Italian Man Sues Church over Existance of Jesus

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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:14 pm

Well the number of Christians worldwide is actually increasing at a decent rate.

The issue with religions like Christianity and Islam is that they are by their nature revolutionary religions. They were born of a revolution and much of their heritage is built in revolution and fighting for the faith. In "modern", first world nations there is really very little to fight for. The whole religion is based on a struggle and so it tends to flounder in modern society. It is no surprise that the extremist elements of both religions are dominant for the most part. In the US it is the "born again" and evangelical Christians and in Muslim nations it is the hardcore Islamists/fundamentalists. I think the struggle for modern faith is reigning in these fringe elements and reshaping the religions into religions that are not so based on struggle and revolution, but centered on spiritual peace. :)
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Postby doormat » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:16 pm

Christianity is not declining. The islamic minority is becoming more vocal, that's all.

All religions go through fundimentalist phases - it has more to do with the economic development of the host nation-states than the religion itself. Christianity and the west has been though that phase, but if you look at Christianity in developing nations, you will see that it is much more millitant and dominant politicaly.

I don't know why that happens, it just does.

(Interestingly, one of the best ways to shut the end-of-the-world squad up is to point out that one very important sign of the end of the world hadn't been fulfilled - we have not been "taken before kings" for Christ's sake, nor have we been asked for a testimony. Jesus clearly said that this would happen soon before the end of the world, presumably during the "age of the beast" that is prophisised in revelations. So ultimatly, Christianity will have to decline. But not today.)
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Postby xander » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:34 pm

Lowell wrote:Christians are under attack here in America...

No, they are not. And I am getting tired of hearing that refrain. The president is an evangelical Christian. Most of the leadership of the nation professes Christianity. The majority of the citizens of the US are Christian. There are very few people that are not Christian that are in a position to attack Christianity. If Christians are under attack, it is probably from within the religion (i.e. many of the literalist fundamentalists feel that they are under attack by more moderate Chritian sects).

If you really want to know what it feels like to be attacked for religious views, try telling someone that you are an atheist. I can't tell you the number of times that I have been told that I am an evil person, and that I am going to go to hell. Not to mention the dirty looks I get for not participating in prayers before secular choral concerts, or for leaving out the "under God" line in the Pledge of Allegiance (I work in an elementary school -- it is expected that you recite it with the class every morning).

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Postby Lowell » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:07 am

Well like I said it had been about ten years ago and I am no expert. But I did refresh my memory. It seems I was mixing up what I had read about the Essenes group, Babatha's letters / scrolls, Simon Bar Kakhloa, and the writings of Josephos. The Qumran community was around the time of Jesus but there is no mention of him or any of his followers in their scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea between the years 1947 and 1956. Only Caves 1 and 11 have produced relatively intact manuscripts. Discovered in 1952, Cave 4 produced the largest find. About 15,000 fragments from more than 500 manuscripts were found. The Qumran were some of the most recent, some of the others dated 100 to 300 years before Christ.

I found the text you refer to doormat, I guess it was some writings from the Essenes and the early scrolls... http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html quote:the Dead Sea Scrolls, we hear not of just one Messiah, but at least two Messiahs. Some of their writings talk about a Messiah of David that is a kind of kingly figure who will come to lead the war. But there's also a Messiah of Aaron, a priestly figure, who will come to restore the Temple at Jerusalem to its proper purity and worship of God. In addition to these two major Messianic figures, we also hear of a prophet figure. end quote.


So it must have been the writings of Josephos that I must have been thinking where Jesus was mentioned.

As for Christianity, I read about in Africa where Catholics were killed inside their churches, I've tried to find the story and lost it. They have taken the Ten Commandments out of our courthouses here. Towns and cities are not allowed to display the manger scene or the Christmas tree is now called a "Holiday Tree," religious symbols are frowned upon at the work place. Morning school prayer {which I didn't like} removed.

I find history interesting, I really don't care about religion per say. I do believe in a supreme source of life.

But it looks like Jesus can count on Josephos as far as something written, other than that he will have to come down here and defend himself I guess... :)
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Postby xander » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:18 am

Lowell wrote:As for Christianity, I read about in Africa where Catholics were killed inside their churches, I've tried to find the story and lost it. They have taken the Ten Commandments out of our courthouses here. Towns and cities are not allowed to display the manger scene or the Christmas tree is now called a "Holiday Tree," religious symbols are frowned upon at the work place. Morning school prayer {which I didn't like} removed.

Those are not attacks on Christianity. Those are efforts to seperate the state from the church. In the Constitution, it states that congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of a religion. Hosting prayer services in the morning, or posting the Ten Commandments establishes Christianity as a state religion (or at least makes the distinction between the church and the state muddy). How would you like walking into a courthouse and seeing some Islamic law-giving text upon the wall? Would you not feel that the state was endorsing the Muslim religion?

Again, I ask you to see it as a non-Christian sees it. If I were to walk by the county courthouse and see a manger scene at Chrismas, I would be lead to believe that the state was promoting the Christian religion. If I then walked into the courthouse, in order to answer to protest a speeding ticket, and saw the Ten Commandments posted, I might believe that my chances of a fair trial might be reduced, because I don't believe that the Ten Commandments are law. I, personally, would see that as an attack upon my religious beliefs.

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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Feb 11, 2006 2:22 am

Lowell wrote:As for Christianity, I read about in Africa where Catholics were killed inside their churches, I've tried to find the story and lost it. They have taken the Ten Commandments out of our courthouses here. Towns and cities are not allowed to display the manger scene or the Christmas tree is now called a "Holiday Tree," religious symbols are frowned upon at the work place. Morning school prayer {which I didn't like} removed.


