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"Left Behind" and Revelation 22:18-19

 
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I was just reading this week's Newsweek cover story about the specctacularly popular "Left Behind" novels, and I have a question. Two of the last few verses of Revelation read like this:


18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shell add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;

19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.



Now, Fundamentalist Christians believe in the literal interpretation of the book of Revelation which, like all the books of the Bible, they see as the divinely inspired Word of God. The "Left Behind" books are basically a fictionalized novelization of the events Revelation describes ("fictionalized" because the books concern fictional characters who experience those events.) Given the fairly explicit warning at the end of Revelation, shouldn't a Fundamentalist Christian feel that writing such novels could be, well, rather dangerous? If the novelist were to add or embellish one tiny detail of the events (and I can't see how you could turn the dozen pages of Revelation into a series of 12 novels without embellishing at least a little!) then God has stated, pretty clearly, that He will go upside that novelist's head in a series of partiularly gruesome ways.

But if you don't believe in the curse, then you're not a True Believer -- in fact, you'd be the opposite, an instrument of Satan; and so why would any True Believer buy any of your books?

Can anybody explain this paradox to me? Are LeHaye and Jenkins consciously risking eternal damnation to bring The Word to the unbelievers, or are they simply hucksters trying to make a buck?
 
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Having not read a) Revelations or b) the novels in question, this is just wild speculation...

They're not challenging the idea's presented in Revelation, nor adding or subtracting from what the bible says will happen.

I'd say it's like fan fiction that gets published. You're not allowed to change what happened to Luke, Han and Leia during the movies, but if you write a story that take place AFTER all three, then you have free(er) reign.
[ May 19, 2004: Message edited by: fred rosenberger ]
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by fred rosenberger:

if the prophecy basically says "..end of the world...good people taken to heaven...bad people left behind..."



Well, the key is that the book says all sorts of stuff about Four Horsemen, Jesus defeating the AntiChrist, and lots of specific events, and if you're a Fundamentalist, you by definition believe in the literal truth of all of these events. And the novels describe how these events unfold. One specific detail mentioned in Newsweek -- inarguably an "addition" to the original prophecy -- is that the Antichrist is the Secretary of the U.N, and the Pope is his right-hand-man. Now, this definitely isn't in Revelation, thus, I'd argue, bringing the Curse down on these poor scrivener's balding noggins.
 
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:


Well, the key is that the book says all sorts of stuff about Four Horsemen, Jesus defeating the AntiChrist, and lots of specific events, and if you're a Fundamentalist, you by definition believe in the literal truth of all of these events. And the novels describe how these events unfold. One specific detail mentioned in Newsweek -- inarguably an "addition" to the original prophecy -- is that the Antichrist is the Secretary of the U.N, and the Pope is his right-hand-man. Now, this definitely isn't in Revelation, thus, I'd argue, bringing the Curse down on these poor scrivener's balding noggins.



Revelation is written in such vague terms that one could probably argue that that stuff is in there if only you kew how to read it.
 
fred rosenberger
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the key is that the book says all sorts of stuff about Four Horsemen...


Fair enough. In that case, i have no idea.

;-)
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Revelation is written in such vague terms that one could probably argue that that stuff is in there if only you knew how to read it.



It's very hard to imagine anyone simultaneously being a true Fundamentalist and, at the same time, having convinced themselves so completely of the truth of all 12 novels worth of elaborations that they didn't fear eternal damnation. Seems like one or the other has to give.
 
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18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shell add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;

19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.


The way I read these warnings is as a sort of a warning to editor from God. That is, he is not saying, "Don't dare to retell this story with ornamentations in some other books". Instead, all he is asking is that his words are not edited by the publishers of his piece (i.e. The Bible).

But I do agree that it is also possible to interpret these two passages as an explicit ban on retelling the story in the other books. A copyright notice from God, so to speak.
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
A copyright notice from God, so to speak.



The Bible is not GPL.
 
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18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shell add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;

19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.


