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Old 01-17-2012, 11:30 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,159,772 times
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In pop culture good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. In most Churches today, it's popular to teach that no matter how much you sin, if you've asked Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour you're saved. I think the Bible teaches something in between; even now I'm a bit confused about how much salvation depends on works and faiths. I've heard many theories, such as that a truly saved person will not want to sin, but I think there is still a grey area here.

Also, in pop culture and modern Christianity heaven is portrayed as being up in the clouds or some other dimension. I believe the Bible suggests that Heaven might be the renewed Earth, and it will be where the Lord will dwell with us forever.

The devil is portrayed as being a red, horned figure (of course this old), as are the angels who are portrayed as being humans with wings and halos. Heaven has pearly gates, God is an old man with a white beard, Jesus has long hair, the fruit in the garden of Eden was an apple...of course that's all historical iconography.

I think most people's ideas of what Christianity is is based more on the popular notion of Christianity than anything else. I'm confused though, if over 60% of Americans are professing Christians, why do these 'myths' persist? Is it simply a case of them not reading the Bible much or at all?
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:16 AM
 
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This interpretation of the Bible has been happening for a long time, and one can even see it in the pages of the Bible itself. Chronicles retells and reinterprets the history that it has at it's disposal and engages in some creative white-washing of the royal character, in many cases, - not to mention the removal of whole events in others. This intertextual writing can be seen in the books of Ruth and Jonah in which they react against the Nationalist and racist policies of Ezra/Nehemiah, in addition to arguing against that old teaching of the Deteuronomist's concerning the admission of Moabites and Ammonites into the people of Israel. The Deuteronomic Theology teaches a doctrine of rewards for the good and punishment for the bad, while the book of Job flatly denies it. Job also takes to task the Proverbial sayings while he's at it. Ecclesiastes casts doubt on absolutely everything, it could be said. Exekiel has a real problem with the doctrine that descendants can be made to suffer for the sins of their ancestors.

The above are examples of inter-textual dialogue. In addition to that, there began certain ways of reading the text, and certain assumptions that went along with this that informed the interpretation. Jubilees (a non-canonical work) was not satisfied with the terse style of the Torah, and proceeded to offer an apologetic explanation for virtually everything the text leaves ambiguous - typical question: Where did Cain get his wife? The author of Jubilees assures us that it was Awan - his sister. He is also a proponent of the Solar Calendar (rather than the now-normative Lunar Calendar). Other writers struggled with questions concerning certain stories and characters in the Bible: Isaac - was he a willing sacrifice? The concept that he was began to spring up, and this was later adopted by Christians in their typological placing of the story as a foreshadowing of Jesus.

The Christian practice of Typology became a popular one - searching the Scripture for anything that seemed foreshadow something else, especially Christ. The serpent ceased to be a serpent in the famous story of Genesis, and became Satan - himself having evolved from a mere servant of God to a diabolical force of Evil (an interpretation influenced by the Persians, when the Jews were in captivity).

There's an excellent work by James Kugel called How To Read the Bible, in which this very issue (the thread) is addressed in a sensitive and well-written manner. It deals with how the "ancient interpreters" read the Bible, and how this Bible is the Bible many of us grew up reading: the Interpreted Bible. Check the book out, I highly reccomend it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:15 AM
 
6,230 posts, read 9,515,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I think most people's ideas of what Christianity is is based more on the popular notion of Christianity than anything else. I'm confused though, if over 60% of Americans are professing Christians, why do these 'myths' persist? Is it simply a case of them not reading the Bible much or at all?
Most of America is not Christian at all. Don't be confused by the illusion Americans love to paint. I have figured out there are very FEW numbers of real Christians in this country and on Earth.

And alot of those things aren't myths as I have been finding out. I've read many different testimonies and NDE's of people visiting Heaven and seeing Jesus and he is described almost exactly like the historical paintings. I mean if you think about it, they all look VERY similar and they can't all be wrong.

I've read in the Bible somewhere how God is a man with white hair like wool and white robe with green sash or something like that. There is this man who is featured on Christian sites that regularly sees visions of Heaven and he saw God once (facing away from him however) and he was exactly like the Bible description I read. White hair like wool and was wearing a beautiful white robe with green sash.

And the devil being some red horned creature I suspect is not too far off from the real thing. The Book of Revelations describes hideous multiple horned monsters arising from the oceans. So I don't think it's too far-fetched to assume the devil looks like that. I can't count how many times I've read about people seeing demons that have glowing red eyes just like the cartoons and movies and smelling horrific like rotting flesh and sulfur. Just like Hell.

