Worst Movies I've Ever Seen

Tags: 
  • Ator, L'Invicible (1982)
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
  • Timeline (2003)
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  • Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • The Omega Code (1999)
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  • Left Behind: The Movie (2000)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
  • Dumb & Dumber (1994)
  • Meet the Fockers (2004)
  • Plan 9 From Outer Space
  • Alien: Resurrection
  • Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • Stealth (2005)
  • Wolves of Wall Street (2002)
Author Comments: 

This list will grow as I get in touch with the memories I've blocked out.

Getting in touch with memories you've blocked out for good reason for the purpose of warning others is so noble of you, Becky! A stunning case of self-sacrifice.

We do what we can.

That's it, Rosie. Go join lukeprog in the corner...

Gee, didn't Joan have enough people hating her while she lived? ;)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (a bit Joan fan; I am still just getting over luke's preference of Day of Wrath over this one...)

I hope you'll pardon me for what I'm about to write. Yes, Joan didn't need people hating her. She needed help. She was a lunatic. What was really sad was that the church was so unsympathetic to her. (If she was a false prophet, she should have been excommunicated, not burned). What made La passion de Jeanne D'Arc a bad movie, in my mind, was its unremitting humorlessness. It gave me a physical pain to watch her suffer, and for what? Lunacy.

Pardon you? I'm not entirely sure she wasn't a lunatic (or a very crafty leader)...

The film is certainly very grim. For me, it is a beautiful sort of sadness I have trouble explaining as I know of very few films that hits quite the same nerve in me.

Really, though, I figured you would not put the film on your list if you were not prepared for a response, and I hate to disappoint... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I can see that. If it had worked on me, it could have been a very cathartic movie just for the intense sadness of it.

Hey now, I didn't say Joan of Arc was one of the worst movies I've seen. It's still one of the best films of that year, it's just overrated.

Alright, I guess we might let you sneak out of the corner. ;)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

The Passion Of Joan Of Arc? You hate a film that is considered one of the ten best films ever made and has the gravitos to prove it. Well to each their own. In the interest of edification was it just the humourlessness that turned you off or something more?

BTW Joan was most definately a lunatic...to have believed people wouldn't be frightened of a woman trying to make daring changes. It really doesn't matter though, since the film obviously takes a reverential tone and therefore creates an incredibly effective portrait of intolerance and betrayal, with a dash of religeous persecution thrown in to boot.

T'ho

:?)

It turned me off personally, not as a movie fan, per se. I couldn't enjoy watching all that cruelty and suffering, when I didn't understand or appreciate any part of it.

I don't know much about the story of Joan. I didn't think her persecution was about her being a woman. Although they appeared to be more concerned about her being a "heretic" or false prophet, they never attempted to counter her so-called lies with any proof of her errors. The reality was they objected to her politics.

Joan's trial was very much about her being a woman. C'mon, this is the 1400's, women weren't supposed to fight in battles and wear men's clothes. Certainly, if she weren't a woman, I doubt she would've been fould guilty of witchcraft.

As for proof, how would one exactly prove that Joan was or wasn't directly inspired by God? Unless I'm misunderstanding you.

The Bible has clear guidelines for determining if someone is a false prophet or false teacher.

The Bible forbids women to wear men's clothing. For her to have said that God commanded her to do something that He clearly detests (Deut. 22:5), that's one of the things that made her a false prophet.

Ah, I gotcha.

This is where the Bible loses me, why not men's clothes? And did whatever prophet who was writing at the time just get it wrong cus he was washing his ears and God had said "women shall not step on men's toes." How dow we really know? Will write more later after I've dodged the impending lightning bolts.

T'ho

:?)

I can't answer "why". However, I have faith that God is powerful enough to get His point across to His spokesmen, even when they're washing their ears.

:-D <---- AJ amused by stooky's blasphemous humor

Yeah, here again it is obvious that Christianity is a faith-based religion. We (I say 'we' because I'm a Christian) must have faith that:

1. The people writing the various books of the Bible 'heard' God right (it was rarely an audible voice, I'm sure).
2. The books selected as 'the true word of God' (and thus, compiled as 'The Bible') a few hundred years after Christ's life on earth by some monks were the right ones, and that a couple of them weren't by hacks who weren't inspired by God at all.
3. That the books of the Bible as we have them now say the same thing they did thousands of years ago. There are absolutely no original manuscripts available, so we can't be sure. And, there are always a few (usually small) differences between manuscripts of the same book that were copied a few hundred years apart.

I still have an easier time swallowing Christianity than that completely unsupported evolutionary baloney, though :-)

That's a joke, right?

Unsupported? There are thousands upon thousands of pieces of support and evidence!
There are tiny missing pieces, but those aren't contradictions, just things we don't 100% know, because it's impossible to track EVERY living organism from EVERY era, considering the difficult conditions of forming fossilization. What we have seen, however (and that's a HUGE amount), ALL fits with evolution, and quite a bit of what we have found contradicts evolution.

Christianity, on the other hand, has no support besides what these ancients told us they "heard." Tiny differences? Have you seen some of these single translations from one language to another? Go to Japan, they'll tell you all about that. The differences make translations from ONE language to another incomprehensible. Now do that 50 times. The result? Pure jibberish. SHAKESPEARE to modern English is almost entirely changed from it's original text. That's around a 500 year difference. Do that with the Bible - a much larger difference in time. What do you think the result will be? Besides, it wasn't initially in English - it was Aramaic - one of the oldest languages.

And why should you have faith in these things? Everything tells us to the contrary! You're deliberately believeing something we know to be untrue! Well...I guess that's what faith is...

I can't even begin to go into the amount of evidence against the Bible I've found in my research on the subject, and I have done quite a bit.

Evolution on the other hand, has virtually no real arguments against it, and we've even SEEN it happen. WATCHED it occur. We USE it every day! All genetic engineering is based on evolution, and it's been exploited by man ad nauseum. To disbelieve evolution in our current society is like disbelieving the existence of electricity while watching TV. If it doesn't exist, why is it we use it every day?

Besides, we've watched one form of life evolve into another. There is NO evidence whatsoever for creation. And don't tell me "there is, I just don't know it," or point to pieces of evolution you don't understand and say "there's your proof of creation" - give me solid evidence that the world is actually 5000 years old.

As I read it, lukeprog was explicitly saying that religion (Christianity et al) stands on a foundation of faith. He even outlines three (to my mind superfluous) conditions which faith in the Bible must meet.

To say that evolutionary theory is unsupported by faith is, in my opinion, the highest compliment that could be paid to Darwin et al. Science should not (and does not) have anything to do with faith. I think that to equate faith and science is not only a contradiction but also a diminishment of both.

Faith is not “deliberately believing something we know to be untrue.” It is knowing the truth of something. Using science against the Bible is just as specious as using religion against evolution. Faith based upon evidence is just as unreasonable as faith-based evidence.

Genetic engineering is, as you say, “based on evolution.” Does this mean that we should allow anything and everything in the realm of bioengineering, cloning and medical research? Personally, I hope not. And if not, why not? Even if you’re not religious some things can only be determined by faith.

The Bible, to quote Chris Hedges, is “not trying to teach us about the process of evolution or creation. [It is] trying to teach us about the purpose.”

However I admit that I might be missing the joke.

Now, if this had been a live conversation I could've stopped you after that first sentence! Yes, that last line was a joke. :-)

"The Bible forbids women to wear men's clothing."

Um, I've always believed that the parts of Old Testament law that weren't reiterated in the New Testament were basically pushed aside when Christ came to earth. Most of the laws in the OT were ceremonial or other Jewish laws meant for the Jews of the time. When Jesus came, he put Jews and their laws in obsolesence. That's why I don't feel it's against God's Law to wear clothes made of two different materials or any of those other outdated laws.

But many laws (the Decalogue is an example) are still in effect because they were reiterated in the New Testament.

He put Jews and their laws in obsolescence? Excuse me? Alright, I admit I'm not that strict in following all the laws in the Old Testament, but you'd better not let any Orthodox Jews catch you saying that.

oh, I don't mind. Here's the deal. When Christ came, he changed everything. Salvation became available to everyone (now just 'the chosen people'), people no longer had to make sacrifices to atone for their since (because Christ did that), along with many other things. When Christ came, he basically made most of Jewish tradition and law unncessary, and introduced a new way of serving God. Jews are God's followers who refuse to believe that Christ was his son and changed everything.