I've read all but the last book which I started last night. In the books Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins try really hard to keep to scripture. This fictional telling of the End of the World is of course, Tim LaHaye's intepretation of the events described in Revelations. Fact is, no one is going to get it perfect. But I don't believe that's what these versus you mentioned are talking about.

The Left Behind series does not try to add to the Revelations anything passed on as fact. Nor do they remove anything from the Revelations.

I believe those versus are talking about someone who might try and say "Here is Revelations with some additional plagues I figure God wants to do. But I have removed all the icky stuff because it scares people" and then tries to pass that on as gospal truth.

Revelations is a very difficult book as is the subject matter. I think Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins did an excellent job of telling the truth that is the Revelations but in a way that is easy to understand by giving us a visualization. I'm not saying their interpretation is dead on. I'm just saying I don't think it goes against those versus.

For example, I believe that the Rapture of the Church is after the Tribulation. Tim LaHaye believes the Rapture is pre-tribulation. But stating it either way does not take away from or add to the Revelations. The rapture happens. When is the question.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:


Well, the key is that the book says all sorts of stuff about Four Horsemen, Jesus defeating the AntiChrist, and lots of specific events, and if you're a Fundamentalist, you by definition believe in the literal truth of all of these events. And the novels describe how these events unfold. One specific detail mentioned in Newsweek -- inarguably an "addition" to the original prophecy -- is that the Antichrist is the Secretary of the U.N, and the Pope is his right-hand-man. Now, this definitely isn't in Revelation, thus, I'd argue, bringing the Curse down on these poor scrivener's balding noggins.



Along the lines of my other response; The books aren't trying to tell you who the antichrist will be or what organization he belongs to. The Bible says there will be an antichrist. The bible also tells us that the antichrist will have a prophet (right hand man). But again, it doesn't tell us who. In order to tell a "fictional" story based on fact (if you believe it to be fact) you have to put someone as the antichrist.

Anyone who takes the fictional apect of the left behind series (who antichrist is, The Tribulation Force, Chloe, Buck, Mack, Z, Hattie, Rayford, etc) needs to be checked back into reality. It's easy to read that series and confuse the fact and the fiction, and for the average reader maybe this is the issue Ernest would be concerned about. But for someone who cares at all about what is real and what is not, it's just as easy to seperate the fact from the fiction. Especially if you have read and studied Revelations.

But again, the intent to add or remove from the Revelations was not there.

[ May 19, 2004: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
[ May 19, 2004: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
 
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Originally written someone a long time ago

18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shell add unto him the plagues that are written in this book;

19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.



One of the few things which links all religions is not world peace, or avoiding certain sins, but the idea "Dont you dare alter this text!" The people with power in various religious organisations knew that the best way for their religion to survive is to make the text its based upon uneditable - this way there is no chance that someone may come along and write a new version that could deny them this power. Its most likely that revelations was added some time after the rest of the bible as a way of "upgrading" it - ie stick a bit on the end that threatens all the non-believers with something nasty, and promises all the good people something nice, therefore reinforcing the church's message. Revelations also answers a lot of questions about what will happen in the future - this is something that mankind has a large affinity for knowing. Whoever wrote revelations probably thought that it would act as a good guide for the average christian, and as a good moral story that would satisfy people's desire to know the future, and more importantly would bind them closer to the church. The fact that they would not want someone to alter their work (and there for the message that allowed the heads of the church to maintain their power) probably lead them to include the messages quoted above.

As for the "Left Behind" books... I read the first one, and its ok, but its not that great. It surprises me how popular they are. The story is ok, but the writing style is nothing special. Revelations (the original series) is a far more interesting story

For those that strongly believe in what Revelations say, a quick question: One thing I dont understand about that book is that (correct me if I'm wrong) the whole thing came to John in a dream one day, and then he wrote it down. Why is his dream considered an accurate description of what will happen? Plenty of people have visions of the end of the world, but his is believed over the others - what makes it special? I'm not trying to have a go at the religion or insult anyone, I'm trying to understand it a bit more.... its very confusing!
 
