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47 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I always imagined that the great battle at the end of the world would center around an oil crisis.  

Different kind of oil, but yep: Sure enough.

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1 hour ago, Chum said:

The tone of permanent consequences for a single mistake has always bothered me. All learning is born from mistakes and all achievement is built on failures - usually a lot of them.

The scenario where lasting and persistent punishments are levied against a single transgression is right out of the adversary's alt plan of redemption - and also a pervasive part of modern society.

I genuinely wonder if a harsh interpretation of this parable had a hand in bringing that about.

Sounds like a practical lesson on being prepared.  One must never take a parable too far.  It is only a fable, like the Fables of Aesop.  They are not meant to be taken literally.  If we did that, where would there be room for the repentance which is so dear to Judaism and Christianity?

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13 hours ago, Calm said:

One possibility is why the empty lamps?  Perhaps they want to appear like they are prepared without making the effort/investment. 

Where does it suggest that? I thought they left to purchase oil so they dont end up looking foolish without oil. I thought the parable is meant to convey half of believers aren't really believers (gods embrace of no true scotsman fallacy) and god will coldly reject them for their lack of effort.  

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13 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

Their actions don't match their words. They try to hide their black little hearts from God. ie. They have no charity. 

Half of believers?  Really.  What an odd interpretation.  I don't see any of that.  

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10 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There are some rock & roll and heavy metal groups which immediately turn on the TV when they get into the next hotel room, not because they want to actually listen to it, but only as comforting background noise.  When they're not performing.  If that is your wont, you are not likely to hear anything substantive or meaningful.

Religion is just background noise to half of believers? Hmmm.  

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Religion is just background noise to half of believers? Hmmm.  

I don't know about percentages, but just about anything can be background noise for life:  the birds, crickets, the occasional dog barking, the sound of children playing, babies fussing in church, conversation among young people at a party.

The rush of the wind, distant thunder, the sound of rain.  Some things, however, seem meaningless to non-believers:  Tibetan Buddhist group chanting, with bells.  Hebrew liturgy in a synagogue, led by a cantor, everyone singing.  Loudly reading the Quran in Classical Arabic.  The muezzin's call to prayer from a minaret.  Personal testimonies on a Fast Sunday in an LDS Church.  The liturgy in various parts of an LDS temple session.  Such things only have meaning for the believer.

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19 hours ago, Calm said:

Please explain. 

Sorry. Didn't mean to be cryptic. Say that the lamps belonged to the owner of the venue where the wedding was held. Flubbing the oil was bad enough, they'd have been chewed out hard if they showed up without the lamps. After the doors were shut, they'd have just left them there and gone home.

Except that the parable hints that some irrevocable penalty resulted from their mishap, like being doomed to Outer Darkness or Hartford CT.

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19 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

If we did that, where would there be room for the repentance which is so dear to Judaism and Christianity?

That describes modern criminal justice systems. Transgress once, pay the penalty. Then pay again. Then keep paying over and over until dead.

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11 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I thought they left to purchase oil so they dont end up looking foolish without oil.

Dang. I forgot they left to purchase oil.

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18 minutes ago, Chum said:

That describes modern criminal justice systems. Transgress once, pay the penalty. Then pay again. Then keep paying over and over until dead.

But the criminal justice system doesn't normally bring down the sword of Damocles on a first offense, and even subsequent offenses can be pled down, not to mention diversion into rehab programs and half-way houses.  The Lex Talionis seldom actually applies.  Moreover, the intent of the criminal "justice" system has very little to do with justice.  Statutes are seldom written with justice in mind, and judges are not allowed to consider justice -- though a DA may dismiss a case "in the interests of justice."  Protecting the public from violent, repeat offenders needs to be a primary concern -- whether serial killers or serial drunk drivers.  "Paying a debt to society" isn't even in the statutes.

There are ways in which the system could be vastly improved, but the American people and their legislators haven't been willing to even consider those things for eons, and likely never will.  So they go on paying for a failed system in which crime and corruption pays, and pays very well.  "Honesty is the best policy" for chumps and losers.

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On 10/9/2020 at 4:53 PM, Calm said:

Because the men sitting around in groups at the fires, gates, or doors primarily talked politics or philosophy?

