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Jesus' Ground-Breaking Concept?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Jesus' Ground-Breaking Concept? Reply with quote

Was it Christ's idea to tack the two separate ideas of being good and immortality together in order to create a message that had infinitely more potential for 'reach' than either idea separately.

The idea of being good in order to gain favour with the Godhead had clearly been around for millennia before Christ arrived [The Ten Commandments give evidence to this] and also the idea that there may be means by which death was not the final end point of our existence - but of themselves perhaps neither idea would have gained the momentum that would have brought in the sheer numbers that the ides in combination could achieve. Was this Christ's great insight which resulted in large part in the very world we live in today.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article Wayfriend: so it would appear that the connection had been made many years prior to Christ - but was not specified by him overtly in his teachings, but rather introduced latterly when the gospels were composed. As an idea it does have undoubted 'reach' and must at least go some way toward explaining how Christianity became the hugely important faith it subsequently did.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The connection between moral goodness and eternal life is huge - the two great needs of man are to be free from immorality and from death.

It has been there for a long time.
Genesis chapter 3 has the introduction of death into the world.... first man is alienated from God, then humans from each-other...
Then the land too becomes broken and shows that death and futility have entered the world.

But there is hope. I have been taught that Genesis 3:15 is an early description of Jesus' cosmic victory:
[God said to the serpent...]
"And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."


Then the law hammered again and again on the connection between moral death and physical death - innocent animals slaughtered to redeem the life of people.


Jesus' teaching brought an increase of tension...
...like a wise speaker seeking to bring to the surface just how bad a situation is.
...like someone counseling the person who says their "okay" with the really messed-up family dynamics they are going along with will defintely make a person uncomfortable as they bring everything out.
...so as to bring his hearers to a point of despair of ever being good enough.

The ground-breaking thing is Jesus' solution to the problem.
He explodes humanity's old ineffective attempts to "do business with God"...
He offers Himself as the sacrifice.

So there is the "being good" that we all needed: it's Him being good. So no one can boast, "Oh, I won God's favor by my good behavior and moral perfection."

And He gives the scandalous parable of the Prodigal Son.
One thing he says in effect is, "No; I don't care what your supposed spiritual qualifications are. You're either running wild in disobedience to God, or you're slavishly pretending to obey, and envying people who run away. Your heart is wrong; it's away from God. You need Me to fix it."
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Linna Smile

That's a very interesting post! It's not a way I had ever seen things before - the idea that no matter how ever good you were or tried to be, you just would never have cut it without Christ's sacrifice. I have certainly heard the words before - but your post has made them hang together. Gratitude.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I am joyful to hear that.
When I saw your question, I hoped to be able to put some of that out there.

It is joy for me to tell.
That was not always so.
But now I'm convinced that this message is 100% a good thing - a gift - not something that will make people miserable if they try it out for themselves.
And also that the scriptures promise that God doesn't turn anyone away who comes to Him with an honest heart.

peter wrote:
It's not a way I had ever seen things before - the idea that no matter how ever good you were or tried to be, you just would never have cut it without Christ's sacrifice. I have certainly heard the words before...

Isn't it amazing how the words can get hackneyed and cliche'd?
I've heard it said a bunch, and I'd say maybe 98% of the time, I've not been stunned by it, myself.
My brain, like the mind of a dumb and sluggish beast, goes, "Yeah, yeah, Christ gave up his life. But that was in the past..."
*looks around for a comfortable topic to think about, or a friend to say good things about me* (see the irony?)
So cold-hearted, so cold.

So I repeatedly go back to the "old ways" of thinking and living like the "older brother" in the parable, envying the younger brother because "he got to have all the fun."

One of the problems of "older brother in the parable" has is that the overflowing generosity of his father is unimaginable.
He imputes stinginess to his father: "Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends." (Luke 15:29)
He lacks imagination, and he doesn't know the heart of the Father:
"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"(1 Corinthians 2:9)

And I repeatedly get my mind trapped in places where the real Gospel is unimaginable.
At those times, I am fairly blind and can only see two ways:
either "slaving away" to do what is right, or giving up and not caring.
The idea that God can "inject love into the system," that He has already given me so much and will give me so much more... is just not even on the map.

Being like that "older brother" means trying to invent ways to be righteous apart from God...
...that's as futile as trying to give your friend a something to drink by spitting into a cup until you fill it up, while you ignore the spring of fresh flowing water that you are sitting beside. (and is just as much appreciated!)
"For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4)

Yet it also doesn't stop with only Jesus having a righteous life; since the Fall, it's always been the desire of God to make people become good.
"By sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
(from Romans 8 )
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's very strong stuff Linna, and your passion shines through your post in every sentence! Smile I can't however ignore the fact that I'm troubled by the apparent circumstances in which the 'good Samaritan' would appear to be excluded from god's redemption by virtue of his failure to give obeisance​. I am called to mind Leigh Hunt's wonderful poem Abu Ben Adhem in this, and cannot reconcile the one position with the other.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, I've always loved that poem. Smile And I take a similar stance...if goodness by itself is not enough, then I want no part of it.

--A
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Avatar wrote:
Ah, I've always loved that poem. Smile And I take a similar stance...if goodness by itself is not enough, then I want no part of it.


Hmmm … that may be a wee bit of a rhetorical strawman, no? None have ever claimed (at least, not Catholicity) that the magically salvific recipe is "Jesus plus an extra soupçon of Goodness" or — heaven forfend! — "Jesus sans Goodness".
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wos!

But the problem does remain to be explained, no? It's a difficult area for an individual not familiar with the subtleties of the faith.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

peter wrote:
Hi Wos!

