Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the New Paganism

 

“Their god is something which they created themselves, a being who is always prepared to oblige and excuse them. They do not worship him with awe and respect, indeed they do not worship him at all. They reveal that their so-called god is no god at all in their talk. For they are forever saying that ‘they simply cannot believe that God will punish the unrepentant sinner to all eternity, and this and that.’ They cannot believe that God will do so, therefore, they draw the conclusion that God does not and will not. In other words, God does what they believe he ought to do or not do. What a false and blasphemous conception of God! How utterly untrue and unworthy! Such is the new paganism of today.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a young doctor in 1920s London. His boss, Lord Horder, asked him to make a catalog of their patients. LJ soon realized that most of their clientele, the best and brightest of their time, had medical problems due to their lifestyle (ate too much, drank too much, etc.). He soon decided that people had a spiritual problem. In this advent season, it is important to look beyond the headlines of the day.

Here’s a BBC interview he did in 1970.

Two of his sermons.

One

Two

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There are 30 comments.

  1. Hartmann von Aue Member

    There is no link for the interview. 

    • #1
    • December 2, 2019, at 11:43 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Vectorman Thatcher

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    There is no link for the interview.

    It’s there now… reload this post

    • #2
    • December 2, 2019, at 11:46 AM PST
    • Like
  3. Spin Coolidge

    There is literally no problem I have that wouldn’t be made better if I ate healthier, drank less, and exercised more.

    • #3
    • December 2, 2019, at 11:54 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    Richard Easton: Here’s a BBC interview he did in 1970.

    I can’t imagine the BBC doing this interview after the 1970’s. By then the 1960’s “Hippies” were too prevalent to even consider Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ ideas.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. There are many days available on the December Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #4
    • December 2, 2019, at 12:13 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Cato Rand Coolidge

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    • #5
    • December 2, 2019, at 5:13 PM PST
    • Like
  6. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Spin (View Comment):

    There is literally no problem I have that wouldn’t be made better if I ate healthier, drank less, and exercised more.

    Well…there could be one.

    • #6
    • December 2, 2019, at 5:22 PM PST
    • Like
  7. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Matt. 7:21 -“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven…”

    Today one might apply Jesus’ words after this fashion: Not everyone who says “I’m a Christian” shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

    • #7
    • December 2, 2019, at 5:36 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Aaron Miller Member

    Christianity asserts that right faith accords with right reason and that Man can learn about God through reason. It also asserts that God is the Creator of all things seen and unseen. 

    Thus, it is reasonable to struggle with faith when one cannot understand how something accords with His perfect love. But if one cannot design even a single person — let alone all persons, all creatures, and all galaxies — it is unreasonable to be surprised by lingering mysteries and confusion.

    • #8
    • December 2, 2019, at 5:56 PM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton Post author

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    I suggest that you listen to the BBC interview. You appear to have had a revelation that no revelation from God is possible.

    • #9
    • December 2, 2019, at 6:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    I suggest that you listen to the BBC interview. You appear to have had a revelation that no revelation from God is possible.

    No, no revelation. Just think it’s interesting that the unstated premise of the quote is the unevidenced assumption that the christian belief in eternal damnation is accurate. It sort of assumes its conclusion, and therefore isn’t likely to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.

    • #10
    • December 2, 2019, at 7:30 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Sisyphus Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    I suggest that you listen to the BBC interview. You appear to have had a revelation that no revelation from God is possible.

    No, no revelation. Just think it’s interesting that the unstated premise of the quote is the unevidenced assumption that the christian belief in eternal damnation is accurate. It sort of assumes its conclusion, and therefore isn’t likely to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.

    Unevidenced except by the words of God made man. All the evidence ever needed.

    • #11
    • December 2, 2019, at 11:22 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. HeavyWater Coolidge

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    I suggest that you listen to the BBC interview. You appear to have had a revelation that no revelation from God is possible.

    No, no revelation. Just think it’s interesting that the unstated premise of the quote is the unevidenced assumption that the christian belief in eternal damnation is accurate. It sort of assumes its conclusion, and therefore isn’t likely to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.

    Heaven and hell were invented in order to make sense of a situation where the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. So, the idea was, “Well, that evil, wicked person might be sitting on his throne now. That righteous person might be suffering from a terrible illness now. But just you wait until God intervenes.”

