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  1. #1
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Default The Great Christian Argument

    There has long been a division on one particular issue in Christianity and that is man's place when it comes to condemning sin.

    Most Catholics and most fundamentalist type Christians argue that man must go out into the world and condemn sin at every turn. That often translates into telling people they are going to hell if they don't repent. These Christians argue that only sin divides Christians and that fear, shame, guilt, and remorse are signs of spiritual healing.

    The more liberal Christian groups on the other hand, such as the Red Letter Christians argue that only Jesus/God have the right to condemn sin and to ask for repentance. These groups generally argue that it is the duty of every Christian to love God and to love fellow sinners, sin and all. They believe that only love can bring people to God and that shame and guilt are tools that those who corrupt the word of God use to control.

    The fundamentalist type Christians have a few hurdles to cross since Jesus made comments like,

    "Judge not ye be judge"
    "Love thy neighbor as you love yourself"
    and so forth, thereby making the case that you can't judge people. However, they argue a specific distinction to get around this. They say that judging sin is not the same as judging sinners.

    Ultimately it comes down to one story in the Bible of questionable origin about a prostitute that was going to be stoned by a group of men.

    Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
    Who said: No man, Lord.
    And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more. (Jn. 8: 1-11)
    The fundamentalist type Christians argue that this clearly shows that Jesus says that men are capable of condemning sin while not condemning the sinner. Whereas the more liberal Christians argue that Jesus told all the men that he who is without sin could condemn her. No man condemned her, and thus Jesus did not condemn her. In doing so, they argue that Jesus was saying, no man has the right to condemn sin. And thus, as the argument goes, since he was sinless, he asked her to repent, since he was the only being who had the right to do so.

    So what are your thoughts on this big division in the scripture? Please no preaching, just sharing of your personal views.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  2. #2
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    There's a difference between observing sinful behavior and judging a person for it. You can tell a person they are engaging in a sinful act without condemning them or judging, although this requires candor and humility which Jesus had lots of. The problem is churches are the confused Stewards of Christianity and have a very backasswards perspective about sin because they are political and social engineering institutions - blaring rhetorical nonsense at people that they are supposed to swallow without squirming. This is flawed and Jesus knew it, apparently.

    IMO, the best thing a Christian could do is in this day and age is 1) try to show the logic behind sin and virtue / self-destructive acts and prosperous ones. The greek philosophers are great for SHOWING, not telling, these things. 2) don't reveal your beliefs unless asked. You wouldn't believe how jaded some people are against the horseshit many "Christians" spew.

    Of course there's no common consensus on what is a sinful act and what isn't, but this can only help build a genuine bridge between a theist and the doubter rather than forcing them to regurgitate something along the lines of "the Lord is my savior and I am free from sin because I say so"

  3. #3
    Sniffles
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    For whatever reason, I was unable to post a substantial reply to the OP.

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Don't have much time to respond right now. But note there's also a distinction that I've noticed where Christians have different policies on "how to deal with sin" depending on whether is a believer or an unbeliever.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    The endless cycle of sinning and repenting doesn't seem healthy. Why live your life always feeling oppressed? Doesn't that contradict the idea of "freedom" which is what every Christian (religious person) hopes to attain?

  6. #6
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBeatGoesOn View Post
    The endless cycle of sinning and repenting doesn't seem healthy. Why live your life always feeling oppressed? Doesn't that contradict the idea of "freedom" which is what every Christian (religious person) hopes to attain?
    IMO Freedom and virtue are inversely proportional.

    Christianity is full of contradictions, so I would expect one like this and I would also expect them, in the true spirit of a barrister, to find a lame loophole. It seems like another way for the orthodox to impose their opinions on others and spread their message of fear.
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    My beliefs have changed a lot over the years.

    I used to view everything through the strict Atonement sense ("Without shedding of blood there is no remission"). When I was young, this made sense to me because my view of life was mostly at the butt end of authoritarianism. I was not an adult, and so I was subject to the rules of the authorities over me. Deviations from the rules, or an inability to meet the ideals laid down for me, were "bad" and needed to be disciplined; meanwhile, I needed to beat all the imperfections out of myself and somehow become more pure.

    As an adult, I mostly became the authority (for my children), and my view on all of that gradually changed. Being a parental figure, I think, tempers such things.

