Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

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SilentDawning
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Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by SilentDawning » 16 Apr 2017, 13:34

I was wondering how others feel about this....do you believe in the Christ who is the literal son of god, who suffered for the sins of all mankind, and paid their debt? That he was divine, and was resurrected? Whether he has a body or not, I care not at this point -- only whether you believe in Christ as the literal person he is generally believed to be at church, or do you see him as a symbolic figure, or perhaps even a good man who modeled a good life? Where do you stand on the issue of belief in Christ?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DarkJedi
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2017, 14:05

Interestingly we had a similar discussion in PH today in the context of what other churches believe. I finally managed to quash it because I pointed out rather forcefully that it doesn't matter what others believe.

Your question is actually very broad, SD. Do I believe in Jesus Christ exactly as he's taught in church? No, but I can't say that out loud lest I be branded a heretic. But I'm game here.

Literal Son of God: I think this might be one of those instances where the Bible may not have been translated correctly. I have not the desire nor time to fully explain all the details of why I believe so, but you can do your own research. Christ was a son of God the same way we all are, though.

Suffered for the sins of all mankind: I do believe that in a symbolic way he did, that he was the Lamb of God. I have no evidence for this belief other than what is in scripture, but I choose to believe it. It brings me hope. FWIW, I do not believe he bled from every pore.

Resurrection: Not sure. It sure is convenient to the story, though. I also choose to believe he was resurrected but not necessarily with a body and with less spiritual conviction than the atonement.

Reality: I do believe other historical accounts point to Jesus having been a real person. Short of him being a God or Son thereof, I do believe he was at least a good person and a revolutionary and perhaps a great prophet. I believe he may have actually said at least some of what is reported he said and other stuff was later added. I am also skeptical of all the miracles and believe they were also likely embellished or added later.

From the TV show The Middle:
Brick Heck: Isn't it amazing how each snowflake is different?
Sue Heck: I know. It took me, like, three hours to cut out ten. And God has to do, like, fifty billion. You can't tell me that's not a miracle.
Brick: That's a very good point. So, do you really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true?
Sue: Oh, absolutely.
Brick: [sighs] I don't know. But it is a really cool story.
I'm with Brick, it is a really cool story. And I'm most certainly a heretic, heat up the branding iron. :twisted:
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

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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Reuben
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Reuben » 16 Apr 2017, 14:24

We also discussed this during third hour, mostly in a "ra ra ra our literal way of believing is better" way. I was having a fine Sunday until this point, when my mind switched to coming up with ways I could combat the feel-good drawing of boundaries and expand minds just a little bit, by offering exactly the right comment. No dice.

SD, my answers to your first battery of questions are all "no." I'm inspired by the stories, and feel that the world would be a better place if we gave up our preconceived notions of Jesus and then tried to be more like him.
My intro

Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before certainty.

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SamBee
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by SamBee » 16 Apr 2017, 14:46

Yes I do.

Thing is Jesus wasn't a lover of the rich.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Apr 2017, 15:08

I don't know, and I am totally fine with either option, so I don't spend any mental or emotional capital on it.

I mean that. I think there is power and beauty in either option, and I am completely fine either way.
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.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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DarkJedi
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DarkJedi » 16 Apr 2017, 16:22

Curt Sunshine wrote:
16 Apr 2017, 15:08
I don't know, and I am totally fine with either option, so I don't spend any mental or emotional capital on it.

I mean that. I think there is power and beauty in either option, and I am completely fine either way.
You make another good point, Curt. Since I don't believe most scripture (Bible/BoM) stories to be literal anyway, I can live with the Christ not being literal.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

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."

My Introduction

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Always Thinking
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Always Thinking » 16 Apr 2017, 17:38

I don't really know if he was the son of God but I don't really need him to be. Even if he was just a man, or even if he didn't exist, I see him as a generally good example of what true charity is.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by SilentDawning » 16 Apr 2017, 17:38

All I can say, is good. I was afraid I'd be branded a heretic for not beliving in the literal, divine son of God.There seems to me to be ample evidence there is a God. I believe in that force, and at times have believed his hand has been in my life. But Christ? Not so sure. But his example is good, his life principles are good. I find it hard to believe he would deceive people with miracles if he was just a good man though -- that kind of goes against the "good man" argument, but I'll let that pass. The scriptures have been translated and passed down, with people likely embellishing and injecting their own into the stories to serve their own purposes...