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One thing I dont understand about that book is that (correct me if I'm wrong) the whole thing came to John in a dream one day, and then he wrote it down. Why is his dream considered an accurate description of what will happen?

I don't see any mention that the revelations came to John im a dream, do you have a reference?. Here is what the source has to say:


1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
1:9 I John, your brother and partaker with you in tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
1:10-1:11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord�s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet saying, what thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches



Even if it was a dream, it doesn't make the revelations less relevant in my view. For one thing, John was a saint, and who is to say how he should perceive the information. If that's not convincing, think of this. You have a dream, and you make a great discovery in that dream (invent the wheel, find a proof to the Ferma's theorem, write a great poem). Does it make it less significant that the wheel was invented in your dream? Of course not.

Then again, when it comes to spiritual experiences, one can always say that "real" Jesus in front of you was a hallucination, and it's no different from a dream. Finally, the experience of being in God's presense is so unlike anything else, that it feels like a dream.
 
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One thing I dont understand about that book is that (correct me if I'm wrong) the whole thing came to John in a dream one day, and then he wrote it down. Why is his dream considered an accurate description of what will happen? Plenty of people have visions of the end of the world, but his is believed over the others - what makes it special? I'm not trying to have a go at the religion or insult anyone, I'm trying to understand it a bit more.... its very confusing!



To answer the question, (why is his dream considered accurate) you would have to look at the rest of the bible. It is filled with what a handfull of people thought to be accurate. Look at Moses writing about Creation.

During biblical times there were many more people writing down many more interpretations of their experiences and if you read in TIME magazine a while back there was an article on the lost books of the new testament. The point is that whatever made it into the Bible was GOD inspired. There is nothing contradictory and there is nothing irrelavant.

I look at this book the same way I look at Genesis. I believe Genesis to be written at that time to explain to the people of the time of writing how things had occured. I believe that of Revelations too. It was written at that time to explain to the people of the time of writing what would happen in the end. Either way, there is no hard evidence about Creation or Evolution, but it happened. And just as Creation happened, the Rapture described in Revelations will happen too.

[ May 20, 2004: Message edited by: Rachel Swailes ]
[ May 20, 2004: Message edited by: Rachel Swailes ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:

I don't see any mention that the revelations came to John im a dream, do you have a reference?. Here is what the source has to say:
--bible quote--



OK, not a dream, but a vision.... not much difference...


Even if it was a dream, it doesn't make the revelations less relevant in my view. For one thing, John was a saint, and who is to say how he should perceive the information. If that's not convincing, think of this. You have a dream, and you make a great discovery in that dream (invent the wheel, find a proof to the Ferma's theorem, write a great poem). Does it make it less significant that the wheel was invented in your dream? Of course not.

Then again, when it comes to spiritual experiences, one can always say that "real" Jesus in front of you was a hallucination, and it's no different from a dream. Finally, the experience of being in God's presense is so unlike anything else, that it feels like a dream.


What I was trying to say was that why do people beleive that his vision represents reality and not just the by-product of some kind of hallucination? Plenty of people have had visions of the end of the world, but this one is accepted by some as being an accurate description of the end of the world.... why? What made the others wrong and this one right?
 
Rachel Swailes
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Originally posted by Joe King:

What I was trying to say was that why do people beleive that his vision represents reality and not just the by-product of some kind of hallucination? Plenty of people have had visions of the end of the world, but this one is accepted by some as being an accurate description of the end of the world.... why? What made the others wrong and this one right?



Christians that believe in the Bible believe by faith that it is the word of God. The inspired word of God. We believe by faith that what is written in there is what God wants us to know and write on our hearts. While I don't neccessarily believe in all of the creatures described in that book, I believe that the events will occur in some form.

So to sum and answer to your question... I believe that John's vision was recorded and placed in the Bible because God wanted it there. And that is good enough for me!
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Rachel Swailes:

I look at this book the same way I look at Genesis. I believe Genesis to be written at that time to explain to the people of the time of writing how things had occured. I believe that of Revelations too. It was written at that time to explain to the people of the time of writing what would happen in the end.