I don't 'hate Jews' any more than I 'hate Buddhists' or 'hate Muslims' or 'hate athiests' (that is to say, I don't hate any of those groups at all). It's more that I am sad that none of these groups have discovered the truth - especially the Jews, because they're SO close to the truth, but just haven't kept up with what God (and Christ) have been up to in the past two millenia.

Personally, I don't think YOU have been keeping up with what Jews have been up to in the past two millennia. I sorta poked fun at Orthodox Jews before, but even with them, it's a revitalized religion. Judaism has a great ability to adapt with the times (hence, the conservative movement and the reformed movement), which is why it has survived for so long. We may not eat bacon, but certainly any religion that STILL advocated animal sacrifice today would not be very popular. Indeed, the things that you claim Christ changed are accepted by almost all modern Jews. Salvation is available to all righteous people, and there are certainly no more burnt sacrifices. I think that the conception of a more merciful, loving God (as opposed to the more vengeful, but still rather merciful, one that is prominent in the Old Testament) that is present in Judaism today is just as modern as Christianity's. In fact, where do you hear the term "God-fearing" used as a positive adjective nowadays? It's by the Southern Christian Bible-thumpers, not by the Jews who believe solely in the New Testament.

The great jgandcag once said, "One of the great truths that human beings need to come to grips with at sometime in their life is that there really are no absolute truths." I have begun to come to grips with that statement, and that is why I believe there are multiple paths to God. Think about the crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and why they are dark days in the Church's history. Or think about apartheid, or the Vietnam War, or any time when values were instilled on a people that already had values of their own. It just leads to a lot of corruption and violence. I don't care how right you think you are, but there's someone else who is just as sure as you, and he believes the exact opposite that you do.

So how can you be sure? You can't. Religion itself is based on faith. If you could prove the existence of God and that Jesus was the son of God, that would totally negate the faith you have. Religion is not only uncertain, it is founded in uncertainty. It is the fact that you have faith despite the difficult questions that seem to contradict your beliefs, that makes your faith so beautiful.

In closing, I will just say that Christ's name is invoked in the name of so much bloodshed and misinterpretation of his teachings, that it is near impossible to say that the general label of "Christians" are the ones who have discovered the truth.

It appears I've hit a nerve I didn't know was there.

It was probably going too far to suggest that Jews were 'stuck' in their own 'Dark Ages' with burnt offerings and such. I was trying to give an point more than an accurate depiction of modern Judaism without noting such.

All I can really say is that I disagree with you and jgandcag: there ARE absolute truths. It is impossible to truly prove any absolute truths, because humans are not omnicient (science seems to disprove something it formerly had 'proven' ever couple of years). But that doesn't mean there aren't absolute truths. It all comes back to faith.

Your paragraph about 'religion itself is based on faith' is fantastic, and I agree 100% with it.

I can respect that you believe differently, I just think you don't have the truth (just like you think I'm wrong in thinking that there are absolute truths). I DO NOT think there are multiple paths to God. I think there is one God and one way (through Christ) to get to him.

Re: crusades, etc. - there are always, and will always be, Christians (and Muslims, and Hindus, and athiests, and everyone) who give into their human fallibility and make gross mistakes - often massively evil ones. It's also quite possible for one to claim to be of a certain religion and not truly believe. Just like Muslims who kill 5000 people in NYC in the name of Allah, there are always people who will give any group a VERY bad name.

In saying that Christians know 'the truth,' I'm referring specifically to salvation through Christ's grace, not that every Christian knows all truth (often, even simple things like 'it's not right to kill thousands of people simply because they don't believe in Jesus'), or ESPECIALLY that they always act in accordance with that truth.

Not that you've said this here, but I've become annoyed with people saying that because Christians believe there is only one way to heaven, that they are 'intolerant.' I think MANY if not MOST Christians ARE intolerant of, for example, Muslims or gays, simply because they haven't worked past their own issues enough (and, I think it's okay to believe that Muslim's don't know the truth and that homosexuality is prohibited by God - just not to shun or insult people for it).

But to say that Christians are intolerant BY DEFINITION (the definition of believing there's only way to heaven) is like saying someone is intolerant for believing that the earth is round and freely telling people who believe the earth is flat that it is, in fact, round.

Perhaps the misconception here is that Christians want to share their beliefs with others because they want to 'show people that they are WRONG' or 'make everyone believe as they do.' While the latter is technically true, it's not because we want to 'be right,' it's because (1) we're commanded to do so by God, and (2) we don't want people we care about (or anyone, for that matter) to end up suffering in hell for eternity! Certainly not!

In response to your 'in closing' remarks, is there a major group on earth who hasn't had too many bad apples to say that they are the ones who have 'discovered' the truth?

P.S. I put discovered in quotes because, naturally (as a Christian) I believe that the first people were fully aware of God from the start, and that the God I worship was the centerpiece of the first religion on earth, so nobody had to really 'discover' the truth about God in the way somebody 'discovered' electricity or something.

A nerve? I suppose. I like to think of myself as hard to offend, but really, how would you like it if someone said to you, "Okay, you are getting close to the truth... getting warmer... oh my God, you are SO CLOSE, just stop believing in Christ and you're THERE!" That's basically what you said, except the opposite. One could only possibly think it was appropriate to make that sort of comment in a world where Christianity is the majority.

Your analogy about the earth being round has a fundamental flaw. While scientists do seem to disprove themselves quite frequently, there are some things that they are almost sure about. The earth is round; it's a fact. On the other hand, you agreed with my paragraph on religion based on faith. So I guess you agree that one can never be sure of one's religion. You don't know that only Christians can go to heaven, you just believe it.

For an alternate analogy, suppose your friend (let's call him Bob) starts a religion that says that only Bob and the people that Bob personally kills go to heaven, and that Bob has a responsibility to kill as many people as possible in order to save them. Bob strongly, strongly believes in this religion, and though you certainly don't believe what Bob does, you can't disprove Bob either, because religion is based on faith. Now, because Bob cares about you so much, he comes to your house and kills you to prevent you from going to hell. Is Bob justified? How is it any different from Christians going out and converting as many people as possible? Christians think they're right, Bob thinks he's right, and there's no way to prove or disprove either one.

This does not mean I believe all Christians are intolerant. It just means they have an element of their belief system that I don't agree with. But though I'm sure very few modern-day Christians would still agree with the concept of the crusades, I just don't understand a religion that thinks it's a good idea to force atheists and Jews to convert under penalty of death. Wouldn't you rather have converts who sincerely believe in Christianity?

[controversial politics-related paragraph deleted]

In response to your response to my "in closing" remarks, I personally think there are far fewer Jews giving Judaism a bad name than Christians giving Christianity a bad name. But that doesn't mean Jews have discovered the absolute truth. It may just be that we are a vast minority. Or just lazier.

Finally, I don't think you're wrong in thinking that there are absolute truths. I'm not sure. That's the beauty of thinking that there are no absolute truths.

Well. I guess now we know why Jim doesn't encourage religious / political debates around here. :-) In any case, I'm sure you didn't really mean to offend me, and I'm sure we can respect each other even though we disagree on religion, just like we disagree on movies / music / etc.

Well, I 'know' that only Christians go to Heaven in that I believe it. But that's just semantics. I would say I 'know' it but can't 'prove' it. Yes, of course it's faith-based.

As funny as it may sound, I was going to make an analogy similar to your 'Bob' one to play 'devil's advocate' with myself!

I'm extremely tempted to discuss this topic using the situation found in Frailty (2001), but I don't want to ruin the film's surprise (the second one) for those who may be reading this discussion but haven't seen the film yet (so, those who haven't seen it yet, skip this part). Bill Paxton's character is a serial killer, believing he has been instructed by God to destroy demons living among us. The second twist ending of the movie is that something spiritual is indeed going on - Mr. Meiks IS on a mission from God! Now, as a Christian, I was able to accept that in the context of the story. God has called his servants, in the past, to kill others (usually in the course of war, though). So, your analogy of Bob is not so 'extreme' that I'll brush it aside.