Government endorsement of a specific religion is under assault (as well it should be). Government envolment in a religion is not something that will be beneficial. About the only government I trust to discuss religious matters is the Vatican, and that is only because that is all they do. :)
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Postby Lowell » Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:37 am

Yes Xander I can see that. Interesting point about not getting a fair trial, I would have thought from the "truth and goodness" thing that people would trust it more... interesting thought.

You might be right Stewsburntmonkey, they have been around along time. I guess the Vatican being it's own kind of state, which seems odd to me for some reason, I guess I need to see a map of the Vatican and it’s size. And don't they have their own guards / army? Maybe it's more guards today. Never been there. When I was in the Air Force I was in the orient and was stationed out of Hawaii but never made it to Europe.
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:15 am

Vatican City is about 109 acres in size. It is the smallest sovereign nation in the world. It has a population of about 1000. The Swiss guard are the only army the Vatican has and they are just 100 soldiers strong (though that's more than 10% of the population so that's pretty good). :)
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Postby xander » Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:24 am

Lowell wrote:Yes Xander I can see that. Interesting point about not getting a fair trial, I would have thought from the "truth and goodness" thing that people would trust it more... interesting thought.


Let me try a different tack. Let us say that you are a Christian (as you have stated). Arrested for some minor larcony. It doesn't really matter what. Now, you think that you have been accused unfairly, so you head into the county courthouse to protest your innocence. In the main hall of the building, you see several verses of the Koran. You sit in the waiting room for a while, and, after a time, are ushered into the court room. Now, you know the judge that is presiding over your case is known to you -- he was the one that had the Koran verses put in place. So, feeling that you won't get a fair trial from him, excersise your right to a trial by jury. However, the jury pool really turns out poorly for you -- it turns out that all but one of the jurors is Muslim. They all look at you funny when you refuse to swear to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" on the Koran, but insist, instead, to swear upon the Constitution.

Does this sound like a reasonable situation?

If you are not a Christian in the US, and you are devout in your religious beliefs, this is a very real scenerio. Just replace every instance of "Muslim" in the above with "Christian," and the Koran with the Ten Commandments, or something similar.

Unlike Vatican City, the United States is a very pluralistic society. There are Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, agnostics, atheists, a whole host of native religions, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other religious beliefs and organizations. The founding fathers, having fled a near theocracy, felt that it was in the best interests of the nation to establish a seperation between the church and the state -- the state (through congress, by the 1st amendment; and through any other government body, by way of the 14th amendment) is not allowed to endorse any religion over another.

I am sorry that you feel that you are under attack. However, as SBM stated above, it is the entanglement of the church and government that is under attack, not the church itself. No one is attacking you, or your religion. For that, you should be happy. I am an atheist. I have had my car vandalized because of it. When people ask what I believe, and I explain, I am often told that I will burn in hell, or that I am an evil person. Additionally, my mother is Jewish. Growing up, I was abused by other children because I didn't celebrate Christmas. When I was in 7th grade, my family moved to small town in Colorado where I was constantly harrassed because I did not believe that Christ was the son of God. Now, none of this is meant to be a "oh, feel sorry for poor xander" bitch session, but only to illuminate what it really means to be attacked for your beliefs. I would imagine that, in the current political environment, it would be even worse to be Muslim.

So, please, stop complaining about being attacked for your beliefs. While I don't know your personal situation, I honestly believe that you really haven't the first idea what it means to be attacked because of what you believe.

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Postby Lowell » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:00 am

Now that is different. I can see that point of view.

I guess I pull my info about my comment from what I have heard over radio, TV, etc., I really don't have a view of this subject I stay away from religion. My comment about school prayer, I looked back and what I meant was when I was in the early years of grade school they made us do morning prayers in the local government school. I hated that and felt strange during it. In the Air Force they would make you work if you didn't go to Sunday service, during basic. I have been a telephone engineer for twenty-six years and have taken care of many churches and temples; the Jewish Temple is one of my customers. The Temple and all their schools, I have met and made small talk with several Rabbis. After all the reading through the years and all the scholars that have spent lifetimes over this issue, it just seems like fables to me. It just isn't concrete enough. Me I am a 60's carry over, shaven but a long ponytail, when at work. My wife Molly and I don't wear symbolic rings and got married at the courthouse. We don't go to modern churches. We are also vegetarian and eat only organic foods, no preservatives...So I do agree I have felt the "push" from others when I didn't want it. I am very big on being an individual; if I paint a painting {which I do allot and sculpt} I don't want censorship. Now granted the "dung" thing that was mentioned before is just totally disrespectful and should be removed if not for public decency. After giving it more thought I now see that maybe all icons like that need to be removed from state run offices and events.

It seems that over the past few hundred years allot of people have spent too much of their and others time trying to get people to think like they do. Look at the American Indians, they deserve to live the way their Fathers did.
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:05 am

The "dung" painting was not meant to be disrespectful. It was made as an African version of the Virgin Mary. The artist's concept was to make one of Mary's breast out of elephant dung to symbolise the life giving nature of Mary (elephant dung fertilizes the earth, etc). The artist is a Roman Catholic and did not see his work as disrepectful or in anyway against his faith. :)
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Postby Lowell » Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:15 am

okay I see that, over there they also use dung for "firewood." That would be like dried clay at that point.

I prefer super realistic detailed works, more life like.
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Postby N0ught » Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:45 pm

Whether or not Jesus existed, I'm still disgusted by the way this man has used the law to pimp his book.


Then what would you have to say about the bible? The church did burn people to "pimp" their book, after all. ;)
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:09 pm

Actually the Church didn't really want people reading the Bible during the time they were torturing and killing. The Church wanted to tell people what it said and meant not have them decide for themselves. :)
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Postby prophile » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:46 pm

The Church liked to keep control over the people :)

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