Renegade7

What do you Believe??? (Religion)

What is your religious affiliation???  

97 members have voted

  1. 1. What does your belief system fall under???

    • Monotheistic
      34
    • Non-Monotheistic
      2
    • Agnostic
      21
    • Athiest
      30
    • I don't know right now
      4
    • I don't care right now
      6


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3 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

Also, non-religious people are often extremely active in communities, just not in churches.  That they aren't is probably just a thing churches tell their congregation to make them feel good about themselves.  :)

 

That's a pretty big assumption to take (the bolded line), which is extremely inaccurate from every viewpoint I've seen.  And no church I've ever seen has said anything remote to that.

 

However, my belief in this also stems from that in my core group of friends there are 9 individuals or couples.  2 couples, 1 individual go to church on a regular basis.  The remaining 6 are non-believers.  The only people that I know that do anything charitable on a consistent basis are the church goers.  They do some, but not as much.  Now could they be doing things they don't share?  Sure, but I highly doubt it.  I have an (athiest) co-worker who actually helps a soup kitchen that is local to her 2-4x a month.  She has shared with me in the past that she gets frustrated that so few people are willing to help outside of a church.

 

Now, I agree, there are non-religious folks extremely active in communities.  I've said similar things numerous times now. 

 

But in the end, if you champion for good things in communities, I do, ASF does...and on down the line...then who really cares?  Lets just work together and assist those in need.

 

 

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You can take issue with an assumption, but maybe support it with something besides anecdotes.  Or don't, because I totally agree with your last sentence.  It's not a competition in the first place.  

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1 hour ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

Those stats are a bit skewed in my opinion because the religious people in those studies are tithing which more often than not goes to paying a pastor's salary, and funding the church budget, which is in most cases heavily focused on paying overhead costs (facilities etc), normally less than 10% of church budgets are dedicated to charitable work and or missions. 

That is coming from 20 years worth of experience working with numerous churches in a system who's books are open within the denomination.

 

In all fairness, that's sounds very at odds with what multiple organization recommend and actually do, which is about half the money going to salary.

 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865663993/Researchers-explored-more-than-1100-church-budgets-2-and-heres-what-they-discovered.html

 

From your experience, how much has the drop in giving to churches had on that 10% number, something like 50% of what it was in 1990?

 

https://pushpay.com/blog/church-giving-statistics/

1 hour ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

Also, non-religious people are often extremely active in communities, just not in churches.  That they aren't is probably just a thing churches tell their congregation to make them feel good about themselves.  :)

 

This was unnecessary and inaccurate.  Not what we trying to accomplish here at all taking shots at each other like this, we can do better.

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51 minutes ago, Renegade7 said:

 

 

This was unnecessary and inaccurate.  Not what we trying to accomplish here at all taking shots at each other like this, we can do better.

 

Well, I didn't bring up the argument that church-affiliated people give more to charity, and then not support that statement with any facts (that weren't generated by church-affiliated people).  If it was unnecessary, go scold the person that brought it up.  If it's inaccurate, point to something that shows that. 

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56 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

Well, I didn't bring up the argument that church-affiliated people give more to charity, and then not support that statement with any facts (that weren't generated by church-affiliated people).  If it was unnecessary, go scold the person that brought it up.  If it's inaccurate, point to something that shows that. 

 

I stand by my specific statement as it was specific to yours.  I get that people have their feelings either way, but this thread has made far as it has by staying as civil as we can about it.  Let's avoid them vs them if we can, this is a "what do you believe" thread.

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1 hour ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

Well, I didn't bring up the argument that church-affiliated people give more to charity, and then not support that statement with any facts (that weren't generated by church-affiliated people).  If it was unnecessary, go scold the person that brought it up.  If it's inaccurate, point to something that shows that. 

Just FYI, I didnt bring it up as an argument.  I brought it up as my experience, and after being pressed it turned into an "argument"

 

But again.  I hope all people in our society make each other better.

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12 hours ago, Renegade7 said:

 

In all fairness, that's sounds very at odds with what multiple organization recommend and actually do, which is about half the money going to salary.

