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Objection to the term 'sect'





nickfyoung
I have regularly been called a member of a sect here particularly by one vocal member. A sect is usually a small off shoot of a main religion and has connotations of being a bit strange.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sect

I prefer to see myself as a part of one of the largest movements within Christianity second only to the Catholic church and indeed, the movement has spread inside the Catholic church, The Pentecostal movement. With some 500 million members and growing spread over several denominations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism

My views have been described here as 'fundy' views but if we look at the articles of faith of the largest denomination within Pentecostalism, The Assemblies of God Church, we find that their views on things such as creation all fit within that 'fundy' range of beliefs.
http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/index.cfm

No doubt, I will not convince our vocal friend but maybe others can see the difference.
Ankhanu
I question why you find the term offensive. I mean, even broader than your specific flavour, out to general protestantism, a much larger group than (which also includes) your more narrow form of Pentacostalism, is technically a sect. Protestantism is an offshoot of mainline or orthodox Christianity (e.g. Catholicism), borne of differences in dogma that were, literally, heresy.
I've never heard the negative connotations of the word "sect", personally... hell, I'd even refer to Catholicism as a Christian sect, and it's the baseline. Though having an heretical origin is commonly inferred in the word, it is not a requisite component.

As for fundy, it's just short form of "fundamentalist", which usually refers to a literalist... which you are, are you not? I suppose there are connotations towards being pretty hard edged about it, but, there ya go.
Bikerman
Methinks the fundy doth protest too much.
The word sect is correct and accurate. Frankly I don't give a toss if you find it offensive...so what?
Are you trying to say that your offence in some way does, or should, limit MY self-expression? Why? I'm not offended. I have no issue with the word, so why the hell do you think YOUR readiness to take offence matters to me?
If I were using incorrect terms or using them inaccurately then I might be inclined to factor your offence into the situation, but, since I'm not, it is obvious that your offence is your problem, and it is for you to deal with it, so I don't see why you consider it worth posting.
I find nearly everything about your belief system grossly offensive but, again, so what? Complaining about offence is no way to behave - one argues against the point that gives offence and tries to defeat it in rational debate. I'm a little sick of whining, self-pitying inadequates, announcing their 'offence' as if it were some important, if not game-changing factor, that all must acknowledge and all must strive to minimise.....utter bollox.
If it's your right to take offence then it is equally my right to ignore it, and I intend doing so.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
The word sect is correct and accurate.


Quote:
The historical usage of the term sect in Christendom has had pejorative connotations, referring to a group or movement with heretical beliefs or practices that deviate from those of groups considered orthodox.[
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sect

Quote:
A pejorative[1] (also term of abuse, term of disparagement, or derogatory term) is a word or grammatical form of expression that expresses contempt, criticism, hostility, disregard and/or disrespect.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pejorative

I don't necessarily take offense at the term sect but I believe it is an incorrect usage of the term in this situation but that is only my opinion which is not really highly regarded here.
Bikerman
You belong to one of approximately 30,000 sects that call themselves Christian. The reason that some find the word 'sect' pejorative is because Christians have frequently used it as a term of abuse for differring groups - so any issues over meanings can be laid at the door of the believers, and I refuse to conspire, or aid, in the perversion of my language by zealots.
I use the word correctly and without bias or prejiduce to apply to all groups of believers within a multi-group over-arching 'system' - as we see in the 3 Abrahamic faiths and in most other belief systems.
The wiki article you cited contains the definition as follows:
"A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger religious group."My use of the word is, therefore, not only correct but actually exemplory - which is, of course, why I chose it.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
You belong to one of approximately 30,000 sects that call themselves Christian.



You are really labeling me now. I choose to believe that I belong to mainstream Christianity of Protestantism. Far removed from the cult that you call Catholicism. The majority of Catholics that convert to Christianity usually leave the Catholic church and enter mainstream Christianity. Protestantism, as introduced by men such as Luther is the closest that you can get to the Biblical Christianity of men such as Paul. But anyway, that is another story and suffice to say that your definition of sect and mine are poles apart.
LxGoodies
nickfyoung wrote:
Bikerman
Quote:
You belong to one of approximately 30,000 sects that call themselves Christian.



You are really labeling me now. I choose to believe that I belong to mainstream Christianity of Protestantism. Far removed from the cult that you call Catholicism. The majority of Catholics that convert to Christianity usually leave the Catholic church and enter mainstream Christianity. Protestantism, as introduced by men such as Luther is the closest that you can get to the Biblical Christianity of men such as Paul. But anyway, that is another story and suffice to say that your definition of sect and mine are poles apart.


A "sect" is always non-christian ? or do christian sects exist ? What about e.g. jehova's witnesses, they have closed gatherings and local gurus everywhere..
Ankhanu
I've never questioned the use of sect to describe any given distinct group within a religious system, and it never occurred to me that it could possibly be taken as in any way derogatory. From my prior reading and experience, it is/was an appropriate word to use to describe almost any given religious sub-group. This thread got me doing a little poking around, curious to see if my understanding of the word was flawed, or if the negative connotations presented were just biased personal projection... and it seems that neither is quite "right", while both being right, and there's a fair bit of disagreement amongst the religious concerning when the word is or is not appropriate. So, after reading several "correct" opinion pieces on how to use the word contextually, and finding several rather different conclusions, I realized I hadn't actually just looked up the definitions from a source that wasn't necessarily invested in how the word is perceived and is more interested simply in what it actually means:

dictionary.com wrote:

sect noun
1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.
2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.
3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.
4. any group, party, or faction united by a specific doctrine or under a doctrinal leader.

Miriam-Webster wrote:
sect noun \ˈsekt\
: a religious group that is a smaller part of a larger group and whose members all share similar beliefs
: a religious or political group that is connected to a larger group but that has beliefs that differ greatly from those of the main group

Full Definition of SECT
1 a : a dissenting or schismatic religious body; especially : one regarded as extreme or heretical
1 b : a religious denomination

2 archaic : sex 1 <so is all her sect — Shakespeare>

3 a : a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader
3 b : party
3 c : faction


It seems that some use the terms sect, denomination, branch (and even sometimes cult) synonymously, while some weight the terms with rather distinct connotations, or weight some while not others. From the definition above, only one of four possesses connotations that could potentially be considered "offensive", though factual, in the inclusion of heresy as a point of division. Of course, I suppose that only has negative connotations if one considers the concept of heresy to be negative (personally, I've found many of the historic Abrahamic heresies somewhat fascinating). By and large, the term is used simply to denote a distinct group, nothing more.


I think I can confidently assert that no one here has been using the word "sect" with any negative connotation, nor intent, in mind... and that we feel (and definitions seem to agree) that it is being used correctly. While we recognize that you have felt slighted by the use of the term, please recognize that it is not intended to offend/slight. I may try to be more mindful of it, but, I really doubt that the proper use of the term is going to shift here on the forum. If you feel offence, do try to remember that we're not using the word as other people you may know have been using it.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Bikerman
Quote:
You belong to one of approximately 30,000 sects that call themselves Christian.



You are really labeling me now. I choose to believe that I belong to mainstream Christianity of Protestantism. Far removed from the cult that you call Catholicism. The majority of Catholics that convert to Christianity usually leave the Catholic church and enter mainstream Christianity. Protestantism, as introduced by men such as Luther is the closest that you can get to the Biblical Christianity of men such as Paul. But anyway, that is another story and suffice to say that your definition of sect and mine are poles apart.
As I said, I don't care what you 'choose to believe'. Your opinion is just that - YOUR opinion. I think it is completely wrong, morally corrupt, and factually nonsensical - and I'm pretty confident that I HAVE demonstrated this - but it matters not one jot. The meaning of the word 'sect' is not dependant on your opinion (or mine for that matter) - it is a matter of record. You belong to a sect and your opinion about the matter doesn't change a thing.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
You belong to a sect and your opinion about the matter doesn't change a thing.


Lets assume then that I belong to a sect as you insist. Can you elaborate a little as to how you see that particular sect. Do you see it as large or small or heretical etc. Is it good or bad, what are it's good points and bad points etc.
Bikerman
You belong to a grouping which is largely Calvinist protestant - reformist. The size of that group depends on how you further decide to classify. You, for example, wish to claim commonality with as many similar groups as possible and therefore disregard any doctrinal differences. This allows you to claim that you are part of a large group which includes Pentecostalists - the fastest growing sect.
I, on the other hand, don't believe this for a second. There are fundamental doctrinal differences between reformed Christianity and the Pentecostalist movement. Most central is the fact that most Pentecostalists are Arminian whilst reformists are Calvinists - the two are mutually exclusive.

Heretical? Of course - every Christian sect is heretical according to members of other Christian sects, otherwise they would never have formed their sect in the first place.
Good points? Few and far between. Calvinism is an ugly and damaging belief system in which humanity is cast as helpless scum, with an inscrutable God figure who creates mankind knowing in advance who will be saved and who will be condemned - regardless of how the person lives their life. It is, to my mind, an evil and thoroughly immoral belief system, which demands blind worship of a monster.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
There are fundamental doctrinal differences between reformed Christianity and the Pentecostalist movement.



You got that right and it is a continued source of conflict between me and the members of the church where I attend. The Pentecostal movement grew out of Wesleyism and so is Arminian by nature and opposed to Calvinism.

However, I have tried to explain where I am at before and will do so again which will probably limit me to an even smaller sect. I am not a Calvinist, far worse than that leaning more towards strict reformed theology. Calvinists are ceasationists which mean that they don't believe in the gifts of the Spirit as Pentecostals do. The strict reformist believes that the gifts are scriptural so you have the strange combination of a theology close to Calvinism but incorporating Pentecostalism.

As such a combination is still rather rare but is growing, I find myself belonging to a Pentecostal church which suits my needs as long as I don't try and push reformed theology. Both civilized members of the two systems can still recognize that they are all still Christian and the difference is not enough to break fellowship. I can still preach in my church and take communion services without stepping on any toes.

So now I have narrowed down my position to a far smaller sect but as long as you can understand where I am at.
Bikerman
Well, it seems to me that you are basically pick-n-mixing your theology. It also sounds like you are a member of a tiny sect that most other sects would define as doctrinally heretical - and therefore not 'proper Christian'.
I have said many times that you do not and cannot speak for 'Christians' or 'Christianity' since you belong to only one sect, but it seems to me that I grossly understated this previously.
Calvinist election makes no sense if you are not a cessationist. Why would God grant the power of the Holy Spirit to men? What would it achieve? Their salvation (or otherwise) is already decided, and if you accept that God is unlikely to grant the gift to the damned, then it means that only the saved could 'speak in tongues' - and this would destroy the whole notion of unconditional election since it would offer a sure-fire method of detecting who was and was not saved.
Afaceinthematrix
Nick, I seriously don't see the problem here.

The word "sect" means a subset of a larger religion. So Baptists are a sect of Christianity.

Many Christians have used this term offensively to label other groups that they don't agree with. The fact that OTHER Christians have used this offensively doesn't mean that BIKERMAN is using it offensively and so why are you offended?

Your religion is a subset of Christianity. So what? ALL denominations will be a sect of Christianity because they're all a smaller set of the larger religion.
LxGoodies
I think Nick wants to represent true (authentic) Christianity.

The assignment "sect" does not fit there.
Bikerman
LOL...Oh, why didn't you say so earlier. Well, if he is a true Christian representative then clearly I will withdraw all my objections and give him a round of applause......err....
Have you ever met a Christian who WASN'T a 'true'representative of the 'real' meaning of the faith?
It is like driving ability in men. 72% of men reckon they are better than average drivers. Similarly many Christians manage to convince themselves that not only do they have a 'relationship' with their Jewish zombie pal, they understand Jesus better than all the others and are just that little bit better. *



* I'm currently working on a little project to work-out how many Christians there actually are in the world. Its a tricky task. I have to first make estimates about the doctrinal 'lines in the sand' of the various sects - ie which dogmas they regard as crucial to their faith - and then cross-correlate between a sample of the nearly 40,000 different sects to arrive at an estimate of how many Christians there are from the POV of 3 different positions within each sect - the ultra, the norm and the recidivist (ie the strict by the book position, the position of most actual clergy, and the position that is as lax as possible without getting chucked out or shunned). Doing some fancy stats on that will then give a number of Christians which will vary across an entire population and I'm hoping that I'll be able to produce it as a 3D landscape where the terrain represents the subjective total of Christians from the perspective of the sects potted on the x,y and z axes...
LxGoodies
CIA factbook wrote:
Christianity - Descending from Judaism, Christianity's central belief maintains Jesus of Nazareth is the promised messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures, and that his life, death, and resurrection are salvific for the world. Christianity is one of the three monotheistic Abrahamic faiths, along with Islam and Judaism, which traces its spiritual lineage to Abraham of the Hebrew Scriptures. Its sacred texts include the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament (or the Christian Gospels).
Basic Groupings
Catholicism (or Roman Catholicism): This is the oldest established western Christian church and the world's largest single religious body. It is supranational, and recognizes a hierarchical structure with the Pope, or Bishop of Rome, as its head, located at the Vatican. Catholics believe the Pope is the divinely ordered head of the Church from a direct spiritual legacy of Jesus' apostle Peter. Catholicism is comprised of 23 particular Churches, or Rites - one Western (Roman or Latin-Rite) and 22 Eastern. The Latin Rite is by far the largest, making up about 98% of Catholic membership. Eastern-Rite Churches, such as the Maronite Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, are in communion with Rome although they preserve their own worship traditions and their immediate hierarchy consists of clergy within their own rite. The Catholic Church has a comprehensive theological and moral doctrine specified for believers in its catechism, which makes it unique among most forms of Christianity.
Mormonism (including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints): Originating in 1830 in the United States under Joseph Smith, Mormonism is not characterized as a form of Protestant Christianity because it claims additional revealed Christian scriptures after the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. The Book of Mormon maintains there was an appearance of Jesus in the New World following the Christian account of his resurrection, and that the Americas are uniquely blessed continents. Mormonism believes earlier Christian traditions, such as the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant reform faiths, are apostasies and that Joseph Smith's revelation of the Book of Mormon is a restoration of true Christianity. Mormons have a hierarchical religious leadership structure, and actively proselytize their faith; they are located primarily in the Americas and in a number of other Western countries.
Jehovah's Witnesses structure their faith on the Christian Bible, but their rejection of the Trinity is distinct from mainstream Christianity. They believe that a Kingdom of God, the Theocracy, will emerge following Armageddon and usher in a new earthly society. Adherents are required to evangelize and to follow a strict moral code.
Orthodox Christianity: The oldest established eastern form of Christianity, the Holy Orthodox Church, has a ceremonial head in the Bishop of Constantinople (Istanbul), also known as a Patriarch, but its various regional forms (e.g., Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox) are autocephalous (independent of Constantinople's authority, and have their own Patriarchs). Orthodox churches are highly nationalist and ethnic. The Orthodox Christian faith shares many theological tenets with the Roman Catholic Church, but diverges on some key premises and does not recognize the governing authority of the Pope.
Protestant Christianity: Protestant Christianity originated in the 16th century as an attempt to reform Roman Catholicism's practices, dogma, and theology. It encompasses several forms or denominations which are extremely varied in structure, beliefs, relationship to state, clergy, and governance. Many protestant theologies emphasize the primary role of scripture in their faith, advocating individual interpretation of Christian texts without the mediation of a final religious authority such as the Roman Pope. The oldest Protestant Christianities include Lutheranism, Calvinism (Presbyterians), and Anglican Christianity (Episcopalians), which have established liturgies, governing structure, and formal clergy. Other variants on Protestant Christianity, including Pentecostal movements and independent churches, may lack one or more of these elements, and their leadership and beliefs are individualized and dynamic

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/docs/notesanddefs.html#2122

Countries list

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html#198

Grab that to get the percentages.. population can be found here

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2119.html#184
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
It also sounds like you are a member of a tiny sect that most other sects would define as doctrinally heretical - and therefore not 'proper Christian'.


