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Do You Speak Xtian?


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Stumbled upon this interesting article on the CNN website tonight. There's an interesting short video there, also. Yes, they are speaking a different language!

 

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/31/do-you-speak-christian/

 

 

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

 

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.

People who speak Christian aren’t just mangling religious terminology, he says. They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching.

The rapture, a phrase used to describe the sudden transport of true Christians to heaven while the rest of humanity is left behind to suffer, actually contradicts historic Christian teaching, Borg says.

“The rapture is a recent invention. Nobody had thought of what is now known as the rapture until about 1850,” says Borg, canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.

 

How politicians speak Christian

Speaking Christian isn’t confined to religion. It’s infiltrated politics.

Political candidates have to learn how to speak Christian to win elections, says Bill Leonard, a professor of church history at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity in North Carolina.

One of our greatest presidents learned this early in his career. Abraham Lincoln was running for Congress when his opponent accused him of not being a Christian. Lincoln often referred to the Bible in his speeches, but he never joined a church or said he was born again like his congressional opponent, Leonard says.

"Lincoln was less specific about his own experience and, while he used biblical language, it was less distinctively Christian or conversionistic than many of the evangelical preachers thought it should be,” Leonard says.

Lincoln won that congressional election, but the accusation stuck with him until his death, Leonard says.

One recent president, though, knew how to speak Christian fluently.

During his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush baffled some listeners when he declared that there was “wonder-working power” in the goodness of American people.

Evangelical ears, though, perked up at that phrase. It was an evangelical favorite, drawn from a popular 19th century revival hymn about the wonder-working power of Christ called “In the Precious Blood of the Lamb.”

Leonard says Bush was sending a coded message to evangelical voters: I’m one of you.

“The code says that one: I’m inside the community. And two: These are the linguistic ways that I show I believe what is required of me,” Leonard says.

Have you ‘named it and claimed it'?

Ordinary Christians do what Bush did all the time, Leonard says. They use coded Christian terms like verbal passports - flashing them gains you admittance to certain Christian communities.

Say you’ve met someone who is Pentecostal or charismatic, a group whose members believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and speaking in tongues. If you want to signal to that person that you share their belief, you start talking about “receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost” or getting the “second blessings,” Leonard says.

Translation: Getting a baptism by water or sprinkling isn’t enough for some Pentecostals and charismatics. A person needs a baptism “in the spirit” to validate their Christian credentials.

Or say you’ve been invited to a megachurch that proclaims the prosperity theology (God will bless the faithful with wealth and health). You may hear what sounds like a new language.

Prosperity Christians don’t say “I want that new Mercedes.” They say they are going to “believe for a new Mercedes.” They don’t say “I want a promotion.” They say I “name and claim” a promotion.

The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. The prosperity dialect has become so popular that Leonard has added his own wrinkle.

“I call it ‘name it, claim it, grab it and have it,’ ’’ he says with a chuckle.

Some forms of speaking Christian, though, can become obsolete through lack of use.

Few contemporary pastors use the language of damnation - “turn or burn,” converting “the pagans” or warning people they’re going to hit “hell wide open” - because it’s considered too polarizing, Leonard says. The language of “walking the aisle” is also fading, Leonard says.

Appalachian and Southern Christians often told stories about staggering into church and walking forward during the altar call to say the “sinner’s prayer” during revival services that would often last for several weeks.

“People ‘testified’ to holding on to the pew until their knuckles turned white, fighting salvation all the way,” Leonard says. “You were in the back of the church, and you fought being saved.”

Contemporary churchgoers, though, no longer have time to take that walk, Leonard says. They consider their lives too busy for long revival services and extended altar calls. Many churches are either jettisoning or streamlining the altar call, Leonard says.

“You got soccer, you got PTA, you got family responsibilities - the culture just won’t sustain it as it once did,” Leonard says.

Even some of the most basic religious words are in jeopardy because of overuse.

Calling yourself a Christian, for example, is no longer cool among evangelicals on college campuses, says Robert Crosby, a theology professor at Southeastern University in Florida.

“Fewer believers are referring to themselves these days as ‘Christian,’ ” Crosby says. “More are using terms such as ‘Christ follower.’ This is due to the fact that the more generic term, Christian, has come to be used within religious and even political ways to refer to a voting bloc.”

What’s at stake

Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity, says Borg, author of “Speaking Christian.”