 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865663993/Researchers-explored-more-than-1100-church-budgets-2-and-heres-what-they-discovered.html

 

From your experience, how much has the drop in giving to churches had on that 10% number, something like 50% of what it was in 1990?

Oh, I completely agree you see all the time about charitable giving with too much going to overhead, but churches get a pass because most givers are locally part of that community and see their giving as maintaining the programming of that church rather than giving to a non-profit help organization which is why the giving number studies between believers and non are skewed. As to your question, most churches run on a yearly budget based on previous years numbers so when giving drops everything drops at the same rate, but missional giving for the vast majority of churches is treated like the cable bill, a luxury for when everything else is paid. It was one of the things that constantly pissed me off. I mean even from a pure business perspective you gotta spend money on lead generation if your numbers are dropping. 

 

When we tried to start our mission to Guatemala we spent a year traveling all over trying to gain support and only ended up paying for our gas. A couple other missions groups we were connected with found the same results, and that was 2013-14ish.

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AND FOR THE RECORD:

I'm not trying to start an argument or debate anyone here, I'm talking about what I believe and my experience, it's just that what I believe falls in that strange place that exists and has experiences in both sides of this discussion.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

Well, I didn't bring up the argument that church-affiliated people give more to charity, and then not support that statement with any facts (that weren't generated by church-affiliated people).  If it was unnecessary, go scold the person that brought it up.  If it's inaccurate, point to something that shows that. 

 

I don't think anybody that has seriously looked at the issue thinks religious people don't give more money.  Even atheist sites acknowledge that.

 

https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2013/11/28/are-religious-people-really-more-generous-than-atheists-a-new-study-puts-that-myth-to-rest/

 

And I'll point that I think that site is being misleading.  For example, a lot of Catholics give money to Catholic Charities.  That's a religious organization, but the money is mostly going to help people in need.  The insinuation in that site is that giving to a religious organization, the money only stays with that organization/doesn't help others.  I've actually gotten away from primarily donating money to people with needs through Catholic Charities, but for years Catholic Charities was sort of my go to place to donate money.

 

Even my church, the hall doubles as a rec center for in door youth sports, open to everybody.  On extremely cold nights or other issues, it doubles as a homeless/emergency shelter.  Even money given for the general up keep of the buildings ends up benefiting the larger community.  To my knowledge, there is no non-government buildings that are acting in the same capacity in the area on a regular basis.

 

I'll add another point.  Over our Easter break we are going to volunteer at a food kitchen, but they are a religious organization.  They help all sorts of people (and do distribute religious tracts), but we don't volunteer there because they are a religious organization.  We volunteer there because they are the people that we know of in the area that are helping the needy/poor where we can volunteer.  To my knowledge, there is no non-religious organization that runs a food kitchen in the area.

 

Two other things:

 

1.  Most of the difference between giving between the religious and non-religious happens on Sunday.

 

2.  Even for non-believers, being reminded of God (and generally the importance of ethical behavior) results in "more" moral/ethical behavior (studies generally look at things like cheating on tests or games or pocketing money that somebody else has dropped).

Edited by PeterMP

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On 4/6/2019 at 6:39 PM, Renegade7 said:

@London Kev two things, I recommend looking into difference between old testament and new testament since you brought up slavery rules as making you uncomfortable.  Also, it's entirely possible we aren't talking about multiple different gods when the three monotheist religions all derive from the same one.

 

I read Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, and then got halfway through Numbers before I had to give up. I can see why people would want to distance themselves from the old testament, there are a lot of sacrifices, questionable laws and genocide in there, It seems to be written as the word of God though, which must cause conflict for many believers.

 

I went on to the new testament and read the four gospels but I think I am done with it. I tried to go into it with an open mind (although this probably wasn't possible), but there is just too much supernatural stuff in there for me to suspend my disbelief any longer.

 

You pointed out the three monotheist religions, but there are many other religions with many different gods. Many are even conveniently described as mythical (Greek, Egyption, Aztec, Celtic, etc), to somehow show that they weren't 'real' gods. Maybe the question should be; what don't you believe? Because like I said in an earlier post, I don't believe in one more god than you.