I think that most of the creation stories that have been written during history are people's attempt to understand what happened and to communicate that understanding to other people. Neither then or now do we understand how it all started (Indeed looking at the Big Bang, then its probably physically impossible to properly model it and understand what happened), so people tried best to think of reasons and causes behind the creation of the universe. I think Genesis, like its cousins in other religions, is like a set of "best guesses" of the people at the time.


Either way, there is no hard evidence about Creation or Evolution, but it happened. And just as Creation happened, the Rapture described in Revelations will happen too.


While I understand people having this view point, I don't agree with it. Yes, the universe had a started somewhere, but there's no reason to think that it began in the same way as the bible said, or that this means that the bible also accurately describes the future.


The point is that whatever made it into the Bible was GOD inspired. There is nothing contradictory and there is nothing irrelavant.


This is the crux of what I dont understand. There are many religious books out there and yet people of most religions are positive that theirs is a message from god and all the others are not. What is it about the writings that makes people so sure that they are god-inspired and not just another mythology like all the others that went before and came after?

I'm fairly sceptical about it. The vast proportion of religious people in places where there is a free choice of religion still choose the religion that they grew up most exposed to. To me this kind of implies that rather than choosing the one that feels most right, or has the most logical arguments for being true, people are influenced by an unconscious social factor.

Finally, thanks for those who have taken the time to answer - religion is one of those subjects in which it is all to easy to accidentally insult someone while discussing it with them (especially so on the internet where communication is limited to words and there are no facial expressions and body language to clarify intent). Because of this many people really don't like to discus it, which is a shame because its an incredibly interesting subject. Hope I haven't insulted anyone by what I wrote.....
 
Rachel Swailes
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Originally posted by Joe King:

What is it about the writings that makes people so sure that they are god-inspired and not just another mythology like all the others that went before and came after?

Because of this many people really don't like to discus it, which is a shame because its an incredibly interesting subject. Hope I haven't insulted anyone by what I wrote.....



I also think that is it so interesting! I love to hear other people's opinions on it because I am so fascinated with it myself.

I also agree that people tend to go with the 'religion' they know or have grown up with. Me? I don't like the idea of organized religion. I like churches because they are a place that people with the same believe system can get together but for me it is so much more about the relationship with God than the belief system that a person chooses.

As for all religions being a mythology just like every other one... I think that people tend to believe in their version of god if they either have faith in them or have experienced their god. I could not speak for everyone about this because I believe in the God of the old testament and the God of the new testament. I know that He exists because I have experienced Him.

I also think that people believe in a god to give them their purpose. I would find it hard to live life if I felt that this was all that there is. To have 80 years of life and then to have what?

Anyway, looking forward to more opinions!
Rachel
[ May 20, 2004: Message edited by: Rachel Swailes ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Rachel Swailes:

I also think that is it so interesting! I love to hear other people's opinions on it because I am so fascinated with it myself.



Apart from maybe politics, there aren't many subjects of discussion which can bring up as many varied, bizarre and interesting points of view as religion.


I also agree that people tend to go with the 'religion' they know or have grown up with. Me? I don't like the idea of organized religion. I like churches because they are a place that people with the same believe system can get together but for me it is so much more about the relationship with God than the belief system that a person chooses.



Agreed. This seems especially true to me about christianity (mainly because I dont know as much about it as the others). Jesus preached on the side of a hill without the need for a church and hierarchy of bishops, cardinals and popes. Granted that in some part of the world it is probably a bit more practical to meet somewhere with chairs and a roof, but whats the point in a large organised hierarchy? What is very sad is when people can end up in large (sometimes lethal) conflicts over disagreements in such hierarchies. Conflicts over religion all seem rather pointless to an atheist, but seeing conflict between people of the same religion (ie catholics and protestants fighting in Northern Ireland) seem especially so. Perhaps getting rid of the hierarchies and dogma would reduce the chance of these conflicts arising.

