Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

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LookingHard
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by LookingHard » 17 Apr 2017, 07:02

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.
I am with Curt on this. I can't even determine if I am agnostic or even an athiest, but I do feel that the teachings of Christ are a very good way to live. With that I reserve the right to ignore a few items that show up in the bible, such as Paul's teachings that women should be subservient and not speak in church. but I am fine with living in accordance to the core teachings of Christ.

In fact I remember that many Nones (people that say they believe in God, but don't align with any religion) claim to be "followers to the teachings of Christ" as they don't like to be called "Christians".

Bill Reel has done an interesting take on these on his podcasts. The first series with a very interesting guy named NT Wright.
http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/ ... jesus-pt1/

The next one is a 6 segment series
http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/ ... spel-mark/

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Holy Cow
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Holy Cow » 17 Apr 2017, 11:48

I agree with many others. To me, it doesn't really matter. I love the story of Christ; not because of the miracles, but because of the overall message. I don't follow Christ because he turned water to wine, or healed the lepers, or walked on water. The miraculous stories are great, but I look at them more as parables. Christ taught in parables, and I look at his life as one big parable. I look at the OT the same way. I don't read into the details and expect it all to be literal and historical, but I look at the OT as a series of parables. To me, the story of Christ, 1- could be exactly true, word for word, 2- could be based in some truth, some myth, 3- could be completely false and based on the writings of a group of people. It doesn't matter. It's the message that I love. The world was a brutal, violent, unforgiving place in those days. So the message of forgiveness, peace, love, and mercy, is a beautiful contrast to the eye-for-an-eye lifestyle that most people lived. When I say, "I believe in Christ," what I'm really saying is that I believe in that message. It doesn't matter to me how accurate the written depiction is.
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 22 Apr 2017, 09:58

SilentDawning wrote:
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?
I definitely don't take the Bible literally, and I still believe in God and life after death independently from what the Bible says so it's not like I'm a hardcore skeptic or anything. Basically to me some stories and ideas in the Bible sound plausible enough that I don't see much of a reason to doubt them (I. E. Jesus was an influential religous leader that was crucified) but other cases don't make much sense at all to me and in some cases I'm not really sure what to think either way (the resurrection, final judgment, etc). I definitely believe that the Apostle Paul was sincere about being converted by some kind of profound experience and I like to think that there was more to this than merely some figment of his imagination or misinterpretation of some natural process.

So that's how I like to interpret Paul's overall message, basically that Jesus was still alive after he was supposed to be dead which already sounds like "good news" enough for me regardless of some of the other details. Beyond that to be honest I think it is more likely that there were some embellishments to the traditional story of Jesus than that everything happened exactly as described. Not that that really proves anything because no matter how unlikely something is based on our observations of typical everyday life if God decides to directly intervene for whatever reasons then whatever he wants to happen suddenly becomes 100% likely to happen even if it has only ever happened once in the entire history of the world.

What I have a harder time believing than mircales in general is simply some of the things like hellfire and damnation over things like not being baptized and having the wrong beliefs (Mark 16:16) and the strait and narrow path that supposedly few will find (Matthew 7:13-14). In theory I don't have a problem with truly bad people like murderers, rapists, etc. being punished somehow but when I look at neighbors that are not very religious, Muslims, etc. that are decent people I just don't believe that they really deserve to be condemned especially when many of them don't really have much of a choice regarding what they believe in the first place because it would be hard if not impossible for them to believe anything else under the circumstances. Even harder for me to believe is the idea of the atonement at least as taught by the Church or the general idea that Jesus supposedly needed to suffer as some kind of sacrifice to satisfy the demands of justice for everyone's "sins."

It just sounds like yet another guilt-trip to basically say Jesus supposedly suffered and died for your sins so you better do what we say or else this all important sacrifice was supposedly in vain in your case. I don't understand why God couldn't just forgive whomever he wants to without needing some kind of sacrifice or "debt payment" like this or how this would really make any difference as far as fixing anything by itself. Most of all I think some of the teachings of Jesus like forgiveness, loving your neighbor, not being judgmental and self-righteous like the Pharisees, are the kind of thing that people can do their best to practice and that would generally make the world a better place without even needing to believe that Jesus was literally the only begotten son of God, resurrected, had magical powers, etc. That's what I would like to see more of out of the Church instead of so much obsession with everyone supposedly needing to believe the same exact things down to some of the smallest details.
"Truth is what works." - William James

DoubtingTom
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DoubtingTom » 22 Apr 2017, 10:41

Just a thought, and I haven't flushed this out yet. But what if God isn't all powerful? What if there are certain laws he must abide by in his sphere and that includes that for some reason he can't just forgive everyone or make up a system by which somehow everyone gets to return to him. But by following laws he must abide by, the Savior and the atonement become a means by which he can accomplish his purposes without violating inviolatable laws that he doesn't have the power to violate?

Personally I don't connect to this idea nor think it the most likely. But the idea gave me pause as an interesting theological thought.

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nibbler
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by nibbler » 22 Apr 2017, 10:46

I'll try to answer without writing a novel.

Do You Believe in the Literal Christ? Yes and no.