Christians use common words and phrases in hymns, prayers and sermons “to connect their religion to their life in the world,” Borg says.

“Speaking Christian is an umbrella term for not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means, Borg says.

Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

And when Christians forget what their faith means, they get duped by trendy terms such as the rapture that have little to do with historical Christianity, he says.

The rapture has become an accepted part of the Christian vocabulary with the publication of the megaselling “Left Behind” novels and a heavily publicized prediction earlier this year by a Christian radio broadcaster that the rapture would occur in May.

But the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching, Borg says.

He says it was first proclaimed by John Nelson Darby, a 19th century British evangelist, who thought of it after reading a New Testament passage in the first book of Thessalonians that described true believers being “caught up in the clouds together” with Jesus.

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith.

If you don’t want to speak Christian, they say, pay attention to how Christianity’s founder spoke. Jesus spoke in a way that drew people in, says Leonard, the Wake Forest professor.

“He used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length."

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian - they've become spiritual snobs.

 

 

 

 

John Blake - CNN Writer

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  • 2 years later...

His book is available as audio on audiobooks.com. I've been listening to it the past couple of days. He is an interesting guy. He appears to interpret everything as close to metaphor as one can, though he is certainly no "mythicist". As someone who never was able to "believe as fact" the resurrection as physical, bodily, nor any of the other miracle stories, I see his perspective as far more healthy than literalism. But, I don't yet imagine it will convince me to accept Christianty as any more "true" than, say, humanism or Unitarian Universalism.

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YES!, Yes!, and yes! Thanks for the post Max. In the Church of Christ Christian speak was mandatory, and the term "Is that scriptural?" was an essential part of the litmus test to prove you were really a "true" believer. That phrase was of the utmost importance because "supposedly" virtually every act of worship, as well as the way one lived their life, had to have a verse in the bible that authorized the practice or activity.

 

Now, common sense tells us that simply ain’t possible, so the c of c came up with the doctrine of Necessary Inference. That means the Elders, the God appointed Holy Overseers, could make exceptions such as allowing air conditioned buildings, and actually even having church buildings, parking lots, youth ministers, and other such “Necessary” stuff the bible simply doesn’t address one way or the other.  

 

Got to add one other unique c of c doctrine too, “Silence of the Scriptures”, which meant the bible doesn’t actually address the issue in question but it “implies” (by being silent) you can’t do it…..and if you do it anyway you will lose your soul and go to hell. In other words, silence isn’t implied consent it is actually a command not to do something.

 

I can’t actually prove this but I know they somehow disconnected my brain when they baptized me. I have no other explanation for being a member of the crazy cult for nearly 30 years.

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If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about.

 

Ha, leave it to a pastor to wear out the no true Scotsman fallacy. 

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The problem with this person's take on Christianity is it takes some nuance and subtlety of thought. The average Christian enjoys things cut and dried. 

 

Saved - check

Baptist/Church of Christ/Pentecostal/Nazarene etc... - check

Pro-Life - check

Evangelical Conservative - check

Anti-Gay - check

 

And so on. It is a laundry list of cookie cutter opinions that require no thought or personal time. You identify as Evangelical Christian? Here's your list of opinions and beliefs. 

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The problem with this person's take on Christianity is it takes some nuance and subtlety of thought. The average Christian enjoys things cut and dried. 

 

Saved - check

Baptist/Church of Christ/Pentecostal/Nazarene etc... - check

Pro-Life - check

Evangelical Conservative - check

Anti-Gay - check

 

And so on. It is a laundry list of cookie cutter opinions that require no thought or personal time. You identify as Evangelical Christian? Here's your list of opinions and beliefs. 

 

It's almost like the author is suggesting that the Christian cattle start 'thinking' about what they say. Thinking is the seed to the destruction of faith. If someone questions his speaking pretty soon he'll be questioning the bible. :-)

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I remember considering bringing a friend to church for "Friend Sunday" and listening extra carefully to the sermon as if through a non-Christian-indoctrinated person's ears. 

 

To my dismay, there were so many code-words and condemnations, I cringed at the thought of having a friend come listen to it. 

 

"shed blood" and "washed in the blood" sounded particularly gross to me. Sounds like a serial killer stashed his victims in a shed, or bathed in their blood after brutally slaughtering them or something. 