 

I took up your original challenge (not the right word, but I think you know what I mean) and tried to understand Christianity, but I have to admit that it's just all too unbelievable for me to take seriously. It was an interesting little journey but ultimately unfulfilling. I might read up on a few of the other religions, but am happy with my current secular world-view.

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11 minutes ago, London Kev said:

 

I read Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, and then got halfway through Numbers before I had to give up. I can see why people would want to distance themselves from the old testament, there are a lot of sacrifices, questionable laws and genocide in there, It seems to be written as the word of God though, which must cause conflict for many believers.

 

I went on to the new testament and read the four gospels but I think I am done with it. I tried to go into it with an open mind (although this probably wasn't possible), but there is just too much supernatural stuff in there for me to suspend my disbelief any longer.

 

You pointed out the three monotheist religions, but there are many other religions with many different gods. Many are even conveniently described as mythical (Greek, Egyption, Aztec, Celtic, etc), to somehow show that they weren't 'real' gods. Maybe the question should be; what don't you believe? Because like I said in an earlier post, I don't believe in one more god than you.

 

I took up your original challenge (not the right word, but I think you know what I mean) and tried to understand Christianity, but I have to admit that it's just all too unbelievable for me to take seriously. It was an interesting little journey but ultimately unfulfilling. I might read up on a few of the other religions, but am happy with my current secular world-view.

Just a heads up, trying to understand Christianity by reading the Bible without a guide is insanely difficult. Bare knuckling it like that is commendable but not advisable for the purpose of understanding what you're reading. The gap between us and when the texts were written is so vast that you miss so much. Context clues are missing, cultural clues, historical clues, literary clues all of it gone. It's why there are so many uneducated preachers filling pulpits weekly that just scream about sex, abortion, and going to hell.

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I've really been actively grinding on this lately and one point I keep coming back to is that god gets credit for things that can and are explained by other means. And yet, I get the "isn't it amazing how god works?" 

My frustration comes because if god's work is explainable by other mechanisms then god's not necessary. And the rhetorical moves that Christians make around it just come off like a clever ploy, and what they don't realize is that in doing so they are disingenuously inserting god behind everything but it's ONLY a matter of faith, yet they don't accept that.

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Posted (edited)

Regarding the whole, if god exists why is there suffering? question.

A possibility that I operate from, is basically that as bad as that suffering might be, it would be much, much worse to try to alleviate that suffering by violating or damaging the very structure of the universe to do so. There is a tethering of the very fabric of the universe, that precludes from the manifestation of real "absolute" absolutes, due to the simple fact that ultimate absolutes are ultimately static positions and nothing in this universe seems to be ultimately static. Everything moves/reacts and changes in response to other moving and changing shapes of life, so therefore the possibility to move and change must always be present and can't be cut off in some absolute way (the uncertainty principle touches on this in a sense). Which brings me back to the point, that as horrible as human suffering is, it maybe ain't **** compared to the absolute horror of an absolute static state. 

If we are truly stardust, then we need to be humble and recognize how hard and painful life truly can be as it grows and becomes more complex. There are time frames where conceivably, life toils for thousands of years in fire and mud, before even reaching the threshold of simple organisms on the level of an amoeba. Compared to that stress and death and scratching survival, the suffering of humans is not the worst hell imaginable.

Everything, even "miracles" have a golidlocks zone process that can't be short-cut. If you do short-cut the process, then you lose out on the adaptations/changes needed to fully realize the cumulative change or end result that was intended. I doubt God takes short-cuts, because I doubt God succumbs to the pressure or lacks the understanding/foresight to make the mistake of doing so.

Edited by Fresh8686

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I've really been actively grinding on this lately and one point I keep coming back to is that god gets credit for things that can and are explained by other means. And yet, I get the "isn't it amazing how god works?" 

My frustration comes because if god's work is explainable by other mechanisms then god's not necessary. And the rhetorical moves that Christians make around it just come off like a clever ploy, and what they don't realize is that in doing so they are disingenuously inserting god behind everything but it's ONLY a matter of faith, yet they don't accept that.

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2 hours ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

I've really been actively grinding on this lately and one point I keep coming back to is that god gets credit for things that can and are explained by other means. And yet, I get the "isn't it amazing how god works?" 

