37. “The format just changes but the essence remains the same. Reap what you sow, or what goes around comes around. That way we still learn how to be in community, rather than just having a measley 80 or 90yrs. to get it right. Doesnt that sound somewhat more logical?” (John)

    I like the idea personally – but I am not sure it’s what happens – then again I don’t know. As for logic – there is 2 ways to view that – through the lenses of life or death. Life – we live for so long it makes sense to me that life would continue on after death – we live like 70 years and die 1 time…life seems to be what we were made for. Death – we die once and everyone knows – we don’t come back. Logic is kind of not a friend to supposition (it’s not on its side too much).

    But I like your idea – maybe we continue on after this life and can make amends for callous things we did. I am not sure how a thief would make it right mind you – seeing as there is likely no property in the next life (or maybe there is and they get to make up for the stuff they took). And maybe Hitler is still working his *ss off in a concentration camp to make up for his share of misery – by my calculations he has another 4 million years or so to make up for all the lives he ruined/took. (can I laugh at that?)

    All I know is justice is part of the equation – and sometimes we dont need much – just enough to know what happened to us was ‘wrong’ and ‘should of never happened’ to move forward. The dead/murdered cannot speak for themselves so I am not sure how they are ever justified – which is why murder needs to be taught as the absolute worst thing one can do. Maybe they get that long awaited apology in heaven?

  38. Society,

    **I think we both the answer to that one…but I will say this…Christian theology has a schizophrenic affair with the Torah – it loves it in a crazy way, and then treats it like an affair.**

    I think the affair is more with the ten commandments than the Torah itself. How often do we see a discussion on the 613 laws, verses the 10 commandments? But I don’t think we can even say it has an affair with the Torah — it has an affair with what it believes the Torah/Judaism to be. So to say that Jesus has come to set us free from the law, or takes our punishment, are useless statements because when did the law insist on perfection? When it was it a list of rules one had to follow to earn salvation? When has Judaism said that the God it praises for it’s justice also laid down a set of rules He knew no one could follow, and then demanded a punishment? And if following the law only leads to self-righteousness and condemnation, then I see that as saying that anyone Jewish is self-righteous and anyone following the Jewish religion is automatically condemning themselves.

  39. And if following the law only leads to self-righteousness and condemnation, then I see that as saying that anyone Jewish is self-righteous and anyone following the Jewish religion is automatically condemning themselves.

    Which is exactly how we are portrayed of in the NT and spoken of in churches constantly: ‘the Jews’ and ‘the Pharisees’. However, when faced with actual religious Jews, most people are to polite to say to our faces what they preach in their churches.

    I suppose I should be grateful for that at least? I don’t know. Six of one, half a dozen of the other I suppose.

  40. Yael,

    **I suppose I should be grateful for that at least? I don’t know. Six of one, half a dozen of the other I suppose.**

    I’m not in that position, but if I were, I imagine that it would be difficult to be grateful for that. Because the attitude can almost be summed up as “The only good Jew is a Christian.” Especially because the impression I get is that most of what Christianity knows about Pharisees is from the New Testament only — I could be wrong. But how often do we see a reference to a Pharisee outside of a New Testament quote?

    **most people are to polite to say to our faces what they preach in their churches. **
    Would that make them reverse hypocrites? Sorry, I’m just in a foul mood today.

  41. It’s tough to think about being grateful for people not insulting you to your face, kind of pathetic in a way, yet when I think about my father’s funeral and that moron of a pastor with his comments about ‘the Jews’ from the NT, I realize I would have appreciated it if he had just kept all that to himself, no matter what his personal feelings or beliefs. I doubt anyone else there took note of what he said, it’s nothing new in their world, but to me it was jarring and inappropriate since he knew good and well that one of my father’s daughters was Jewish.

    IMO, you give a completely accurate summation of NT views on Jews. I don’t think most Christians even view the Pharisees as real people. They’re just straw men, caricatures. I used to ask people to name one Pharisee by name and tell me what this person taught or did that was so awful. The response has always been the same, silence.

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