Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

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Reuben
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Reuben » Fri May 31, 2019 12:59 am

Individuals have a right to protect and sustain themselves. They're legally constrained, and further morally constrained, in what they can do. There are hard lines and soft lines, and sometimes the soft lines are more like wide gray gradients.

Organizations are the same. No question. The church operates sometimes in those wide gray gradients. Sometimes whether it acts on one side of a line or the other, or in a gray gradient, depends on whether its claims are true. And some of its claims are verifiable, some are falsifiable, and some are unknowable. Morally, this is tricky stuff.

There's another relevant similarity between individuals and organizations: they need a reason to exist. For an organization, providing a place for members to find happiness in belonging can be enough. I think one big problem with the church is that its stated reason to exist - providing exclusive truth and authority from God - is almost certainly nonsense.

If my reason for existing were easily shown to be founded on falsehoods, every day I would find myself fighting truth to survive, and feel entirely justified in the damage I did. The church is that way.

Actually, that happened to me from about age 11 to 20, likely as a reaction to bullying. The solution was to finally get beaten down enough that I internalized that I wasn't a superior being, and then rebuild my identity on the church.

That solution held for about 20 years.

IMO, individuals and organizations should do their best to acknowledge the truth, and be willing to internalize it even if doing so changes their reason to exist. Even though this can feel like mortal peril, I'm comfortable elevating it to a moral value.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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Not Buying It
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Not Buying It » Fri May 31, 2019 5:20 am

Angel wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 4:10 pm
Not Buying It wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 1:39 pm
Ah, excellent, a lively discussion! I’ve been waiting for one of these.

And for the sake of discussion, I’m going to take an unexpected position and say Red Ryder has a point, we would expect any organization to fight tooth and nail to protect its reputation. Particularly one that believes it is fighting on God’s side. It’s easy to say (and I have said in other discussions) “a Church truly led by Christ would never do such and such” - but that’s the same Christ who fashioned a whip, overturned tables, and kicked money changers out of the temple. He wasn’t above being less than polite at times. And he seemed on board with the version of God who rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah - we all love to invoke touchy-feely Sermon on the Mount Jesus, but fact is on the wrong day he was cool with wiping out Israelites with diseases if they wouldn’t look at a snake on a stick.

So, yeah, I think there is an argument that an organization led by Jesus might get a little aggressive if it felt threatened, and maybe those doing the threatening should consider themselves lucky if they don’t get hit by lightning or struck with emerods like the Philistines were in 1 Samuel 5. And really, is it reasonable we’d expect the Church to go full-on Eyeore and be all “I guess you’re right, we aren’t led by inspiration. Many happy returns of the day.” Of course the Church is going to hit back, and hit hard. Why would we expect any different? And is it really a sign it isn’t led by Christ himself, he who was down with drowning a planetful of humans for unspecified wickedness (and making two penguins walk all the way from Antarctica to get on the Ark on top of that).

Who’s to say the God of the Bible would really think digging up dirt on a rape victim is off the table? Hell, he was cool with making them marry their rapists in Deuteronomy 22 28-29. When we say a Christ-like Church would never do something, we are applying an imaginary standard of Christ-like behavior that never really existed.
OT vs. NT
In the NT all of the snide remarks Jesus made were directed towards the hypocritical religious organizations of the day. The OT is a mess, but the NT I think really does teach "turn the other cheek". I mean - Jesus picked that ear up, and put it back on the guy - "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" - it does not get more touchy-feely than that.

I'm a fan of the NT Jesus in any event.
Angel, I too am a fan of the NT Jesus, the one in the four gospels. However, this is something I have sincerely struggled with - NT Jesus did not refute or disavow OT Jehovah. Saying “The Law of Moses is fulfilled in me” is not the same as saying “yeah all that stuff in the OT was really messed up, don’t pay any attention to it”. I struggle with the idea that we can accept NT Jesus without accepting the strong connection he has to the OT - I’m not sure that we can consistently accept the one and reject the other, especially when Christ so frequently referenced the OT and seemed to accept it as scripture.

