Yeah, I wish I could get like a really succint bible summary that was like a
page to get a balanced idea on what it's saying. I mean, yeah, WTF Jesus died
for our sins and whosoever belief in him will not die but have everlasting life
in heaven. Are we, as humans, supposed to be able to conjure up an image of
heaven to be an incentive to believe in something? And is it humanly possible to
believe in something if you can't coherently imagine it?
EXACTLY.... we can't wrap our minds around that. Why are we born in sin? Why are babies in sin and deserving eternal hell? Because of Eve? it just doesn't make sense. Also I don't understand the story of Satan, the story of evil. He's supposed to have been Lucifer, angel of Light and music, God's favorite. Then he became too ambitious, he wanted to be God, and so he sinned and was cast out of heaven, along with a third of heaven's angels that went with him. I wonder why a third of the angels went with him. i also wonder how an angel goes from being ambitious and jeoulous to wanting to being the impersonation of all evil......
As the story goes, after Eve used her freedom of choice to sin, disobeying God's order not to eat fruit from that tree, it opened the doors to satan to rule over the earth. He took over. And that's why God rejected humankind ever since. He didn't reject the jews, as long as they followed all the rules he set for them. Of course no one is perfect and no one could follow them all perfectly. They had to kill innocent lambs once in a while to wash their sins away. So he sent Jesus, his son, to pay the price, to be the innocent lamb once and for all.
John 3:16 - for God so loved the world that he sent his only son, so that whosoever beleives in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
The bible seems in a constant state of being interpreted. There are some Christians that welcome gays, so it's as if the passages that (according to some) discriminate against gays themselves aren't even clear enough. It gets confusing because it's supposed to be like an Ethics for Life, the Universe and Everything...but no one has the answer. One thing I think all religions encourage (but then some religious folks forget that their religion is to encourage) adventure, experimentalism (including meditation), the search for knowledge, kindness etc. However, we often get tripped up in the details.
Leviticus 18:22"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus is a book in the Old Testament which sets most of the rules by which the Jews should live. This verse means "it is an abomination for a man to lie in bed with another man as if it were a woman". It's pretty clear. It also prohibits a man to have sex with a menstruated woman. She's unclean. I think bald men were also rejected. It has lots of tiny rules about tiny things. To this day Adventists of the Seventh day think they are not supposed to eat shrimp because of a something in Leviticus. They also don't eat pork. Animals without divided feet were considered unclean and not suited for food. Fish with no fins too. I think that's the reason for the shrimp think.~
Of course I've gone to several christians churches for many years and had never heard of God not wanting people to eat shrimp. Each church comes up with their own enphasis on certain things. I think the truth is:
"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law". (Galatians 3:23-25, NIV)
This means, after Jesus paid the price, people no longer are saved by obeying laws or not, only faith in Jesus saves. So most christian churches don't pay that much attention to the old testament except for the 10 commandements. But the anti gay thing is present in conventional churches.
There are some churches that have other influences, there are new age christian, there are lots of mixed of things, which aren't hardcore bible abiding christian. That's what I learned from this book I just read..Including hindu gurus have moved to the west and claim to have seen Jesus and changed their ideas a bit to suit christianism.. maybe to appeal more easily to people here.
So, yes, there are lots of interpretations, but it's not accepted in christian churches that it should be dynamic. Amongst evangelical christians the main difference is some are pentecostal and some aren't. Meaning the pentecostal believe the baptism in spirit is for today, so people should go through a religious phenomenon called baptism in Holy Spirit, speak in tongues (glossolalia) in churches and show other gifts of the holy spirit, like prophecy, healing, etc. This is the main difference I know about. The adventists seem to be more connected to the old testament, they are very keen on keeping the laws to the point of not eating shrimp or pork.. even though the new testament says God doesn't care what you eat, as long as it's ok with your conscience. A converted jew asked an apostle about this, if they should eat meat in a certain day, since the law forbid it, and that's what the apostle answered... do it, as long as it's ok with your conscience.
Adventists are also very strong about going to church on saturday, not sunday, and not working or causing other people to work on saturday. As sirbarret says, people totally get tripped in details and forget the big picture. But maybe the big picture isn't all that big... there are still dogmas and literary interpretation of the Adam and Eve story as well as many others..*shrug*
The bible is very interesting though, some parts.