 

Christians also twist "secular" phrases though. One pastor went off for a whole sermon on: "If it feels good, do it." Which is of course a pretty weird and possibly hedonistic phrase, but maybe not. It's kind of murky. I personally feel fine living by that, because doing something kind for someone else feels good. Doing something destructive doesn't. Harming someone else or myself doesn't "feel good" so I don't. Enjoying time with friends or a having a nice meal or a glass of wine... no problem. But the pastor was like, "This is an example of where a worldly conscience will take you. They don't have that 'still, small voice' of the holy spirit to guide them." (I also think he immediately thought SEX! SEX feels good! That doesn't mean you should be allowed to have it just because you want to!) 

 

Which brings me to.... "worldly" as if that's bad. I sort of think of it now as cultured, experienced, knowledgeable of things outside your own community and country. But "worldly" to Christians is not Christ-like, it's hedonistic. As in "worldly temptations" and "worldly pleasures." 

 

Other weirdness an outsider wouldn't get: "You might think you can do whatever you want with your 'temple', but the holy spirit dwells there, and you might think you aren't hurting anyone else or it's none of their business, but it's an abomination to desecrate your temple." (I think this was G-rated Christian code for "Don't masturbate" but I'm not sure. I guess it could also apply to drugs or drinking?)

 

Finally, it dawned on me what fundy Christian heterosexual people think of gay people, as in, why a person would want to have sex with their own gender. It's all coded and strange, probably based on the myth of Sodom, but it seemed like they thought people were having so much hedonistic sex, they started to get bored having sex with just the opposite sex. They'd tried every position and satisfied every lust, and finally, once a man had had sex with several women at the same time in public with toys and tongues and tangled limbs with every orifice imaginable while drunk and on drugs... they needed something new for their depraved insatiable appetite, so they turned to their own gender. Because it felt even more scandalous and hedonistic and delicious and flagrantly disrespectful to God so it was extra exciting. 

 

Which was hilarious to me once I chatted with my first few gay friends who I worked with in restaurants. The first gay guy I knew was like, "Ew, no. I just never felt attracted to women. I've never had actual sex with a woman, and I was still a virgin in my 20s. It's been boyfriends ever since." 

 

The problem I think is that Christians are living entirely in their own bubble. They're so outspoken about their beliefs, so judgmental, close-minded, out of touch, and so rude about it at their jobs and out in public that even if they DO know a gay person, they wouldn't even realize it, because the person would never bring it up to them or feel comfortable having a discussion about it. (They could have a gay hairdresser for 30 years and be oblivious to the fact. If they DO discover it, they're shocked: "But he seems so nice, so kind and gentle... and so... normal.)

 

Sorry. I go off on that topic a lot since I now have a lot of gay friends, some who have only recently been allowed to legally marry, and it's only recognized by certain states and not yet federally. 

 

But those code words like "immorality" usually refer to sex in some way. You get the message that sex is shameful and sinful... unless and until you are married to a person of the opposite sex of your same religion so you're "equally yoked", where it magically transforms into something beautiful and bonding. (And how the youth pastors waxed on about this too! Grossly. To teens!!! "I love having sex with my wife. It's a beautiful and intimate thing," etc. Ick. Squirm. I need to wash my ears out. TMI.) I think they're obsessed with "carnal pleasures" of sex way too much, because they themselves were so repressed. If they had to wait, if they were disciplined about it, they want everyone else to have to live by their rules too. 

 

Other phrases not explained from the pulpit but referenced frequently:

 

"I know my name is written in the lamb's book of life. Can I get an amen?" (Wait, there's a farm animal who can read?)

 

"Once, I was lost, but now I'm found." (A game of hide-n-seek, anyone?)

 

"You might think works will save you." (Meaning "good works" but just shortened to "works"--I imagined people thinking, "What, my job? Employment? Yeah, that would save me from my debt right now for sure.")

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I'm still fluent, but I'm a little rusty at speaking it. If a Christian is using these 'code words' in conversation I can understand what he means, even if I do think it's stupid, I still get what he or she is trying to say. I've reached the point where my own speech isn't going to fool the Jesusites that I'm one of them anymore though.

 

What would the language be called anyway? Stupidese? Ignoranican?

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I am about 2/3rds into the book, and while it is still not about literalism it is still kind of confusing to me how he can hold a couple of positions simultaneously.

 

He has been discussing "God's desire" for justice and such. He earlier disputed ideas of supernatural intervention.