I cling to a belief in the Jesus of the four gospels, but I have to admit I have no logical, rational, evidenced-based reason for doing so, other than a strong belief in many of his teachings and what he had to say about how we should treat others.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Not Buying It
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Not Buying It » Fri May 31, 2019 5:31 am

alas wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:51 pm
Switching sides, one of my social work professors pounded in a point about all organizations. They will do what they need to do to survive. He went through several organizations and showed how survival of the organization was a higher priority than ANY thing else. Take March of Dimes. Well polio got conquered. No more need for the March of Dimes. Did they have a big party and disband the organization? They did not. They found something that could never be conquered. Birth defects cannot be cured with an immunization. So, now the March of Dimes will be around forever fighting the many many causes of birth defects.

Now a healthy organization does not have to resort to unethical, cruel, immoral tactics to survive. A healthy organization delivers a product or gives a service for a fair price. There is a balance between the product or service and the price customers pay. Let’s go back to March of dimes. They collected donation and provided or paid for a service of researching something to prevent a terrible disease. (You young whipper snappers around here are unlikely to know a victim/survivor of polio. But some of us baby boomers knew kids who died or were left crippled for life from polio.) so, valuable service if it can be accomplished. The price paid was dimes. There were donation cards where you inserted your dime in a slot at check out stands at your local five and dime. March of Dimes was a healthy organization. It didn’t have to lie and say that polio was worse than it was. It didn’t have to demand that people pay their dimes to it rather than feed their children. It did not have to attack victims in order to protect mid level manager against charges of sexual abuse. It didn’t have to excommunicate people for criticizing a policy. It could admit to mistakes and people would forgive it without destroying its product/service. It’s founder could have committed adultery and it would remain healthy because the service/product was independent of the founder’s reputation. It could fire mid managers or even CEOs without destroying its product/service.

The church however is NOT a healthy organization. Organizations can be unhealthy by having faulty services/products. For example, Kirby vacuums had a hard time competing with cheaper vacs. Their product was superior, but expensive. The cost was seen as too high for the product. So, they cheapened them but stuck with door to door sales men, which is an expensive sales model. They now had an expensive product that was not superior to what you could buy from a retail store cheaper. Yikes, they started to lose their reputation as a superior product and had to fix their product to keep it superior if they were going to keep door to door salesmen. I don’t know if they succeeded but I haven’t heard of them going bankrupt yet.

The church has an expensive product. To maintain, it has to have a product/service that is superior enough to justify the high price tag.

The organization also has to have a good reputation. The Catholic Church has taken a serious reputation hit with the clergy sex abuse scandal. People are leaving because the service people are looking for is not having their children molested. The reputation depends on the Pope being trustworthy, of mid level management being trustworthy, because unlike the March of Dimes the reputation of leaders is tied to the service/product.

See where I am going with this? The church is not currently a healthy organization and can not afford a reputation hit. Or to have its product be seen as defective. So it will do what ever it thinks it has to in order to protect the organization. What ever it thinks it has to. Lie, cheat, kill, whatever. The first priority is not the product, but survival of the organization.
Very well said. Like any other organization, the Church will do anything it has to do to survive. And your point about it not being a healthy organization is spot on.

Part of the Church’s problem is the world has changed around it, the ground has shifted under it, and the things that worked so well for it in the past are some of its greatest weaknesses now. When it could control the flow of information, lying and misdirecting and spinning worked great - then the internet came along and suddenly that approach is self-defeating. But they can’t give it up. Until the 60s deference to authority was highly valued, but in a post-Watergate nation authority is open to questioning, but the Brethren bumble about like they are unquestionable authorities and expect the whole world to treat them as such. And to maintain that illusion of unquestionability, the bubble they build around themselves has to be thicker, more impenetrable, and more isolating, compounding the problem. Brigham Young was a tyrant in part because he could be - he had absolute control over the Utah territory. The Brethren act as though they have that same level of control, and it was gone a long time ago. The Church’s opposition to the LGBT community was socially acceptable for centuries, and they are having a tough time adjusting to a world where that is seen as a negative rather than a positive. President Nelson seems to have recognized the old approaches don’t work anymore, but his changes leave some of the huge core problems largely unaffected, because the Church doesn’t know how else to do business.

So because it is not a healthy organization, as you so perceptively pointed out, its responses to all of these changes are commensurately unhealthy. It can’t respond appropriately because the appropriate responses are not in its repertoire.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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deacon blues
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by deacon blues » Fri May 31, 2019 8:44 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 11:21 am
“linked” wrote:Let's define the mormon church by what it claims to be: God's kingdom on earth, led by prophets who are guided directly by God himself. The only path to the celestial kingdom. The only place you can find ALL good.

