Why Christianity?

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28 May 2016 02:20 #242496 by Alethea Thompson
This is for those of you that are Christian. The challenge is to come up with a non-Biblical reason that Christianity is a better belief system for you than any other religion. Why does Christ appeal to you, where the Goddess doesn't, or where the Norse Pantheon, etc?
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28 May 2016 02:58 - 28 May 2016 03:18 #242503 by Adi
Replied by Adi on topic Why Christianity?
Short version: Because it is what I have experienced. I know that answer sounds like a cop-out, and probably isn't much fun to debate with, so I'll give it another go at length.

Long version: Because it is what I have experienced, especially compared to my past religious history. At the end of the day, scripture is only one of the three pillars of the Anglican Christianity I practice and follow (the other two being tradition and reason. A lot of people say experience is a fourth pillar, but I think experience is something that backs up and is mixed with the other three rather than standing on its own, separate from the others. To use an awkward metaphor, they say without one pillar, it would all crash down, but I say without experience, the other three wouldn't be able to stand in the first place. It's a foundation.

People often think Christianity is about looking to scripture for all the answers, but that's not exactly how Christianity worked for the majority of people until relatively recently. That's definitely not how it is for me. The "answers" as it were are everywhere, but I suppose for me Christianity is not about finding the answers as figuring out the right questions to ask. A question I asked shortly after converting was, "Why did God choose to incarnate as a Jewish carpenter living in 1st century Roman Judea?" It's a fair question, but if we knew, the answer probably wouldn't be particularly ground-breaking in terms of individual spirituality.

Instead I've gotten into the habit of asking different questions like, "What does God call me to do to bring about that kingdom that, so we say at every service, exists 'on Earth as it [does] in heaven'?" It's a harder question to answer because it's a lot more personal. Opening a Bible to a random Gospel passage or Epistle (or even an Old Testament reading) probably won't tell me. But if I go out into the world, maybe I'll find the answer. That sort of engagement with the world (emulating the life of Christ, who engaged with the people who "the world" did not want to engage with) is what speaks to me, and it's something that I did poorly (or not at all) when I was an agnostic and then a Buddhist. I cannot say definitively that this is simply due to strengths of Christianity or whether it is a part of my spiritual growth overall, but I like to think, of nothing else, it is both.

A note about the role of scripture, though you did ask for a "non-Biblical reason." This past week I just completed the first year of a four-year theology programme in the Episcopal Church (that is, a programme that teaches about theology, not one that teaches a certain theology), and in the first year we just focus on the Old Testament. I used to think the Old Testament was nothing but ancient myths and brutal, genocidal garbage - useless and utterly irrelevant* to me as a Christian. But having read the whole thing now and analyzed it book-by-book, I agree with the assessment of a religious scholar who wrote a book on the Old Testament (from a non-Christian, strictly academic perspective), who argued at the very end of his work that the Old Testament was probably the most groundbreaking work of the western ancient world in terms of emphasizing human responsibility and social justice.

That dual emphasis (repeated by Jesus in the New Testament and in centuries of Christian tradition, though it has fallen by the wayside a bit in the modern era) is important to me, and if you're asking for non-scriptural reasons for why Christianity has been better for me, I'd say that is as close as it gets. Spirituality is a deeply personal thing, unique to each individual, so no words I write here could possibly do it justice. But I hope this is a satisfactory answer for your challenge. Thank you for asking this question!


* It is not relevant to your question, but I do want to share an experience. In our last class of the academic year, on Monday, the facilitator for my class remarked on this change: for the first few months, I was skeptical of the value of the Old Testament and voiced this skepticism openly and often. There were books of the Old Testament I was scathing in my critique of. And yet in the last class session, I was able to sum up on the spot why the Old Testament was powerful and meaningful for me, and ultimately helped me grow as a Christian.