My frustration comes because if god's work is explainable by other mechanisms then god's not necessary. And the rhetorical moves that Christians make around it just come off like a clever ploy, and what they don't realize is that in doing so they are disingenuously inserting god behind everything but it's ONLY a matter of faith, yet they don't accept that.

 

I've joked before about how if God made something in his image with dinosaurs around they would've gotten eaten.  Something like a slight nudge on a asteroid doesn't have to be magic, still effective.  For people that are intrigued by where intelligent design intersects with evolution, small slights of hand dont feel outlandish.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/10/2019 at 9:12 AM, London Kev said:

 

I read Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, and then got halfway through Numbers before I had to give up. I can see why people would want to distance themselves from the old testament, there are a lot of sacrifices, questionable laws and genocide in there, It seems to be written as the word of God though, which must cause conflict for many believers.

 

I dont like the answers I get on that either, but I try to keep the time period in context as well. In terms of linear reading, I've been advised that there are too many connections to explain things to start that way.  So I'm moving around but on Joshua, which I dont expect to get better because holy land was conqueored.

 

Quote

I went on to the new testament and read the four gospels but I think I am done with it. I tried to go into it with an open mind (although this probably wasn't possible), but there is just too much supernatural stuff in there for me to suspend my disbelief any longer.

 

With all due respect you read the same story four times in a row when you could gone to Acts to see what the disciples did after Jesus died.  Another reason why going at it linearly isn't advised, but what did you think of first half of Matthew and advise given that wasn't supernatural?  He said stuff like dont pray at top of your lunges in middle of the street to show off, that you can go in your closet in private and pray that God already knows what you gonna pray about anyway.  You sound like the supernatural stuff turned you off but I can't see how or if you absorbed anything that wasn't supernatural, and there's plenty of it. There's a verse in Romans about how these are supposed to be examples of faith to give us hope, that's means a lot to me.

 

Quote

You pointed out the three monotheist religions, but there are many other religions with many different gods. Many are even conveniently described as mythical (Greek, Egyption, Aztec, Celtic, etc), to somehow show that they weren't 'real' gods. Maybe the question should be; what don't you believe? Because like I said in an earlier post, I don't believe in one more god than you.

 

Many have a primary creation God.  It's not my place to say which one's are real or not, but it's seems God didn't reach to societies much outside his chosen people.  So it makes sense for some societies to see the evidence of his work but not have the same relationship.

 

Quote

I took up your original challenge (not the right word, but I think you know what I mean) and tried to understand Christianity, but I have to admit that it's just all too unbelievable for me to take seriously. It was an interesting little journey but ultimately unfulfilling. I might read up on a few of the other religions, but am happy with my current secular world-view.

 

There's no completion to the understanding of Christianity from my understanding.  If there's anything id want you to get from this religion is there's more to it then the supernatural stuff that is good life advice and wisdom to live by.  I had to choose between going to church for Easter with my gf or picking up little sister from her "need to get away" vacation and I picked my sister.  This whole thing has its place.

Edited by Renegade7

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2 hours ago, Renegade7 said:

 

I've joked before about how if God made something in his image with dinosaurs around they would've gotten eaten.  Something like a slight nudge on a asteroid doesn't have to be magic, still effective.  For people that are intrigued by where intelligent design intersects with evolution, small slights of hand dont feel outlandish.

The reality is that if God exists then it created a universe that can be explained without it. So god either doesn't exist or god created a world in which the ONLY way you can know god is through a religion from the days of Pharaoh that has multiple splits that vary massively and have evolved drastically with thousands of different sects over the last two millennia. And that god has seen fit to allow thousands of years to go by without directly revealing himself which is a vast divergence from his previous history.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

The reality is that if God exists then it created a universe that can be explained without it. So god either doesn't exist or god created a world in which the ONLY way you can know god is through a religion from the days of Pharaoh that has multiple splits that vary massively and have evolved drastically with thousands of different sects over the last two millennia. And that god has seen fit to allow thousands of years to go by without directly revealing himself which is a vast divergence from his previous history.