I can't seem to get you to understand. I belong to a Pentecostal church called Victory Center which was started by tennis player Margaret Court in Perth, Western Australia. This is part of the larger Pentecostal movement and is in line with standard Pentecostal teaching and is nothing like a small sect. Just because I have some different theological views doesn't exclude me membership.

Quote:
and this would destroy the whole notion of unconditional election since it would offer a sure-fire method of detecting who was and was not saved.


As before, you don't really have a clear understanding. Baptism of the Spirit is usually a part of the Pentecostal movement so all the other denominations who are saved would not speak in tongues.

Quote:
I'm currently working on a little project to work-out how many Christians there actually are in the world. Its a tricky task. I have to first make estimates about the doctrinal 'lines in the sand' of the various sects - ie which dogmas they regard as crucial to their faith - and then cross-correlate between a sample of the nearly 40,000 different sects to arrive at an estimate of how many Christians there are from the POV of 3 different positions within each sect - the ultra, the norm and the recidivist (ie the strict by the book position, the position of most actual clergy, and the position that is as lax as possible without getting chucked out or shunned). Doing some fancy stats on that will then give a number of Christians which will vary across an entire population and I'm hoping that I'll be able to produce it as a 3D landscape where the terrain represents the subjective total of Christians from the perspective of the sects potted on the x,y and z axes...


Very simple. Just determine how many born again believers there are and you have it.
nickfyoung
Afaceinthematrix
Quote:
The word "sect" means a subset of a larger religion. So Baptists are a sect of Christianity.


You can see that Bikerman keeps narrowing me down to a smaller and smaller sect.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
As before, you don't really have a clear understanding. Baptism of the Spirit is usually a part of the Pentecostal movement so all the other denominations who are saved would not speak in tongues.

{EDIT}
I had written a response to the above which was correct but, on reflection, unkind. Because I'm in a good mood and have just spanked the arse of my bike, after enjoying a fantastic cooked English breakfast, I looked again at my posting and decided to pull it.
It changes nothing of course and my opinion of you remains the same, but I'm not going to bring myself down, at least for a couple of days, by engaging with this deeply idiotic bollox...I will, instead, bask in the heightened after-ride enhanced perceptions, before sticking a couple of cold beers where they can do the most good and watching something undemanding on the box.
nickfyoung
I will wait until you are in a not so good mood.
Indi
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
The word "sect" means a subset of a larger religion.

Ah, actually, that's not the proper definition of sect. It's a little more complicated than that. No, check that. It's a lot more complicated than that.

First of all, you're mixing terminology. You have to be clear whether you're talking about the beliefs... or the people/group.

The truth is that we normally don't differentiate between the beliefs and the people... which, honestly, is pretty bad. We view the beliefs as interchangeable with the identity of the people (even to the ridiculous point of attaching the beliefs to BABIES who can't possibly hold them - such as when talking about "Christian children"). That's something we should really stop doing in general.

"Religion" is a word you use when you're talking about the beliefs. A religion is a belief system... it is not a group. People are not really "members" of a religion. People have a religion (or, more precisely, they believe a religion). (Confusingly, people often use the word "religion" to describe an organization, too - so you do hear people saying that someone is a "member of the Christian religion". They only do it when they're being sloppy though - if you stop them and ask them to clarify exactly what they're saying, they won't use "religion" to describe a group or organization.)

"Sect" is a word you use when you're talking about the people/group. People are members of a sect. They don't "have" or "believe" a sect. (But again, people are often sloppy with the terminology.)

That's why saying "a sect is a subset of a religion" is... a little weird. ^_^; It's like saying a women's organization is a subset of a gender, or a communist organization is a subset of a political theory. You're talking about two different things - a belief system and a group of people (who all share a form of that belief system). Sure, they're related, but... "subset"?

In fact, the word "subset" itself is problematic - both for beliefs and for groups. You can't really talk about one religion being a "subset" of another. I mean, is Christianity a "subset" of Judaism? Or, vice versa? Even within just Catholicism, are the beliefs of Opus Dei a "subset" of mainline Catholic beliefs? Well, no, because Opus Dei beliefs are what mainline Catholics believe... plus some extra shit. That would imply that Opus Dei beliefs are a superset of mainline Catholics beliefs - that mainline Catholicism is a subset of Opus Dei beliefs. Which is weird. But even worse, the truth is that Opus Dei beliefs and mainline Catholic beliefs are actually entirely distinct - neither is actually a subset of the other. That's because mainline Catholics believe "mainline Catholic stuff, and flagellation is not necessary (but okay if you want to do it)" while Opus Dei believe "mainline Catholic stuff, and flagellation is necessary". The two belief systems are compatible - you can be a member of both (obviously) - but neither is actually a subset of the other because they have that contradictory belief: one believes flagellation is necessary while the other believes it is not.

That is true for all belief systems. None are actually subsets of the other. Many are compatible - meaning it is possible to have a set of beliefs that do not contradict with either. Some are symmetric - meaning that two people can each have a set of beliefs associated with one of the religions that does not contradict with the other - but most are asymmetric (such as mainline Catholicism and Opus Dei - people who have Opus Dei beliefs do not have beliefs that contradict mainline Catholicism (because mainline Catholicism doesn't say that flagellation is wrong), but mainline Catholics do have beliefs tha contradict Opus Dei (because they believe flagellation is optional while Opus Dei beliefs says it's not).

(Yes, i'm aware i'm misrepresenting the minutia of Opus Dei beliefs, but it was just for illustration.)

So you can't really meaningfully talk about one one set of religious beliefs being a subset of another. But you also can't really meaningfully talk about groups being subsets of other groups.

Are Protestants a subset of Catholics? Well, no, obviously not - they have entirely contradictory beliefs. There is a set of beliefs they share, but both each has beliefs that contradict something the other says (if you're a Catholic you can't be a Protestant, and if you're a Protestant you can't be a Catholic). Okay, what about US-style Evangelicals and Protestants? In this case, Evangelical beliefs are compatible with Protestant beliefs - though the opposite is not true, so they are asymmetrical (if you are Evangelical you are Protestant, but if you are Protestant you are not necessarily Evangelical).

So because if you're an Evangelical you're automatically a Protestant - but not vice versa - does that mean Evangelicals are subsets of Protestants? Well, no. Because Evangelical beliefs have things that contradict mainline Protestant beliefs... not just extend, but contradict.

That's why in general it's a bad idea to talk in terms of "subsets". Instead, you should talk in terms of offshoots. When a new religion forms, it almost never simply takes the beliefs of the existing religion and adds some non-contradictory stiff... quite the opposite, almost always new religions ditch some beliefs of the old religion, and add contradictory (though not always incompatible) beliefs. When a new group forms it almost never says "we're all still members of the old group, we just have some additional requirements"... quite the opposite, usually new groups tell members of the parent group "you're either with us or with the devil".

Categorizing religions and religious groups is hard! And it's made even harder by the fact that the words used for and by religious groups and religious beliefs are often overloaded and used for multiple - sometimes even conflicting - things.

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Okay, so now, given that you can't talk in terms of "religion" (or beliefs), and you can't say "subset"... what is a "sect".

A sect is just an organization built around a particular ideology - usually religious.

Basically, there are 4 types of ideologically-based organizations: church, denomination, sect, cult. The difference between them lies in how well they are integrated with the rest of society.

At the top of the list is "church" - which is not just a building that people go to. (Christians in particular have taken to calling every new sect and cult they form a "church". But that's just thinking big, much like when a small group of fringe wackaloons calls themselves an "institute".) A church not only has full and complete integration with the society... it is the society. In other words, if there's a situation where there is a country called X and a religious group called Y, if saying "i am a citizen of X" is more or less synonymous with saying "i am a member of Y" - or, alternatively, if it would be really weird to say "i am a citizen of X but not a member of Y" - then Y is a church. (And remember, Y has to be a group, not just a belief system - it's not like saying "i am a citizen of American but i am not a Christian", it's more like saying "i am a citizen of the UK but i am not a member of the Anglican Church".) Churches are dying. Even the Catholic Church isn't a church anymore in most places (obviously it still is in Vatican City). As the world gets smaller and people mix and other ideologies start entering formerly closed-off countries, there are fewer and fewer places where this a single, absolute religion.

Next is "denomination". A denomination is a group that is mainstream (ie, most people are members), but doesn't control the society. The Anglican Church in England would be a good example, or the Catholic Church in some parts of Canada.

Then there's "sect". A sect is a group that is not mainstream, but not in opposition to the society. The vast majority of religious groups are sects. In most parts of Canada, for example, there are no mainstream religions because people prefer to keep religion to themselves. However, people accept most religions, and don't think there's anything weird about being part of one - but there's also nothing weird about not being part of one. That is about how a sect is viewed in society. Almost all religious groups in the US are sects when viewed at a national level.

Finally, "cult". A cult is a group that is not only not mainstream, they are in opposition to society. Usually they close themselves off from society and try to do their thing in private (like Lev Tahor), but sometimes they actively antagonize the mainstream (like the Westboro Baptist Church).

So basically, whether or not a religious group is a sect (or a cult, or a denomination) depends entirely on their relationship with the society they're in. It doesn't have anything to do with their relationship to other religious groups. (For example, a sect is a sect even if has no relationship to other groups - it doesn't need to be an offshoot (or "subset") of some other religion. Someone could found an entirely new religion ex nihilo and form a group around it - they're not going to be a church or a denomination (at least at first) so they're either going to be a cult or a sect. If they're generally accepted by and get along with the surrounding society, they're a sect; otherwise, they're a cult.)

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So what are the negative connotations to "sect"?

There are none, really.

There are two reasons some religious people balk at the word sect.

The first is because when you say they're a sect, you're saying they're kinda small fries in the big picture in that society. Religious groups want to be powerful, ubiquitous and influential. Calling a group a sect is basically saying, "you're not all that powerful, ubiquitous or influential". It's saying they're just one of many religions, nothing particularly special about them. You can imagine how that might grate.

The second reason is that historically most places had a single religion that was more or less all-powerful - a church - and being a sect meant that you were probably in deep trouble. Sects are, by definition, heretical, after all - from the perspective of the dominant religion. If they weren't being actively persecuted - burned at the stake and such - they were being treated like shit. In a way, the word "sect" was rather like the words "gay", "black", "foreign", or "girly" - calling someone by the word was an insult, because it was bad to be one of those things. We've kinda grown up as a civilization now (at least a little bit, and at least some of us), and we recognize that diversity is okay, so words like that are no longer insults. Same with "sect" - back in the day when there was only one religion (whatever that happened to be in a particular location), it was bad to be different. Now, it's okay.

Yes, calling a religious group a "sect" was an insult... in the past. It's not anymore. Because we accept diversity and recognize that there are many religions, each as good/bad as the others, it doesn't have have a negative meaning anymore. (Some people still use it that way, sure... but then some people still use "gay", "foreign", etc. as insults, too. Those people are idiots.)

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The last thing i can think to question is whether not nickfyoung's group is actually a sect.

It's a sect. I don't even know what it is or what beliefs are involved - i have no interest in the minutia of Christian theological disputes, i'm only interested in the things all or most Christians agree on. But i do know that there are just way too many competing flavours of Christianity in the US for any one to be dominant (and i'm assuming we're talking the US here). Therefore i can say with almost absolute certainty that it's either a sect or a cult. I seriously doubt it's a cult (those are fairly rare). Hence: sect.

Note: I make this conclusion without any knowledge of what the group's beliefs are, how big it is, how popular it is, etc. I'm using only statistical estimates. There are no churches in the US. There are no denominations, on the national level (though there are some localized denominations). So it's either a sect or a cult. There are very, very few cults. So - by statistics alone - it's almost certainly a sect.
nickfyoung
The believer considers himself to be a part of God's church, the bride of Christ, made up of all believers world wide.

When we moved to where we are now we looked around for a church to attend. we avoided all mainline churches preferring something with the freedom of the pentecostal style worship and of course, avoided the Catholic church like poison.

Most Pentecostal churches are affiliated with a main body somewhere although occasionally you will come across an independent one.

We attended a couple till we found one where we felt at home and are still there now.

The believer is part of the world wide group of Christiana and worships at a local church for convenience and some local fellowship.

