MisterOJ

Christian Discussion II: We are an Advent people

172 posts in this topic

12 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

I'm actually only being slightly facetious, seriously given the power difference how is meaningful consent possible here?

It's not.  Plain and simple, it's absolutely not.  A god who created the universe out of nothing could have easily created a human baby without needing to use a human woman's body.  A god who multiple times committed genocide isn't someone one would feel all that comfortable saying no to.  Mary was the ultimate rape victim and an entire religion was created out of the results of it. 

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42 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

It's not.  Plain and simple, it's absolutely not.  A god who created the universe out of nothing could have easily created a human baby without needing to use a human woman's body.  A god who multiple times committed genocide isn't someone one would feel all that comfortable saying no to.  Mary was the ultimate rape victim and an entire religion was created out of the results of it. 

Yeah - the ultimate age gap and power disparity. 

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1 hour ago, Dr. Pepper said:

It's not.  Plain and simple, it's absolutely not.  A god who created the universe out of nothing could have easily created a human baby without needing to use a human woman's body.  A god who multiple times committed genocide isn't someone one would feel all that comfortable saying no to.  Mary was the ultimate rape victim and an entire religion was created out of the results of it. 

It's not my intention to proselytize and convince others, but simply to explain Catholic* beliefs as I understand them. We believe that Mary was necessary for the birth of Jesus, and that is the reason for the Immaculate Conception of Mary without original sin, God's elevation of Mary, her being "full of Grace". We also believe that she, in fact, had the free will to choose. Mary actually took time to reflect on whether or not to accept and chose to be the Mother of God out of her love, compassion and self-sacrifice. Sure the power dynamics are completely off, but that emphasizes what is so great about the story. In spite of that enormous power dynamic, the choice was still Mary's. God loved her( and all of us by extension) so much that the choice to be the Mother of God was ultimately hers. Non-believers argue there can't possibly be any decision on Mary's part due to this power dynamic, but us Catholics* believe it is a reflection of God's love for us by exercising restraint and actually allowing us free will. Of course belief is the essence of faith and others not of faith will not hold such beliefs.

 

*I only speak as a Catholic and not of the beliefs of other Christian denominations.

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1 hour ago, Astromech said:

It's not my intention to proselytize and convince others, but simply to explain Catholic* beliefs as I understand them. We believe that Mary was necessary for the birth of Jesus, and that is the reason for the Immaculate Conception of Mary without original sin, God's elevation of Mary, her being "full of Grace". We also believe that she, in fact, had the free will to choose. Mary actually took time to reflect on whether or not to accept and chose to be the Mother of God out of her love, compassion and self-sacrifice. Sure the power dynamics are completely off, but that emphasizes what is so great about the story. In spite of that enormous power dynamic, the choice was still Mary's. God loved her( and all of us by extension) so much that the choice to be the Mother of God was ultimately hers. Non-believers argue there can't possibly be any decision on Mary's part due to this power dynamic, but us Catholics* believe it is a reflection of God's love for us by exercising restraint and actually allowing us free will. Of course belief is the essence of faith and others not of faith will not hold such beliefs.

 

*I only speak as a Catholic and not of the beliefs of other Christian denominations.

From my perspective the interesting point is that this highlights the differences on the issue of "original sin" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Both believe in its existence but for Orthodox "original sin" means the world itself is fallen not that each of us bears the personal taint of "original sin".  Thus it was possible for Mary to be free from sin without the necessity of her being "immaculately conceived".  

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

From my perspective the interesting point is that this highlights the differences on the issue of "original sin" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Both believe in its existence but for Orthodox "original sin" means the world itself is fallen not that each of us bears the personal taint of "original sin".  Thus it was possible for Mary to be free from sin without the necessity of her being "immaculately conceived".  

I must say that the idea of a fallen world appeals to me.

An example would be the so called beauty of nature, which indeed appears magnificent at face value, but when you dig just a little deeper the immense cruelty of the natural cycle of life and death becomes quickly apparent. Nature is monstrous, but with a veneer of beauty when you look at it from afar. A tiger in its natural habitat, and eagle in flight, an orca cutting through the waves, all of these are magical sights. Until you look a bit more closely and see the tiger devouring a young deer, an eagle eating the chicks of its prey, or orcas ripping apart a baby seal.

The monstrous truth of the nature of this world becomes quickly apparent then, and the idea of the Lion laying down with the Lamb one day becomes quite appealing indeed.