 

If I was God, I wouldn't create a universe that needed me for everything, that just doesn't sound smart.  Like time, why would he have to hover over the laws of physics that govern that to make sure it goes right?  I don't like the number of denominations either, feels watered down to the point you are picking whichever religions fits what you want to believe in the first place.  

 

Religion still started with smaller groups of people than the millions and billions we have now.  Who's to say every Israelite in Egypt didn't leave at the same time as the effects of a volcanic eruption then escaped via the same marshland at low tide?  If we can believe religion to be intentionally written to be larger then life, we should be able to be reasonable about what actually did happen.

 

I also believe we are too far gone as an advanced and secular society to be the purest one that a jealous God seeks. Maybe with Jesus involvment and the new covenant, it's not necessary? Maybe when we start spreading out in space some group will go off and try to meet that threshold and they can tell us how it goes.

Edited by Renegade7

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Renegade7 said:

 

If I was God, I wouldn't create a universe that needed me for everything, that just doesn't sound smart.  Like time, why would he have to hover over the laws of physics that govern that to make sure it goes right?  I don't like the number of denominations either, feels watered down to the point you are picking whichever religions fits what you want to believe in the first place.  

 

Religion still started with smaller groups of people than the millions and billions we have now.  Who's to say every Israelite in Egypt didn't leave at the same time as the effects of a volcanic eruption then escaped via the same marshland at low tide?  If we can believe religion to be intentionally written to be larger then life, we should be able to be reasonable about what actually did happen.

 

I also believe we are too far gone as an advanced and secular society to be the purest one that a jealous God seeks. Maybe with Jesus involvment and the new covenant, it's not necessary? Maybe when we start spreading out in space some group will go off and try to meet that threshold and they can tell us how it goes.

1) I'm fine with a self reliant functioning world. But I'm talking about source with not evidence that points to god, and no, sunsets are not evidence of god.

 

2) I'm all about being reasonable about what really happened. Especially with the natural phenomenon that was attributed to divine sources. Not to mention blatantly ripped off holidays and myth stories. Oh and did ya'll know that a gospel was a tradition where an author would write fantastical stories about the new king/Caesar to demonstrate their greatness and "proof" of their divine appointment. As such Matthew/Mark/Luke/John are not texts that exist in isolation but rather within a genre of royal propaganda. Think in terms of King Jung Il's unicorns, and 18 holes in one on his first golf trip.

Edited by AsburySkinsFan

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32 minutes ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

2) I'm all about being reasonable about what really happened. Especially with the natural phenomenon that was attributed to divine sources. Not to mention blatantly ripped off holidays and myth stories. Oh and did ya'll know that a gospel was a tradition where an author would write fantastical stories about the new king/Caesar to demonstrate their greatness and "proof" of their divine appointment. As such Matthew/Mark/Luke/John are not texts that exist in isolation but rather within a genre of royal propaganda. Think in terms of King Jung Il's unicorns, and 18 holes in one on his first golf trip.

 

I don't think this is really true.  Gospel means or comes from the word good news and certainly in pre-Christian world was used in cases to mean that.

 

But to my knowledge, there is not a lot of cases it was used in the context of a new Caesar in the way you contend.  There is one known place where there is an inscription referring to the Gospel of Caesar Augustus.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_Inscription_of_Priene

 

And while it does celebrate his divinity and make claims of what he WILL do that are fantastic (end war) it doesn't really fit your description.

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55 minutes ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

1) I'm fine with a self reliant functioning world. But I'm talking about source with not evidence that points to god, and no, sunsets are not evidence of god.

 

If I'm understanding you correctly, there's no way to verify God created something like time.  The exactness of some laws of physics amaze me in way to believe it may have been designed, but does the randomness of quantum mechanics lead to possibility everything that happened at all was by chance?  Everything?

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6 minutes ago, Renegade7 said:

 

If I'm understanding you correctly, there's no way to verify God created something like time.  The exactness of some laws of physics amaze me in way to believe it may have been designed, but does the randomness of quantum mechanics lead to possibility everything that happened at all was by chance?  Everything?

 

QM says there is a probability for all quantum events.  Non-quantum events are really the result of the behavior of quantum entities.

 

There certainly is a randomness to the creation of the universe and the big bang from a scientific stand point.