He in no way feels part of any particular sect unless he is a bit radical.
Bikerman
Which just shows how deluded you (and your sect) actually are.
First you casually dismiss about 60% of Christians worldwide (Catholics) as non-persona.Then you try to claim fellowship with the remaining 40% - many of whom want nothing to do with you. To pretend that you are somehow part of a group that involves sects ranging from Christian Science, Jehovah Witnesses, Methodists, Anglicans, Mormons.....is simply to delude yourself and to try and delude the reader.
Most of the longer established sects regard the Charismatics as a bit of an embarrassment. Even within Charismatic Christianity (the sub-sects within the previously mentioned sects that are closest to the Pentecostal notions) the Pentecostalists are regarded as 'out there'. It is not difficult to see why. The main thing Pentecostalists are known for is 'speaking in tongues' - which they regard as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The other sects cannot be doing with the notion of 'baptism' in that context because it clashes, fundamentally, with their notions of baptism. That is a pretty fundamental doctrinal difference. But the real killer is the fact that speaking in tongues, spiritual healing and the other things the Pentecostalists claim to be gifts from God - well, these are all well within the realms of materialism and therefore within the realms where such claims can be tested, using the scientific method.
It will be no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to learn that whenever such claims ARE put to the test they turn out to be bogus. This is bad news for anyone who gets too closely aligned to the Pentecostalists - most educated Christians know that whenever their faith makes claims that are scientifically testable then they are in deep doo-doo. Such claims are even regarded as 'difficult' within the sect that makes them more than any other - Catholicism itself. Talk to a Catholic Priest about exorcism and watch them squirm....
And all this is before we come to more fundamental (ahem) problems like the fact that both Charismatic Christianity and Pentecostalism tend to be populated by fundamentalists who reject pretty much all of science since 1850 - not just evolutionary theory but basic particle physics, cosmology, genetics....the whole shooting match......not a tenable long-term position methinks...
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
First you casually dismiss about 60% of Christians worldwide (Catholics) as non-persona.Then you try to claim fellowship with the remaining 40% - many of whom want nothing to do with you. To pretend that you are somehow part of a group that involves sects ranging from Christian Science, Jehovah Witnesses, Methodists, Anglicans, Mormons...


We have already discussed Catholicism who are not regarded as Christians and is why we had to have the reformation. The sects that you quote including Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Science are not sects at all but are cults. The first sign of a cult is the down grading of Jesus.

Quote:
Most of the longer established sects regard the Charismatics as a bit of an embarrassment. Even within Charismatic Christianity


Mainstream denominations, not sects, are traditionally ceasationists and so don't regard the gifts of the Spirit as valid. A Charismatic Christian is just another name for a Pentecostal who has opted to stay in his own fellowship, ie, Charismatic Catholics.

Quote:
The main thing Pentecostalists are known for is 'speaking in tongues' - which they regard as a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The other sects cannot be doing with the notion of 'baptism' in that context because it clashes, fundamentally, with their notions of baptism. That is a pretty fundamental doctrinal difference


You have that all confused too. Baptism in the Spirit is a second baptism and does not clash with any doctrine of baptism. The only difference is that mainstream denominations believe you get all the Spirit you are going to get when you are saved. Both groups have water baptism. Pentecostals believe that if you get baptized in the Spirit you have more power of the Spirit to use.

Quote:
It will be no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to learn that whenever such claims ARE put to the test they turn out to be bogus


Which is just rubbish.

Quote:
And all this is before we come to more fundamental (ahem) problems like the fact that both Charismatic Christianity and Pentecostalism tend to be populated by fundamentalists


No argument there. Which means I must be a part of a pretty big sect after all.
Bikerman
I have nothing confused Nick. I know much more than you about this stuff, as I've repeatedly proven.
Your hypocrisy is hilarious. First you object when you are perfectly accurately and non-pejoratively described as belonging to a sect, then you turn round and happily describe millions of members of different sects as cultists, which certainly IS pejorative.
BTW - Your 'definition' of a cult is as ignorant as your understanding of Christianity in general. Whether a sect is actually a cult has nothing to do with 'downgrading Jesus'. Again it is hilarious to note that your definition of 'downgrading' means, at least as far as the JWs, that they don't accept the compromising and ultimately incoherent fix that was adopted to avoid charges of Polytheism - ie the complete invention of the notion of the Trinity - and in that one regard the JWs have it spot on. It is your sect that has accepted a non-biblical and nonsensical notion, adopted as a political fix and then made into core dogma which nobody understands - for the simple reason that it is pure gibberish.

As for Charismatics being Pentecostalists who stay in their old sect - not quite true. Yes, Pentecostal beliefs filtered into the other sects and some of them were adopted by groups - they became the charismatics. And yes they share a basic renewalist stance - ie the Holy Spirit is still doing the biz. But no insofar as most don't believe the 'tongues' bit which is pretty fundamental to Pentecostalism.
Nor am I wrong about the baptism issue. Catholic charismatics, for example, don't go along with the Pentecostalist notion of a 'baptism' - and calling it a second baptism changes nothing. The basic issue is doctrinal. So we get:
Rev. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa wrote:
baptism in the Spirit is not a sacrament, but it is related to a sacrament…to the sacraments of Christian initiation. The baptism in the Spirit makes real and in a way renews Christian initiation".'
That is theology speak for 'the second 'baptism' is not like the first - a full gift from God (or sacrament) - it is a sort of booster for the first, not a replacement. Then there are the 'third wave' movement - growing quickly - who believe that baptism happens at the moment of conversion, and that subsequent experiences are top-ups which they call 'filling with the Holy Spirit' - ie not an essential and necessary element of Christianity, more of a deluxe extra.

So run along Nick and stick to people who can't see through your nonsense. More likely, of course, you will do what you normally do - frantically consult Google to come-up with some pretence that you knew this.....you should read any citations though, because you have a habit of posting citations which contradict your points rather than support them.

As for my assertion that this is all bunkum being 'just rubbish'
ROFLMAO - quote of the day.
Nick, you wouldn't know anything about it, because you are scientifically illiterate. You wouldn't know a valid study from a marketing release, even if we labelled them in 20 point bold caps. You have shown, over and over, that you have no conception of basic intellectual honesty, - and you have admitted that you have no interest in the truth where it contradicts your beliefs. In short, your opinion on anything except your faith is pretty worthless, and even when talking about your faith the reader would be wise to maintain an extremely sceptical position. Frankly, if you told me the time, I'd still want a second opinion.

For anyone who doesn't know what I'm on about..here is a vid which shows the tongue speakers at work....
nickfyoung
I could go through and refute most of what you just said as rubbish but it would be pointless. Chris, It never ceases to amaze me how you can argue something that you so obviously know so little about and do it with so much authority. It makes one wonder just how much of your other postings are pure bluff and bluster.
nickfyoung
Bikerman, I don't like to be unkind. I have thought of one reason that we are at odds. The born again Bible believing Christian bases his complete and total understanding on the Bible. His faith is from a fundamental understanding of the Bible overall, all of it, nothing left out and nothing added.

You on the other hand have completely refuted the Bible, wrong authors, wrong time frame etc. so Christianity built from that understanding is a hollow skeleton of the other. This is where faith such as Catholicism have come from.

It is fairly obvious that we are therefore discussing two different animals, you are correct with the understanding that you have and I am correct with the understanding that I have.

Whether most of the Bible has been refuted or not is irrelevant to an understanding of Christianity based solely on the Bible. It is an entirely different understanding from Christianity based on a scientific analyses of a refuted Bible.
Bikerman
No that is nonsense.
a) You persist in assuming I have a Catholic outlook. I don't. I understand Catholicism because I've spent a lot of time studying it but I have no love or respect for it. The Catholic church is corrupt and malign - I make no bones about it and have never said otherwise. That doesn't give me (and it certainly doesn't give you) the right to say that the billion or so Catholics in the world are not Christians. It isn't only wrong, its stupid.

b)) You continually refer to your knowledge of the bible as if you actually DID know it - you don't, as I have repeatedly demonstrated. You haven't got a clue. You've even admitted that you don't see reading the bible as something necessary....So what you do is hunt around for people who have read it (they say) and who say things about it that you can agree with. Unfortunately this leaves you open to people like Victor watzisname who you admire but who is a sad and stupid little prat - so stuffed-up with his own importance that he doesn't see how pathetic he really is. So please don't keep repeating this lie that you somehow are more knowledgeable about the bible, or that you somehow understand what it REALLY means. You are simply a parrot for whoever happens to catch your interest, and you don't have the knowledge or skills to evaluate whether they are actually any good or just second-rate self-publicists like watzisname. (I can't be bothered to even Google him - that would give him a significance he doesn't deserve).

c) You have some insane notion that 'truth' is what you want it to be. You think that your notions can be true whilst being demonstrably untrue using the scientific method. This is complete bollox. If a thing is untrue, it is untrue, period. The parts of the bible that are refuted are NOT TRUE. It doesn't matter whether you are a scientist, Christian, both or neither - it is still UNTRUE. The world is not 6000 years old and if you think it is then you are not simply taking a 'different view of truth'. YOU ARE WRONG. You can believe what you like about wooden boats and talking snakes but that doesn't change the fact that they NEVER HAPPENED.

I don't want a compromise with you Nick. I despise your views and I would sooner become a monk than compromise with evil - and be quite clear, that is what I think of your faith, it isn't just wrong, it is evil.

PS - before anyone says I am being offensive - understand 2 things.
a) I am not saying that Nick is evil - he doesn't seem evil to me and who knows, I might even have a pint with him if we ever meet. I AM saying that the faith system he has bought into is evil. If you are not able to make the distinction then that, I'm afraid, is YOUR problem, not mine.
b) I don't really care if some people take offence at my postings or not. There is a whole generation of professional victims springing up and they can, in a nutshell, kiss my arse. I do care whether my postings are, in MY judgement, gratuitously offensive - and I try to make sure they are not. I am not, however, going to allow other people to impose their own definition of offensive on me - other than my fellow moderators who are chosen precisely for that sort of judgement call.
nickfyoung
But you haven't really responded to my suggestion. Regardless if it is evil or just plain wrong the Bible believing believer believes just that. The Bible as it is written, all of it, nothing added or taken away and a firm belief that it is the complete word of God. Nothing you can say can change that. You try to argue that I don't know the Bible or understand it, maybe so, but I understand it the same as all the other born again believers do with no argument on the key doctrines.

So all you can say really is that my belief is wrong. Maybe so but is a common belief. We believe that all those Catholics you mentioned are not Christians in the Biblical sense of the word just as groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses are non Christian cults. Those are some of our beliefs which to you are evil and plain wrong. I am not trying to convince you that they are right but that they do exist.

Your argument now is that I am part of a very small sect whose beliefs are not widely held. Not much I can do about that one. You can believe what you want.
Bikerman
Quote:
But you haven't really responded to my suggestion.
Yes I have - I have shown, repeatedly, that what you assume is wrong on every count. The bible HAS been altered, it DOES contain forgeries and later changes. It is DOES contain a multitude of factual errors and self-contradictory accounts. It CANNOT, therefore, be the inerrant word of an infinitely powerful deity and IS exactly what, to the non-believer, it appears to be - the work of bronze-age people with fairly primitive superstitions.

I will, and I'm not trying to persuade you out of your belief because I doubt it would work. What I'm doing is forensically analyzing this sort of belief, for the benefit of other readers, showing that it is inconsistent, hypocritical, based largely on ignorance, and underpinned by nothing, other than a fallacious appeal to popularity. Evidence which contradicts their belief abounds but it doesn't matter to them, meaning that they can be considered neither moral nor honest.

That's all really. If I can lay that out clearly - and I believe it is now 'Job Done' - then I am content and will consider it well worth the time I've had to spend on it.
nickfyoung
Yes, you have done that pretty well. Don't you just wish you could close your eyes and we would all go away. We do exist and indications are we could do for some time yet. While the mainline churches are falling away with no young blood coming on to fill the pews as the oldies die off, the Pentecostal movement seems to be alive and well and attracting young people with their lively music style and vibrant worship.
Where I go at the moment is very small but they are getting several new converts every month. Where I was before moving here was a big larger and they were getting 20/30 new converts every month. Doesn't sound a lot but if you multiply it with lots of churches it adds up. That church was part of Christian City Church started in Sydney by a guy, Phil Pringle, from New Zealand. He has a membership in the thousands now as well as a dozen churches scattered around with some overseas. The Assemblies of God Church in Sydney has membership in the thousands too and is pastored by the Australian moderator, Brian Houston and has dozens of churches all over Australia.

The thing is they convert young people and raise them up to be pastors and send them out to start another church which is why the Pentecostal movement is growing so fast. They are all fundies too. So it does seem that the problem is going to be around for a while.

If I ever get back to the UK I will take you up on that pint. When we get settled in the Philippines and you ever fancy a tropical holiday I will open our guest room to you.
Bikerman
I have an hypothesis about the rise of fundamentalism that is pretty strong.
Whenever any large institution or group begins to go defunct we normally see a rise in fundamentalism - or back to basics, or 'core principles' as an early response. This happens in politics, in business and in most other areas I can think of. It is a natural response to threat - retreat to a familiar and (the reasoning goes) better known position and it will be easier to defend from there. Christian fundys are those, like Ham, who believe that ever since the Church began to give group on the literal nature of the bible things have gone badly. It is a superficial and wrong-headed argument but it appeals to those who are used to being told what to think. They therefore return to a more literal interpretation of the bible, thinking that this will be a more defensible stance. In reality it is exactly the opposite. It opens them to ridicule and demonstrates the errors in their belief system by chucking them into stark relief. No non-Christian can take anyone who believes in the Noahchian Deluge seriously. No science literate person can take seriously claims that the earth is 6000 yrs old. So the fundys alienate more and more people and isolate themselves, even as they grow.
This surge in fundamentalism is really the death-pangs of religion.
I have never claimed that Christianity will go away in my lifetime - it won't. It is going to die out though, as all religions do. If I was forced to speculate I would give it maybe another century until it becomes a minority interest - at which point it is effectively dead as a religion and becomes more of a cultural history exhibit.
nickfyoung
Quote:
Bikerman
If I was forced to speculate I would give it maybe another century until it becomes a minority interest


Interesting theory but most of the fundies probably believe that the end will come before that.
Bikerman
That's because they don't read and don't understand the bible. The endtimes were supposed to happen during the 1st century - within the lifetime of the Apostles according to what Jesus is reported to have said. They are now around 2000 years late - which is about the sort of accuracy I would expect from a work like the bible.
There's no cure for stupid.
nickfyoung
On the day of Pentecost some 120 believers were hiding in an upper room when the Spirit fell on them with visible tongues of fire and empowered them to evangelize the world.