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5 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

From my perspective the interesting point is that this highlights the differences on the issue of "original sin" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Both believe in its existence but for Orthodox "original sin" means the world itself is fallen not that each of us bears the personal taint of "original sin".  Thus it was possible for Mary to be free from sin without the necessity of her being "immaculately conceived".  

That is interesting. I must admit to being a bit ignorant of Orthodox teachings. The Immaculate Conception is really a head scratcher for those on the outside of Catholicism and looking in. Even for many of us on the inside.

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34 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

From my perspective the interesting point is that this highlights the differences on the issue of "original sin" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Both believe in its existence but for Orthodox "original sin" means the world itself is fallen not that each of us bears the personal taint of "original sin".  Thus it was possible for Mary to be free from sin without the necessity of her being "immaculately conceived".  

In Orthodox theology, are all infants therefore born "free of sin"?

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1 hour ago, Ormond said:

In Orthodox theology, are all infants therefore born "free of sin"?

We not born with sin, so, the logical extension is yes.  But being born in a fallen world means we all sin because of the world around us.  Mary being a unique exception to that rule.

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6 hours ago, Astromech said:

It's not my intention to proselytize and convince others, but simply to explain Catholic* beliefs as I understand them. We believe that Mary was necessary for the birth of Jesus, and that is the reason for the Immaculate Conception of Mary without original sin, God's elevation of Mary, her being "full of Grace". We also believe that she, in fact, had the free will to choose. Mary actually took time to reflect on whether or not to accept and chose to be the Mother of God out of her love, compassion and self-sacrifice. Sure the power dynamics are completely off, but that emphasizes what is so great about the story. In spite of that enormous power dynamic, the choice was still Mary's. God loved her( and all of us by extension) so much that the choice to be the Mother of God was ultimately hers. Non-believers argue there can't possibly be any decision on Mary's part due to this power dynamic, but us Catholics* believe it is a reflection of God's love for us by exercising restraint and actually allowing us free will. Of course belief is the essence of faith and others not of faith will not hold such beliefs.

 

*I only speak as a Catholic and not of the beliefs of other Christian denominations.

I understand that these are the beliefs of believers.  However, with respect, that doesn't make it true.  Of course, like you say, it's on faith and so nothing has to be proven in any way if you just say you believe.  Still, it's not true.  Perhaps if there weren't such a power disparity, perhaps if there hadn't been multiple stories of that particular god being incredibly vengeful when people didn't do what it wanted, perhaps, perhaps, etc.  There's not enough information to conclude that there was meaningful consent given other than a line that Mary said yes to someone who by all accounts was too terrifying to deny.

There's another sexual harassment/assault thread happening and several similar situations are described where a person with a ton of power imposes themselves on one with less and it's generally agreed that meaningful consent could not be provided.  It's always been impossible for me to understand how someone could agree on that situation but deny it when it comes to a literary/mythological figure like Mary based on the idea of faith.  I grew up in a fundamentalist household and the way Mary is perceived is pretty much where the religion started to completely lose me (though to be fair, it probably always would have lost me simply due to the way my brain works). 

Edited by Dr. Pepper

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Umm, guys! I've been coming to this board for like almost 10 years. It's okay, I'm not going to be weird about it. 

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4 minutes ago, Dr. Pepper said:

I understand that these are the beliefs of believers.  However, with respect, that doesn't make it true.  Of course, like you say, it's on faith and so nothing has to be proven in any way if you just say you believe.  Still, it's not true.  Perhaps if there weren't such a power disparity, perhaps if there hadn't been multiple stories of that particular god being incredibly vengeful when people didn't do what it wanted, perhaps, perhaps, etc.  There's not enough information to conclude that there was meaningful consent given other than a line that Mary said yes to someone who by all accounts was too terrifying to deny.

There's another sexual harassment/assault thread happening and several similar situations are described where a person with a ton of power imposes themselves on one with less and it's generally agreed that meaningful consent could not be provided.  It's always been impossible for me to understand how someone could agree on that situation but deny it when it comes to a literary/mythological figure like Mary based on the idea of faith.  I grew up in a fundamentalist household and the way Mary is perceived is pretty much where the religion started to completely lose me (though to be fair, it probably always would have lost me simply due to the way my brain works). 

Yes, ultimately it is a matter of faith. One's beliefs may not make it true, but, conversely, another's non-beliefs may not make it untrue.

 

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6 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

From my perspective the interesting point is that this highlights the differences on the issue of "original sin" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  Both believe in its existence but for Orthodox "original sin" means the world itself is fallen not that each of us bears the personal taint of "original sin".  Thus it was possible for Mary to be free from sin without the necessity of her being "immaculately conceived".  

