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Core Assumptions of Christianity

I'm posting this thread here because this is an attempt at something like CS Lewis' collection of BBC fireside chats, later compiled into a book of essays titled "Mere Christianity", but at a level lower than baseline theology, in which the existence of a deity is considered a prerequisite. I am looking toi define the core moralistic underpinnings of Christianity, whether or not a God exists that orchestrates the universe. I'll break up the argument into a few overarching themes derived from Jewish and Christian writing through the Old and New Testaments, and tradition.

Position 1: The Existence of a Moral Absolute

This position posits the idea that there is a moral absolute that is as persistent as a physical law.

As much as this concept is fought by various factions of both religious and secular philosophy, it seems to me that it is nearly irrefutably true. It is irrefutably true because everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not, believe in a universal moral code... indeed, nobody would dare judge others for their actions if they didn't believe there was a core behavior that was being violated. Many point to the great differences between individual moral code as evidence that such a foundational code exists, but that isn't really my argument here. My point is that everyone's belief struct hinges on a code that they believe is immutable and foundational points to the existence of a core moral code, even if we as human beings haven't sussed out what that is (though I believe we largely have, and will address it here.

The Holocaust was wrong. Most people will agree with this either directly, or indirectly. While on the one hand you have the majority of people who accept that the Holocaust was a fact, and was abominable, probably the next largest contingent of people, largely anti-Semitic, will argue that the Holocaust never happened. In BOTH of those cases there is the underlying assertion that a holocaust is wrong. THere is a small faction of people who accept that the holocaust is a fact, and also support it's goals, but even those people tend to largely remain silent, understanding that even if they believe it to be a moral good, the society at large does not. So, at the core, "The Holocaust was abominable" would appear to be a truth derived from a core, immutable, moral belief.

Position 2: The Sanctity of Life

This position grants that life, the biological definition, is Good.

I have always found arguing this position to be far more difficult than it should be. Unlike most of the positions I'll mention here, this one is proven nearly universally by simple self reflection. "Do you want to die?" is a question that the vast majority of people would answer "No" to. Even if you lack empathy for your fellow humans, the chances are good that you still prefer life over death for yourself. This, I'd argue, is the base foundation of the universal moral belief in life as a moral good. So much of our public discourse revolves, directly or indirectly, around this assumption.

One common debate topic in which this core assumption resides is in the arguments surrounding healthcare. Nobody would argue so strongly for variously assumed better means of delivering healthcare if they didn't have the core belief that protecting life is a common moral good. Where the various sides of these debates breakdown is on assumptions that the opposition would result in less healthcare, and more death than their own preferred methodology.

Setting aside the assumptions surrounding the two positions on the subject of healthcare, that is to say who is right and who is wrong, still shows that neither side is in favor of purposefully killing people, ut they have very different beliefs in what results in more people living and fewer people dying.


Position 3: Freedom and Free Will

This positions argues that humans possess free will, and that free will is a universal moral good.

This position is a bit harder to argue outside of western societies, I find, as the position of the benefits of Free Will are far less assumed or believed in rather large swaths of non-Western culture. I would argue the existence of Free Will is more proven by human behavior in those cultures, however, than in the West. Most migration across the globe happens as an exertion of free will, either fleeing totalitarian states who have no concept of free will, or the voluntary migration to regions of greater opportunity. In fact, the whole concept of opportunity have a baseline assumption of choice.

In the west we have various extreme views of freedom in both directions. Much like the holocaust example above, we are nearly universally opposed to the concept of slavery, though our positions get more differentiated on the more granular expressions of freedom, be it splits on government mandates, or medical autonomy (which will often commingle with positions on the sanctity of life).

But, like life, the majority of people, given the option, will choose more freedom than less freedom, which would indicate a universal understanding of the intrinsic good in freedom.

(more to come later)
 

Grand Mal

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.
 