On April 9th, 1906, in a public meeting on Azusa Street, Los Angeles, The spirit fell on the people attending in a similar way and continued for around three years. The start of the Pentecostal movement was attributed to this happening.

So it seems you can blame the Holy Spirit for all your woes.
LxGoodies
nickfyoung wrote:
Interesting theory but most of the fundies probably believe that the end will come before that.

Fundies indeed. This "end time" notion may be a cultural paradigm that dates earlier than christianity itself. It could well predate it. According to christian source,

Quote:
The implications of this simple textual examination are quite profound. First, it appears that one can fairly easily recover a pre-Christian version of this text, more or less, with very little change to the underlying text itself. What this would then allow is a re-reading of the book as a whole, with its references to the “Beast,” the “False Prophet” and “Babylon” in a pre-70 CE setting. Scholars have most often applied the basic setting of the book to the reigns of the Roman emperors Nero and Domitian, with several stages of redaction in the period from 68 to 100 CE. However, since Rev 11:15 appears to be a clear reference to the city of Jerusalem, not Rome, as “Sodom and Egypt,” an entirely different line of interpretation opens up.

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/can-a-pre-christian-version-of-the-book-of-revelation-be-recovered/

There are Zoroastrianism references too.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_time

This religious trick seems as old as civilisation itself. A reference to the arrival of end-time means "get involved with me quick, I will save you"
nickfyoung
LxGoodies
Quote:
This religious trick seems as old as civilisation itself. A reference to the arrival of end-time means "get involved with me quick, I will save you"


You probably got that right.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
The believer considers himself to be a part of God's church, the bride of Christ, made up of all believers world wide.

Yes, well, the believer can consider himself to be whatever he pleases. That will not change what he is in reality.

The reality is that Christian-on-Christian persecution and intolerance is just as widespread as persectution and intolerance involving other religious groups. (Bikerman's comments hint to me that you engage in anti-Catholic intolerance yourself.) Christians are most certainly not all one big happy family.

nickfyoung wrote:
The sects that you quote including Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Science are not sects at all but are cults. The first sign of a cult is the down grading of Jesus.

Wait... wait, wait, wait, wait... you, who is apparently offended by having your sect called a sect... are now engaging in calling other sects cults? Merely because their religious beliefs are different from yours?

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
Yes, well, the believer can consider himself to be whatever he pleases. That will not change what he is in reality.


The Bible believing believer considers himself to be as he is described in the Bible.

Quote:
Bikerman's comments hint to me that you engage in anti-Catholic intolerance yourself.


Only in so much as Catholicism has become non Biblical. Thats why there was a reformation.

Quote:
Merely because their religious beliefs are different from yours?


No. Merely because they call themselves Christians contrary to what the Bible calls a Christian.

The problem seems to be the Bible as I explained to Bikerman. The Bible Believing believer uses the Bible as his reference point. Once that has been all explained away then as Bikerman has done then we are talking about too different things. There is a Biblical Christian and there is a Christian as described by the non believer and they are too different things.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Indi

The Bible believing believer considers himself to be as he is described in the Bible.
And yet again I have to point out that this is clearly untrue because they don't know what the bible says.
Quote:

Only in so much as Catholicism has become non Biblical. Thats why there was a reformation.
See above. You have no more grounds to consider yourself Christian than do Catholics and probably LESS biblical support.
The reformation was largely a response to the corruption that was endemic in the clergy - particularly the selling of indulgences. That practice stopped centuries ago.
Quote:
Quote:
Merely because their religious beliefs are different from yours?

No. Merely because they call themselves Christians contrary to what the Bible calls a Christian.
No, Indi called it correctly. Simply because you belong to a group that tell you that the bible says X. You take their word for it and then spout it here as if you actually knew what you were talking about when you have admitted, several times, that your ignorance of the bible is quite profound.
The bible is a mass of contradictions, meaningless nonsense and morality tales in the form of parables which can be interpreted in numerous ways. For any quote you give seemingly supporting your sect I can give one seemingly making it unBiblical. The notion that your sect, or ANY modern Christian sect for that matter, is biblical is a demonstrable lie. You don't observe the decrees and injunctions laid out in Deuteronomy and Leviticus - except the ones that suit you. You pretend that Jesus negated them, even though he says, according to the same bible, that he most certainly did no such thing.
Quote:
The problem seems to be the Bible as I explained to Bikerman. The Bible Believing believer uses the Bible as his reference point. Once that has been all explained away then as Bikerman has done then we are talking about too different things. There is a Biblical Christian and there is a Christian as described by the non believer and they are too different things.
Rubbish, for the reasons above.
nickfyoung
Funny how one can go to Wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systematic_theology, and look up systematic theology and find dozens and dozens of theologians over the years who have contributed and all in harmony with each other over the same Bible. That is the Bible I work to and the interpretations of the experts.
Bikerman
Now, remember what I told you about posting links without reading them, or even checking that they work?
Hmm?
Remember we also told you about fallacies - like 'ad populum'?
Finally, asserting doesn't make facts and the idea that all systematic-theologians were a harmonious bunch is rubbish - the problem is that you haven't read any of them and are just doing what you normally do - posting something that you think might help your cause without either understanding it or even reading it first.
If you HAD read it you would know they don't even agree on the meaning of the term 'systematic theology' never mind the actual theology it is supposed to indicate.
Finally, saying that you 'work to' their labours is just plain dishonest, since I can quickly establish, if required, that you don't know what most, if not all, actually said, taught, believed or wrote.
Ankhanu
This thread has fallen well into the trench of "going nowhere"; much as with many other threads like it. I suggest getting it back on to the original topic, or letting it drop. (e.g. discussing what makes a term offensive or not, not how much people know of the Bible)
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
The Bible believing believer considers himself to be as he is described in the Bible.

As i said, the Bible-believing believer can believe what he pleases. He can believe the clouds are marshmallows and the moon is cheese, and little fairies prance about the forests with unicorns. Reality will be unaffected.

No sane person could seriously believe that all Christians worldwide are one unified group. Hell, just turn on whatever Christian pundit you like, and sooner or later you will be rewarded with them bashing some other Christian group. Indeed, most Christian groups are formed precisely because they think everyone else has got it wrong.

Hell, other than a belief in Jesus's teachings, just about the only other thing all Christian groups have in common is that they think all other Christian groups are wrong.

nickfyoung wrote:
Only in so much as Catholicism has become non Biblical.

I don't think there's a branch of Christianity in the entire world that isn't non-biblical. ^_^;

Let's start just with the ones you named - C3 Church (Phil Pringle) and Australian Christian Churches (particularly Hillsong; Brian Houston). How true are these guys to what's actually in the Bible?

Hm, at a glance, i am unsurprised to discover: they're part of the prosperity gospel movement. This here is a reprint of an article in the Australian Business Review Weekly from mid-2005 about the two churches from a business perspective. It sums up the multi-millions of dollars the churches rake in, noting that part of their business is selling Jesus junk (T-shirts, DVDs, etc.) right out of the church, all while preaching the gospel of Gordon Gekko: "Greed is good".

Gee. I wonder what Jesus would say about all that.

It seems to me that good ol' JC had quite a bit to say about amassing possessions and wealth. And... none of it was "sure, go ahead and do it!" The most charitable reading of his teachings is that being rich makes it hard to enter Heaven - he said it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle... he said it would be flat-out impossible for at least some people. His advice is quite clear that while it may not be strictly necessary for a person to give away all their possessions to the poor and work to serve him... that's preferred. This is the direct opposite of what these churches preach, and what they practice.

Further, let us recall the one time that Jesus actually flew into a rage and wrecked shit up. Hm, what set him off? Oh yes. That's right. It was people doing business in the church. Hm.

But here's an even more relevant point. Look more closely at the site i used as a source for the Business Review Weekly article. It's a site about cults. The definition of a cult is a group that is in tension with the society around it. That would seem to imply - though obviously i can't verify because i don't live there - that these religious groups you mentioned aren't really all that well-connected with the rest of Australian society. Is that so?

Remember, i concluded that any given Pentecostal group was probably a sect based on US statistics and society. There are two caveats there: It's a statistical conclusion which means any given group might be an exception, and things might be different in Australia.

nickfyoung wrote:
Thats why there was a reformation.

Well, i'm glad that you're up on your history. Yes, that's right, Luther started the Reformation because of the crap the Roman Catholic Church was doing. Wait... what exactly was it the Catholic Church was doing that pissed Luther off so much? Oh, that's right, they were taking money from people and telling them that they would be blessed for it.

Well, shucks, it's a good thing these megachurch pastors aren't doing that now, right? I mean, i mean, it's not like they're asking their congregation to give them money, and promising that if they do they will be blessed, right? Right? Because that would be....

Well, damn. That's exactly what they're doing. Literally. Some of the clips in that story show Brian Houston explicitly stating that you give to the church so that you can "reap" your rewards from God. He's literally promising people that if they give money to his church, God will do good things for them. That is straight-up blasphemy.

I guarantee you that if Martin Luther were alive today, he'd be nailing a new set of theses to the asses of these guys.

nickfyoung wrote:
No. Merely because they call themselves Christians contrary to what the Bible calls a Christian.

You know, the Bible never actually calls anyone a Christian. So i'm not clear on where you think it defines what a Christian is.

More importantly, you dodged the question. This thread is supposed to be about how insulted you are that people who don't believe the same things are your sect are calling it a sect... yet there are are calling other sects "cults" because they don't believe the same things. Would you care to explain how that is not flat-out hypocrisy and bigotry? Why is everyone else calling your group a sect so gosh-darn bad (when it's really not), but you calling every other religious groups cults (specifically as an insult) okay?
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
that these religious groups you mentioned aren't really all that well-connected with the rest of Australian society. Is that so?


That is very true, although no Christian groups are well connected with Australian society Australia being now a non Christian country.

Quote:
This is the direct opposite of what these churches preach, and what they practice.



Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

The prosperity gospel is a bit of a trend at the moment using verses such as the one above. There is opposition to it in many circles. We must remember that Jesus was not necessarily poor and it has been estimated that the gold he received as gifts as a child was quite substantial. He was able to finance his ministry and have a full time treasurer.

Quote:
He's literally promising people that if they give money to his church, God will do good things for them. That is straight-up blasphemy.


A little bit of a difference. He is preaching to the converted and not promising them salvation for money and is in line with the verse above. Incidentally, it does work and is practiced by non Christians as well.

Quote:
You know, the Bible never actually calls anyone a Christian. So i'm not clear on where you think it defines what a Christian is.


The word Christian is used three times in the New Testament (Acts:11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter:4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called "Christians" in Antioch (Acts:11:26) because they believed in Christ and followed His example. The word was initially used by their detractors in a derogatory sense, but believers embraced the term as a badge of honor. http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/what-does-bible-say-about-who-christian/

Quote:
but you calling every other religious groups cults (specifically as an insult) okay?


Not every other religious group, only those who are non Christian according to the Bible.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
That is very true, although no Christian groups are well connected with Australian society Australia being now a non Christian country.

But that would imply that those groups are not a sects - they are cults.

nickfyoung wrote:
Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

Uh-huh, except:
  1. that was a specific promise to a specific group of people he had cursed for not making their offerings (see verse 9) - he was just telling them what would happen when their curse was lifted, not promising that anyone, anywhere who makes offerings will get lots of good shit; and
  2. even if you want to interpret it as applying to anyone, anywhere, that would require assuming that the bank accounts of these particular churches count as "God's storehouses".
Consider, though, this:

2 Peter 2:1-3 (KJV) wrote:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

And also:

2 Timothy 4:3 wrote:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Both of those are New Testament, but there are plenty of similar warning in the Old. Proverbs puts it quite bluntly:

Proverbs 22:1 & 16 wrote:
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

...

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

Not quite the same message, hm?

nickfyoung wrote:
We must remember that Jesus was not necessarily poor and it has been estimated that the gold he received as gifts as a child was quite substantial. He was able to finance his ministry and have a full time treasurer.

And this is stated in the Bible... exactly where?

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
He's literally promising people that if they give money to his church, God will do good things for them. That is straight-up blasphemy.


A little bit of a difference. He is preaching to the converted and not promising them salvation for money and is in line with the verse above.

No, it's not really that different at all. Yes, he's not promising salvation, but he is making promises on God's behalf. That's a big no-no. It's no different from me saying something, "hey, if you help me mow the lawn, i promise God will give you a bonus later."

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
You know, the Bible never actually calls anyone a Christian. So i'm not clear on where you think it defines what a Christian is.


The word Christian is used three times in the New Testament (Acts:11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter:4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called "Christians" in Antioch (Acts:11:26) because they believed in Christ and followed His example. The word was initially used by their detractors in a derogatory sense, but believers embraced the term as a badge of honor. http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/what-does-bible-say-about-who-christian/

And in none of those cases is it actually calling anyone a Christian. See for yourself. It's all cases of "so-and-so said they wanted to become a Christian" or "if someone hurts you for being a Christian, yay!" The closest it ever comes is: "so-and-so were called Christians (by the people who lived around them)". Never once does it actually have God, Jesus, or even any of the apostles, actually saying "so-and-so is a Christian", or what the requirements for being a Christian are.

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
but you calling every other religious groups cults (specifically as an insult) okay?


Not every other religious group, only those who are non Christian according to the Bible.

Okay, so it is okay for you to call any group whose beliefs don't align with the beliefs of your own group a cult. That just creates new questions. If it is okay for you to call any group with conflicting/different beliefs a cult... why are you objecting to people who don't share your group's beliefs calling your group a sect (not even a cult!)? Even if they were just trying to be insulting (rather than simply stating an objective fact), that's the same thing you're doing. Do you think your group should have special status that no other group should have - as in, it should be okay to dump on other groups by calling them cults, but not yours? Or do you think that you personally deserve special status - as in, it should be okay for you to dump on other groups, but other people (like Bikerman) can't do it?
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
But that would imply that those groups are not a sects - they are cults.


Some strange logic there.

Quote:
And this is stated in the Bible... exactly where?


Matthew 2:11
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.


Quote:
Yes, he's not promising salvation, but he is making promises on God's behalf. That's a big no-no.


Who says so.

