The Christian Religion’s Shifting Sands

When discussing various “sins”,  I like to use the metaphone of the Leader Board in golf.  Golfers with lower scores do not make the Leader Board.

In my lifetime, several sins that were on the sin Leader Board have slipped off, working in the farm fields on Sunday, playing cards, dancing and alcohol.  These perfectly good sins are ignored today.  If they were people they would hire public relations experts to put themselves back into play.

Sins on the Leader Board today are homosexuality and abortion.  This must be in part because they are great fund raisers.

Even though many devout Christians say their faith “never changes”, the changes are taking place right under their noses.  Those trying to stop these changes are like tooth picks in front of a bull dozer.

One of the changes going on today is a shift from emphasis on the Biblical writer “Paul” to an interpretation of the Biblical character, Jesus.  Those leading and endorcing this change see the two characters differently from theologians of past times.

Jesus, these advocates say, was a person who accepted people as they were.  Looking at the faith in this way presents the most legitimate way of representing the overarching message of the Bible.

Paul, on the other hand, was an argumentive character.  And, there are those who find the writing style of work attributed to some of “Paul’s” writing to vary, suggesting that he did not write all of it.

To understand the “message” of the Bible, you have to stay tuned.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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22 Responses to The Christian Religion’s Shifting Sands

  1. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; “Jesus, these advocates say was a person who accepted people as they were”. Really? Context, Kontexzt, context. To test the accuracy of this claim, one only has to go and find a red letter version of the Gospels. (The words of Christ are in red, so his words are easier to find.) Go through them, and see if He accepted the Scribes and Pharisees, not calling them hypocrites, nor a generation of vipers. Or the money changers, or the wicked servant, or the woman in adultery when he said “go and sin no more”, or, or, or. Look at all the parabells. They show people in sin, but he also pointed to forgiveness once that sin is recognized.
    Today there are those who choose to put a different emphasis on Jesus, to make Him a role model, someone to be like, to be a buddy, not really listening to what He had to say. Selectively choosing his words, and ignoring the rest. Yes, He accepted these people for who they were, but he certainly didn’t accept these people for WHAT they were. His concern was for what they were to become. These same people choose not to see sin where sin exists. This makes them feel better about themselves, and reduces the Christ to a social enabling counselor. No sin= no need for forgiveness=no need for the work of Christ on the cross. Have a nice day.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    PS;—-Dietrich Bonhoffer, (The German Lutheran theologian who was killed by the Nazis ) had a term for this “Postmodern” understanding, and that is called “cheap grace”. This type of thing was also predicted by later writers such as John Nasbitt, and others, and he called it “deconstructionism”. First to be seen in poetry, and writing, then later to be revealed in practice, ie. relativism, and ecuminism for the sake of ecuminism. Doctrinal and scriptural indifference.

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    PPS. Yes Jon, that what you say is true. However the more obvious it becomes, the more easily it is recognised. One only has to wait until this phenenom crosses over into areas other than religion, and someone else’s ox gets gored that others will complain. I however am not complaining. Subjectivism is at the heart of this all. (how you feel about it.) When the “feelie-goodie” thingie wears off, reality will set in. (Kind of like getting drunk. It feels good then, but then comes the hangover.) Remember Pdggy Lee’s song; Is That All There Is? That is when objectivity reveals itself. All I’m doing is “making lemonaid”. Thanks for bringing up this topic Jon.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 3:16 Interesting that you would say those who are pushing Paul aside and replacing him with a liberal Jesus are subjective. From my perspective, everyone who interprets the Bible is being subjective. There is so much stuff in the Bible that anyone can take their oun bias and find something to justify it. There is both the nice Jesus and the mean Jesus. The same with God. I’ve read writers who say the Bible’s authors did the same thing. Except they used the “voice” of Jesus to push their point across. Since no one appeared to write down what Jesus said, each author made up Jesus statements to give authcenticity to whatever point they were trying to make.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Hmmm, I don’t remember mentioning Paul. I see you are familiar with the Jesus Seminar group. Not surprising.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 1:40 Surely you would have at least some doubts that the Jesus character was qouted accurately.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “the Jesus character” indeed. And the Atheists complain about Christian insensitivity. Jon, not withstanding translation, transliteration, and interpritation, do you doubt the “charachters” Plato, Aristotle, and their contemporaries? Do you doubt the content of their material? There is far less early documentation of their material than there is of the entire New Testament, yet Acedemics quote them without question, as I have also. So to answer your question, in a word; yes.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Yes that is; in that He is quoated accurately. After re-reading your question, my answer could be misunderstood. I do believe the he (the Christ), (the person), is quoated accurately.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “quoted”. wouldn’t want to be innakorate.