Anyway, re: Bob. Obviously, people who don't believe Bob has the truth are going to be greatly opposed to his religious practice of killing people. In most (all?) societies, he'd be killed or jailed for it. Whether or not Bob has the truth is irrelevant; that's the way the situation would be handled (indeed, this is the paradox of absolute truth, in my view: there IS absolute truth, but you can never absolutely prove anything to be true*).

Likewise, those who don't believe that Christ is the only way to heaven might be opposed to Christians sharing their beliefs. However, nobody on earth is going to be as offended by Christians TALKING to them as they would with Bob KILLING them. Still, there are many place in the world where you can be jailed for talking about your faith (I've been to several).

In addition, there are MANY people out there who are 'looking' (perhaps passively) for the truth, and are open to hearing about different perspectives of truth from Christians, Muslims, agnostics, whoever.

I'd say that any Christian who's actually in touch with God or his Word wouldn't force people to convert under penalty of death (or ANY other pressure). Christianity is only meaningful if converts sincerely believe the basic principles of Christianity. I've not witnessed people being forced into conversion. I'm sure it happens, but I think that's wrong.

I'm almost certain you're correct that there are more Christians giving Christianity a bad name than Jews giving Judaism a bad name - almost certainly because there are roughly 1.8 billion more Christians than Jews.

Heh, love your line about absolute truths. It's like the paradox of saying, "Never say never," or something.

I remain unconvinced that Jim doesn't want religious or political debates on Listology, or that this discussion would give him cause to discourage them. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

* - the exception, of course, is something defined by man. For example, mathematics. If man creates a new set of rules that say 2+2=4, then it can be proven that 2+2=4, because man defined that for his own made-up language called math (but, if you've taken calculus, you know that 2+2 doesn't necessarily always equal 4!!!) This is because the vast majority practical applications for math involve things that simply cannot be measured with absolute accuracy (NOTHING, for example, can be measured to be exactly 2 inches long). A major principle of calculus is principles for getting as close as possible to the exact answer, while acknowleding that we can never quite reach it - much like reaching for infinity, it always just barely escapes our grasp. Though, if a math major wants to correct me, go ahead. It's been a couple years :-)

I haven't seen Frailty, and I sorta want to, so I won't read that paragraph.

About Bob - yes, it was an extreme example. But what about groups like Jews for Jesus, who set up situations that are supposed to embrace Judaism - you know, take unsuspecting people to a synagogue, maybe change the prayers slightly, then right away start showing how the vague prophesies of Isaiah (a book of the Old Testament) clearly predict the coming of Jesus! So what if Bob came up to you, started inviting you to maybe you could just go to his temple with him, as a friendly thing to do. Then said maybe he didn't have to start by killing you, maybe he could just cut off a few body parts, maybe press a guillotine to your neck, see how it feels. Did you know that Jesus actually predicted the coming of Bob? And Jesus actually stated verbatim that only getting personally killed by Bob would cause you to go to heaven? Yup, just look at Matthew 5:12. Or John 6:9. I mean, would you be able to just brush this off? Or would it annoy and offend you in some way? Remember, Bob is just as sure that he is right as you are that you are right.

And here's another example. Let's say there are two atheists. One is an upstanding member of the community, respecting everyone, a philanthropist who runs an orphanage, a very moral man, who dies an atheist. Then there's another atheist who kills, rapes, deals drugs, and steals all his life, and on his death bed (or, perhaps, death row), he takes about thirty minutes, repents for his sins and converts to Christianity. Do you believe the latter would go to heaven and the former would go to hell? If so, do you believe they deserve these fates? And do you think that a just and merciful God would have things this way?

I dunno. I'll tell ya what. If I get sent to the Jewish corner of hell, I'll take a visit to heaven and bring you some matzah ball soup.

I'm not quite sure what point you're still trying to make with the Bob analogy, having already given my thoughts on it...

The latter athiest, if sincere in his faith, would go to heaven, and the former would not. A precept of Christianity is that NO ONE deserves to enter heaven, because everyone sins. But God offers salvation, free of charge, if only we believe. Those who accept it get into heaven. Salvation isn't about how much since you've commmitted, since we've all sinned - it's about whether or not you accept God's gift of salvation. This might not sound fair, and indeed I don't understand much of the way God does things, but, as I'm sure you've heard, life is NOT fair. And, God's in charge, so his way goes whether or not our puny minds think it makes sense or that it's fair or what not.

God is only just because he is the definition of justice :-) God is merciful, again, because nobody deserves to to escape the penalty of their sins - it's a gift of God. All the unbelieving philanthropist had to do was except Christ's gift, just as the rapist did. The rapist was redeemed for his sins because he accepted God's gift. The other man was not because he refused God's gift to the very end.

If you end up in hell, I'd much prefer that you request an audience with someone on earth to tell them the truth about God, heaven, and hell. In heaven, I'll have no use for matzah ball soup or an opportunity to say 'I told you so.' That's not what this is about.

I'm just asking you - what is your personal reaction to the Bob situation I described?

Sure, life is not fair, but afterlife should be, eh? I mean, let's take the atheist criminal, and let's say he was born a Christian, and always believed in God and Jesus. He believed, and yet he committed all these atrocities anyway, and he didn't regret it. He would do it again if he had the chance. But he believed in Jesus, so he gets into heaven. If you ignore your belief that God = justice, and think only about your own morality, do you really believe this is just? Do you find it merciful to send a moral, charitable, loving man to eternal damnation simply because he does not believe that Jesus was the son of God? I'm only asking for your personal response here. Feel free to speak honestly and simply say that you don't claim to understand God's divine plan.

Now come on. If I told someone on earth the truth about hell, then what use would their faith be? I thought we both agreed on that one.

No use for matzah ball soup? Suit yourself, but I think it's pretty tasty. Or did you mean that, in paradise, you'll have all the matzah ball soup you want, if you ever decide you want some? Well, no offense, but Christians just can't make it as good as Jews. And we'll all be burning in hell. So you'll have to settle for mediocre matzah ball soup, if you ever want some.

My personal reaction to the Bob idea you had was one of surprise that it was very similar to the analogy I was going to make but didn't.

I don't think there's any reason the afterlife should be any more fair than life. I also don't think that God's ways are fair. 'Just' is a little harder to define.

I've already explained that eternal salvation is not earned by committing few sins. The number or greatness of sins committed has no bearing on eternal salvation. God's mercy is that he gives us the chance to get to heaven simply by believing that he died on the cross for our sins and accept that gift.

I often wish God's mercy would be manifest in additional ways as well, though I do think eternal salvation without having to earn it is a pretty nice gesture. God is merciful, but he doesn't give everybody a free ride, and he doesn't make the earth and its inhabitants a robotic world where everyone is perfect and everyone loves each other, either.

If you told someone about hell after having been there, it would still be a matter of faith on their part, because they haven't seen heaven and hell - they'd have to take your word for it just like they'd have to take the word of anyone else who tried to convince them of the truth.

Matzah ball soup is good, but without bodies, I think it will be of little consequence. And, though I'd like a visit from you in the afterlife, I'd much prefer we end up in the same (happy) place.

Very well then. Our conceptions of God will just have to be different, but I hope I've at least given you something to think about. If one considers these dilemmas and feels firm in one's beliefs, I think that makes one's faith even stronger.

Regarding telling someone about hell, I think the message of someone coming back from the dead to visit earth carries a little more weight than the message of someone who merely believes that all non-Christians go to hell. Maybe that's just me. I'll tell you what, if you die, go to heaven, find out that only Christians go to heaven, come back to earth, and tell me, I will start believing in Christ 100%. But until then, my friend...

By the way, feel free to play devil's advocate to my religion if you like. Jews don't really believe in hell, but I like to think that the true sinners are punished somewhat before being allowed to enter heaven. I believe that God is fair, and that it's easier to believe in something than to live an upstanding moral life (so I would say getting a free ride is more applicable to the Christian criminal than the atheist philanthropist), and that the righteous are the ones rewarded in the afterlife regardless of their religious beliefs. That makes a little more sense to me - but of course, faith doesn't have to be logical.