Adi
Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing. - Thérèse of Lisieux ✞
Last edit: 28 May 2016 03:18 by Adi.
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28 May 2016 03:06 #242505 by CableSteele
Replied by CableSteele on topic Why Christianity?
I am not a perfect person. I get angry with people and lash out at them with my tongue. I try to be a good person, but I fail, almost daily. I see all these religions that offer peace or enlightenment, but none of them offer hope for a person who can't seem to get it right. The story of Jesus gives me real-world examples of how to act in a given situation. I know you said non-Biblical reasons, but I don't really know of any text that has more information about this Jesus character than the bible. If I was enamored with Buddha, I would read the Buddhacarita or the Mahāvastu (both full of beautiful stories btw).
I identify with Jesus in a way that I just can't with Buddha, Krishna, Horus, Baldur, or Tyler Durden. My belief in Jesus assures me that everything will turn out for the best in any given situation. Sure, some people just believe that anyway, but I learned it through Christ, so I guess that is why I see it that way.
I see the goddess is more of a ruler of nature. She is the nurturer of all life, but if you get on her bad side, she can be devastating. Christ does not give me any ultimatums like that. No matter how many times I fail, if I get up and return to him, he takes me back, no questions. It's a dynamic relationship where I go about my day considering how Jesus would respond to any given situation and he fills me with peace and joy. If I screw up, he comes alongside and says, "It's ok. Let's try again."
Now that I think about it, it's really hard to explain unless you've experienced it for yourself. Isn't it like that with any religion? Joseph Campbell said it's all about personal experience. Well, I've had a "Christ" experience and I like it.

The finger pointing that Christians are famous for is not what Jesus taught us to do. I hereby apologize for any wrongs that have been committed in the name of Jesus. If anyone has been hurt by a Christian, just know that it wasn't what Jesus wanted.
When it comes to the way people treat each other, organized Christianity has failed miserably. Groups like LDS or the JWs are awesome at things like evangelism and loving each other, but put heavy restrictions on their members. The church I grew up in was a very progressive non-demonimational bible reading church with a female pastor. It was very far removed from "Southern Baptist," but my parents still imposed all kinds of religious restrictions on me because "the bible said so."
However, I read the bible from more of a mythological perspective. I guess that's why I feel so comfortable in this community. I'm not trying to convince anyone that the Earth really stopped turning for 36 hours when Joshua asked God to stop the sun or claiming that Jesus actually walked on top of deep water. But I do believe that Jesus existed, he lived a perfect life, and he died to fix some kind of problem with the spirit of God so that we could all be one in the Force.
This is what I believe.
This is why I love Christ.
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28 May 2016 04:45 #242512 by Alethea Thompson
Replied by Alethea Thompson on topic Why Christianity?

Adi wrote: A note about the role of scripture, though you did ask for a "non-Biblical reason." This past week I just completed the first year of a four-year theology programme in the Episcopal Church (that is, a programme that teaches about theology, not one that teaches a certain theology), and in the first year we just focus on the Old Testament. I used to think the Old Testament was nothing but ancient myths and brutal, genocidal garbage - useless and utterly irrelevant* to me as a Christian. But having read the whole thing now and analyzed it book-by-book, I agree with the assessment of a religious scholar who wrote a book on the Old Testament (from a non-Christian, strictly academic perspective), who argued at the very end of his work that the Old Testament was probably the most groundbreaking work of the western ancient world in terms of emphasizing human responsibility and social justice.



I would be very interested in that book. :) Do you remember the name of it?

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28 May 2016 05:00 #242515 by CableSteele
Replied by CableSteele on topic Why Christianity?

Alethea Thompson wrote:

Adi wrote: A note about the role of scripture, though you did ask for a "non-Biblical reason." This past week I just completed the first year of a four-year theology programme in the Episcopal Church (that is, a programme that teaches about theology, not one that teaches a certain theology), and in the first year we just focus on the Old Testament. I used to think the Old Testament was nothing but ancient myths and brutal, genocidal garbage - useless and utterly irrelevant* to me as a Christian. But having read the whole thing now and analyzed it book-by-book, I agree with the assessment of a religious scholar who wrote a book on the Old Testament (from a non-Christian, strictly academic perspective), who argued at the very end of his work that the Old Testament was probably the most groundbreaking work of the western ancient world in terms of emphasizing human responsibility and social justice.


I would be very interested in that book. :) Do you remember the name of it?


It's called the Old Testament :P and if you read it as though it's just a bunch of interesting myths that are designed to steer us into a certain direction (In this case it's to reveal the messiah), then the richness of the stories and characters can speak to you in a way that no preacher ever could. Sadly, the emphasis on the factuality of the stories makes them unreadable for many people. I just read them for fun like I used to read the Gita. If I see something that speaks to me, I take it in. If I disagree, I simply read on to something else. I don't care if it's factual, but it is full of truth.

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28 May 2016 05:08 #242516 by Adi
Replied by Adi on topic Why Christianity?

Alethea Thompson wrote: I would be very interested in that book. :) Do you remember the name of it?


