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Cass- Christian Fundamentalist Excommunications

Mar 23, 2006 10:37 PM
by Vincent


Yes, the fundamentalist Christians took much too long to 
excommunicate me.  In fact, they probably wasted alot of my precious 
time, but I may as well blame myself for that, having been there in 
the first place.

Vince

--- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, Cass Silva <silva_cass@...> wrote:
>
> When Leo Tolstoy was excommunicated from the Russian Church, his 
response was, what took them so long.
> 
> Cass
> 
> Vincent <vblaz2004@...> wrote: Jerry-
> 
> You wrote:
> 
>   "Dear Vince,
>  
>   Yes, I agree that we are in a similar boat, but got there in 
very 
> different ways.  The three topics that my parents never discussed 
in 
> front of the children were religion, politics and race.  So, I 
never 
> really discovered these things until I was about twelve--and then, 
> on my own.  They then became subjects of primary interest. Since I 
> had no religious instruction from home, lived in a Jewish 
> neighborhood, and attended a public school where everyone was 
> Jewish, I just half assumed that I was a Jew, like everyone else."
> 
> Hhmm, okay.  Interesting.  My mother has characteristically been 
> privately religious (believes in God, but doesn't read the Bible 
or 
> attend church), whereas my father has been more anti-religious 
> (can't stand Christians or the Bible).  But then the religious 
> institutions were quick to educate me in their religious agenda, 
> just so long as I'd be sincere, believing with the heart prior to 
> thinking with the mind.  Nonetheless, my questions caused me to be 
> labeled as a thinker.
> 
>   "As I entered my teens, I discovered the beatniks at Venice 
beach, 
> and used to hang around them.  My mother became alarmed and 
decided 
> that I must be becoming a "juvenile delinquent" and began to take 
me 
> to a very conservative Lutheran Church. That was my first formal 
> contact with Christianity. I found the services and sermons 
> curious.  Lots of mysticism about an invisible god, a ressurected 
> man, and promise of an afterlife if I believed the right things."
> 
> That's actually a little bit ironic.  My mom took my brother and I 
> to a Lutheran Church when my brother was becoming a 'delinquent'.  
> (I was too young at the time for delinquency.)  Years later I 
began 
> having metaphysical experiences (without drug usage), so I started 
> attending church on my own to learn about the supernatural.  Of 
> course, they eventually told me that my metaphysical experiences 
> were bad, and that I needed to repent of them.
> 
>   "The problem was that I didn't feel like I was damned. I 
> understood about right and wrong actions, but this idea of "sin" 
was 
> strange. Why should Eve's eating of an apple have anything to do 
> with me?  After all, it was she who screwed up, not me.  Soon we 
> began going to classes to learn about the religion. The notion of 
> original sin remain illogical.  I couldn't buy it."
> 
> Now me, I felt damned.  I noticed alot of crime transpiring in the 
> world around me, although I was one to keep my nose clean.  But 
alot 
> of people in my youth were outright criminally violent.  So I got 
> the sin part down pretty well.  Nowadays though, I feel quite a 
bit 
> different about sin concepts and where they originate from, but I 
> was just a preteen then.
>  
>   "The Pastor spent most of his time talking about why Catholicism 
> is in error and how awful the Jew were.  One night the Pastor told 
> us that God is only now beginning to forgive the Jews for killing 
> Jesus. That was the first time I ever heard such a thing and the 
> remark deeply disturbed me. All of my friends were Jews and I 
didn't 
> find them awful at all. The implication I got in the Pastor's 
> remark, was that God must have been pleased with Hitler's 
attempted 
> extermination of the Jews."
> 
> That sounds a little bit like one of the comments that a former 
> pastor of mine made about desiring to nuke the middle-east, to 
> exterminate the races that Moses and Joshua missed during their 
Old 
> Testament genocide campaigns.  Except he wanted the United States 
to 
> carry it out, so Israel could get back the majority of the middle-
> east territory like God had promised them in the Old Testament.  
> More pro-Jew than anti-Jew, but into USA-originated nuclear 
genocide 
> just the same.
> 
>   "So, other than the unfortunate encounter with the Lutheran 
> Pastor, I entered a study of Christianity with pretty much of a 
> clean slate, and began by reading, on my own, the New English 
Bible 
> of the NT, which had just been published for the first time.  
There 
> I was delighted to discover that the three wise men were 
> called "astrologers."  That delighted me because I had recently 
> discovered that my aunt practiced astrology professionally, but 
out 
> of respect for my mother's wishes, never mentioned it to me.  So, 
> from the beginning, my investigation into Christianity had no 
> theological guidance, which left me to my own resources to make of 
> it what I could."
> 
> I noticed the part about the three 'magi' (mages, magicians) too.  
> The Bible is actually very metaphysical.