 

This though doesn't mean nothing can and ever would happen.  Some thing has to happen just what happens is probability based.

 

The laws of physics dictate quantum mechanics, not the other way around.  So the strength of the strong force is not something that quantum mechanics applies to.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AsburySkinsFan said:

The reality is that if God exists then it created a universe that can be explained without it. So god either doesn't exist or god created a world in which the ONLY way you can know god is through a religion from the days of Pharaoh that has multiple splits that vary massively and have evolved drastically with thousands of different sects over the last two millennia. And that god has seen fit to allow thousands of years to go by without directly revealing himself which is a vast divergence from his previous history.

 

Your presupposition that the universe can be explained without a god is a conclusion that you cannot support beyond your very limited perspective, which, if a god were to actually exist, would be shaped by that god.  He would let you see only what he wants you to see, and if he requires your faith then there is no interest to let you see the proof of his existence, because proof of something doesn’t require faith.

 

Physics and the universe are not known. In order for the “laws of physics” to work on a universal scale, we need dark matter and dark energy to exist, but we don’t know what it is, yet.

 

 

Edited by CousinsCowgirl84

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23 minutes ago, PeterMP said:

 

I don't think this is really true.  Gospel means or comes from the word good news and certainly in pre-Christian world was used in cases to mean that.

 

But to my knowledge, there is not a lot of cases it was used in the context of a new Caesar in the way you contend.  There is one known place where there is an inscription referring to the Gospel of Caesar Augustus.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_Inscription_of_Priene

 

And while it does celebrate his divinity and make claims of what he WILL do that are fantastic (end war) it doesn't really fit your description.

 

I mean if you can read the following and with a straight face claim that this isn’t EXACTLY what the church did with Jesus then....



The Priene Calendar Inscription is an inscription in stone recovered at Priene (an ancient Greek city sited in Western Turkey) that uses the term "gospel" in referring to Augustus Caesar. It is called the Priene "Calendar" Inscription because it refers to the birthday of Augustus Caesar as the beginning of an era - the beginning of the gospel announcing his kingdom that heralded peace and salvation for his people - and a Roman decree to start a new calendar system based on the year of Augustus Caesar's birth was published.[1][2][3][4]Calendar dating of history around a ruler is the principle upon which the Julian calendarand Gregorian calendars are based.

The inscription features the term "gospel", which is the Old English translation of Greekεὐαγγέλιονevangelion, meaning "good news".[5] As exemplified in the Calendar Inscription of Priene, dated from 9 BC, this Koine Greek term εὐαγγέλιον was used at the time of the Roman Empire to herald the good news of the arrival of a kingdom - the reign of a king that brought a war to an end, so that all people of the world who surrendered and pledged allegiance to this king would be granted salvation from destruction. The Calendar Inscription of Priene speaks of the birthday of Caesar Augustus as the beginning of the gospel announcing his kingdom, with a Roman decree to start a new calendar system based on the year of Augustus Caesar's birth. Into this context, the words of the Gospel of Mark are striking: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1 ESV)[6] Jesus is thus heralded as the king who ends war by conquering people's allegiance, in contrast to the Roman Caesar (title).

 

for more reading

https://nickcady.org/2019/01/09/the-gospel-of-caesar-augustus-what-it-tells-us-about-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

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2 minutes ago, CousinsCowgirl84 said:

 

Your presupposition that the universe can be explained without a god is a conclusion that you cannot support beyond your very limited perspective, which, if a god were to actually exist, would be shaped by that god.  He would let you see only what he wants you to see, and if he requires your faith then there is no interest to let you see the proof of his existence, because proof of something doesn’t require faith.

Which is all stupid.

Please refer back to my post about getting pushed into a pool.

You want to play rhetorical games and stack the fictional deck about an all powerful god who created the universe and then went into hiding, except that he didn’t really (re Bible) he only goes into hiding when we go looking.

So we have a god in hiding who damns people who can’t find him.

 

Meanwhile what we have is nearly an entire religion that is ripped off from contemporary religions, and in the words of one of my seminary professors amounts to a religious competition where people’s strutted “my god is bigger than your god.”

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