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Friday, July 10, 2009

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Tom Sheepandgoats

"Jehovah’s Witnesses would later insist that heaven has room for only 144,000"

Only because they believe that the prospect for most approved persons is everlasting life on earth under God's kingdom.

They also maintain that the "sacred secret," (Colossians 1:26) a "secret" first made known to the early Christian congregation, means that there would be some from humankind, a comparatively tiny number, who would share in this heavenly government. Their ultimate destiny would be in heaven, not on earth. Since this "secret" was made known shortly after Christ's resurrection, and there are only 144,000 of these who will serve as "kings and priests," very few of them are on earth today. Most, we maintain, have long since lived their lives and been resurrected to heavenly life

A minor clarification to your well-researched post, which I hope you don't mind.

Nicks

I appreciate your comments. Before we were born again, my wife and I spent about 2 years studying with some friends that were JH.

Nicks

salvage

Calvin is credited by most historians as creating the first truly totalitarian state.

He was just another crazy theist proving beyond any doubt that his god, like all the ones before and after, is nothing but myth and superstition warped by human fear and loathing. I mean what kind of god creates a religion that splinters into factions that spend countless centuries killing each other the gray areas / stuff that makes no sense?

It's funny that at the heart of the Reformation was this bizarre urge to push society back into the Bronze Age, Calvin came the closest to that sad and unnatural dream.

But then a few hundred years later The Enlightenment and things started to get better. A world based on Calvin's dogma would be a truly hideous place.

Mommynator

Would you like to back that up with some links, references, anything at all?

The "totalitarian state" Calvin discussed was between people who mutually agreed to live a certain way, not the other way around.

But I wouldn't expect you to understand that.

Mind you, I disagree with Calvin on a few things, but I also hate when people distort what he said.


Chapter and verse, salvage, otherwise you're just spewing.

pete g

where do they come up with that number, good people go to heaven bed people dont its simple

salvage

>Would you like to back that up with some links, references, anything at all?

Any history book on The Reformation and Calvin in general? I'm sure you know how to use Google.

>The "totalitarian state" Calvin discussed was between people who mutually agreed to live a certain way, not the other way around.

This is what makes you a silly person, in your first part of the reply you suggest that I'm making all of this up yet here you are admitting that what I said was true only spun it to your liking.

And if all his followers in Geneva were all mutually agreed then why so many laws to control them? Why a network of spies and informants who would rat you out for dancing or saying a prayer for the dead? Oh and if you said anything nice about the Pope? Guess what happened to you? A slap on the wrist or something more serious?

It's funny, most people view The Reformation as a liberalizing of religion when it was quite the opposite and the great irony is that it lead, eventually, to the liberalizing of religion.

How strange that Jesus let it happen. After all he said Peter was his rock for his church and my how it's crumbled! Guess Pete wasn't such a great foundation after all, strange that the son of a god would make such a mistake.

Mommynator

*rolls eyes*

salvage

Very compelling counter-point but it fails to actually address any of my points so then I can also assume that you must agree that

a) Calvin created a theistic totalitarian state and that it's probably a good thing that it failed. That religion taken to an extreme cannot help but be a threat to liberty and human rights. Iran is the best current example and if you compared the two states you'd seem some startling parallels.

and

b) Calvinism and the Reformation in general is a compelling argument that the Christian religion isn't from anything divine. After all if Jesus were a true deity how could there be any debate on the details of his worship? A real god would leave clear instruction that would make any schism impossible.

chuck aka XtnYoda

Salvage: "Calvin created a theistic totalitarian state and that it's probably a good thing that it failed. That religion taken to an extreme cannot help but be a threat to liberty and human rights..."

Of course you know that communism as a "state" governing force has killed more people in the last century than all others combined in history?

    "I don't care what you think about the idealism of communism," says the Toronto designer. It is a system that, outside this fortunate nation, stands in many minds for terror. "It's undeniable that there are victims of communism. Over 100 million died at the hands of their own statesmen."
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1758377&p=1 Communist/socialist governments are the most bloodthirsty of all, and that for their own citizen's blood.