>  
>   "When the Nag Hammadi codices were published in translation 
around 
> 1970, I raced to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore and bought a copy.  I 
then 
> began reading more scholarly commentaries on Christianity, 
Christian 
> and Gnostic texts, beginning with Elaine Pagel's writings.  While 
> all of this was happening, I attended churches and talked casually 
> to ministers of various denominations. When we moved to Northern 
> California, my wife and I began attending the Unitarian 
Universalist 
> Church where a member with mainline Christian beliefs is not to be 
> found."
> 
> When I accumulated volumes containing a total of about 300 
different 
> pseudopigraphal texts, I was strictly told that I was straying 
into 
> heretical texts by fundamentalist Christians.  I only discovered 
the 
> existence of unitarian churches this last year, but they are all a 
> half hour away from me.  I'm surrounded by Christian 
fundamentalist 
> megachurches where the pastoral salaries often exceed $100 grand.  
A 
> congregation of 5000 people is just too small nowadays in my area.
>  
>   "So, like you I discovered that the Bible is misrepresented by a 
> strange theological structure, but took a very different route to 
> end up in the same place. When we started the Origins of 
> Christianity class two years ago, I discovered that there were a 
lot 
> of barriers to communication. Theological conditioning from years 
of 
> church going was to blame.  One of them is as you mentioned: The 
> Gospels read very differently from the theological 
interpretations. 
> One member or out group who was raised in a conservative Christian 
> home discovered this when we began studying Judaism and 
> investigating the Hebrew scriptures."
> 
> I believe that shortcomings in present-day cultural norms distort 
> biblical interpretation quite a bit.
> 
>   "Some other barriers that met with considerable resistance were:
>  
>   1. The Gospels were not written to be historical accounts of 
> Jesus' life.  Rather, they are evangelical tracts written for the 
> purpose of gaining converts and to answer the objections of 
critics 
> of the early Christians."
> 
> Okay, I never heard that one before.
> 
>   "2. One must therefore, make a distinction between the 
historical 
> Jesus, the Jesus represented in the Gospels, and the theological 
> Jesus."
> 
> I just tend to differentiate between the Jesus of the Bible and 
the 
> Jesus of Christian fundamentalists.  They don't seem quite the 
same.
> 
>   "3. There were, in the beginning dozens of Christian communities 
> with very divergent beliefs.  Many of them had Gospels and 
religious 
> writings of their own.  Most of these writings were destroyed 
after 
> Christianity was declared the only legal religion of the empire.  
> That is, the variety of Christianity adopted by the Emperor of 
Rome."
> 
> Okay, I follow.  Government definitely got heavily involved.  Very 
> political.
> 
>   "4. Since these other Christian communities, later 
> called "gnostics," were outlawed and their writings destroyed, we 
> know little about them except through a few meager texts that 
> survived, and through the criticisms of the canonical church 
> fathers."
> 
> I got labeled as a gnostic too by the fundamentalist church 
through 
> formal excommunication.  The funny thing though was that I was 
> actually agnostic when the church declared me to be gnostic.  Go 
> figure.
> 
>   "5. The members of these other Christian communities considered 
> themselves to be just as Christian as those belonging to the sect 
> adopted by the Emperors."
> 
> I'm sure they did.  Jesus probably fell in the same boat.
> 
>   "6. Critical works of Christianity written by philosophers and 
> other learned people were systematically destroyed.  All that 
> survives are the reconstructed writings of Porphyry, Celsus, and 
the 
> preserved orations of the apostate Emperor Julian."
> 
> I'm not famiiar with those.
> 
>   "7. Because of 4 and 6, our knowledge of the earliest history of 
> the Christian movement is fragmentary, biased in favor of the 
early 
> Roman church, and much is left to conjecture and theological 
> manipulation."
> 
> Perhaps some form of metaphysical revelation will have to suffice 
> then.  I interpret the Bible metaphysically for the most part, 
> although simultaneously aware of what the literal text says.
> 
> Vince
> 
> --- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, Jerry Hejka-Ekins  
> wrote:
> >
> > Dear Vince,
> > 
> > Yes, I agree that we are in a similar boat, but got there in 
very 
> > different ways.  The three topics that my parents never 
discussed 
> in 
> > front of the children were religion, politics and race.  So, I 
> never 
> > really discovered these things until I was about twelve--and 
then, 
> on my 
> > own.  They then became subjects of primary interest. Since I had 
> no 
> > religious instruction from home, lived in a Jewish neighborhood, 
> and 
> > attended a public school where everyone was Jewish, I just half 
> assumed 
> > that I was a Jew, like everyone else.