My view of original sin is both evolutionary and spiritual. The first flowering of moral conscience, awareness of right and wrong, good an evil, the divine and the debased, as the human species started to take on its spiritual aspect is what original sin is all about. Put simply, the animal cannot be held accountable for it's actions, because its actions are not undertaken in a moral and spiritual context. Humans are uniquely accountable for their actions because of the understanding of the right and wrong, good and evil context in which we act, which is a capacity uniquely bestowed upon humanity by God. The eating of the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is metaphorical of that evolutionary step when humanity became a collectively spiritually and morally conscious species. Once we became morally and spiritually accountable for our actions, that was a genie that could not be put back in the bottle. And that accountability is the original sin which we have inherited over the millennia and continue to struggle with.

What does that mean in terms of Mary? She did not exist outside of that context of moral consciousness, but she was a holy and pure soul who lived a saintly life and thus was given the bounty of being the mother of Jesus Christ.

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Sorry, but the "rape" idea is ridiculous (and with any other combination of thread and ridiculously offensive idea it would probably be counted as hijacking and cause for warning).

The incarnation doctrine is completely different from Zeus raping/seducing a mortal woman. Obviously there was no intercourse involved (*Virgin* Mary). Claiming that this was the same as Zeus and Leda etc. and "ultimate rape" is not worth of serious discussion because it clearly shows that it was not understood what was claimed by Catholics with their doctrine of incarnation in the first place. (What is "true", is not the point, but what the actual doctrine says. Feel free to claim that "in truth" Mary was actually raped by Zeus but this is not what is discussed here because nobody ever claims this in the christian teaching.)

Sure, one could say that it is not o.k. to make someone miraculously pregnant w/o intercourse (because this is roughly what is claimed in the doctrine). But even if one grants (against scripture and teaching, i.e. against the basis of this very discussion) that Mary was not asked if she agreed, this still would not be rape. It would be something closer to involuntary medical testing, maybe like involuntary surrogate motherhood which might be as bad as rape but still be something clearly different.

As rape is typically involuntary/forced sexual intercourse in which sense can something that was neither of these be rape?

Edited by Jo498

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8 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

My view of original sin is both evolutionary and spiritual. The first flowering of moral conscience, awareness of right and wrong, good an evil, the divine and the debased, as the human species started to take on its spiritual aspect is what original sin is all about. Put simply, the animal cannot be held accountable for it's actions, because its actions are not undertaken in a moral and spiritual context. Humans are uniquely accountable for their actions because of the understanding of the right and wrong, good and evil context in which we act, which is a capacity uniquely bestowed upon humanity by God. The eating of the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is metaphorical of that evolutionary step when humanity became a collectively spiritually and morally conscious species. Once we became morally and spiritually accountable for our actions, that was a genie that could not be put back in the bottle. And that accountability is the original sin which we have inherited over the millennia and continue to struggle with.

What does that mean in terms of Mary? She did not exist outside of that context of moral consciousness, but she was a holy and pure soul who lived a saintly life and thus was given the bounty of being the mother of Jesus Christ.

You aren't the first I've seen holding forth that metaphor.  That "orginal sin" and man living by "the sweat of his labor" is a metaphor simplifying the time when our species shifted from hunter/gatherers to being farmers/herders.  It has great appeal.  

What that means for Mary in a theological sense... I'm not sure.  

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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4 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Sorry, but the "rape" idea is ridiculous (and with any other combination of thread and ridiculously offensive idea it would probably be counted as hijacking and cause for warning).

The incarnation doctrine is completely different from Zeus raping/seducing a mortal woman. Obviously there was no intercourse involved (*Virgin* Mary). Claiming that this was the same as Zeus and Leda etc. and "ultimate rape" is not worth of serious discussion because it clearly shows that it was not understood what was claimed by Catholics with their doctrine of incarnation in the first place. (What is "true", is not the point, but what the actual doctrine says. Feel free to claim that "in truth" Mary was actually raped by Zeus but this is not what is discussed here because nobody ever claims this in the christian teaching.)

Sure, one could say that it is not o.k. to make someone miraculously pregnant w/o intercourse (because this is roughly what is claimed in the doctrine). But even if one grants (against scripture and teaching, i.e. against the basis of this very discussion) that Mary was not asked if she agreed, this still would not be rape. It would be something closer to involuntary medical testing, maybe like involuntary surrogate motherhood which might be as bad as rape but still be something clearly different.