Deuteronomy 15:10

10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him, because for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto;

Quote:
And in none of those cases is it actually calling anyone a Christian


Acts 11:26

26 and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass that for a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught many people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Quote:
Okay, so it is okay for you to call any group whose beliefs don't align with the beliefs of your own group a cult.


I have explained this before. We have a group called Christians numbering in the billions who all believe the basics of the Bible. There are other groups who call themselves Christians who don't believe in the basics of the Bible.
Indi
Okay, now you're just trolling. You're not bothering to actually read the points i'm making, and your just going in circles repeating the same points (but never backing them up).

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
But that would imply that those groups are not a sects - they are cults.


Some strange logic there.

Explain why. Because the logic seems quite clear. "Cult" is defined as an ideologically or religiously based group in tension with the surrounding society. You have just declared that group is in tension with the surrounding society. And it's obviously a religious group. Thus, it's a cult. That's not "strange logic". That's logic. That's modus ponens.

You know, something is not "strange logic" if it is absolutely logical but happens to disprove what you believe. It would be your beliefs that are strange, in that case.

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
And this is stated in the Bible... exactly where?


Matthew 2:11
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

And how the hell do you get from there to Jesus was rich, had secretaries to manage his wealth, etc.? How do you know that Joseph and Mary didn't just spend it all before he started his ministry (he was pretty pissed at Mary, remember)? Or that they didn't have to ditch it all when they ran for their lives to avoid the massacre of the innocents? Or that when Jesus started his ministry he didn't just leave it with Joseph and Mary and live the life of a pauper? You're literally making shit up that you want to believe, and lying about it being in the Bible.

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
Yes, he's not promising salvation, but he is making promises on God's behalf. That's a big no-no.


Who says so.

Deuteronomy 15:10

10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him, because for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto;

That has literally nothing to do with what i said. Have you seriously not figured out by this point that i know the Bible really well? Like, way better than you? Because you keep lying about what it says or implies and expecting me not to notice.

First of all, that verse is in a discussion about giving loans. And it is specifically about giving loans to poor people. And it is specifically about giving loans to poor Israelites. And it is specifically speaking to Israelites. (All this is is explained between verses 1-10 and summed up in 11.) None of it is relevant to you or anything else these churches are doing.

The section is talking about the fact that Israelites don't have to pay back loans after seven years. So if you lend an Israelite money, all they need to do is hold on to it for seven years then... poof, it's gone, you're never getting it back. That verse in context is saying that if you've given a loan to a poor Israelite, and they can't afford to pay you back after seven years, don't fret - you did a good thing by helping needy Israelites, so God will see that you're rewarded.

Furthermore, the context in the previous verses makes it clear that this only applies when you're giving money to the poor to be kind (verse 8). And it explicitly says you shouldn't expect to get anything back from it (verse 9).

Which all has ZERO to do with me (or any of these prosperity gospel preachers) saying, "if you do something good for ME (note: not the poor, and certainly not poor Israelites), God will reward you", on just about every level. There is no verse anywhere in the Bible that says you can give to God (or the poor) to get richer. They all say that you should give to God (or the poor) just the hell because it's God (or because God commands you to help the poor). Some promise you will be rewarded for that, some don't - some say outright that the reward is in Heaven. And in several places - at least once right out of the mouth of Jesus himself - it says that your reasons for giving (ie, what's in your heart at the time you give) makes a big difference; if you're just giving in the hope of holy reward you're doing it wrong, because you should be giving to help the poor and needy even if you don't get a reward.

So to answer your question "who says so"... how about the writers of the writers of the two ****** New Testament letters i just gave you! Both clearly identify the kind of scam Hillsong and C3 are doing as false prophets... right down to the method!

And all this aside, in your rush to unthinkingly quote a Bible verse... do you realize that you were just trying to justify an atheist (me) using God's name to trick believers into doing work for him? I'm too ethical to try it, even though you're bizarrely trying to argue it's okay.

nickfyoung wrote:
Acts 11:26

26 and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass that for a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught many people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

Dude, you are clearly not reading a word i'm writing in response and just barking back Bible verses. I addressed this explicitly.

i'm even going to quote myself: The closest it ever comes is: "so-and-so were called Christians (by the people who lived around them)". Never once does it actually have God, Jesus, or even any of the apostles, actually saying "so-and-so is a Christian", or what the requirements for being a Christian are.

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
Okay, so it is okay for you to call any group whose beliefs don't align with the beliefs of your own group a cult.


I have explained this before. We have a group called Christians numbering in the billions who all believe the basics of the Bible. There are other groups who call themselves Christians who don't believe in the basics of the Bible.

You have explained nothing before. You keep repeating the same phrases like a Furby stuck in a loop, but you're either ignoring or not understanding what anyone else is saying.

Here it is in point form:
  1. You start this thread because you object to Bikerman (presumably, but i'm just going to use him as an illustration - no offence Bikerman - because i'm starting to believe you can't think abstractly) calling your religious group a "sect" (thinking that it's an insult, when it's not - it's just an honest description - but let's assume it was meant as an insult).
  2. Then you turn around and call other religious groups - specifically Christian groups whose theology is different from yours - "cults" (specifically as an insult).
In other words, you are complaining about Bikerman doing exactly what you just turned around and did yourself (and worse).

This can only mean one of four things:
  1. You think there are rules that should apply to Bikerman and not you. Because you seem to think when Bikerman does it, it's bad enough to warrant a thread to object... but you are utterly unapologetic about doing it yourself.
  2. You think you are immune to the rules because of your religious beliefs. Because you seem to think that it's okay to insult other religious groups in even worse ways than the one you're objecting to when it was applied to your religious group.
  3. The whole "objection" was just a deception. You faked your offence and fabricated this specious objection, putting on a public act, in a deceitful attempt to garner sympathy for your position by appealing to people's natural emotional tendency to want to help the underdog.
  4. You're just a nut and a bigot, who sincerely does believe that your own beliefs should be treated reverently by other people while at the same time having utterly no respect or tolerance whatsoever for other people's beliefs, and you actually think anyone else might take that seriously.
I have presumed that it's one of the first two options, because i prefer to assume the best of people possible with the evidence i have. Of course, i may have given you too much credit.
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
Of course, i may have given you too much credit.


Indi, I will take all the credit I can get. Obviously need it on here. We certainly think differently on the whole issue and I still object to be called a sect and I still maintain that some religious groups are cults. I have no problem with that so call me what you will and maybe you will gain just a little more insight into how some of us nuts think.
Ankhanu
Just recognize that the offensiveness of the word is NOT on our end; it does not hold negative connotations in its correct use. You are imparting negative connotations all on your own, and they are something you should probably work to put aside.
nickfyoung
Ankhanu wrote:
Just recognize that the offensiveness of the word is NOT on our end; it does not hold negative connotations in its correct use. You are imparting negative connotations all on your own, and they are something you should probably work to put aside.


You are right but I wonder if sometimes meanings of words can change over time. I am going back 30 odd years but sect seemed to have a different meaning back then. I remember looking up Jehovah's Witnesses in one of the major dictionaries, can't remember which one, and the definition given was 'a non Christian cult'. It doesn't say that now of course.
Bikerman
I simply do not believe you. I do not think ANY reputable dictionary would EVER have carried a definition of Jehova's Witnesses as 'non Christian'. I believe that particular bigotry is all yours (and that of many US protestant believers). I do not accept that it can be attributed to the Oxford, Cambridge or other reputable dictionary producer.
I think you need to retract that assertion, or I will be compelled to check it by researching the Oxford and the Chambers dictionaries over last century.
That is more work than I need right now, but I am not going to allow honourable institutions to be smeared in this way without some comeback.
Indi
Ankhanu wrote:
Just recognize that the offensiveness of the word is NOT on our end; it does not hold negative connotations in its correct use. You are imparting negative connotations all on your own, and they are something you should probably work to put aside.

Of course - there's no point to using these terms just to insult these groups. That doesn't help them, but more importantly it doesn't help anyone else.

When you're dealing with a religious group, there are three ways you might want to deal with it:
  1. Coexist with it, while ignoring it. (Let them do their own thing, so long as they leave me alone.)
  2. Coexist with it, while trying to ally with it and work with them. (Many governments have done this over the ages.)
  3. Try to destroy it. (Ideally because they're actually dangerous, not just because you disagree with them, though that does happen.)
Wasting these terms as simple insults doesn't help in any of those three scenarios.
  1. It will only instigate belligerence in this case.
  2. It's obviously stupid and pointless in this case.
  3. Even if your only intention is just to destroy the group, reserving words like "sect" and "cult" to better understand them is still a better idea than wasting them on trite insults. Because it's a lot easier to fight something effectively when you understand it. (Dehumanizing and "alienizing" your enemy is only effective when applied to grunts - the strategists still need a clear understanding of their enemy.) Throwing the useful meaning of those words away just to get a few more insults just robs you of those tools you could use to get a better understanding of the group you're facing off against.
Frankly, if the intention is to insult, there are plenty of terms you can use without wasting useful terms like "sect" and "cult". Those terms have far more value as terms to better understand the nature of religious groups.
nickfyoung
Bikerman wrote:
I simply do not believe you. I do not think ANY reputable dictionary would EVER have carried a definition of Jehova's Witnesses as 'non Christian'. I believe that particular bigotry is all yours (and that of many US protestant believers). I do not accept that it can be attributed to the Oxford, Cambridge or other reputable dictionary producer.
I think you need to retract that assertion, or I will be compelled to check it by researching the Oxford and the Chambers dictionaries over last century.
That is more work than I need right now, but I am not going to allow honourable institutions to be smeared in this way without some comeback.


Chris, I am stating that in complete good faith although I am going back 30 plus years and my memory may not be perfect. I am happy to do that research for you if you can give me some tips. I can't seem to get into a searchable early edition without a subscription.
LxGoodies
Ow there is a source, np

http://carm.org/is-the-jehovahs-witness-religion-christian
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFExZQyNbf0

etcetcetcetc bla bla

and the reply bla bla

http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/are-jehovahs-witnesses-a-cult/
http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/jw.htm

.. but why all the fuzz about this, this whole "cult/sect" thing is a believers debate. The word "cult" is the negative version of "sect" and the larger the distance, the more often you see sect members designating other sect members as cult members. If we would just substitute "sect member" by something with a positive flavour for everyone, this whole discussion evaporates. It can be moved to Faith, it is a Faith thing to make these distinctions and frame people with these words.
Bikerman
Those 'sources' are completely irrelevant.
The question is whether any reputable dictionary has defined JWs as non-Christian. I don't give a toss what some no-mark apologist thinks about it - particularly THAT apologist - Matt Slick - who doesn't know his arse from his elbow, and couldn't find either on a dark night without a signpost.
nickfyoung
Good old Matt Slick. I have found an interesting site that explains how various groups think about various other groups. Haven't been right through it but it does seem to have most of it right. I checked their credentials and they even have an Atheist on the team along with representatives of many religions.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_othe1.htm

As for the dictionary thing, as I said, I am happy to do the research for you but I need a tip or two to find stuff.
Bikerman
The religioustolerance site is OK - I have checked it out before and found the stuff I checked to be pretty balanced and accurate.

I don't have the time to deliver a course in research methods - I am writing one at the moment and it will be available on my website when I've finished. Basically I will be checking first to see if there are on-line copies of the most important dictionaries - Oxford, Chambers and Webster- dating back to the 1980s or before. I suspect there may be but they will probably be hard to find and may require academic subscription access - which I either have or can probably arrange.
If not then I'll simply send an information request to the research team at the OED and they will probably have an answer pretty quickly.
nickfyoung
Been trying to think what books I would have had back then because there was no internet. The only other set of books I had was an old set of Collier's encyclopedias but have not been able to research them online either.
Bikerman
Well, the OED have confirmed that they have NEVER carried a definition of Jehovah Witness - or related definitions for Watchtower etc - that refers to JW as non-Christians, or as their religion as non-Christian. In fact exactly the opposite it true. Every definition that has appeared in the OED - (my contact has promised to confirm, but she thinks the first was in 1902) defines it as a Christian movement, though they then point out the major differences between JW and other mainstream Christian dogma.

So it wasn't the OED and, given that the OED is, I'm pretty confident, the most important dictionary in the world, I find it unlikely that any respectable printed dictionary would adopt a definition which would be in contradiction of OED. I suspect that your 'source' was not a dictionary - and certainly not what I or any serious person would regard as a reputable dictionary - but rather a publication sponsored by a US Protestant organisation, or some similar interested party.
Indi
If it helps narrow it down, the Jehovah's Witnesses weren't called "Jehovah's Witnesses" until the early 1930s. Like, i checked, and the term was literally invented 26 July, 1931. No need to go back to 1902.

Also, the word "cult" wasn't used negatively until the mid- to late-1930s. It is possible that a dictionary before the 1930s might have called a religious group a "cult", but it wouldn't have been meant pejoratively. The modern non-religious meaning of "cult" comes from this usage - when we call something a "cult classic", we mean it's an object of reverence for a particular group of people but not for the general population... there's no negative meaning. Historically, in a religious context, "cult" would have referred to something revered particularly by a small group, not by everyone - for example, within Catholicism, a group that focused on a particular saint would be called the cult of that saint.

So if you're going to find it, it will have to be in a dictionary between 1930 and today. (But you're probably not going to find it - seriously, a popular dictionary calling JW a "non-Christian" group? Ridiculous.)
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
the Jehovah's Witnesses weren't called "Jehovah's Witnesses" until the early 1930s.


Yes, they started out as Russelites after the guy who started them and then they were international bible students. Now I remember reading once, you will probably shoot this down too, that Russels father was a preacher of the fire and brimstone style which he had problems with so he started a religion with no hell.
Ankhanu
Indi wrote:
(But you're probably not going to find it - seriously, a popular dictionary calling JW a "non-Christian" group? Ridiculous.)

I think the idea of it coming from a popular dictionary was inferred, rather than stated. If it was something read, rather than something cobbled together in the vagaries of memory, I would assume it's from a rather biased bit of source material.
Bikerman
No, I try to avoid inference in these matters Smile
NickFYoung wrote:
I remember looking up Jehovah's Witnesses in one of the major dictionaries, can't remember which one, and the definition given was 'a non Christian cult'. It doesn't say that now of course.
Ankhanu
Ah, I missed "major" the first time around and didn't go back to check.
nickfyoung
I will be checking op shops for old dictionaries from now on to see if I can pick it up.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
Now I remember reading once, you will probably shoot this down too...