I expect(ed) that organization to be moral and transparent and to help people.
Why? Where did these expectations get developed? Did we just all assume this was standard practice for any religion? Did we all just think that there was a natural symbiotic relationship where the expectations of the members should be reciprocated towards the church?

This is what made my faith transition feel like betrayal. Here I am, required to meet with the Bishop and Stake President annually/bi-annually and answer questions about honesty and commitment to the leadership.

Betrayal hurts.

Now I look at it as it was my fault that I held too much trust in the organization.

Never again.

I lost the ability to trust in many things.

I gained the ability to trust my instincts.
Great discussion. The LDS Church is, for all practical purposes-The God- for many LDS. It can't be questioned, it doesn't have to apologize, it's members vowed to give everything to it. There are many LDS who sincerely try to follow Jesus's teachings, but at the same time they will defer to the Church in anything. I think God has higher standards. As humans, we have the right of self preservation, and so does the Church. However, I believe we have the needs of the many to consider. To borrow a parable I heard in Church, if I have the fate of the crew of the "Enterprise" in my hands and, like Spock, I have to decide between me and the human race, the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few. If the Church withholds information to preserve itself, it has revealed itself as a human institution, that will sacrifice others and/or the Truth, for it's own welfare.


The Church most definitely isn't God; but it most definitely wants to be treated as God.
God is Love. God is Truth

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Angel
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Angel » Fri May 31, 2019 11:58 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:20 am

Angel, I too am a fan of the NT Jesus, the one in the four gospels. However, this is something I have sincerely struggled with - NT Jesus did not refute or disavow OT Jehovah. Saying “The Law of Moses is fulfilled in me” is not the same as saying “yeah all that stuff in the OT was really messed up, don’t pay any attention to it”. I struggle with the idea that we can accept NT Jesus without accepting the strong connection he has to the OT - I’m not sure that we can consistently accept the one and reject the other, especially when Christ so frequently referenced the OT and seemed to accept it as scripture.

I cling to a belief in the Jesus of the four gospels, but I have to admit I have no logical, rational, evidenced-based reason for doing so, other than a strong belief in many of his teachings and what he had to say about how we should treat others.

I think some Eastern philosophies apply to the NT/OT - the idea that opposites compliment one another, no high without low, a little chaos within order - two wolves fighting within all of us, one filled with anger etc. the other with joy. Some say perfection means "complete" or containing everything - Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; a yin/yang kind of a deal. The bigger the front, the bigger the back - The taller the peak, the lower the valley, the worse the disaster/trial, the greater the blessings/appreciation/wisdom. God is within us all - the light of Christ - have to embrace the light and dark within everyone, within ourselves, within God - opposition within all things. Without opposition there is no diversity, no seasons of life. I guess we can all feel better about our own ups and downs when seeing it in everyone and in everything.

I love things like the 5 phases or 5 seasons:
Wood/Spring: new growth
Fire/Summer: growing to maturity, flowering, brimming with fire and energy
Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal, moderation, balance and fruition
Metal/Autumn: a season of harvesting and collecting
Water/Winter: a period of rest and retreat, where stillness and storage pervades
One season is not better than another, the dance of life is to walk freely between and within all experiences.

Mix Christianity in with a little _I Ching -- , read through dualistic writings from zen buddhism - little stories like http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/zen.html

I guess my new path is more of a universal one - not holding any one faith above another, finding my own voice through being free of any affiliations - exploring all the affiliations without the need to join any of them, just enjoying their many lessons.

Fighting for Jesus - ever hear of the lost years of Jesus?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_years_of_Jesus
Some say he learned some things from traveling to India :)

Haha - that was a long rant, getting off my soap box now - enjoy the weekend!
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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alas
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by alas » Fri May 31, 2019 12:15 pm

Angel wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 11:58 am
Not Buying It wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:20 am

Angel, I too am a fan of the NT Jesus, the one in the four gospels. However, this is something I have sincerely struggled with - NT Jesus did not refute or disavow OT Jehovah. Saying “The Law of Moses is fulfilled in me” is not the same as saying “yeah all that stuff in the OT was really messed up, don’t pay any attention to it”. I struggle with the idea that we can accept NT Jesus without accepting the strong connection he has to the OT - I’m not sure that we can consistently accept the one and reject the other, especially when Christ so frequently referenced the OT and seemed to accept it as scripture.