It was a highly engaging discussion, but I think you're right: we believe differently about many things and we are both firm in what we believe.

Oh, and I talked to God today; He said Modern Times sucks.

Aha, but that renders your faith that Modern Times sucks worthless. Take that!

That's interesting. Personally, I'd prefer God to just show everything to me and spell everything out for me, but when faith is the best I can do, it'll have to do.

Well, I was really just kidding. I suppose I'd prefer God to tell it to me straight too, but like I said before, I think the point of religion is that He sure as hell ain't gonna.

He did. He wrote a Book.

Hmm. Are you talking about the New Testament? I thought that, even if you interpret the Bible strictly literally, God didn't write that, that it was accounts from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, along with various letters. Do you believe that God wrote all those things verbatim?

Even if this is what you are saying, a book that other people claim God wrote 2000 years ago is hardly spelling it out for me, eh?

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for doctrine and instruction in righteousness.

What is the statute of limitations on holy scriptures?

Your point about the statute of limitations is a good one, since I believe in the older testament and not the newer one. I guess it doesn't really matter that it was written 2000 years ago. What it really comes down to is that I don't believe God inspired the New Testament. And I don't think that there is much evidence one way or the other for me, a 17-year-old Jew, in 2004. You can just believe what you believe, and I prefer Judaism.

I mean, as sure as you are of Christianity, there are other people in this world who are just as sure of their own religions. When I was a little kid, I asked my mom if the Jews were right and she said yes. So I grew up wondering why Christians were so misguided. I told my babysitter she was wrong for being a Christian, which would probably have offended her if it were not coming from a precocious 6-year-old.

Luckily, I have since rethought my religious beliefs to come to where I am now. And I'm happy with what I believe in.

One last thing for you, AJ, from the gospel according to Luke, a parable:

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.
20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores
21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'
27 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house,
28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'
30 " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'
31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Kinda makes Abraham out to be a bit of an asshole, doesn't it? Personally, I would be convinced if someone rose from the dead and told me to believe in Jesus or else I would burn in hell. But I haven't seen that happen yet, so...

What if they did, and wrote a book about it?

I'm not sure if you're talking about Jesus or the rich man. My guess is the former since the latter is just a parable. So if you're talking about Jesus, I'm going to have to be a bit more certain about things than that. I'm talking about, if someone literally came back from the hell and told me personally to believe in Jesus. Then I'd change my mind.

I'm enjoying these religious discussions of late, but you can't convince me to believe in Jesus based on the New Testament, because I don't believe in the New Testament. It's circular logic. Sorry.

I was talking about Jesus. He's the only person I know personally who has raised Himself from the dead.

What if I said I didn't believe in Malcolm X because I didn't believe in The Autobiography of Malcolm X? Would there be a way for you to prove me wrong?

Well, I think Jesus probably existed. I just don't think he was the son of God.

Still, I guess you could technically make a case that Malcolm X never existed if you wanted to, but at least we have photographs and recordings of him.

Now, if you want to contest the existence of someone like George Washington, who lived (supposedly) before the invention of such technology, then I guess I would have to refer you to the thousands of historians who would say otherwise or the numerous newspaper articles of the time which say that George Washington existed. If you thought all of those were made up, then I guess I would have no way to prove you wrong, and say feel free to believe that Washington never existed if you want.

If you're talking about first or second-hand witnesses who wrote books about it, there's more evidence for the existence of Jesus than for the existence of George Washington.

I try to stay out of religious discussions unless it involves matters of fact, and I really don't think that statement is true. If you expand sources not only to mean "first or second-hand witnesses who wrote books about it" to "contemporary sources or references," it is certainly not true.

We have actual documents by Washington. For Jesus, we don't even know what he wrote in the sand during the 'throw the first stone' incident, which is the only reported incident of Jesus writing anything that I am aware of. Last I heard, the complete writings of Washington run to 43 (!) volumes and were still not finished.

To my knowledge, the closest non-biblical reference we have to Jesus is a mention in Josephus'Antiquities. Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny the Younger also refer to him. Luke seems to claim to have interviewed many witnesses, so that would count as second-hand. The author of John claims that he either was the disciple John or is conveying the testimony of the disciple; it is not entirely clear, but we'll count it. The other gospels, if I recall, make no direct claim to being present at the events; only tradition assigns them to participants. (I won't swear to that last sentence.)

Most scholars suspect that the synoptic gospels (all but John) drew from a common source. The scholars dub this source 'Q'. If this is true, an eyewitness (or several) might have written Q. Q, however, is currently lost to time.

Just to be clear, I believe there is ample evidence that Jesus existed. I am not debating that, only the implication that we have more contemporary proof of Jesus' existence that we have of George Washington's existence.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

So was he crazy, or just a liar?

If you mean Jesus, well, that's exactly the sort of conversation I stay out of (besides, your 'either / or' doesn't exactly cover all possible bases, and you already seem to have me pegged as a unbeliever, which, if true, is an incredibly bold assumption to make given only the scanty evidence of my comments on this site).

I was simply responding to a statement of fact you made above concerning primary sources.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Everything boils down to whether he's God or not. There's only three possibities: crazy, liar, or God.

:) Why should you believe either way?

(BTW, that refers to your comment before you edited it. I believe (feel free to correct my horrible memory) your question was "Why shouldn't I believe that?" referring to my noting that you seemed to assume I was not a believer.)

Trust me, my lack of input is not due to any shyness on my part. I simply view this site as an art-related site, and I fear it turning into yet another place on the Internet to debate political / religious beliefs. There are already plenty of sites like that, and not enough sites like this.

I would be absolutely shocked if you could guess my beliefs (or lack of) from my writings on this site, so if you must assume (and really, there is no need), you should read between the lines long and hard for awhile if you wish to assume correctly.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ooooh, look at Superman dodging bullets!

:)

Actually, Superman is not afraid of bullets; he is just trying to conceal himself behind his secret identity.

Here, at least. Goodness knows not elsewhere. I have reasons, and I might try to express them tomorrow when more of my brain is awake.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thanks for stepping in here, lbangs. I thought that RosieCotton's statement sounded wrong, but I could never offer as detailed a factual anaylsis as you have here.

Yeah, wow, lbangs you seem to know your stuff, here. I also would be very surprised to learn that there was more historical record of Jesus than of Washington.

If you were to prove the existence of George Washington, you'd have to use the same type of evidence that I would use to prove the existence of Jesus, and there's more of that type of evidence for Jesus.

For example: no one on this discussion could produce any documents that George Washington wrote, or that any of his contemporaries wrote, or even copies of what his contemporaries wrote. You can only assume they exist. Probably the nearest you could get to Washington would be a source from the 19th century.

Actually... I've got this... dollar... bill in my pocket here.... oops! Sorry, just bored.

I agree that we are using sources alike in type, but the quantity question I still stand firm on. I listed all the contemporary or near contemporary source I am aware of attesting to Jesus' existence, and they are simply not nearly as numerous as like sources for Washington. Feel free to fill in any I have missed. They are indeed reproductions of originals I will never see. The evidence I have that Washington walked the earth are of the same kind, but I firmly believe they are much more numerous.

Which is not a big deal; Washington is hundreds of years closer to being my earthly contemporary than the earthly Jesus is (please don't see this as an invitation to discuss Jesus' current existence, as that goes close to the faith issue I so far am staying clear of).

Another 1500 years or so, and the sources on Mr. Washington will most likely be just as scarce or even scarcer.

Additionally, though, I know people I trust who claim to have viewed the original documents of many of Washington's contemporaries if not from the man himself. I know nobody who has claimed to have viewed many if any of the manuscripts of, say, the gospels, for example. That may not be a huge difference, but it is a difference.

Again, though, I do not question Jesus' existence. In fact, I am rather convinced of it, and I often wonder about people who question it but accept as geniune several historical figures who have left much less evidence of their own existences.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

RosieCotton, I'd be very interested to hear your response to book review #2 here and if you have any interest in reading the book.

Which book review?

A New Kind of Christian, by Brian McLaren.