I shouldn't have to "shoot down" what you write. I am not your ****** fact-checking monkey. You should take some damn responsibility and check your claims yourself... before dumping them in public. You are not a child, you are an adult; you know the difference between truth and lies and you hold to a religion that supposedly values the difference. You're surely intelligent enough to realize that the things you think are true aren't always necessarily so, so you have a responsibility to double-check the things you're not sure about. By the time it gets to the point where someone has to "shoot down" what you've written, you've failed in your obligations to try to be as truthful as possible. You should be ashamed when that happens, and not simply expect it as a matter of course.
nickfyoung
Indi, Indi, Bikerman is our nasty poster here. You are above that. Everything I post is done so in good faith and all honesty. The trouble is, most of the stuff such as the above is coming from memory from books read some 30 plus years ago. No internet then and no Wiki to check so you had to buy another book to verify the first and then another and so on. I had a pretty impressive library those days. Moving from Tasmania, an island state, to mainland Australia was a costly exercise so I opted to give my library to a Christian school. I have regretted it ever since and dearly miss my book collection. Of course, as a relatively new Christian those days, I rather naively took most of what I read at face value. I realize now that the Christian book industry is like any other industry and driven by profit and not necessarily factual content. Checking Russel on wiki now we find that the neutrality of the article is under dispute and the claims I made are at least partly true. There were other issues at stake in his life at the time. So sorry if I annoyed you some what. It was not my intention.
Indi
There seems to be some confusion in your mind. Because one minute you are calling me "nasty" for pointing out something you were doing, and the next you are apologizing for it, making excuses, and taking steps to make amends. Which is it?

Are you really sorry you keep requiring us to fact check your specious (and often quite nasty) claims when - as you have just proven yourself - you are perfectly capable of doing it despite what you say?

And if you are, how is it nasty to point out to someone when they're violating forum rules over and over and over and over (this is not Faith, this is the forum where you're actually expected to back up your claims), not only forcing me and others to pick up the slack over and over and over and over but actually expecting that we'll do it? It's not the shrugging off of the forum rules that bothers me - that's a matter for the mods to deal with, if and when they please - it's the fact that you blithely expect me (among others) to do your homework for you.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Indi, Indi, Bikerman is our nasty poster here. You are above that. Everything I post is done so in good faith and all honesty.
No, it just isn't. You aren't honest, full stop. You ignore or discount any fact which is inconvenient. You make authoritative sounding pronouncements which are based on nothing but wishful thinking and ignorance:
drivel such as
Quote:
Theology is still consistent throughout Christendom except in groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses which have their own Bible,'The New World Translation' and have changed some of the Greek translation to suit their doctrines.
Which is so ignorant it isn't even funny.
'Changed some of the Greek translations' ? WTF? Which Greek translations? Novum Testamentum Graece? The Westcott/Hort Master? The Bover/Merk translation? You haven't a clue.
You seem to think there is some 'original' version of the New Testament and everything else is somehow 'not the original', which is rubbish. All versions are compromised and selective because that is ALL THERE IS. The earliest fragments of the NT don't even agree with each other, and they are already 3rd, 4th or 5th generation copies.
But nobody should take my word for it - do your own reading, or read the work of experts:
Quote:
A 2003 study by Jason BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University in the United States, of nine of "the Bibles most widely in use in the English-speaking world," including the New American Bible, The King James Bible and The New International Version, examined several New Testament passages in which "bias is most likely to interfere with translation." For each passage, he compared the Greek text with the renderings of each English translation, and looked for biased attempts to change the meaning. BeDuhn reported that the New World Translation was "not bias free", but emerged "as the most accurate of the translations compared", and thus a "remarkably good translation", adding that "most of the differences are due to the greater accuracy of the NW as a literal, conservative translation".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Translation_of_the_Holy_Scriptures
Read more on the same page and you will find other theologians stating it is biased and dishonest. What a surprise - theologians can't agree...how unusual. The simple fact is that there IS no pristine text with which one can compare, and any comparison will depend on the baggage that the reviewer brings with him/her. The fact that most people who review this sort of work are theologians belonging to a particular sect means the chances of getting ANY sense out of ANY of them are minimal. Theology is simply apologetics for graduates and not to be confused with true scholarship.

The notion that you and your sect have some 'correct' translation of the Greek, whereas the Jehovas Witnesses have a copy which has been altered deliberately' is garbage. If you actually WERE honest you would have said 'I haven't a clue which version of the bible is closer to a supposed original' because that is the truth. Instead you make assertions about the content even though you know nothing, bugger-all, about the subject. They HAVE made one change which is certainly driven by their beliefs - they translate the New Testament references to God as 'Jehova' which is clearly wrong. But there is similar bias in ALL translations and a good deal MORE of it.
Now we could accept your normal protestation that although you are wrong, you really believed it was correct - except that such an excuse is actually saying 'I refuse to look at the evidence and, even if you prove that I am full of it, I won't change my opinion, therefore I'm honestly stating my opinion and you can't call me a liar'.
Well, I can and do.
This is simply an excuse for being wilfully ignorant and deliberately stupid and it certainly isn't honest. It is a completely dishonest attempt to mislead people by implying that you know things which, in reality, you have no clue about. And that basic dishonesty - pretending to know stuff which you don't and actually can't - is the central dishonesty of all the Abrahamic religions and a good number of the rest. Self-important no-marks who confuse, for their own gain, the difference between 'I believe' and 'I know' and who, when caught in this dishonesty, plead 'well, I was speaking in good faith, I was being honest to my beliefs'.
Bollox, and offensive bollox at that,
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
Changed some of the Greek translations


The main one that comes to mind is John 1:1, In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.
The new World Translation has inserted an 'a' to read, and the word was a god. Hence they have Jehovah God as the big god and Jesus as a smaller god. Two gods.
Bikerman
That translation is neither a creation of the JWs nor is it unique to their bible. That translation - 'a God' appears WAY before the JWs - in the 1808 Belsham translation for example, and even before that in the Newcome translation from the 18th century. Nor is it necessarily even wrong - there is a lot of dispute on the matter and I haven't seen a clinching argument either way.
Those who want to translate it as 'a God' point out that the greek theos (God) is used in the NT with the definite article (The God) when referring to the person of God. In John there is no definite article. Others would translate it as 'the word was divine' since they argue that Theos without the definite article refers to the property of being God rather than the individual which IS God.
So, as I said, you dishonestly assert things which you don't know and then plead ignorance when this is pointed out.
nickfyoung
Nothing dishonest about it. That is how the verse is translated in The New World Translation which suits their doctrine. I am not a Greek scholar and don't pretend to be. I know I have had JW's at the front door quoting from their Bible. I have given them mine to look up and they find it is different in several instances. It is different in enough instances to make their doctrines different enough from mainstream Christianity for Mainstream Christianity to label them as a cult. It is not my label.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Nothing dishonest about it. That is how the verse is translated in The New World Translation which suits their doctrine. I am not a Greek scholar and don't pretend to be.
No, you don't say? Well neither am I but, once again, I end up doing the fact checking that you are too dishonest to bother with. It is TOTALLY dishonest. You stated that the JW translation inserted 'a'. It didn't. It simply used one of the standard translations, from long before JW came into existence. The translation that their bible has is used in several other bibles and the implication that JWs changed the text is WRONG, and it is DISHONEST because it takes minutes to check.
In future I'm just going to bin your postings where they contain this sort of dishonesty - I through trying to educate you and I'm sick of having to correct you.
Neither is there any such thing as 'Mainstream Christianity' and even if there was you would not be a spokesperson for it, nor in all likelihood would you be even a member.
nickfyoung
Quote:
The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity.

Quote:
The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

Quote:
Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the savior of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer to Jesus as Christ or the Messiah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

Wiki has no problem using terms like mainstream Christianity and Christians believe and most Christians etc.
Bikerman
Wiki is not infallible, but in any case Wiki would be using the term 'mainstream' here to refer to the largest sects - which would be Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox and the main Protestant sects. YOU, on the other hand, have a completely different notion because you don't even include Catholicism in Christianity. The same applies for terms like 'most Christians' or 'the majority of Christians'. These terms only have meaning if you are clear about who is and who is not a Christian. Wiki IS clear - it takes the line that I take and that most non-partisans take - ie whoever defines themself as Christian IS Christian. So when Wiki uses the term 'most' I know exactly what it means - it means more than 50% of people who self-identify as Christian.

When YOU use the term it means something completely different - and in truth nobody knows what the hell it means, because it depends who you happen to think is Christian and who is not. Since I am not aware of you publishing an exhaustive list anywhere, then there is no way for anyone to know exactly who you include and don't include - even assuming anyone actually cared, which they don't.
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
So when Wiki uses the term 'most' I know exactly what it means - it means more than 50% of people who self-identify as Christian.


Yes, and Wiki states what those majority of Christians believe which is how they are determined to be the majority. Most Christians believe the same things. Those that believe otherwise are relegated to your sect and cult class.
Indi
You're clearly not reading what Bikerman is writing, or at least making no effort to understand him.

Wikipedia does not classify groups as Christian or not, or as sects or not, based on their beliefs. Wikipedia's one and only standard for determining which groups are Christian and which are not is simple: ANY GROUP THAT CALLS THEMSELVES "CHRISTIAN" IS CHRISTIAN. Period. That's it. There's nothing more to it. Any group that calls themselves Christian, is Christian. That's why you get absurdities like Christian atheists (Wikipedia calls them Christians because they call themselves Christians) on one hand, and people who revere Jesus and his teachings but aren't Christians (Wikipedia does not call them Christians because they do not call themselves Christians) on the other.

After Wikipedia has rounded up all these groups:
  1. Then it determines which groups are "mainstream" or not by looking at the size of the groups and how well they are integrated with their respective societies.
  2. Then it looks at the beliefs and looks to see which beliefs are common across all or most groups, and which beliefs are more common in mainstream groups, etc..

To repeat this for clarity:
  • No, Wikipedia does NOT judge who are really Christians and who are not based on what their beliefs are. (They don't do that for any religion. For example, even though the vast majority of Muslims do not consider Ahmadis to be Muslims, Ahmadis consider themselves to be Muslims, so lo, there they are on the Wikipedia page about Muslims.) Any group that calls themselves Christian, is Christian, period.
  • No, Wikipedia does NOT categorize groups as cults or sects based on whether their beliefs are similar to mainstream beliefs. When and if it does mention that a group is considered a cult, a sect, or a denomination, it is ALWAYS because of the way the group interacts with society - not because of their beliefs.
If you're looking for bigotry on Wikipedia, you're wasting your time. Wikipedia does not judge beliefs, it simply lists facts. If your group calls itself Christian, it's Christian; if your group does not call itself Christian, then it's not - WIkipedia simply reports that without judgement.
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
You're clearly not reading what Bikerman is writing, or at least making no effort to understand him.


Goes both ways. You are doing the same to me. What I am saying is, Wiki lists all who call themselves to be Christian as Christian. No argument there.

However, Wiki also lists what the majority of Christians believe. The core tenants of Christianity are common over most Christian groups. Wiki calls this mainstream Christianity or the Christians who have a common ground, the majority of Christians.

What I am saying is that the Christians outside this mainstream , those who don't believe the core tenants as the mainstream does, or believes something different altogether, are the ones that mainstream Christianity classify as outside the mainstream of Christianity and so labels them sects or cults.

Quote:
If you're looking for bigotry on Wikipedia, you're wasting your time.



It is mainstream Christianity who labels groups cults etc,, not Wiki

Bikerman
Quote:
When YOU use the term it means something completely different


That is just rude. You guys have labelled me and so interpret everything I say according to that label which is, just rude.
Bikerman
If you think it is rude to point out that when you use the term 'mainstream christianity' that is completely and utterly different to when Wiki uses the term, then you are even more deluded than I thought. You exclude a huge group that wiki categorises as part of the mainstream - Catholics. Since there are more Catholics than the rest of Christians put together, to exclude that group is not only perverse, it means that what YOU call 'mainstream' is bound to be completely different to what wiki calls 'mainstream'.
As I said, the fact that you think me pointing this out is 'rude' is of little interest. To people living in the real world, with a basic understanding of honesty, it isn't rude, it is simply factual.
deanhills
Agreed that the direct meaning of "sect" is factual, however if one searches on the use of the word Sect, particularly in the context of religion, one will definitely find at least a few articles discussing people's sensitivity to the word. So it is a known phenomenon that people can be sensitive to its use. And if they are, and there are other words that can be used instead, it is probably better to use other words.

Here is one example of a discussion about the term "sect" that clearly suggests people may be sensitive to its use - it is a known phenomenon:
Quote:
We recommend that the term "sect" never be used in articles, speeches, essays, sermons, etc., unless it is carefully defined in advance -- and often not even then. We suggest that the faith group be simply referred to by its formal name, or as a new religious movement.

Source: ReligiousIntolerance.org: Definitions of terms:Cults, Sects and Denominations

The research article below is quite a significant one discussing all of the different Christian groupings at 2011. Google it and you won't find a single reference to the word sect in the article. If sect was an acceptable factual word to use, I'm sure it would have been used in this research article:
http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-traditions/

Here is a further article that supports the theory that the word "sect" can result in negative feelings. Just the mere fact that one has to tell another person not to react sensitively to the word, already proves the opposite, i.e. the meaning of it may offend even when it is not supposed to be offensive.
Quote:
The terms "sect" and "sectarianism" are applied in the religious, philosophical and the political realms. When we hear these terms we begin to have negative feelings. Nobody wants to be a sectarian, and nobody wants to belong to a sect.

However the meaning of the word "sect" is not slanderous at all:

The word derives from the Latin secta meaning "followed principle, guideline and party". The Latin noun (according to 'Duden's German dictionary') probably belongs to the Latin sequi (secutum), which means "to follow". The noun "sectarian" - follower of a sect - first appears in the 17th century. It is interesting to note the connection between the words "sequi" and "con-sequent" (in Latin con-sequi - "follow together"). Most common dictionaries explain the term "sect" in the religious realm, as a small fellowship, separated from a Christian church or other main religions
.
Source: Christian Assemblies International: What is a Sect?
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
Indi
Quote:
You're clearly not reading what Bikerman is writing, or at least making no effort to understand him.


