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Christianity, Religion and Philosophy, Episode VII!  

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The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

*sweeps away a year's worth of dust from the thread*

I was thinking earlier about Aslan's providence in The Horse and His Boy, and it reminded me of a video by Bishop Robert Barron that I saw a while ago and liked very much. I'm not a Catholic, but I found the perspective that he offered on the providence of God to be very insightful and moving, and I thought others might like it as well:

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : September 5, 2016 1:59 pm
Reepicheep775
(@reepicheep775)
NarniaWeb Junkie

There are some things in the genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew that has bugged me for a while.

I know (or, at least, have heard) that Matthew's genealogy hearkens back to Daniel and the end of Exile. In Daniel 70 years have passed since the beginning of the Exile, which was supposed to last for 70 years. When Daniel asks why the Exile hasn't ended, God replies that the Exile will end in 7 x 70 years. I also know that in Israel every 7 x 7 years there was a jubilee year, where slaves go free and land is returned to its original owners.

In Matthew, the author uses three groups of ancestors leading up to Jesus.

The first goes from Abraham to David:

1. Abraham
2. Isaac
3. Jacob
4. Judah and his brothers
5. Perez and Zerah
6. Hezron
7. Ram
8. Amminadab
9. Nashon
10. Salmon
11. Boaz
12. Obed
13. Jesse
14. David

The second goes from after David to the Exile:

1. Solomon
2. Rehoboam
3. Abijah
4. Asa
5. Jehoshaphat
6. Jehoram
7. Uzziah
8. Jotham
9. Ahaz
10. Hezekiah
11. Manasseh
12. Amon
13. Josiah
14. Jeconiah and his brothers

The third goes from after the Exile to Jesus:

1. Shealtiel
2. Zerubbabel
3. Abiud
4. Eliakim
5. Azor
6. Zadok
7. Akim
8. Eliud
9. Eleazar
10. Matthan
11. Jacob
12. Joseph the husband of Mary
13. Jesus

And Matthew ends the genealogy with:

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to Christ

14 x 3 is equal to 6 x 7 and Jesus presumably makes the seventh seven, implying that He will set free the slaves (in this case, us, from the slavery of sin and the rule of earthly powers).

I have four questions about all of this.

1. The last group of ancestors only has thirteen generations in it. Am I to assume that this was a scribal error or am I missing something (e.g. is Matthew including Mary)?

2. At first glance adding one to 6 x 7 seems like it would make 7 x 7, but it wouldn't. 6 x 7 = 42 and 7 x 7 = 49. However if you add one to 6 x 7, you don't get 7 x 7, but (6 x 7) + 1 which is equal to 43. Since 43 ≠ 49, I don't get how Jesus makes the seventh seven. Again, I feel like I'm missing something.

3. Even if the genealogy made 7 x 7, I still don't understand how this relates specifically to the 7 x 70 of Daniel.

4. And finally why does this genealogy lead to Joseph and then to Jesus if Joseph wasn't, in a biological sense, the father of Jesus? Wouldn't it make more sense to do what Luke did and trace the genealogy of Jesus through Mary?

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Posted : April 25, 2017 6:51 am
Stylteralmaldo
(@stylteralmaldo)
Member Moderator Emeritus

*sweeps away a year's worth of dust from the thread*

I was thinking earlier about Aslan's providence in The Horse and His Boy, and it reminded me of a video by Bishop Robert Barron that I saw a while ago and liked very much. I'm not a Catholic, but I found the perspective that he offered on the providence of God to be very insightful and moving, and I thought others might like it as well:

Thanks much for sharing this. I often think of St. Paul's punishments and what he endured for the Gospel which perhaps even he could not envision the fruits of that suffering in the letters we have from him today. The snowball affect from the gift of his suffering and the gift of suffering each generation endures for the sake of the Gospel, down to John Neumann, to JRR Tolkien, to those who endure suffering today...which is a gift of God, not a punishment as the secular world would have you believe.

Join date: Feb. 19, 2004

My nickname emoji: :@)

...Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity,...with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2)

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Posted : May 29, 2017 3:48 am
Arwenel
(@arwenel)
A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy? Hospitality Committee

I have really been struggling with the doctrine of original sin lately, and was wondering if anyone around here had any blogs or books that covered the topic well?