 

It's not yet clear to me if when he talks about "God" whether he means "how the Bible, interpreted in the historical - metaphorical context that it should be" presents the understanding that it's authors were conveying about how they believed God is .... or if he is he stating what he believes God really is or wants or desires or does.

 

He earlier had discussed panenthiesm and said that it was compatible with orthodox theology about "God" being both transcendent and immanent.

 

While I definitely still find this far more interesting and palatable than the literalist dogmas, I still end up thinking that all the words written about "God" are really just words written by people trying to understand, make sense of, predict, control, appease nature or the unknown, the utter mystery of "Being" itself. It extends to trying to best devise social structures and laws of behavior for maintaining society too, of course.

 

But, ultimately I still don't see how it lends any more "relevance" to the language of Christianity outside of the context of Christianity itself. For example, knowing that certain translations into the word "mercy" instead of to the word "compassion" does not mean the word "compassion" takes on additional, more meaningful purposes just because it was the understanding that some people believed God's nature is ultimately more about compassion and love than other things. Compassion and love are concepts that stand alone from the God language, and certainly stand alone from any specific Christian or Jesus language.

 

I may be understanding some of his points wrong, but that's how I see it so far.

 

The problem with this person's take on Christianity is it takes some nuance and subtlety of thought. The average Christian enjoys things cut and dried. 

 

Saved - check

Baptist/Church of Christ/Pentecostal/Nazarene etc... - check

Pro-Life - check

Evangelical Conservative - check

Anti-Gay - check

 

And so on. It is a laundry list of cookie cutter opinions that require no thought or personal time. You identify as Evangelical Christian? Here's your list of opinions and beliefs.

 

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I'm fluent of course though I don't use the terms anymore. What I did not realize was just how alien the lingo was to outsiders until I met my fiance. She wasn't raised in fundy nonsense, so she isn't fluent at all. When we discuss anything religious I have often had to define terms for her. Also, she once went with a friend to a 'ladies lunch' that included the typical 'gospel message'. When she came back, she told me how whacko, wierd, and even scary it all sounded. As she went through some of the wierdness I could see that a lot of it owed to the use of Christianese. What she heard made perfect sense to me, but as I listened to her describe her reactions to it all, I was able to 'hear' it all through uninitiated ears. It was truly sick sounding.

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Very interesting indeed. When you say the typical gospel message I assume you mean something like John 3:16 meaning that all must "confess" Jesus as lord in order to obtain eternal life in the hereafter? And, that any who do not will be punished in eternal torment or separation from God/Jesus.

 

I just finished the Speaking Christian book from Borg.

 

Certainly it was interesting, and a far cry from "Literalism". Just change one letter and it's a world of difference, from Literal to Liberal.

 

I'm now listening to his "The Heart of Christianity", which is discussing "Emerging Christianity". I don't know much about that either.

 

I'm trying to increase my literacy of the various forms of Christian belief and practices because my only prior experience was with a non-denominational, infallible-Bible mega church.

 

I have little doubt that I will remain a nonsupernaturalist, but I want to be able to relate better to Christians or articulate a different interpretation to the more literalfactual believers when they ask me what I believe about their religion. I would like to he able to describe to them a more nuanced, metaphorical interpretation in a complete, referential way. That is, one articulated not by me but by respected scholars like Borg who have these books published, etc.

 

 

 

I'm fluent of course though I don't use the terms anymore. What I did not realize was just how alien the lingo was to outsiders until I met my fiance. She wasn't raised in fundy nonsense, so she isn't fluent at all. When we discuss anything religious I have often had to define terms for her. Also, she once went with a friend to a 'ladies lunch' that included the typical 'gospel message'. When she came back, she told me how whacko, wierd, and even scary it all sounded. As she went through some of the wierdness I could see that a lot of it owed to the use of Christianese. What she heard made perfect sense to me, but as I listened to her describe her reactions to it all, I was able to 'hear' it all through uninitiated ears. It was truly sick sounding.

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Very interesting indeed. When you say the typical gospel message I assume you mean something like John 3:16 meaning that all must "confess" Jesus as lord in order to obtain eternal life in the hereafter? And, that any who do not will be punished in eternal torment or separation from God/Jesus.

 

I just finished the Speaking Christian book from Borg.

 

Certainly it was interesting, and a far cry from "Literalism". Just change one letter and it's a world of difference, from Literal to Liberal.