I cling to a belief in the Jesus of the four gospels, but I have to admit I have no logical, rational, evidenced-based reason for doing so, other than a strong belief in many of his teachings and what he had to say about how we should treat others.

I think some Eastern philosophies apply to the NT/OT - the idea that opposites compliment one another, no high without low, a little chaos within order - two wolves fighting within all of us, one filled with anger etc. the other with joy. Some say perfection means "complete" or containing everything - Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; a yin/yang kind of a deal. The bigger the front, the bigger the back - The taller the peak, the lower the valley, the worse the disaster/trial, the greater the blessings/appreciation/wisdom. God is within us all - the light of Christ - have to embrace the light and dark within everyone, within ourselves, within God - opposition within all things. Without opposition there is no diversity, no seasons of life. I guess we can all feel better about our own ups and downs when seeing it in everyone and in everything.

I love things like the 5 phases or 5 seasons:
Wood/Spring: new growth
Fire/Summer: growing to maturity, flowering, brimming with fire and energy
Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal, moderation, balance and fruition
Metal/Autumn: a season of harvesting and collecting
Water/Winter: a period of rest and retreat, where stillness and storage pervades
One season is not better than another, the dance of life is to walk freely between and within all experiences.

Mix Christianity in with a little _I Ching -- , read through dualistic writings from zen buddhism - little stories like http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/zen.html

I guess my new path is more of a universal one - not holding any one faith above another, finding my own voice through being free of any affiliations - exploring all the affiliations without the need to join any of them, just enjoying their many lessons.

Fighting for Jesus - ever hear of the lost years of Jesus?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_years_of_Jesus
Some say he learned some things from traveling to India :)

Haha - that was a long rant, getting off my soap box now - enjoy the weekend!
I too like the NT Jesus, but I see him as a transitional character rather than being part of the same belief system as the OT. He could not come out and say, “forget this stuff. It is a bunch of crap.” He would have been crucified even sooner for blasphemy and been totally lost to history. But he clearly taught a new way, new beliefs, new commandments. He said that he came to fulfill the law of Moses. Not irradiate it. So, it was not an end totally of the old system, but a completion of it and a moving on to something new. Like finishing grade school and moving on to high school. He built something new on the foundation of the old.

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Linked
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Linked » Fri May 31, 2019 1:04 pm

Reuben wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:59 am
Individuals have a right to protect and sustain themselves. They're legally constrained, and further morally constrained, in what they can do. There are hard lines and soft lines, and sometimes the soft lines are more like wide gray gradients.

Organizations are the same. No question. The church operates sometimes in those wide gray gradients. Sometimes whether it acts on one side of a line or the other, or in a gray gradient, depends on whether its claims are true. And some of its claims are verifiable, some are falsifiable, and some are unknowable. Morally, this is tricky stuff.

There's another relevant similarity between individuals and organizations: they need a reason to exist. For an organization, providing a place for members to find happiness in belonging can be enough. I think one big problem with the church is that its stated reason to exist - providing exclusive truth and authority from God - is almost certainly nonsense.

If my reason for existing were easily shown to be founded on falsehoods, every day I would find myself fighting truth to survive, and feel entirely justified in the damage I did. The church is that way.

Actually, that happened to me from about age 11 to 20, likely as a reaction to bullying. The solution was to finally get beaten down enough that I internalized that I wasn't a superior being, and then rebuild my identity on the church.

That solution held for about 20 years.

IMO, individuals and organizations should do their best to acknowledge the truth, and be willing to internalize it even if doing so changes their reason to exist. Even though this can feel like mortal peril, I'm comfortable elevating it to a moral value.
Good points about the church's reason for existence. If their purpose for existence is nonsense then that puts them on the defensive continually because their purpose is questioned all the time. This is probably part of the reason for the over-active mormon persecution complex. It's not just useful for the organization, it is required to stay in existence in this form.

I agree with your comment on trying to acknowledge the truth and go where it leads. But, that's, just, like, my opinion, man.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Red Ryder
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Re: Lively discussion for NBI: Fighting for Jesus; where do we cross the line?

Post by Red Ryder » Fri May 31, 2019 2:03 pm

Reading all of the OT/NT Jesus responses I think there’s an underlying question here I have to ask.

Is Jesus really any different than Joseph Smith?

How do we know Jesus didn’t just make everything up? Or perhaps the “Jesus idea” morphed out of biblical times?

Back to square 1: defining God.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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