I can understand why some people believe in a supernatural being of some kind (to some people its inconceivable that the universe could not have a creator of some kind), but its incredible how people make the step from a vague idea of a supreme being to the highly detailed one described in the bible.


As for all religions being a mythology just like every other one... I think that people tend to believe in their version of god if they either have faith in them or have experienced their god. I could not speak for everyone about this because I believe in the God of the old testament and the God of the new testament. I know that He exists because I have experienced Him.



Well I cant really argue with a person experience - its the kind of thing that, while impossible to prove, is a far stronger form of evidence than any kind of religious book. Personally if I was god I'd just skip the holy book business and get into contact with everyone directly, saving a lot of hassle in the process


I also think that people believe in a god to give them their purpose.



This I agree with, but probably for different reasons. I think that part of the reason why people believe in god is because they are afraid of the alternative. The idea of a "run away train" universe in which things are not part of a nice plan is slightly scary. A religion also provides assurances of things like life after death, justice, not loosing dead loved ones. Religion also answers a lot of life's mysteries by providing a nice simple answer to everything. For this reason, maybe people believe it because deep down they wouldn't like a universe where it isnt true.

I would find it hard to live life if I felt that this was all that there is. To have 80 years of life and then to have what?



Personally I like it that way . As far as I'm concerned my life isn't part of some arbitrary plan. I think that all of mankind's problems are something that should be solved by us instead of waiting for a supernatural being to bail us out. The idea that I won't exist after death doesn't make life pointless - rather it makes me realise that it should be enjoyed as much as possible.

There are some paradoxes with the atheist view point (eg where does morality fit in?) but I dont find life the great empty lonely place that some theists think that atheists must feel.
[ May 20, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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Joe King:

The vast proportion of religious people in places where there is a free choice of religion still choose the religion that they grew up most exposed to. To me this kind of implies that rather than choosing the one that feels most right, or has the most logical arguments for being true, people are influenced by an unconscious social factor.

Are "choosing the one that feels most right" and being "influenced by an unconscious social factor" mutually exclusive?
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:

Personally if I was god I'd just skip the holy book business and get into contact with everyone directly, saving a lot of hassle in the process



Tell me, Joe, if personX loves you dearly but you don't love personX and probably can't even stand the sight of that personX, then would you want personX coming to your house or anywhere remotely near you? If personX knows this, he/she will most likely stay away from you and wait till such time that he/she can be sure (maybe even reasonbly sure) that you will at the very least tolerate him/her (at least for a little while).

The problem (& this crosses all belief systems including the belief system of non-belief) is that we tend to anthropomorphize God.


Furthermore:
Many, if not most, don't want God. Even those who are religious, pious, spritual. Most are comfortable with their not being perfect as "the Father which is in heaven is perfect". If God personally came to each of us & exhorted each of us with these same words of Jesus, how many of us (believers & non-believers alike) will do or even want to do that? Most of us want to avenge and not forgive others, however small a slight may have been done to us; even if it is merely a perceived slight.
[ May 20, 2004: Message edited by: Sadanand Murthy ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Sadanand Murthy:


Tell me, Joe, if personX loves you dearly but you don't love personX and probably can't even stand the sight of that personX, then would you want personX coming to your house or anywhere remotely near you? If personX knows this, he/she will most likely stay away from you and wait till such time that he/she can be sure (maybe even reasonbly sure) that you will at the very least tolerate him/her (at least for a little while).


What about if I wasn't sure that personX even existed? PersonX would stand a much higher chance of being loved if he/she made themselves known to me rather than leaving some rather cryptic notes lying around.


The problem (& this crosses all belief systems including the belief system of non-belief) is that we tend to anthropomorphize God.