Based on your review, I am not interested in reading that book. I am firmly entrenched in my beliefs. I believe in absolute, immutable truth. I believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one approaches God without Him. I believe the Bible is inspired by God, absolutely true, infallible, and inerrant.

Have you ever held a radically different belief than the one you hold now?

Yes. Off and on.

Okay. I just think it's wise to explore a variety of possibilities. Otherwise, you develop tunnel vision. Also, keeping yourself within a small bubble of the same people and the same perspectives keeps you from really knowing anything, and makes the possibility that you will be (or are being) deceieved even greater.

I don't think you're being deceived, I just think think it's wise to open yourself to a variety of perspectives and opinions.

God is the God of truth. Jesus told the truth.

Matthew 7:13
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."

Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Proverbs 1:7
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

Proverbs 9:10
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Psalm 119:30
"I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws."

I agree with everything in the last post, and I think I'll just 'drop it,' at this point.

Well, but there are so many subjects that the Bible does cover, and the ones it does cover are written in such a way that they are open to many interpretations. I guess I'm wanting the Bible to be an extensive manual for life when that's not really what it is.

I believe the Bible is an "extensive manual for life". The Bible calls it "wisdom", and says that it should be our chief pursuit. As you study the scriptures, you learn that you can't get wisdom without knowing God, and you can't know God without knowing His word. The more you know His word, the more skill you will have at all aspects of life.

Here's an example from the Proverbs of King Solomon (describing the purpose of the sacred writings):

Proverbs 1

Prologue: Purpose and Theme

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Don't those sound like living skills?

And a promise about scripture from the writings of the apostle Peter:

2 Peter 1

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

The Bible is full of promises, that, if you read it, you will live a better life.

It's a manual, just not an extensive and 'easy-to-read, step-by-step' one like I like 'em.

Okay, I've changed my mind. It's not a manual AT ALL (due to my reading of #2 here).

What about the people born into other religions, and convinced just as strongly that their religion is correct, with faith as powerful as yours? Why does it make sense that these people burn for all eternity in torment when they were exposed to the same conditions as you were, with different ideals to follow?

It's a bit of a problem, I think, a religion tells it's people "you were lucky to be born [insert relgion here], if you weren't you'd burn forever in a pit of death!" That is BEYOND unfair, and absolutely nonsensical. A God who places such burden on a world isn't fair and just, no matter what you say. He's a petty and jealous little child. This God is best compared to any God of the polytheistic religions, rather than a wise embodiment of perfection. That's a contradiction - isn't God supposed to be perfect, under Christianity? The world you describe, in which anyone can do whatever they want, as long as they believe in Jesus, sounds to me like the Christian form of Hell. Personally, I prefer the gnostic view, in which everyone does everything they can to help everyone around them, and create a world into a place of peace and happiness. There's no faith required to think that a world of peace and happiness is the best imaginable, so why be faithful to a belief that creates a living Hell on Earth, when you can follow science, logic, and wisdom to creating a beautiful utopia?

YES! Couldn't've put it better myself.

And, I can't imagine how politics would be more controversial than this discussion always is, but keeping it out probably helped to keep our dialogue focused for the moment, anyway.

What are you talking about? Science RARELY disproves itself, if ever! It only removes things that were previously ASSUMED and unproven from it's accepted set of ideas. Science is based around gathering evidence, then finding a theory that fits all of it. This is how religion works also, only religion doesn't gather evidence and find a theory, it just pulls a theory out of it's ass and tells everyone to accept it on faith. Here's an analogy:

2 men, whom we'll call Religion and Science for simplicity's sake, see a turtle on the road. Neither have ever seen or heard of anything moving or of crossing a road before, and have never seen or heard of a turtle. They together theorize as to why it's happening, and decide that it must be the force and will of God moving the turtle across the road, and the turtle must be crossing the road because God likes the idea of a turtle crossing a road. So Science walks up to the turtle, and examines it, while religion stays away. Science see the legs moving, propelling it across the road, and decides "Ah - it must not be God doing it - the turtle is clearly propelling itself. But God is probably telling the turtle to do it, since there's no reason for it to cross." Now, Religion hears this and says "Rubbish! I know by my faith that God and God alone is moving the turtle across the road, while all you have a stupid theory. And faith is CLEARLY more powerful than a stupid theory." Then Science examines the area around the turtle, and finds some food in the direction the turtle is going. So Science says "Ah! It seems I was wrong - the turtle isn't simply moving because God likes the idea of a moving turtle, and it isn't God moving the turtle - it seems the turtle is self-propelling itself towards it's food at the other end of the road." Now Religion overhears this, and says "AHA! You're changing your opinion! A second ago you said it was self-propelling, and that God willed it to move, now you say it's self-propelling, and heading towards food?!?!? You can't even keep your story straight! Therefore, I'm clearly right and God is moving the turtle, and you're clearly wrong, since all you can do is change your opinions. Besides, you have no faith! How can you prove anything when you have no faith!?!?" So Science replies: "But we can SEE the turtle moving on it's own - we can SEE the legs pushing against the ground, and we can SEE the turtle heading towards the food! Look, it's eating it now!" To which religion replies: "You only believe that because you have no faith."

Moving on, YOU are intolerant, if you believe homosexuality is wrong. We've isolated the gene for homosexuality - it's a genetic trait we're born with or without. I guess it just isn't right to be born into the wrong body. I would go so far as to say it's worthy of an eternity of pain and suffering. As a matter of fact, I think it's a mortal sin to be born with blue eyes. I think being born with blue eyes is wrong in the eyes of God, and should be punished with an eternity of unendurable torment.

On another note, actually, gnostics, like myself (gnostism is not a religion, it's a description of anyone who fully believes in only what can be proven, and what is proven, and theorizes on anything that has nothing for or against it, following what feels right, seems logical, and has the most supporting evidence for it), have never had "too many bad apples" - there has never been a "gnostic suicide bombing" or a "gnostic crusade" or a "gnostic inquisition" or "a gnostic crusifiction for heresy." That seems to go against your statement, and we ARE a major group - anyone who calls themself "free thinker" or "me-ist" or "agnostic, but I like to think about it" or describes themself the way I just did is gnostic, it's just not a commonly used label (and there isn't one, since we're ununified, but gnostic is the "official" name for such ideals, so I use it). I'm not saying we're perfect, no human being is, but we seem to be the only group that, as a whole, accepts that no set of beliefs is a perfect one (although we do ALL believe that certain ideas are grossly and horribly innacurate, including Christianity). And I'm not being intolerant of Christianity here, your beliefs have been disproven, and you're being as foolish as the man who continued to believe that God moved the turtle. I won't shun you for it, but I will think you foolish to continue to follow something in the face of undeniable evidence against it. Faith is not beautiful. It's manipulative and blinding.

I’m not trying to be antagonistic but I have a tough time believing that you’re a Gnostic. I don’t even believe that you’re agnostic.

But what I really want to know is: Why should Religion or Science care why a turtle crosses the road... and is it wrong to make soup out of it?

How so? I don't follow any religion, I get my beliefs from myself and by taking the pieces that I feel to be true and that have shreds of evidence for them (ie I believe in "The Other Side" because hypnotic regression alludes to it existing, and many people who have been regressed describe the exact same things, which is matching descriptions of "The Other Side" - pseudoscientific, yes, but better than no science at all...I'm very open to debate on the matter, and if somethign else gathers better evidence, I'll go with that instead). How is it hard to believe that I'm Gnostic? The fact that I care at all automatically makes it impossible to be Agnostic...what else would I be, if not Gnostic or Agnostic? I DO believe in a divine creator of some sort, or divine, collective spirit (not in a Christian sense), but no organized religion...where would you classify me? Why is it so hard to believe? (or am I missing a joke here?)

actually..I'd prefer the turtle in a stew...
(twas a mocking analogy BTW)

Well, initially I thought (or remembered or recalled) that the Gnostics were a wacko religious order of heretic Christians who were around a long time ago and thought they had a special knowledge of god. I didn't think that you were wacko, religious, heretical, Christian or 15th century. But what do I know? I don't even know what I mean by "heretic Christians." I'd like to think that I was under the influence of the definition of gnosis (supposes his toeses are roses) as "knowledge". But I supposed erroneously.

