Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

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On Own Now
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Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by On Own Now » 12 Jul 2018, 08:24

From another thread...
DarkJedi wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 07:15
...original Christianity where God was the benevolent Father
To build upon DJ's comment here, Christ in the 1st century, was an anti-type of of Caesar, one of whose titles (given by his Roman subjects) declared him to be the "Son of God". Earthly rulers (like the one known to the Mediterranean World) were corrupt, unjust, unloving. Society was based on the powerful oppressing the weak in an established pecking order, including those at the top (Lord/Master) and those at the bottom (slave). Christ was the one who would throw this all out and...

- make a community of equals before God. "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians)

- based on love toward others, in and out of the community, "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you." (I Thessalonians)

- where we would all be counted as peers with Jesus, who would be the "firstborn of a large family." (Romans)

- where we would be counted as the children of a benevolent, not enslaving Father, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans)

- and as children we inherit what He has as equals with Jesus, "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans)
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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nibbler
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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by nibbler » 12 Jul 2018, 09:06

Jesus is fighting against a very powerful aspect of human nature/evolution.

One interpretation of Jesus' ministry is that he came to help people gain direct access to god. You no longer need the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the temple, etc. to access god; you can access god directly. The kingdom of god is within. All have access to the presence of god, not just those authorized to enter exclusive zones on the temple grounds.

I'm not sure whether that was ever the message but if it was I think we missed a lot of that. Jesus became the new Pharisees, Sadducees, etc. The new middleman to appease rather than approaching god more directly. Then we took it a step further, we set up churches with leaders as another layer of access to Jesus, where Jesus has now assumed the role of god.

Maybe it's human nature to use whatever we have at our disposal to wield power over one another, maybe it's in human nature to have tangible people to serve as authority figures. There is the culture of celebrity.

I'm left wondering whether god, Jesus' god, was yet another middleman... someone or something to help people focus their spirituality. If so, do you think that you could ever, through all eternity, find out the generation where middlemen ceased to be? ;)

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DarkJedi
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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Jul 2018, 09:20

I'm at work so I don't have the book (The Christ Who Heals) nor my notes in front of me but OON pretty much nails it. One of the main themes (if not the main theme) of that book is that original Christianity and "the restored gospel" (my quotation marks) are the same theologically but that over time beginning 100 or so years after Christ's ministry many of these truths were lost. Chief among those things lost was the idea of a pre-earth existence. The case could be made that the same thing is happening in the modern church - ideas that JS originally taught have been changed, and things that it is apparent he did not believe are now taught as doctrine. Much of that has to do with the influence of mainstream Christianity. A great example Givens uses is the Fall. The Fall, in Givens' view, was not a tragedy at all and there is no such thing as "original sin." The Fall was a necessary part of the plan we all agreed to and recognized pre-earth. But without an acknowledgement of pre-earth existence the meaning of the Fall changed. Death came not as a penalty for the Fall but as a gift for our eternal progression.
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Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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On Own Now
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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by On Own Now » 12 Jul 2018, 09:40

nibbler, yep, Jesus went from being one of us to being our advocate before God, to being our judge.

After Paul (in the NT passages above), but still in pretty early Christian times (early 2nd century, probably) Jesus is described as our advocate. This is interesting because it goes with the other lawyer motif of Satan as our accuser (Job and Revelation). In fact, the term 'satan' is first used in Job and means 'accuser'. So, one symbolism has God as a benevolent father and Jesus as our peer. But another interesting (though later) take is God as Judge, Satan as the Prosecutor and Jesus as our Defender. It's a pretty rich symbolism; lost to time. I prefer the earlier Christian symbolism, but do like the Jesus as our Defender concept.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by dande48 » 12 Jul 2018, 09:51

On Own Now wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 08:24
To build upon DJ's comment here, Christ in the 1st century, was an anti-type of of Caesar, one of whose titles (given by his Roman subjects) declared him to be the "Son of God".
To start, I hope everyone knows what follows is my personal interpretation, based on the evidence I see. I don't mean to disrespect or discount anyone else's views.

That's not the only title given to Christ, which was first given to Caesar Augustus. "Son of God", "Savior of the world", "Redeemer of Mankind" are all on the list. My personal belief, was that the Christians used these terms to, in their own special way, give the middle finger to the Roman government. This, combined with the pagan theology of the gentile converts, I believe, transformed Christ from who he really was and claimed to be, into a Roman-like deity. In Christ's time, the term "Son of God" was used the same way we used the term "child of God", i.e. we are all spiritual children of our Heavenly Father. But the Pharisees used Christ claim as the "Son of God" to condemn him, transforming it into the Greek meaning. Christ response?
John 10:34-36 wrote:"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"
It's pretty clear Christ was using the scripture context, as an explanation and justification why He could claim He was a "son of God", as it was in the Jewish sense and not the Romans'. Not to mention, in the original texts of Luke, after Christ is baptized, God says from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son. In this day have I begotten thee." As Will Durant, and several GAs quoting him, put it:
Will Durant wrote:"Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it."
nibbler wrote:
12 Jul 2018, 09:06
God is whatever we need god to be. It's not a bad thing.
I fully believe this.
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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 Jul 2018, 19:36

I suggest reading "Jesus before Christianity" by Albert Nolan. It was a paradigm changer for me when I read it in college.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: Jesus and God as the Missing Benevolence In the World

Post by SamBee » 18 Aug 2018, 04:08

A pity they turned Jesus into first a feudalist, and then a capitalist...
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