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.
So let's make it easier for you. Human beings will sin, all of us. Humans are given free will to make a decision about their religious belief. Choose Christ and repent of sin and be born again. Born guilty or not, very quickly you will be a sinful person so fix it with the choice of accepting Christ as lord and savior.
 

MamboDervish

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What you describe as the Core Assumptions of Christianity - a moral absolute, the sanctity of life, and freedom/free will, unto themselves, have nothing to do with Christianity. They are core philosophical principles, not exclusive to any religion.
 

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.
It basically means that we have to acknowledge our capacity for evil doing and when we do so and understand that than we can work to limit our bad actions and temptations. It's that first step of acknowledgement. Christianity tells us we are sinners not in the sense that you are saying that we are inherently bad and we need god to make us not bad.
It is that in the garden of Eden story its the forbidden tree that gives us knowledge of good and evil, and therefore we are capable of understanding and doing both, similar to god.
 

Grand Mal

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It basically means that we have to acknowledge our capacity for evil doing and when we do so and understand that than we can work to limit our bad actions and temptations. It's that first step of acknowledgement. Christianity tells us we are sinners not in the sense that you are saying that we are inherently bad and we need god to make us not bad.
It is that in the garden of Eden story its the forbidden tree that gives us knowledge of good and evil, and therefore we are capable of understanding and doing both, similar to god.
According to the Garden of Eden story we were never supposed to know good and evil. Learning to call this good and that evil lost us the state of innocence. And losing that state of innocence brought all the hardships on us.
That's what that story says, that creation myth of that desert tribe. Christianity interprets the story to mean that mankind is 'less than', faulty, guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve because we learned, or invented, the difference between good and evil. Christian doctrine says God sent Jesus to redeem us of that guilt. Christ the Redeemer.
Had we not learned to call this good and that evil, there would be no sin. We would still be in a state of innocence, still be in the Garden of Eden. And there would be no need to send Christ to redeem us.
Is anything I've said here wrong?
 

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According to the Garden of Eden story we were never supposed to know good and evil. Learning to call this good and that evil lost us the state of innocence. And losing that state of innocence brought all the hardships on us.
That's what that story says, that creation myth of that desert tribe. Christianity interprets the story to mean that mankind is 'less than', faulty, guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve because we learned, or invented, the difference between good and evil. Christian doctrine says God sent Jesus to redeem us of that guilt. Christ the Redeemer.
Had we not learned to call this good and that evil, there would be no sin. We would still be in a state of innocence, still be in the Garden of Eden. And there would be no need to send Christ to redeem us.
Is anything I've said here wrong?
-Christianity does not say we are less than. You are telling me about old repressive church doctrines not actually christian thought.
-I think what you are referring to is nut jobs that scream at people outside of malls with megaphones telling people to follow Christ so that you can be saved from hell. None of that is what Jesus believed. Jesus was a Jew. He doesn't even know what the concept of heaven and hell is. Jesus told his followers to forgive the Romans who nailed him to a cross and starved him in the sun to die. He did not want anyone to go to hell it they didn't follow him.
-Medieval churches have used that a power tool but that not its original meaning and we moved away from that with the Renaissance and reformation.
-Christianity is the acknowledgement that we are have capability for good and evil and that we are not inherently pure. We have to acknowledge that we are sinful naturally, circumstances alone do not bring on human greed and selfishness. From there you acknowledge that you have agency over you sins and begin individual work.
 

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.
Thoughts are we are born into sin, Satans world. For God has allowed him free run on earth. And many born into sin are going to be called by God, but will they hear? The ones God has chosen will hear.
 

American

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What you describe as the Core Assumptions of Christianity - a moral absolute, the sanctity of life, and freedom/free will, unto themselves, have nothing to do with Christianity. They are core philosophical principles, not exclusive to any religion.
Maybe he wants to keep inside a discussion of Christianity. It won't hurt you to play along.
 

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According to the Garden of Eden story we were never supposed to know good and evil.
If I may break in for just a quick observation.

