Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

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LTO
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by LTO » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:34 am

My young visions of the scary version of Hell were set not by Dante but by Hieronymus Bosch whose work was on loan to the DIA when I was a kid. When taken to the museum I used to sit and stare at Bosch's triptych 'The Garden of Earthly Delights,' specifically the third panel which depicted Hell. Never believed it but it gave me nightmares nonetheless. Far creepier than lakes of burning sulfur IMO. But in church we were never taught that Hell was like this or Dante's brimstone. We were taught that Hell was simply being separated from God, wherever that may be.

Image

And while on the subject of Dante, Bosch and Renaissance visions of the Devil and Hell (granted Dante was very very early Renaissance, if at all), I prefer the much later Milton. In fact, one of the most famous passages from Milton's Paradise Lost I think also describes the expat condition pretty well, at least for some expats.

At this point in the story, Lucifer's rebellion against God has failed (a rebellion that was sparked by Lucifer's unwillingness to be subjugated by God), and God has just cast him and his co-rebels into the Pit. This is what Lucifer (now Satan) has to say about it:

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
Said then the lost Arch Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since hee
Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: fardest from him is best
Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream
Above his equals. Farewel happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then hee
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
Last edited by LTO on Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by MekongMouse » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:42 am

StroppyChops wrote:
MekongMouse wrote:I was expecting hell to be on that list. I haven't read the bible, nor was I raised Christian, so I don't claim to be an expert, but a lot of the more literal interpretations I've heard leaves hell out (maybe Jehovah's Witnesses?). Can any Christian or knowledgeable people shed some light?
It's not surprising that liberal/alternative 'Christian' organisations leave out Hell - it's a pretty hard concept to deliver.

Hell is most definitely a feature of the Christian bible, without question. What is questioned is how each translation describes Hell. Some refer to Hell as 'a dark place', 'a gloomy place', 'pits of darkness', 'a place of separation' and fewer refer to 'the lake of fire'. Others again just refer to returning to the grave. Also, different authors of the books of the Bible use different imagery. In writing the last book, Revelation, Paul gave an account of a vision of the burning lakes of sulphur as he saw it.

It's not unsurprising that translations completed at different times sound different - each translation is based on theological understandings of the current time. This is why the King James Version is full of thees, thy's and thou's - those are solely related to the spoken English of the day and have absolutely no bearing on the actual intent of the scriptures... which is why modern translations don't use them.

Note that many people's view of Hell (whether athiest or not) is based on Dante's Inferno, a 14th Century theatre piece - many will swear this is biblically accurate but it's far from it. It's commonly thought that this understanding at that time led to how some of the KJV was interpreted.

Newer translations such as the New Living Translation are actually taken from the original Hebrew and Greek texts and re-worked from scratch to ensure they are not clouded by previous errors in translation or affected by previous thinking or understanding. Many people believe there is one linear progression of the Bible from the Council of Nicaea through to today, with each version being based on the previous one - this is not the case. It is precisely because there's a difference in the original Hebrew between "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not murder" (which is the correct interpretation) that it is important for the translators to work from the originals, and not from translations that have been done in previous centuries.

If you want some specific references from the Bible about Hell, check out http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical- ... le-verses/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Oh, very informative, thanks!
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by vladimir » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:03 am

I think it would be way harder to be a practising Christian in Cambodia than elsewhere, so few peers for support and so many non-godly things to do, LOL
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by MekongMouse » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:36 am

I like that about Cambodia. The Christianity in the US is suffocating.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by vladimir » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:52 pm

The problem is that Christians have never been taught to question.

They have been told and trained to follow their leader like sheep.

A Christian who criticises capitalism is immediately branded a traitor, whilst in reality the theory of communism is far closer to the truth of Christianity than capitalism.

Most Christian pastors either have no balls or are so uneducated they don't follow the original spirit of the message.

The practise of religion: shit on it.

On another forum, we have a self-promoted Buddhist acing like a twat, serving military commanders. Yeah, I can see Buddha approving.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by StroppyChops » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:29 pm

vladimir wrote:The problem is that Christians have never been taught to question.

