Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. Joined
    02 Jan '06
    Moves
    10109
    01 Mar '19 03:592 edits
    It is common today for the church to be on the receiving end of much criticism. The church is blamed for many of the ills in the world, but is seldom celebrated and given credit for the good it has done. Indeed, many argue that it is the church that is blocking the progress to a more enlightened and peaceable world. One gets the impression from these secular critics that Christianity has been a negative force in the world, while non-Christian and non-religious alternatives are somehow superior. However, those conversant with the historical record know better.. While Christendom has had its dark moments in history, over all, it can be credibly argued to be a force for good in the world. I will start by offering two ways that the God of the Bible has made the world a better place

    1. The God of the Bible declared war on slavery.

    The God of the Bible has often been accused of being pro-slavery because slavery was not banned in the Bible, however, when compared with the overall message can this still be a credible assertion? The era of Moses was known to be one steeped in slavery. Men worked 24/7 as most men were either slaves or part of some military, all for the whims of a world ruler. Perhaps the most radical shift from this existence was the notion of the Sabbath. Yes, a day of rest in the ancient world was unheard of, not just for men, but for beasts of burden as well. Not just men who were not slaves, but all men including slaves. In fact, not just men, but women as well even though they were considered mere property in the ancient world. Giving man a day of rest was perhaps one of the most revolutionary events in human history. No man could challenge it or stop it no matter how powerful he may have been. It is directly attributable as to why we have our "weekend" today.

    Also, how then can one read the Bible and not see that Moses was sent to deliver his people from the shackles of slavery? The message is too plan to see, yet it is often ignored. As was said, the Bible allowed slavery but it even gave most slaves bondage for only so many years, after which they must be given their freedom. Again, this was unheard of in the ancient world. But there was slavery nonetheless, but it was mostly a way to help those down and out with no other recourse whose lives would have probably been worse without it.

    Jesus equated slavery with sin. Those who sin were slaves of sin, and it was he who was sent to set them free. Who can argue this fact? Without immorality, there would be no slavery. No man would exploit their fellow man in such a way. But the early Christians are often criticized for not speaking out against slavery, in fact, Saint Paul told slaves to obey their masters and treat their masters well. Naturally, he told the slave owners the same exact thing. But in the mind of Paul, the real shackles lie within. Even though he himself was shackled in dark prison cells, he found solace in his faith and the freedom that Christ had given him from his sin. I think deep down he knew that slaves could only find freedom once their masters themselves were converted, and there was no better method than seeing the change in the hearts of their slaves.

    Sadly, even though today we seem to have more slavery than in the history of all mankind, slavery is no longer accepted out in the open in large part. It must be relegated to the shadows, as those exposed run from the light like the roaches they are. Oh yes, and we still have our weekends.

    2. The God of the Bible introduced the importance of charity into the world.

    In the ancient world, it was routine to exploit the weak by various means. This meant those who were either poor, or women, or children, could be abused with impunity. In fact, perhaps the greatest contribution to the world is the notion that man was made in the image of God, and as such, should have certain rights, so the fact that one was poor, or a woman, or a child, should not allow them to be open to abuse merely because they are weaker.

    We see in the ancient world the abuse of children in various ways, such as pagan infanticide. Archeologists have found that child sacrifice was rampant in the ancient world as children were sacrificed for such things as a better crop, or success at war, or fertility, etc. Also, economic reasons more than anything led to the killing of infants before or after birth and had contributed to extort a great influence even up to the modern world. Babies that were deformed or of the wrong sex, i.e. female, were often discarded.

    This leads us to the treatment of women in the Bible. Although the Bible is accused of treating women as second class citizens, after all, which of the 12 disciples of Christ were female, the text is again ignored in terms of its overall context. It is no secret that women in the ancient world were virtually ignored or treated as cattle, yet the Bible deviated from this thinking in various ways. Early on women were given a place of unique high standing. For example the sister of Moses was a prophetess and of high standing among the people. Deborah was a renown judge among the Hebrew people and a successful military leader. Two whole books of the Bible were actually dedicated to the lives of two various women, one of which saved the entire Hebrew people. Perhaps the most radical of teachings was Jesus who said that in the next life there is neither female or male because at our very essence, we will be equals. In fact, in the early church women ran home churches and were of considerable social standing. And then there is the reverence to the mother of Jesus, Mary. Critics would say that women were held in bondage to men through marriage as they were force to do the bidding of their husbands, but in reality marriage elevated sexual morality, and by conferring upon women a much higher status, it revolutionized the place and prestige of women. For example women were often spared much of the abuse and mistreatment that they were accustomed to. By eventually rejecting such things as polygamy, prostitution, homosexuality, and bestiality, which were all common in the ancient world, the early Christians not only sheltered women but also protected children and family. Of course the most famous encounter Jesus had with a woman was perhaps the woman caught in adultery by showing her mercy, even though Mosaic law called for her death. Again, all revolutionary in the ancient world.

    And lastly, there is the treatment of the poor in the Bible. Both OT and NT are dedicated time and again about championing helping the poor. Arguably, there is more time dedicated to this topic than any other in the Bible. The Hebrew people had various laws in place to help those who were poor and Jesus continued this message all through his ministry. Again, this was revolutionary in the ancient world. In fact, the first hospital for the sick and persecuted was built by St Basil in Caesarea in 369. By the middle ages, hospitals had covered all of Europe and even beyond. Christian hospitals became the world's first voluntary charitable institutions. And looking at today, those who are serious about their faith give far more of the time and money to those in need than their counterparts. Additionally, today politicians must include their concern for the poor, whether genuine or otherwise, if they expect for people to vote for them. Again, like our weekend the roots of such good things lie squarely in the God of the Bible.
  2. Standard memberwolfgang59
    Mr. Wolf
    at home
    Joined
    09 Jun '07
    Moves
    45668
    01 Mar '19 05:14
    @whodey said
    1. The God of the Bible declared war on slavery.