What I find fundamentally flawed in the above statement is it goes against common sense. Why would God not want us to "know good"? God's very nature is "good" and if He wanted us to know anything it would be that.

I think what God didn't want us to do is make our own judgement (obviously based on knowledge, howbeit subject to error) on what is good or evil. God is the true judge of that and whenever man decides on his own it places his judgement above the judgement of God.
Learning to call this good and that evil lost us the state of innocence. And losing that state of innocence brought all the hardships on us.
That's what that story says, that creation myth of that desert tribe. Christianity interprets the story to mean that mankind is 'less than', faulty, guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve because we learned, or invented, the difference between good and evil. Christian doctrine says God sent Jesus to redeem us of that guilt. Christ the Redeemer.
Had we not learned to call this good and that evil, there would be no sin. We would still be in a state of innocence, still be in the Garden of Eden. And there would be no need to send Christ to redeem us.
Is anything I've said here wrong?
 

Grand Mal

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If I may break in for just a quick observation.

What I find fundamentally flawed in the above statement is it goes against common sense. Why would God not want us to "know good"? God's very nature is "good" and if He wanted us to know anything it would be that.

I think what God didn't want us to do is make our own judgement (obviously based on knowledge, howbeit subject to error) on what is good or evil. God is the true judge of that and whenever man decides on his own it places his judgement above the judgement of God.
Well, the story says Adam and Eve were told to not learn the difference between good and evil and once they did they were evicted from the Garden. The story says this was so they didn't become immortal and the two things, knowing good from evil and immortality, would make them like Gods.
Everything is open to interpretation, of course, but I tend to believe it was written just as it was intended until I see that there was a mistake in translation or something.
 

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Well, the story says Adam and Eve were told to not learn the difference between good and evil and once they did they were evicted from the Garden. The story says this was so they didn't become immortal and the two things, knowing good from evil and immortality, would make them like Gods.
Everything is open to interpretation, of course, but I tend to believe it was written just as it was intended until I see that there was a mistake in translation or something.
I think it's entirely possible that both "trees" are representative of the mind making a choice, instead of a literal physical tree. When God says this thing is good or that thing is evil you either accept His judgement or you don't. "Eating" from the tree of knowledge of good or evil is representative of man choosing to decide to call this or that good or evil, making themselves like God.

What did the "serpent" tell Eve in her temptation?

Genesis 3:5
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

There's a few points in the above verse. The first is "eyes". Obviously it's a figure of speech because literally I doubt their physical eyes were closed prior to this. Therefore it's safe to say it's representative of their mind's understanding. The temptation was to claim to have the understanding of God with regards to good and evil. Man has been playing god ever since Adam and Eve first fell to the "Serpent's" temptation thinking they know better than God. That's the second point of the verse.

What is man still doing today? Making moral judgments calling things that are evil, good. And calling that which is good, evil. All of which is "fruit" from the "tree".
 

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It was Eve who fell to the temptation. God never told Eve not to eat the fruit but it was Adam (man) God commanded.
 

Grand Mal

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I think it's entirely possible that both "trees" are representative of the mind making a choice, instead of a literal physical tree. When God says this thing is good or that thing is evil you either accept His judgement or you don't. "Eating" from the tree of knowledge of good or evil is representative of man choosing to decide to call this or that good or evil, making themselves like God.

What did the "serpent" tell Eve in her temptation?

Genesis 3:5
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

There's a few points in the above verse. The first is "eyes". Obviously it's a figure of speech because literally I doubt their physical eyes were closed prior to this. Therefore it's safe to say it's representative of their mind's understanding. The temptation was to claim to have the understanding of God with regards to good and evil. Man has been playing god ever since Adam and Eve first fell to the "Serpent's" temptation thinking they know better than God. That's the second point of the verse.