But the problem does remain to be explained, no? It's a difficult area for an individual not familiar with the subtleties of the faith.


Howdy, pardner!

In answer to your question, I dunno. It all depends on what the "problem" is, I s'pose. As a Catholic, I can't give you a perfectly determinate "explanation". Can't give a reductive "solution". There really isn't one, not even for us vaunted highfalutin Catholics. Wink But I can tell you explanations that I can't give.

On the one hand, if you want an "explanation" which excludes there being a universal moral obligation to enter the Catholic Church, then that's an answer I can't give. OTOH, if you want an explanation which excludes all those not in visible communion with the Catholic Church from the salvific economy*, then I can't give that answer either.

Catholics just don't really feel the need to reductively solve ("account for", as F&F recently said in the Free Will thread) philosophico-theological problematics. In fact, we acknowledge the impossibility of doing so and the dangerous, promethean lure attempting to do so presents.

Instead, we preach the Catholic gospel. We exhort all "come and see". To petition for entrance to the Church (knock at the door), repent and be baptized. Then, then they're free to work out their salvation along with the rest of us. To pick up their cross and follow daily. Beyond that, we let the chips fall where they may. But no one outside the visible bounds of the Church is ipso facto excluded from the universal salvific will. OTOH, no one inside the Church has a "lock" on salvation. As Catholics often say, "we are saved; we are being saved; and we will be saved". We will to be faithful; to persevere to the end.

That's about as good an answer as I can give. There are other Catholic schools of explaining the same thing, of course. But they are all variations on the same, irreducible theme.




*Salvation being an economy — a way — which is an organic, living union of both status and process.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perfectly fair Wos! WF - I'll check that one.
Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
It's very strong stuff Linna, and your passion shines through your post in every sentence! Smile I can't however ignore the fact that I'm troubled by the apparent circumstances in which the 'good Samaritan' would appear to be excluded from god's redemption by virtue of his failure to give obeisance​. I am called to mind Leigh Hunt's wonderful poem Abu Ben Adhem in this, and cannot reconcile the one position with the other.


1. "The Good Samaritan", assuming that he accepted that Jesus was the "Son of God", would have not been excluded. Actually the Good Samaritan was put in there to contrast the difference between the "unclean" Samaritan, and the "Clean" Priest and "Clean" Levite (probably a lawyer) who were too "Godly" to help thier fellow man, since touching the hurt man would have made them ritually unclean and therefore not able to enter the Temple.

"Who then was this mans neighbor?"

2. The poem doesn't make clear whether Abu was Jew, Muslim, or Christian. It does make clear that if you love "the Lord" then you must Love your fellow man.



BTW; I memorized that poem back in either Jr. High or High School (lots and lots of years ago) and it remains one of my two favorite poems, along with Poe's "Eldorado".
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I recall it as being more "if you love your fellow man, then by definition you automatically must love god."

In other words, loving and helping your fellow man is enough. You don't also have to profess to believe in or worship of a deity in order to be "saved."

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Hmmm, I recall it as being more "if you love your fellow man, then by definition you automatically must love god."

In other words, loving and helping your fellow man is enough. You don't also have to profess to believe in or worship of a deity in order to be "saved."

--A

If you read the parable, a lawyer was asking Jesus what he had to do to go to heaven, and Jesus returned with "what does the Law say"

The Lawyer replied "Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and also love your neighbor"

Jesus replied to him that he was correct.

At that point, the lawyer being a bit snarky asked "who is my neighbor".

the rest you know.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CNN wrote:
4 teachings from Jesus that everybody gets wrong

2. The 'Parable of the Good Samaritan'

Our usual understanding of this famous story goes astray in several ways. Here are two.

First, readers presume that a priest and Levite bypass the wounded man because they are attempting to avoid becoming "unclean." Nonsense.

All this interpretation does is make Jewish Law look bad. The priest is not going up to Jerusalem where purity would be a concern - he is "going down" to Jericho.

No law prevents Levites from touching corpses, and there are numerous other reasons why ritual purity is not relevant here.

Jesus mentions priest and Levite because they set up a third category: Israelite. To mention the first two is to invoke the third.

If I say, "Larry, Moe ..." you will say "Curly." However, to go from priest to Levite to Samaritan is like going from Larry to Moe to Osama bin Laden.

That analogy leads us to the second misreading.

The parable is often seen as a story of how the oppressed minority - immigrants, gay people, people on parole - are "nice" and therefore we should check our prejudices.

Samaritans, then, were not the oppressed minority: They were the enemy. We know this not only from the historian Josephus, but also from Luke the evangelist.

Just one chapter before our parable, Jesus seeks lodging in a Samaritan village, but they refuse him hospitality.

Moreover, Samaria had another name: Shechem. At Shechem, Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped or seduced by the local prince. At Shechem, the murderous judge Abimelech is based.

We are the person in the ditch, and we see the Samaritan. Our first thought: "He's going to rape me. He's going to murder me."

Then we realize: Our enemy may be the very person who will save us. Indeed, if we simply ask "where is Samaria today?" we can see the import of this parable for the Israeli/Palestinian crisis.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:

If you read the parable, a lawyer was asking Jesus what he had to do to go to heaven, and Jesus returned with "what does the Law say"


I'm talking about the poem. Smile

His name isn't recorded as being one who loves the lord, but when he asks that it be added as one who loves his fellow man, it becomes one of those who loves the lord.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being a bit pedantic ( Wink ) isn't it more that Abu is blessed by the love of God by virtue of his love of his fellow men (rather than his love of his fellow men being equated with his loving of God?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"-The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


Wasn't blessed by the love of god, love of god had caused him to be blessed.

--A
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