So in my opinion, I think most of what modern humans think of as myths really aren't myths at all. I believe scientist have sucessfully convinced the public that many ancient stories are just stories rather than a real life event. But I'm not surprised they would do that. They do it to stay in power. They seem to love to pick and choose what is a myth and what is not. They will claim all the stories written in hieroglyphics on the walls of ancient egyptian are true but the stories of dragons and unicorns painted all over the Earth in practically every ancient culture is a myth. They claim the same for the worldwide flood stories too. Which have also been found in almost every culture. And they do this because they know the Bible told it all first thereby proving it the truth and infallible word of God.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:36 AM
 
661 posts, read 487,191 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
In pop culture good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. In most Churches today, it's popular to teach that no matter how much you sin, if you've asked Jesus to be your Lord and Saviour you're saved. I think the Bible teaches something in between; even now I'm a bit confused about how much salvation depends on works and faiths. I've heard many theories, such as that a truly saved person will not want to sin, but I think there is still a grey area here.

Also, in pop culture and modern Christianity heaven is portrayed as being up in the clouds or some other dimension. I believe the Bible suggests that Heaven might be the renewed Earth, and it will be where the Lord will dwell with us forever.

The devil is portrayed as being a red, horned figure (of course this old), as are the angels who are portrayed as being humans with wings and halos. Heaven has pearly gates, God is an old man with a white beard, Jesus has long hair, the fruit in the garden of Eden was an apple...of course that's all historical iconography.

I think most people's ideas of what Christianity is is based more on the popular notion of Christianity than anything else. I'm confused though, if over 60% of Americans are professing Christians, why do these 'myths' persist? Is it simply a case of them not reading the Bible much or at all?
Hi Trimac! I like your post, and I think it's a great question at the end there... I don't know for sure why many 'myths' persist, but I can speak about my own observations.... I really don't think that people read their Bibles very much at all, as you suggest. Or, if we do, we tend to read it from a very set perspective. We go to Bible studies/church/etc and absorb the *stuff* that we are fed, without thinking it through ourselves.

I'm not saying we should be antagonistic or hyper-critical. But we do need to be discerning and aware that there are many false teachings out there. Those teaching them are most often doing it with full conviction that what they are teaching is true. This is why I really hesitate to label someone a "false teacher". To me, this term strongly implies an intent to deceive, and I think that most teachers really don't intend to deceive the flock. But that doesn't change the fact that they may be teaching what is false. And you know what they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions......

What I find incredibly sad is that for centuries, lay people did not have access to God's word. They truly relied on their teachers and preachers to dispense spiritual truth to them. I think this is why James talks so strongly about teachers and their stricter judgment. Nowadays, most Western church goers are literate and have access to a copy of God's word. But do you think we really examine the teachings we receive? I'd say, by and large, no. Christians from years gone by would have given so much to have the privilege of literacy and a personal copy of God's word.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:47 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,819 posts, read 2,766,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I'm confused though, if over 60% of Americans are professing Christians, why do these 'myths' persist? Is it simply a case of them not reading the Bible much or at all?
the reason all these false teachings exist is that most of church goers dont care to study the scriptures. If they do and find something that is not true being taught by the preacher they will just shut up and go along. Many are afraid of change, tradition and culture will usually triumph over spiritual truth. Many will not let tradition go, they rather keep that and forget the great truths that are found in the bible, especially if it means changing my beleifs about God.
Floating in clouds sounds pretty but it is false, standing in front of God as he plays our lives and decides or fate is false. We have been shown these images since youth, it is engrained in our minds. It is easy to accept, it appeals to our flesh.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:47 AM
 
6,824 posts, read 4,869,590 times
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Matthew 13:31-32

31Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

32Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.


Birds are associated with the "wicked one" in the previous parable of the sowers. "Birds of the air" = Ministers of Satan.

The "Christian" church has blossomed into a great tree. Evidently 1/3 of the world Population identifies them self as "Christian".

How does God define a Christian?

Matthew 7

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

America is no longer a "Christian nation" but an "AntiChrist Nation" driven by Pagan Humanist Agnostic evolutionary principles. Many Ministers have gone the way of Balaam - receiving the wages of unrighteousness.

Last edited by Mikelee81; 01-18-2012 at 09:55 AM..
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