What is man still doing today? Making moral judgments calling things that are evil, good. And calling that which is good, evil. All of which is "fruit" from the "tree".
I see the Garden of Eden as being how people in a primitive state live. Hunter gatherers, the Garden providing everything they need. Learning the difference between good and evil is artificial and unnecessary to mankinds well-being and was the first step toward civilization. Agriculture was the second step and was needed when people stopped being primitive hunter-gatherers and Cain was a planter, Abel a herdsman. Civilization is the cause of all of mankinds problems. Agriculture made two things possible. We could live crowded together in cities and we could create a surplus and all of our problems come from two questions-who who will rule the city and who will control the surplus. Power and money.
Previous to civilization, previous to agriculture and previous to making the distinction of good and evil, people lived in a state of innocence. We lost that innocence when we 'learned' about good and evil. Actually, we didn't learn it, we stole the knowledge. And the loss of innocence is guilt.
People play at being gods when they encounter primitive people, people still in the Garden of Eden, and bring them to civilization, ruining their lives. And when this happens one of the first things they do is try to teach the primitive people about good and evil, about what they should and shouldn't do.
That's my take on the story. For me, It's a well-written parable. It explains how we got into this mess. We would have been better off staying primitive.
 

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.

I don't think you really grasp the concept of original sin. The original sin that we carry is in the form or greed, avarice and hatred that drive us to commit our own sins. To have your original sin removed is to be given a soul through which you can choose to not sin, but the sin we all carry from our own actions are what we carry forever.

Most secular belief systems carry the same general concept of original sin. Communism, for example, carries a very strong message of Original Sin, it just posits obedience to the state as absolution.
 

Grand Mal

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I don't think you really grasp the concept of original sin. The original sin that we carry is in the form or greed, avarice and hatred that drive us to commit our own sins. To have your original sin removed is to be given a soul through which you can choose to not sin, but the sin we all carry from our own actions are what we carry forever.

Most secular belief systems carry the same general concept of original sin. Communism, for example, carries a very strong message of Original Sin, it just posits obedience to the state as absolution.
The Original Sin was the sin committed in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. All of mankind is born sharing the guilt for that sin. That's what I was told. If that's not your understanding you were taught by different people.
 

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According to the Garden of Eden story we were never supposed to know good and evil. Learning to call this good and that evil lost us the state of innocence. And losing that state of innocence brought all the hardships on us.
That's what that story says, that creation myth of that desert tribe. Christianity interprets the story to mean that mankind is 'less than', faulty, guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve because we learned, or invented, the difference between good and evil. Christian doctrine says God sent Jesus to redeem us of that guilt. Christ the Redeemer.
Had we not learned to call this good and that evil, there would be no sin. We would still be in a state of innocence, still be in the Garden of Eden. And there would be no need to send Christ to redeem us.
Is anything I've said here wrong?

The Garden of Eden parable has always been rather poignant to me. The story of Adam and Eve is, as a parable, the story of the development of intelligence in humans... which has, throughout history, been a blessing and a curse. While Adam and Eve were human, given the spark of free will, they were not meant to know more of their world than the average animal would know. This you eat, this you don't. This is safe, this is not. They communed with nature. They built nothing, they tore down nothing, they simply existed in a tranquil state. When Adam and Eve took a bite of the apple they learned of Good and Evil, which allowed them to consider the use of God's creation in unnatural ways, life became uncertain because they could now contemplate the good and bad potentials, and from that uncertainty grew fear.

The parable is a perfect and logical presentation of the human development of intelligence, going from simple animal to a thinking being. It says a great deal of truth about the core of the human condition.
 
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jmotivator

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The Original Sin was the sin committed in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. All of mankind is born sharing the guilt for that sin. That's what I was told. If that's not your understanding you were taught by different people.

Again, you don't understand the concept. The Original Sin is the eating of the apple. That first sin is the same flaw that we carry in our hearts to this day. That human weakness that led Adam and Eve to disobey God still exists in us, believing Satan over God, letting that foment a rebellion against God, not the act of eating the apple, is the sin. Consider any act considered a sin in Christianity.. none of them are an indictment of the act itself, but the mentality that lead to the improper use of the act that constitutes sin.