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. - Rabbi Tarfon

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Posted : April 17, 2018 7:44 pm
ValiantArcher
(@valiantarcher)
BC Head and G&B Mod Moderator

Arwenel, I'm not sure if you're looking for an explanation, evidence, or something else, but I ran across this article on Desiring God discussing Biblical evidence for the doctrine and some common questions. Also, it looks like there are some more articles and sermons on the site that deal with more/other aspects, but I haven't read them. If you're looking for something more in-depth, I can do a little digging and see what else I can find. :)

Some days you battle yourself and other monsters.
Some days you just make soup.

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Posted : April 18, 2018 4:31 pm
Arwenel
(@arwenel)
A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy? Hospitality Committee

Thanks for the response, Valia. I'll try and be more specific about what i'm looking for.

I know what the doctrine of original sin is, and given a little time could probably support it using Scripture. I consider it very important to Christianity, as i'm not sure there's another viewpoint that doesn't contradict the Bible. What i have issue with is that i cannot reconcile original sin with any sort of divine justice.

If people are condemned to Hell for being sinners, but they had no more control in being a sinner than they did in being born in the first place, how can that possibly be just? God might as well be punishing people for being born with blue eyes. How is it loving to create people who will one day die and suffer through eternity, but never had the ability, let alone the opportunity, to avoid it?

I want to make it clear, i'm not questioning whether God is actually just and loving or not. I know He is. But i just can't find a way to reconcile those qualities with the doctrine of original sin.

For the most part, i've tried to set this aside, figuring it would just be one of those things i won't understand until i get to Heaven. But it won't leave me alone, and nothing i've looked at has come anywhere near helping with my questions.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. - Rabbi Tarfon

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Posted : April 18, 2018 8:18 pm
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

Yes. God's permissive will and God's ultimate will aren't always the same. Yet there is no shortage of people who believe that God micromanages their lives to the point that a good parking space is perceived as a specific sign of divine favor, as opposed to the general favor of finance to purchase an alarm clock, education to comprehend it, and the free will to choose to arrive on time. A few such souls also seem to give the evil one power to foul up their day -- ("Satan tried to stop me from going to church by taking all the parking spaces!") -- instead of admitting their own agency, choices, and tardiness. How they survive genuine calamity, I do not know. How you survive genuine calamity, they cannot imagine.

I found this section of an old post further up the thread rather more pertinent to what I am about to say, because I could not find a specific 4th July thread here, and my remarking about 4th July would seem a bit cheeky for an Australian, except for the will of God aspect of it. For the Will of God does play a part in the affairs of nations as is clearly demonstrated in the Old Testament, and it doesn't all depend on those horrible Kings of yore, let alone their Presidential replacements. We have been studying 1 and 2 Samuel in the Bible which is quite an eye-opener, not only to the way the prophet Samuel said Kings would act - and yes they do - but also why a King or President is necessary in the first place, however the nation comes by the person, and whether that person is elected, or whether he or she is crowned, anointed, consecrated or inaugurated to do the job.

Famously, 4th July celebrates Independence Day, that is to say, USA or its beginnings, proclaimed themselves a nation independent of Great Britain which at the time administered much of the settled bits of the North American Continent. One of the Colonists' grievances was the threatened imposition of taxes, always a sore point, right back through the ages, right back to 1 and 2 Samuel, when the Israelites started to want a rather more organised sort of governing arrangement than they had at the time, which was often just localised judges who often acted only for their own tribe and if they were lucky, one or two of the others who agreed to help them. Samuel consecrated or anointed firstly Saul and then David, a most beloved Biblical figure, but Saul ended up dead, strung up on a city wall by the Philistines, along with three of his sons, by the end of 1 Samuel. David, whose kingly career involved much more fighting with the Philistines, in 2 Samuel, fought with other people as well, including a civil war against his own son, as well as adherents of a Saul monarchy. Part of these battles were his own fault, as the tale of Bathsheba clearly shows. But for the religious context I could have been reading the latest gossip and fashion magazine recounting the alleged palace rows in the UK Royal family and more.