    Matthew 20:16

    So the last will be first, and the first will be last.

    It’s horse hockey. But it’s non falsifiable.

    It’s not like we can send an investigator to heaven and ask,

    “Are there any Buddhists here? A show of hands? Just checking to see if Jesus is the only way the heaven.”

    The whole idea of heaven and hell as described by Christianity falls apart with some thought.

    Think of a mother who is a devout Christian but one of her daughters is not a Christian. Is this mother really going to be able to enjoy eternity in heaven knowing that her daughter is suffering eternal torture in hell?

    It makes no sense.

    But Saint Augustine believed this nonsense.

    They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. The saints knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted with the eternal sufferings of the lost.
    [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22,

    • #12
    • December 3, 2019, at 1:54 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    I suggest that you listen to the BBC interview. You appear to have had a revelation that no revelation from God is possible.

    No, no revelation. Just think it’s interesting that the unstated premise of the quote is the unevidenced assumption that the christian belief in eternal damnation is accurate. It sort of assumes its conclusion, and therefore isn’t likely to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already believe it.

    Unevidenced except by the words of God made man. All the evidence ever needed.

    Whatevs.

    • #13
    • December 3, 2019, at 3:40 AM PST
    • Like
  14. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

    If I were making something up, it would allow me to do anything that I want without consequence, and promise me eternal bliss without regard to my actions or character. You know, something like a hippy New Age religion.

    The new phenomenon that Lloyd-Jones and Lewis describe is the idea of man sitting in judgment on God. I’m reasonably knowledgeable about the history of religion and philosophy, and I don’t recall any major religious or philosophical movement that actually elevated man above God, whatever the conception of God might be within such a system. I don’t think that this elevation of man over God exists within Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, or Buddhism, or Confucianism, or Zoroastrianism, or Hinduism, or other pantheistic pagan religions with which I am familiar.

    It seems to be something new. I think that this is the point that Lloyd-Jones is making.

     

    • #14
    • December 3, 2019, at 1:06 PM PST
    • Like
  15. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    • #15
    • December 3, 2019, at 1:20 PM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Tennessee Patriot Member

    Great minds think alike! The same day you posted this, I was looking through the webs for MLJ sermons and Friday night lessons for Kindle, thinking they would be low-priced. Audio versions of his sermons and lessons are made available through the MLJ trust for free and wonderful they are. But the complete sermons are not available in written form and the limited sermons that are in book form are expensive- even for Kindle. His output was vast and I am hoping one day the MLJ trust will provide inexpensive sermons in written form for e-readers.

     

    In the meantime, I highly recommend his sermons, especially if you have specific questions about a certain chapter or verse that he has covered.

    • #16
    • December 3, 2019, at 2:29 PM PST
    • Like
  17. HeavyWater Coolidge

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    You can go on to You Tube and watch various Christians condemn other Christians to hell for failing to accept their own interpretation of scripture.

    Human beings get a thrill out of telling other people that they will go to hell.

    • #17
    • December 3, 2019, at 4:44 PM PST
    • Like
  18. Cato Rand Coolidge

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    You can go on to You Tube and watch various Christians condemn other Christians to hell for failing to accept their own interpretation of scripture.

    Human beings get a thrill out of telling other people that they will go to hell.

    No doubt. But some also parlay it into wealth and power.

    • #18
    • December 3, 2019, at 7:44 PM PST
    • 1 like
  19. HeavyWater Coolidge

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    You can go on to You Tube and watch various Christians condemn other Christians to hell for failing to accept their own interpretation of scripture.

    Human beings get a thrill out of telling other people that they will go to hell.

    No doubt. But some also parlay it into wealth and power.

    Absolutely. Also, being part of an “in-group” is attractive to many people.

    “Look at me. I am going to heaven. And you aren’t.” That’s psychologically attractive to lots of people. 

    Lots of Muslims are willing to blow people up, thinking that 72 virgins await to perform sexual favors for them in heaven if they do so.

    Heaven and hell can hold a lot of power over people’s minds, even if they aren’t real.

    It’s the old carrot (heaven) and stick (hell) approach.

     

    • #19
    • December 4, 2019, at 1:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Kevin Schulte Member

    Funny how some atheists find Christianity to be Malarkey but can’t keep from being drawn to a thread like this. 

    I am a Christian. If I see a Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion I just roll my eyes and move on .