I am glad I am not alone in questioning it all....

It has no impact on how I live my life, whether true or not. Getting rid of bad habits and trying to be like Christ is good, just like trying to be like Ghandi in some ways, is good.

My question is this -- how can anyone get up to teach the concept of a divine Christ without really believing it? What attitude do you take with you when you do it?
Last edited by SilentDawning on 17 Apr 2017, 04:21, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

DoubtingTom
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DoubtingTom » 16 Apr 2017, 21:01

SilentDawning wrote:
16 Apr 2017, 17:38
My question is this -- how can anyone get up to teach the concept of a divine Christ without really believing it? What attitude do you take with you when you do it?
I've found some old forum posts about temple recommend questions to be helpful. Here's the link to the responses about Jesus Christ:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3361

I think some of the discussion applies to your question about what you can teach honestly and sincerely without a literal belief.

For me, part of my faith transition has been allowing myself to believe and accept what makes the most sense logically after I look at the evidence without trying to force belief. And if the jury is still out, I'm perfectly comfortable, like Ray, with saying I don't know. For me the most logical is that Jesus was a man, a very good man who taught some amazing things. Over time, as the early Christian religion developed, oral traditions may have exaggerated or embellished some of the stories to retro-fit prophecies or to sound more miraculous. But for me, that doesn't detract from the core of his teachings and the good they can do when applied in our lives.

I think it's a miracle in and of itself that so many can glean meaning and import out of the life of Jesus even as they approach him from so many different faithful viewpoints.

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dande48
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by dande48 » 16 Apr 2017, 21:08

Honestly, I don't believe Christ believed he was a literal Son of God. Figuratively, for sure! I feel I am as true a Christian as anyone; but I think there is a large difference between what Jesus believed, and what many believe of Him roday.

I've written up a quick summary of "why", below. By it, I hope any true believer knows I don't mean any disrespect. There is great value in a taking a literal view. The world would be a much different place, if we did not.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. - Will Durant
Both Quinten L Cook and Neal A Maxwell have used this quote in their general conference talks. It about sums up my views on the divinity of Jesus.

If we look at the historical setting, the Roman Empire was ruled over by Caesar Augustus. Roman government was largely a theocracy, with its emperor given deific status. Before Jesus, Caesar Augustus was first referred to as a "Son of God", "the Redeemer", and "Savior of the World". In the old testament, as well as us even today, the term "Son of God" can refer to anyone with a close, familial relationship with Christ. But Caesar Augustus applied the title to himself literally; he claimed his father was literally the god Apollo, through immaculate conception. His birth and childhood were accompanied by many miraculous signs and wonders... The term "Christ" was actually applied to Augustus first, but then later replaced the title "Messiah", as Jesus' primary title.

We also have over 20,000 ancient manuscript fragments from the New Testament. In one of the earliest manuscripts from Luke, after Jesus is Baptized, God speaks from heaven and says to Jesus "Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee." Not only this, but there are many other instances where the gospels, as time went on, became more and more extravagant, and more and more "Roman". More grand, more miracles, and more antagonistic towards "the Jews". We also see this prevelant among the four gospels, when viewed according to when they were chronologically written (Mark- around 60-70 AD, Matthew/Luke- around 70-80 AD, and John- around 90-100AD).

What I honestly believe happened was, Jesus was the son of a carpenter. He developed a great sense of love for God, and for his fellow man. He saw what a miserable state Israel was in; not only because of the subjucation of the Romans, but because of the corruption among the Jewish leadership. He taught a higher law, one of forgiveness, mercy, tolerance, patience, and love. But he also spoke out against the hypocracy of the Jewish elite, and angered some pretty bad men. They had him executed. Yet Jesus' message resonated so strongly, that it broke off a daughter religion from Judaism, which in time came to be known as Christianity. One of the most prevelant Christians was a Roman named Saul/Paul. He helped bridge the gap between the Jewish Christians, and the Gentile Christians. But he disagreed with the original Christian leadership. We see in the bible that he went explicitly against the Council of Jerusalem, taking a more liberal approach when instructing the gentile saints. It was through Pauls leadership, as well as the hatred for the Roman Theocracy, which eventually won Jesus these extravegant stories, as well as Caesars title "the Christ".
"But there's no sense in crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying, til you run out of cake." - Still Alive

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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