Okay, maybe I'll elaborate a little.
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?
Yes. But I feel that way about many people that I see around me. I believe people are sons and daughters of god. I believe people suffer for the sins of all mankind. And I've seen many people pay the debt of other people's sins.
That he was divine, and was resurrected?
Divine, yes. Again, it's one of those "we are all divine" things. Resurrected. I don't know but I lean towards no. Unless we're talking the elements that make up someone's body returning to earth and being repurposed in the elements that make up other living things.
whether you believe in Christ as the literal person he is generally believed to be at church
Sorta.
do you see him as a symbolic figure
Yes.
or perhaps even a good man who modeled a good life?
Yes.
Where do you stand on the issue of belief in Christ?
My answers could be seen as mostly a dodge but to answer the question you were asking...

Sort of like how I feel about the stories we attribute to Christ, the best conventional wisdom of the day was gathered together to make a more complete ideal. Members of the church have taken upon themselves the name of Christ. Individually we may make up a less than perfect (whole) Christ but collectively we approach perfection. Collectively we have suffered all that humanity has ever suffered because we are humanity. Collectively we can be in a position to alleviate the burdens of the people that suffer because together we are strong. Collectively people will continue long after we are dead, so in a sense Christ is eternal and living... for as long as we hold on to the vision.

Christ becomes more powerful to me when I look at my neighbor or look at myself and consider that we are literally Christ. The Christ that sits in heaven waiting to bless us someday or the Christ that is rooted in the past - where I only need to reflect on "Christ" and what he has already done for me and my ills somehow magically go away with a mere thought - isn't as powerful as taking on an active role in bringing about the atonement myself. Doing something that makes a difference in someone's life, something right now to help alleviate the burdens of another.

To me that's how Christ lives. When we do something that Christ would do for someone in need... and sometimes we can do it ourselves, other times we need the help of a whole community coming together.
Sometimes, the thing you've been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.
-Peter Quill

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DevilsAdvocate
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 23 Apr 2017, 10:06

DoubtingTom wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 10:41
Just a thought, and I haven't flushed this out yet. But what if God isn't all powerful? What if there are certain laws he must abide by in his sphere and that includes that for some reason he can't just forgive everyone or make up a system by which somehow everyone gets to return to him. But by following laws he must abide by, the Savior and the atonement become a means by which he can accomplish his purposes without violating inviolatable laws that he doesn't have the power to violate?...Personally I don't connect to this idea nor think it the most likely. But the idea gave me pause as an interesting theological thought.
This is sort of how the Church tries to explain the supposed need for the atonement, even though they don't word it as God having limitations as far as what he can and can't do there is the whole explanation in the Book of Mormon to the effect that, "God would cease to be God" (Alma 42:13) without some kind of law demanding punishment for sins because without this mercy would "rob justice." I understand the idea that it doesn't really seem fair for God to just forgive everyone like some kind of get out of jail free card but at the same time I just don't see how having someone that didn't have anything to do with whatever "sins" people have committed suffer and die is any kind of justice whatsoever, to me it sounds like quite the opposite namely one of the worst possible examples of injustice imaginable if we step back and really look at it without buying into some of the hand-waving explanations and claims that God said so.

If justice is so essential then why not just punish everyone individually in proportion to what they themselves have actually done wrong and be done with it rather than punishing someone that doesn't really deserve it at all? And on top of that, it seems like many average people nowadays aren't really doing anything all that bad to begin with that looks like it should require some magical intercession to pay for but at best it looks like all that should be required to "pay" for some of this would simply be some kind of slap on the wrist that they could easily bear themselves. It's almost like the supposed problem and the cure both came from the same source (traditional religious teachings) and both of them could easily be mostly if not entirely imaginary for all we really know. But I have stopped trying to make sense of this idea anymore, at this point I see it as just another traditional teaching we have inherited from previous generations because of whatever scriptures in the BoM, Bible, etc. similar to "no death before the fall", a global flood, the tower of Babel, God cursing people with a dark skin, etc. that could turn out to be entirely human in origin rather than something inspired or revealed directly by God.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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SilentDawning
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Apr 2017, 16:03

There's a lot of stuff we just don't talk about

a) How Mary was impregnated
b) Where God came from -- if he was a man and progressed, who was his God?
c) If God HAD to provide an atonement to satisfy justice and mercy, or cease to be God, then who is pulling the big strings above? It's not our God....

We can't talk about that. So, the shelf gets heavier...

Or you can just be agnostic about it all and keep going forward, happy.
"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."

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DoubtingTom
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by DoubtingTom » 23 Apr 2017, 16:46

SilentDawning wrote:
23 Apr 2017, 16:03
Or you can just be agnostic about it all and keep going forward, happy.
There is truth to this. I'm much more at peace with thinking of the lessons and teachings of Jesus as an inspiration to live better, and to find the kingdom of God inside ourselves (which I believe was a core of his message). I think it was an incredibly powerful message during a time of total Roman oprression, about which the common man had no power to overcome that. Instead, Jesus taught the kingdom of God is inside us, here and now. He taught to turn the other cheek and go the extra mile, essentially taking that power back from the oppressive empire and making it an internal power.

That message still resonates today, as well as the messages of love and forgiveness. And I'm more at peace with those messages than trying to do mental gymnastics to make abstracts like the need for an infinite atonement make sense to me.

So I, like SD, am somewhat agnostic to those abstract ideas, and instead try to take inspiration from the messages that resonate.

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Ilovechrist77
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 23 Apr 2017, 18:54

I'm with SamBee, even if in reality the life of Jesus Christ was more complicated than that, as history normally is.

Minyan Man
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Re: Do You Believe in the Literal Christ?

Post by Minyan Man » 23 Apr 2017, 20:28

I say yes.

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