    The God of the Bible has often been accused of being pro-slavery because slavery was not banned in the Bible, however,
    Cyrus the Great
    During his reign slavery was BANNED.
    Thats about 400 BCE.
    (Of course Persia was more advanced than the surrounding civilisations.)
  3. Standard memberwolfgang59
    Mr. Wolf
    at home
    Joined
    09 Jun '07
    Moves
    45668
    01 Mar '19 05:18
    @whodey said
    2. The God of the Bible introduced the importance of charity into the world.
    Aristotle extolled the virtue of charity circa 300 BCE.
  4. Joined
    02 Jan '06
    Moves
    10109
    01 Mar '19 14:164 edits
    @wolfgang59 said
    Aristotle extolled the virtue of charity circa 300 BCE.
    Socrates at times sounded much like Jesus, as he extolled the virtue of not rendering evil for evil, for saying things like if there were ever a virtuous man to walk the face of the earth that spoke truth, he would most likely be murdered, etc. Ironically, that is how Socrates died, just like Jesus, he was murdered.

    But who had the greatest impact on the world? Was it men like Socrates? Was it men like Cyrus? Was it Aristotle? In fact, was Aristotle even able to sway his most famous pupil, Alexander the Great regarding the virtues of charity?

    No.

    In fact, when it comes to those who give the most to those in need in terms of their time and money today, those who are serious about their faith reign supreme. No one gives more. And no, they are not pupils of Aristotle.
  5. Standard membercaissad4
    Child of the Novelty
    San Antonio, Texas
    Joined
    08 Mar '04
    Moves
    616427
    01 Mar '19 14:25
    @whodey said
    It is common today for the church to be on the receiving end of much criticism. The church is blamed for many of the ills in the world, but is seldom celebrated and given credit for the good it has done. Indeed, many argue that it is the church that is blocking the progress to a more enlightened and peaceable world. One gets the impression from these secular critics that Ch ...[text shortened]... r them. Again, like our weekend the roots of such good things lie squarely in the God of the Bible.
    There is never a shortage of Abrahamic propaganda of this forum.
    But it is a lie.
    It is rubbish.
  6. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 01:46
    @whodey said
    Socrates at times sounded much like Jesus, as he extolled the virtue of not rendering evil for evil, for saying things like if there were ever a virtuous man to walk the face of the earth that spoke truth, he would most likely be murdered, etc.
    It is surely the other way around, right? Jesus at times sounded much like Socrates who'd put forward his Jesus-like ideas hundreds of years before Jesus.

    The "Jesus" character generated by Christian writers in the C1st echoed and selected from all manner of ideas, figures and beliefs that preceded "Him".
  7. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 01:52
    @whodey said
    But who had the greatest impact on the world? Was it men like Socrates? Was it men like Cyrus? Was it Aristotle?
    Christianity has been enormously successful and influential. The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World by Bart D. Ehrman is a good read (although I listened to it as an audio book).

    Author Traces Christianity's Path From 'Forbidden Religion' To A 'Triumph' (Podcast)
    https://www.npr.org/2018/03/20/595161200/author-traces-christianitys-path-from-forbidden-religion-to-a-triumph
  8. SubscriberSuzianne
    Misfit Queen
    Isle of Misfit Toys
    Joined
    08 Aug '03
    Moves
    35898
    02 Mar '19 02:191 edit
    @whodey said
    It is common today for the church to be on the receiving end of much criticism. The church is blamed for many of the ills in the world, but is seldom celebrated and given credit for the good it has done. Indeed, many argue that it is the church that is blocking the progress to a more enlightened and peaceable world. One gets the impression from these secular critics that Ch ...[text shortened]... r them. Again, like our weekend the roots of such good things lie squarely in the God of the Bible.
    The very least you can do is give credit for your cut-and-paste.


    https://defendingthetruth.com/threads/what-is-the-universal-impact-of-the-god-of-the-bible.109755/

    Others get excoriated for weeks for non-attribution, while others are given a free pass.
  9. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 02:27
    @suzianne said
    The very least you can do is give credit for your cut-and-paste.


    https://defendingthetruth.com/threads/what-is-the-universal-impact-of-the-god-of-the-bible.109755/

    Others get excoriated for weeks for non-attribution, while others are given a free pass.
    Be sure not to excoriate whodey "for weeks".
  10. SubscriberSuzianne
    Misfit Queen
    Isle of Misfit Toys
    Joined
    08 Aug '03
    Moves
    35898
    02 Mar '19 02:36
    @fmf said
    Be sure not to excoriate whodey "for weeks".
    You were busy ignoring HIS non-attribution.

    Meanwhile, you can't wait to jump on others.

    But if that's the way your morals move you, who am I to judge?
  11. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 02:40
    @suzianne said
    You were busy ignoring HIS non-attribution.
    No, missing it did not make me "busy" nor did me being "busy" cause me to miss it. I simply missed it in the ordinary course of a neither-busy nor not-busy day.
  12. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 02:41
    @suzianne said
    But if that's the way your morals move you, who am I to judge?
    You spotting whodey's non-attribution, and me not spotting it, is a matter of "morals" in your mind?
  13. SubscriberFMF
    Main Poster
    This Thread
    Joined
    28 Oct '05
    Moves
    29885
    02 Mar '19 02:43
    @suzianne said
    Meanwhile, you can't wait to jump on others.
    I normally post something simple like "This is plagiarized. It's bad form to pass off somebody else's writing as your own." But I only do it when I spot it, obviously.
Back to Top