I would call that a pretty big threat to liberty and human rights.

salvage

Um what does that have to do with Calvin and "500 Years Old And Still Relevant"?

Why do theists do that? Whenever the dangers of state and church being brought together are pointed out there's always one who sputters about the commies. As if somehow that's a) relevant and b) a counterpoint.

Let's clear it up, I hate communism, I've never supported it as a system of government. The only place I've ever seen anything close to communism work is a on a kibbutz in Israel and I wouldn't want to live on one of the those either. Karl Marx was a clever writer but all he really did was recycle a lot of Plato's ideas from "The Republic" that were as Aristotle described / condemned "impractical". In fact Plato (or Socrates) was the biggest communist in history.

Unless he was being a smart-ass, we can never be too sure about that.

Communism is stupid and using communism as a defense against religion's flaws isn't much smarter.

Nick

salvage,

I don't know you, but the statement that -
"Calvin is credited by most historians as creating the first truly totalitarian state" seems a bit over the top.

Your response to being called out is -
"Any history book on The Reformation and Calvin in general? I'm sure you know how to use Google"

Which again seems somewhat overstated. Do most historians write on the reformation and Calvin? I believe most write on secular history. In addition, I do not want to do your research for you.

“He was just another crazy theist proving beyond any doubt that his god, like all the ones before and after, is nothing but myth and superstition warped by human fear and loathing.

Calvin was technically not a theist, but a Christian.
The fact that people who desire to do God's will get it wrong in application is proof of our fallen nature, not God’s inability.

“It's funny that at the heart of the Reformation was this bizarre urge to push society back into the Bronze Age...”

The heart of the reformation was the desire to get back to the basics of the faith. To find a way to fix the mess man had made of God’s instructions.

How did you come up with the Bronze Age reference? I would think in your argument stone age would be more appropriate.

“How strange that Jesus let it happen. After all he said Peter was his rock for his church and my how it's crumbled! Guess Pete wasn't such a great foundation after all, strange that the son of a god would make such a mistake.”

Guess you need some reforming. Peter was not the rock, Jesus was the rock, as represented in Peters faith in Him. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”

TULIP is the acronym for the basic ideas of classical Calvinism. Simply stated -

T -- total depravity. This doesn't mean people are as bad as they can be. It means that sin is in every part of one's being, including the mind and will, so that a man cannot save himself.

U -- unconditional election. God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is, they are not chosen on the basis of their own merit.

L -- limited atonement. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the elect.

I -- irresistible grace. When God has chosen to save someone, He will.

P -- perseverance of the saints. Those people God chooses cannot lose their salvation; they will continue to believe. If they fall away, it will be only for a time.

Nick

tim aka The Godless Heathen

Ah yes, the courageous salvage attacking religion yet again. As an atheist, like myself but yet unlike me, he feels so threatened by folks worshipping a god that the need to attack those believers. Obviously this infringes on saly’s life somehow and this cannot be. Be that as it may, I’ll let others draw their own conclusions from that.

What I find interesting is that sal not once has ever attacked Islam in any way, much less the ferocity as he does Christianity. If anything he actually defends Muslims and their cult of death. Again, I’ll let you draw your own conclusion on that.

Interesting how the one religion that threatens peace and inflicts so much suffering in the world today gets a pass form sal but if Jesus is brought up, holy crap watch out, the wrath of sal and his ridiculously titled blog come marching to save you all from your “sky god” and irrational beliefs.


Yes, yes I know sal, “your too stupid to talk to tim”, blah, blah… Just keep up the fine work sal, you’re a perfect example of the Left and their hypocrisy, even if you from Canada.

BTW, how’s the Global Warming up there, you guys must be in what, the 50’s?

Mommynator

Nick and tim - :D

salvage

>I don't know you, but the statement that -
>"Calvin is credited by most historians as creating the first truly totalitarian state" seems a bit over the top.

Yeah, when I heard about it I thought so too, then the lecture expanded on the idea citing specific examples of how Calvin transformed Geneva into his idea of the Reformation and by the end of the lecture there really wasn’t any compelling argument against it.