Goes both ways. You are doing the same to me.

I am reading exactly what you're writing, and it's wrong. No, not the little snippet you posted where you say we agree. This bit:

nickfyoung wrote:
The core tenants of Christianity are common over most Christian groups. Wiki calls this mainstream Christianity or the Christians who have a common ground, the majority of Christians.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. You have reality completely backward to begin with, and even if you didn't, you're wrong about the way Wikipedia (or any other secular interest categorizing religion) does it.

First, no, the "core tenants (sic) of Christianity" are not "common over most Christian groups". That is back-asswards. What actually happens is that you start with figuring out which groups are Christian (ie, whoever calls themselves Christian), and then you collect all of the various beliefs of all of these groups and look for patterns. When there are beliefs shared by most (if not all) groups, those beliefs are defined as the "core tenets". They are not fixed, and they are not what Christians "should" believe to be mainstream Christians. In fact, the core tenets of Christianity can change as the most popular beliefs change... and they have (as the Wikipedia article on Christians points out repeatedly). The core tenets of mainstream Christians even a hundred years ago were nothing like the core tenets today - never mind the core tenets of mainstream Christians a thousand years ago.

Second, no, Wikipedia does not "call" the people who hold the most popular beliefs mainstream Christians. It calls the groups with the most people mainstream Christian groups, and the members of those groups are mainstream Christians. BELIEFS. DO. NOT. MATTER. After it has figured out who mainstream Christians are, then it looks at which beliefs are generally common.

To understand why the method you're describing is wrong (and, actually, quite offensive), consider the following example. Suppose someone said "most hockey fans are white". How would we determine that? Well, the first part is the part we "agree" - whoever calls themselves a hockey fan is a hockey fan. But how do we determine the skin colour of most hockey fans?
  • Your way:
    Define the "core characteristics" of hockey fans to include "hockey fans should be white"... then check all hockey fans to verify that the majority are, indeed, white. They are, so it's true that "most hockey fans are white".
  • The right way (used by Wikipedia, etc.):
    Study all hockey fans, and make note of their skin colour... count the number with each colour, and if one colour dominates the count, you can say that most hockey fans are that colour. In this case, white skin dominates, so it's true that "most hockey fans are white".
What you fail or refuse to understand is that real scholars (and encyclopediaists) who study and classify religions are not bigots. They don't draw up rules about what is "true" Christianity/Islam/whatever, then cast judgement on people or sects to determine how well they fit. That's just not how the real world works.

In fact, this may shock or confuse you, but no one really cares about your beliefs. Seriously. No one cares. It doesn't matter that you believe Jesus existed, or that he was actually a god, or that everything written in the Bible is true. Doesn't matter - no one cares. People classifying Christianity do not even care whether people who call themselves Christians believe that Jesus actually exists (in fact, there are some groups that are considered Christians who think that Jesus was a myth). Beliefs are totally irrelevant. When we're being serious about classifying religion, we do not define Christianity as "people who believe in Jesus" and go from there - we do not define Christianity at all; we simply tally up everyone who considers themselves Christian, and they we find out what they all (or mostly) have in common. If the most popular beliefs change (which they have several times, in the past), then the mainstream beliefs of Christianity will change (which it has, several times in the past). Today mainstream Christian beliefs are that Jesus was God incarnate; next year mainstream Christian beliefs may be that Jesus was a space alien.

Put simply: no one in the secular world is using judgements of religious people's beliefs to classify them. That just doesn't happen, frankly because no one in the secular world really cares about the beliefs - all religious beliefs look weird and wacky when you approach them as scholars (or encyclopediaists). We simply tally up the people who call themselves Christian/Muslim/whatever, and note the patterns. That's it.

nickfyoung wrote:
It is mainstream Christianity who labels groups cults etc,, not Wiki

What you are talking about is straight up bigotry, nothing more, nothing less.

Wikipedia (indeed, any serious scholar) determines what groups are cults based on the groups' interactions with society, not based on what "mainstream Christianity" says. For completeness Wikipedia will mention that most Christians consider some group to be a cult, but it will not say "therefore, it really is a cult", because the opinions of "mainstream Christians" are irrelevant - all opinions are irrelevant, only the facts matter.
nickfyoung
Sorry Indi, I have to disagree. The core tenants of Christianity were set on day one and I can't see where they have changed or deviated at all till now.
Wiki makes statements like, 'most Christians believe', etc acknowledging that there is a majority believe system in place. We just have to look at the name which implies Christ is the central tenant of it all.
Google any issue on Christianity and you will get thousands of Christian sites all offering their little bit. On most of those sites you will find a little button which will show you how to be a Christian and even lead you there on the spot. That is the common thread through them all, Christ, and that has not changed since day one.
truespeed
I think the reason why you're not getting it Nick is because you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,and not just catholics,every other religious group who calls themselves christian. Catholics are as mainstream christianity as it gets.

Unfortunately for you,you as an individual don't get to decide who is and who isn't christian.
nickfyoung
truespeed wrote:
I think the reason why you're not getting it Nick is because you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,and not just catholics,every other religious group who calls themselves christian. Catholics are as mainstream christianity as it gets.

Unfortunately for you,you as an individual don't get to decide who is and who isn't christian.


I wish you guys would debate the post at hand and not post comments based on what you think I believe and what I don't.

Quote:
you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,


Who says so. What do you base that comment on.
truespeed
nickfyoung wrote:
truespeed wrote:
I think the reason why you're not getting it Nick is because you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,and not just catholics,every other religious group who calls themselves christian. Catholics are as mainstream christianity as it gets.

Unfortunately for you,you as an individual don't get to decide who is and who isn't christian.


I wish you guys would debate the post at hand and not post comments based on what you think I believe and what I don't.

Quote:
you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,


Who says so. What do you base that comment on.



You have said it a few times,I am on a tablet so it isn't easy to search your posts,but I managed to find this one.


Quote:
I will assert it again for you. Catholics are not Christians. Prove that they are


http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-142687-2.html


Your comment,11th post down.
nickfyoung
[mod]
Posting removed since it added nothing to the debate and simply restated the previous bigotry.
Bikerman
[/mod]
Ankhanu
nickfyoung wrote:
truespeed wrote:
I think the reason why you're not getting it Nick is because you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,and not just catholics,every other religious group who calls themselves christian. Catholics are as mainstream christianity as it gets.

Unfortunately for you,you as an individual don't get to decide who is and who isn't christian.


I wish you guys would debate the post at hand and not post comments based on what you think I believe and what I don't.


We actually ARE debating the post at hand, and, quite unfortunately, your beliefs are central to the entire concept of the thread, from post #1 on. We are discussing the offensiveness of the word "sect"... which is unoffensive in most circumstances, but, due to your beliefs has been taken as such. You find the term offensive due to what you believe. With that in mind, in order to discuss the acceptability/offensiveness of the term, we must discuss beliefs and contexts.

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
you just can't get your head around the fact that Catholics are Christians,


Who says so. What do you base that comment on.

If you can seriously ask this question, you absolutely have not read anyone's responses (which I find offensive). You like wikipedia, why don't you start there.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Sorry Indi, I have to disagree. The core tenants of Christianity were set on day one and I can't see where they have changed or deviated at all till now.
Wiki makes statements like, 'most Christians believe', etc acknowledging that there is a majority believe system in place. We just have to look at the name which implies Christ is the central tenant of it all.
Google any issue on Christianity and you will get thousands of Christian sites all offering their little bit. On most of those sites you will find a little button which will show you how to be a Christian and even lead you there on the spot. That is the common thread through them all, Christ, and that has not changed since day one.

Utter rubbish which illustrates, better than anything Indi or I could say, just how completely ignorant you are.
There WAS NO DAY ONE. There NEVER HAS BEEN a time when there was a single belief system we could call CHRISTIANITY. For the first 3 centuries the various groups didn't even agree on things like 'was Jesus real?, was he mortal? was he divine? was he an intermediary or a prophet?'. There were hugely different beliefs spread amongst small communities of religious zealots and the idea that they all had a 'core tenant' - you actually mean tenet - is not only wrong, it is about as wrong as it is possible to be. You demonstrate time after time that you haven't got the first clue about any of this stuff. Indi and I correct your ignorance time after time and you come back with more garbage. You don't even have the grace to appear embarrassed, and you have the cheek to post as if you were contributing to an discussion amongst peers, rather than being continually corrected and schooled by people who know so much more about this stuff than you do that it would be funny, if it wasn't so damn pathetic.
The nearest thing to a unified Christian dogma comes with the 1st council of Nicea in 325CE, the adoption of the Nicene creed and the subsequent (failed) attempts to eradicate 'heretical' groups - particularly the Meletians & Arians, who opposed these developments. The closest Christianity has ever come to being a 'unified belief system' is when it was under the dominant control of the Catholic church (at least here in the west) in the dark ages and up to the renaissance. The reformation was the start of the utter fragmentation of Christianity - a process still under-way. This is, of course, ironic since you don't even believe that Catholics ARE Christian, and so the one period in which your claim of unity is wrong, but not complete and utter bollox, is the time that the Christian faith, in your view, wasn't Christian.
You are deeply ignorant about the faith you try to proselytise. You haven't got the self-knowledge or self-honesty to see how ridiculous you are, being schooled in your own faith by atheists who are continually surprised at just how little you actually know.
nickfyoung
The main problem here is the two different perspectives that we are coming from, which is understandable as we are have two different world views. Regardless as to the facts of the matter, the Christian world view encompasses the start of Christianity with the death of Christ and that has been the central theme of Christianity ever since. Now you can say that it is wrong and so it may be but the Christian isn't interested in hearing that. His system is based on faith which holds his belief together. I can tell you what the Christian belief system is but you reject that and tell me I am wrong and my belief is just part of a small sect while the rest of Christianity wonders away doing all the stuff you believe.
All I can say is, I have been around many church systems over the last 35 years both here and in the Philippines and can only offer personal experience. The Christianity I know is not the one you portray.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
Sorry Indi, I have to disagree. The core tenants of Christianity were set on day one and I can't see where they have changed or deviated at all till now.

This has already been discussed repeatedly. Pound your chest and make empty assertions all you want, it won't change the facts: Christianity today is not the same as it was a few hundred years ago, not even remotely like what it was 1800 years ago. Anything you think you know about Christianity that is absolutely certainly a core tenet that has never changed almost certainly has. Anybody who seriously cares about the issue here has already seen the obvious truth - your continued denial of it will not change it, nor will it convince anyone.

nickfyoung wrote:
Wiki makes statements like, 'most Christians believe', etc acknowledging that there is a majority believe system in place.

Uh, no. Wikipedia is just noting common trends. That's all. It means nothing. It doesn't mean that the trend exists because of some plan, or because it had to exist for some reason. It certainly doesn't mean that the trend it observes is "right", or that it means the majority belief system is there because it represents the "truth" about Christianity, or that the most popular tenets make up "true" Christianity. Wikipedia will also certainly note that most Christians are of European descent. What do you think that means? Does that mean only people of European descent are "true" Christians? No, of course not. It means nothing, that's what it means. It's just a statistical fact. That's all. It will change as the statistics change.

nickfyoung wrote:
We just have to look at the name which implies Christ is the central tenant of it all.

Yeah, right, so I guess that means the Bible has nothing to do with it all. After all, it's not called Biblianity.</sarcasm>

Dude, you yourself know full well - and i know you know this, because you pointed it out yourself - why Christians are called Christians, and it has NOTHING at all to do with what modern Christians believe.

nickfyoung wrote:
Google any issue on Christianity and you will get thousands of Christian sites all offering their little bit. On most of those sites you will find a little button which will show you how to be a Christian and even lead you there on the spot.

And how much do you want to bet that pretty much every one of those sites offers entirely different advice on how to do that. Ah but of course, you'll probably dismiss most of the variations as "not true Christians".
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
NOTHING at all to do with what modern Christians believe.


That may be a clue here as to the confusion. You seem to be saying that modern Christians believe differently from original Christians. Or that modern Christians are some how different to original Christians.

Quote:
And how much do you want to bet that pretty much every one of those sites offers entirely different advice on how to do that. Ah but of course, you'll probably dismiss most of the variations as "not true Christians"
.

Couldn't lose that bet. Sorry to disappoint you again but you will find the method is universal.
I am not sure we are talking about the same thing here.

Take the Bible as literal and the inspired word of God unchanged from the start. Regardless of how it has been refuted, we are now looking from a believers perspective. It teaches that Jesus was the sacrifice for all our sins and redeemed us back to God if we accept it. At that point of acceptance we become filled with the Spirit and are born again. That is the central message of the Bible and what all Christians teach.

You may be talking about some modern influence by a liberal movement and I won't deny that has occurred and has an influence and that is your term 'true Christians' comes into play. There is a difference between a born again believer and a non born again believer regardless how you lump them all together.
Indi
nickfyoung wrote:
That may be a clue here as to the confusion. You seem to be saying that modern Christians believe differently from original Christians. Or that modern Christians are some how different to original Christians.

Okay, now i have to believe you're being deliberately stupid just to troll.

There is no "confusion". You are making a bullshit claim, and you have had that pointed out to you multiple times by multiple people, yet you refuse to accept reality.

I do not "seem to be saying" that Christianity was different in the past. I ****** say that Christianity was different in the past. Clearly, explicitly, and repeatedly, and you know this. I have even provided evidence on numerous occasions. Don't play stupid.

nickfyoung wrote:
I am not sure we are talking about the same thing here.

No, i'm talking about reality.

nickfyoung wrote:
Take the Bible as literal and the inspired word of God unchanged from the start. Regardless of how it has been refuted, we are now looking from a believers perspective.

See? No reality here.

No, that is NOT how one looks at it from "a believer's perspective". This Gallup poll shows that not even a third of Americans... Americans, the wackiest of the wacky when it comes to Christianity... take the Bible as literal.

nickfyoung wrote:
At that point of acceptance we become filled with the Spirit and are born again.

Again, no reality here.

By far the vast majority of Christians do not believe that "acceptance" is necessary to be born again. The Catholics, for example, believe you are born again at baptism - which, for most, happens in infancy. Other groups believe that there is absolutely nothing you can "do" to be born again - God and only God will decide if and when you are born again, and all you can do is do your best to try to convince him that you're worthy.

nickfyoung wrote:
That is the central message of the Bible and what all Christians teach.