 

I'm now listening to his "The Heart of Christianity", which is discussing "Emerging Christianity". I don't know much about that either.

 

I'm trying to increase my literacy of the various forms of Christian belief and practices because my only prior experience was with a non-denominational, infallible-Bible mega church.

 

I have little doubt that I will remain a nonsupernaturalist, but I want to be able to relate better to Christians or articulate a different interpretation to the more literalfactual believers when they ask me what I believe about their religion. I would like to he able to describe to them a more nuanced, metaphorical interpretation in a complete, referential way. That is, one articulated not by me but by respected scholars like Borg who have these books published, etc.

 

 

I find it amusingly ironic that there is a Christian author named "Borg".

 

Floated over to his website and whoa. He's a bit more liberal than literal Christians, but honestly has forced himself to jump through even more hoops than most to justify his beliefs. He's pretty outside the norm and a lot of Christians no doubt hate his guts. Still, he clings to the new testament and reads in between the lines just as much as any other Christian.

 

Seems like a nice enough guy, but there's a lot of nonsensical crap on his website.

 

http://www.marcusjborg.com/

 

I fail to see how people like him become 'respected scholars'. He speaks in Christian just as much as those he's studying and most of it is nonsensical gibberish to anyone outside the fold. I fail to see how anyone can get a degree for this sort of study.

 

If I've seen every single episode of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" why can't I get a degree in MLP theology? I'd be able to quote lines from the show, reference source material and it's origins, discern the meaning and morals it teaches, and poll viewers for how it affects them and write long papers about it too. Millions of Christians would argue that it's completely different, but it's honestly not. They have the exact same evidence that Christianity is relevant and scholarly as I do that MLP is.

 

It always bugs me when I see 'respected scholar' associated with this kind of study and writing.

 

People like this are not scholars and should not be respected. I acknowledge his beliefs, but he's still a dumbass for believing in that crap. His philosophy is drivel and he's way out of the bounds of anything that can reasonably be inferred by the source material. So even as "Biblical Scholars" go he's a shitty one.

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I'm fluent of course though I don't use the terms anymore. What I did not realize was just how alien the lingo was to outsiders until I met my fiance. She wasn't raised in fundy nonsense, so she isn't fluent at all. When we discuss anything religious I have often had to define terms for her. Also, she once went with a friend to a 'ladies lunch' that included the typical 'gospel message'. When she came back, she told me how whacko, wierd, and even scary it all sounded. As she went through some of the wierdness I could see that a lot of it owed to the use of Christianese. What she heard made perfect sense to me, but as I listened to her describe her reactions to it all, I was able to 'hear' it all through uninitiated ears. It was truly sick sounding.

I wasn't raised in that particular form of Christianity either (fundy). Actually I managed to avoid extreme forms of it relatively unscathed. Thankfully. I see that others haven't been so lucky and it frightens me how horrific the stories are. I never would have believed them had I not opened my own eyes a few years ago. I was raised very liberal I guess you could say. We still had the who "father","son","holy spirit" belief, and believed the bible stories to an extent and other things I can't remember whether or not we follow. I guess a mash of this and that really! Wendyshrug.gif 

 

And I guess I don't speak Xtian or at least when I was a Christian I never spoke like that. Skeptic/non-believer now of course, but even so what is xtian speak? I don't even know what that means per se, unless of course you mean spouting verse after verse, praise this/that, call everything a "miracle", etc! Then I would know to an extent. 

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Having just finished the book, I still cannot recall exactly what all the key phrases and words are :) But, here's some of what I remember:

 

Saved / Salvation -- By "believing Jesus was the savior", you are forgiven for your sins and "saved" for an eternal afterlife.

He says that even the words "forgiven" and "sin" are not always what the modern literal interpretation means.

 

Mercy versus Compassion -- he says often the translations from the Greek use the word Mercy where Compassion would have been a better translation. 

 

God as a supernatural, intervening father -- he criticizes this, positing vague descriptions of a panentheist view of God that he says is compatible with orthodox Christian theology. I have no idea if this is true or not. I barely know what panentheism is and how it differs from "pantheism".

 

"Heaven and Hell model of Christianity" -- he criticizes this view sharply

 

Bible is "Infallible word of God" -- says that this is simply not true. Also says it's preposterous to think that the creator of the universe instructed Joshua to murder people in the Old Testament.