    I suspect something is going on in the heart of such atheists. 

     

    • #20
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Funny how some atheists find Christianity to be Malarkey but can’t keep from being drawn to a thread like this.

    I am a Christian. If I see a Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion I just roll my eyes and move on .

    I suspect something is going on in the heart of such atheists.

     

    There is. It’s called fear of theocracy.

    • #21
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:21 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Kevin Schulte Member

    Since the Idea of hell is so repugnant. 

    Welcome to the club. I find it repugnant also, yet believe it exists. 

    If it does exist and you were at risk of going there. My God , it would be an evil not to try and persuade you away from it.

    Every faith /religion has its charlatans that have evil intent including atheists. 

    As Cato said. 

    Whatevs

    • #22
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:26 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Kevin Schulte Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Funny how some atheists find Christianity to be Malarkey but can’t keep from being drawn to a thread like this.

    I am a Christian. If I see a Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion I just roll my eyes and move on .

    I suspect something is going on in the heart of such atheists.

     

    There is. It’s called fear of theocracy.

    Fear not Cato. Your side has won. For now. Enjoy the chaos as it ramps up. Socialism and its nasty brother communism is attached your victory.

    • #23
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:44 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Funny how some atheists find Christianity to be Malarkey but can’t keep from being drawn to a thread like this.

    I am a Christian. If I see a Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion I just roll my eyes and move on .

    I suspect something is going on in the heart of such atheists.

     

    There is. It’s called fear of theocracy.

    Fear not Cato. Your side has won. For now. Enjoy the chaos as it ramps up. Socialism and its nasty brother communism is attached your victory.

    This argument is what’s known as a “false choice” or “false dilemma.” That is a logical fallacy (and frankly, an insult to my intelligence). We do not face a binary choice between theocracy and socialism/communism. There are other options.

    • #24
    • December 4, 2019, at 5:35 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Kevin Schulte Member

    Accept for the colonies we have never had a theocracy. This is your binary false choice that insults my intelligence. Our founders were deists and Christian for the most part. They gave us a republic not a theocracy. Have Christians influenced the laws of the land. Yes,? Just as secularists have. This has always been the tension in the land. Never a theocracy. I and most Christians do not advocate one. 

    My point about chaos is cultural, not governmental. Though there is overlap. The punks in Chicago don’t read their bibles then go out and gang bang. All up and down the social strata this applies. When the culture was Christian friendly communism had no chance to take hold. Now that our culture is completely secularized the ground is prepared for communism. You see it’s head everywhere now.

    Back to my point. The isms piggy back off of secularism when the culture expunges Christianity.

    You mentioned fearing a theocracy. This is a false premise. The tables have been turned. It is Christians who have cause to be concerned. Just look at who it is ok to malign now publicly. 

    Peace to you Cato. 

    • #25
    • December 4, 2019, at 6:11 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    I think that you’re right. Thank God that I don’t have that kind of power.

    One of the factors that makes Christianity more plausible to me is the fact that, at least according to the New Testament account, neither Jesus nor the leaders of the early church used their power in this way. To the contrary, they lived lives of humility, poverty, and suffering, at least according to the New Testament account.

    Incidentally, I think that it is a theological error for a Christian to claim “the ability to damn [his] adversaries to eternal suffering.” That power belongs to God alone. We are permitted to express opinions, of course, about good and bad behavior. We are also permitted to exclude others from our Christian fellowship, which seems a necessary power in any group, religious or otherwise.

    • #26
    • December 4, 2019, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    Accept for the colonies we have never had a theocracy. This is your binary false choice that insults my intelligence. Our founders were deists and Christian for the most part. They gave us a republic not a theocracy. Have Christians influenced the laws of the land. Yes,? Just as secularists have. This has always been the tension in the land. Never a theocracy. I and most Christians do not advocate one.

    My point about chaos is cultural, not governmental. Though there is overlap. The punks in Chicago don’t read their bibles then go out and gang bang. All up and down the social strata this applies. When the culture was Christian friendly communism had no chance to take hold. Now that our culture is completely secularized the ground is prepared for communism. You see it’s head everywhere now.

    Back to my point. The isms piggy back off of secularism when the culture expunges Christianity.

    You mentioned fearing a theocracy. This is a false premise. The tables have been turned. It is Christians who have cause to be concerned. Just look at who it is ok to malign now publicly.