They have been told and trained to follow their leader like sheep.
Yes, exactly so.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by LTO » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:27 pm

A passing thought...

If God were an imperfect god, big and powerful enough to have created us and all this, and good enough to have our best interests at heart, but not big and powerful enough to make it all 'perfect' for us, kind of like a human father to his children, would that make him any less worthy of our love and honor? If this is the best he can do, this world with death and love and eye-munching bugs and us - would it have been better not to have created us at all?
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by StroppyChops » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:32 pm

LTO wrote:A passing thought...

If God were an imperfect god, big and powerful enough to have created us and all this, and good enough to have our best interests at heart, but not big and powerful enough to make it all 'perfect' for us, kind of like a human father to his children, would that make him any less worthy of our love and honor? If this is the best he can do, this world with death and love and eye-munching bugs and us - would it have been better not to have created us at all?
Interesting thought.

On the other hand, what if God was perfect, and created a universe, a galaxy, a world, and populated it with people with free will so that they would choose to follow him, or not, of their own volition? Let's say that He has the power to create muppets to follow Him unerringly - but that's pretty hollow at the end of the day. It's like the ultimate in programming, true AI that recognises and interacts with it's creator - maybe it's a bit like that.

Edit: building on this a little further, what if God knew mankind would immediately arse it all up and paint itself into a corner, and need a way of getting back into right relationship with Him?

Using your analogy, doesn't a great father raise his kids right and then allow them to learn from their actions, knowing that the best lesson is that you're responsible for your own actions? Gets a bit harder to follow on the grander scale, but I like to see it that way.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by snookie BRO » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:27 pm

Stroppy

Define for us what Christianity is all about, and what's so good about it.
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Re: Spirituality: Curious about Christianity?

Post by Kampong Spooner » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:35 pm

So, a well known and respected politician suffers a coronary and passes on to the next world.

Luckily, this a Christian next-world, and even more fortunately it's the correct form which he has been baptized in and paid service to all his life.

He stands patiently at the pearly gates and St Peter greets him.

'Well' says Pete 'We don't often get men of your stature here, so we've got to do something'

'What's that?' says the poltician.

'It's standard dogmatic procedure' replies St P, 'You get to spend 24 hours in hell, 24 in heaven and then you get to decide where you wish to spend eternity'

'Can I not just stay up here?' asks the pollo.

'Sorry, rules is rules, I'm afraid'

So the 2 of them get in a lift and travel down to the depths of hell. The doors open and the politician is greeted by a golf course. All his old friends and family look up from their games and greet him with handshakes and hugs. They play rounds together, shoot the shit and go for a banquet of caviar, champagne and cigars. Satan shows up and has a hoot with the boys- it's the best day of this guy's life. Eventually St P shows up tapping on his watch.

"Time to experience heaven' he says. The guy argues a little, Satan had offered him a spin in his Aston Martin and he hadn't caught up with all his uni mates yet.

'You have to try both out' St P says, 'then you can choose'

They get back in the lift and ascend to heaven. It's peaceful up there, classical music plays softly, the politician sees an old teacher, a kindly great uncle and his childhood black Labrador, Sambo. The food's pretty good and Jesus pours out some decent Chardonnay. Soon enough St P arrives, tapping his watch.

'What's it to be then? You've had 24 hours in both heaven and hell, and now you must decide'

The politician pauses. 'Well, heavens really nice, and the big JC is a great fellow, but honestly, I had such a blast down in hell, that's where I'd prefer to spend forever'.

'Very well' says St P and instantly they're in the lift and going down. The doors open to an apocolyptic landscape. The golf green is fire and brimstone, the winds blow fire and ice and all the friends are in rags being tormented by demons. Satan's there and being a right cunt to all and sundry.

'But, but, but' stammers the politician 'yesterday there was golf, and champagne and an Aston Martin....'

'Ah!' says St P 'Yesterday we were campaigning......................................... today you have voted'
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