 

Every word of the Bible is inspired directly by the creator of the universe, and therefore it cannot contain any errors. -- Again, he does not believe this.

 

There is a lot more to say about it, but I cannot remember much now :)

 

 

 

I'm fluent of course though I don't use the terms anymore. What I did not realize was just how alien the lingo was to outsiders until I met my fiance. She wasn't raised in fundy nonsense, so she isn't fluent at all. When we discuss anything religious I have often had to define terms for her. Also, she once went with a friend to a 'ladies lunch' that included the typical 'gospel message'. When she came back, she told me how whacko, wierd, and even scary it all sounded. As she went through some of the wierdness I could see that a lot of it owed to the use of Christianese. What she heard made perfect sense to me, but as I listened to her describe her reactions to it all, I was able to 'hear' it all through uninitiated ears. It was truly sick sounding.

I wasn't raised in that particular form of Christianity either (fundy). Actually I managed to avoid extreme forms of it relatively unscathed. Thankfully. I see that others haven't been so lucky and it frightens me how horrific the stories are. I never would have believed them had I not opened my own eyes a few years ago. I was raised very liberal I guess you could say. We still had the who "father","son","holy spirit" belief, and believed the bible stories to an extent and other things I can't remember whether or not we follow. I guess a mash of this and that really! Wendyshrug.gif 

And I guess I don't speak Xtian or at least when I was a Christian I never spoke like that. Skeptic/non-believer now of course, but even so what is xtian speak? I don't even know what that means per se, unless of course you mean spouting verse after verse, praise this/that, call everything a "miracle", etc! Then I would know to an extent. 

 

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Having just finished the book, I still cannot recall exactly what all the key phrases and words are smile.png But, here's some of what I remember:

 

Saved / Salvation -- By "believing Jesus was the savior", you are forgiven for your sins and "saved" for an eternal afterlife.

He says that even the words "forgiven" and "sin" are not always what the modern literal interpretation means.

 

Mercy versus Compassion -- he says often the translations from the Greek use the word Mercy where Compassion would have been a better translation. 

 

God as a supernatural, intervening father -- he criticizes this, positing vague descriptions of a panentheist view of God that he says is compatible with orthodox Christian theology. I have no idea if this is true or not. I barely know what panentheism is and how it differs from "pantheism".

 

"Heaven and Hell model of Christianity" -- he criticizes this view sharply

 

Bible is "Infallible word of God" -- says that this is simply not true. Also says it's preposterous to think that the creator of the universe instructed Joshua to murder people in the Old Testament.

 

Every word of the Bible is inspired directly by the creator of the universe, and therefore it cannot contain any errors. -- Again, he does not believe this.

 

There is a lot more to say about it, but I cannot remember much now smile.png

 

 

Sounds like a lot of splitting hairs and avoiding criticism by being vague.

 

He's taking the weasel way out by avoiding direct responsibility for his beliefs by claiming it's not literal. Problem is, he's pretty much admitting that the Bible is completely the work of man, yet still considers the existence of God and Jesus as plausible.

 

He also ignores the fact that even if God did not instruct Joshua to murder people, he still enabled and permitted it.

 

It's a lukewarm argument that basically suggests that all the base tenants of modern Christianity are false and misunderstood, but it's still true anyway.

 

It's wishful thinking and seems to imply that there was some sort of Golden Age when people had it all right and we've somehow drifted away in modern times. It's true Christianity has become different, but old Christianity was worse, not a superior enlightenment we've lost.

 

This is one of the worst kinds of apologetics because it avoids any firm conviction and constantly redefines the argument to avoid being nailed down. It avoids confrontation or any direct claims in order to avoid rational criticism.

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I wonder though if it can help some people "transition" out of the literal-factual mindset that they were brought up indoctrinated into?

 

I mean, it's very difficult to just instruct a deeply devout believer who accepts all the supernaturalism and the stories as literal to just pick up the latest DDHH work and expect them to just deconvert.

 

Most of them belong to a supporting, meaningful community, and if a liberal interpretation can help them find meaning and community with others who don't espouse the literal-factual approach, it can help them feel more comfortable loosening up even more beliefs.