In the US culture (using article because study is behind paywall):

https://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/men-gossip-more-negatively-than-women-says-new-study.html

 

I was not referring to American culture. In the eco-cultural landscape of the Church, the US is an ever shrinking part of it. 

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On 10/9/2020 at 4:53 PM, Calm said:

Because the men sitting around in groups at the fires, gates, or doors primarily talked politics or philosophy?

In the US culture (using article because study is behind paywall):

https://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/men-gossip-more-negatively-than-women-says-new-study.html

 

In other cultures men do not gossip. It is seen as a sign of weakness of character, lack of loyalty and it can cost you your life should it be known that one is speaking about another man behind his back. These issues are totally foreign to American culture.  

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On 10/10/2020 at 8:46 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

I don't know about percentages, but just about anything can be background noise for life:  the birds, crickets, the occasional dog barking, the sound of children playing, babies fussing in church, conversation among young people at a party.

The rush of the wind, distant thunder, the sound of rain.  Some things, however, seem meaningless to non-believers:  Tibetan Buddhist group chanting, with bells.  Hebrew liturgy in a synagogue, led by a cantor, everyone singing.  Loudly reading the Quran in Classical Arabic.  The muezzin's call to prayer from a minaret.  Personal testimonies on a Fast Sunday in an LDS Church.  The liturgy in various parts of an LDS temple session.  Such things only have meaning for the believer.

Thanks, Robert.  As I see it the parable doesn't make much sense.  Some seem to think the oil is having a testimony or something.  I think Kenngo presented it as such.  Of course if that is the case, then what are the 5 virgins who didn't get oil doing by running off to purchase it when they get wind that the bridegroom came?  Some others seem to think they are just hypocrites.  As such, I suppose that means they didn't really believe at all.  As hypocrites they apparently didn't really think they needed lamps or didn't think the bridegroom was coming.  Or something.  But of course that's not the message of the parable at all.  It appears the whole point is to have oil means you did enough to appease God.  The believers who don't have enough oil, only did part of what they were supposed to do, apparently.  They saw the actual thing they were supposed to do as a bit arbitrary, and perhaps just something to tick off a to do list.  That seems about right.  Of course if God is all about commanding arbitrary things just so people do them...then that's kind of a silly God.  

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

Thanks, Robert.  As I see it the parable doesn't make much sense.  Some seem to think the oil is having a testimony or something.  I think Kenngo presented it as such.  Of course if that is the case, then what are the 5 virgins who didn't get oil doing by running off to purchase it when they get wind that the bridegroom came?  Some others seem to think they are just hypocrites.  As such, I suppose that means they didn't really believe at all.  As hypocrites they apparently didn't really think they needed lamps or didn't think the bridegroom was coming.  Or something.  But of course that's not the message of the parable at all.  It appears the whole point is to have oil means you did enough to appease God.  The believers who don't have enough oil, only did part of what they were supposed to do, apparently.  They saw the actual thing they were supposed to do as a bit arbitrary, and perhaps just something to tick off a to do list.  That seems about right.  Of course if God is all about commanding arbitrary things just so people do them...then that's kind of a silly God.  

Those don't seem to me to be at all relevant to the parable, which is about being prepared beforehand.  It is a critique of procrastination, as in postponing the day of your repentance -- deathbed repentance, and such.  God is far from being silly in making such a penetrating observation about human nature.  It goes right to the heart of our lazy and slothful ways.

Can you imagine the level of success the Roman empire would have had if their legions did not constantly prepare for battle?  Roman legions actually practiced much harder for battle than the actual battles.  When I was a U.S. Marine, we had vigorous calisthenics and a run every morning, and were subject to regular testing and inspection.  We had to be ready for combat at a moment's notice.  There is nothing silly or arbitrary about that.  In fact, it is existential.  That is the true meaning of that parable.

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Those don't seem to me to be at all relevant to the parable, which is about being prepared beforehand.  It is a critique of procrastination, as in postponing the day of your repentance -- deathbed repentance, and such.  God is far from being silly in making such a penetrating observation about human nature.  It goes right to the heart of our lazy and slothful ways.

That's because it's not God making the observation.  It's just humans.  And it ain't something bad enough to end our road to salvation, if ever there was one.  That's why it's a silly parable.  