It is a textbook - Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Second Edition , by John J. Collins. Even used, it's a bit pricey, but I recommend it. It's fairly comprehensive, and Collins is an expert at textual analysis, especially in the context the OT books were written. It's a bit dry, especially starting off, but it was a very enriching read.

Adi
Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing. - Thérèse of Lisieux ✞
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28 May 2016 05:43 #242518 by Codama
Replied by Codama on topic Why Christianity?
I wasn't going to respond to the thread. But after reading the questions a few times I didn't mind taking the bait.

1. What do YOU mean when you say Christian? Are you asking people who are "Christ Like"? Is this Question for your Jedi Brothers and sisters who came to the Jedi lifestyle from a Christian background? Or is it for Christians who At some point offended you by believing Christianity is an above all, end all religion?

2. To challenge a person whose faith comes from a book and remove that book from The equation to answer a question about their faith is not a challenge. It's entrapment. Dead end. (Tell me why you decided to Join an online Jedi community without using your computer).

3. If the challenge is to answer why its a better belief system than another...that's
A. An assumption that they believe that it is.
B. If that's all a person knows then it WOULD be better for them (Our uniting Bond are our Jedi principles)( that is a assumption on my part)

4. Why does Christ appeal to you...over...Goddess...Norse...?
A. Again, if a person doesn't know info on the other options then its very unlikely it will appeal to them.
B. I prefer waffles over pancakes. Because i grew up eating waffles.

What was the cause of the challenge?

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28 May 2016 06:31 #242520 by User22414
Replied by User22414 on topic Why Christianity?
Ah simple, Yeshua said that i would see the truth and then be set free , i saw the truth and never have been so free in my life :laugh: although i dont call myself a christian though , i am a Jedi first .

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28 May 2016 07:09 #242522 by Br. John
Replied by Br. John on topic Why Christianity?
Is anyone involved in the Progressive Christianity movement?

The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Women and men,
Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities;

4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6. Strive for peace and justice among all people;

7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

Interested? See: progressivechristianity.org/

According to the Arabic proverb, there are no such things as a Phoenix, a Ghoul, or a True Bosom Friend, but I say to you that I found them all among my neighbors. ~ Kahlil Gibran
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28 May 2016 13:25 #242533 by Alethea Thompson
Replied by Alethea Thompson on topic Why Christianity?

Codama wrote: 1. What do YOU mean when you say Christian? Are you asking people who are "Christ Like"? Is this Question for your Jedi Brothers and sisters who came to the Jedi lifestyle from a Christian background? Or is it for Christians who At some point offended you by believing Christianity is an above all, end all religion?


It's research. I don't particularly care what you mean when you say you're Christian. I want to know why you choose it over all other reasons. The Bible cannot be used to argue for Christianity when talking to someone that is not Christian. So how do you find a way to answer why you're Christian without using it (the Bible)?

Codama wrote: 2. To challenge a person whose faith comes from a book and remove that book from The equation to answer a question about their faith is not a challenge. It's entrapment. Dead end. (Tell me why you decided to Join an online Jedi community without using your computer).


This is a false equivalence. Furthermore, the internet is not the foundation for the Jedi Path, our philosophy is. And I can argue my point for finding value in the Jedi Path without using the fiction (of which I happen to dislike anyway) and without referring to a document produced within the Jedi Community. Incidentally, the reason I'm a member of the Jedi Community is the same reason I'm Christian again. It all started with the same incident. So my answer to becoming a Christian is, in fact, not Biblical. But it's not an argument one could use, it was an experience.

Codama wrote: 3. If the challenge is to answer why its a better belief system than another...that's
A. An assumption that they believe that it is.
B. If that's all a person knows then it WOULD be better for them (Our uniting Bond are our Jedi principles)( that is a assumption on my part)


Perhaps the fact that they don't know would be enough reason to explore those options. However, the reason I choose Temple of the Jedi Order specifically to ask this question, is because the IP exposes members to a few of the different religions around the world. That gives me a bit more of an edge to see if there is an answer out there that would be a good point of reference to get around the obstacle of explaining value of Christianity over other other systems. But it also gives me an opportunity to see if there are more misconceptions about other beliefs that I can include in my exploration of the subject matter.

Codama wrote: 4. Why does Christ appeal to you...over...Goddess...Norse...?
A. Again, if a person doesn't know info on the other options then its very unlikely it will appeal to them.
B. I prefer waffles over pancakes. Because i grew up eating waffles.


^Refer to the other points.

Codama wrote: What was the cause of the challenge?


An Egyptian Pharaoh and a Witch in the Bible. There might be one more, we'll see.

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