 

I think this is why people like Peter Boghossian recommend questioning people's "faith", not their "religion":

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/25/peter-boghossian-offers-advice-on-how-to-create-atheists-in-his-new-book/

 

 

 

Having just finished the book, I still cannot recall exactly what all the key phrases and words are smile.png But, here's some of what I remember:

 

Saved / Salvation -- By "believing Jesus was the savior", you are forgiven for your sins and "saved" for an eternal afterlife.

He says that even the words "forgiven" and "sin" are not always what the modern literal interpretation means.

 

Mercy versus Compassion -- he says often the translations from the Greek use the word Mercy where Compassion would have been a better translation. 

 

God as a supernatural, intervening father -- he criticizes this, positing vague descriptions of a panentheist view of God that he says is compatible with orthodox Christian theology. I have no idea if this is true or not. I barely know what panentheism is and how it differs from "pantheism".

 

"Heaven and Hell model of Christianity" -- he criticizes this view sharply

 

Bible is "Infallible word of God" -- says that this is simply not true. Also says it's preposterous to think that the creator of the universe instructed Joshua to murder people in the Old Testament.

 

Every word of the Bible is inspired directly by the creator of the universe, and therefore it cannot contain any errors. -- Again, he does not believe this.

 

There is a lot more to say about it, but I cannot remember much now smile.png

 

 

Sounds like a lot of splitting hairs and avoiding criticism by being vague.

 

He's taking the weasel way out by avoiding direct responsibility for his beliefs by claiming it's not literal. Problem is, he's pretty much admitting that the Bible is completely the work of man, yet still considers the existence of God and Jesus as plausible.

 

He also ignores the fact that even if God did not instruct Joshua to murder people, he still enabled and permitted it.

 

It's a lukewarm argument that basically suggests that all the base tenants of modern Christianity are false and misunderstood, but it's still true anyway.

 

It's wishful thinking and seems to imply that there was some sort of Golden Age when people had it all right and we've somehow drifted away in modern times. It's true Christianity has become different, but old Christianity was worse, not a superior enlightenment we've lost.

 

This is one of the worst kinds of apologetics because it avoids any firm conviction and constantly redefines the argument to avoid being nailed down. It avoids confrontation or any direct claims in order to avoid rational criticism.

 

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I wonder though if it can help some people "transition" out of the literal-factual mindset that they were brought up indoctrinated into?

 

I mean, it's very difficult to just instruct a deeply devout believer who accepts all the supernaturalism and the stories as literal to just pick up the latest DDHH work and expect them to just deconvert.

 

Most of them belong to a supporting, meaningful community, and if a liberal interpretation can help them find meaning and community with others who don't espouse the literal-factual approach, it can help them feel more comfortable loosening up even more beliefs.

 

I think this is why people like Peter Boghossian recommend questioning people's "faith", not their "religion":

 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/25/peter-boghossian-offers-advice-on-how-to-create-atheists-in-his-new-book/

 

 

I think it creates a comfortable place to settle actually.

 

However, I would go so far as to say this guy is not a real Christian.

 

I know that phrase is often used by fundies, but I think it's actually accurate here.

 

He's basically saying that the tenants of Christianity are completely wrong, the Bible is pretty much untrustworthy and mostly fiction, and Praise Jesus, because he's God so go to church and worship him.

 

It's a bit like me identifying as gay despite the fact that I have no sexual interest in men, have never had sex with with a man and likely never will, and I am male myself. I could call my self gay, but I wouldn't really be gay.

 

I do think there's merit in saying that this kind of Christianity might be less harmful than mainstream fundamentalism, but I also don't think it's healthy and that it's intellectually dishonest.

 

It might better than 'regular' Christianity, in much the same way that smoking Weed is better than smoking Cigarettes. Cigarettes are far more harmful, but Weed isn't healthy either.

 

I guess I'd call it a comfort zone that allows people who are uncomfortable with hardcore Christian theology an easier to handle belief system with less of the pressure involved.

 

I doubt there are going to be a lot of deconversions because of this kind of Christianity. It's a safe warm and fuzzy system that seems more interested in providing a comfort zone and fostering unhealthy and potentially harmful beliefs they agree with while allowing it's followers to ignore the sorts of beliefs that they don't care much for.

 

I see no reason to support or acknowledge this as a good thing or a stepping stone towards rationalism. It's more a pitfall in my view, a way to avoid it.

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I remember considering bringing a friend to church for "Friend Sunday" and listening extra carefully to the sermon as if through a non-Christian-indoctrinated person's ears. 