> > 
> > As I entered my teens, I discovered the beatniks at Venice 
beach, 
> and 
> > used to hang around them.  My mother became alarmed and decided 
> that I 
> > must be becoming a "juvenile delinquent" and began to take me to 
a 
> very 
> > conservative Lutheran Church. That was my first formal contact 
> with 
> > Christianity. I found the services and sermons curious.  Lots of 
> > mysticism about an invisible god, a ressurected man, and promise 
> of an 
> > afterlife if I believed the right things.  The problem was that 
I 
> didn't 
> > feel like I was damned. I understood about right and wrong 
> actions, but 
> > this idea of "sin" was strange. Why should Eve's eating of an 
> apple have 
> > anything to do with me?  After all, it was she who screwed up, 
not 
> me.  
> > Soon we began going to classes to learn about the religion. The 
> notion 
> > of original sin remain illogical.  I couldn't buy it. 
> > 
> > The Pastor spent most of his time talking about why Catholicism 
is 
> in 
> > error and how awful the Jew were.  One night the Pastor told us 
> that God 
> > is only now beginning to forgive the Jews for killing Jesus. 
That 
> was 
> > the first time I ever heard such a thing and the remark deeply 
> disturbed 
> > me. All of my friends were Jews and I didn't find them awful at 
> all. The 
> > implication I got in the Pastor's remark, was that God must have 
> been 
> > pleased with Hitler's attempted extermination of the Jews. 
> > 
> > So, other than the unfortunate encounter with the Lutheran 
Pastor, 
> I 
> > entered a study of Christianity with pretty much of a clean 
slate, 
> and 
> > began by reading, on my own, the New English Bible of the NT, 
> which had 
> > just been published for the first time.  There I was delighted 
to 
> > discover that the three wise men were called "astrologers."  
That 
> > delighted me because I had recently discovered that my aunt 
> practiced 
> > astrology professionally, but out of respect for my mother's 
> wishes, 
> > never mentioned it to me.  So, from the beginning, my 
> investigation into 
> > Christianity had no theological guidance, which left me to my 
own 
> > resources to make of it what I could. 
> > 
> > When the Nag Hammadi codices were published in translation 
around 
> 1970, 
> > I raced to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore and bought a copy.  I then 
> began 
> > reading more scholarly commentaries on Christianity, Christian 
and 
> > Gnostic texts, beginning with Elaine Pagel's writings.  While 
all 
> of 
> > this was happening, I attended churches and talked casually to 
> ministers 
> > of various denominations. When we moved to Northern California, 
my 
> wife 
> > and I began attending the Unitarian Universalist Church where a 
> member 
> > with mainline Christian beliefs is not to be found.  
> > 
> > So, like you I discovered that the Bible is misrepresented by a 
> strange 
> > theological structure, but took a very different route to end up 
> in the 
> > same place. When we started the Origins of Christianity class 
two 
> years 
> > ago, I discovered that there were a lot of barriers to 
> communication. 
> > Theological conditioning from years of church going was to 
blame.  
> One 
> > of them is as you mentioned: The Gospels read very differently 
> from the 
> > theological interpretations. One member or out group who was 
> raised in a 
> > conservative Christian home discovered this when we began 
studying 
> > Judaism and investigating the Hebrew scriptures.
> > 
> > Some other barriers that met with considerable resistance were:
> > 
> > 1. The Gospels were not written to be historical accounts of 
> Jesus' 
> > life.  Rather, they are evangelical tracts written for the 
purpose 
> of 
> > gaining converts and to answer the objections of critics of the 
> early 
> > Christians.
> > 
> > 2. One must therefore, make a distinction between the historical 
> Jesus, 
> > the Jesus represented in the Gospels, and the theological Jesus. 
> > 
> > 3. There were, in the beginning dozens of Christian communities 
> with 
> > very divergent beliefs.  Many of them had Gospels and religious 
> writings 
> > of their own.  Most of these writings were destroyed after 
> Christianity 
> > was declared the only legal religion of the empire.  That is, 
the 
> > variety of Christianity adopted by the Emperor of Rome. 
> > 
> > 4. Since these other Christian communities, later 
> called "gnostics," 
> > were outlawed and their writings destroyed, we know little about 
> them 
> > except through a few meager texts that survived, and through the 
> > criticisms of the canonical church fathers.  
> > 
> > 5. The members of these other Christian communities considered 
> > themselves to be just as Christian as those belonging to the 
sect 
> > adopted by the Emperors.
> > 
> > 6. Critical works of Christianity written by philosophers and 
> other 
> > learned people were systematically destroyed.  All that survives 
> are the 
> > reconstructed writings of Porphyry, Celsus, and the preserved 
> orations 
> > of the apostate Emperor Julian.  
> > 
> > 7. Because of 4 and 6, our knowledge of the earliest history of 
> the 
> > Christian movement is fragmentary, biased in favor of the early 
> Roman 
> > church, and much is left to conjecture and theological 
> manipulation.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>  
> Yahoo! Groups Links
> 
> 
> 
>  
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 		
> ---------------------------------
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