Christian Morals, that is the teachings of Jesus Christ, are a Psychological framework, not a physical restraint.
 

Grand Mal

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The Garden of Eden parable has always been rather poignant to me. The story of Adam and Eve is, as a parable, the story of the development of intelligence in humans... which has, throughout history, been a blessing and a curse. While Adam and Eve were human, given the spark of free will, they were not meant to know more of their world than the average animal would know. This you eat, this you don't. This is safe, this is not. They communed with nature. They built nothing, they tore down nothing, they simply existed in a tranquil state. When Adam and Eve took a bite of the apple they learned of Good and Evil, which allowed them to consider the use of God's creation in unnatural ways, life become uncertain because they could now contemplate the good and bad potentials, and from that uncertainty grew fear.

The parable is a perfect and logical presentation of the human development of intelligence, going from simple animal to a thinking being. It says a great deal of truth about the core of the human condition.
That's pretty close to how I see it.
I like creation myths and the one in Genesis is one of the best. If read properly it should be very thought-provoking. Read wrongly it creates much awkward confusion around snakes and women.
 

Grand Mal

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Again, you don't understand the concept. The Original Sin is the eating of the apple. That first sin is the same flaw that we carry in our hearts to this day. That human weakness that led Adam and Eve to disobey God still exists in us, believing Satan over God, letting that foment a rebellion against God, not the act of eating the apple, is the sin. Consider any act considered a sin in Christianity.. none of them are an indictment of the act itself, but the mentality that lead to the improper use of the act that constitutes sin.

Christian Morals, that is the teachings of Jesus Christ, are a Psychological framework, not a physical restraint.
Seems to me You said the same thing I did using different rules. The Original Sin happened in the Garden of Eden and everyone born since shares guilt for it.
That right there, being born in sin, is why I can't be a Christian.
 

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What you describe as the Core Assumptions of Christianity - a moral absolute, the sanctity of life, and freedom/free will, unto themselves, have nothing to do with Christianity. They are core philosophical principles, not exclusive to any religion.

You didn't read my statement very carefully, it seems. I stated very specifically that those positions are not uniquely Christian. My arguments supporting the existence of these core Christian beliefs under a logical, rather than a Biblical framework is the whole point. I'm not using it to prove Christianity, I'm using the logical deduction of the existence of these moral truths to show that core Judaism and Christianity are logical.

It's a spin off in my own critical thinking spinning off from the various fights I have with moral relativists who argue specifically against the existence of immutable moral good and inalienable rights. Invariably, with every single moral relativist, you will find a jumble of screaming contradictions when you scratch the surface of their beliefs. For instance, you can't be a moral relativist and a political ideologue... and yet all of them are. To be a true moral relativist you would need to have no opinion on past, present or future culture since taking a stand on anything is admitting that there must be a common truth. Even an anarchist has a core belief that people have the right to choose.
 

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Humans are given free will to make a decision about their religious belief.

And...if you dont choose to subscribe to religion, or you choose any other than xtianity, you burn in eternal hell and damnation forever and ever amen.

Yuh. "Free will". LMAO.:LOL:

Sounds like a big fat CROCK to me, but whatever.
 

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That's pretty close to how I see it.
I like creation myths and the one in Genesis is one of the best. If read properly it should be very thought-provoking. Read wrongly it creates much awkward confusion around snakes and women.

Given that the Adam and Eve story goes back as far as recorded history, it's interesting to contemplate that the story is possibly born of real experience of early man, as our earliest ancestors discovered basic tools, discovered that some fruit they had feared was not poisonous, and began to question why they are so different than the animals around them, especially the fact that no other animals around them seem to have the capacity to contemplate their lot in life at all.
 

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And...if you dont choose to subscribe to religion, or you choose any other than xtianity, you burn in eternal hell and damnation forever and ever amen.

Yuh. "Free will". LMAO.:LOL:

Sounds like a big fat CROCK to me, but whatever.

Free will doesn't mean free of consequence.
 
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