The actual definition of gnosis is profoundly spiritual in nature and even involves the Gupta Vidya (I wouldn't kidya.) This means that the definitions of Gnostic and Gnosticism (both with silent capital 'G's) are problematic.

It turns out that the Gnostics have been around since at least the 1st Century although not so much lately. They combined elements of paganism, the Gospel of Thomas , docetism and egg whites to create a collection of sects obsessed with the relational or experiential knowledge of God. And nothing good ever came from being sects obsessed. Gnostics, who quickly became a loose affiliation of wackos, generally believed that matter in general, and the human body in particular, was evil. Evil, I tells ya!

Gnosticism generally taught that the Earth was created and ruled over by a sub-contractor god named Yaldabaoth. Plato would later dub this character the "Demiurge". (Insert your own Ashton Kutcher joke here.) Aside from a remarkably unfortunate use of the word "insert" in some descriptions of their faith most Gnostics practiced celibacy and aceticism. Those Gnostics who could get dates practiced libertinism and oh how they loved to practice.

Getting back to Yaldabaoth, the Demiurge was the leader of a gang of evil craftsmen of the physical world called "Archons". (Star Trek geeks may insert their own Kirk, Sulu or Landru joke here. The rest of you can get back to your libertinism.) The Archons pretty much botched things up on Earth but that didn't really matter because everything was evil. That's what you get when the One, the original, unknowable God, loses control of his Demiurge. As far as the Gnostics were concerned there were three types of people in this world: those who can count... and those who can't. But seriously, there were pneumatics who, if they achieve gnosis and behold the world of light, are able to return to the pleroma (10¢ in MI) which is a region of light above our world. There were the psychics who were bonded to the soul and partly saved from evil. Finally there were the hylics who were bonded to matter... and all of this was called The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

By about the 3rd Century the party was over and Christianity became all the rage. Gnosticism got back together for a brief reunion tour in the 6th Century, sharing the bill with Zoroastrianism and REO Speedwagon, but since then has split up to do solo projects. The Mandaeans are the only group of gnostics to have survived continuously from the 1st Century up to today. Good for them. Some say that there are about 15,000 members in Iran and Iraq. Some say 1,500. The Mandaeans themselves say 50,000-70,000 because 40,000 just left to go to the store to get some milk.

At this point I would like to point out that my use of "antagonistic" above is a clever anagram for "ain't agnostic" as well as "ain't a Gnostic"... which I still think you ain't.

I'm not sure that the fact that you "care at all automatically makes it impossible to be Agnostic." I believe that most agnostics care deeply. Deeply enough to examine their religious belief system. That's the first criterion for being agnostic. Thomas H. Huxley invented the word and conceived it in opposition to the religious certainty of the Gnostics that they were the sole perceivers of god's ("God's"? "Gods's"?) truth. ("Truth"?) He described it (and why not, he invented it) as a way of thinking, not a belief itself. Being agnostic means that you have a reason for your faith, that you can demonstrate and explain it to others, and therefore that the details of god and the supernatural are inherently unknowable. This does not mean that Huxley does not care... about the possibility of god or the general well-being of humankind. Since you "DO believe in a divine creator of some sort, or divine, collective spirit" then I think you ain't agnostic neither.

Much as I love the Mock Turtle, playing crouquet with flamingoes and all questions of how did the turtle cross the road?.. He was tied to the chicken. But seriously, questions of "How?" are dwarfed by the overarching question of "Why?" Why does any of it matter? To come up with an answer, at least a satisfying one, I think that you have to go beyond the bounds of agnosticism. To me you sound like a Secular Humanist... or a Unitarian with a really big chip on your shoulder. Regardless of the label I think that there's mighty tasty soup in your can.

...ugh. What I meant to say was that I think I share some of your beliefs and certainly admire your knowledge and passionate convictions. This is especially true in the realm of music. The pseudoscientific "Other Side" stuff... not so much. No joke.

Heehee - my definitions are CLEARLY crossed. I'm certainly not gnostic in that case. The definitions I thought the words had:

Gnostic: No religion, instead a spiritual truth seeker, who gathers knowledge of every kind to come to his/her own very flexible conclusions as to the nature of existence.

Agnostic: A lack of care or interest in religion. Simply removes religion and spirituality from their life, has no beliefs at all. Will respond "maybe" to virtually any spiritual question, and generally has no interest in the subject.

Those definitions are definitely wrong...however, I would say that most modern agnostics (not all, most) are simply unsure about the existence of God because they don't really care.

There is qutie a bit of scientific evidence for the existence of God - for example, physcis mathematically calculated the odds of the universe existing without intelligent design, and they were incredible, astronomical, to the point of impossible, etc.. That's why I velieve in a some sort of divine existence. But you're right - I'm more like an agnostic.

Thanks for clearing that up :)
Really? You admire my musical opinions? Well, I'm certainly flattered, but I don't think there's anything particularly special about my views of music...thanks though! :) :)

The University of Virginia has a useful religious profiler page that is remarkably prejudice resistant. Your belief in "no organized religion" is problematic but, if you had to become a rooter I still think it would be for D.C. Unitarian. Strangely enough, "Agnostic" is not one of the religions listed. Maybe it's not so strange if you take "agnosticism" (small 'a') to be literally the definition that Thomas H. Huxley laid out in "Agnosticism"

Agnosticism... is not a creed, but a method... [It is] the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him.... Follow your reason as far as it will take you.
...
Do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. The results of the working out of the agnostic principle will vary according to individual knowledge and capacity, and according to the general condition of science. That which is unproved today may be proved, by the help of new discoveries, tomorrow. The only negative fixed points will be those negations which flow from the demonstrable limitation of our faculties. And the only obligation accepted is to have the mind always open to conviction.

I take that to mean "agnosticism" is a system of belief (like "science") and not a dogma (run over by a karma.) You're certainly (probably?) right that it seems that people who self-identify themselves as "agnostic" do so because they "are simply unsure about the existence of God because they don't really care." This common usage may actually be changing the definition... "isn't it ironic?" (A. Morisette)

So, to my mind, agnostics are deeply concerned with the existence of god. "If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice." (N. Peart)

I'm agape (both pronunciations, both definitions) at the breadth and depth of your knowledge of electronic music. I also admire your zeal and fanaticism. Even if I disagree... or have no idea what you're talking about. I doubt that I'm alone in this. There's nothing better or more noble than emotional connection to art and culture. (Well, okay, there's people.) And I appreciate your substantive posts. Sometimes your judgements can seem scathing but I never (rarely?) take them that way. I take them as fervent. I can't tell you how terrific that is... although hopefully I just did.

darktremor, I particularly appreciate your taste in music because you're so knowledgeable about types of music it's difficult to find fast, useful recommendations on. I also appreciate you bringing up a favorite topic of mine - religion - but I couldn't effectively respond to your barrage on my posts because of their age and because I feel I've exhausted those discussions here and elsewhere on Listology. I trust my relative silence hasn't dissuaded you from posting about what you want, when you want.

AJ, I'm sorry for my wrongly-concieved and poorly-presented thoughts here. I was wrong in so many ways. Please forgive me. I hope my brash comments didn't sting too badly.

It's okay, man, I'm sure you didn't intend to be offensive. Likewise, I apologize to both you and RosieCotton if I offended your Christian sensibilities during this discussion.

Seems like you've had a religious awakening with that book. Ah, I love when art makes us question the way we live our lives.

Of course, an omnipotent, wise, all-knowing ultimate, all-loving, divine creator WOULD have a tendency to change his mind one day to the next.
It isn't what best for the world that matters, it's what our good old man with a stick tells us that's important.

"Joan's trial was very much about her being a woman. C'mon, this is the 1400's, women weren't supposed to fight in battles and wear men's clothes. Certainly, if she weren't a woman, I doubt she would've been fould guilty of witchcraft."

1000% agree.