And then I came across something that King David did right as a King. He had an able administration, which included someone called Sheva who acted as his secretary, Zadok and Abiathar led his priests, and Joab was a particularly gifted and loyal soldier and general under David's leadership. God helped David much, but He also gave David Joab to be his effective lieutenant, even if Joab would probably be seen as a gangster today. And wouldn't you know it? There was someone called Jehoshaphat who did the recording. You can read about it all in 2 Samuel, Ch 20 verse 23, I think it is.

And this particular Jehoshaphat (not to be mistaken for a later king) whose records probably formed the basis of 1 and 2 Samuel even if he did not write those two books of the Bible himself, is why we read about David today. And he is likely how we know, by the way, that the events in those two books included very likely actual historic happenings, not just writings for gossip and fashion magazines.

Today there there are people who actually wonder if either king really existed, much as up to the 20th century it was generally believed that there was no such place as Babylon, or Troy, let alone Mycenae. But the Philistines who fought against David and Saul did not speak the same sorts of languages as many of the other peoples around the Israelites. They were the Sea People of Rameses III, related to the Greeks who besieged Troy and the Myceneans who, having been allowed by the Egyptians to settle there, along the Gaza strip, were trying to expand into the interior of the Israelite lands to take them over.

A week or so ago, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, the grandson of UK's Queen Elizabeth famously visited those areas, prayed at the Wailing Wall, visited where his great grandmother was buried, at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, and also visited the Al Aqsa Mosque along with visiting other important sites. He prayed for peace in the Holy Lands, as well he might, and vowed that would be his life's mission. And he had a chat with each of the relevant Presidents and Prime Ministers, something the rest of us might not be able to do. Public opinion jeered of course. What could he do that hasn't been tried before? said many. "Good luck with that" I thought. But at least he was willing to try.

And what has all this to do with me and 4th July in particular? Why not Canadians as well, since 1st July is Canada day, and Canada is at least as relevant to Le Hamel in France as is both Australia, New Zealand, UK, and the United States. I am a history buff, as everyone here knows. For the past four years there have been a lot of WW1 commemorations. In 2015 my daughter and I visited Gallipoli then went to Villers Bretonneux and Le Hamel where in the open country there is this great monument to the fallen of World War I, where the flags of all the participating nations fly over their soldiers' graves, lest we forget the sacrifices made by those who went before us. You will find Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, even, Indians, the British, of course. And the French who welcomed us all as deliverers. And American soldiers, as well as Australians - a lot of Australians. Those who could be identified were listed as Christians, some were Jewish and there were other faiths as well.

Today, 4th July, or what is left of it - it is 6pm here - is the Le Hamel centenary, commemorating a WW1 battle at a small village called Le Hamel, which for the first time included a combined force of all these nations, in particular the new USA forces, as well as Australians, led by Sir John Monash, an Australian general whose battle plan went off perfectly. He used 4th July to stage the battle, specifically to encourage the American troops and to give them something to fight for. And it was a victory that led to other victories the following August. That particular incident was the beginning of the Australian Alliance with USA that continues up to this present day and whose centenary we also should commemorate. Did I mention Joab? I should have, because Sir John Monash, whose face adorns an Australian $100 note, was Jewish by belief. God moves in mysterious ways in the affairs of men and nations.

Oh and that is why of a Sunday we always pray for Queen Elizabeth, her ministers, her officials, her prime ministers, and all who serve her that the government is run wisely. A good thing to do when following the news.

Lastly and not leastly, happy 4th July. :)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : July 3, 2018 9:44 pm
The Old Maid
(@the-old-maid)
NarniaWeb Nut

Here's a question: Is salvation a feeling?

If you are saved, should you feel saved? If you don't feel saved, does that imply that you are unsaved?

Some believers preach Assurance, as a variant of the peace that passeth understanding. Others say that we cannot know. That is, our feelings may prompt us to want to be saved, but our feelings do not save: only God saves. In fact, our feelings can mislead us.

What do you think? Is salvation a feeling?

It's back! My humongous [technical term] study of What's behind "Left Behind" and random other stuff.