>Your response to being called out is -
>"Any history book on The Reformation and Calvin in general? I'm sure you know how to use Google"

>Which again seems somewhat overstated. Do most historians write on the reformation and Calvin? I believe most write on secular history. In addition, I do not want to do your research for you.

Most historians who have an interest in 15th century political and cultural change do and there is no such thing as “secular” history or at least history that goes unaffected by religion. This is especially true in regards to Europe.

You don’t have to do any research for me, right now I’m on a Reform kick at this moment specifically studying the Tudor’s dynasty. Fascinating stuff.

>Calvin was technically not a theist, but a Christian.

A theist is someone who believes in gods that is gods are real and take an active role in human affairs. The opposite of an atheist so if one is a Christian one is a theist, if one is a Muslim one is a theist and so on. So Calvin was very much a theist.

>The fact that people who desire to do God's will get it wrong in application is proof of our fallen nature, not God’s inability.

And that makes no sense. See one of the doublethinks that theists have to hold is that their god is perfect yet he made mankind, the peak of his creation, deeply flawed. A perfect being, by definition could not make anything imperfect. Of course human beings are flawed not just in spirit but in physical form as well. From bad eyesight to weak knees to exploding appendixes our errors are plentiful. In short no designer of any intelligence would have designed humans as we currently are. Heck one quick look at our nasal passages makes that clear; a plumber’s nightmare is how one wit described it.

>The heart of the reformation was the desire to get back to the basics of the faith. To find a way to fix the mess man had made of God’s instructions.

The Reformation had many hearts (and other bits were involved as well, see Henry VIII for details) from the Monks’ treasure troves (you know some monasteries had rooms with false floors that hid their real wealth?) to princes uncomfortable with the power of the church in politics to the Bible being translated and everyone coming up with their own interpretation of your god’s instructions for a few examples.

But yes, “back to basics” was certainly one of them.

I do desktop publishing and graphic design and one of the skills the job demands is giving and receiving clear direction to and from clients / contractors of my own when I outsource. If something goes wrong it’s usually because someone didn’t make themselves clear. Now that sort of thing happens all the time but I’m not a universe creating god am I? So when you say that mankind didn’t get the message all I can think is “Well isn’t your god perfect? Didn’t he make us? Wouldn’t he know exactly how to communicate with us so that there could be no confusion?”

See what I mean? You claim your god is perfect yet mistakes abound.

Here’s a fun one, did you know that Pi is mentioned in the Bible?

And it’s wrong?

That the Greeks with their pagan gods figured out Pi and its importance long before and got it right?

One of the basic underpinnings of math and the universe and your god got it wrong. How’d that happen?

>How did you come up with the Bronze Age reference? I would think in your argument stone age would be more appropriate.

Nope, the Jewish mythology described in the Bible is from the Bronze Age, that’s when war really got going. After all you can kill another tribe with rocks but with the invention of swords? Well then you can do some serious damage. Your god was a huge fan of war back then. Monotheism started in the Bronze Age so if you want to really get back to basics that’s where one would have to start.

That’s why the Bible has instructions on how to sell your daughter into sexual slavery, that sort of thing was popular back then.

Stone Age religion was a bit more "earthy" with the worship of fat women and very nasty gods. A rough life and death theology reflecting the very rough life they lead.

>Guess you need some reforming. Peter was not the rock, Jesus was the rock, as represented in Peters faith in Him. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”

Nope, I was referring to this bit:

Matthew 16:18-19

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

That passage made Peter was the first Pope and the Vatican Christ’s official church and for close to a thousand years that was pretty much the only Christian game in the world. Anyone who strayed was usually burnt to a crisp as Jesus commanded.

Or did he?

Of course this is another example of your god being rather ambiguous, he didn’t leave any real system of organization behind so his followers had to figure it out for themselves and since they were in Rome they made do with a lot of existing ritual.

Once Constantine came along and made if official the mix of Roman paganism and Jewish mythology was sealed.

Hey, did you know that one of the reasons why Constantine was such a fan of Christians was because they were so well organized? That Christians had created a near perfect franchise system that even Starbucks would envy? That is no matter where you went in the Empire, if you saw a church you knew exactly what you were going to get in terms of service and theology.

An incredible achievement for the time.