Having read an odd little book about the subject (by Balzac of all people) I have only that to sway my point of view. However, she'd helped France gain a mental strong-hold against England (who at the time basically owned France as a colony) ie. they had lost Orleans in a great battle. The Dauphin awarded her praise and she retired her amour and walked the country-side (how idyllic) easing suffering. The French Church did not like this since she was a woman who claimed she heard God. So they inclined her to be silent and do her labour and basically shut up. She later found she could not live without battle (she also heard voices telling her France needed her) and soldiered off to Compeigne (which the voices told her not to go to) and was caught by the English forces.

She was sold to rather imperial English Bishop for the price of 20,000 and was conveined in a court for witchcraft. The ultimate goal was to have her name smeared and therefore the Dauphin's as well. She held fast for 4 months, made several amazing predictions of the future, and eventually signed a paper giving her release in return for her freedom. Which was not given and she was made to break her word. She repented and was burned at the stake. She apparently prayed while her body was burning in a calm tone and after she had died they found her unscorshed heart in the ashes. I realize that's kinda iffy but still.

Also is mentioned that her Dauphin was talked out of buying her back under an English lords name by certain members of The French Church (who also threatened the advisors who thought it a good idea with death). The French Church agreed with her burning because they believed her a heretic (ie. a powerful woman, but also that the Dauphin not to be of pure blood). It's a wild story.

T'ho

:?)

That reinforces my opinion that she was an unfortunate pawn of many forces outside her control, including her own delusions.

Ah, but she made 4 amazing predictions that all later came true in the time she'd said they would. That's gotta be more than coincidence. And it's said that as the fire had consumed Joan the word "Jesus" could be heard in a loud booming voice emenating from the fire and then she died. Don't shoot the messenger here.

T'ho

:?)

Anything less than 100% accuracy is an indicator that a prophet is not from God.

Don't you think it's possible that many genuine prophets heard God and 'got it right' quite a few times, and then later got fed up with persecution and 'made up' something in there head they wanted to hear from God so bad that they THOUGHT they heard it from God, and then it didn't come true?

In other words, my bet is that while God is perfect, his prophets are/were not.

This is what God told the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds."

And another one:
Jeremiah 23:25
"I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!'

Jeremiah 23:32
"Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the LORD . "They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least," declares the LORD."

It's obvious that God does not approve of false prophets. It's also obvious that there ARE many false prophets. What these verses don't seem to address are those that have prophesied truthfully but have also been mistaken (a very human quality) on occasion - but I don't think that means these people don't exist.

I suggest that, by definition, a prophet of God is one who does not make "mistakes".

I don't believe you could be talking about humans, then...

What about Jonah? He made some pretty big mistakes in his life. Humans are always fallible.

I can't remember if he actually ever prophesied something that wasn't from God, but he's certainly a prime example of a fallible prophete!

I'm talking about when they spoke for God, they didn't make mistakes.

So, help me understand what you mean:

Are you saying that when prophets prophecied for God, they didn't make mistakes, but when they prophecied from their own Godless motivations, then they were capable (obviously) of making mistakes?

Now we've reached the edge of my knowledge here.

I think when they prophesy for God, they are right, but when they "prophesy" without God, they are practicing divination.

Here's an example from Numbers 22-24: Balaam. He had very godless motivations. He worked for the bad guys of Moab, who wanted him to put a curse on the nation of Israel, as they crossed through Moabite territory. The king of Moab promised him great wealth if he would curse Israel, but no matter how he tried, he could not put a curse on Israel. Every word that came out of his mouth God turned into a blessing. When Balaam tried to disobey God, God pursued him, blocked him, until he came around. (Numbers 22)

However, Balaam did finally succeed in giving bad advice to the Moabites, which Israel fell prey to, and it resulted in his execution for the sin of divination.

I think it is incumbent upon all believers to use discernment. The focus should not be so much on the person who claims to speak for God, but rather on whether what they are saying is from God. That's why we are condemned for following bad advice from false prophets. God expects us to be able to tell the difference, using our knowledge of Him and His word.

Harsh. That's quite the quota. So who made 100% true prognostications?

Have you ever wondered about the reference to the "made in his image" line. I always wonder whether that's the George W. Bush psychopath or the Mother Teresa overzelous saint or Joe Schmoe average guy image. I've been told that he's all the above and I'm like "dude's got problems, he probably needs a little TLC from us greedy Beyatches".

Does anyone ever pray that God gets a good night's sleep or has a happy vacation. Where's the love?

T'ho

:?)

Genesis 9
5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made man.

7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."

So as for 7, mankind certainly has multiplied, until people can't stand each other anymore. I'm gonna have to read the bible again to get this conversation really whippin' along.

But in consideration of Joan she did make several amazing predictions of the future, that later came true. She was hitting about 80%, that's gotta count for something. In my opinion 80% is pretty good.

T'ho

:?)

It's also possible for people who are not divinely inspired to correctly prophesy the future based on logic and luck. Weather forecasters, for example, but predicting even further in the future and getting it right without God telling them anything.

Yes, but it would be a sin. The fact that false prophets get it right some of the time means it's possible to predict the future apart from God, but it's a sin to do so. The fact that they don't get it right ALL of the time is the evidence that they are not from God. Not from God=false. False=Not from God.

Attempts to predict the future by preternatural means, without consulting God, are the sins of divination, soothsaying and fortunetelling.

Forecasting the weather, or telling the signs of the times, is not prophecy.

Matthew 16

1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,'
3 and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

I think forecasting the future without God's help only becomes a sin when you claim it's from God. I don't see a problem trying to predict the future on your own as long as you don't claim that 'God told me... blah blah blah.'

Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Jesus, John, Paul, Peter, and James, to name a few.

I kinda walked right into that one didn't I.

T'ho

:?)

I'm curious, what are the predictions that came true? And were they stated vaguely enough that they could have been interpreted as true after the fact, or was she pretty specific?

Sorry, it's not Balzac it's Belloc.

:?)

" I couldn't enjoy watching all that cruelty and suffering"

So, I'm guessing that you hated Passion of The Christ as well?

That makes a good contrast, since they are both about suffering.

I did not enjoy the Passion of the Christ as a movie. I hated watching Christ suffer, but I saw it as a necessary thing. It was necessary for Christ to suffer and die to atone for the sins of mankind, to appease God's wrath that was on mankind. It is by believing that Christ died for our sins and was resurrected that we can be reconciled to God and receive the gift of eternal life. Christ's suffering had a purpose, as the verse quoted at the beginning of the movie states:

Isaiah 53
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

You hate a film that is considered one of the ten best films ever made

It's meaningless to say that. It is both "considered one of the best" and "considered one of the worst". It depends who you ask. Both statements are accurate

Thank you. I'd like to know who else dislikes The Passion of Joan of Arc. I thought I was the only one.

Variety movie guide calls it a "deadly tiresome picture"

Here's the full review online. I don't know who wrote it. "Variety staff" isnt very specific!

Whenever i'm reading reviews of "widely accepted masterpieces", it's the negative reviews that interest me the most. All of the positive reviews are almost identical and say nothing new.

Negative reviews can be very revealing.

I'm sorry to say that review is just an exerpt from their archives, but still fascinating. Thank you very much for the link! I love reading contemporaneous film reviews.

Oops. That's how the review appears in the book as well. I didn't read the fine print.

The review date they give (Sun., Jan. 1, 1928) can't be right either. The film wasn't released until later that year. (I thought it was a recent review fwiw)

Whoever is transferring the reviews from print to Web must be cutting corners with names and dates.

Oh, come on now. Can we have a list without all the preachin'. I'm gonna puke.

Right on.

Nobody is tying you to a chair, propping your eyelids open, and scrolling the religious debate before your eyes ala A Clockwork Orange, here. You don't like it, just read the list and skip the discussion (or at least the part of it you don't like).

It should be pointed out that Rosie's only 'preaching' as part of a debate she did not start, to support her viewpoint - it's all in reply to others' comments.

Mmmmmkay? [not rhetorical]

"No religion" and "No politics" are often noted as exceptions when it comes to discussion forums.

I haven't heard that from Jim for Listology, but we can see what he thinks when he returns on Monday.

I don't think he particularly encourages political or religious debates (the site is generally pretty art-centric), but I'm not sure if he wants to discourage it. That's a good question, actually, of which I'm not really sure about Jim's opinion.