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Posted : February 11, 2020 10:36 am
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

Now that is a very tricky question, mainly for the individual. But then, if anyone has ever been anywhere near a bushfire, even without necessarily losing their homes, their lives & their livelihoods, not to mention a big swag of all that is good & unique about their part of the world, the record-breaking hot weather, plus spending months of living with a brown smog blocking out a deep Charnish red sun guaranteed to choke any asthmatic game to go outdoors, will certainly know what being saved feels like. It is when the rains finally pour down, putting out the last of those terrible fires, cooling & renewing the soil.

And yes we did pray most earnestly for rain. Given that even the Weather Bureau never predicted last weekend's downpour, that would have to rate as as a blessed salvation.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : February 11, 2020 3:09 pm
mm1991
(@mm1991)
NarniaWeb Junkie

Jumping off wagga's answer - I think it's more like you feel the after-effects of being saved rather than "feeling saved." And that gives you a sense if you are doing things right. Of course this depends on your definition of what being saved means. Is it a one-time deal? Or is being saved an on-going process? I'm not a fan of having to "rededicate yourself" a million times over because you don't feel saved. It seems like a time waster no matter your definition. This is all my personal opinion, I am not a theologian.

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!"
- Dr. Seuss

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Posted : February 15, 2020 11:54 am
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

I'm no theologian either. When I was growing up, it was considered not a woman's place in the church, & I didn't want to be a nun. Some of them scared me to pieces & had a reputation for being a bit too free with the cane. :-o

And that gives you a sense if you are doing things right. Of course this depends on your definition of what being saved means. Is it a one-time deal? Or is being saved an on-going process?

But back to your talking about "being saved". It still is analogous to how I felt about the relief of the dams filling up so quickly & unexpectedly after a long time of arid & fiery despair. Yes it could be a one time thing, because when it is over so unexpectely, I felt that yes this miracle has happened, but what is stopping the rain from drying up & then, like some earlier winter showers, we are back to where we were with months & months of drying soil, with rain, that because the ground was too hot, would evaporate inches before reaching the soil. It has happened beforehand, of course. My grandmother used to talk about a great drought in 1902, when it was so hot, here in Oz, that people could fry eggs on the footpaths.

And so, how do you feel about a dam full of water then? What about Jesus' living water that he promised us? Or, a more secular analogy, a one off lottery win? Go mad & squander all the money until it is all gone, & then you are back to where you start? Do you suddenly switch on all the sprinklers, whilst you dance gleefully in the mud, after a good drop of rain, forgetting that the ground is watered for you nicely already? Pressure the government to get rid of those horrible water restrictions right this very minute just for your own pleasure? Or do you continue to eke out the water carefully, to make it last as long as necessary, learning not to waste God's precious gifts so cavalierly, whilst trying to do better? So God's salvation might well be an ongoing process, which has to go well beyond ourselves.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : February 17, 2020 3:42 pm
Stylteralmaldo
(@stylteralmaldo)
Member Moderator Emeritus

Here's a question: Is salvation a feeling?

If you are saved, should you feel saved? If you don't feel saved, does that imply that you are unsaved?

Some believers preach Assurance, as a variant of the peace that passeth understanding. Others say that we cannot know. That is, our feelings may prompt us to want to be saved, but our feelings do not save: only God saves. In fact, our feelings can mislead us.

What do you think? Is salvation a feeling?

I have a strong opinion on this. Salvation is not a feeling. Salvation is the knowledge that one is a part of God’s family. The saved are elected by Grace through Jesus Christ our Savior.

This knowledge can bring peace to the soul, but not necessarily bring warm and comforting feelings. One can experience a lifetime of turmoil and struggle and lack any sense of good feelings yet still have the knowledge that salvation awaits them. This knowledge is not the same as assurance as St. Paul acknowledges that we are to finish the race.

I doubt the early Christians that were burned alive by Nero felt very good near the end of their earthly lives. If I was a spectator at that event I seriously doubt I would have seen smiles on their faces as they suffered terribly. However, I do believe these suffering Christians had hope. I suspect they didn’t feel good near the end of their lives, but they knew Jesus Christ and had hope in the Resurrection.

Join date: Feb. 19, 2004

My nickname emoji: :@)

...Let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity,...with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2)

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Posted : February 19, 2020 5:39 pm
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

I doubt the early Christians that were burned alive by Nero felt very good near the end of their earthly lives. If I was a spectator at that event I seriously doubt I would have seen smiles on their faces as they suffered terribly. However, I do believe these suffering Christians had hope. I suspect they didn’t feel good near the end of their lives, but they knew Jesus Christ and had hope in the Resurrection.