 

To my dismay, there were so many code-words and condemnations, I cringed at the thought of having a friend come listen to it. 

 

"shed blood" and "washed in the blood" sounded particularly gross to me. Sounds like a serial killer stashed his victims in a shed, or bathed in their blood after brutally slaughtering them or something. 

 

Christians also twist "secular" phrases though. One pastor went off for a whole sermon on: "If it feels good, do it." Which is of course a pretty weird and possibly hedonistic phrase, but maybe not. It's kind of murky. I personally feel fine living by that, because doing something kind for someone else feels good. Doing something destructive doesn't. Harming someone else or myself doesn't "feel good" so I don't. Enjoying time with friends or a having a nice meal or a glass of wine... no problem. But the pastor was like, "This is an example of where a worldly conscience will take you. They don't have that 'still, small voice' of the holy spirit to guide them." (I also think he immediately thought SEX! SEX feels good! That doesn't mean you should be allowed to have it just because you want to!) 

 

Which brings me to.... "worldly" as if that's bad. I sort of think of it now as cultured, experienced, knowledgeable of things outside your own community and country. But "worldly" to Christians is not Christ-like, it's hedonistic. As in "worldly temptations" and "worldly pleasures." 

 

Other weirdness an outsider wouldn't get: "You might think you can do whatever you want with your 'temple', but the holy spirit dwells there, and you might think you aren't hurting anyone else or it's none of their business, but it's an abomination to desecrate your temple." (I think this was G-rated Christian code for "Don't masturbate" but I'm not sure. I guess it could also apply to drugs or drinking?)

 

Finally, it dawned on me what fundy Christian heterosexual people think of gay people, as in, why a person would want to have sex with their own gender. It's all coded and strange, probably based on the myth of Sodom, but it seemed like they thought people were having so much hedonistic sex, they started to get bored having sex with just the opposite sex. They'd tried every position and satisfied every lust, and finally, once a man had had sex with several women at the same time in public with toys and tongues and tangled limbs with every orifice imaginable while drunk and on drugs... they needed something new for their depraved insatiable appetite, so they turned to their own gender. Because it felt even more scandalous and hedonistic and delicious and flagrantly disrespectful to God so it was extra exciting. 

 

Which was hilarious to me once I chatted with my first few gay friends who I worked with in restaurants. The first gay guy I knew was like, "Ew, no. I just never felt attracted to women. I've never had actual sex with a woman, and I was still a virgin in my 20s. It's been boyfriends ever since." 

 

The problem I think is that Christians are living entirely in their own bubble. They're so outspoken about their beliefs, so judgmental, close-minded, out of touch, and so rude about it at their jobs and out in public that even if they DO know a gay person, they wouldn't even realize it, because the person would never bring it up to them or feel comfortable having a discussion about it. (They could have a gay hairdresser for 30 years and be oblivious to the fact. If they DO discover it, they're shocked: "But he seems so nice, so kind and gentle... and so... normal.)

 

Sorry. I go off on that topic a lot since I now have a lot of gay friends, some who have only recently been allowed to legally marry, and it's only recognized by certain states and not yet federally.

YES. Xians have this idea that once a person comes to church, he'll feel the lord's glory and get "convicted." Obviously the X-babble means nothing to heathens.

 

They also think gays are another race who could never, ever be someone that they're in frequent contact with. One of my good friends has been to my house several times, and it seems like my parents really like her. Somehow we got on the topic of gays, and Mom said that she believes it is a choice. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have said this if she had known my friend is gay. She just assumed that someone as sweet, normal and likable as this girl would not be gay. This was embarrassing.

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Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

 

Interesting. The Bible teaches us we need salvation from wealthy, powerful elites who structure the world to their own self-interest. 

 

But most of the wealthy, powerful, selfish elites here in the USA profess to be Bible believers. 

 

Does the Bible thus endorse salvation from those who believe in the Bible?

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Ugh!  I'd rather hear two Russians haggling over the price of hog snout.

 

Skolka?  200 Rublea.  Chuvo? Blet!

 

Еб твою мать, ты думаешь, я даю эти далеко? Сука!

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Skolka?  200 Rublea.  Chuvo? Blet!

 

Еб твою мать, ты думаешь, я даю эти далеко? Сука!

 

Shun da lee q loe ba sumac shun doo cra d soo mucho-showoffs.....yellow.gif

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