I think the way in which people think about spiritual issues has changed quite a lot throughout history. In the past different civilisations mostly viewed their god(s) as anthropomorphic figures, making them easy to understand. This was probably, in part, due to the need to differentiate between the different gods in a polytheistic religions. When the jewish monotheistic religion came along it was a fairly rare concept to have just one god, so the early people in the religion probably used anthropomorphic imagery to explain their god to possible converts. Against this background of gods described as appearing like people, to the people at the time a god that could be visualised as looking like an old man was probably a lot easier to comprehend than the idea of an invisible omnipotent being. (Its possible that the writing of god creating man in his image in the bible was part of this process of helping to explain it to people at the time). Its probably only more recently (ie last few centauries) that christians have begun to throw off the images of a person and think of god as being something more like an invisible force.


Furthermore:
Many, if not most, don't want God. Even those who are religious, pious, spiritual. Most are comfortable with their not being perfect as "the Father which is in heaven is perfect". If God personally came to each of us & exhorted each of us with these same words of Jesus, how many of us (believers & non-believers alike) will do or even want to do that?


Good question. Personally I dont believe in him, and it would probably take something like a personal visit to change my mind. Its not because I dont want god (quite the contrary - I think it'd be quite nice if there was an all-powerful being looking out for me), its just that so far I have seen absolutely nothing that points to his existence.

Most of us want to avenge and not forgive others, however small a slight may have been done to us; even if it is merely a perceived slight.


I suppose this depends from person to person.
[ May 21, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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As i was driving home yesterday, on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", they were actually discussing the rise in popularity of "Christian Fiction", and specifically these "Left Behind" books. I wish i had had a phone or some way to write in to the editor and ask the OP's question to the guests.
 
Ugly Redneck
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Originally posted by Joe King:
In the past different civilisations mostly viewed their god(s) as anthropomorphic figures, making them easy to understand. This was probably, in part, due to the need to differentiate between the different gods in a polytheistic religions. When the jewish monotheistic religion came along it was a fairly rare concept to have just one god, so the early people in the religion probably used anthropomorphic imagery to explain their god to possible converts. Against this background of gods described as appearing like people, to the people at the time a god that could be visualised as looking like an old man was probably a lot easier to comprehend than the idea of an invisible omnipotent being




Actually not true.. The vedas in Hinduism talk about two types of realities. "Cosmic Reality" and "Universal Reality". Cosmic reality is the realization by self that God is an invisble force and has no shape. Universal Reality is the belief that God assumes a shape and that shape is one that relates in some manner to us.

Islam and Christianity are religions of Cosmic reality. Now only Islam is a religion of Cosmic reality, since I see many Christians give a figure and shape to God. Hinduism and Buddhism have always been religions of Universal reality.
 
Sadanand Murthy
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Originally posted by Paul McKenna:



Actually not true.. The vedas in Hinduism talk about two types of realities. "Cosmic Reality" and "Universal Reality". Cosmic reality is the realization by self that God is an invisble force and has no shape. Universal Reality is the belief that God assumes a shape and that shape is one that relates in some manner to us.

Islam and Christianity are religions of Cosmic reality. Now only Islam is a religion of Cosmic reality, since I see many Christians give a figure and shape to God. Hinduism and Buddhism have always been religions of Universal reality.



Good distinction, Paul. Just one correction - Hinduism has always been of both Universal & Cosmic Reality. Hinduism says that the Cosmic Reality (God/Ishvara) being omnipotent can & does take a form that is most spiritually beneficial to the devotee. However, the Formless Cosmic Reality is what the devotee should aspire to.
 
pie sneak
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But if you don't believe in the curse, then you're not a True Believer -- in fact, you'd be the opposite, an instrument of Satan; and so why would any True Believer buy any of your books?



Because the True Believers in question aren't cynical enough to believe that someone might use religion to get a buck.

If it came from a Christian Book Store we don't need to question the integrity of the authors, right?

I'm sure the authors had good intentions. There have been other "fictionalized" books that have had a positive impact on the lives of people. The Screwtape Letters and This Present Darkness both come to mind.

I would say that the Left Behind series (which I honestly don't know much about, having the first chapter of the first book bore me out of my skull) doesn't take a literal approach as you said the Fundamentalist Christian has. I don't remember hearing people talk about beasts with multiple horns being ridden by a whore when they talk about the books - but maybe the books do have them.
 
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