Poor ol' Jim ~;^) He's being pestered enough about his website lately. I was just expressing some frustration as I hold a slightly alternative point of view on religion which I generally don't discuss in a place not meant for it. I realize now I should have kept my "off-the-cuff" comment to myself. I do catch myself occasionally trying to head off confrontations on religion, but this one attached to Rosie's list seems to be going smoothly.

Rosie, AJ, and myself have all proven that we have 'slightly alternative points of view' on religion, above. Naturally, it's your choice to discuss it or not in certain places. Personally, though, you'll always have my support in voicing your opinion on religion - I'd love to hear it :-)

While Listology is an entertainment-centric website, the community members obviously have lives and views outside of entertainment, and I don't see why we can't have friendly discussions about whatever we want. Fully-featured forum sites for a specific topic or software or whatever generally have a 'General' or 'Off-topic' subforum for the community to discuss whatever they want. We don't have seperate subforums here on Listology (alas and a alack), but I think there's certainly a place for good-natured discussion of whatever's on the minds of Listology members.

So, I'm glad you made your 'off the cuff' comment, because it gave us an opportunity to find out what Jim's policy on off-topic conversation is, and myself an opportunity to encourage you to share your point of view with us.

Actually, I'm curious as to your views on religion too, stumpy. Feel free to send me an e-mail if you don't feel like discussing them in public.

ditto to the email thing. Also, stumpy:

stooky mentioned a list of yours in our discussion here (the very bottom) that I'd be interested in seeing if it's around somewhere - some kind of pessimism list or somethigng?

I wonder if this is the fastest list list to hit the 'most discussed' page from when the first post was written. There's been a lot of talkin' going on here for only 5 days :-) And all but two posts (and this one, I suppose), spawned from item #4! :-)

I initially hesitated to add Joan to the list, because I wondered if my objections to the movie were mostly spiritual or mostly asthetic. I'd say both! It is a very bleak, miserable movie, without a happy ending. It would help if the spiritual aspect of it redeemed it, somehow, but it didn't work for me. I heartily object to martyrdom of all sorts.

I would like to understand better why secular people appreciate this movie so much. What is it about it that makes it one of the best? Please educate me.

Woopsy, I got a religeous debate started. This line should read "stook apologizes now for tomorrow concerning fostering such debate."

T'ho

:?\",0,[09/26/2004 06:32:12],1
40409,13861,4432,134,2,Don't apologize - I think AJ

Regarding whether or not such discussions as those above are kosher on Listology, I think this one's fine. The religious discussion evolved naturally out of listing a movie on a movie list, so it topical, and has been admirably free of ad hominem attacks. I don't want Listology used as a religious or political soapbox, but I don't think that's what happened here.

Regarding the discussion above, I think it's a mistake (both tactical and theological) to point to the exclusivity of Christianity ("there is one path to God, and it runs through Christ"). Tactically, even if you believe that, it alienates fence-squatting agnostics like myself, who want no part of a God that sends Gandhi and Einstein to burn in hell for all eternity. Theologically, there are loopholes (something about provisions being made for all those that had no exposure to the gospel). So happily everybody who died before Christ was born (all those classical Greeks!) gets to fill out complicated forms on arrival at Heaven, or something. This loophole can then be extended (arguably) to those that have some kind of experience that prevents them from truly "hearing" the gospel, so maybe Gandhi can sneak in after all. But then you're on the slipperly slope and salvation really isn't all that exclusive anymore, is it?

Or maybe there is no such loophole and the Greeks and Gandhi are off frying with Hitler. Either way, it's problematic.

All I know is that if *I* were a gung ho Christian, I'd steer clear of the whole exclusivity/Hell problem for the PR/theological Vietnam that it is.

Thank you for letting us know what your policy is, here.

Also:

I'm a Christian, but I'm more committed to the truth than to making Christianity sound 'nicer.' There is only one way to God (Christ said so himeslf), we get there by accepting God's gift and not by our works, and the Bible isn't clear enough about loopholes for people who haven't heard the truth (infants, isolated civilizations) for me to have a strong belief about that.

On a related note:

Also true is that the Bible does not condemn slavery. Indeed, it reads, "Slaves, obey your master" (though, it also has provisions for the master). The Bible places wives clearly under the authority of their husbands (and again, gives different provisions for the husband).

Many Christian principles are not very attractive amongst today's cultural views that humankind has concocted, but that doesn't make it any less true or right (in my view - becaus I'm a Christian).

I'm probably making a lot of enemies saying that there is an acceptable way to practice slavery and that wives should submit to their husbands all the time, but it's all there in the Bible (and in the New Testament, BTW) - don't shoot the messenger. I don't always like or 'agree with' the way God runs things, but he's God and he can kick my ass.

Amen, brother!

Yikes. Y'all are far too sure of yourselves for me.

There are many problems the Bible raises that heavy-hitter Christian thinkers have been mulling over for hundreds of years, but I don't really see those getting consideration here. I think perhaps I have too much humility for Christianity (just a little irony; forgive me), as there's no way I could make some of the leaps and bold proclamations you do without a lifetime of study (and even then...). I'll stick with agnosticism, and will happily go roast marshmallows with the Greeks (assuming I can get marshmallows in Hell (smores are almost certainly too much to hope for (and the marshmallow sticks will undoubtedly be painfully short))).

I'll bring you some matzah ball soup. Or, bagels and lox if you prefer. And I think I'll have some blintzes around there somewhere.

I do enjoy a nice bowl of matzah ball soup, so it's a date. With my luck hell will just have nothing but gefilte fish though.

Heh. Yeah, I hate that slimy unprepared gefilte fish, but when it's cooked into some sort of loaf, I might eat it.

Well, again, this comes back to the faith issue. Centuries of brilliant Christian thinkers mulling over the same issues only goes to show that the Bible is not sufficient to PROVE anything (indeed, that is not its purpose), or even to narrow itself to only one interpretation. I've done the best I can at interpreting the Bible, using my logic, and experiencing God in my own life and applying that knowledge to developing my own system of belief, all of it based on faith.

I'm not sure of myself at all. I'm sure of God. God told Jeremiah the prophet "but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD , who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.
(Jer 9:14)

Uh oh, now you just picked up all the new enemies that I did! :-)

I have another "devil's advocate"-type question. Pardon me if I'm mistaken, but isn't the New Testament composed largely of (1) letters written by other people about Jesus and (2) four personal gospels that, despite recounting the same exact story, have factual differences within them? I mean, the Old Testament was supposedly handed down by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, so assuming you interpret the Bible strictly literally, there you have God's word verbatim. But given that you have four versions of the story of Jesus with key differences in them, and they're written by other people decades after Jesus died, how do you know that what God and Jesus were trying to get across was still in the New Testament?

It just strikes me that you seem to think God's word is so clear from the New Testament, when it's coming from such outside secondary sources. Granted, I haven't read very much of the New Testament, so perhaps as a Christian, you could explain it to me.

The four gospels don't really conflict so much as they tell different pieces of the same story. There are some interesting conflicts, but not over the most important parts.

The belief is that the letters of the New Testament (most obviously, those of Paul) were inspired by God just as the OT books of law, prophetic books, and historic accounts. The New Testament's sources aren't any more 'secondary' than those of the OT.

Indeed, you touched on what I find to be one of the largest stretches of my Christian faith - but I do make the stretch, here.

But I'm certainly not the most qualified individual to explain this subject.

How many witnesses to an event are required before you'll believe it happened?

Well they have to get their stories straight first.

Have you read them? I challenge you to read them like you were a juror and Jesus was on trial for who he claimed to be.

Look, even if I believed the four gospels were written totally independently wihtout any conferring together, even if I believed the four gospels told the exact truthful story without exaggerating at all, even if I believed the four gospels were not just attempts to hook other people into Christianity, I still couldn't be sure that the four gospels perfectly captured God's word. I respect your decision to be a Christian, but you can't get me to believe in the divinity of someone based on gospels I don't believe in. Sorry.

P.S. I'm sorry if that came across as too blunt, but I'm in a hurry.

What if He's the Messiah, spoken of by the prophets? What if He's the embodiment of all the Law and the fulfillment of all the prophecies?