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desupernaturalized Christianity?

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Showing 1-25 of 139 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2012 3:37:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2012 3:43:00 PM PST
A Customer says:
I did not know there were people out there who subscribe to what they would classify as a desupernaturalized Christianity. While remaining philosophical materialists, they also say they are Christians. Can you believe in a strictly materialist view of reality; with no spiritual realm, human beings not being a union of spirit and a body, just a material body no eternal soul, no indwelling of supernatural grace in the soul, no supernatural events associated with the man known in history as Jesus, including no resurrection, and still be classified as a Christian? It seems to me that that Christianity has lost everything that makes it more than simply following the teachings of a moral philosopher you happen to admire.

Am I wrong?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2012 10:02:18 PM PST
DocMMV says:
Nope, you're not wrong. Paul told us this would happen.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 5:16:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 5:17:30 AM PST
Alan says:

It is interesting, in this context, to note that Thomas Jefferson, who was a not a Christian but a Deist, and who had the highest regard for Jesus the man, took copies of the Gospels and literally cut out the supernatural and fabulous bits such as; shepherds and angels in Bethlehem, the raising of Lazarus, Jesus walking on water, depictions of Christ as a sacrificial victim or divine judge. What was left Jefferson gathered into one book which he used for his own private devotion. This is now commonly referred to as the 'Jefferson Bible' and is widely available.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 5:23:24 AM PST
DocMMV says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 5:52:23 AM PST
TheWindMoves says:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, June 25, 1819

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 6:45:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 10:30:20 AM PST
Alan says:
"Jefferson was Christian. He listed his denomination as Episcopal. Here, have some more kool-aid."

Here we have Jefferson denying the divinity of Jesus, are those the words of a Christian?

"And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams April 11, 1823

"Even Mr Jefferson, and George Wythe, who did not conceal their disbelief in Christianity, took their parts in the duties of vestrymen, the one at Williamsburg, the other at Albermarle; for they wished to be men of influence."

Bishop William Meade: 'Old Churches, Ministers, and families of Virginia' 1857

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear...Do not be frightened from this enquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others it will procure you. If you find reason to believe that there is a god, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, and that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement."

Jefferson to his nephew Peter Carr 1787

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 3:53:00 PM PST
G. J. Stein says:
I agree Doc:

2 Timothy 3:5 warns us of these types saying they, "...have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof: from such turn away."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 4:08:20 PM PST
A Customer says:
I'm not sure why atheists get so excited about Jefferson. He was one single man, certainly not the most "enlightened" being the world has ever known, most could have found that out by asking his slaves.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 5:32:45 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 15, 2016 3:26:47 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 5:54:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 6:01:54 PM PST
A Customer says:
If you knew how to follow a chain of discussion you would see that your point there is actually quite pointless. I started with an opening post asking about the people out there today (I talked with one last week here) who subscribe to a desupernaturalized "Christianity", which to me is little more than a form of atheism with an official code of ethics. A couple of atheists show up and instead of discussing present day people who subscribe to this materialist Christianity, they throw out Jefferson's name in a form of Argumentum ad Verecundiam (i.e. the fallacy of Argument from Authority), like the beliefs of one single and obviously fallible human being from over two hundred years are significant to what I was asking in the OP. If you want to use Jefferson as some final arbiter on what is Truth, then it's logical for others to point out he was just a regular man, as fallible in truth as anyone else.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 6:01:55 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 15, 2016 3:26:57 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 6:04:19 PM PST

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 2:05:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012 2:35:41 AM PST
Alan says:

I mentioned the 'desupernaturalised' 'Jefferson Bible' because I thought the existence of such a thing was interesting in itself and not to make any 'Argumentum ad Verecundiam'. That it was authored by Jefferson is of secondary importance, i mentioned his religion only to made it clear that the 'editor' of that heavily redacted 'Bible' was not in fact Christian. My following comments were a reply to another poster's false claim that Jefferson was Christian.

I agree with you there is nothing of singular significance about Jefferson, he was after all only one of several presidents with Deist beliefs such as George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison, this is not in ant way surprising as Deism was a significant influence on the Founding Fathers.

I imagine nobody would wish to disagree with you when you say Jefferson was "just a regular man, as fallible in truth as anyone else", surely he would have thought the same himself.

You suggested that I am an Atheist, I am not.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 3:06:38 AM PST
Blu Boy says:
It sure can't be true if it exists within the confines of natural law. For this all to be true it has to be SUPERnatural.

I was just reading about our savior, Superman. It must have been hard for him after his planet blew up.

...tell me why that statement is any more or less valid than one that believes Jesus to be the savior of the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 4:00:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012 6:30:39 AM PST
Alan says:
Blu Boy,

"...tell me why that statement is any more or less valid than one that believes Jesus to be the savior of the world."

This is a particular problem for the three 'revealed' Abrahamic religions. Judaism teaches that God talked directly to Abraham and to Moses and gave them instructions as to what Judaism should be based on and how it should operate. Christianity goes one step further and says that God Himself became man in the form of Jesus and told his disciples what Christianity should teach and how Christians should live. Islam teaches that Mohammed received the contents and teachings that would become the Koran directly from the angel Gabriel who brought them directly from God. Then again, more recently, we have the example of Joseph Smith, with angelic guidance, finding the Book of Mormon. Although they all claim to be based on a direct revelation from God they all say something very different, much of which cannot be reconciled.