As rape is typically involuntary/forced sexual intercourse in which sense can something that was neither of these be rape?

Not sure how you can say anything in the Bible, or any religious doctrine for that matter, is obviously correct considering we don’t know if most of it is true. Hell we don’t even know for certain if these people actually existed.  

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54 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Not sure how you can say anything in the Bible, or any religious doctrine for that matter, is obviously correct considering we don’t know if most of it is true. Hell we don’t even know for certain if these people actually existed.  

There are almost no serious historians who would agree that Jesus did not exist, and if he existed he most probably had a mother.

Plus you are ignoring the Jo498's statement "What is "true", is not the point, but what the actual doctrine says.

I do not agree with all of Roman Catholic theology about Mary myself, being a Presbyterian, but this thread is for discussing what the theology and beliefs of various Christians are. 

To copy from the first post in this thread:

A similar disclaimer to the other thread: This isn't a thread for debate about belief. There have been plenty of those and there will continue to be. This is a thread to discuss Christianity (or other faiths), post inspiring or interesting links, ask for prayer, or shares the joys in your life. Non-believers are completely welcome to post, but we ask that any questions be sincere and not a pretense to start a debate.

 

Edited by Ormond

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3 minutes ago, Ormond said:

There are almost no serious historians who would agree that Jesus did not exist, and if he existed he most probably had a mother.

Plus you are ignoring the Jo498's statement "What is "true", is not the point, but what the actual doctrine says.

I do not agree with all of Roman Catholic theology about Mary myself, being a Presbyterian, but this thread is for discussing what the theology and beliefs of various Christians are. 

 

Um where are you getting that from? It’s true that most religious historians agree that Jesus existed, but their methodology has also been called into question, and a lot of non-religious historians think it’s more up for debate (especially when it comes to the claims of divinity). What makes it extremely suspect for myself is that there are a number of pre-Christian deities with nearly identical traits as Jesus. But regardless, my point was that you can't say anything about any religion is obvious, which seems like a pretty fair point to argue considering no religion has ever been able to prove any of their greater claims. It’s absurd to say with certainty whether or not Mary was in fact a virgin.

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26 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Um where are you getting that from? It’s true that most religious historians agree that Jesus existed, but their methodology has also been called into question, and a lot of non-religious historians think it’s more up for debate (especially when it comes to the claims of divinity). What makes it extremely suspect for myself is that there are a number of pre-Christian deities with nearly identical traits as Jesus. But regardless, my point was that you can't say anything about any religion is obvious, which seems like a pretty fair point to argue considering no religion has ever been able to prove any of their greater claims. It’s absurd to say with certainty whether or not Mary was in fact a virgin.

I was specifically referring to existence, not claims of divinity. And I simply do not think it is true that "a lot" (if that means a high percentage) of "non-religious historians" think the actual existence of Jesus is up for debate. It is my understanding that such a position is very rare among "non-religious historians." 

The similarities between the story of Jesus and other religious figures are some of the facts that come into play when serious historians debate how the theology of Christianity developed and where the concept of Jesus as divine, the Trinity, etc. come from. But that is a different question than whether or not there was a Jewish religious teacher named Jesus who lived in Palestine during the early years of the Roman empire, which is pretty much accepted by most historians no matter what their own religious convictions are. 

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But nobody cares if there was a Jewish religious teacher named Jesus who lived in Palestine during the early years of the Roman empire. There was probably at least a couple of them, but if he didn't do the shit the bible says he did than he's not the Jesus of the bible. Even if the guy from the bible may have originally been this actual person. Like if Peter Parker had originally been inspired by a New York photographer of the same name, that doesn't make him actually Spiderman.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Um where are you getting that from? It’s true that most religious historians agree that Jesus existed, but their methodology has also been called into question, and a lot of non-religious historians think it’s more up for debate (especially when it comes to the claims of divinity). What makes it extremely suspect for myself is that there are a number of pre-Christian deities with nearly identical traits as Jesus. But regardless, my point was that you can't say anything about any religion is obvious, which seems like a pretty fair point to argue considering no religion has ever been able to prove any of their greater claims. It’s absurd to say with certainty whether or not Mary was in fact a virgin.

I personally do not know of any non-religious historians who believe Jesus’ claim to divinity. 

However, I also do not know any serious historian doubting Jesus’ existense. If you could cite them (and, note, Richard Carrier is known - and there are probably reasons why he’s self employed), that would be nice. 

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