    The necessity to make "deviation from the authority" the focal point of my relationship with them just dwindled away. Yes, I still disciplined them (and probably more than the other parents we saw, I think their behavior showed that they had a healthy respect for authority and did want to please)... but it wasn't really about that anymore. The goal became to foster a relationship of trust and respect. I wanted to see them become everything they could be, a vision that was constantly being "tweaked" by their own responses and interests and desires.

    When they deviated from the vision of people who could love others, we would nudge them back towards it. We changed our own behavior so that we could model the right approach for them to use with others. It became about teaching them how to know themselves, know others, know where they fit into the world, see their own potential, have vision, have compassion and the willingness to give, to not fear for their own security or diminishment if they gave, and so on.

    Compared to this, I think making "sin" the focal point of the relationship is destructive. People are far more than the mistake they make, even the mistakes they sometimes CHOOSE to make. It seems like one facet of the totality of the person, but it is highly emphasized in some branches of Christianity. I think the overemphasis is what is unhealthy. The notion of sin positively keeps a person aware of their own frailties and humanness, of knowing they are not "god" themselves over other, and that they're not going to reach perfection by their efforts. In fact, reaching perfection is not the goal at all. These things can be learned without merely beating into a child how fallen they are in the core of their being, how "inherently bad" they are, and how they have to be better or at least beg forgiveness.

    I don't really know any good parents who view their children that way. They might have the paradigm in their head, but if you look at their responses... they treat their children differently... as human but good, with potential for love and value. I don't even see the Prodigal father responding that way or thinking in context of the "sin" paradigm.

    I feel like I'm rambling, but usually when the sin paradigm predominates, I have seen a lot more pervasive guilt, self-condemnation, shame, and obsessive perfectionism arise. Other focii seem to produce a more consistently positive result.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Default Anti-Catholic Bigot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Most Catholics and most fundamentalist type Christians argue that man must go out into the world and condemn sin at every turn. That often translates into telling people they are going to hell if they don't repent. These Christians argue that only sin divides Christians and that fear, shame, guilt, and remorse are signs of spiritual healing.
    How ridiculous. Roman Catholicism does not teach that we must go out into the world and condemn sin at every turn. Quite the opposite.

    And Roman Catholic theologians argue that there is nobody in hell.

    And Roman Cathoiics do not argue that only sin divides Christians. Again, quite the opposite.

    And RCs do not claim that fear, shame, guilt and remorse are signs of spiritual healing.

    In fact the only people who make these claims are anti-Catholic bigots.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    I can't condemn people of sin. Condemn means essentially to sentence or doom. I can't do that, only God can do that. I occasionally confront people of their sin, only when I am in the Spirit and it is out of love that I am doing it. So that makes it rare occurance. And people have confronted me about my own sin, and I am grateful. I didn't always agree with them, though, and have said so. I have to be really touched to the core of my being to warn someone of hellfire. This just shows the hardness of my own heart.

    Jesus talked more about hell, warning people of it, than he did any other topic. It seemed to be foremost on His mind that people escape it. He pointed out the sins of the woman at the well, that she was living with a man who was not her husband. So Jesus confronted sinners (that includes me, the Spirit convicts me) also.

    We are commanded to be like Jesus, what then can we say?
    "My Journey is my Destination."

    "Today Counts Forever." R.C. Sproul

  10. #10
    Senior Member Apollonian's Avatar
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    The way I see it, it is possible to 'condemn' sin in the sense that I believe it is wrong regardless of who is sinning. Yet, I deplore the act of 'condemning' sin in the sense of promulgating prejudice regarding one personal view of how other people are sinning and insisting that they stop (unless of course they are a member of the police or other legitimate authority, but then it isn't a matter of "sin" but one of "law").

    Also, a person should have the ability to express his or her beliefs without being rebuffed with "shut up! Your beliefs only apply to yourself!". So, each person has a right to hold beliefs which include beliefs about other people's behavior being right or wrong. With regard to the stoning of the prostitute, it isn't "judging" which is wrong...it is how you act upon your judgement.

    However, I believe that people who are insisting that everyone else follow one particularly narrow view are asking for trouble. Truth is never so rigidly understood as to allow one person to assert their perspective on it.

    There is one Truth, but since none of us can ever know everything at once we can only seek to compare notes with each other. We must always be willing to admit that we are wrong, but we cannot so easily dismissed others as wrong either.

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