Christians need to ask themselves why they do believe that the Bible is a revelation from God and don't believe that the Koran is a revelation from God.

Edited to correct error

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 5:53:30 AM PST
Vicki says:
Dear Alan,

You said :"Christians need to ask themselves why they do believe that an angel brought the revelation from Jesus to John but they don't believe the angel Gabriel brought the Koran from God to Mohammed."

If you are referring to the book of Revelation, an angel did not bring it "from Jesus to John".

When we examine the claims made by other religions about God, we compare what it says with what our Scripture says. This is what the Bereans did- compare what Paul preached to Scripture and found that his teaching was true because it didn't contradict Scripture.

When we compare what the Koran says about Jesus (among other teachings as well), we find that the Bible contradicts it. Therefore, we do not believe that God would have sent Gabriel to give Mohammed his special revelation because it contradicts God's Word in many places.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 6:03:09 AM PST
Vicki says:
Dear Macheath,

I think that it was about three years ago, that we had a guest preacher from Canada who mentioned that the head of the Church of Canada had announced that he didn't believe in Jesus' bodily resurrection. (The guest preacher did not agree, thankfully). The fellow seemed to think the resurrection was the warm fuzzy feeling that arose in the disciples' hearts that made them want to share the good news about Christ. This was causing conflict for some people within the church. How can anyone believe in a Christianity without the actual resurrection of Jesus' body?

Anyway, the leader of the church felt it was best to focus on doing what Jesus said to do- feed the hungry, minister to the sick- what is referred to as the social gospel. I suppose it involved a certain amount of personal piety as well.

I can't imagine why anyone would want to dilute God's powerful messaget to us, like this, unless they didn't believe in God in the first place.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 6:33:39 AM PST
Alan says:

Thank you for pointing out my muddle.

I have edited my post to make my meaning clearer.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 9:14:26 AM PST
Alan says:

"I think that it was about three years ago, that we had a guest preacher from Canada who mentioned that the head of the Church of Canada had announced that he didn't believe in Jesus' bodily resurrection."

I remember a similar controversy back in the 1980's when the then Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, questioned the physical resurrection, describing it as "a conjuring trick with bones."

It seems there is nothing new under the sun.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 10:15:48 AM PST
mrs exp says:
The social gospel by itself is without the power of God but the resurrection is the blessed hope of the Christian.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 10:57:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012 10:59:07 AM PST
A Customer says:
I agree it makes little sense to classify yourself as a "Christian" if you don't believe in the resurrection, Jesus becomes just another mortal human being. But in addition to denying this central part of Christianity some of the "desupernaturalized Christians" also deny than man is more than the material of his body, and believe that man does not have a spirit, and does not have an immortal soul that survives the death of the body. This position is as at odds with what most would consider the basics of Christianity as is the denial of Jesus's resurrection.

If you want to call yourself a "Christian" merely because you approve of some of the ethics espoused by Jesus, then even Richard Dawkins could call himself a "Christian", which is silly in my humble opinion.

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 11:53:45 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012 11:55:02 AM PST
W.T. Keeton says:
The obvious problem with removing the supernatural elements from Christianity are not so much what it does to the philosophies of the faith, but rather it rips out the most basic underpinning of the entire religion.

Instead of Jesus Christ being the Son of God and a perfect man, he becomes in that context either someone who repeatedly lied about who he was or who was delusion and had a very severe delusion of grandeur as to his nature. Neither of those two possibilities are options capable of sustaining any semblance of Christianity as it exists today. People wouldn't build a great faith around either a con man or a crazy person. They would around a perfect man.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 11:59:35 AM PST
Astrocat says:
That's an interesting question, Macheath, especially since I just ordered a copy of the Jefferson Bible.

The problem is, I think, that there are different definitions of Christianity, and what it takes to be a Christian. Some say you have to believe that Jesus died for your sins, that he was born of a virgin, that he's god or the son of a god, or the son of the god, and any number of other permutations. So it seems to me that one can be a Christian by living the Golden Rule, without any of the miracles or the vicarious atonement, and without believing that the Bible is, in any way, the "word of god".

In that sense, I could be considered a Christian, because I have accepted that Christ (not Jesus) is the Master of the Masters, and I do live by the Golden Rule. But I don't fulfill any of the other prerequisites listed above.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 12:03:12 PM PST
Astrocat says:
Bill, what happens when the supernatural elements from Christianity are removed, it reveals to us the truth of the Prodigal Son, which is the story that's really being told in the Bible. It's the story of humanity, with Christ as the prototype of the perfected human. But he didn't achieve that in one incarnation, he began, as did all of us, at the very bottom of the ladder. He simply climbed faster and higher than the rest of us, with the exception of the Buddha, and achieved enlightenment, lighting the way for the rest of us, along with his brother, the Buddha.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2012 12:11:39 PM PST
W.T. Keeton says:
The problem is that Christ said he was the supernatural son of God. So if the supernatural is removed from the Bible and he was not truly the Son of God, was he a liar or a crazy person?
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
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Initial post:  Nov 18, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 30, 2012

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