        • Avatar of PK PK says:

          “Since no one appeared to write down what Jesus said, each author made up Jesus statements to give authcenticity to whatever point they were trying to make.” How do you know nobody took notes and they just “made up Jesus statements”? The early church fathers gave credit to the apostles and their close associates for writing the New Testament. There are more scholars today that agree with this than your Jesus Seminar folks. How can you buy into these people’s ideas? Maybe it’s because you have a pre-determined mindset about the “Jesus character”.

      • Avatar of PK PK says:

        In your opinion, what was the main motive for writing the books?

  4. Avatar of PK PK says:

    Yes, it’s sad that many people are being deceived by this movement. I’m guessing these preachers don’t talk about Mathew 7:15-23. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”(23)

  5. What Jon described is Phariseeism…..man-made rules to overcome “picky” man made sins. The Pharisees had hundreds of “rules and regulations” added to the Torah . By the time Jesus came , Phariseeism was rampant among the Jewish people.
    Only the scriptures can shine the light on true sin; Wanna B Sure’s first post is “right one” regarding sin. But Jon does not see that becaues he is a Scoffer. He never will either as long as he remains in his Scoffer mode.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalo Gal 1:44 “Scoffer”, I like that. I need to find a 10 step program that cures scoffers. I like to blame my scofferism on people who pointed their figures at me and called me a sinner, or worse. But, to be cured, I’ll need to take personal responsibility for my own scoffering. :)

  6. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    Touche!

    Scoffers is a biblical term so its no wonder you do not know it. It can be found as a warning in 2 Peter 3:3 (that’s at the end of the new testament)

    Scoffers and Fools are equated also: Many more references to Fools: there are 64 references to Fools in Old and New testament starting with Psalm 14:1
    You ought to read a lot more scripture if you are going to attack it.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Buffalo Gal; Unfortunately it has been my experience over the years when conversing with a dedicated Atheist, the use of Scripture is totally useless. Ideally, Scripture is the sole source of revelation in spiritual matters, and should be the best tool in the witnessing of faith to those who deny it. That does work with some Agnostics. However usually not well if ever with the absolute. Since Divinity is denied, the source, and authority of divine inspiration is denied. It becomes an exercise in futility. Yes, Christians need to make Scripture available to them, but their rejection is on their own. Not one of them has an excuse. Everyone has heard of Scripture. There was a poll recently that revealed that Atheists knew more about the Bible than “evangelical Christians”??? Reminds me of “You have Moses and the Prophets”. (as they were looking for more proof). Sounds familiar with those within Jon’s camp. I have observed however that there have been instances when a devout Atheist runs into personal problems, such as financial, marriage, booze, health problems, and a long list of concerns, their self confidence is shaken, and that may be the time God finally gets their attention. Hopefully there is time for reflection, and a change of heart. Even the malefactor on the cross next to Jesus found salvation, but not in Jon’s eyes, as he has no trust in the validity of Scripture. I don’t know Jon’s age. I suspect that he isn’t much older than me, if at that. Neither one of us are at the crispy critter stage, but “stuff happens” latter in life, not necessarily for punishment, but possibly to get our attention, not only for the individual, but for those around us. There is time. The only length of time required is from the time you jump, and the rope gets tight. Some however may need a longer rope.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wanna 8:10 Age brings nonbelievers into the believers camp?? It happens once in a while, but people also go the other way as they age. I’m afraid you have fallen for the old “there are no atheists in the foxhole” gambit. The “foxhole” thing is repeated so often people believe that it is true. Katy Couric even said those words a few years ago, then apologized to the Atheists in the Foxhole organization. Evidence of the afterlife and the supernatural would go a long way toward converting the nonbeliever. I’m still waiting.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Jon; “fallen for” the gambit? Nope. You yourself said it happens once in a while. Some get the memo, some don’t. I have personally been involved with, and have seen it go both ways. Age really has nothing to do with it, however age can be a hastening factor. Fear, the reality of death, or short or long term suffering DOES loom large for all, but does not save. These things are not the Savior. These things may not affect you now, but someone close to you may. You may feel good about it for the time being, others won’t. If nihilism or some such thing is good for you, it’s not my call. You have at least heard “the rest of the story”, and have rejected it. (So far.) From my standpoint for you, I remain hopefull.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Nice try though.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalo Gal–6:37 Thanks. Now I know more about the term scoffer. The fool name I’ve been called before. And I been placed in many categories here, the materialist, Jesus Seminarian and others. I’ve been labeled on railroad graffit and on anti abortion signs. But, scoffer is a new one. New ones do pop up once in a while and I find them interesting.

  7. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    I think you are eminently qualified to be a “scoffer”. Enjoy your new appellation.

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