2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Can you imagine the level of success the Roman empire would have had if their legions did not constantly prepare for battle?  Roman legions actually practiced much harder for battle than the actual battles.  When I was a U.S. Marine, we had vigorous calisthenics and a run every morning, and were subject to regular testing and inspection.  We had to be ready for combat at a moment's notice.  There is nothing silly or arbitrary about that.  In fact, it is existential.  That is the true meaning of that parable.

The true meaning is an attempt by other humans to suggest humans are bad for their practice of procrastination, so bad, that they deserve rejection by God.  Seems silly to me.

But thanks.  I agree with you in terms of the meaning.  Those other ideas didn't really add up.  

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3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The true meaning is an attempt by other humans to suggest humans are bad for their practice of procrastination, so bad, that they deserve rejection by God...

...rejection as those God accepts as guests for the wedding feast for his son to his bride (figuratively, his Church). 

It's simply a matter of logistics given the fact that:

1) there will be a specific time on a specific day when God will send our Lord down here to celebrate with a big feast those who have chosen to join his Church at that specific moment in time.

2) those who chose to reject and not join his Church had ample opportunity to join with it before that time came

3) the fact that they wanted to enjoy the feast when they saw it but were not qualified to participate was not a valid excuse to postpone the feast until they were qualified to enjoy it as members of his Church.

 

There is a deadline to qualify for all of the best benefits, stemelbow, so if you want to enjoy all of the best rewards you best do what it takes for you to qualify before it is too late for you to qualify for them.

 

 

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

That's because it's not God making the observation.  It's just humans.  And it ain't something bad enough to end our road to salvation, if ever there was one.  That's why it's a silly parable.  

The true meaning is an attempt by other humans to suggest humans are bad for their practice of procrastination, so bad, that they deserve rejection by God.  Seems silly to me.

But thanks.  I agree with you in terms of the meaning.  Those other ideas didn't really add up.  

Take God out of the equation, and you still get a very sage observation about survival -- at least in this world, if not the world to come.  So the parable seems silly to you, just as Aesop's fables would have to be silly in your estimation.  The object lessons encapsulated in those fables represent a very practical take on life in general.  It is frequently classed as Wisdom Literature, and all civilizations have it.  A scholar looks dispassionately at the actual meaning of such fables, and does not engage in attacks on anyone's religious orientation.  It's called being civil and respectful.

Well, we can excuse the Nehor, the court jester.

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

...rejection as those God accepts as guests for the wedding feast for his son to his bride (figuratively, his Church). 

It's simply a matter of logistics given the fact that:

1) there will be a specific time on a specific day when God will send our Lord down here to celebrate with a big feast those who have chosen to join his Church at that specific moment in time.

Oddly most who have read that passage will have already lived and died.  So, according to this reasoning the teaching is pointless for the bulk of readers.    

2 hours ago, Ahab said:

2) those who chose to reject and not join his Church had ample opportunity to join with it before that time came

3) the fact that they wanted to enjoy the feast when they saw it but were not qualified to participate was not a valid excuse to postpone the feast until they were qualified to enjoy it as members of his Church.

 

There is a deadline to qualify for all of the best benefits, stemelbow, so if you want to enjoy all of the best rewards you best do what it takes for you to qualify before it is too late for you to qualify for them.

 

 

What must I do?  I suppose that might be my biggest concern here.  That which must be done is arbitrary, 

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21 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Take God out of the equation, and you still get a very sage observation about survival -- at least in this world, if not the world to come.  So the parable seems silly to you, just as Aesop's fables would have to be silly in your estimation.  The object lessons encapsulated in those fables represent a very practical take on life in general.  It is frequently classed as Wisdom Literature, and all civilizations have it.  A scholar looks dispassionately at the actual meaning of such fables, and does not engage in attacks on anyone's religious orientation.  It's called being civil and respectful.

Well, we can excuse the Nehor, the court jester.

If it's simply meant to suggest that people are often, by nature, set to procrastinate, then it's not so bad.  If it's meant to suggest that God will reject many a people who simply do not do certain arbitrary sounding things, in a timely enough manner, then I find it problematic--either God has a really mixed up set of priorities, or He's not very caring.  

Scholars critique religious views all the time.  