No it was a terrible time, to be sure. Yes Salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice is a belief for believers to share. It is harder to keep belief going in hard times, I agree. Yes, we can only hope that the trials & tribulations will finish at some point, & keep faith that we are all in God's hands. The early Christians did indeed suffer cruelly, & in some parts of the world still are persecuted, don't forget. Even in the Western World, not every nation has laws guaranteeing free speech, or religious tolerance, for those whose beliefs do not agree with the majority, or whose outspokenness offends powerful minorities, using their new-found political muscle to assert their views on how life should be lived. This is why in his letters, St Paul urges us to pray for those in government & to grant them wisdom to rule us in fairness.

I've read Eusebius, who wrote the History of the Church, as well as other early Christian writings about what went on. James, the brother of Jesus, & the first Christian bishop, was thrown down from the walls of Jerusalem, for instance. St Peter was crucified, & St Paul, being a Roman citizen, was put to the sword, as was also Mary, the mother of Christ, I've heard. But after enduring Nero, the likes of the paranoid Domitian & others, right up to Diocletian, it would have been a real relief for those like Eusebius, when Constantine the Great put a stop to that persecution, after his battle on the Milvian Bridge.

As a matter of interest, I know I prayed most earnestly for rain in the last three months or so, & it was also part of the Church services I attended. I was reminded that it was not only the Anglicans, but also the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Uniting Church, the Seventh-Day Adventists, the various Orthodox churches & many others, not all of them Christian. I've no doubt that wish, hope & prayer were echoed, including in Synagogues, Mosques, Temples & Pagodas, right across Sydney. Elsewhere in Australia, were also praying & still do, very fervently, for rain. It is at times like that you may find that never have people of faith, of any sort of faith, so long as they do have faith & hope, have people been so united.

However our combined prayers helped, it did rain. Enough to fill up a two thirds empty dam. Whatever atheism likes to say, that very timely rainy patch was still a great & merciful gift of God. And it was deliverance from a great disaster, reminding us of the words of The Lord's Prayer.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : February 22, 2020 12:31 pm
mm1991
(@mm1991)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I just want to say, wagga, you really put things very beautifully. I appreciate it. :ymhug:

"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!"
- Dr. Seuss

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Posted : February 22, 2020 6:02 pm
waggawerewolf27
(@waggawerewolf27)
NarniaWeb Zealot

I just want to say, wagga, you really put things very beautifully. I appreciate it. :ymhug:

Er :ymblushing: you are welcome. That is very nice of you to say so. :ymhug:

Meanwhile, I was watching one of the sorts of historic documentaries, we sometimes get on SBS or ABC, discussing, of all things, Crucifixion. Apparently the Romans used this method of execution for not only runaway slaves but also, perhaps, especially, for non-citizens. Those enduring this procedure, were also anyone they had extreme contempt for. The program said that the method involved a T shaped cross, rather than a t sort of cross, that feet were pierced through ankles, & that death was hastened by whipping of those being crucified, to further weaken them before execution, as Jesus Christ was treated, or while the sufferers were hanging on the cross they might be whipped some more, or their legs broken to hurry up the process. It was so the Roman soldiers could go back to camp at the end of their shifts.

It was a horribly agonising & drawn out way to die. Strangely, it has been rare to find complete remains of those who have clearly been crucified, & some of the evidence of the practice was of graffiti, mocking Christians, found in Italy & elsewhere. In Judea, more evidence was found, in a wealthy family tomb, of a bloke called Joachanan, suggesting that people who were executed might be because the Romans feared them for political reasons, such as the Zealots, or because the unfortunate man had spoken out against someone or other.

Thanks to Constantine the Great, that practice was finally discontinued. It demonstrates exactly why Constantine is revered as "the Great". There is a statue of Constantine the Great outside York Cathedral in England, if anyone wants to know. Christianity & his embrace of it in the Fourth Century AD did make a big change in the world.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1QDQp ... N3dGM/view

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Posted : March 7, 2020 1:33 pm
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