No, it isn't. ^_^; Not even close. Like 70%* of Christians do not believe that.

* (My rough estimate, a low one - simply determined by counting non-Evangelicals because none of them buy the acceptance model of being born again, without considering literalism at all. The reality, if you consider literalism too, is probably closer to 90%.)

nickfyoung wrote:
You may be talking about some modern influence by a liberal movement and I won't deny that has occurred and has an influence and that is your term 'true Christians' comes into play.

No, i am not going to let you play the bigotry card to weasel away from your lies - what you are saying is not "true by your definition", it is ****** false.

You are lying. You are pretending that your particular flavour of Christianity is the only "true" one, and everything you say is actually correct if one accepts that. Bullshit. This is the philosophy forum. Something is only "correct" if you can freaking prove - via evidence or logic - that it is correct. It is not "correct" if you just assume it is correct then assert it is correct.

And it has been shown to you... not once, not twice, but dozens of times... that your claims are false. Completely freaking false. The first time you made them, okay maybe a mistake. The second time, there's a problem. But the tenth or hundredth time you keep repeating the same shit that's been disproven over and over and over, you're just trolling. No, worse than trolling, you are lying.

And if you think you can just keep lying, and eventually we'll all just get bored of calling it out, think again. There are plenty enough diligent and honest people on these forums that every time you slither into a discussion and drop one of your turds, there will be someone ready to point it out and demand you clean it up. You are a very patient and persistent troll, but you will not outlast us.
nickfyoung
[mod]
Troll posting removed.
Bikerman
[/mod]
Bikerman
[Mod hat]
I dislike having to play moderator in threads in which I am active. It leaves me open to the obvious charge of bias. At the same time I am not willing to let this forum be trolled and if that means that some posters think I am being unfair in my interventions then so be it. I am sorry if you think so but I believe you are wrong and, at the end of the day, I can only act in the way which I believe is correct.
Any complaints about this matter should be directed via pm to either myself or another member of staff.

[/Mod hat]
nickfyoung
Indi
Quote:
Christianity today is not the same as it was a few hundred years ago, not even remotely like what it was 1800 years ago. Anything you think you know about Christianity that is absolutely certainly a core tenet that has never changed almost certainly has.


Quote:
Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning "the anointed one",[1] together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is a monotheistic[2] religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world's largest religion,[3][4] with approximately 2.2 billion adherents, known as Christians.[5][6][7][8] Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the saviour of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer to Jesus as Christ or the Messiah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

We can see there from Wiki that Jesus was the central theme to Chrisianity

Quote:
The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father.

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds (from Latin credo, meaning "I believe"). They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

We can also see that these foundational beliefs were set in creeds by the 4th/5th century. I can remember reciting those same creeds in church.

Quote:
Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be saved from a universal condition of sin and death than the question of how both Jews and Gentiles can be in God's family. According to both Catholic and Protestant doctrine, salvation comes by Jesus' substitutionary death and resurrection. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation does not occur without faithfulness on the part of Christians; converts must live in accordance with principles of love and ordinarily must be baptized.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

Wiki says that modern Christians still adhere to salvation through the death of Jesus. I am sorry Indi, but I just can't see the changes you talk about.
Indi
Bikerman, aw man! But the trolling was hilarious. ^_^; He totally disproved i had no clue what i was talking about when i roughly estimated that ~30% of Christians are born-again Christians... by providing a survey that showed that 34% of Christians were born-again Christians. I was so proven wrong! Oh the shame, the shame! ^_^;

nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father.

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds (from Latin credo, meaning "I believe"). They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

We can also see that these foundational beliefs were set in creeds by the 4th/5th century. I can remember reciting those same creeds in church.

It boggles my mind how you can read something entirely contradicting your claims... and somehow "see" that it supports you. I mean, here you are claiming that the beliefs haven't changed since the beginning... while you yourself post proof that it has. Your own quotes state outright that there were doctrinal disputes that existed since the beginning, and were even expanded ~400 years after the founding.

nickfyoung wrote:
I am sorry Indi, but I just can't see the changes you talk about.

Because you're totally ignoring everything i and everyone else has ever said about the changes that have happened, and only seeking out confirmation for the things you think are true, and reading what you find using skewed interpretations that distort and hide the reality of the many doctrinal variations that have existed in the past, and continue to exist. And when you are finally faced with a blatant doctrinal disagreement you can't just pretend not to see, you say they're not "true" Chrsitians.
nickfyoung
There has always been doctrinal disputes and there still are and I guess there will always be. Two groups can argue savagely over a doctrinal dispute each claiming to be correct while their core belief is the same.

Quote:
Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning "the anointed one",[1] together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is a monotheistic[2] religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament.

Quote from a previous post.

There may be debate as to what those teachings were in some areas but still based on those teachings as presented in the New Testament.

Just had another thought. Those doctrinal differences seem to be a part of Christianity. We generally get together several times a week and that's what we do, argue doctrinal differences. We love it. It doesn't mean our foundational beliefs are different but that some of the many doctrines are debatable and so they are debated, sometimes hotly. Some of the Arminians hate the Calvinists and one said that they are worse than Muslims but their foundational belief is still the same.
LxGoodies
nickfyoung wrote:
We generally get together several times a week and that's what we do, argue doctrinal differences. We love it. (..) foundational belief is still the same

Dutch reformed.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_%28South_Africa%29
Methodist.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

How come they were each others greatest enemies ? Both protestant..

Presbyterian.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riek_Machar
Catholic.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salva_Kiir_Mayardit

Baptist.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King
Disciples.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson

These conflicts between christians are not about doctrinal chit-chat. They do touch foundational belief

Common grounds: economical, racial and tribal injustice. Things christianity cannot solve.. I wonder if these essential topics are not covered, when love-believers fight wars, what does it all mean ? when you talk about foundational belief. Apparently there is a lot happening outside this realm of belief .
nickfyoung
LX Goodies
Quote:
How come they were each others greatest enemies ? Both protestant.


Yes, what you have here is the two classic camps of Arminianism and Calvinism and they fight to this day. Probably the greatest of the differences between Christians. They both still believe in salvation through the death of Jesus but argue over the how why and what of it, and of course there are the real hard liners who say the other camp can't be saved if they believe such rubbish. Christians are just people too and have all the short comings and failures of all people.

Quote:
These conflicts between christians are not about doctrinal chit-chat. They do touch foundational belief


They do in the case of Catholics of course because they have variated a little on the salvation bit which is foundational and gets them in to trouble.
Bikerman
This is what you get when there is no real debate, simply one person trying to defend a point that was lost long since.
Now we get to 'doctrinal differences yes, core beliefs the same' - a contradiction in terms.
The set of beliefs taught by a particular sect = doctrine
There isn't 'doctrine' and then an extra set called 'core belief', there is doctrine. If you disagree about doctrine then you disagree about core belief.

If you want to be really picky then you can introduce dogma where dogma is a collection of the most 'critical' doctrines. But it still comes down to doctrine and the notion that there are no key or 'core' differences in belief between Christian sects is so ridiculous that it isn't even worth further effort to refute. There are HUGE and GROWING doctrinal (and dogmatic) differences between the various sects.....that's sort-of why we HAVE so many damn sects......

If you are a Christian and you don't think that the trinity is a key belief then you haven't been paying attention. Do all Christians believe it? Nope. What about Transubstantiation - critical. Is Jesus present in the sacrament of communion or not - is it symbolic or real? Some say yeah and some fudge it.

What about the REALLY big questions?

How do we get to heaven?

Christians are in direct contradiction with each other. Calvinists believe it happens or it doesn't - nothing you can do about it. Catholics believe one good confession is all you need. Between the two is a full range of options which the various other sects subscribe to. If that is not a key belief then what the hell is?
Likewise hell/condemnation is not just a point of difference, it is treated in mutually exclusive and contradictory ways by different sects. Likewise a hundred other really important articles of belief which are SO important they determine what you need to do to be saved, what you cannot do, what you can get away with, whether you can influence things. whether you are utterly corrupt and evil and deserving nothing but eternal torture or not.....and on and on and on.......

Only an idiot or a logic-blind essentially non-rational zealot could pretend that the 'core beliefs' are the same - it is beyond wrong and into the surrealism arena......
nickfyoung
Bikerman
Quote:
The set of beliefs taught by a particular sect = doctrine


All these sets of beliefs are taking from an interpretation of the Bible and the teachings therein. So all these doctrines are essentially based on the same thing, the teaching of Scripture Some interpretations are the same or similar and some are different.

Quote:
dogma is a collection of the most 'critical' doctrines


Now you have introduced degrees of doctrines. You are right in that some doctrines are essential to salvation while others are not. If you are saved and going to heaven then it does not really matter if you are baptized in water or just sprinkled. Baptism is a common doctrine while salvation is one of your critical doctrines.

Quote:
What about Transubstantiation - critical.


Why is transubstantiation critical. If you are saved what does it matter if you even partake on the sacraments.

Quote:
What about the big questions? How do we get to heaven? Christians are in direct contradiction with each other. Calvinists believe it happens or it doesn't - nothing you can do about it.


You still haven't got a handle on Calvinism. Calvinists and Arminians belive in salvation through Christ but disagree as to how you get there or how you actually do it.

Quote:
Likewise a hundred other really important articles of belief which are SO important they determine what you need to do to be saved, what you cannot do, what you can get away with, whether you can influence things. whether you are utterly corrupt and evil and deserving nothing but eternal torture or not.....and on and on and on....
...

You are way out of line here too. That statement is so wrong and is a common mistake many people make, especially non-Christians.

Quote:
Only an idiot or a logic-blind essentially non-rational zealot could pretend that the 'core beliefs' are the same


Call me an idiot then but some of your comments above show just how far off track you are.
Bikerman
nickfyoung wrote:
Bikerman
Quote:
The set of beliefs taught by a particular sect = doctrine


All these sets of beliefs are taking from an interpretation of the Bible and the teachings therein. So all these doctrines are essentially based on the same thing, the teaching of Scripture Some interpretations are the same or similar and some are different.
What an idiotic thing to say. I mean MORONIC. You first assert that the core beliefs are all the same. Now you say that because they are based on the same book then that means something?
Hey, King Lear and Dennis the Menace are both written in the same language. That must mean that.....er.....well.......It means SOD-ALL.

Try a simple example, and if you understand this you can then work up to kindergarten gradually.
Based on the book Moby Dick, I assert that the whale never existed. Peter, based on the same text, asserts that it DID exist.
So, because these views are based on the same text, they are the same eh? Or they are close?
NO OF COURSE NOT. They are diametrically opposite.
Quote:
You still haven't got a handle on Calvinism. Calvinists and Arminians belive in salvation through Christ but disagree as to how you get there or how you actually do it.
LIAR. I have explained both beliefs several times accurately and correctly. I have a good understanding of both. You, on the other hand, simply lie to suit.
Quote:
You are way out of line here too. That statement is so wrong and is a common mistake many people make, especially non-Christians.
LIAR. Once again you just lie because you have no other place to go. There is no misunderstanding but you can't find a mistake so you say it is wrong - totally pathetic, dishonest tactics worthy only of a scumbag.
Quote:
Call me an idiot then but some of your comments above show just how far off track you are.
You may or may not be an idiot. You are certainly a liar and your arguments are idiotic. If you really believe them then yes, you are an idiot. The trouble with a liar, however, is that you can't believe anything, so who knows if you actually do believe this rubbish or not?
LxGoodies
Nickfyoung wrote:
Quote:
These conflicts between christians are not about doctrinal chit-chat. They do touch foundational belief


They do in the case of Catholics of course because they have variated a little on the salvation bit which is foundational and gets them in to trouble.

The salvation bit was not what I meant. It comes before that. Life before death always appealed to me more than life after death. With "foundational belief" I echoed your words. For me, foundational belief does not exist, but I regard myself not without foundation (or principle).

If I would ever adapt a religion (I doubt I will) I would like that religion to implement my ideals and principles, not talk and fight over details. I quoted only one catolic-protestant conflict, the two gentlemen currently fighting over Southern Sudan are protestants. How come protestants on one hand follow their eternal prophet of love and on the other hand.. not able to resolve conflict among themselfves peacefully ?

Q: why do refugees trying to reach Australia drown in their little boats, or get deportated "off shore", when they are relieved by would-be "christian" authorities.

http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/34848/
http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/32358/
nickfyoung
LxGoodies
Quote:
why do refugees trying to reach Australia drown in their little boats, or get deportated "off shore", when they are relieved by would-be "christian" authorities.


No Christian authorities here. Our last prime minister was a self confessed atheist. Australia is no longer a Christian country.
deanhills
nickfyoung wrote:
No Christian authorities here. Our last prime minister was a self confessed atheist. Australia is no longer a Christian country.
That should make a topic for an interesting discussion. What is the definition of a Christian country?

I Googled Australia and came across this interesting article:


Source: http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=38788#.U7aZrEAe9Fk
Indi
deanhills wrote:
That should make a topic for an interesting discussion. What is the definition of a Christian country?

Yawn, no. Please, there's enough about Christianity in this forum already. Seriously, there are other things to talk about.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
deanhills wrote:
That should make a topic for an interesting discussion. What is the definition of a Christian country?

Yawn, no. Please, there's enough about Christianity in this forum already. Seriously, there are other things to talk about.
So let's talk about them. As I agree. It's supposed to be a Phil&Rel Forum and there is a heavy leaning to Religion with emphasis on Christianity and particularly a "Sect of Christianity".
Indi
There have been plenty of threads that have absolutely nothing to do with religion. Hell, i'd estimate that 9 out of 10 of the threads i've created have no religious angle. The problem is that here is a small group of people who will ALWAYS try to drag the discussion over to Christianity. Always, always, always. And not only just to Christianity in general, to the same damn arguments that have been done to death in a dozen other threads. And even when they don't start the derailment - which is rare enough - if anyone so much as peripherally touches on a topics even remotely related to Christianity... they'll jump in and try to derail the whole thing. Every time. It's at such a ridiculous point now that if i even suspect someone might bring up a religious angle in a thread i'm making, i put explicit wording in the opening post to forbid it.
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