    Peace to you Cato.

    Peace to you too. But I didn’t set up a false choice. I didn’t say “it has to be either this or that.” I simply expressed a fear that I had. I also have a (minor) fear of a super volcano under Yellowstone erupting, and ending all life as we know it. Irrational? Maybe. But not a false choice.

    • #27
    • December 4, 2019, at 7:10 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    What if it’s not the “new pagans” who have god doing what they believe he ought but the Christians? I don’t know, and neither can anyone else.

    Cato, I think that there is something new going on that Dr. Lloyd-Jones is describing. C.S. Lewis described much the same phenomenon in God in the Dock.

    As a Christian, I don’t have God doing what I believe he ought, at least from a narrow and selfish standpoint. If I were inclined to believe what I want to believe, I certainly wouldn’t make up Christianity, with its terrible doctrines about my sinfulness, my self-deception, my virtual helplessness to overcome my shortcomings, and eternal misery and suffering if I am not reconciled to God. I don’t like the idea of Hell at all. Then there are all of the annoying constraints on my behavior, the call for me to love my enemies, to turn the other cheek, to return insult with kindness, and to seek glory through humility and lowly service.

    No, I sure wouldn’t make up all of that stuff.

     

    Jerry Giordano, lawyer from Arizona, wouldn’t make all that stuff up. He’d have no reason to. He gets nothing out of it. But Jerry Giordano, supreme pontiff/imam/guru/leader, etc. of the one true church, would have had plenty of reason to. The ability to damn your adversaries to eternal suffering is a potent source of wealth and power if you can convince your adversaries that you have it.

    I think that you’re right. Thank God that I don’t have that kind of power.

    One of the factors that makes Christianity more plausible to me is the fact that, at least according to the New Testament account, neither Jesus nor the leaders of the early church used their power in this way. To the contrary, they lived lives of humility, poverty, and suffering, at least according to the New Testament account.

    Incidentally, I think that it is a theological error for a Christian to claim “the ability to damn [his] adversaries to eternal suffering.” That power belongs to God alone. We are permitted to express opinions, of course, about good and bad behavior. We are also permitted to exclude others from our Christian fellowship, which seems a necessary power in any group, religious or otherwise.

    I think we have reached agreement. I would only add that some of the successors of the early church leaders (both Catholic and non-Catholic) have not behaved as well as its founders. But I suspect that’s another point of agreement.

    • #28
    • December 4, 2019, at 7:13 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Kevin Schulte Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    only add that some of the successors of the early church leaders (both Catholic and non-Catholic) have not behaved as well as its founders. But I suspect that’s another point of agreement

    I concur. 

    • #29
    • December 4, 2019, at 7:49 AM PST
    • Like
  30. HeavyWater Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    One of the factors that makes Christianity more plausible to me is the fact that, at least according to the New Testament account, neither Jesus nor the leaders of the early church used their power in this way. To the contrary, they lived lives of humility, poverty, and suffering, at least according to the New Testament account.

    If you accept what is written in the New Testament as factual and not a combination of fact and myth then to say Christianity would be plausible seems like an understatement.

    As for the early Christians living lives of poverty and suffering, that’s how almost everyone lived in the 1st century. The large majority of Jews, pagans and people of any and all religious beliefs would have lived lives that to us would appear like squalor.

    Incidentally, I think that it is a theological error for a Christian to claim “the ability to damn [his] adversaries to eternal suffering.” That power belongs to God alone.

    It’s the claim to know God that I find implausible and the exact opposite of humility.

    If I said, “God told me that you are going to hell if you don’t let me borrow your car,” you’d be wise to think I am either delusional or a car thief.

    If you heard my request to borrow your car and responded by telling me, “No. I won’t lend you my car,” I could respond by saying, “Who are you to question God?”

    But you wouldn’t be questioning God. You would be questioning my assertion that I received word from God.

    So, when a Christian says, “You better get right with God,” other people are completely rational to view that Christian as someone who claims to know more about God than he actually does know.

    Similarly with St. Paul who said that he received his Gospel directly from Jesus/God. Maybe St. Paul did receive word from God. Maybe God really did tell the suicide bomber that blowing people up is pleasing to God.

    When people claim to have heard the voice of God, the bs detector must be turned on.

    • #30
    • December 4, 2019, at 3:48 PM PST
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