Of course those services would have baffled Jesus him being a Jew and all but that’s a whole different ball of confusing wax.

>TULIP is the acronym for the basic ideas of classical Calvinism. Simply stated -

Interesting, I had never heard of that before, I’ve only looked into Calvinism in the context of the early Reformation, the theological details don’t hold too much interest for me. To be honest there are so many sects of Christianity that it would take forever to get particulars on all of them. But the basics seem the same:

The god is perfect and he made people who despite the god’s alleged perfect are deeply flawed and the god will punish them horrifically for those flaws unless people perform certain rituals at certain times in certain places. The rituals change from sect to sect, country to country and age to age.

Which makes it very hard to believe in said god, inconsistency is the hallmark of humans not deities.

BroKen

Nick, I do know Salvage (from his comments) and "over the top" is his specialty!

Salvage, this is what makes you a silly person. You claim to know the "heart of the reformation" but then say "I had never heard of that before" and admit to having little interest "in the theological details" at the heart of the reformation!

I told you this a long time ago and it still stands. IF you want to understand religion, you MUST be able to enter into our mindset (at least hypothetically.) You are obviously scared to death to do that (even hypothetically.) You will never understand us until you do.

salvage

>You claim to know the "heart of the reformation"

Please read what I said:

The Reformation had many hearts and I agreed that a "back to basics" was one of them.

>but then say "I had never heard of that before"

That was in reference to TULIP which was the Calvinist expression of "back to basics". I knew of the general but not that specific so what is your point here?

There is much I don't know, that's why I read books and look for answers, you should try it, that's how people get smarter.

>and admit to having little interest "in the theological details" at the heart of the reformation!

Yes, the theological details are unimportant when looking at the history of The Reformation. One of those forest / trees deals. I'm looking at the forest, I don't care what shade of yellow the leaves turn in the Fall, that's another study entirely.

>IF you want to understand religion, you MUST be able to enter into our mindset (at least hypothetically.)

No, not really. I understand religion and the mentality that drives it. That's no mystery, biology, anthropology and other social studies give me a firm grasp of the mindset; indoctrination at a young age creates the foundation of belief and fear sustains it.

>You are obviously scared to death to do that (even hypothetically.) You will never understand us until you do.

No, that's projection. Your religion is based on fear, after all your god is "jealous" and quite dangerous. In the Old Testament how many people did he directly kill? How many did he order killed? He rules with violence and the threat of violence (accept Jesus or suffer in Hell for eternity) and that works through fear.

God fearing is the term theists use yes? You love your god because the alternative is too horrific to contemplate and in return he protects you and promises that when you die everything will be all right. He alleviated the fear that comes with life.

That's why theists live longer and why religion has a place in evolution; it's takes the edge off thus giving believers an edge is survival and evolution always rewards that sort of thing.

I think you've been watching "Silence of the Lambs" too much. I don't need to get into the average Roman citizens mind to understand why Carthage had to burn or why Caligula was a jerk or why paying off Attila was such a bad idea. In fact being an impartial observes gives a much better view.

If I'm anything about theists it's a bit envious, it must be nice to have an omnipotent father figure on the look out for you. Alas I know that I'm the captain of my soul and thus responsible if it ends up on the rocks, no divine wind will come along to save me.

BroKen

"Yes, the theological details are unimportant when looking at the history of The Reformation."

That is the silliest thing I've read in a long time. Astoundingly silly, even for you!

"One of those forest / trees deals. I'm looking at the forest, I don't care what shade of yellow the leaves turn in the Fall, that's another study entirely."

OK, I know there is a forest because I know about trees. You look at a forest and claim to understand, but when we tree-dwellers tell you about the bark and the branches and the ROOTS, you say, "No, it all about the leaves. Green leaves. That's all. And I know because I've studied it objectively."

It is true some people "can't see a forest for the trees" but you, my silly, silly friend, only want to see the forest.

You know, your little dig about reading books was totally gratuitous. But it was so mild coming from you, I'll consider it a compliment! And since you bring up reading, did you ever pick up The Abolition of Man? I think it's been over a year since I suggested it. I would still be interested in your critique.

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