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6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If it's simply meant to suggest that people are often, by nature, set to procrastinate, then it's not so bad.  If it's meant to suggest that God will reject many a people who simply do not do certain arbitrary sounding things, in a timely enough manner, then I find it problematic--either God has a really mixed up set of priorities, or He's not very caring.  

In some areas, I procrastinate all the time, and I pay a price for it.  In other areas, I am very well prepared.  Children tend to be unprepared and lackadaisical, and it is counted as endearing or charming.  In adults, less so.  These are facts of life, and God can be completely expelled from consideration in such a critique.  Your inability to keep God out of it is a major problem for you in understanding the meaning of procrastination.  An atheist should be able to understand that parable without getting his panties in a bunch.  8)

6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Scholars critique religious views all the time.  

Not so.  Actual scholars are very respectful, something they learn in graduate school.  Perhaps you don't know what a scholar is.

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24 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Oddly most who have read that passage will have already lived and died.  So, according to this reasoning the teaching is pointless for the bulk of readers.    

People who have died can and may have already qualified to attend the feast so it makes no difference at all if one is living or dead.

24 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

What must I do?  I suppose that might be my biggest concern here.  That which must be done is arbitrary, 

You need to find out what you need to do.  That is what you need to do.  And there is nobody better to ask than God, our Father, himself.  Tell him you are asking in the name of Jesus Christ.  That will help some.

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14 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

In some areas, I procrastinate all the time, and I pay a price for it.  In other areas, I am very well prepared.  Children tend to be unprepared and lackadaisical, and it is counted as endearing or charming.  In adults, less so.  These are facts of life, and God can be completely expelled from consideration in such a critique.  Your inability to keep God out of it is a major problem for you in understanding the meaning of procrastination.  An atheist should be able to understand that parable without getting his panties in a bunch.  8)

I've already agreed with you on the meaning of the parable.  Why you do insist I do not understand it?  I wasn't the one who said it was about people not having testimonies or hypocrites.  

14 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Not so.  Actual scholars are very respectful, something they learn in graduate school.  Perhaps you don't know what a scholar is.

Scholars have offered critiques of religion, many times.  Sounds to me it sounds like you don't know what a scholar is or what a critique is, or what religion is...one or the other.  

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11 minutes ago, Ahab said:

People who have died can and may have already qualified to attend the feast so it makes no difference at all if one is living or dead.

If so, then it seems inherent in the parable is the notion that people don't know the day or time of their death and that is the moment in which they must have their lamps full of oil.  That is the coming of the bridegroom is death.  

11 minutes ago, Ahab said:

You need to find out what you need to do.  That is what you need to do.  And there is nobody better to ask than God, our Father, himself.  Tell him you are asking in the name of Jesus Christ.  That will help some.

Thanks.  It doesn't appear that is true, though.  God only answers prayers in the abstract.  To say he does answer prayers is to assume he is stuck in our feelings and imagination.  

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14 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If so, then it seems inherent in the parable is the notion that people don't know the day or time of their death and that is the moment in which they must have their lamps full of oil.  That is the coming of the bridegroom is death.  

No, the wedding feast for the Church will be when our Savior returns.  Until then we're just waiting for it to happen, and we will either be ready for it when it comes, or we won't and won't be accepted into the party.

14 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Thanks.  It doesn't appear that is true, though.  God only answers prayers in the abstract.  To say he does answer prayers is to assume he is stuck in our feelings and imagination.  

He is and always will be part of us.  When a married man and woman reproduce themselves part of the man and woman is always with their offspring.  We just need to try to get in touch with those parts of ourselves as much as we can and we are told to do that by trying to do our best to communicate with our Father in heaven.

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8 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I've already agreed with you on the meaning of the parable.  Why you do insist I do not understand it?  I wasn't the one who said it was about people not having testimonies or hypocrites.  

Scholars have offered critiques of religion, many times.  Sounds to me it sounds like you don't know what a scholar is or what a critique is, or what religion is...one or the other.  

There is a big difference between the respect and civility of a scholarly critique, and those rendered by the hoi polloi..  In particular, a scholar finds it unnecessary to get emotionally caught up in defense of any belief system.  He must be able to separate himself from, or bracket belief, and to discuss it dispassionately.  A sneering response to belief is not the same as an intellectual response.

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